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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
4th April to 15th April, 1946

One Hundred and Seventh Day: Saturday, 13th April, 1946
(Part 5 of 5)

[Page 342]

THE PRESIDENT: Then, in Book II there is not an index, is there?

MR. DODD: We have no objection to anything that is contained in Book II.

THE PRESIDENT: In Volume II of Book 1?

MR. DODD: We were talking about Volume II, Book 1.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, yes, I see. Then as regards Book II, you do not object to Book II?

MR. DODD: No, we do not.


MR. DODD: No, we have no objection to Book III. I think our Russian colleagues have an objection to the affidavit of Dr. Dencker. I would prefer, however, that they address the Tribunal on that subject themselves.

THE PRESIDENT: And then, is there a fourth book?

MR. DODD: No, your Honour, there is not, but we have not talked about the second part of the first book.

THE PRESIDENT: I was told that you had.

MR. DODD: No, I think not. I did mention the newspaper articles.

THE PRESIDENT: Where are these documents that you are referring to - in the second volume of the first book?

MR. DODD: The first one will be found beginning on Page 182 of that second volume of the first book.

[Page 343]

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, those are the last two in the index.

MR. DODD: Yes they are.

THE PRESIDENT: We understand that you are objecting to them.

MR. DODD: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: But the index In the first volume of the first book is the index for both the volumes.

MR. DODD: Yes, it is.

THE PRESIDENT: And what you are objecting to is all documents up to Hellpach and the last two?

MR. DODD: Yes, that is exactly right.

THE PRESIDENT: I understand.

Then, with reference to books two and three you do not object, but the Soviet Prosecution wishes to offer an objection to this affidavit by Professor Dencker.

MR. DODD: That is exactly right, your Honour.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps we had better hear what the Soviet Prosecution says about that.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: I invite the Tribunal's attention to Document Rosenberg-38. This is in the third Document Book, Page 29. This document is a letter, dated 24th August, 1931.

THE PRESIDENT: One moment, is it not an affidavit?

GENERAL RAGINSKY: No. I am referring to two documents, Mr. President, Document Rosenberg-38 and the second one dealing with Dencker's affidavit.

THE PRESIDENT: All right, yes, I had Page 21; we will deal with Document 38 first, that is Page 29.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: This document is the letter of an unknown merchant addressed to Rosenberg, concerning some sort of a newspaper paragraph. We do not know this newspaper paragraph since defence counsel, Dr. Thoma, has not submitted it and therefore we believe it is not relevant to the matter, all the more so that in none of his claims and in none of his explanations did Dr. Thoma explain what this document was supposed to prove and what this letter was about.

I would then like to mention a few considerations regarding the second document, concerning Dencker's affidavit presented by defence counsel, Dr. Thoma. This affidavit is also in the third Document Book, Pages 8-11, and is registered as Rosenberg No. 35. Judging by the contents, Dencker, a former member of Staff "OST," participated in the. perpetration of war crimes in the territories occupied by the German troops. This Dencker took part in the looting of the occupied territories of the Soviet Union.

I wish to draw the Tribunal's attention to the fact that defence counsel, Dr. Thoma, on 6th April of this year, requested the Tribunal to allow the admission of this document and the General Secretary of the Tribunal consulted the opinion of the prosecution. However, before the Tribunal had made up its mind, before the prosecution had come to a conclusion, Dencker's affidavits were included in the Document Book, mimeographed and distributed to everybody. What, may I ask, are these affidavits? We consider, and it is very easy to prove, that the information contained in these affidavits throws a false light on the factual state of affairs. They contain a number of slanderous and incorrect statements which have already been refuted in the documents submitted to the Tribunal and read into the record. Therefore, inasmuch as Dencker has not been summoned before the Tribunal as a witness and we are deprived of the possibility of exposing the mendacity of his evidence under cross-examination, we consider that these documents should not be admitted by the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Thoma.

