The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Seventh Day: Tuesday, 12th February, 1946
(Part 13 of 18)


On Page 80 of the document book, at the top of Page 3 of the Russian text of the testimony, Alexianu states that in the summer of 1942 he was present at the Council of Roumainian Ministers at which:

"Marshal Antonescu, referring to the successes of the German and Roumainian Armies on the Eastern Front, stated, 'It is now evident how wisely I acted when, as early as November, 1940, I came to an agreement with Hitler on the joint attack against the Soviet Union.'"
However, the generosity of the Fascist Fuehrer, who gave Soviet territories away, right and left, to his vassals, diminished noticeably in the course of the war as the Red Army successes grew.

I have here before me one of Hitler's letters to Ion Antonescu, dated 26th October, 1943. I beg the Tribunal to accept it as evidence as Exhibit USSR 240. Something like two years and three months had passed since the day when Hitler complimented his Roumainian satrap on the seizure of Bessarabia. Quite recently, Antonescu had still been worrying over the question of organizing a "unified" administration in Zadniestrovye.

Circumstances and conditions had altered. Hitler now wrote (I quote the second paragraph from the top of Page 1, which you will find on Pages 82-83 of your document book):

"My further request concerns the utilization of Transdniestria, as a rear theater of operations for Army Groups A and South unhampered by an formal juridical or economic considerations and difficulties. I must further request you to put at the disposal of the German authorities the entire network of the Transdniestrian railways."
As a poor consolation Hitler adds (Page 82 of the document book):
"All military measures have, as their final aim, the preservation of Transdniestria for Roumania."
Then even Antonescu, who had so many times subserviently assured Hitler of his loyalty, reached the end of his endurance. On 15th November, 1943, he wrote a lengthy reply to Hitler. In this letter Antonescu wrote unreservedly how he fulfilled the will of his master at the expense of his people.

I present Antonescu's letter to Hitler as Exhibit USSR. His letter is dated Bucharest, 15th November, 1943.

I quote, beginning with Paragraph 2 of this letter, towards the end of Page 5 of the Russian text. (It is on Page 88 of the document book):

"As to the regime in Transdniestria we agree with your Excellency that it is neither opportune nor timely to examine in minor details the problem of this territory as a military zone, a zone of supply, etc.

I would like to begin by explaining the causes of my anxiety.

I do not know whether the truth about the Roumainian participation in the war, from 1941 to the present moment, has always been told you:

that this war has cost Roumania 300 billions of lei;

that during this period we gave Germany more than 8,000,000 tons of oil, thus endangering our own national stocks, and, in addition, the wells themselves;

that we are incurring heavy expenses in supporting the families of 250,000 men who lost their lives in battle.

Of course, the arrival of troops on the Transdniestrian territory is, as you say, a shield to the gates of Roumania. Our only desire is that all be in good order and utilised in the most advantageous manner possible...."

[Page 283]

Here I omit four paragraphs which have no bearing in the gist of the matter, and continue to read on Page 89 of the document book:
"As regards the transfer of the Transdniestrian railways into German hands for the purpose of increasing transportation. I beg Your Excellency to reconsider this question. In our opinion this transfer is not indispensable.

Transdniestrian railways, from 1941 to the present day, worked well under Roumainian administration. They always satisfied German demands and their management was always highly appreciated."

I request you to turn one page of the document book. I now read an extract from Page 90 of the book:
"If the traffic capacity of the Transdniestrian railways cannot still be further increased in pursuance to the generally established plan, we cannot bear any responsibility for that. Here too we have fulfilled our obligations."
And two paragraphs further, on the same page, the following statement is made:
"I am sure that our railway administration could carry out the measures necessary in order to increase the traffic capacity and to improve the railway transport.

Inasmuch as I personally was in charge of the organisation of the administration and economy of this region, I would be deeply mortified to me if the administration of the railways were to pass into German hands, since one would justly say that our incapacity in this respect was the reason for such measure."

There came a moment in the relations between the two aggressors when the former harmony, based on the seizure of foreign lands and wealth, gave place to arguments on the question as to who should bear the great financial responsibility for the losses suffered as a result of the criminal adventure embarked upon by both partners.

This is revealed by the following document, captured from the personal archives of Antonescu and which I intend to present to the honorable Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 245. I should like to read a fairly lengthy quotation from this document, which is very important in enabling us to realize the relationship between Fascist Germany and her satellites. This document is entitled, "General Hansen's Meeting with Marshal Antonescu on 7th July, 1943."

As Your Honours will no doubt remember, General Hansen was the head of the German Military Mission of the German General Staff in Roumania. I shall read into the record excerpts from this document, underlined in red pencil, on Pages 92 and 93 of the document book...

THE PRESIDENT: Would it not be possible for you to summarize these documents with reference to Roumania? Because you have already drawn our attention to a considerable amount of evidence with reference to Roumania's participation, General Antonescu's statements and other evidence of that sort. Possibly you would be able to go on, then, to the question of the Hungarian participation -- in Exhibit USSR 294. What you are reading us now really shows the extent, no doubt, of the Roumanian participation, but it is all after the aggression. I thought, from looking at it, that you could possibly go on to Exhibit USSR 294.

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: If the Tribunal wishes, I shall certainly do so.

THE PRESIDENT: I think it would save time and would not detract from the case at all.

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: I shall summarize this document in a few sentences, and I shall then pass on to the next document.

[Page 284]


MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: The gist of this conversation is interesting in so far as it reveals the shameless bargaining which went on between Hansen and Antonescu. The objects of this bargaining were money, war supplies and human lives. Antonescu, who was beginning to feel the disadvantage of the absence of any kind of proper agreement with Germany, insisted that all subsequent dealings, whether of a material or any other nature, be the subject of appropriate official agreements. He demanded from Germany the delivery of various war supplies either of a technical or, in last analysis, of a monetary nature. And when General Hansen said that Germany had no lei Antonescu replied, "If you have no lei, give us at least arms and equipment."

That is how the document describes the policy pursued by Fascist Germany for extracting the most varied resources from her vassals.

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