The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Fourth Day: Friday, 8th February, 1946
(Part 5 of 22)


[Page 172]

(b) The Attack on Poland

On 1st September, 1939, the Fascist aggressors invaded Polish territory in treacherous violation of existing treaties. The Polish people were subjected to mass extermination, and their cities and villages were mercilessly destroyed.

Official documents exposing this aggression have already been presented to the Tribunal by my colleagues. Among such documents we must mention in the first place a top-secret report on a conference, presided over by Hitler, which took place on 23rd May, 1939, and at which, besides Hitler and other persons, the Defendants Goering, Raeder and Keitel were present.

At this conference Hitler made a lengthy statement concerning "the present situation and the political aims." Hitler said:

"The Pole is in no way an additional enemy. Poland will always be on the side of our opponents. The matter does not concern Danzig only; it is the question of `Lebensraum' (living space) in the East, the safeguarding of our food supplies, and the solution of the Baltic problem.

Thus, said Hitler, "sparing Poland is out of the question, and it remains for us to attack her at the first opportunity. We cannot expect the repetition of what we achieved in the case of Czechoslovakia. This time it means war."

Hitler then said:
"The important fact in the conflict with Poland, which will begin with an attack on Poland, is that it can only be successful for us if the West does not participate. If this should be impossible, it would be better to attack the Western Powers and at the same time destroy Poland."
The second part of Hitler's statement was specially devoted to a number of questions of military strategy connected with his decision to attack Poland.

[Page 173]

This is how the gangster assault of Hitler's Germany on Poland was prepared in advance. It was put into execution in September, 1939.

We shall present documentary evidence of the monstrous crimes committed by the Hitlerites in Poland.

(c) The Attack on Yugoslavia

Yugoslavia was another Slav State which was the subject of a sudden attack on the part of Hitlerite Germany. It is well known that, on numerous occasions, Hitler's Government had given false assurance to the effect that Germany had no aggressive intentions towards Yugoslavia. Thus, on 28th April, 1939, Hitler, in his speech to the Reichstag, stated that Germany was ready to give assurances to a number of States, and in particular to Yugoslavia, that Germany wished to maintain with them relations of mutual understanding, as she was bound to them by alliances and by "close ties of friendship."

Even prior to this, on 28th April, 1938, the Berlin News Agency (D.N.B.) had announced, "Confidential representatives have informed the Yugoslav Government on Germany's behalf that Germany's intentions do not extend beyond Austria, and that the Yugoslav frontier will remain inviolate."

In spite of these repeated and categorical declarations Hitler's armies invaded Yugoslavia on 6th April, 1941, and occupied this country. This attack was unexpected only by the victims, for the Nazi clique had carefully planned this assault in advance as it had done in the above-mentioned cases.

In a top-secret directive issued from his headquarters on 29th March, 1941, and intended for Higher Commanding Officers of the German Army, the Fuehrer said:

"My intention is to invade Yugoslavia by powerful thrusts from the area of Fiume-Graz and from Sofia in the general direction of Belgrade and further to the South, with the objective of inflicting on the Yugoslav army a decisive defeat as well as to cut off the Southern part of Yugoslavia from the rest of the country and to turn it into a base for further operations of the German-Italian forces against Greece. By proposing the return of Macedonia and Banat, attempts will be made to bring about the participation of Bulgaria and Hungary in the operations.

The internal political crisis in Yugoslavia will be aggravated by political guarantees promised to the Croats."

Further on the directive lays down a detailed strategic plan for the invasion of Yugoslavia, and provides for actual participation in this aggression by German Armed Forces, including the 10th Air Corps, which had to be transferred from Italy in order to take part in these operations.

Consequently, on the basis of the evidence supplied by original documents of the Hitlerite Government and High Command of the German Armed Forces, we can establish that all attacks by Hitlerite Germany on Slav states were based on a plan prepared in advance, a plan which was only a part of a common criminal conspiracy of the predatory German imperialism against freedom-loving nations.

Yugoslavia as well as Poland became a victim of the German Fascist aggressors, who covered this flourishing State with ruins, and its fields, gardens and ploughed land with the corpses of many thousands of Yugoslav patriots, who fell in the heroic struggle against the foreign invaders and enslavers, in the struggle for the freedom and independence of their native land.

THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off for 10 minutes?

(A recess was taken.)

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