The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Third Day: Thursday, 7th February, 1946
(Part 14 of 18)

[Page 151]

That, then, is the evidence of his position and of his authority, and perhaps I might be allowed to make one short submission upon that. I make it in respect of this defendant Hess, although it is perhaps a submission which can be made in respect of every one of these defendants.

The prosecution has presented these cases against the individual defendants in the form of a collection of the documents which directly refer, and which directly connect, these defendants with specific instances of participation in the various crimes that were committed by the German people.

My Lord, it will be my submission that it is sufficient to justify and bring home the conviction of this man and his colleagues, to produce simply evidence of their positions in the Nazi State and the control of that State, and also the general evidence of the crimes which were committed by the German people. It is only perhaps now, at this late stage in the trial, as day by day the extent and scope of those crimes is becoming clearer, that we realise that they cannot have happened by themselves. Crimes on that scale must be organised, co-ordinated, and directed. If the Government of Nazi Germany, or the Government of any country, is not the organisation which directed and co-ordinated, what is? If the members of the German nation who are committing those crimes are not the people responsible for them, then, in my submission, one is entitled to ask, Who is?

My Lord, there can be no question that these men had no knowledge. Again, as the picture unfolds, it will be my submission that everybody in Germany must have had knowledge of what was going on; and if everybody had knowledge, then, my submission is, these men must certainly have had knowledge, and I would urge upon this Tribunal the fact that the conviction of these men does not rely upon the mere chance of how many documents happened to have been captured bearing their signatures. It might well have been that no documents at all had been captured. But, in the submission of the prosecution, these men could equally well and equally justifiably have been proved guilty in the part they took, beyond any kind of doubt, upon the evidence of the positions that they held and the evidence of the scope and extent of the crimes that were committed by the people they controlled.

My Lord, that is my submission, and in view of that I would perhaps deal briefly, for the convenience of the Tribunal, with the small matters, the many matters, which do directly connect him with, as I say, almost every aspect of the crimes and life of Nazi Germany

I turn to Page 6 of the trial brief.

DR. ALFRED SEIDL: The prosecuting attorney just mentioned a sworn statement. I cannot find this sworn statement either in the document book or in his trial brief. I can, consequently, take no position in regard to this sworn statement, nor, especially, can I go into the question as to whether there is any objection to the statement as regards the terms of the Charter. I request the prosecuting attorney to present me with this sworn statement...

(The remainder of the interpretation of the statement of Dr. Seidl did not come through the headphone.)

THE PRESIDENT: We couldn't hear the rest of the translation through. Well, go on!

DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, I am not sure how much of the translation you heard.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, there is some document that you are saying is not in the document book?

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: I intend to say that the photographs are in the book. The affidavit by the photographer was, by mistake, omitted from the book, the original is here. I will produce a copy for Dr. Seidl, and I regret it was not done before. It was not a very important document.

[Page 152]

My Lord, it might be expected that, in the positions he held, the defendant Hess took a leading part in the acquisition of power by the Nazi Party and in its consolidation of control over the State. By the law of the of 1st August, 1934, the office of Reich President and of Reich Chancellor were joined together under Hitler. Hitler held both offices. That decree was signed by others and by Hess. Hess also signed a decree on 20th December, 1934, a decree entitled "Laws against Treacherous Acts towards the State and Party." By Article 1 of that decree penalties were imposed upon anybody making false statements injuring the prestige of the Government, the Party, or its agencies; and by Article 2 penalties were imposed for statements proving a malicious attitude against the Party or its leading personalities. The decree was signed by Hess, and it was Hess who had to issue the necessary regulations for carrying the decree into effect.

He took a leading part in the gaining of control over government appointments. I quote again in all these matters only a few examples. If one wanted to quote every decree that the defendant signed and every act he took in participation of these matters, it would really entail writing a history of the Nazi Party from 1920-1941, and a history of Germany from 1933-1941. Set out in the trial brief at Page 7, it will be seen that there are various decrees, all signed by Hess: On 24th September, 1935, a decree providing for his consultation in the appointment of Reich civil servants; 3rd April, 1936, providing for his participation in the appointment of labour service officials; and I refer again to the 10th July, 1937, another decree under which he participated by having to be consulted upon the appointment of other minor Civil servants.

With respect to the control of the Nazi Party gained over the German youth, again there are various decrees signed by this defendant and I set out in the trial brief particularly a reference to the book which has already been put in, Volz's "Dates of the Nazi Party," where it appears that he appointed a University Commission of the Party, which was under his supervision. The Tribunal will remember that we have already seen from the chart of his staff that he had a department dealing with universities and with teachers.

