The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Fourth Day: Friday, 8th February, 1946
(Part 4 of 22)



The Defendants Goering, Hess, Ribbentrop, Keitel, Raeder, Rosenberg, Kaltenbrunner, Frank, Frick, Doenitz, Fritzsche and others are charged with the organisation of a conspiracy to establish by force the domination of German imperialism and the setting up of the Fascist regime in all European countries, and, later, throughout the world.

The core of this plan was the organisation of aggressive wars and the rearrangement of the map of the whole world by use of force. In execution of this plan for aggression, the criminal Hitlerite Government and the German General Staff prepared and executed the seizure of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Norway, Belgium, Holland, France, Poland, Greece and Yugoslavia. They also prepared and undertook a predatory military campaign against the Soviet Union.

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My colleagues of the American, British and French prosecution have already submitted to the Tribunal weighty and irrefutable evidence which establishes the fact of German aggression against their own countries, as well as against Belgium, Holland, Greece, and a number of the other States which had become victims of the predatory Hitlerite imperialism.

May it please your Honours, I will now produce proofs of the monstrous crimes of the defendants in the preparation and initiation of aggressive wars against freedom-loving peoples.

(a) The Attack on Czechoslovakia

The document submitted in this case and known as "Directive Gruen," contains a plan for an attack on the Czechoslovak Republic. This directive, signed by Hitler, was distributed, together with a covering note bearing the signatures of Keitel. The directive begins with "Political Prerequisites," which read precisely as follows:

"My unalterable decision is that Czechoslovakia should be smashed in the immediate future by means of a single military operation. To abide the time, and to create a suitable political and military situation -- this is the task of political leadership. The inevitable development of conditions within Czechoslovakia or other political events in Europe, which might never again bring about a similar situation, may force my hand even before the chosen date. The proper choice and the resolute exploitation of the opportune moment are the surest guaranties of success. Accordingly, all preparations should be made immediately."
Turning to the exposition of the political possibilities and prerequisites regarding the initiation of the attack, Hitler cynically disclosed these prerequisites:
a) A suitable military pretext and in this connection - -

b) a satisfactory political justification, and

c) a surprise action which should take the enemy, as far as possible, unawares.

It was Hitler's idea that the most propitious action, both from the military and political point of view, would be a lightning, secretly prepared German attack under the pretext of some incident which could morally justify the use of military force, at least in the eyes of a certain portion of the public opinion of the world.

The directive envisaged the actual preparation for an attack on Czechoslovakia to be executed by certain branches of the Armed Forces.

Thus the "Directive Gruen," which bears as early a date as May, 1938, clearly and definitely testifies to the fact of a carefully planned preparation for the seizure of Czechoslovakia.

The Soviet prosecution will submit documents taken from the files of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs which reveal the criminal methods used by the Hitlerites in preparing for the seizure of Czechoslovakia.

You, your Honours, as well as the entire world, well know how methodically and ruthlessly this criminal scheme was executed by the predatory imperialism of the Hitlerites.

Having set up in occupied Czechoslovakia an insufferable regime of terrorism, the Hitlerites drove into German slavery many thousands of Czechoslovak citizens, showing no mercy even to children, who were sent to industrial plants, farms, and mines.

The youth of Czechoslovakia was deprived of all opportunities for education. When in 1942 a Czech delegation appealed to Frank for permission to reopen the higher Czechoslovak educational institutions he cynically replied: "Should

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the war be won by England, you will reopen your schools yourselves; should Germany win, then five-grade elementary schools will be enough for you."

Everyone remembers the sanguinary reprisals of the Hitlerite hangmen committed against the Czechoslovak population. One of the numerous cases of such monstrous outrages against the peaceful population was made public in the German newspaper, "Der Neue Tag" of 11th June, 1942:

"During the search for the murderer of SS Obergruppenfuehrer of the S.S. Heydrich, it was incontestably proved that the inhabitants of the village of Lidice, near Kladno, were aiding and abetting the perpetrators of the crime. This has been proven in spite of the fact that the population denies any such assistance. The attitude of the population in regard to such crimes is also evidenced by other hostile acts against the Reich. There were discovered, for instance, subversive literature, stores of arms and ammunition, as well as the existence of a radio transmitter and a large quantity of rationed goods held in unlawful possession. The entire adult male population was executed by firing squads. Women were deported to concentration camps and children were sent to proper places for their further upbringing. All buildings in this village were levelled to the ground and the name of the village was done away with."
The prosecution has at its disposal official data collected by the Czechoslovak Government on the shocking crimes which were perpetrated by the Hitlerite invaders on the territory of Czechoslovakia. In the report of the Czechoslovak Government, which to a large extent is devoted to the description of the regime established by the Hitlerites in Czechoslovakia during the occupation, are cited numerous cases of terrorism: shooting of hostages, mass deportations to concentration camps, murder of women and children.

That is how "Directive Gruen" worked.

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