The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th January to 19th January, 1946

Thirty-Fifth Day: Wednesday, January 16th, 1946
(Part 4 of 11)


[Page 302]

I next refer the Tribunal to Document 089-PS, previously put in as Exhibit USA 360. The Tribunal will recall that this was a letter from Bormann to Reichsleiter Amann, dated 8th March, 1940, in which Bormann instructed

[Page 303]

Amann, Reichsleiter of the Press, to make a sharper restriction in paper distribution against religious writings, in favour of publications, more acceptable to the Nazi ideology.

I next offer in evidence Document 066-PS, as Exhibit USA 689. This is a letter from the defendant Bormann to the defendant Rosenberg, dated 24th June, 1940, transmitting a draft of a proposed discriminatory Church Law for Danzig and West Prussia. This decree is a direct abridgement of religious freedom, for in paragraph 1 - I do not quote, but briefly and rapidly summarise - the approval of the Reich Deputy, for Danzig and West Prussia is required as a condition for the legal competence of all religious organisations.

Paragraph 3 of the decree suspended all claims of religious organisations and congregations to State or municipal subsidies, and prohibited religious organisations from exercising their right of collecting dues without the approval of the Reich Deputy.

In paragraph 5 of the decree, the acquisition of property by religious organisations was made subject to the approval of the Reich Deputy. All credit rights acquired by religious organisations prior to 1st January, 1940, were required to be ratified by the Reich Deputy in order to become actionable.

I now offer in evidence Document 1600-PS, Exhibit USA 690. This comprises correspondence of Bormann during 1940 and 1941, relating to the confiscation of religious art treasures. I quote the text of the second letter set forth on Page 1 of the English translation of Document 1600-PS, which is a letter from the defendant Bormann to Dr. Posse of the State Picture Gallery in Dresden, dated 16th January, 1941, which reads as follows, and I quote:

"Dear Dr. Posse:

Enclosed herewith I am sending you the picture of the altar from the convent in Hohenfurt, near Kruman. The convent and its entire property will be confiscated in the immediate future because of the attitude, hostile to the State, of its inhabitants. It will be up to you to decide whether the pictures shall remain in the convent at Hohenfurt or be transferred to the museum at Linz after its completion.

I shall await your decision in the matter.


The Tribunal may know that, in what is described as Hitler's last will and testament, he makes a bequest of all the art treasures he had in the museum at Linz, and from a legal point of view he uses the euphemism "art treasures which I have bought."

This document, on its face, suggests how at least certain of the properties, the art treasures in the museum at Linz, were acquired.

Finally, as the war drew increasing numbers of German youth into the Armed Forces, the defendant Bormann took measures to exclude and eliminate all religious influence from the troops. The attention of the Tribunal is invited to Document 101-PS, previously put in as Exhibit USA 361. The Tribunal will recall that this is a letter from the defendant Bormann dated 17th January, 1940, in which Bormann pronounced the Party's opposition to the circulation of religious literature to the members of the German Armed Forces. In this letter Bormann stated that if the influence of the Church upon the troops was to be effectively fought, this could only be done by producing, in the shortest possible time, a large amount of Nazi pamphlets and publications.

I now offer in evidence Document 100-PS, as Exhibit USA 691. This is a letter from the defendant Bormann to Rosenberg, dated 18th January, 1940, in which Bormann declares, that the publication of Nazi literature for army recruits as a counter measure to the circulation of religious writings was the "most essential demand of the hour."

[Page 304]

I forbear from quoting from that document. Its substance is indicated.

I now request the Tribunal to notice judicially the authoritative Nazi publication entitled "Decrees of the Deputy of the Fuehrer," edition of 1937, and I quote from Page 235 of this volume, the pertinent and important decree issued by the defendant Bormann to the Commissioner of the Party Directorate, dated 7th January, 1936, the English version of which is set forth in the English, translation of our Document 3246-PS. In this one sentence Bormann aims and directs the terror of the Gestapo against dissident church members, who crossed the conspirators, and I quote:

"If parish priests or other subordinate Roman Catholic leaders adopt an attitude of hostility towards the State or Party, it shall be reported to the Secret State Police (Gestapo) through official channels.

(Signed) Bormann."

By leave of the Tribunal, I come now to deal with the responsibility of the defendant Bormann for the persecution of the Jews.

Again, the prosecution seeks not to rehash the copious evidence in the record on the persecution of the Jews, but rather to limit itself to evidence fastening on the defendant Bormann his individual responsibility for that persecution. Bormann shares the deep guilt of the Nazi conspirators for their odious programme in the persecution of the Jews. It was the defendant Bormann, we would note, who was charged by Hitler with the transmission and implementation of the Fuehrer's orders for the liquidation of the so-called Jewish problem.

Following the Party-planned and Party-directed programme of 8th and 9th November, 1938, in the course of which a large number of Jews were killed and harmed, Jewish shops pillaged and wrecked, and synagogues set ablaze all over the Reich, the defendant Bormann, on orders from Hitler, instructed the defendant Goering to proceed to the "final settlement of the Jewish question" in Germany.

