The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
2nd February to 13th February, 1946

Fiftieth Day: Monday, 4nd February, 1946
(Part 1 of 8)

[Page 21]

MARSHAL OF THE COURT: May it please the Court, I desire to announce that the defendant Kaltenbrunner will be absent from this morning's session on account of illness.

M. FAURE: May it please the Tribunal, Mr. Dodd would like to give some explanations.

MR. DODD: May it please the Court, with reference to the prospective witness Pfaffenberger, it occurred to us over the weekend, after talking with him, that if defence counsel had an opportunity to talk to him we might perhaps save some time for the Court. Accordingly we made this witness available to Dr. Kauff:rnarm for conversation and interview; he has talked with him as long as he pleased, and has notified us that in view of his conversation he does not care to cross-examine him, nor do other counsel for the defence.

THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness Pfaffenberger can be released?

MR. DODD: That is what we would like to do, at the order of the Court.


M. FAURE: Gentlemen, during the last session I reached the end of the first period of the German occupation of Denmark. In connection with that first period I should still like to mention a circumstance which is established by the Danish report, Page 4. I quote:

"When the German aggression against Russia took place on 22nd June, 1941 " - that is the third book of the report - "one of the most serious encroachments was made on the political liberties which the Germans had promised to respect. They forcibly obliged the Government to intern the Communists, the total number of which was three hundred."
The explanations which I gave in the previous session related to the improper interference on the part of the first instrument of German usurpation, the diplomatic representation.

The second instrument of German interference was, as might be expected, the local National Socialist Party of Fritz Clausen, about which I spoke previously. The Germans hoped that in the favourable circumstances of the occupation, and thanks to the support they would bring to it, this Party might develop enormously. But their calculations were completely wrong. In effect, in March, 1943, elections took place in Denmark, and these elections resulted in the total defeat of the Nazi Party. This Party obtained only a proportion which represented 2.5 per cent. of the votes, and it only obtained 3 seats in the Chamber of Deputies out of 149. I point out to the Tribunal that in some copies of my brief that is a printing mistake and that 25 per cent. is indicated instead of 2.5 per cent., which is the correct figure, and which shows what very little success the Clausen Party had at the elections.

The conduct of the Germans in Denmark showed a notable change in the period following the month of August, 1943. The first reason for this change was clearly the failure of the plan, which consisted in seizing power in a legal manner, thanks to the aid of the Clausen Party. On the other hand, about the same time the Germans were equally disappointed in another direction. They had sought, as has been shown in my brief on economic questions, to

[Page 21]

mobilise Danish economy for the benefit of their war effort. But the Danish population, which had refused political Nazification, did not wish to lend itself to economic Nazification either. And so tile Danish industries and the Danish workmen offered passive resistance, and by a legitimate reaction against the irregular undertakings of the occupying Power they organised a sabotage programme. There were strikes accompanied by various incidents. Faced with this double failure, the Germans decided to modify their tactics.

In this connection we read in the Government report, Page 6 of the second memorandum, the following sentence:

"As a result of these events, the Plenipotentiary of the German Reich, Doctor Best, was on 24th August, 1943, called to Berlin, from whence he returned with claims in the nature of an ultimatum addressed to the Danish Government."
I should now like to submit the text of this ultimatum, which is also to be found in the official Danish report. This is Appendix No. 2 of this report. The ultimatum is dated Copenhagen, 28th August, 1943. At the end of the first three books there are several loose sheets which are the appendices. 1 now come to the second appendix-on Saturday I read the first appendixwhich is the second sheet and it has also been copied in my brief. Claims of the Reich Government:
"The Danish Government must immediately declare the entire country in a state of military emergency.

The state of military emergency must include the following special measures:

(1) Prohibition of public gatherings of more than five persons.

(2) Prohibition of all strikes and of any aid given to strikers.

(3) Prohibition of all meetings in closed premises or in the open air; prohibition to be in the streets between 20.30 hours and 5.50 hours; closing of restaurants at 19.30 hours. By the 1st September, 1943, all firearms and explosives to be handed over to the Government.

(4) Prohibition to hamper in any way whatsoever Danish nationals because of their collaboration, or the collaboration of their relatives, with the German authorities, or because of their relations with the Germans.

(5) Establishment of a Press censorship with German collaboration.

(6) Establishment of courts martial to judge acts contravening the measures taken to maintain order and security.

Infringement of the measures mentioned above will be punished by the most severe penalties which can be imposed in conformity with the law in force concerning the power of the Government to take measures to maintain calm, order and security. The death penalty must be introduced without delay for acts of sabotage and for any aid given in committing these acts, for attacks against the German Forces, or for possession after the lst September, 1943, of firearms and explosives.

The Reich Government expects to receive to-day before 16.00 hours the acceptance by the Danish Government of the above-mentioned demands."