I am quoting from the same document. On the 18th July, 1934, the Nazi League of German Students was directly subordinated to the Deputy of the Fuehrer.

The defendant, as the Tribunal has heard, was an Obergruppenfuehrer himself in the S.S. and the S.A. His responsibility for, and association with, those organisations can be seen from three documents. Amongst the papers found in the Krupp files was a circular sent by Hess, apparently to various industries, asking for funds or subscriptions for the Adolf Hitler Fund for German Industry. The document is 151-D, which I put in now as Exhibit GB 256, and the relevant extract again is set out in the trial brief for convenience:

"The fund rests upon an agreement between the Reich management of the N.S.D.A.P. and leading representatives of German industry."
Then its purpose is set out:
"To put at the disposal of the Reich leadership the funds required for the unified execution of the tasks which fall to the lot of the S.A., S.S., and other political organisations."
For the convenience of the Tribunal, perhaps I ought to mention that that last document I referred to can be found at Page 5 of the document book.

On 9th June, 1934, he signed a decree by which the Security Service of the Reichsfuehrer S.S. was established as the sole political news and defence service of the Party.

On 14th December, 1938, he issued a decree by which the S.D., which Himmler had established, was taken off the establishment of the Party, and it was, under

[Page 153]

that decree, to be organised by the S.S. Those were both Hess decrees, and they are both here under the same document, 3385-PS, which becomes Exhibit GB 257, and they appear at Page 172 of the Tribunal's document book.

My Lord, there has already been given much evidence of the subversion of the churches in order to eliminate any hostile parties there may have been to the Nazi Party. Hess again took his share in that legislation, and there are set out in the trial brief, on Pages 8 and 9, a series of decrees which have already been put before the Tribunal during the presentation of the case against Bormann.

Bormann, it will be remembered, was at this time, and throughout, until Hess flew to England, Hess's deputy, and therefore, it will be my submission that decrees issued by Bormann as deputy for the Deputy of the Fuehrer are, of course, the responsibility of this defendant as well.

For the sake of time I believe the Tribunal has a reference to the decrees and will bear in mind the evidence that was offered against the defendant Bormann.

I come now to this activity in the general persecution of the Jews. Again it will be remembered that the chart of his organisation showed an office which described itself as the Office for Racial Policy. His own views about this matter are found in a speech which he made on 16th January, 1937, and which is reported in a volume of his speeches which is 3124-PS. It is already in as Exhibit GB 253. The extract I desire to quote is set out in the trial brief. The document can be found on Page 98 of the document book.

"The organisations of the N.S.D.A.P. will be used for the enlightenment of the people, in questions concerning race and health of the nation and an increase of the population. Just as in the homeland, so in foreign lands, Germans, influenced in the National Socialist sense, are being educated in such a way as to make them once again proudly conscious of the fact that they are Germans, to make them hold together and esteem each other. Thus, they are being educated to put Germans above the subjects of a foreign nation, regardless of their position or their origin."
It was Hess who signed the Law for Protection of Blood and Honour, one of the Nuremberg decrees of 15th September, 1935. It is 3179-PS. It will be remembered that under that decree, and under the other Reich Citizenship Law of the same date, it was the Deputy of the Fuehrer who was to issue the necessary decrees and regulations for the carrying out and supplementing of those laws, the Nuremberg decrees.

On 14th November, 1935, it was Hess who issued an ordinance under the Reich Citizenship Law which deprived the Jews of the right to vote or to hold public office. That is 1417-PS, and becomes Exhibit GB 258.

By a further decree of 20th May, 1938, those Nuremberg laws were extended to Austria, that law of extension again being signed by this defendant (2124-PS, Exhibit GB 259).

As I said, those are only a few examples of the decrees and activities of this man in the acquisition of power and consolidation of power in the Nazi Party. There is a document which I will hand up to the Tribunal that it might perhaps add to its document books, and there is a copy in French for the learned French Judge. There are examples in this, and other exhibits which I have not mentioned now but which are already before the Tribunal, put in when the case of Bormann was put before the Tribunal, for which, as I have already said, this defendant must take responsibility.

You will see that under various headings -- there are one or two German copies and the rest are in English -- there are several documents set out under the headings, "Association with the S.D. and Gestapo"; "Subversion of the Churches"; and again, "The Persecution of the Jews."

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