Fifty-Fourth Day: Friday, 8th February, 1946
(Part 16 of 22)
[GENERAL RUDENKO continues]
All the defendants prepared, organised, and perpetrated indescribable and blasphemous crimes, such as have never before been committed in history, against humanity and against the principles of human ethics and of International Law.
In the statement of the offense in Count 4 of the Indictment, it is rightly pointed out that the very Plan or Conspiracy was organised also for committing Crimes against Humanity.
The Fascist conspirators started committing Crimes against Humanity from the moment of the formation of the Hitler Party. These crimes attained vast proportions after the coming into power of the Hitlerites.
The concentration camp of Buchenwald, set up in 1933, and the camp at Dachau, established in 1934, turned out to be only the anaemic prototypes of Maidanek, Auschwitz, Slavuta and numerous death camps, set up by the Hitlerites in the territories of Latcia. Byelorussia, and the Ukraine.
The very coming into power of the Hitlerites was marked by many provocations which served as an excuse for committing grave Crimes against Humanity.
Inflicting vengeful punishments without due process of law by the Hitlerites upon all who did not share the "ideology" of the Fascist clique became widespread.
"We deny the protection of law to the enemies of the people. We National Socialists knowingly take a stand against false soft-heartedness and false humaneness. We do not recognize the sophistry of tricky lawyers and cunning juridical subtleties,"wrote Goering, as early as 1934, in an article published overseas in the Hearst press. (Hermann Goering, "Reden und Aufsaetze," Zentralverlag der N.S.D.A.P., Muenchen, 1940, Page 159.)
In one of the articles, dated 1933, Goering regarded it as his special merit that he had reorganised the entire management of the Gestapo, having placed the Secret Police under his immediate control and organised concentration camps to be used in fighting political opponents.
"Thus," spoke Goering, "arose the concentration camps in which we soon had to stick thousands of people belonging to the Communist and Social-Democratic Party machines."At the disposal of the Soviet prosecution are the notes of Martin Bormann, found in the archives of the German Foreign Office and captured by the Soviet troops in Berlin, on the conference held by Hitler on 2nd October, 1940. This document refers to occupied Poland. It will be submitted to the Tribunal. At the moment I shall only quote from it a few points of the Hitlerite leadership programme. The conference started with the statement by Frank that his activities as Governor General could be considered very successful: The Jews in Warsaw and other cities were locked up in ghettos.
"Very soon Krakow would be entirely cleared of Jews. There must be no Polish landlords," the document went on to state, "wherever they may be, they must be exterminated, no matter how brutal this may sound.
All representatives of the Polish intelligentsia must be exterminated. This sounds brutal, but such is the law of life. Priests will be paid by us and, as a result, they will preach what we want. If we find a priest acting otherwise short work is to be made of him. The task of the priest consists in keeping the Poles quiet, stupid, and dull-witted. This is entirely in our interests. The lowest German workman and the lowest German peasant must always stand above any Pole economically."A special place among the unheard of crimes of the Hitlerites is occupied by the bloody butchery of the Slavic and Jewish peoples. Hitler said to Rauschning:
"After all these centuries of whining about the protection of the poor and the lowly, it is about time we decided to protect the strong against the inferior. It will be one of the chief tasks of German statesmanship for all times to prevent, by every means in our power, the further increase of the Slav races. Natural instincts bid all living beings not merely to conquer their enemies but to destroy them. In former days it was the victor's prerogative to destroy entire tribes, entire peoples." (H. Rauschning, "The Voice of Destruction," New York, 1940, Page 138.)If your Honours please, you have already heard the testimony of the witness, Eric Von dem Bach-Zelewski, about Himmler's aims, as given by him in his speech at the beginning of 1941.
In answer to a question by a representative of the Soviet prosecution, the witness declared: "In Himmler's speech it was mentioned that it was necessary to cut down the number of Slavs by 30,000,000."
You see by this what monstrous proportions the criminal ideas of the Hitlerite fanatics attained.
