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-Third Day: Friday, 25rd January, 1946
(Part 4 of 7)

[M. DUBOST continues]

[Page 164]

Major Madeline was not the only victim of such evil treatment which several German officers of the Gestapo helped to inflict. This inquiry has shown that twelve known persons succumbed to the tortures inflicted by the Gestapo

[Page 165]

of Clermont-Ferrand, that some women were stripped naked and beaten before they were raped." I am anxious not to lengthen these proceedings by useless citations. I hope the Tribunal will consider the facts that I have presented as established. They are contained in the document that we are placing before you, and in it the Tribunal will find in full the written testimony taken on the day which followed the Liberation. This systematic repetition of the same criminal methods in order to achieve the same purpose, - to bring about a reign of terror - was not the isolated act only of a subordinate having authority in France, and not under the control of his government or of the Army General Staff. An examination of the methods of the German police in all countries of the West shows that the same horrors, the same atrocities, were repeated systematically everywhere. Whether in Denmark, Belgium, Holland or Norway, the interrogations were everywhere and at all times conducted by the Gestapo with the same savagery, the same contempt of legal rights, the same callousness towards human life.

In the case of Denmark, we cite from a document already placed before the Tribunal, under No. 317, which contains an official report of the Danish Government, dated October 1945. I merely cite a few lines from this document. You will find them in the small book of documents appended to the large book that was handed to you this morning. We think these few lines summarise the whole question. This is Document 666-F, which should be the sixth in your book of documents.

THE PRESIDENT: Does it come after 641-A?

M. DUBOST: Yes, Sir.

It is an extract from the Danish Memorandum of October, 1945, concerning the German Major War Criminals appearing before the International Military Tribunal. Page 5, under the title "Torture" we read, in a brief resume, everything that concerns the question with regard to Denmark:

"In numerous cases German police and their assistants used torture in order to force the prisoners to confess or to give information. This fact is supported by irrefutable evidence. In most cases the torture consisted in lashing or beating with sticks or with a rubber bludgeon.

But much more serious forms of torture were used, including some which will have lasting effects. Bovensiepen had stated that the order to use torture came, in certain cases, from the higher authorities, perhaps even from Goering as Chief of the Gestapo, but, in any event, from Heydrich. The instructions were to the effect that torture might be used in order to force the victims to give information that might serve to give away subversive organisations working against the German Reich, and not only to force the victim to confess his own acts."

A little further on: "The methods prescribed were, among other things, a specified number of blows with a stick. Bovensiepen does not remember whether the maximum was ten or twenty blows. An officer from the criminal police was there, and also, when circumstances so required, there was a medical officer present."

The above mentioned instructions were modified several times, and all members of the criminal police were notified.

The Danish Government points out, in conclusion, two particularly repugnant cases of torture inflicted on Danish patriots. They are the cases of Professor Mogens and the ill- treatment inflicted on Col. Einar Thiemroth. Finally, the Tribunal can read that Doctor Hoffman-Best states that his official prerogatives did not authorise him to prevent the use of torture.

In the case of Belgium we should recall first of all the tortures that were inflicted in the camp of Breendonck of tragic fame, where hundreds, even thousands of Belgium patriots, were confined. We shall revert to Breendonck

[Page 166]

when we deal with the question of concentration camps. We shall merely quote from the report of the Belgian War Crimes Commission a few definite facts in support of our original affirmation, that all acts of ill-treatment imputed to the Gestapo in France were reproduced in an identical manner in all the countries of Western Europe. The documents which we shall submit to you are to be found in the small book of documents as Exhibits RF 318 and 319. It is 942 (b) in your document book. It is the second document.

THE PRESIDENT: The second?

M. DUBOST: The second. You have a first document of 4 pages, it would be the 5th page of the small document book.

This report comprises minutes which I will not read, inasmuch as it contains testimonies which are analogous to, if not identical with those that were collected in France, However, on Pages 1 and 2 you will find the statement made by M. Auguste Ramael and also one made by M. Paul Desomer, which show that the most extreme cruelties were inflicted on these men, and that when they emerged from the offices of the Gestapo, they were completely disfigured and unable to stand.