The attention of the Tribunal is invited to Document 1816- PS, previously put in as Exhibit USA 261. The Tribunal is well acquainted with this document. It has frequently been referred to. The Tribunal knows that it is the minutes of a conference on the Jewish question, held under the direction of Goering on the 12th November, 1938. I quote only the first sentence of that document which fastens the responsibility upon Bormann and which reads as follows:

"Goering (speaking): Gentlemen, to-day's meeting is of a decisive nature. I have received a letter written on the Fuehrer's orders by the Chief of Staff of the Fuehrer's Deputy, Bormann, requesting that the Jewish question be now, once and for all, co-ordinated and solved in one way or another."
The Tribunal is well aware of the proposals, the discussions and the actions taken in this conference that constituted the so-called "settlement of the Jewish question."

As a result of this conference, a series of anti-Jewish decrees and measures were issued and adopted by the Nazi conspirators. I offer in evidence Document 069-PS, Exhibit USA 589. This is a decree of Bormann, dated 17th January, 1939, in which Bormann demands compliance with the new anti- Jewish regulations, rising and flowing from the Goering conference just referred to, under which Jews were denied access to housing, travel and other facilities of ordinary life. I quote the Bormann order, which appears at Page 1 of the English translation of Document 069-PS, which reads as follows:

"According to a report of General Field Marshal Goering, the Fuehrer has made some basic decisions regarding the Jewish question. The decisions are brought to your attention on the enclosure. Strict compliance with these directives is requested.

(Signed) Bormann."

[Page 305]

In the interests of expediting the proceedings, I shall resist the temptation to quote extensively from the enclosed order in Bormann's letter of transmittal. In effect, the crux of it is that Jews are denied sleeping compartments in trains, the right to give their trade to certain hotels in Berlin, Munich, Nuremberg, Augsburg and the like. They are banned and excluded from swimming pools, certain public squares, resort towns, mineral baths and the like. The stigma, the degradation and the inconvenience in the ordinary affairs of life promoted by this decree are plain.

I next request the Tribunal to notice judicially the decree of 12th November, 1938, 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 1709, quite familiar to this Tribunal, for it was the decree which excluded Jews from economic life. This decree forbade Jews to operate retail shops and it was a decree which went far to eliminate Jews from economic life.

Now, Bormann also acted through other State agencies to wipe out the economic existence of large sections of the Jewish population. In that respect I request the Tribunal to notice judicially the authoritative Nazi publication entitled "Decrees of the Deputy of the Fuehrer," edition of 1937, our Document 3240-PS. At Page 383 of this publication there appears a decree of the defendant Bormann, dated 8th January, 1937, reproducing an order of the defendant Frick, issued at Bormann's instigation, denying financial assistance to government employees who employed the services of Jewish doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, morticians and other professional classes. I shall forbear from quoting the text of that decree. Its substance is as given. I If it please the Tribunal, for the benefit of the translators I shall continue reading from Page 25 of the manuscript.

After the outbreak of war, the anti-Jewish measures increased in intensity and brutality. Thus, the defendant Bormann participated in the arrangements for the deportation to Poland of 60,000 Jewish inhabitants of Vienna - in co- operation with the S.S. and the Gestapo. I have no doubt that the Tribunal received this document in connection with the case against von Schirach, it is our Document 1950-PS, and on its face it points out - "Lammers says - Bormann has informed von Schirach of your proposal to bring about the deportations." I limit myself to pointing out that single, solitary fact.

When Bormann succeeded the defendant Hess as Chief of the Party Chancery, he used his vast powers in such a way that he was a prime mover in the programme of starvation, degradation, spoliation and extermination of the Jews, and we use those terms advisedly, subject to the Draconian rule of the conspirators.

I request the Tribunal to notice judicially the decree of 31st May, 1941, 1941 Reichsgesetzb1att, Part 1, Page. 297, which was signed by the defendant Bormann and which extends the discriminatory Nuremberg laws to the annexed Eastern Territories. I request the Tribunal to notice judicially the Eleventh Ordinance under the Reich Citizenship Law of 25th November, 1941, 1941 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 722, signed by defendant Bormann, which ordered the confiscation of the property of all Jews who had left Germany or who had been deported.

I request the Tribunal to notice judicially an order of Bormann's dated 3rd October, 1941.

THE PRESIDENT: You have not given us the PS numbers of either the decree of 31st May, 1941, or the one after that.

LIEUTENANT LAMBERT: I confess dereliction of duty there. These decrees, in translated form, are all in the document book. I have not, in my manuscript, their PS citation. However, in the brief now filed with or soon to be delivered to the Tribunal, these decrees are given with their PS numbers opposite.

THE PRESIDENT: 3354-PS and 3241-PS.

LIEUTENANT LAMBERT: That is very good of you, Sir, thank you.

[Page 306]

I request the Tribunal to notice judicially an order of the defendant Bormann, dated 3rd October, 1941, Volume 11 of the publication "Decrees, Orders and Announcements," Page 147. This is our Document 3243-PS, which announces a Ministry of Food's decree, issued at Bormann's instigation, which deprived Jews of many essential food items, all special sickness and pregnancy rations for expectant mothers, and ordered confiscation of food parcels sent to the beleaguered Jews from the sympathetic outside world.