DR. THOMA: Gentlemen, I agree that Dr. Dencker, who states that 180,000,000 RM worth of tractors and other agricultural machinery was taken to the Ukraine, should be called as a witness. But this document is striking evidence of the fact that reconstruction was in process in the Ukraine, that an efficient administration

[Page 344]

was intended, that the land was not to be stupidly exploited but that long-term plans were made in the interests of the country and the population. I therefore ask the Tribunal to admit this affidavit in evidence. If necessary, I shall make an application that Professor Dencker in Bonn be called as a witness, in case the Tribunal should be impressed with the statement of the Soviet prosecutor.


DR. THOMA: And also, Mr. President, I beg your pardon, but I did not understand the previous objection regarding Document Book III. I do not have my Document Book III with me, and I do not know what the objection was.

THE PRESIDENT: On Page 29 is a letter, addressed to Rosenberg by somebody without signature. It is Rosenberg-38.

DR. THOMA: Oh yes, but that document has been admitted by the Tribunal, and the signature is "Adolf Hitler." Apparently, the typist was not able to read that.

THE PRESIDENT: It is a letter, is it?

DR. THOMA: Yes, Sir; it has already been approved. It has been approved, gentlemen. But, I beg to apologise, I still do not quite understand. Is Hellpach the only one of my entire Document Book who has been approved? Is it Sir David's or Mr. Dodd's wish that only Hellpach should be quoted and nobody else? In that case I should like to have an opportunity to go a little into detail on what the other authors were intended to prove. For instance, I -

THE PRESIDENT: We have not made any decision yet.


THE PRESIDENT: We thought that you had given us the reasons in support of the documents in Book 1, Volumes I and II.


THE PRESIDENT: If you have given us the reasons, it is not necessary for you to say anything further.

DR. THOMA: Yes, Mr. President, but, I thought that, with reference to the different books, I might state very briefly what I wished to prove. With Messer, Tillich, Leeuw and Bergson, I am trying to prove that neo-romanticism, that is the philosophy of the irrational, whose forerunner was Rousseau, with elementary force invaded Germany and was at the same time influenced by French, English and American philosophers. Secondly, through Martin Buber I wish to prove that this philosophy is not anti-Semitic, but that, on the contrary, Martin Buber not only preached this philosophy but also recommended its application in actual cases; it is precisely Martin Buber's work wherein we find those vital terms and expressions, which have acquired such importance in this trial, such as the significance of blood, the mythus of blood, the relation between national character and living space, of intuition, of the concepts of movement, of the character of in heritage, and so forth. And further, gentlemen of the Tribunal, in connection with these quotations from Eickstedt, Muhlmann, Scheidt, Keiter, I wish to state that these authors are not National Socialists, but that, in fact, they were partly opposed to Rosenberg's ideology, but they provide proof of the fact that the concepts of race, people, nation, blood and soil, etc., are recognised by natural science experts. And Hellpach, in his "Introduction to the Psychology of Nations," made the extremely important statement - and Hellpach is a very famous name in German philosophic literature - that every thesis leads to other theses which distort it and lead to its downfall.

Gentlemen, I have only one brief concluding remark to make. In the last number of "Die Neue Zeitung" there was an article to the effect that in the French Constituent Assembly a few days ago a discussion on one of the most important and basic issues of our times had begun, a discussion on the rights of man, during which the inner attitude of the members of the resistance was examined and definite theses were set up regarding liberty and the crises liable to affect the rights of man and various contradictions were pointed out.


[Page 345]

DR. THOMA: And, gentlemen, the following was established: There is a contradiction between the preaching of liberty and the ever greater enslavement as a result of the machine- age. That is exactly what we say. Secondly, there is a contradiction between the increase of material wealth and the decrease of spiritual values. Thirdly, contradiction is involved in every type of progress, in that every improvement is accompanied by a corresponding decadence.

Fourthly, there is an opposition between the ideals of humanism of the eighteenth century and the discoveries of science regarding human biology and psychoanalysis which demonstrate that man is subject to the laws of nature.

Fifthly, contradiction between the broad masses of people who are "enlightened" by such superficial means as newspapers, radio, motion pictures and all types of propaganda, and the disappearance of a thinking and educated elite.

