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-Tenth Day: Wednesday, 17th April, 1946
(Part 3 of 13)

[MR. DODD continues his cross examination of Alfred Rosenberg]

[Page 53]

Q. As I understand your testimony, with the possible exception of the part referring to that of which we have been talking, you have been very benign and humane towards the people under your jurisdiction in the occupied Eastern Territories. You wanted to be very kind to them.

A. Yes. As far as sentimental terms are concerned, I do not put any special claims on them for myself. However, in the midst of this terrible war in the East, which brought with it the continual murder of German employees and agricultural officials, I only tried to carry on an intelligent policy and to induce the people to give voluntary co-operation.

Q. Yes. Now I ask that you be shown Document 1058-PS, which is Exhibit USA 147.

(The document was submitted to the witness.)

Q. (Continuing) You now have it before you. It is an extract from a speech which you made with your closest collaborators, and it has been referred to before. It is a speech that you made on 20 June, 1941, the day before the attack was launched against Soviet Russia. I want to refer to the very first paragraph, and the only one on the paper. It says:

"The job of feeding the German people stands, this year without a doubt" -
A. What page is that?

Q. It is the first page; there is only one page. Oh, you have the whole document. You referred to it yesterday; I think you will be able to find it. It is at Page 8, line 54. You may recall it; you talked about it yesterday. As a matter of fact, you said it was an impromptu speech. Do you find it on Page 8?

A. Yes, I have found it.

Q. In that paragraph you say, among other things - and I want to call it to your attention for a specific purpose - you say that the job of feeding the German people is first on the list, and that the Southern regions and the Northern Caucasus will have to serve as a source for that purpose. And you go on to say that you see no reason why there is any obligation to feed the Russian people with the surplus products of the territory. Then you say:

"We know that this is a harsh necessity, devoid of any feelings."

[Page 54]

You then go on to say:
"A very extensive evacuation will undoubtedly be necessary and the future will hold very hard years in store for the Russians."
Now, you read us some parts of that speech yesterday that you seemed to think were quite to your credit. Were all parts of the speech impromptu or are you suggesting that only the parts that seem damaging to you now were impromptu?

A. I just used a few key words and gave the speech that way. This paragraph has been read by the prosecution three or four times. Yesterday when we discussed this speech I myself expressly referred to this paragraph. Beyond that, I admitted that I was told by people connected with the Four- Year Plan that it was not certain whether the industry of the Moscow industrial region could be fully maintained after its conquest. Restriction might be necessary to some key industries, and through that a difficult problem as to supplies for this area would arise. My remarks pointed out that, of necessity, those unemployed would probably have to be evacuated. I expressly referred to this document, namely, the first document of the Minister for the Eastern Territories on this question, in which, of the seven most pressing points for the civilian administration, point 3 concerns the feeding of the civilian population. Later in the document it says that famines were to be avoided in any event, and that in such a case the population was to receive special rations. I believe in these hard times, speaking from the standpoint of laws and decrees, it was impossible to do more than that. My entire political and spiritual position is to be judged from what I said yesterday about the demand for liberty and culture in the Ukraine, about the sovereignty of the Caucasians, and also about the Russian State and its big ...

Q. All right. I don't want you to go into all that. I understand you thoroughly, and I think everyone else does. I merely wanted to point out to you that on that early date you did say there would be harsh necessities and that there would be very many hard years for the Russians. That is all. And if you don't want to acknowledge that you were serious in saying that, as you were in saying the other things, then I won't press you on it.

I want to turn to document -

A. Mr. Prosecutor, I believe that not much more could have been done about this problem than planning beforehand rather than afterwards how to master the difficulties. Other occupation forces have had the same experience.

Q. All right.

I ask that you be shown Document 045-PS, Exhibit USA 822.

(The document was submitted to the witness.)

A. Perhaps I might say something more about the translation of this passage.

It was translated to me that these measures were to be carried through without, any feeling. In the original it says "beyond feeling," or "above feeling."

Q. All right, I accept your interpretation, we won't have any trouble about that. Now, will you please look at this document? This is a memorandum found in your files, for your information.

A. Yes.

Q. You set out there, in the second paragraph, what you call the aims of German politics, notably in the Ukraine, as having been laid down by the Fuehrer. They are, you say, exploitation and mobilisation of raw materials, a German settlement in certain regions, no education of the population towards intellectualism, but the preservation of their labour strength; apart from that, a complete unconcern as to interior affairs.