The Hitlerites vented their ferocity particularly on the Soviet intelligentsia.
Even before the attack on the U.S.S.R., directives were prepared regarding the merciless annihilation of Soviet people for political and racial reasons.
In Appendix 2 to Operational Order No. 8 of the Chief of the Security Police and S.D., dated 17th June, 1941, it was stated:
"It is above all essential to ascertain the identity of all prominent Government and Party officials, particularly professional revolutionaries, persons working for the Comintern, all influential members of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. and the affiliated organisations in the Central Committee and the district and regional committees, all people's commissars and their deputies, all former political commissars in the Red Army, leading personalities of the State institutions of the central and middle administrative levels, leading personalities in economic life, the Soviet Russian intelligentsia and all Jews."In a directive of 17th June, 1941, for Security Police and S.D. detachments, it is pointed out that it is necessary to take such measures, not only against the Russian people, but also against the Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Azerbaidjanians, Armenians, Georgians, Turks and other nationalities.
The Soviet prosecution will present to the Tribunal actual documents and facts in this connection. The Fascist conspirators planned the extermination to the last man of the Jewish population of the world, and carried out this extermination throughout the whole of their conspiratorial activity from 1933 onwards.
My American colleague has already quoted Hitler's statement of 24th February, 1942, that "the Jews will be annihilated." In a speech by the defendant Frank, published in the Krakow Gazette on 18th August, 1942, it is stated:
"Anyone who passes through Crakow, Lvov, Warsaw, Radom or Lublin to-day must in all fairness admit that the efforts of the German administration have been crowned with real success, as one now sees hardly any Jews."The bestial annihilation of the Jewish population took place in the Ukraine, in Byelorussia, and in the Baltic States.
Some 80,000 Jews lived in the town of Riga before the German occupation.
At the moment of the liberation of Riga by the Red Army there were 140 Jews left there.
It is impossible to enumerate in an opening statement the crimes committed by the defendants against humanity.
The Soviet prosecution has at its disposal considerable documentary material which will be presented to the Tribunal.
If your Honours please, I appear here as the representative of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, which bore the main brunt of the blows of the Fascist invaders and which vastly contributed to the smashing of Hitlerite Germany and its satellites.
On behalf of the Soviet Union, I charge the defendants on all the counts enumerated in Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal.
Together with the Chief prosecutors of the United States of America, Great Britain, and France, I charge the defendants with having prepared and carried out a perfidious attack on the peoples of my country and on all freedom-loving nations.
I accuse them of the fact that, having initiated a world war, they, in violation of the fundamental rules of International Law and of the treaties to which they were signatories, turned war into an instrument of extermination of peaceful citizens an instrument of plunder, violence and pillage.
I accuse the defendants of the fact that, having proclaimed themselves to be the representatives of the "Master Race," a thing which they have invented, they set up, wherever their domination spread, an arbitrary regime of tyranny; a regime founded on the disregard for the elementary principles of humanity.
Now, when as a result of the heroic struggle of the Red Army and of the Allied forces, Hitlerite Germany is broken and overwhelmed, we have no right to forget the victims who have suffered. We have no right to leave unpunished those who organised and were guilty of monstrous crimes.
In the name of the sacred memory of millions of innocent victims of the Fascist terror, for the sake of the consolidation of peace throughout the world, for the sake of the future security of nations, we are presenting the defendants with a just and complete account which must be settled. This is an account on behalf of all mankind, an account backed by the will and the conscience of all freedom loving nations.
May justice be done!
THE PRESIDENT: We shall now adjourn. General Rudenko your delegation will be prepared to go on after the adjournment, will it not?
GENERAL RUDENKO: Yes. I would also prefer that there should now be an adjournment now.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean an adjournment altogether for the day or what the Tribunal proposed; to adjourn now for 10 or 15 minutes, then continue until 5 o'clock. Would that not be convenient to you?
GENERAL RUDENKO: All right: Yes, sir.
(A recess was taken.)
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