And now I submit to you in regard to Belgium, Documents 611- F (a) and 641-F (b), which now become Exhibits RF320 and 321. I shall not read them. They, too, contain reports describing tortures similar to those I have already mentioned. If the Court will accept the cruelty of the methods of torture employed by the Gestapo as having been established, I will abstain from reading all the testimonies which have been collected.

In the case of Norway our information is taken from a document submitted by the Norwegian Government concerning the Punishment of the Major War Criminals. In the French translation of this Document UK 79, which we present as exhibit RF 323, on Page 2 you will find - and it is also to be found in the small document book - the confirmed statement that many Norwegians died. The Tribunal will find the statement of the Norwegian Government according to which numerous Norwegian citizens died as a result of the cruel treatment inflicted on them during their interrogation. The number of cases for the district of Oslo alone is known to be 52. The number in the various regions of Norway is undoubtedly much higher. The total number of Norwegian citizens who died during the occupation, as the result of tortures or ill-treatment or execution or suicide in prisons or concentration camps is approximately 2,100.

In paragraph (b), Page 2 of the document, there is a description of the methods employed by the Gestapo in Norway, and which were identical with those I have already described.

In the case of the Netherlands, we shall submit Document 224- S, which becomes Exhibit RF 324, and which is extracted from the statement of the Netherlands Government for the Prosecution and Punishment of the Major German War Criminals. This document bears the date 11 January, 1946. It has been distributed and should now be in your hands. The Tribunal will find in it a great number of testimonies which were collected by the Criminal Investigation Department, all of which describe the same ill-treatment and tortures as those already known to you, and which were committed by the Gestapo in Holland. In the Netherlands, as elsewhere, the accused were beaten with sticks. When their backs were completely raw from the beating they were sent back to their cells. Sometimes icy water was poured over them and sometimes they were exposed to electrical current. At Amersfoort a witness saw with his own eyes a prisoner, who was a priest, beaten to death with a rubber truncheon. The systematic character of such tortures has been definitely established. The document of the Danish Government is striking proof in support of my contention that these systematic tortures were the deliberate policy of the higher authorities of the Reich, and that the

[Page 167]

members of the German Government are responsible. In any case these systematic tortures were certainly known to them, because there were protests from all European countries against such methods, which plunged us again into the darkness of the Middle Ages. At no time was an order given to forbid such methods. At no time were those who used them disavowed by their superiors. The methods followed were devised to intensify the policy of terrorism pursued by Germany in the occupied countries - a policy of terrorism which I have already described to you when I dealt with the question of hostages.

It is now incumbent on me to give you the names of those among the accused whom France, as well as other countries in the West, considers to be especially guilty of having prepared and developed this criminal policy carried out by the Gestapo. We maintain they are Bormann and Kaltenbrunner who, because of their positions, must have known more than any others, about the acts of their subordinates. Although we are not in possession of any document signed by them in respect to the Western countries, the uniformity of the acts we have described to you, and the fact that they were analogous and even identical in places far apart, enables us to assert that all these orders were dictated by a single will, and, among the accused, Bormann and Kaltenbrunner were the direct instruments of that single will.

Everything I described to you here concerned the procedure prior to trial, if any. We know with what ferocity this procedure was applied. We know that this ferocity was intentional. It was known to the populations of the invaded countries, and its purpose was to create an atmosphere of terror around the Gestapo and all the German police services.

After the examination came the judicial proceedings. These proceedings were, as we see them, only a parody of justice. The prosecution was based on a legal concept which we dismiss as being absolutely inhuman. That part will be dealt with by my colleague, M. Edgar Faure, in the second part of the report on the German atrocities in the Western countries: crimes against the spirit. It is sufficient for us to know that the German courts which dealt with crimes committed by the citizens of those occupied Western countries which did not accept defeat, applied only one penalty, and that was the death penalty, and this in execution of an inhuman order by one of these men, Keitel, an order which appears in Document 90-L, submitted to you as exhibit USA 503.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the number?

