The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
21st January to 1st February, 1946

Forty-Second Day: Thursday, 24rd January, 1946
(Part 3 of 7)

[M. DUBOST continues]

[Page 127]

This document is an official document issued by the General Staff of the High Command of the Army. It expresses the general doctrine of all the German Staffs. Now, it is Keitel who presides over the formation of this doctrine. He is therefore not only a soldier under the orders of his government; besides being a general he is also a Nazi politician whose acts are, at the same time, those of a war leader and of a politician serving the Nazi policy. You have proof of it in the document which I have just read to you: a general who is also a politician, in whom both politics and conduct of the war are combined in one occupation. This is not surprising for those who know the German line of thought, which has never separated war and politics. Was it not Klausewitz who said that war was only politics continued by other means?

This is doubly important. This constitutes a direct and crushing charge against Keitel; but Keitel is the German General Staff. Now this organisation is indicted and you see by this document that this indictment is justified, as the German General Staff dabbled in the criminal policy of the German Cabinet.

In the case of France, the general orders of Keitel were adopted by Stulpnagel in his order of September 30th, 1941, better known in France under the name of "Code of Hostages," which repeats and specifies in detail the previous orders, namely that of 23 August, 1941. This order of 30 September 1941, is of major importance to anyone who wishes to prove under what circumstances French hostages were shot. This is why I shall be obliged to read large extracts. It defines, in paragraph 3, the categories of Frenchmen who

[Page 128]

are to be considered as hostages. I shall read this document, which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 274.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the number of this document?

M. DUBOST: 1588-PS. Paragraph 1 concerns the seizure of hostages. I read:

"22 August 1941, I issued the following announcement:

On the morning of 21 August 1941, a member of the German Armed Forces was killed in Paris, as a result of a murderous attack.

I therefore order that:

1. All Frenchmen held in custody of whatever kind by the German authorities, or on behalf of German authorities in France, are to be considered as hostages as from 23 August.

2. If any further incident occurs, a number of these hostages, to be determined according to the gravity of the attempt, are, to be shot.

On 19 September 1941 by an announcement to the Plenipotentiary of the French Government, I ordered the Military Commander in France, that, as from 19 September 1941, all the male French who are under arrest of any kind by the French authorities, or who are taken into custody because of communist or anarchist agitation, are to be kept under arrest by the French authorities also, on behalf of the Military Commander in France.

On the basis of my notification of 22 August 1941 and of my order of 19 September 1941 the following groups of persons are therefore hostages:

(a) All Frenchmen who are kept in detention of any kind whatsoever by the German authorities, such as police detention, imprisonment on remand or penal detention.

(b) All Frenchmen who are kept in detention of any kind whatsoever by the French authority on behalf of the German Authorities. This group includes:

(aa) All Frenchmen who are kept in detention of any kind whatsoever by the French authorities because of communist or anarchist activities;

(bb) All Frenchmen on whom the French penal authorities impose terms of imprisonment at the request of the German military courts;

(cc) All Frenchmen who are arrested and kept in custody by the French authorities on behalf of the German authorities or who are being handed over by the Germans to French authorities with the demand to keep them under arrest.

(c) Stateless inhabitants who have already been living for some time in France are to be considered as Frenchmen within the meaning of my notification of 22 August 1941.

3. Release from detention: Persons who were not yet in detention on 22nd August 1941 or on 19th September 1941, but who were arrested later on or are still being arrested, are hostages as from the date of detention if the other conditions apply to them.

The release of arrested persons, authorised on account of expiration of sentences, lifting of the order for arrest, or for other reasons, will not be affected by my announcement of 22 August 1941. Those released are no longer hostages.

In as far as persons are in detention of any kind with the French authorities for communist or anarchist activity, their release is possible, as I have informed the French Government, only with my approval."

At the end of this paragraph you will read this sentence:

[Page 129]

"Among those Frenchmen who may be drawn on by the German military command, a list can be made out of the hostages to be executed immediately in the event of an incident."
THE PRESIDENT: Which paragraph are you reading?

