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-Sixth Day: Wednesday, 30th January, 1946
(Part 4 of 7)

[Page 282]

THE PRESIDENT: No, I know it does not, but this is an official document produced by the Republic of France, is it not?


THE PRESIDENT: How do you show that this Appendix No. 2 to the report on captivity is equally an official document with this one? That is what we want to know.

M. DUBOST: Mr. President, it is a report which was submitted in the name of the French Government by the delegation which I represent.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you see, this one here is headed "Service of Information of War Crimes, Official French Edition." Now, that seems to us to be different from this mere typewritten copy, which has on it "Appendix Number 2 to the Report on the Captivity." We do not know whose report on the captivity.

M. DUBOST: Mr. President, you have before you the official note of transmission from our government. I requested that it should be handed to you.

THE PRESIDENT: In this document?

M. DUBOST: From this distance I think that is it.

THE PRESIDENT: We have this document, which appears to be an official document, but this Appendix has no such seal upon it as this has.

M. DUBOST: There is mention of an appendix to this document.

THE PRESIDENT: The other is marked: Appendix. It must be identified by a seal.

M. DUBOST: The covering letter has a seal, and the fact that it alludes to the document is sufficient, in my opinion, to authenticate the document transmitted.


M. DUBOST: The covering letter is officially sealed and the appended document is attached to it.

[Page 283]

THE PRESIDENT: Is the explanation that you have torn off the appendix from this document and have put in the appendix separately?

M. DUPOST: I did not tear any document, Mr. President. I received an official document, whose authentic character is attested by the covering letter.

THE PRESIDENT: Where is this letter?

M. DUBOST: The letter is at the top of the sheaf of papers which you are holding in your right hand, Mr. President, if I am not mistaken.

THE PRESIDENT: I see the letter now, yes.

M. DUBOST: May I continue?


This document here has a letter attached to it. This document here is not referred to in that letter specifically. Therefore, there is nothing to connect the two documents together.

M. DUBOST: I think there is a note in the margin in manuscript. I have not the document before me here, and cannot be positive about it, but I think there is a note in the margin in manuscript.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal wishes you to put this in as one document. I see there is a manuscript note here at the side, which refers to the Appendix. If you will put the whole thing in together-

M. DUBOST: It is all submitted in one file: I wish to read to the Tribunal, extracts from two letters addressed to the German Armistice Commission at Wiesbaden by the ex- ambassador Scapini, both dated 4 April, 1941. The Tribunal will find them reproduced in the document book before them, Pages 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22.

Top right-hand corner, Page 16:

"4 April, 1941:

M. Scapini, Ambassador of France, to his Excellency Monsieur Abetz, German Ambassador in Paris. Subject: Men captured after the coming into force of the Armistice Convention and treated as prisoners of war."

At the bottom of this page:
"1. The Geneva Convention

The Geneva Convention applies only during a state of war as far as captures are concerned. Now, armistice suspends war operations. Hence, any man captured after the Armistice Convention came into force, and treated as a prisoner of war, is wrongfully retained in captivity."

Page 17, third paragraph-concerns the Armistice Convention in its second section. It states only that the French Armed Forces stationed in regions to be occupied by Germany are to be brought back quickly into unoccupied territory and be demobilised, but does not say that they are to be taken into captivity, which would be contrary to the Geneva Convention.
Fifth paragraph of the same page: "1. Civilians: If it is admitted that civilians captured before the Armistice cannot be treated as prisoners of war as discussed in my previous letter, surely there is all the more reason not to consider as such those captured after the Armistice. I note in this respect that captures, some of which were collective, were carried out several months after the end of hostilities."
Then on Page 18, the top of the page: "To the categories of civilians defined in my first letter, I wish to add one more: that of demobilised men who were going back to their homes in the occupied zone after the Armistice and who, more often than not, were captured on their way home and sent in to captivity as a result of the initiative of local military authorities.
2. Soldiers: That is how I would define, by convention, men who,

[Page 284]

though freed after the Armistice, could not for some reason - due to the difficult circumstances of that period - be provided with the regular demobilisation papers. Many of them were captured and taken into captivity under the same conditions as those mentioned above."
I think the Tribunal will not require the reading of that example, but if the President wishes, I shall read it.


