The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-First Day: Tuesday, 5th February, 1946
(Part 4 of 14)

THE PRESIDENT: With reference to the motion which was made before the adjournment by counsel for the General Staff, the opinion of the Tribunal is this.

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In the first place the Tribunal is not confined to direct evidence from eyewitnesses, because Article 19 provides that the Tribunal shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value.

Secondly, there is nothing in Article 21 of the Charter which makes it improper to call the member of a governmental committee as a witness to give evidence with reference to the governmental committee's report. But the Tribunal considers that if such a witness is called, the governmental committee's report must be put in evidence. As a matter of fact, the counsel for the prosecution have offered to put the committee's report in evidence in this case, and not only to do that, but also to make available to counsel for the defence the affidavits of witnesses in respect to that report.

Thirdly, there were other matters upon which the witness, Mr. van der Essen, gave evidence which was altogether outside the report, or so it appeared to the Tribunal.

As to the weight which is to be attached to the witness' evidence, that, of course, is a matter which will have to be considered by the Tribunal. It is open to the defence to give evidence in answer to the evidence of Mr. van der Essen and also to comment upon or criticise that evidence, and so far as his evidence consisted of his own conclusions drawn from facts which he had seen or evidence which he had heard, the correctness of those conclusions will be considered by the Tribunal, conclusions being matters for the final decision of the Tribunal.

For these reasons the motion of counsel is denied.

It is suggested to me that I did not in this statement say that the report was to be filed in evidence. I intended to say that. I thought that I had said it. The report must be filed in evidence and the affidavits, as they are to be made available to the defendants' counsel will, of course, also be made available to the Tribunal.

M. FAURE: If it please the Tribunal, M. Fuster is going to project the films of which I spoke just now.

M. FUSTER: Mr. President, I am to show you a few examples of direct propaganda in the occupied countries.

During the whole period of the occupation the inhabitants of the occupied countries had the walls of their houses covered with enormous posters, varying in color and text. There was very little paper in any of these countries, but there was always enough for propaganda; and this propaganda was carried on without regard for probability or moral considerations. If the Nazis thought any sort of campaign would prove effective, no matter in how small a degree, they immediately launched this campaign.

In France, for instance, the most illustrious names in history appeared on posters and were made to proclaim slogans against the enemies of Germany. Isolated sentences were taken from the works of Clemenceau, Montesquieu, and many others, who in this way were made to utter sentiments in favor of Nazism.

But German propaganda went beyond the adulteration of the works of the great historical geniuses of our nation. They also tried to pervert and cripple most sacred sentiments. We saw in France posters advertising work in Germany, which showed a mother saying to her children, "How happy we are now that father has gone to work in Germany." In this way, the family sentiment was made to further the ends of Nazidom.

German propaganda tried also to attack the sentiment of national patriotism. We saw posters asking young men to serve in the German Forces; and these posters existed in every country. M. Faure stated yesterday that these unfortunate wretches who had served in the various legions must, in spite of their guilt, be considered to a great extent as victims of the Nazi system. In this way, German propaganda, in attacking simultaneously the genius of a nation and

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the most intimate sentiments of its people, committed a crime against the spirit -- and that is something which, according to the quotation used by M. Dubost in his peroration, cannot be pardoned.

Publicity may be permitted, by all means, but publicity must remain within limits. It must have some respect for persons, laws and morality. There are guarantees for the protection of the individual in every country -- laws against libel, against defamation -- but in international matters, German propaganda had an unlimited field, without restrictions or penalties, at least until the day when this Tribunal was established to judge it.

That is why it seemed to us a useful and necessary duty to submit to this Tribunal one or two practical illustrations. We did not choose the best known examples, but rather those which were most genuinely characteristic of the excesses and extremes of this propaganda.

First of all, we are going to show a very short extract from a very specialised film, directed against Freemasonry, which was imposed by the Germans in the manner explained in the brief. The film in itself is of no interest, but it contains pictures illustrating the crude campaign of lies in which the Germans indulged in France.

As it is a very short film and will be shown very rapidly -- we cannot slow it down on account of technical difficulties -- I should like, before showing it, to draw attention to the two kinds of pictures which will follow one another without transition:

First you will see a map of the world. This map will be rapidly covered by a color indicating the influence of the Jews and the Freemasons, covering all countries except the two victorious islands, the Nazi-Fascist bloc in Europe, on the one hand, and Japan on the other.

We give this picture to show the degree of crude simplicity arrived at by Nazi propaganda and how it submitted to the people the most stupid and misleading formulas.

An even worse example of calumny follows the portrait of President Roosevelt with the heading: "Brother Roosevelt Wants War."

This is all we have taken from the film. It will now be shown. Mr. Abbett, you can begin.

(The aforementioned film was projected on the screen in the Courtroom.)

M. FUSTER (indicating): It is taken from the film "Hidden Forces." Here is the map of the world, with the zones of influence: the Soviet zone of influence, the British zone of influence, the American zone of influence. "Brother Roosevelt Wants War." It is May, 1939.

THE PRESIDENT: Is it necessary to have the accompaniment of music?

M. FUSTER: I am sorry, but it is impossible to cut out the sound from this film.

THE PRESIDENT: It cannot be helped? Very well.

M. FUSTER: The rapidity of the film made it necessary for us first to give a few details of the pictures which passed before the Tribunal. I think, however, that the Tribunal can appreciate them.

Now, we are going to show a few photographs of posters. These will be easier to deal with than the film, which cannot be slowed down. We are going to show them one by one, commenting on each as may be necessary.

I should like to point out to the Tribunal that the film which it has just seen is submitted as Exhibit RF l152 and 1152-bis.

The scenarios of other propaganda films entitled "M. Girouette, French Workman in Germany" and taken from the dossier of the proceedings taken against M. Musard before the Seine Court of Justice, will also illustrate the

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tendency and the subject-matter of the German propaganda carried on by this means.

The photographs of posters which we are going to show now are submitted as Exhibit RF 1153. Before showing these films, we must say something about the way in which poster propaganda was organised. It was organised with extreme care. In this connection we submit a pamphlet which contains full instructions for displaying and shows that a real administrative service existed to carry out projects which had been under consideration for a long time. This is Exhibit RF 1150. We shall not read it, since it is a publication, but we will summarise the most important contents.

The Tribunal will see that the most exact provision has been made for every detail; the sites for the billboards and so forth. All these posters were issued by the central bureau in Berlin, D.P.A. In their original form, they consisted only of pictures. The text was added later in the country for which they were intended. The text had to be printed in the language of this country and adapted to suit local conditions.

The Germans very often refrained from indicating their official German origin or even attributed a different origin to them.

For instance, they used the phrase "Printed in France," which has no particular meaning, since it never appears on genuine French posters. The French posters bear only the printer's name, and this, in its turn, never appears on German posters. By the use of the phrase "Printed in France," however, the Germans could undoubtedly make the French believe that the propaganda put before them was not directly of enemy origin. This is a feature at once curious and revealing.

As we have said, publicity has been practised for a long time, but Nazi Germany made propaganda into a public institution, and applied it internationally in a most reprehensible manner.

We are now going to show to the Tribunal a few of the stages in the development of this poster propaganda.

(Whereupon a series of pictures was projected by means of lantern slides on the screen in the Courtroom.)

M. FUSTER: There is not enough light in the apparatus. Here is the first poster (indicating). I am obliged to describe it because we cannot see it at all well. The text seems to indicate the noble attitude of the victor towards the French victims of war. It is expressed as follows: "Abandoned populations: Have confidence in the German soldier," and we see a soldier of Germany with little French children in his arms.

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