The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Third Day: Thursday, 7th February, 1946
(Part 7 of 18)

[M. MOUNIER continues]

[Page 133]

I now go on to the defendant Seyss-Inquart, whose case concerns most particularly our friends in the Netherlands on behalf of whom France is acting as counsel.

Consequently, Mr. President and Gentlemen, as regards the defendant Seyss-Inquart, the French prosecution is going to outline as briefly as possible, both in the name of the Netherlands Government and in its own name, the separate charges against the defendant Seyss-Inquart. The part played by the defendant Seyss-Inquart, his participation in the annexation of Austria, were carefully studied during the course of this Trial. But it is his operations in Holland which deserve to be thrown into special relief to-day.

On 13th May, 1940, the Netherlands Government left Holland for a friendly Allied country. Its presence there was indicative of its firm determination not to yield up in any way its sovereign rights in any way.

On 29th May, 1940, the defendant Seyss-Inquart, who had the rank of Reich Minister without Portfolio, was appointed Reich Commissar for the occupied Netherlands. The defendant Seyss-Inquart has therefore been considered responsible, by virtue of his functions, for all the acts committed by the so-called German Civil Government from that date up to the capitulation of the German Army. The speeches which he made afford evidence that he was invested not only with purely administrative functions, but also with political authority.

It is, therefore, useless for him to try, as he did when he was interrogated Mr. Dodd, to maintain that in Holland he was nothing more than an official empowered to put his seal on orders, in the same way that in Austria earlier he was practically nothing but a telegraph operator. This interrogation is dated 18th September, 1945, Pages 20 to 22. I shall not dwell longer on this, as I did not wish to put forward these interrogations, in order to avoid wasting the time of the Court with the numerous interrogations which would have had to be cited in cross-examination, and these documents will really remain for the edification of the Court.

THE PRESIDENT: M. Mounier, has the interrogation been put in?

M. MOUNIER: No, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, as a matter of technical procedure ---

M. MOUNIER: I know in advance that you cannot accept this as proof already constituted in your eyes, considering the rule...

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it can be given if the rule is complied with.

M. MOUNIER: My intention, Mr. President, is the following -- to state ...

THE PRESIDENT: M. Mounier, I think you are misunderstanding me. Under the Article the prosecutors have got the right to interrogate any of the defendants, and this was an interrogation of one of the defendants.


[Page 134]

THE PRESIDENT: If the prosecution choose to do so, they can offer their interrogation in evidence. If they do not choose to do so -- they need not do so. Under such circumstances the interrogation is not in evidence, and need not be furnished to the defendant until it is.

M. MOUNIER: Yes, Mr. President, I have not alluded to these statements made by the defendant Goering during his interrogation. I simply wish to point out that when the defendant of whom I am now speaking is cross-examined, we shall be able to confront him with the statements he made, or at least, I hope so.

With the permission of the Court I shall first take up the subject of the defendant Seyss-Inquart's terrorist activities. These are shown by the following measures:

Initially, a whole system of collective fines. In March, 1941, he established a system of collective fines which were imposed upon the Dutch cities, where he thought that elements of the resistance movement existed. Thus the city of Amsterdam had to pay a fine of 2,5000,000 [sic] guilders.

The defendant Seyss-Inquart also established a system of hostages. On 18th May, 1942, he published a proclamation announcing the arrest of 450 persons in important official positions, who were only suspected of being in relation with the resistance movement.

In fact, the defendant has admitted before Mr. Dodd. No, I stop, Mr. President, I did not submit these interrogations. I will pass over this passage and only point it out in a general way, and I beg the Court not to consider this fact as an infringement of the Charter. I am simply pointing out to the Court that in this case, too, the defendant Seyss- Inquart tried to hide behind the shadow of the Reich Chancellor, the shadow of the Fuehrer, Hitler.