That was the subject of debate in the Constituent Assembly of the present French parliament and that is why I suggest, gentlemen, that such questions also have a place in this trial, since they are indicative of the political and spiritual attitude of the people, because highly ethical consideration may be derived from the concept of nationality. The fact that they have deteriorated is due to philosophical and biological process and in part it is due to faults and errors, but only in part.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you finished, Dr. Thoma? Have you finished what you wanted to say?

DR. THOMA: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal, of course, has not made its decision yet and it will consider your arguments. But I am bound to point out to you that there is no charge in the Indictment or made in this case against the defendant Rosenberg either that he invented his philosophy or that he held certain philosophical ideas. The charge against him is that he made a certain use of his philosophical ideas. That is all I have to say. The only other matter which I want to mention to you is an application you made for calling Rosenberg, not first, but at some other point in the course of his case and as to that, if the Tribunal should come to the conclusion that these other philosophical works are not matters which ought to be considered, it is not really unnecessary to put off the calling of the defendant Rosenberg to some later stage? Would it not be in the interests of expedition that he should be called first?

DR. THOMA: Mr. President, there are two things I might say to that: I was under the erroneous impression that any evidence that is taken must begin with the examination of the defendant.


DR. THOMA: I was under the erroneous impression that all evidence that is taken must begin with the hearing of the accused. I assumed that documents could not be read prior to that and that is why I asked that I be allowed to produce some introductory documents, so that the examination of the defendant Rosenberg could proceed more smoothly, because in my opinion, the Tribunal would become acquainted with the facts much more quickly through the documents. Furthermore, I asked for the witness Riecke, who could also quickly acquaint you with the Eastern problems and particularly with the food problem and who would expedite matters if he were heard before Rosenberg. That is how I planned it. I would like to read in sequence the most important documents first, not only the ideological ones but all those concerning the administration of the East; then I would like to call the witness Riecke, and after that the defendant Rosenberg.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Tribunal has already indicated that, in its opinion, in every ordinary case, it tends to expedition if the defendant is called first, and, of course, any document which is material can be put to the defendant in the course of his evidence for any explanation which he may have to give upon it.

DR. THOMA: I believe, your Honour, that if I were to make very brief remarks concerning the documents, it would take less time than if Rosenberg dealt with the

[Page 346]

individual documents. That is why I thought I might read some of the documents at the start - only to save time.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, in order that you should be prepared and able to go on on Monday morning, the Tribunal, having considered this matter, rules that Rosenberg should be called first. That is the ruling of the Tribunal.

As to the documents, we will consider what our judgement shall be with reference to the documents which are objected to.

I said Monday morning. I beg your pardon. I meant at the end of the defendant Kaltenbrunner's case.

DR. THOMA: Your Honours, I merely wish to deal with a few points with reference to Rosenberg's ideology. I am asking the Tribunal to read the speech by M. de Menthon, who states that this ideology was in itself criminal since it was related to his activity, as editor and publisher of the "Volkischer Beobachter" and as author of the "Myth," and other manuscripts. He gays that in this way he psychologically prepared the German nation for an offensive war.

THE PRESIDENT: I said that it was not a question of what was the origin of his philosophy or the mere holding of the philosophical ideas, but the use to which he puts these philosophical ideas; that is the charge against him, in connection with philosophical ideas. Well, the Tribunal will consider it.

MR. DODD: If your Honour please, I want to make it clear that we do object to the works of Hellpach. Dr. Dix had asked me to request that his documents be heard today.

THE PRESIDENT: I think it is too late now, but we will consider them shortly if Dr. Dix wishes it. We will consider them very soon.

DR. DIX (counsel for the defendant Schacht): I would appreciate that. We discussed it, first with Sir David and then I discussed it with Mr. Dodd and Mr. Albrecht, and these gentlemen have raised objections which should be brought before the Tribunal. But translations have not yet been made, and a decision ought to be made soon or else the Document Book will not be ready. I would appreciate it if we could briefly discuss that on Monday.

THE PRESIDENT: We will try to do it on Monday.

DR. DIX: On Monday?


(The Tribunal adjourned until 15th April, 1946, at 10.00 hours.)

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