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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
16th April to 1st May, 1946

One-Hundred-and-Ninth Day: Tuesday, 16th April, 1946
(Part 4 of 10)

[DR. THOMA continues his direct examination of Alfred Rosenberg]

[Page 14]

THE PRESIDENT: Are you still reading from 1058-PS?

THE WITNESS: Yes. I quote the following paragraph:

"We must declare in this connection, that even now we are not enemies of the Russian people. All of us who knew the Russians before, know that the individual Russian is a very likeable person capable of assimilating culture, but that he does not have the same force of character as the Western European ... Our fight for reorganisation is conducted entirely in line with the right of national self-determination of peoples ..."
I will not read on to the end. I will go into more detail later. I made that speech fully convinced that after my first explanatory remarks to the Fuehrer about the subject, he had essentially agreed with me. I did not know, and he did not tell me, that other military and police orders had been issued already, otherwise it would have been practically impossible for me - and particularly in Heydrich's presence - to make a speech which, obviously enunciated views contrary to the conceptions of Himmler and Heydrich.

[Page 15]

As far as the passage from this document which has been quoted by the prosecution is concerned, I have the following to say: I heard from people working on the Four-Year Plan that, in the event of an occupation of the Moscow industrial region, and of far-reaching destruction through war, large- scale industries could no longer be continued and that a number of key industries only could continue functioning. That, by necessity, would result in considerable unemployment. Besides, it was not clear how considerable the supply reserves were in the East, and in view of the general food situation and of the blockade, the German food supply would also require attention.

This is the basis for the remark that under certain circumstances a large-scale evacuation of Russian territories might be necessary where large numbers of industrial workers might become unemployed. And in connection with this I should like to refer to Document 1056, which contains the first directive from the Ministry for Eastern Affairs, according to which the providing for food supplies for the population also was made a particular duty.

Q. On 17 July, 1941, you were appointed by decree of the Fuehrer to act as Reich Minister for the administration of the newly occupied Eastern Territories. On the preceding day there had been a conference between Hitler, Keitel, Goring and Lammers, during which you stated your administrative programme in detail. I refer to Document L-221, USA 317, and ask you to comment upon it. It is on Page 123 in Rosenberg Document Book II.

A. This document, which is obviously derived from a summary record taken by Bormann, has, as a matter of course, been submitted here four or five times. During that meeting I had actually not intended to present a large-scale programme, for this meeting had been called for the purpose of discussing the wording of the projected Fuehrer decrees, concerning the administration of the Occupied Eastern Territories, and to give all the participants an opportunity to state their views on that subject. I was also pondering upon a number of questions dealing with personnel which I wanted to submit to the Fuehrer. I was surprised, therefore, when the Fuehrer began passionately and at considerable length to expound, while making many unexpected observations to me, his policy in the East. I had the impression that the Fuehrer himself was strongly impressed by the powerful armament, far beyond expectations, of the Soviet Union, and the hard struggle against the Red Army. That apparently was the cause for some of the statements made by the Fuehrer to which I may perhaps refer to at the end.

In the presence of the other witnesses I countered the unexpected statements of the Fuehrer, and in addition I will read from Bormann's record the following paragraphs which have not been mentioned until now. I quote from the original document on page four:-

"Reich Leader Rosenberg emphasises that in accordance with his views each Commissariat should carry out a different treatment of the population. In the Ukraine we would have to initiate a programme furthering art and culture. We would have to awaken the historical consciousness of the Ukrainians and establish a university at Kiev, and the like. The Reich Marshal makes the counter-statement that we have to think first of guaranteeing our food supply; everything else should be dealt with later.

(Incidental question: Is there still anything like an educated class in the Ukraine, or are upper-class Ukrainians rather to be found only as emigrants outside present-day Russia?)

Rosenberg continues that certain independence movements in the Ukraine deserved support."

Then follows on, Page five a quotation of the intentions of the Fuehrer, where it says, and I quote:-
"Likewise the Crimea, including a considerable hinterland (territory

[Page 16]

north of the Crimea) should become Reich territory; the hinterland should be as large as possible.

Rosenberg complains about this because of the Ukrainians living there.

(Incidental remark - again from Bormann - "It has appeared to me several times that Rosenberg has quite a liking for the Ukrainians, thus he desires to enlarge the former Ukraine to a considerable extent.")

Thus there is evidence that I tried to persuade the Fuehrer with all my might to agree to the same points which I made in my speech on June, 1941, before the assembled department heads.

The further content of the document shows that the Reich Marshal was interested particularly in the appointment of the former Gauleiter Koch and that I opposed this candidate since I was afraid that Koch, due to his temperament, and being so far removed from the Reich, might not follow my directives. To be sure, while making that protest I could not have known that Koch later on, in disobeying my directives, would go as far as he did and, I shall add, under the particular instigation of the head of the Party Chancellery.

Towards the end on Page 10 of the original of the record there appears a passage which has not been read, which I am now quoting.

"A lengthy discussion sets in regarding the extent of the competency of the Reichsfuehrer S.S. Obviously the participants have also in mind the extent of the jurisdiction of the Reich Marshal at the same time."
I personally wish to add that this is a private remark made by the head of the Party Chancellery and does not by any means represent the actual minutes of a meeting.

I quote further:

"The Fuehrer, the Reich Marshal and others emphasise repeatedly that Himmler was to have no greater jurisdiction than he had in Germany proper; this, however, was absolutely necessary."
These minutes show that this was a rather heated discussion, since, not only during that conference but before, I had opposed the conception that the police should have legally independent executive authority in the occupied territories, i.e., that they were to be independent of the civil administration. I also spoke against the present wording of the Fuehrer decree which had already been prepared. I did not find any support at all for my opinion from anyone present, and that explains to a great extent the later developments and the wording of the decree, signed on the following day by the Fuehrer, and which dealt with the entire administration in the Occupied Eastern Territories.

