The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-First Day: Tuesday, 5th February, 1946
(Part 6 of 14)

[Page 79]

THE MARSHAL: May it please the Court, I desire to announce that the defendant Kaltenbrunner will be absent until further notice, on account of illness.

M. FAURE: Mr. President, I shall now take up the last chapter of my brief, which is devoted to the organisation of criminal activities. I shall begin this last chapter by quoting a few words spoken by Mgr. Piguet, Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand, in the course of a pontifical mass on Whit- Sunday, 20th May, 1945. Mgr. Piguet had just been liberated from the concentration camp to which he had been sent by the Nazis. He said:

[Page 80]

"The criminal institutions of which we have been witness and victim bear within themselves all the scourges of barbarism and old-time servitude, systematised and applied by a new method, capable of increasing human misery by the whole range of modern scientific possibilities."
The evidence that I intend to present to the Tribunal with regard to the occupied countries of the West bears upon this aspect of the systematising of German criminal enterprises. We have said that Germanisation did not consist in the particular fact of the imposition of German nationality or of German law, but in the general imposition of the standards established by the Nazi regime, and, in a general way, of its philosophy. This aspect of Germanisation implies criminal activity at once as a means and as an end. As a means, because the criminal means is very often highly effective -- and we know that Nazism professes indifference in regard to the immorality of the means. As an end, on the other hand, since the final organisation of Nazi society postulates the elimination of elements hostile to it or which it regards as undesirable. Under these conditions the criminal activities therefore do not appear as accidents or regrettable incidents of war and of occupation. They must not be ascribed to uncoordinated action on the part of subordinates, due to over-zealousness or lack of discipline.

As the elimination of adversaries is recommended in principle, it will be carried out in fact by the normal and regular functioning of the administrative apparatus. If Nazism has a philosophy of criminal action, it also has, properly speaking, a bureaucracy of criminal activity.

The will which inspires this action is transmitted from one to another chief and secondary centre of the State organism. Each of the misdeeds or series of misdeeds of which we have told you already, and shall do again, assumes the existence of a whole series of transmissions:

Orders passed by superiors to inferiors, requests for orders or reports passed by inferiors to superiors, and finally the relations maintained between corresponding echelons of different services. This administrative organisation of criminal activity appears to us a very important datum for the determination of responsibility and the proving of the charges formulated in the Indictment against the higher leaders and against the group organisations.

The responsibility of any one of these superior leaders in regard to a determined criminal activity does not, indeed, require that an exhibit or a document signed by the person himself be produced or that it should involve him by name. The existence or non-existence of such a document is a matter of chance.

The responsibility of the higher leader is directly established by the fact that a criminal activity has been carried out administratively by a service at the head of which we find this leader.

This is all the more true in the case of a criminal activity pursued over a long period of time, affecting a considerable number of persons and the development of which has given rise to a series of complications, of consultations and of solutions. There is in every graded State service a continuous circuit of authority which is at the same time a continuous circuit of responsibility. Moreover, concerning charges made against organisations described as criminal organisations, their criminal nature springs from the very fact that their activity produces criminal results without there being any lack of knowledge or modification of the normal rules of competence and of functioning of their different organisms.

The collaboration which develops with a view to such an end between a series of agents belonging to the organisation both vertically between the upper and lower grades and horizontally between the different specialist departments, implies no less forcibly the existence of a collective criminal intent.

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