M. DUBOST : It is a summary of paragraph 6. I will read you all the text, if you will bear with me for a moment. It is a text of capital importance and cannot very well be summarised. Paragraph 6, Page 4

"If an incident occurs which, according to my announcement of 22 August 1941 necessitates the shooting of hostages, the execution must immediately follow the order.

The district commanders, therefore must make a selection for their own districts from the total number of people in detention (hostages) who from a practical point of view may be considered for execution, and who are to entered on a list of hostages. These lists of hostages serve as a basis for the proposals to be submitted to me in the case of an execution.

1. According to the observations made so far, the perpetrators originate from communist or anarchist terror-gangs. The district commanders are therefore to select from those in detention (hostages), persons who, because of their communist or anarchist views in the past, or their positions in such organisations, or their former attitude in other ways are most suitable for execution. One must take into consideration when making a selection, that the intimidating effect of the shooting of hostages is all the greater, on the perpetrators themselves, and on those persons who, in France or abroad bear the spiritual respionsibility - as instigators or by their propaganda - for acts of terror and sabotage, the more the persons shot are widely known. Experience shows that the instigators and the political circles interested in these attacks, are not concerned about the lives of obscure followers, but are more likely to be concerned about the lives of their own former officials. Consequently, we must place at the head of these lists:

(a) Former deputies and officials of communist or anarchist organisations.
(Allow me to comment, gentlemen. There never were any anarchist organisations represented in Parliament, in either of our chambers, and this paragraph (a) could only refer to former deputies and officials of the communist organisations of whom we know, moreover, that some were executed by the Germans as hostages).
(b) Persons who have supported the spreading of communist ideas by word of mouth or writing (preparing of leaflets) - Intellectuals.

(c) Persons who have proved by their attitude that they are particularly dangerous (for example: attacks on members of the Armed Forces, acts of sabotage, possession of arms).

(d) Persons who collaborated in the distribution of leaflets."

One idea is dominant in this selection: "We must punish the elite."

In conformity with paragraph (b) of this article, we shall see that the Germans shot a number of intellectuals, including Solomon and Politzer, in 1941 and 1942, in Paris and the provincial towns.

I shall come back to these executions later, when I give you examples of German atrocities committed in relation to the policy of hostages in France.

2. Following the same directives, a list of hostages is to be prepared from amongst the prisoners of de Gaullist sympathies.

3. Racial Germans of French nationality, who are imprisoned for communist or anarchist activity may be included in the list. Special attention must be drawn to their German origin on the attached form.

[Page 130]

Persons who have been condemned to death but who have been pardoned, can also be included in the lists.

5. The lists have to record for each district about 150 persons, that of the Command of Greater Paris about 300 to 400 persons. The district chiefs should always record on their lists those persons who had their last residence or permanent domicile in their districts, because those to be executed should as far as possible be taken from the district where the act was committed."

Last sentence of paragraph 5:
"The lists are to be kept up to date. Particular attention is to be paid to new arrests and releases."

7. In the French text:

Proposals for execution:

"In case of an incident which necessitates the shooting of hostages, within the meaning of my announcement of 22 August 1941, the district chief in whose territory the incident happened is to select from the list of hostages persons whose execution he wishes to propose to me. In making the selection he must, from the personal as well as local point of view, draw from persons belonging to a circle which is presumed to include the guilty."

I omit a paragraph.
"For execution, only those persons who were already under arrest at the time of the crime may be proposed for execution.

The proposal must contain the names and number of the persons proposed for execution, i.e. in the order in which the choice is recommended."

And, at the very end of Paragraph VIII we read:
"When the bodies are buried, the communal burial of a large number in the same cemetery is to be avoided, in order not to create centres which, now or later, might form nuclei for anti-German propaganda. Therefore, if necessary, the burials must be carried out in different places."
Parallel to this document, concerning France, there exists in Belgium an order of Falkenhausen of 19 September 1941, which you will find on Page 6 of the official report on Belgium, Document F 643, which I shall submit as Exhibit RF 275.

