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 July to 27th July 1946

One Hundred and Eighty-Third Day: Monday, 22th July, 1946
(Part 1 of 11)

[Page 179]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal understands that the British prosecution will answer on behalf of all the Prosecutors with reference to the translation of the documents for the organization of the SS and the Political Leaders; so shall we deal with those first?

MR. GRIFFITH-JONES: My Lord, I am myself dealing with the documents for the Political Leaders, and my friend, Mr. Elwyn Jones, is dealing with those for the SS.

Perhaps it would be convenient for the Tribunal to take the documents for the Political Leaders first.


MR. GRIFFITH-JONES: My Lord, I have spoken to Dr. Servatius, who represents the Political Leadership Corps, and we have agreed on the documents which he should submit in his final book. I have had lists printed, which show the documents which we have agreed.

Originally he has submitted six document books, with a total of over 250 documents, some of considerable length. We have agreed from those that a total of ninety-odd documents should be included in the final book, and of those ninety we have only the passages, certain passages in them, to be translated. I have a copy of the document books which have been marked, the passages on which we agree, and the remainder, of course, would be excluded.

THE PRESIDENT: What length will the document book be? Can you tell at all?

MR. GRIFFITH-JONES: Only that there will be about 100 exhibits, but they will be quite short, the majority of them. The longest, I think, is of two pages, and the remaining documents are just short extracts, perhaps a paragraph or two paragraphs.


MR. GRIFFITH-JONES: Perhaps I might say this: Dr. Servatius had included in these books a number of affidavits which we have excluded, because we understood the Tribunal desired affidavits to be heard before the Commissioners. He had also included a number of quotations from Mein Kampf. These, if the Tribunal agree, we have excluded, because we thought that the Tribunal had their own copy of Mein Kampf and it would save work in the translating and printing departments.

For the remainder, much of the matter that was suggested was cumulative, and Dr. Servatius, I think, quite agrees that what we have put down now in Column A will meet his purpose.

There are, I understand, talking to him just before the Tribunal sat this morning, there are certain amendments to this list which he desires to make. He desires to include in Column A Documents 50, 68, 69, and 162, which at the moment are excluded.

[Page 180]

My Lord, perhaps it would be convenient if Dr. Servatius and myself discussed the matter further, and perhaps you would entrust us to come to some arrangement about the inclusion or exclusion of those documents.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.

MR. GRIFFITH-JONES: I do not know whether Dr. Servatius wishes to say anything.

DR. SERVATIUS (counsel for Political Leadership Corps): Mr. President, I agree with this arrangement, and these minor questions which still require clearing up I will settle with the Prosecutor. The books will probably then be reduced to two.


Yes, Mr. Elwyn Jones?

MR. ELWYN JONES: If your Lordship pleases, with regard to the SS documents, Dr. Pelckmann and the representatives of the prosecution have reached an agreement as to ninety-nine of the documents. It has been agreed that twenty-two should be excluded, and, with regard to the others, some are to be included in toto and of some only extracts are to be included.

As to Documents 31 and 32, Dr. Pelckmann indicated that he was reconsidering his application with regard to these two documents, and it may, therefore, be possible that he will have some observations to make to the Tribunal with regard to them.

With regard to six of the documents, however, the prosecution and the defence have not been able to reach an agreement. Dr. Pelckmann insists that those documents are necessary for his case, and it might, therefore, be convenient for me to indicate to the Tribunal the prosecution's objections with regard to those six documents.

The first is Document 69, which is an extract from a speech made before the first meeting of the Reichstag, after the Nazi seizure of power, by the Social Democrat leader Wels. This extract states that Wels's party favoured the plea for national equality and denied Germany's war guilt. I submit, on behalf of the prosecution, that that extract is wholly cumulative. There is an abundance of evidence of that kind before the Tribunal already. It is in any event, I submit, not relevant to the SS case.

THE PRESIDENT: Germany's war guilt, at what time?

MR. ELWYN JONES: With regard to the war before the last one.


MR. ELWYN JONES: I finally suggest that if that document is admitted by the Tribunal, it would then be proper in the interests of historical truth for the extract to include the severe criticism of the Nazi Party made by Herr Wels.