The Danish Government, mindful of its dignity, courageously refused to yield to that ultimatum, although it found itself under the material constraint of the military occupation. Direct encroachments upon its sovereignty then started. The Germans themselves took the measures which they had not succeeded in getting the National Government to accept. They declared a state of military emergency, they took hostages, they attacked without warning, which is contrary to the laws of war, and at a time when, let me recall it, a state

[Page 23]

of war did not exist, they attacked the Danish Army and Navy, and disarmed and imprisoned their forces. They pronounced death sentences and deported a certain number of persons considered to be Communists and whose internment -- as I pointed out -- they had previously requested. From 29th August, 1943, the King, the Government and the Parliament ceased to exercise their functions. ' The administration continued under the direction of high officials who in urgent cases took measures called "Emergency Laws." During the same period there existed three German authorities in Denmark:
First, the Plenipotentiary, who was still Doctor Best;

Secondly, the military authority under the orders of General Hannecken, replaced subsequently by General Lindemann; and

Thirdly, the German police.

Indeed, the German police were installed in Denmark a few days after the crisis of which I have just spoken to you. The S.S. Standartenfuehrer, Colonel Dr. Mildner, arrived in September as Chief of the German Security; and on 1st November there arrived in Denmark as the Supreme Chief of the Police the Obergruppenfuehrer and Lieutenant-General of the Police, Guenther Pancke, of whom I shall have occasion to speak again. General of Police Guenther Pancke had under his authority Dr. Mildner, whose name I mentioned at first and who was replaced on 5th January, 1944, by S.S. Standartenfuehrer Bovensiepen.

The Tribunal will find in the Danish Government's report, on which I base this information, a chart showing the German officials in Denmark. This chart is to be found in the second memorandum, Page 2. It is interesting - although we are not concerned here with individual cases - in so far as it shows the organisation of the German network in this country. During the whole period which I am now speaking about, of the three German authorities already mentioned, the police played the most important role and was the principal organ of usurpation of sovereignty by the Germans. For that reason we might consider that while Norway and Holland represent cases of civil administration, and Belgium and France represent cases of military administration, Denmark represents the typical case of police administration. At the same time we must never forget that these different types of administration in all these occupied countries were always interdependent. The seizure of authority by the German police in Denmark during the period from September, 1943, until the liberation, was responsible for an extraordinary number of crimes. Unlike other administrations, the police did not act under legal or statutory regulations, but it interfered very effectually in the life of the country by the exercise of orderly and systematic club-law. I shall have the opportunity of treating certain aspects of this police administration in the fourth section of my brief. For the moment, within the scope of my subject, I should like simply to cite the facts which constitute direct and general violation of sovereignty. In this connection, I believe that it is indispensable that 1 inform the Tribunal of a quite exceptional event which took place on 19th September, 1944. At that date the Germans did away with the Danish police - I mean the national police of Denmark - and totally abolished this institution, which is naturally indispensable and essential in all States.

I am going to read here what the Government report says, second memorandum, that is to say, still the third book of the file, Page 29. I will begin in the middle of the paragraph, after the first sentence. The extract is to be found in my brief. I quote:

"The fact that the Germans had not succeeded in exerting any influence among the Danish police or among their leaders or in the ranks was partly the reason why the German military authorities at the end of the summer of 1944 began to fear the police. Pancke explained that General Hannecken himself was afraid that the police, numbering eight to ten

[Page 24]

thousand well-trained men, might fall upon the Germans in the event of an invasion. In September, 1944, believing that an invasion of Denmark was probable, Paricke and Hannecken planned the disarming of the police and the deportation of a part of it. Pancke submitted the plan to Himmler, who consented to it in writing, adding in the letter that the plan had been approved by Hitler. He had, moreover, discussed the plan with Kaltenbrunner. The operation was carried out by Pancke and Bovensiepen, who had discussed the plan with Kaltenbrunner and Mueller of the R.S.H.A., and the regular troops aided this operation with the consent of General Hannecken.

At 11 o'clock in the morning of 19th September, 1944, the Germans caused a false air-raid alarm to be given. Immediately afterwards, the military police forcibly entered the police headquarters in Copenhagen as well as the police stations in the city. Some policemen were killed. They acted in the same way throughout the whole country. Most of the policemen on duty were captured. In Copenhagen and in the large cities of the country the prisoners were taken to Germany in ships, which Kaltenbrunner had sent for this purpose, or in trucks. As has already been said before, the treatment to which they were subjected in German concentration camps was horrible beyond description. In the small country towns the policemen were freed.

At the same time Pancke decreed what he called a state of police emergency. The exact meaning of this expression has never been explained, and even the Germans do not seem to have understood what it meant. In practice, the result was that all police activities, ordinary as well as judicial, were suspended. Maintenance of order and public security was left to the inhabitants themselves.

