type html public "-//IETF//DTD HTML//EN"> Trials of German Major War Criminals: Volume 2

The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 3 to December 14, 1945

Twentieth Day: Friday, 14th December, 1945
(Part 4 of 9)

[MAJOR WALSH continues]

[Page 412]

Gunther, the prison warden at Minsk, in a letter dated 31st May, 1943, addressed to the General Commissioner for White Ruthenia, subject: "Action Against Jews", was critical by implication. With the Court's permission I would like to read this entire letter, part of Document R-135, Page 5, subject: "Action Against Jews".
"On 13th April, 1943, the former German dentist Ernst Israel Tichauer and his wife, Elisa Sara Tichauer, nee Rosenthal, were committed to the court prison by the Security Service. Since that time all German and Russian Jews who were turned over to us had their golden bridgework, crowns, and fillings pulled or broken out. This happens always one to two hours before the respective

action. Since 13th April, 1943, 516 German and Russian Jews have been finished off. On the basis of a definite investigation gold was taken in only two actions - on 14th April, 1943, from 172, and on 27th April, 1943, from 164 Jews. About 50 per cent. of the Jews had gold teeth, bridgework, or fillings. Hauptscharfuehrer Rube of the Security Service was always personally present, and he took the gold along, too.

Before 13th April, 1943, this was not done. Signed Gunther, Prison Warden."

This letter was forwarded to the defendant Rosenberg as Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories on 1st June, 1943. I will read the covering letter, part of Document R-135, Page 4, to the Reich Minister of the Occupied Eastern Territories, Berlin, through the Reich Commissioner for the Eastland, Riga.

Subject: "Actions Against Jews in the Prison of Minsk."

"The enclosed official report from the warden of the prison in Minsk is submitted to the Reich Minister and the Reich Commissar for Information. Signed, The General Commissar in Minsk."
THE PRESIDENT: Does "respective action", as indicated in the letter dated 31st May, 1943, mean execution?

MAJOR WALSH: Yes, sir; we interpret it as such. The Court will recall that the ridding of the Jews via gas vans ties in very closely with the second letter of the transport of Jews arriving for that purpose.

[Page 413]

THE PRESIDENT: Was this document found in Rosenberg's file?

MAJOR WALSH: I am so informed, sir. A further complaint is contained in a secret letter addressed to the General of the Infantry Thomas, Chief of the Industrial Armament Department, dated 2nd December, 1941. It might be noted with interest that the apprehensive writer of this letter stated that he did not forward the communication through official channels. I offer in evidence captured Document 3257-PS, and I quote from the first paragraph, - this is Exhibit USA 290.

"For the personal information of the Chief of the Industrial Armament Department I am forwarding a complete account of the present situation in the Reichskommissariat Ukraine in which the difficulties and tensions encountered so far, and the problems which give rise to serious anxiety, are stated with unmistakable clarity.

I have intentionally refrained from submitting such a report through official channels or from making it known to other departments interested in it because I do not expect any results that way, but on the contrary, I am apprehensive that the difficulties and tensions and also the divergent opinions might only be increased because of the peculiarity of the situation."

"Jewish problem" (Paragraph 7, Page 1):-
"Regulation of the Jewish question in the Ukraine was a difficult problem because the Jews constituted a large part of the urban population. We therefore have to deal - just as in the Government General - with a mass problem of policy concerning the population. Many cities had a percentage of Jews exceeding 50 per cent. Only the rich Jews had fled from the German troops. The majority of Jews remained under German administration. The latter found the problem more complicated through the fact that these Jews represented almost the entire trade and even a part of the manpower in small and medium industries, besides businesses, which had in part become superfluous as a direct or indirect result of the war. The elimination therefore necessarily had far-reaching economic consequences and even direct consequences for the armament industry (production for supplying the troops)."
Paragraph 1 on Page 2:
"The attitude of the Jewish population was anxiously obliging from the beginning. They tried to avoid everything that might displease the German administration. That they hated the German administration and army inwardly, goes without saying and cannot be surprising. However, there is no proof that Jewry as a whole or even to a greater part was implicated in acts of sabotage. Naturally there were some terrorists or saboteurs among them, just as among the Ukrainians. But it cannot be said that the Jews, as such, represented a danger to the German Armed Forces. The output produced by Jews who, of course, were prompted by nothing but the feeling of fear, was satisfactory to the troops and the German administration.