The next document is Document 85, which is an extract from the Volkischer Beobachter, giving a quotation from William Randolph Hearst's alleged statement to the defendant Rosenberg on 3rd September, 1934, to the effect that when that distinguished gentleman was in Germany three years ago there was the greatest disorder there; today, 3rd September, 1934, under Hitler's leadership, Germany is a country of order.

The Tribunal will remember that this date was about nine weeks after what even Himmler has described as the appalling murders of 30th June, 1934.

I respectfully submit that that extract is, again, cumulative, irrelevant and, finally, is of no probative value whatsoever.

The next document is Document 86, which is an extract from the Volkischer Beobachter, purporting to be an American athlete's impression of a journey through Europe in 1934. He states that he is satisfied with what he saw in

[Page 181]

Germany. Again, I submit that that is cumulative, irrelevant to the SS case, and of no probative value.

The next document which is in dispute is Document 96, which is an extract from a book by an author alleged to be an American, which was, significantly, published in Germany in 1935. It is a long extract dealing with concentration camps. It describes a visit by the author to Oranienburg concentration camp, in which he refers to the modern sanitary installations there; bedrooms which are apparently as good as those of the American Army; and the prisoners apparently eating exactly the same dinners as the camp commandants and the SS guards. The author says that they had three rich meals every day, naturally without luxury, and he goes on in that vein. I do submit that that extract is of no probative value whatsoever.

There are, finally, two further documents, Nos. 101 and 102.

Document 101 is an extract from an American magazine purporting to describe the result of certain experiments carried out by American scientists with a vaccine said to be immunising.

Document 102 is an extract from a book, An American Doctor's Odyssey, referring to further experiments with agents said to be immunising and to experiments in connection with beriberi.

The prosecution does not, of course, in any way admit the truth of the facts set out in these extracts, but I submit that even if they were true they have only a "to quoque" relevancy and, I submit, should not be included in the documents for the SS organization.

Apart from those documents, the defending counsel and the prosecution have reached an agreement and there is no more to say, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to hear Dr. Pelckmann.

DR. PELCKMANN (counsel for the SS): Mr. President, I have to deal with various documents which have just been objected to by the prosecution. First of all, I refer to Documents 31 and 32.

Documents 31 and 32 have to do with the question whether the SA and the SS demanded that students should enter the SA and the SS. This is a question which above all also affects the SA. The SA have not yet completed their collection of documents, I think these documents are going to be submitted by the SA, and I shall therefore put them aside for the moment.

Up for debate are the remaining six documents. Let us first come to Document 69.

I should like to say something in principle with reference to the documents.

The documents do not, by any means, deal with the question as to whether what they contain is or was objectively true. They are merely submitted in order to point out how the readers assumed that true facts were being represented, and these facts were decisive for the formation of an opinion by the German people, as well of course by the members of the SS who are part of the German nation, just as they were for the formation of an opinion by a Party member or a non-Party member.

They are documents dealing with the attitude adopted abroad or in our country. I believe that matters may have to be looked at from a different point of view in this connection than in the case of the individual defendants. The attitude adopted abroad cannot be relevant for the individual defendants, for the prosecution asserts that for the majority of the defendants it would appear to be evident that it was just the principal defendants who deceived foreign countries. With reference to the masses of the population, however - and that affects the SS members also - what had been thought and done abroad must be decisive in the forming of an opinion as to whether the Nazi regime had been criminal or not. That is a general point of view which I think applies to all these documents.

[Page 182]

The first, Document 69, is a speech, as the Prosecutor has said, by the Social Democrat Member of Parliament Wels. It is merely to show that this Social Democrat deputy, even after the seizure of power by Hitler, agreed with Hitler that the Treaty of Versailles must be fought against. By that I do not wish to say anything about the justification or non-justification of the Treaty of Versailles. I am merely trying to show what the masses of the people were thinking and what the followers of Hitler, who had only just come into power, were thinking, when even a Social Democrat agreed with the Party programme on that point.

For that reason I consider this document as relevant, and particularly, for the SS, because they, just as much as all the other Germans, saw in it the means of forming their own opinion.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean that the document says that the Treaty of Versailles should be fought against by war, or should be attempted to be changed by negotiations?

DR. PELCKMANN: No, it does not by any means mean that the Versailles Treaty should be fought against by war.

Now, as to Documents 85 and 86.