Then, moving down a little bit - because I don't think it is necessary to read all of it, much of it has been referred to in another document - we come down to the 12th line from the bottom of that paragraph:

"After continuous observation of the state of affairs in the occupied

[Page 55]

territories of the East, I am of the opinion that German politicians may regard with contempt the qualities of the conquered peoples, but that it is not the mission of German political representatives to proclaim measures and opinions which could eventually reduce the conquered peoples to dull despair, instead of promoting the desired utilisation of manpower to capacity."
Then, in the next paragraph, you say:-
"At home we had to announce our aims to the whole nation openly and aggressively. In contrast, the political leaders in the East must remain silent where German policy calls for necessary harshness. They must remain silent as to any derogatory opinions which they may form of the conquered peoples. Yes, a clever German policy may in certain circumstances do more in the German interest through alleviations which do not effect policy and by certain human concessions, than through open, deliberate brutality."
Were you honestly expressing your views when you wrote that memorandum on 16 March, 1942?

A. This document is correct. It was also submitted to me in the preliminary interrogation. It shows that, although I knew that the Fuehrer had not accepted my more radical proposals, I continued to fight for these. And it shows, further, that I consulted the Fuehrer personally, to stop a few crazy middle-class people in the East making derogatory remarks about other nations whose standard of living may have been poor at the time - at least, as regard externals. From the many thousands who came in, I could not expect either sympathy or antipathy, but I could demand one thing of them if their attitude was contemptuous, and that was to keep it to themselves and to act decently.

In conclusion I would like to add something which is extraordinarily decisive, namely in the last paragraph, "I ask that the Fuehrer rule on this record and the dismissal draft. " This instruction is unfortunately not attached to the document; I believe that much would have been proved from it.

Q. All right. Now let's turn to Document Rosenberg-36, Exhibit USA 699.

(The document was submitted to the witness.)

Q. (Continuing) You have seen this document before, haven't you?

A. Yes, I have seen it.

Q. Now, this is a memorandum submitted to you by one of your subordinates, Dr. Markull, and directly submitted to you by Leibbrandt, also one of your subordinates, one of your top men, on 19 August, 1942. I want you to follow me while I read you certain passages from it.

The first few lines are dated 5 September, 1942, and it says:-

"The Minister, on the aforesaid ...."
It states that there is enclosed a memorandum containing the opinion of Dr. Markull on the matter of the Bormann letter of 23 July.

Before we go into this, just for a minute, if you will just pay attention to this, you told us yesterday that you were in disagreement with Bormann about some matters. Is that so?

A. I said . . .

Q. Just answer the question. Did you tell us that yesterday?

A. On decisive points I did not agree with Bormann. I testified that in the course of years I was assailed in such a way that, on occasion, I had to give him an appeasing answer. My whole policy was to ...

Q. All right. Let's look at this document, which is, as I say, a memorandum about a Bormann letter to you, dated 23 July, I assume 1942.

"On 23 July, 1942, (Reichsleiter) Bormann sent the minister a letter which enumerates, in eight paragraphs, the principles which the minister is to follow in administering the occupied areas in the East."

[Page 56]

It goes on to say that you, in a message to the Fuehrer, dated 11 August, 1942, explained in detail to what extent these principles are already being put into practice or used as a basis of policy.

The next paragraph says that:-

"Any person reading this correspondence is struck, first of all, by the complete agreement of concepts. The minister" - that is you - "apparently was particularly concerned about two points: The first relates to the protection of German rule against the pressure of the Slav race; the second to the absolute necessity of simplifying the administration. These are indeed decisive problems, on which more will have to be said."
Then there is this statement:-
"For the rest, the minister" - referring to you - "not only raises no objections against Bormann's principles or even his phraseology; but, on the contrary, he uses them as a basis for his reply and endeavours to show that they are already being put into practice. When, however, Bormann's letter was read out by Captain Zimmermann in a conference of the department chiefs, grave concern was shown at once, both on account of the phraseology of the letter and the future conduct of our Eastern policy."
Then it goes on to say:-
"In order to find out whether this concern is justified, it is best to start from a supposition."
Then under the number 1, Markull writes:-
"Let us suppose Bormann's letter was issued to the Reich Commissioners as a ministerial decree. This supposition is by no means unrealistic since the minister" - and that again refers to you - "appears to hold identical views. Since the Ostland presents a special case, and moreover the Ukraine is, or will become, probably, the most important region politically, the following discussion will be based on that region."
Then, continuing:-
"The consequences of a decree of this kind will best be judged by its effect on those men whose duty it is to put it into practice."
Lower down, he says:-
"Imagine the formulas of Bormann's letter translated into the language of a member of the German civil administration, and you will get, roughly, the following views:-

The Slavs are to work for us. In so far as we don't need them, they may die. Therefore, compulsory vaccination and German health services are superfluous. The fertility of the Slavs is undesirable. They may use contraceptives or practice abortion, the more the better. Education is dangerous. It is enough if they can count up to 100. At best an education which produces useful stooges for us is admissible. Every educated person is a future enemy. Religion we leave to them as a means of diversion. As for food, they won't get any more than is necessary. We are the masters; we come first."

