The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
14th February to 26th February, 1946

Sixty-Third Day: Wednesday, 20th February, 1946
(Part 6 of 8)

[L. R. SHENIN continues]

[Page 158]

I read into the record other excerpts from the same document:
"...The 'Kreislandwirt' reported to me that the dairy farm was plundered by retreating units; the soldiers carried away with them butter, cheese, etc."
The second excerpt:
"The co-operative store was plundered before the eyes of the Ukrainians. Among other things the soldiers took with them all the cash in the store."
Then the third excerpt:
" ...On the 9th and 10th of this month the guards of the field-gendarmerie were posted at the co-operative store. These guards could not prevent the soldiers breaking in".

[Page 159]

The last excerpt
" ... Pigs and fowls were slaughtered in unreasonable numbers and taken away by the soldiers.... The appearance of the troops themselves can only be described as appalling."
In these terms, your Honours, is the conduct of the German soldiers described by a German Commissar in his official report.

There is no doubt that this description is an objective one, especially since it is supplemented by an official report of the German "Ukrainian Company for Supplying Agriculture in the Commissariat General", addressed to the Commissar- General of Zhitomir. This is how the report describes the results of a raid by German soldiers on the company's premises:

" ... The office was in a horrible and incredible condition".
Second excerpt:
" ... A 20-roomed private house at Hauptstrasse, No. 57, had an appalling appearance. Carpets and stair-carpets were missing, as were all the upholstered armchairs, couches, beds with spring or other mattresses, chairs and wooden benches".
I omit a few lines:
"The condition of the living-rooms generally is almost indescribable".
I omit two more excerpts from the document.

Such, your Honours, is the heart-cry of the German brigands of this " Ukrainian Company", who themselves complain of the brigands in the German Army.

In order to show that it was not only in Zhitomir and Korostyshev that such things took place, I shall quote yet another report, this time by the Commissar of the Kazatinsky district, which contains the following statement:

"... The German soldiers stole food, cattle, and vehicles".
This laconic but significant introduction is followed by no less significant details:
"Threatening him with a pistol, the corporal demanded the keys of the barn from the District Commissar ... When I said that the key was in my pocket, he yelled 'Give me the key'. With these words he pulled out his pistol, shoved it against my chest, and shouted: 'I'm going to shoot you - you are a shirker'. He followed up this remark with a few more samples of invective, thrust his hand into my pocket and grabbed the key, saying, 'I'm the only person who gives orders here'. This occurred in the presence of numerous Germans and Ukrainians".
The Chief of the Main Department, Dr. Moisich, relates the same story in a report to the Commissar General of Zhitomir, dated 4th December, 1943. All these documents are being presented in their original form to the Tribunal.

I will now, your Honours, proceed to read excerpts from the official reports and communiques of the Extraordinary State Commission for the Investigation and Establishment of Crimes Committed by the German Intruders and Their Accomplices.

In order to save time, I ask the Tribunal to permit me to read only a few excerpts from these documents, and to give you the contents of the rest in my own words.

The Report of the Extraordinary State Commission on the looting and crimes perpetrated by the Hitlerites in the city and district of Rovno has already been submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 45. The corresponding section of this report reads as follows:

"During their stay in Rovno and its district, Hitlerite officers and soldiers unrestrainedly plundered the peaceful Soviet citizens and thoroughly looted the property of cultural and educational institutions."

[Page 160]

I shall not quote all the data mentioned in this report of the Extraordinary State Commission. The report made by that Commission on the atrocities committed by the Hitlerites in Kiev and submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 9, emphasises the fact that the Hitlerites plundered the peaceful population of that city. I quote a brief extract:-
"The German occupation forces in the city of Kiev looted factory equipment and carried it off to Germany."
Following the directives of the criminal German Government and the Supreme Command of the German Armed Forces, the satellite States also joined in plundering and other crimes.

Roumanian troops who temporarily occupied Odessa along with the German armed forces plundered this flourishing city in accordance with instructions from their German masters. The report of the Extraordinary State Commission concerning "the crimes committed by German and Roumanian aggressors in Odessa" reads in part as follows:-

"The Roumanians damaged Odessa considerably from the economic and industrial point of view during the occupation ...