By the decree of 7th July, 1942, the defendant ordered that the German Tribunals, the judges of which he himself appointed, were to try not only the German citizens in Holland, but also citizens suspected of activities hostile to the Reich, the Nazi Party, or the German people.

At the same time the defendant Seyss-Inquart introduced the death penalty for those who had not properly performed the security duties assigned them by the Wehrmacht or the Security Police, or who had failed to inform the German Command Posts of all criminal projects directed against the Occupation Forces which came to their knowledge.

THE PRESIDENT: M. Mounier, you were citing then a proclamation dated 18th May, 1942. You did not give us any number.

M. MOUNIER: Mr. President, I ought to say that I am referring in a general way to the official report of the Netherlands Government, our Exhibit RF 1429. The Government submitted a report...

THE PRESIDENT: You stated that that also applied to the document of 7th July, 1942, of which you have just spoken?

M. MOUNIER: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Did that also apply to the document of 7th July, 1942 that you just spoke of?

M. MOUNIER: Yes, Mr. President.

The defendant Seyss-Inquart also appointed the S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Raucher, General Commissar for Security. The latter is responsible for the murder of thousands of Dutchmen, executed with the passive consent of Seyss- Inquart, inasmuch as Raucher's appointment was always maintained and was never terminated.

On the other hand, the Netherlands Government charges the defendant Seyss-Inquart with the creation of a whole series of emergency courts. In May, 1943, he established summary police jurisdiction, and, in fact, through an decree issued by Hitler, Dutch prisoners of war who had been freed shortly after the cessation of hostilities were once more interned.

A tough resistance showed itself in the Dutch factories, and the newly established summary jurisdiction sentenced several Dutch citizens, who were executed. Moreover, Seyss-Inquart did not fail to boast of all these terrorist measures at a meeting of Dutch collaborators and claimed responsibility for them.

[Page 135]

The defendant Seyss-Inquart was Hitler's supreme representative in Holland. He should be considered as responsible, along with the defendant Sauckel, for the mass deportation of workers from Holland to the Reich between 1940 and 1945. If the German military authorities played any part themselves in the mobilisation of labor, Sauckel's officials in Holland were normally placed under the authority of the Reich Commissar Seyss-Inquart, and he must be considered as responsible for their actions. It was the defendant Seyss-Inquart who signed the decree of the Reich Commissar, No. 26, of 1942, which is found in the official Dutch report, in an official publication ordering the compulsory transport of Dutch labor to Germany.

Those who would not work for Germany got nothing to eat; the occupation authorities even went so far as to make huge roundups in the streets of Rotterdam and the Hague in order to procure labor for the fortifications of the Wehrmacht.

As regards economic pillage during the defendant Seyss- Inquart's period of office as Commissar, the Dutch economic system was plundered like that of the other occupied countries. In the winter of 1941-42 woollen goods were requisitioned by order of Seyss-Inquart for the German Army on the Eastern front. In 1943 textiles and everyday household articles were requisitioned for the benefit of the bombed-out German population. Under what the occupation authorities called the "Action Boehm," people of the Netherlands were compelled to sell wines, and various objects destined to form gifts for the German population, for the celebration of Christmas, 1943.

The same thing happened with regard to the organisation of the black market, for, in order to carry out the Four Year Plan, Seyss-Inquart gave the defendant Goering and the defendant Speer competent assistance in the pillage of the Dutch economic system. We can say in this way that a huge black market was fostered and maintained.

The Four Year Plan utilised "snatchers" for these alleged purchases but when Dutch prosecutors tried to intervene they were prevented from doing so by the German police.

In 1940 the defendant Seyss-Inquart issued an ordinance permitting the German authorities in Holland to confiscate the property of all persons who could be accused of hostile activities against the German Reich. The property of the Royal Family was, on the defendant Seyss-Inquart's orders, confiscated by the Commissar General for Security. The occupation troops could help themselves to everything that was of use to them.

This pillage was manifested in a particularly cruel manner in the abuses which went on in connection with the requisition of food products.