M. DUBOST: Let us turn to Page 19, second half of the page, the last paragraph :

"A. Civilians not subject to military requirements: It is obvious that these men could not be considered soldiers according to French law. They can be classified, according to age, into three groups :
(a) Men under twenty-one not yet mobilised. Example: Flanquart, Alexandre, eighteen years old, captured by the German troops at Courrieres, in the Department Pas-de-Calais, at the time of the arrival of these troops, in that region. His address in captivity was No. 65/388, Stalag 11-B. (b) Men between twenty-one and forty-eight who were not mobilised, or who were demobilised, or who were considered unfit for service."
There follows a rather lengthy list which the Tribunal will perhaps accept without my reading it. It consists merely of names. In the middle of the page:
"Men specially assigned to the army: I will classify them into two groups:

1. Men mobilised into special corps which are military formations, established at the time of the mobilisation by different ministerial departments, according to the following chart."

At the top of Page 21:
Men specially assigned, who on mobilisation were kept in the positions which they held, in peace time, in military services or establishments. Example: Workers in artillery depots.

Civilians specially assigned: Contrary to those mentioned above, the civilians who were specially assigned did not belong to military formations and were not subject to military authority. Nevertheless they were arrested. Example: (I omit several lines) Mouisset, Henri, specially assigned to the Marret-Bonin factory. (I omit a few more lines) Address in captivity: No. 102 Stalag II-A."

Those people were not all freed, far from it. Some remained prisoners until the end of the war.

Arrest of Dutch Army officers. We shall cite now a document submitted under No. 324 RF, the text of which is in your document book, on Page 15 his. This text may be summarised in a few words. It is the story of Dutch officers who were freed after the capitulation of the Dutch Army, and recaptured shortly afterwards to be sent to captivity in Germany. Paragraph 3 of this document:

"On 9 May, 1942, a summons addressed to all regular officers of the former Dutch Army who were on active service on 10 May, 1940, was published in the Dutch newspapers, according to which they were to be present on 15 May, 1942, at the Chassee Barracks in Breda."
Paragraph 5:
"More than one thousand regular officers reported to the Chassee Barracks on 15 May. The doors were closed after them."
Paragraph 7:
"A German officer of high rank came into the barracks and declared

[Page 285]

that the officers had not kept their word to undertake no action against the Fuehrer and, as a result of this, they were to be kept in captivity."
The following paragraph states that they were taken from the station at Breda to Nuremberg, in Germany.

Numerous obstacles were placed in the way of the release of French prisoners of war who, for reasons of health, should have been sent back to their families. I shall quote a document already submitted as Exhibit RF 297, Page 23 of your document book:

"The question of releasing French generals, prisoners of war in German hands, for reasons of health or age, was taken up on several occasions by the French authorities."
This reproduction of the stencil is not quite clear.

I continue with paragraph 2:

"So far as this question is concerned, the Fuehrer has always refused to consider either to release them, or to allow them to be put in hospitals in foreign or neutral countries."
Paragraph 3:
"Today there is less question than ever of release or of putting in hospitals" - and a written note reads: "No reply to be given to the French note."
This note, in fact, was addressed by the C in C of the German Army to the German Armistice Commission, who had discussed with the General Staff whether or not to reply to the request concerning the release of French generals who were ill, a request made by the de facto government ruling France at that time.

Much more serious measures were taken against our prisoners of war by the German authorities when, for reasons of a patriotic nature, some of our compatriots who were prisoners gave the Germans to understand that they were not willing to collaborate with Germany. The German authorities considered those of our compatriots who acted in this way as incapable of being assimilated, and as dangerous, because of their courage and their determination. The measures formulated concerning them amounted to nothing less than murder. We know of numerous examples of murders perpetrated on prisoners of war, either because they took part in commando actions or because the Nazis charged them with having committed terroristic acts from the air, or with escaping or attempting to escape; or they even simply accused them of active resistance or merely ethical resistance against the Nazi regime. These murders were carried out by means of deportation and the internment of these prisoners in concentration camps. While interned in these camps, they were subjected to the regime about which you know, and which was bound to cause their death, or else they killed them quite simply with a bullet in the back of the neck, according to the method which has been described by our American colleagues and on which I will not dwell at length.

In other cases they were lynched on the spot by the population in accordance with direct orders, and with the tacit consent of the German Government.

In still other cases, they were handed over to the Gestapo and the SD who, as I will prove to you at the end of my statement, during the last years of the occupation had the right to carry out executions.

With the authorisation of the Tribunal we shall study two cases of extermination of combat troops captured after military operations; commandos and airmen.