M. DUBOST: USA 503. It has already been submitted to the Tribunal by my United States colleagues, It is the penultimate document in your big document book. Line 5:

"If these offences are punished with imprisonment, or even with hard labour for life, this will be looked upon as a sign of weakness. Efficient and lasting intimidation can only be achieved either by capital punishment, or measures by which the relatives of the culprit and the population are prevented from knowing the fate of the culprit ... "
Is it necessary to make any comment? Can we be surprised at this war leader giving orders to the judges? What we heard about him yesterday makes us doubt if he is merely a military leader. We have quoted you his own words: " Efficient and lasting intimidation can only be achieved by capital punishment." Such orders given to the judges - are these compatible with military honour? "If, in effect," Keitel goes on to say in Document 90-L, "the Court cannot arrive at a death sentence, then the man must be deported." I think you will share my opinion that, when such orders are given to a Court, one can no longer speak of justice.

In execution of this order, those of our compatriots who were not condemned to death and immediately executed, were deported to Germany. We now come to the third part of our expose which falls to me, namely, the deportations.

[Page 168]

I should explain to you in what circumstances the deportations were carried out. If prior to that the Tribunal could adjourn for a very few minutes, I should be very grateful.

(A recess was taken)

DR. NELTE (Counsel for the defendant Keitel): The French Prosecutor just now read from Document 90-L, the so-called "Nacht und Nebel" decree. He referred to this decree and cited the words:

"Efficient and lasting intimidation can only be achieved by capital punishment, or measures by which the relatives of the culprit and the population are prevented from knowing the fate of the culprit."
The French Prosecutor mentioned that these were the words of Keitel.

In connection with a previous case the President and the Tribunal have pointed out that it is not permissible to quote only a part of a document when by so doing a wrong impression might be created.

The French prosecutor will agree with me when I say that document 90-L makes it quite clear that these are not the words of the Chief of the OKW, but of Hitler. In this short decree it says that it is the carefully considered will of the Fuehrer that, when attacks are made in occupied countries against the Reich or against the occupying power, the culprits must be dealt with by other measures than those decreed heretofore. The Fuehrer is of the opinion that if these offences are punished with imprisonment, or even with hard labour for life, this will be looked upon as a sign of weakness. Efficient and enduring intimidation can only be achieved by capital punishment, etc."

The decree then goes on to say:

"The enclosed directives on how to deal with the offences comply with the Fuehrer's point of view. They have been examined and approved by him."
I take the liberty to point out this fact, especially as this decree, which is known as the notorious "Nacht und Nebel" decree, in its formulation and execution has been opposed by Keitel. That is why I am protesting.

M. DUBOST: I owe you an explanation. I did not read the decree in extenso because you know it. In line with the customary procedure of the Tribunal it has been read. It is not necessary to read it again. I did not know that the accused, Keitel, had signed it but that Hitler had conceived it. Therefore, I have made allusion to the military honour of this general, who was not afraid to become the lackey of Hitler.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal understood that from your mentioning the fact that the document had already been submitted to the Tribunal, and does not think that there was anything misleading in what you did.

M. DUBOST: If the Tribunal accepts this, we shall proceed to the hearing of a witness, a Frenchman.

THE PRESIDENT: This is your witness, is it not? Is this the witness you wish to call?


M. MAURICE LAMPE, a witness called by the French prosecution, takes the stand.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you stand up. What is your name?

THE WITNESS: Lampe, Maurice.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: Do you swear to speak without hate or fear, to speak the truth, all the truth, only the truth.

(The witness repeats the oath in French)

THE PRESIDENT: Raise the right hand and say, I swear.

[Page 169]


THE PRESIDENT: Spell the name.



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