In fact, the official report of the Dutch Government and the document already submitted by the Economic Section of the French prosecution as Exhibits 139-RF and 140-RF show that from the very beginning of the occupation, food stocks were systematically removed with the consent of Seyss-Inquart, as was also the case with agricultural produce, which was transported to Germany. When a railway strike broke out in the north in September, 1944, soon after the liberation of Southern Holland, Seyss-Inquart, in order to break the strike, gave orders that no food stocks were to be moved from the North-East to the West. As a result of this, it was impossible to establish food stocks in the West.

Consequently, Seyss-Inquart must also be held responsible for the famine which ensued during the winter of 1944-45, causing the death of some 25,000 Dutchmen.

In regard works of art, the pillage was carried on in the same way. The defendant Seyss-Inquart must be considered responsible for organising the removal of works of art from Holland, since he expressly called in his friend, Dr. Muehlmann, who was a specialist in this branch.

[Page 136]

In this connection I refer to the document submitted by the Economic Section of the French prosecution as Exhibits RF 1342, 1343, 1344. The defendant Seyss-Inquart issued a whole series of measures contrary to International Law which did considerable harm to the Netherlands.

In 1941 the Dutch authorities had established a currency control system which allowed them to keep track of purchases made with German money, either of goods or public funds, with the aim of preventing abuses which would lead to the plundering of Holland's wealth in the form of materials or of currency.

On 31st March, 1941, the defendant Seyss-Inquart abolished the "currency" frontier existing between the Reich and the occupied Dutch territory. By so doing, he paved the way for all the abuses committed in monetary matters by the occupying power, in addition to the impossible sums demanded by Germany to defray the expenses of occupation: 500,000,000 Reichsmark on 24th March, 1941.

The frontier control between Dutch occupied territory and Germany was also abolished by order of Goering, in order to expedite the pillage of the Netherlands' economic system. When the war began to go badly for the Wehrmacht, especially after September, 1944, the destruction became systematic. The objectives aimed at by the Germans in the Netherlands were the following:

First, to demolish or put out of action factories, shipyards, basins and docks, port installations, mines, bridges, railway equipment.

Second, to flood the western parts of Holland.

Third, to seize raw materials, semi-manufactured products, manufactured goods and machines sometimes by requisitioning, sometimes in return for payment in money, but in many cases simply by armed theft.

Fourth, to break open safe-deposits containing securities, diamonds, etc., and to take illegal possession of these.

The result of these measures responsibility for which devolves wholly or to a great extent on the defendant Seyss- Inquart, was to throw Holland into a state of unspeakable and undeserved misery.

I have now concluded, Mr. President, the case of the defendant Seyss-Inquart.

THE PRESIDENT: M. Mounier, how long a time do you anticipate you will take this afternoon, because I understand that the case against the defendant Hess will be presented afterwards, and it is important that he should finish to- day, so that the Chief Prosecutor may have a full day for his opening statement.

M. MOUNIER: Mr. President, both yesterday and to-day I have yielded most willingly to the wishes of the Tribunal. I understand perfectly your anxiety to expedite the trial as much as possible, and in view of this I shortened the remarks which I was going to make to you this morning. For this reason, too, I state in the name of the French prosecution that I shall now forego the presentation of the cases of the other defendants, which was on the schedule.

I merely ask the Tribunal to refer to the files which we have submitted except in the case of Keitel and Jodl. If it please the Court, my friend and colleague, M. Quatre, will make a few remarks at the beginning of this afternoon's session. He will try to make them as short as possible. In that way the British Delegation will have the two hours which it needs to present the case of Hess.

Consequently, may it please the Court, M. Quatre will take the floor for an hour at 2 o'clock and then give way to the British Delegation.

THE PRESIDENT: Another question, that I would like to ask you, M. Mounier: As to the documents against the other defendants, other than Keitel and Jodl, have they been furnished to the defendants concerned in them?

M. MOUNIER: Yes, they have, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

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