I beg your Lordship's pardon. I have sent for the German text to be handed over to the interpreters. If you will allow me, I shall read you the translation in French. If you consider it necessary, we shall subsequently give time for the German interpreters to read the text in German.

THE PRESIDENT: Is the Belgian document worded in substantially the same terms as the document you have just read?

M. DUBOST: Exactly.

THE PRESIDENT: Then I do not think you need to read that.

M. DUBOST: As you wish. Then it will not be necessary, either, to read in its entirety the warning of Seyss-Inquart concerning Holland.

I think that by referring to these exhibits in your document book, you will extract some pieces of evidence which will only confirm what I read to you of Stulpnagel's order.

For Norway and Denmark there is a teletyped letter from Keitel to the Supreme Command of the Navy, dated 30 December 1944, which you will find in the document book as Exhibit 48- C, I read the end of paragraph 1:

"Every ship-yard worker must know that any act of sabotage occurring within his sphere of activity entails for him personally, or for his relatives, if he disappears, the most serious consequences."
Page 2 of Document 870-PS:
"4. 1 have just received a teletype from Field Marshal Keitel requesting

[Page 131]

the publication of an order according to which the personnel or, if need be, their, near relatives (liability of next of kin) will be held collectively responsible for the acts of sabotage occurring in their factories."
And Terboven, who wrote this sentence, added: (and it is he who condemns Marshal Keitel)
"This request only makes sense and will only be successful if I am actually allowed to perform executions by firing squad."
All these documents will be submitted.

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, do I understand that in Belgium, Holland, in Norway, and in Denmark there were similar orders or decrees with reference to hostages?

M. DUBOST: I mean to read those concerning Belgium, Holland and Norway. For Belgium, for instance, you will find at Page 6 of the French text, document 683-F, which is the official document of the Belgian Ministry of Justice, headed,

"Brussels, 29 November 1941, 1 rue de Turin" .... "Decree of Falkenhausen of 17 September, 1941." It is from Paragraph 5, in the middle of Page 6.

"In the future, the population must expect that, if attacks are made on members of the German Army or the German Police, and the culprits are not arrested, a number of hostages proportionate to the gravity of the offence, five at a minimum, will be shot if the attack causes death. All political prisoners in Belgium are with immediate effect to be considered as hostages."

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, I did not want you to read these documents if they are substantially in the same form as the document you have already read.

M. DUBOST: They are more or less in the same form, Mr. President. I shall submit them because they constitute the proof of the systematic repetition of the same methods to obtain the same results, that is, to cause terror to reign in all the occupied countries of the West. But if the Tribunal considers it constant and established that these methods were systematically used in all the Western regions, naturally I shall spare you the reading of documents which are monotonous, and which repeat in substance what was said in the document relating to France.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps you had better give us references to the documents which concern Belgium, Holland, Norway and Denmark.

M. DUBOST: Yes, Mr. President. So I repeat: for Belgium -

Document 683-F, Page 6, decree of Falkenhausen of 19 September 1941, submitted as Exhibit RF 275, as constituting the official report of the Kingdom of Belgium against the principal war criminals.

The second document is 46-C, corresponding to UK-42 (24 November 1942) submitted under Exhibit RF 276.

For Holland, a warning by Seyss-Inquart, which you may feel it necessary for me to read, since Seyss-Inquart is one of the defendants.

For Holland, Document 224-F, warning of Seyss-Inquart.

"For the destruction or the damaging of railway installations, telephone cables, and post offices, I shall make responsible all the inhabitants of the community in the area which the act is committed.

The population of these communities must expect that reprisals will be taken against private property, and that houses or whole blocks will be destroyed."

THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid I do not know where you are reading. Which paragraph are you reading?

M. DUBOST: I am told, Mr. President, that this document has not been bound with the Dutch report. I shall file it at the end of the hearing, if I may.


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