... German-Roumanian aggressors have confiscated and removed to Roumania 1,042,013 centners of grain, 45,227 horses, 87,646 head of cattle, 31,821 pigs, etc., belonging to co-operative farms and co-operative farmers."

The Report of the Extraordinary State Commission on the "damages inflicted by the German fascist aggressors on industry, economy, and cultural and educational institutions in the Stalino Province", already presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 2 also gives many data on the looting and removal to Germany of the factory equipment of this important industrial region.

I have quoted only a few of the reports compiled by the Extraordinary State Commission on certain districts of the Ukraine. This flourishing Soviet republic was subjected to unrestrained looting by the Hitlerites. The Hitlerite conspirators considered the Ukraine a "tit-bit" and plundered that republic with exceptional voracity.

I would like to read several documents in proof of the above:

First, Rosenberg's letter to Reichsleiter Bormann, dated 17 October, 1944. This document, which has already been submitted On 17 December by the United States Prosecution as Exhibit USA 338, states that the "Eastern Central Trading Company for the Marketing of Agricultural Produce" sent the following goods to Germany in the period between 1943 and 31st March, 1944, only:-

"Cereals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9,200,000 tons
Meat and meat products . . . 622,000 tons
Oil seed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 950,000 tons
Butter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .208,000 tons
Sugar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .400,000 tons
Fodder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,500,000 tons
Potatoes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3,200,000 tons, and so forth."
The defendant Rosenberg reported his "Agricultural Achievements" to Hitler's closest assistant in these terms.

It should be noted that during the first year of the war the voracity shown by the Hitlerites in plundering the Ukraine was so great that it awakened certain misgivings even amongst themselves.

I will read an excerpt from a letter addressed by the Inspector of Armaments in the Ukraine to the Infantry General Thomas, Chief of the Armament Section O.K.H. The letter is dated 2nd December, 1941. This document was submitted

[Page 161]

to the Tribunal by the United States Prosecution on 14 December as Exhibit USA 290. I read a short excerpt:-
"The export of agricultural surpluses from the Ukraine for the purpose of feeding the Reich is only possible if the internal trade in the Ukraine is reduced to a minimum. This can be attained by the following measures:-

1. Elimination of unwanted consumers (Jews) and the populations of the large Ukrainian towns, which, like Kiev, receive no food allocation whatsoever.

2. Reduction as far as possible of food rations allocated to the Ukrainians in other towns.

3. Reduction of food consumption by the peasant population."

Having outlined this programme, the author explains further:
"If the Ukrainian is to be made to work, we must look after his physical existence, not from sentimental motives, but for purely business reasons".
I omit the next paragraph of this quotation.

However, the Reichskommissar for the Ukraine, Koch, went steadily on with his policy of ruthlessly plundering the Ukraine. In due course I will submit to you numerous further documents, also in the original, in confirmation of the above. Koch's policy met with the approbation of the Hitlerite Government.

It is worthy of note, that at the beginning of the war the plundering of the occupied territories of the USSR was organised in accordance with the directives contained in the "Green File", already mentioned.

I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 13 a letter from Goering dated 6th September, 1941, on the subject of an inspector for the seizure and utilisation of raw materials, in which, among other things, the following passage occurs (the Tribunal will find this excerpt on Page 131 of the document book):

"The war situation demands that the supplies of raw materials found in the recently captured Eastern territories be put at the disposal of the German war economy as quickly as possible. The 'Directives for the economic management of the Eastern occupied territories' (Green File) are to be taken as guidance".
I omit the last part of the quotation.

Later however when the Germans set up their so-called Civil Administration, and organised a number of special economic bodies in various occupied territories, including the Ukraine in particular, disputes arose among the numerous German military and civil bodies and organisations, all of which were engaged in plundering the occupied territories.

Rosenberg, as Reich Minister for the Eastern Occupied Territories, began to insist that all military and economic organisations in the Ukraine were to be liquidated and their functions transferred to German Civil Administrations.

I submit to the Tribunal a draft report for State Secretary Korner on this subject, dated 3rd December, 1943, as Exhibit USSR 180.

I read from it:-

"1. Economic administration in the Eastern occupied territories.