The Jewish population remained temporarily unmolested shortly after the fighting. Only weeks, sometimes months later, specially detached formations of the police executed a planned shooting of Jews. This action as a rule proceeded from East to West. It was done entirely in public with the use of the Ukrainian militia, and, unfortunately, in

[Page 414]

many instances also with members of the Armed Forces taking part voluntarily. The way these actions, which included old men, women, and children of all ages, were carried out was horrible. The great masses executed made this action more gigantic than any similar measure taken so far in the Soviet Union. So far about 150,000 to 200,000 Jews may have been executed in the part of the Ukraine belonging to the Reichskommissariat; no consideration was given to the interests of economy.

Summarising, it can be said that the kind of solution of the Jewish problem applied to the Ukraine, which obviously was based on ideological theories as a matter of principle, had the following results:

(a) Elimination of a part of partly superfluous caters in the cities.

(b) Elimination of a part of the population which undoubtedly hated us.

(c) Elimination of badly needed tradesmen who were in many instances indispensable even in the interests of the Armed Forces.

(d) Consequences as to foreign policy propaganda which are obvious.

(e) Bad effect on the troops which in any case get indirect contact with the execution."

(f) Brutalising effect on the formations which carry out the execution regular police."

Lest the Court be persuaded to the belief that these conditions related existed only in the East, I invite attention to the official Netherlands Government report by the Commissioner for Repatriation as indicative of the treatment of the Jews in the West.

This document is a recital of the German measures taken in the Netherlands against the Dutch Jews. The decrees, the anti-Semitic demonstrations, the burning of synagogues, the purging of Jews from the economic life of their country, the food restrictions against them, forced labour, concentration camp confinement, deportation, and death - all follow the same pattern that was effected throughout Nazi-occupied Europe.

I now refer to Document 1726-PS, Exhibit USA 195, already in evidence. It is not intended to read this document in evidence, but it is deemed important to invite the Court's attention to that portion of the report relating to the deportation of Dutch Jews, shown on Page 5 of the translation. There the Court will note that full Jews being liable to deportation number 140,000, The Court will also note that the total number of deportees was 117,000, representing more than 83 per cent. of all the Jews in the Netherlands. Of these 115,000 were deported to Poland for slave labour, according to the Netherlands report, and after departure all trace of them was lost. Regardless of victory or defeat to Germany, the Jew was doomed. It was the expressed intent of the Nazi State that, whatever the German fate might be, the Jew would not survive.

I offer in evidence Document L-53, stamped "Top Secret", Exhibit USA 291. This message is from the Commandant of the Sipo and S.D. for the Radom District, addressed to S.S. Hauptsturmfuehrer Thiel on the subject: "Clearance of Prisons". I read the body of this message.

"I again stress the fact that the number of inmates of the Sipo and S.D. prisons must be kept as low as possible. In the present situation particularly those suspects handed over by the Civil Police, need only be subjected to a short, formal interrogation, provided there are no serious

[Page 415]

grounds for suspicion. They are then to be sent by the quickest route to a concentration camp, should no court martial proceeding be necessary or should there be no question of discharge. Please keep the number of discharges very low. Should the situation at the front necessitate it, early preparations are to be made for the total clearance of prisons. Should the situation develop suddenly in such a way that it is impossible to evacuate the prisoners, the prison inmates are to be liquidated and their bodies disposed of as far as possible (burning, blowing up the building, etc.). If necessary, Jews still employed in the armament industry or on other work are to be dealt with in the same way.

The liberation of prisoners or Jews by the enemy, be it the W.B. or the Red Army, must be avoided under all circumstances, nor may they fall into their hands alive."

THE PRESIDENT: What is the W.B.?

MAJOR WALSH: I have inquired about the W.B., your Honour, from several sources and have not found an understanding or a statement of it. Perhaps before the afternoon session I may be able to enlighten the Court. I have not yet been able to find out.

THE PRESIDENT: Where was the document found?

MAJOR WALSH: It is a captured document, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Does it relate to prisoners of war, did you say?

MAJOR WALSH: No, sir; though it includes, of course, prisoners of war as well as all Jews. The history of the document, sir, I will try to gather for the Court's information.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Did you tell us what the Sipo were ?

MAJOR WALSH: Yes, sir; I furnished the Court with that information, they are the Security Police, sir. This presentation, if the Court please, would be incomplete without including a reference to the concentration camps in so far as they relate to the hundreds of thousands - millions - of Jews who died by mass shooting, gas, poison, starvation, and other means. The subject of concentration camps and all its horrors was shown to this Tribunal not only in the motion picture film but by the most able presentation of Mr. Dodd yesterday, and it is not intended, at this time, to refer to the camps except in so far as they relate to the part they played in the annihilation of the Jewish people. For example, in the Camp Auschwitz, during July, 1944, Jews were killed at the rate of 12,000 daily. This information is contained in Document L-161, Exhibit USA 292. The Document L-161 is an official Polish report on Auschwitz Concentration Camp. It is dated 31st May, 1945. I have taken a short excerpt from this report on the original marked -

THE PRESIDENT: I think you made a mistake, did you not? It is not a Polish report; it is a British report.