Then it goes on to say:-
"These sentences are by no means overstatements. On the contrary they are covered, word by word, by the spirit and the text of Bormann's letter. Already at this point the question arises whether such a result is desirable in the interests of the Reich. It can hardly be doubted that these views would become known to the Ukrainian people. Similar opinions prevail even today."
Moving on, the next paragraph, number 2, says:-
"But there is no real need to assume a fictitious decree as was done in paragraph 1. The above-mentioned concept of our role in the East already exists in practice. The Reich Commissioner for the Ukraine has expounded his views of the Ukrainian people in three successive speeches."

[Page 57]

And he goes on to quote those speeches, which have been referred to before this Tribunal.

Then, in the next paragraph, he says that every visitor and every member of the local civil administration can confirm this from his own observations, and they show particularly clearly how well the soil is prepared for the Bormann letter. Then he goes on to quote statements that have been made by saying, "We are here among Negroes," "The population is just dirty and lazy," and so on.

And then, passing on, he says:-

"I may add that Kreisleiter Knuth, whom the Gauleiter still retains in spite of the gravest accusations, declared, in conversations on the Kiev question, that Kiev ought to be depopulated through epidemics. Altogether it would be best if the superfluous part of the population starved to death."
Moving on further we come to the third paragraph down. It says:-
"Finally among the district commissioners 80 per cent. oppose the views described above. In many conferences with the general commissioners they emphasised that the population ought to be treated decently and with understanding, and that statements opposing such policies, as referred to above, will result in a catastrophe."
That is what that paragraph says.

And then Markull goes on to say:-

"For the rest the only effect of the false concepts of the Master Race is to relax the discipline of our officials."
I will not take the time to read all of it. I am sure you are reading it. Then we move on and we come to this very significant paragraph, number 5.
"Perhaps one ought to inquire whether there is not in fact an agreement between the policy hitherto pursued and the Bormann letter, in the sense that the decrees quoted above and the other instructions of the ministry are to be understood merely as tactical moves, whereas in fact there is no divergence of opinion. The minister's reply" - I remind you each time that "the minister" refers to you - "of 11 August might be considered to point in this direction."
Then he goes on to say:-
"In answer to this it should be pointed out that the minister knows very well that it is not possible to re- arrange a continent of the size of Russia by means of political tactics and by wearing the mask of a liberator, but only by applying a statesmanlike conception appropriate to the political conditions."
And so on.

And finally he says:-

"Another reason why - "
I want to be fair with you about this document. He indicates that perhaps it should not be interpreted merely as a tactical manoeuvre, because of the inconsistency which this would imply. For in that case the word "liberation" ought never to have been mentioned and no theatre should be allowed to stay open, and no trade school nor university should be allowed to function.

And finally I would like to read you - not finally - but I would like to read you this significant paragraph. It states - if you will allow me to summarise it - that this letter of Bormann's, which originated from the field headquarters, simply cannot be issued as a ministerial decree since it would disavow the entire policy hitherto announced by the minister - yourself.

And in this connection, a few sentences down, says Markull:-

"It is necessary to point once more to the obvious similarity between the opinions professed by Koch and the instructions given in the Bormann letter."
Then, about halfway down the paragraph, he says that only you can decide

[Page 58]

upon this question and he suggests certain considerations which might be useful and points out some difficulties.

And finally you come, under XI to the second paragraph:-

"Without wishing to criticise in any way the statements of Party Director Bormann, it is yet necessary to point out that the wording of his letter does not always bring out clearly the importance of the issue at stake. A phrase like 'brisk trade in contraceptives' had better not be brought into connection with the name of the Fuehrer. In the same way abrupt phrases like 'vaccination of the non-German population is out of the question,' and so on, would hardly seem to be entirely in keeping with the importance of the historical problems involved."
Finally, I want to read you this under III. Markull states:-
"The statements set out above may appear very blunt. They are, however, dictated by concern and duty."
And finally - well, I don't think there is any necessity to read the last paragraph. It merely talks about the philosophy which is being propagated in a grandiose manner by the Japanese ally in his new districts.

Now, you remember this memorandum that you received through your assistant, Leibbrandt, from your subordinate, Markull? You can answer that by yes or no, by the way; that is all I want to know right now - whether or not you remember it. Will you wait just a minute?

A. I received this report from Dr. Leibbrandt, and I would like to make the following explanation.

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