2. General economic staff for the occupied territories.

In a letter to the Reich Marshal, dated 20th November, 1943, copies of which were sent to the Chief of Staff of the O.K.W., and the Chief of Party Chancellery, Minister Rosenberg made the following demands:

(a) For the Ukraine: Military economic establishment still in existence to be dissolved.

(b) The office of chief of the Army Group Economic Departments to be abolished and the military functions of the latter to be taken over again by the Quartermaster General.

[Page 162]

(c) In case of the retention of the office of the chief of the Army Group Economic Departments, the practice of the same specialists working both in the Reich Commissariat and under the Chiefs of the Army Group Economic Departments to be discontinued."
I omit the rest. In the same draft are detailed objections made by General Stapf and submitted by him to Keitel. He criticises Rosenberg's suggestion and advises the retention of the Economic Staff "East".

And now, with the permission of the Tribunal, I present as Exhibit USSR 174, another original document, which is a covering letter from the Permanent Deputy of the Reich Minister for the Eastern occupied territories to State Secretary Korner on the same subject.

Written suggestions by Rosenberg were appended to this letter, in which Rosenberg once more insists that the entire economic activities be placed under the control of his Ministry. As this is a rather long document, and I am presenting it in the original, I ask your permission not to read it, since it is mainly concerned with Rosenberg's proposal, which I have already described to the Tribunal. (For the information of the interpreters: I omit two pages of my presentation and pass to Page 62.)

Evidently Rosenberg did not receive the answer he wanted, so on 24 January he again wrote to Goering on the same subject. I submit this letter as Exhibit USSR 179. In this letter Rosenberg suggests (I shall read into the record a short quotation, which the Tribunal will find on Page 151 of the document book):

" ... in the interest of smooth working and economy of personnel, I would request that the Economic Staff "East" and its subordinate agencies be abolished, and that the economic administration in the Eastern occupied territories and even in those districts where fighting is still going on, be transferred to my sphere of authority".
Goering replied to this in a letter dated 14 February, which I offer in evidence as part of the same Exhibit USSR 179. I quote:-
"Dear Party Member Rosenberg:

I received your letter of 24 February, 1944, regarding economic administration in the Eastern occupied territories. Since the Reich Commissariat Ukraine is now almost entirely under army administration" - this is a reference to the Red Army offensive - "I consider it advisable to postpone our conference on the future organisation of the economic administration until the military situation is completely clarified".

Thus, your Honours, Rosenberg's claims met with resistance on the part of other German authorities who stubbornly refused to give up such a choice "economic activity".

Rosenberg, in his turn, refused to yield and continued to press his demands. I now offer in evidence the following document, Exhibit USSR 173. This is a letter from Rosenberg to Goering dated 6 March, 1944. In this letter, Rosenberg refers to his experience in Bielorussia and again urges his proposals. It is a long document and I shall not read it, as it is presented to the Tribunal in toto. But Goering still had his doubts and decided against Rosenberg.

On 6 April, 1944, a month after the above-mentioned letter was sent off, Rosenberg again wrote to Goering. This document I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 176.

I omit reading it into the record, since in substance it is like the last, and the arguments advanced in it are not such as to interest us greatly now. I omit Page 65 and pass on to Page 66.

Thus, your Honours, even when the Red Army was delivering its last crippling blows at the German fascist hordes, the Hitlerite brigands went on quarrelling about the spoils.

[Page 163]

I think there is no need to prove that while this haggling continued, the occupied territories were looted in feverish haste by the German authorities, both military and civil.

Now, your Honours, I will read some brief excerpts from the report made by the Extraordinary State Commission on the crimes committed by the Hitlerite invaders in the Lithuanian, Latvian and Esthonian Soviet Socialist Republics, which were also mercilessly plundered by the German fascist aggressors.

All these reports have been already presented to the Tribunal by the Soviet prosecution. The report of the Extraordinary State Commission on the crimes of the Hitlerites in the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic contains the following statement:-

"As the result of the way in which the Hitlerite invaders managed affairs, even according to incomplete data, the number of livestock and poultry in all the four districts of the Lithuanian S.S.R. decreased by 136,140 horses, 565,995 cattle, 463,340 pigs ..."

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