I now request the Tribunal to notice judicially the Thirteenth Ordinance under the Reich Citizenship Law of 1st July, 1943, 1943 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 372, signed by the defendant Bormann, under which all Jews were completely withdrawn from the protection of the ordinary courts and handed over to the exclusive jurisdiction of Himmler's police. This is our Document 1422-PS.

With leave of the Tribunal, I respectfully request the opportunity to underline the significance of that decree. In a society which desires to live under the rule of law, men are judged only after appearance before and adjudication by a Court of Law. The effect of this decree was to remove all alleged Jewish offenders from the jurisdiction of the Courts of Law and to turn them over to the police. The police were to have jurisdiction over alleged Jewish offenders, not the Courts of Law.

The result of this law was soon forthcoming, a result for which the defendant Bormann shares the responsibility. On 3rd July, 1943, Himmler issued a decree, out Document 3085- PS, 1943 Ministry of Interior Gazette, Page 1085. I respectfully request the Tribunal to take judicial notice of this decree, which charged the Himmler police and Gestapo with the execution of the foregoing ordinance, closing the courts to the Jews and entrusting them to Himmler's police.

Finally, with respect to Bormann's responsibility for the persecution of the Jews, I request the Tribunal to notice judicially a decree of Bormann's dated 9th October, 1942, Volume 11, Decrees, Regulations and Announcements, Pages 131- 2. It declared that the problem of eliminating for ever, millions of Jews from Greater German territory, could no longer be solved by emigration merely, but only by the application of ruthless force in special camps in the East.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): To what are you referring there?

LIEUTENANT LAMBERT: That, Sir, is Document 3244-PS.

We had desired at the outset, Sir, to quote this decree in full, as an irrefutable answer to a question put by defence counsel some days ago in cross-examination, as to whether or not the anti-Semitic policies of the conspirators were the policies merely of certain demented members of the conspiracy, and not the concerted, settled policy of the conspiracy itself. Time does not permit the full quotation of this decree, but with the indulgence of the Tribunal, I will offer the essence of this decree in a brief sentence or two.

Bormann starts out by saying: "Recently, rumours have been spread throughout the Reich as to violent things we are doing with respect to the Jews. These rumours are being brought back to the Reich by our returning soldiers, after what they saw in the East. If we are to combat their effect, then our attitude, as I now outline it to you officially, must be communicated to the German civil population." Bormann then reviews what he terms the two-thousand-year-old struggle against Judaism, and he divides the Party's programme into two spheres: the first, the effort of the Party and the conspirators to expel the Jews from the economic and social life of Germany. Then he adds: "When we started rolling with our war, this measure by itself was not enough; we had to resort to forced emigration and set up our camps in the East." He then goes on to say, "as our armies have advanced in the East, we have overrun the lands to which we have sent the Jews and now these emigration measures, our second proposal, are no longer sufficient."

[Page 307]

Then he comes to the proposal, the considered proposal of himself and the Party Chancery - "We must transport these Jews Eastward and farther Eastward and place them in special camps for forced labour" - and I quote now merely the last sentence of Bormann's decree:
"It lies in the very nature of the matter that these problems, which in part are very difficult, can be solved only with ruthless severity in the interest of the final security of our people. Bormann."
With leave of the Tribunal, I come now to deal -

THE PRESIDENT: Is it signed by Bormann? It does not appear to be. I thought you said, "Bormann."

LIEUTENANT LAMBERT: That is what I said, true, Sir.

If the Tribunal will refer to Document 3244-PS, it will be clear that this is a Bormann decree, issued from the Office of the Deputy of the Fuehrer. It is true, in this translation of the decree, Sir, Bormann's name is not affixed, but in the original volume it is very clear that this is a decree of Bormann's, issued from the Party Chancery. The prosecution so assures the Tribunal and accepts responsibility for that submission.

With leave of the Tribunal, I now come to deal with the responsibility of the defendant Bormann for overt acts, for the commission and planning of a wide variety of crimes in furtherance of the conspiracy. The Tribunal knows the vast powers that Bormann possessed; that has already been put in evidence. Our point is that he used these powers, buttressed by his position as Secretary to the Fuehrer, attending all the conferences at the Fuehrer's Headquarters - that he used these vast powers in the planning, the authorisation and the participation in overt acts, denominated War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity.

The attention of the Tribunal is invited to Document L-221, previously put in as Exhibit USA 317. The Tribunal knows that this document is a comprehensive report, dated 16th July, 1941, made by the defendant Bormann just three weeks after the invasion of the territory of the Soviet Union by Germany. It is a report of a twenty-hour conference at Hitler's Field Headquarters with the defendants Goering, Rosenberg, Keitel, and with Reich Minister Lammers. This conference resulted in the adoption of detailed plans and directives for the enslavement, depopulation, Germanisation and annexation of extensive territories in the Soviet Union and other countries of Eastern Europe.

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