As the Tribunal knows, men who were in commandos were nearly always volunteers. In any case, they were selected from the most courageous fighters and those who showed the greatest physical aptitude for combat. We can consider them, therefore, as the elite, and the order to exterminate them as an

[Page 286]

attempt to annihilate the elite by spreading terror through the ranks of the Allied Armies. From a legal point of view the execution of the commandos cannot be justified. The Germans themselves, moreover, used commandos quite extensively, but whereas, in the case of their own men being taken prisoner, they always insisted that they be recognised as belligerents, they denied that right to our men or to those of the Allied Armies.

The major order concerning these exterminations was signed by Hitler on 18 October, 1942, and it was extensively carried out. Moreover, this order was preceded by other orders of the OKW, which show that the question had been carefully studied before becoming the object of a final order by the Chief of the German Government.

Under Number 553-PS, the Tribunal will find, on Page 24 of the document book, an order signed by Keitel, which we submit as Exhibit RF 363. This order demands that all isolated parachutists or small groups of parachutists shall be executed. It is dated 4 August, 1942, and is on Page 25. The Tribunal will see it is signed by Keitel; it has already been quoted. Paragraph 3 says:

THE PRESIDENT: Do not read it.

M. DUBOST: I thank the Tribunal for sparing me the reading of it.

On 7 October, 1942, a communique of the OKW, circulated by Press and radio, announced the decision taken by the High Command to execute saboteurs. On Page 26, the Tribunal will find in the document book extracts from the "Volkischer Beobachter" of 8 October 1942, stating:

"In future all terrorist and sabotage troops of the British and their allies, who do not behave as soldiers but as bandits, will be treated as such by the German troops and shot on the spot without any consideration, wherever it may be." (Exhibit RF 364).
As Exhibit RF 365 we submit minutes of meetings of the General Staff of the Wehrmacht, dated 14 October 1942.
Paragraph 3: "During the era of total warfare sabotage has become one of the most important elements in the conduct of war. It is sufficient to state our attitude to this question. The enemy will find evidence of it in the reports of our own propaganda departments."
Page 29, paragraph 3, the end of the paragraph, still from the notes of this meeting, dated 14 October 1942, of the General Staff of the Army:
"Sabotage is an essential element, and we have developed it ourselves as a means of combat."
THE PRESIDENT: What paragraph?

M. DUBOST: The third paragraph, Mr. President, then the sixth paragraph.

"We have already by radio announced our intention of liquidating, in future, all groups of terrorists and saboteurs conducting themselves like bandits. Consequently we are of opinion that the task of the OKW is only to give certain practical directives concerning what the troops should do with these groups."
Page thirty. The Tribunal will see what were the orders which were given as to the treatment of what the German General Staff called "Groups of terrorists and British saboteurs," since they were commandos of the other side, commandos of the enemy. It is certain that the German General Staff never called their own commandos "groups of terrorists and saboteurs."

Paragraph one, fourth line, refers to groups of the British Army in British uniform or not in British uniform. I cite: "We must exterminate them in the course of combat or when they are fleeing."

Sub-paragraph (B). "Member of terrorist groups and sabotage

[Page 287]

groups of the British Army who, in uniform, have fought our troops in dishonourable fashion, contrary to International Law, must be kept in separate custody."

I omit two lines and I read: The instructions on their treatment will be given by the OKW in agreement with the juridical service and the Counter Intelligence Department - Foreign Section."

Finally, Page thirty-one, paragraph two: "In future every group of terrorists or saboteurs will be considered as acting contrary to the laws of war in cases where terrorists, saboteurs, agents, etc. are found to be carrying out acts considered by the troops to constitute acts of terrorism or barbarism. This applies equally to soldiers and civilians, whether in uniform or not."

Paragraph three. "In that event the groups will be annihilated to the last man, during combat or when they try to flee."

Paragraph four: "It is forbidden to intern them in war prison camps."

Thus in carrying out these orders, if British soldiers, even in uniform, were captured during a commando operation, the German troops were to judge whether they had acted according to the laws of war or not, and, without any appeal, subordinates could annihilate them to the last man, even when they were not engaged in active fighting. These orders were applied to British commandos.

We shall now quote Document 498-PS, which was submitted by our American colleagues and which confirms the information which we have just brought to the Tribunal by reading the preceding documents. It seems useless to read this document.

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