MAJOR WALSH: I understand, sir, it was compiled originally by the Polish Government and perhaps distributed from London.

THE PRESIDENT: I see. Very well.

MAJOR WALSH: I quote:-

"During July, 1944, they were being liquidated at the rate Of 12,000 Hungarian Jews daily, and, as the crematorium could not deal with such numbers, many bodies were thrown into large pits and covered with quicklime."

[Page 416]

I offer in evidence Document 3311-PS, Exhibit USA 293. This is an official Polish Government Commission report on the investigation of German crimes in Poland. The document described the concentration camp at Treblinka, and from Page 1, Paragraphs 3 and 4, I read as follows:-
"In March, 1942, the Germans began to erect another camp, Treblinka B, in the neighbourhood of Treblinka A, intended to become a place of torment for Jews.

The erection of this camp was closely connected with the German plans aimed at the complete destruction of the Jewish population in Poland which necessitated the creation of machinery by means of which the Polish Jews could be killed in large numbers. Late in April, 1942, the erection of the first chambers, in which these general massacres were to be performed by means of steam, was finished. Somewhat later, the erection of the real death building, which contained ten death chambers, was finished. It was opened for wholesale murders in early autumn 1942."

And on Page 3 of this report, beginning with the second paragraph, the Polish Commission describes graphically the procedure for the extermination within the camp:-
"The average number of Jews dealt with at the Camp in the summer of 1942 was about two railway transports daily, but there were days of much higher efficiency. From autumn, 1942, this number fell off.

After unloading in the siding, all victims were assembled in one place, where men were separated from women and children. In the first days of the existence of the camp the victims were made to believe that after a short stay in the camp, necessary for bathing and disinfection, they would be sent farther East, for work. Explanations of this sort were given by S.S. men who assisted at the unloading of the transports, and further explanations could be read in notices stuck up on the walls of the barracks. But later, when more transports had to be dealt with, the Germans dropped all pretences and only tried to accelerate the procedure.

All victims had to strip off their clothes and shoes, which were collected afterwards, whereupon all of them, women and children first, were driven into the death chambers. Those too slow or too weak to move quickly were driven in by rifle butts, by whipping and kicking, often by Sauer himself. Many slipped and fell; the next victims pressed forward and stumbled over them. Small children were simply thrown inside. After being filled up to capacity, the chambers were hermetically closed and steam was let in. In a few minutes all was over. The Jewish menial workers had to remove the bodies from the platform and to bury them in mass graves. By and by, as new transports arrived, the cemetery grew, extending in the Eastern direction.

From reports received it may be assumed that several hundred thousand Jews were exterminated in Treblinka."

I now offer in evidence the document identified by L-22, Exhibit USA 294. This is an official United States Government report issued by the Executive Office of the President of the United States, War Refugee Board, on the German camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau, dated 1944. On Page 33 of this report is set forth the number of Jews gassed in Birkenau in the two-year

[Page 417]

period between April, 1942 and April, 1944. I have been assured that the figure printed in this report is not a typographical error. The number shown is 1,765,000.

I would now like to turn to the German book-keeping and statistics for enlightenment on the extermination of Jews in Poland. Referring again to the diary of Hans Frank, already in evidence, Document 2233-PS, Exhibit USA 231, I read briefly from the beginning of the fourth paragraph on Page 1:-

"For us the Jews also represent extraordinarily malignant gluttons. We have now approximately 2,500,000 of them in the Government General -"
THE PRESIDENT: Major Walsh, you have read this already yourself.

MAJOR WALSH: Yes, Sir, that is true. I just want to make reference to it again, Sir, for comparison with other figures.


MAJOR WALSH: " ... perhaps with the Jewish mixtures, and everything that goes with it, 3,500,000 Jews."

Now this figure, if the Court please, was as of 16th December, 1941 I now wish to turn to 25th January, 1944, three years and one month later, and make reference to another excerpt from Frank's diary, Document 2233-PS, loose- leaf volume, Exhibit USA 295. This volume covers the period from 1st January, 1944 to 28th February, 1944, and Page 5 of the original reads:-

"At the present time we still have in the Government General perhaps 100,000 Jews."
In this period of three years, according to the records of the then Governor General of Occupied Poland, between 2,400,000 and 3,400,000 Jews had been eliminated.

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