During the last six months of the occupation, the Danish nation found itself in the unheard of situation - unknown in other civilised countries - of being deprived of its police force and the possibility to maintain order and public security. This state of affairs might have ended in complete chaos if the respect for the law and the discipline of the population - strengthened by the indignation at this act of violence - had not warded off the most serious consequences."

Despite the bearing of the Danish population, the absence of the police during these last six months of the occupation naturally resulted in a recrudescence of all forms of criminality. You can get an idea of this if you consider - and that detail will suffice - that the premiums of insurance companies had to be raised by 480 per cent. - it says so in the report - whereas previously they were limited to half of the normal rate. We are justified in considering that the crimes committed under these conditions involved the responsibility of the German authorities who could not fail to foresee and who accepted this state of affairs. We see here further proof of the total indifference of the Germans to the consequences arising from decisions taken by them to suit their ends at the time. Finally I would like to conclude this section on Denmark by quoting to the Tribunal a passage from a document which I shall present as Exhibit RF 902. This document belongs to the American documentation under the number 705-PS, but it has not yet been submitted, and I would like to read an extract, one quotation, which seems to me to be interesting. This is a report drawn up in Berlin on 20th January, 1943, and concerns a meeting of the S.S. Committee of the Research Institute for Germanic Regions (Ausschuss der Arbeitsgemeinschaft fuer den Germanischen Raum). At this meeting there were present fourteen of the S.S. This report contains a special paragraph which concerns Denmark. Other paragraphs of the same document are of interest in connection with the section which will follow this. Therefore in order to avoid having

[Page 25]

to refer to this document twice, I shall read the whole of the passages which I would like to submit as evidence. I start on Page 3 of the document, towards the end of the page:
"In Norway the Minister Fuglesang meanwhile has become the successor to the Minister Lunde, who had died through an accident. Despite the promises made by Quisling's party, Norway must not be expected to furnish an important quota.

Denmark. In Denmark, because of the taking over of power by S.S. Gruppenfuehrer Doctor Best, the situation is extremely encouraging. We may be convinced that the S.S. Gruppenfuehrer Doctor Best will furnish a classical example of the ethnical policy of the Reich. The relations with the Party Leader Clausen have recently become difficult. Clausen only agreed to the project for the establishment of a Front Combatant Corps as a preliminary to the Germanic Schutzstaffel in Denmark, on the condition that those who belong to this corps will not belong to the Party. Negotiations concerning this urgently needed collective organisation of front combatants are going on. The Party's monopolistic attitude is not tenable; all replenishment elements must be brought in even if Clausen personally, but without his clique, has to figure in the foreground.

Netherlands: In the Netherlands, Mussert has in the meantime been proclaimed FUhrer of the Dutch people by the Reichskommissar, Seyss- Inquart. This measure has had an extremely disquieting influence in other Germanic countries, particularly in Flanders. The decisive role again falls to the General Kornmissar whose principle of exploiting Mussert and then dropping him cannot be accepted under a Germanic Reich Policy as approved by the S.S.

Flanders: In Flanders the development of the V.N.V. (the Flemish National Movement) continues to be unfavourable. In this respect, the very clever policy of the new leader of the V.N.V., Doctor Elias, can no longer deceive us. Besides, did he not, once, express the opinion that Germany was ready to make concessions in the ethnic domain only when things went badly with her?"

This information is quite characteristic. In the first place, it is firmly established that the Germanic regions should include Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Flanders. Naturally I speak only of the Western countries. In the second place, we clearly see how the Germans used the Nazi-inspired local parties as an instrument for the usurpation of sovereignty. In the third place, we see it is quite true that the German diplomatic agents were also instruments for this policy of usurpation and completely exceeded their normal functions. In the fourth place, the document confirms the interdependence which existed between the different agents of German interference, and which we stressed a short time ago and on which we cannot lay too much emphasis. Tne case of Dr. Best is a good example. Dr. Best was a Minister with plenipotentiary powers; therefore, he was a diplomatic agent. We have seen that this same Dr. Best was previously an agent of the military administration in France, and we see by this document that besides his being a Plenipotentiary Minister he is a General in the S.S., and in this capacity, so the document states, he seized power in Denmark. The information contained in the document concerning Norway and the Netherlands is a stepping stone to the following part of this section, and I ask the Tribunal to take the file entitled "Norway and the Netherlands."

The institution of Reichskommissar was applied in Norway and in the Netherlands, and in these two countries only; it constitutes a definite concept in the general plan of Germanisation, in which these two countries occupy parallel positions. In both cases the establishment of the civil administration

[Page 26]

followed hard upon the military occupation of the country. The military men, therefore, did not have to take over the administration, and during the few days which preceded the appointment of the Reichskommissar they confined themselves to measures concerning public order.

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