Q. On 17 July you were appointed Minister for the Eastern Territories and at the same time other appointments were made. The question now arises, what was the extent of your competency and of your activities in the Eastern Territories?

A. May I refer you to Rosenberg Document Book, Volume II, Page 46, paragraph two which deals with the establishment of the Eastern Ministry, and paragraph three, which reads as follows:

"Military sovereign rights and powers are exercised by the commanders of the Armed Forces in the newly occupied Eastern Territories in accordance with my decree of 25 June, 1941. The powers of the Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan in the newly occupied Eastern Territories, according to my decree of 29 June, 1941, and those of the Reichsfuehrer S.S. and Chief of the German Police, according to my decree of 17 July, 1941, are subject to special ruling, and are not affected by the following regulations."
Paragraph 6 states:
"At the head of each Reich Commissariat will be a Reich Commissioner - " and then come detailed regulations stating that the Reich Commissioners and the General Commissioners will be appointed by the

[Page 17]

Fuehrer personally and that consequently they could not be given leave or relieved of their posts by me.
Paragraph 7 rules that the Reich Commissioners will be responsible to the Reich Ministers and will receive instructions exclusively from them wherever Article 3 is not applicable; that is the paragraph 3 which refers to the Commanders of the Armed Forces and the Chief of the German Police.

Paragraph 9 states:-

"The Reich Commissioners are responsible for the entire administration of their territory with regard to civilian affairs."
In the next paragraph the entire operation of the German railways and mails is placed under the jurisdiction of the ministries concerned, as is not otherwise possible in war.

Paragraph 10 requires the Reich Minister, whose headquarters are specified as Berlin, to co-ordinate in the highest interest of the Reich, his wishes with those of the other supreme authorities in the Reich and, in the event of differences of opinion, to seek a decision by the Fuehrer.

I need not submit to the Tribunal the Fuehrer decree concerning commands of the Armed Forces, since it is sufficiently clear what we are concerned with; nor the decree regarding the powers of the Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan, dated 29 June, 1941, in which it is stated that the Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan, that is Reich Marshal Goering, may also issue instructions to all civilian and military departments in the Occupied Eastern Territories. However, of decisive importance in the judgement of the entire legal relationship and the consequences resulting therefrom later on, is the decree of the Fuehrer regarding police security in the Occupied Eastern Territories dated 17 July, 1941. It says under I as follows:-

"Police security in the newly occupied Eastern Territories is a matter for the Reich Fuehrer S.S. and Chief of the German Police." End of quotation from paragraph 1.
By this paragraph 1 all security measures in the Eastern Territories were placed under the unlimited jurisdiction of the Reich Fuehrer S.S., who thereby, alongside the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories and alongside the Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan, became the third independent central department of the Reich in Berlin, with the result that the Minister for Eastern Territories could not install a security or police department in his ministry at Berlin.

Under 2 it states that the Reich Fuehrer S.S. is also authorised, apart from the normal instructions to his police, to issue instructions directly to the civilian Reich Commissioners under certain circumstances and that he is obliged to transmit orders of fundamental political significance through the Minister for the Eastern Territories, unless it is a question of the averting of an immediate danger. This wording gave to the Reich Fuehrer S.S. the practical possibility of deciding for himself what he considered of political importance in his orders, and what not; and what his orders, regarding the averting of impending danger, concerned.

Paragraph 3 is of very great importance, since the quotation of Document 1056-PS, on Page 2284 of the German transcript has given the Tribunal the impression that the Minister for Eastern Territories had units of the S.S. under his command in the Occupied Eastern Territories. Even though it appears from paragraph 1, which I have just quoted, that this is incorrect, a wording which is often used in connection with the powers of the S.S. has led to this misunderstanding. This wording is quoted under 3 of the Police Security Decree as follows:-

"For the carrying out of police security each Reich Commissioner will be joined by a Senior S.S. and Police Leader who will be directly and personally subordinate to the Reich Commissioner. Leaders of the S.S.

[Page 18]

and Police will be assigned to the chief and the area commissioners, and will be subordinated to them directly and personally."
Dr. Lammers, who had the task of drafting this decree, has replied, upon questioning, that this wording was chosen to mean that the civilian Reich Commissioner could certainly give instructions to the police in political matters, but that by the choice of the words "personally and directly subordinate" the actual giving of orders was exclusively reserved for the Chief of the German Police. And, as far as I know, Himmler insisted particularly on this wording since it was not officially binding and it gave to the outside world and to the population at large in the Reich commissariat the impression of a certain unified administration, whereas, according to Reich law and in practice, the power to issue orders "by-passed" the civilian administration. The arrangements between Heydrich and the General Quartermaster of the Army, of the existence of which I heard for the first time during this trial, emphasise that this corresponds to the facts, and points out just how these matters developed and just how orders and authorisations of the police were worded.

The other decrees deal with the establishment of the Reich Commissariats themselves, and I don't believe that I need quote them to the Tribunal. They represent the detailed elaboration of that which has preceded.

I should merely like to refer now to the Lammers decree of 9 February, 1942, which refers to the mechanical industry and armaments. I point out that, due to later wishes expressed by other agencies in the Reich, the departments for mechanical industry and propaganda, which had originally existed there, were detached from the Eastern Ministry and the Reich Commissariat headquarters and subordinated to the corresponding ministries in such a way that Reich Minister Speer had his principal agents in the Reich Commissariats as liaison officers, just as the Reich Transport Minister also had; and that political propaganda instructions were to be issued by the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, but their practical execution was to be left to the Reich Minister for Propaganda.

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