Hearst, the American publisher of world-wide reputation, who as far as I know had considerable influence at that time in America, says, as the prosecution correctly points out, in September, 1934 - a few months after the bloody events of 30th June, 1934 - that he had been in Germany three years before and had found the greatest chaos, and that today, under Hitler's leadership, Germany was a land of perfect order.

I think I had better emphasize once more that I am not referring to the objective facts; I am stating what was said about conditions in Germany by someone from abroad - who in my opinion was of importance in the publishing field - what was spread abroad and what was brought to the notice of the German people by means of the considerable National Socialist propaganda machine, so that the German people, and with them also the bulk of the members of the SS, could not believe anything else than this published statement, and saw in it a confirmation of their then real conviction that here something was actually being done for order and thereby also for world peace.

The second statement in Document 86 is on somewhat similar lines. It is a report of 27th September headed, "America is participating in the Olympic Games." The man in charge of American athletics had gone into the question very carefully as to whether the American nation ought to participate in the Olympic Games, and he then made a report in America in which he made statements about his experiences in various parts of Germany. He expressed himself very satisfied and very much in favour of American participation in the Olympic Games.

The result was, as expected, that the committee decided that America would participate in the games. This again constitutes a corroboration, a consolidation and strengthening of German public opinion, and also of the opinion of the bulk of the SS, that in certain respects foreign countries were adopting an absolutely positive attitude towards the new Germany. It should not be forgotten that the different years, the different dates of entry are most important. When the fundamental questions affecting the Indictment against the organizations were discussed before the Tribunal, from 28th February to 2nd March, it was also pointed out that the time at which membership of an organization was acquired must very likely be regarded as a deciding factor. One must take into account in this connection that, when after 1933 the membership of the SS grew considerably, it was surely decisive for the individual contemplating membership to know that, especially in those years following the rise to power, foreign countries too were giving some evidence - I can only give examples - of their approval. I regret, Mr. President, that I have to dwell on this rather longer than was perhaps

[Page 183]

expected, but it is necessary because the fundamentals of the defence, at least the defence of the organizations, have not yet been discussed before the Tribunal.

Then we come to Document 96. Here again it is a voice from abroad - an American journalist: Of course, I am not in a position to investigate what standing this journalist had. But again, the objective importance is that it is the voice of an American journalist whose comments were published in Germany by a well-known German publisher in a book which had a tremendous sale. This American journalist describes, only on the pages which I am quoting, among other things, conditions in Germany and conditions in the concentration camps.

To summarize them, they are described as not unfavourable, and I am of the opinion that again this, in 1935, was of importance to the question -

THE PRESIDENT: Could you tell the Tribunal the name of the journalist?

DR. PELCKMANN: Yes; his name is "Doug" Brinkley, for Douglas Brinkley - D-O-U-G-L-A-S B-R-I-N-K-L-E-Y.

THE PRESIDENT: Would you spell it again?

DR. PELCKMANN: Douglas - D-O-U-G-L-A-S; Brinkley - B-R-I-N-K- L-E-Y. I had already said that I know little of this man's journalistic standing, but one must remember that after all this was published in Germany; and the average German cannot know whether there is a well-known or little-known American journalist of this name.

At any rate, he speaks in detail about conditions in concentration camps, and about the knowledge of the Germans in general and also of the SS, in particular. This statement is relevant, because during future hearings before the commissions, I shall show, and have shown that the knowledge of these conditions in concentration camps was confined to the very small circle of those who were employed in them.

Finally, Documents 101 and 102. Here we are concerned with the question of the medical experiments on living human beings. First of all, I should like to say that I do not by any means hold the view that experiments undertaken in concentration camps conform with the principles of humanity. Without detailed evidence, I am not capable of passing judgement on this point; but I know from scientific publications of recent date that the question of whether experiments which might cause death should be carried out on living men to save the lives of tens or hundreds of thousands of human beings, is, at least, contested in scientific circles, and, as I have shown by means of these documents, this has certainly been affirmed by well-known foreign, American and British scientists.

In this connection, I am assuming that internees in concentration camps, as I have been trying to prove before the Commission, volunteered for such experiments. But I must point out that evidence that such experiments were carried out abroad on people who did not volunteer is supplied, in my opinion, by the wording of this statement. Document 101 -

THE PRESIDENT: Would you mind pausing there? I thought you said that they had volunteered for it.

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