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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
29th July to 8th August 1946

One Hundred and Ninety-Fifth Day: Monday, 5th August, 1946
(Part 3 of 9)

[MR. ELWYN JONES continues his cross examination of Friedrich Karl Freiherr von Eberstein]

[Page 268]

Q. That is enough. I can assist you in that case. I want you to look at a report of your colleague, Globocnik, on the Action Reinhardt against the Jewish people of Poland.

MR. ELWYN JONES: It is Document 4024-PS, which will be Exhibit GB 550. It is a lengthy report. My Lord, with respect, it does merit the attention of the Tribunal.


Q. Witness, you see that it is a report from Globocnik to Himmler, dated 5th January, 1943. The letter starts:


I am taking the liberty of submitting to you the enclosed report on the economic winding up of the Action Reinhardt."

In the next paragraph:
"A proper winding up and my release are necessary because I carried out this activity within the framework of the SS" - I would like to underline these words, "within the framework of the SS - "and it must therefore be wound up in a proper manner with regard to the competent Reich authorities."
Then in a later paragraph it goes on:

[Page 269]

"The global accounting is composed of two parts:

(1) The economic part of the Action Reinhardt with the subdivisions,

(a) Accounting and delivery of the assets seized and

(b) Accounting of the assets obtained by the work.

(2) The Settlers' Economic Association whose economic activity also depended on my work, and which is now being transferred to civilian hands."
Witness, that so-called resettlement was one of the functions of the SS Organization?

A. (No response.)

Q. Then there follows on page 2 of the German text of this report:

"There is one additional factor to be borne in mind, when rendering the global accounts for 'Reinhardt,' which is that the vouchers dealing with it must be destroyed as soon as possible."
Now, the next document, Page 3 of the German text and Page 2 of the English -

THE PRESIDENT: Where is this part about the vouchers being destroyed?

MR. ELWYN JONES: Paragraph 3, my Lord. Globocnik marked it "2," "The Settlers' Economic Association," in the next sentence to that.


Q. Page 2 of the English text is a report on the economic aspect of the Action Reinhardt. There are four copies only of that report. It was "gathered together in the SS Economic and Administrative Head Office."

It says:

"The entire Action Reinhardt is divided into four parts:
(a) The evacuation itself
(b) The employment of labour
(c) The exploitation of property
(d) Seizure of hidden goods and landed property.
a. The Evacuation

This is settled and completed.

In this case the prerequisite was to get hold of the people with the small forces available and to cause as little economic damage as possible to war production by methodically appropriate measures.

On the whole this was achieved. Considerable damage occurred only in Warsaw, where, owing to ignorance of the position, the methods applied in the final action were entirely wrong."

Then I go to paragraph (b), "Employment of Labour":
"The entire labour was put into closed camps, to which essential war production was transferred.

For this purpose the following conditions had to be created:

(1) Erection of all camps.

(2) Erection of workshops with all the working equipment, such as the installation of machinery, power supply, etc,

(3) The organization of provisions ...

(4) Sanitation and Hygiene."

Then I want you particularly to notice 5, "Security measures":
(a) Achieved by adequate security precautions
(b) By organization within the camp
(c) By adequate guarding.
For this purpose, the SS guards were created, the overwhelming majority of whom, led by Germans, carried out their duties satisfactorily.

Their reliability was increased by mixing these guards with Reich German guards from concentration camps.

(d) The prerequisites for a satisfactory security system were created by these camps being taken over by the Concentration Camp Department of the WVHA.

[Page 270]

(b) The proper administration and methodical treatment were made possible thanks to the extensive training of the German personnel. It became apparent that the working capacity of the Jews in the camps was constantly increasing."
And then there is described the creation of a works management under the name of 'Osti,' and the German Equipment Works:
"A total of 18 works was established; it was intended to add more. About 52,000 workers were available. These conditions of work made it possible to accept urgent orders both from the Armament Inspectorate and from Speer's Reich Ministry, and thus replace bombed-out works. The demand from these offices was considerable. 'Osti' and the German Equipment Works were run by me, whereas other concerns, such as the Heinkel Aircraft Works, were only looked after by me."
And then paragraph (c) is on Page 5 of your German text:
"Exploitation of Property." This had been completed, as shown in Enclosure 2 which I shall come to in a moment.

Paragraph (d): Seizure of Hidden Goods. "The seizure of hidden goods and exploitation of landed property is divided into

(1) Property such as machinery, raw materials, etc., handed over by the 'Osti' to Aryans. To date the result is 6.3 million Reichsmarks; a further 7-8 million Reichsmarks are yet to be brought in."

(2): "Seizure of Jewish claims at home and abroad by the camp inmates being ordered to cede these claims to the 'Osti ' which then carried out the recovery. The first attempt resulted in a cession of an amount of 11,000,000 Zloty, of which at least half appeared obtainable. However, since it was also possible to discover money that had been smuggled abroad, this action could have brought valuable foreign currency to the Reich."

(3): "Real estate was transferred to the Real Estate Administration of the Government General for exploitation."

Then the measures taken were as follows:
"(1) On the 13th of August, 1943, the SS Training Camp of Trawniki was handed over by SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl.

(2) On the 7th of September, 1943, in a conference with SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, the taking over of ten SS Working Camps in the Lublin District as subsidiaries of Lublin Concentration Camp was decided on and, in addition, the handing over of further working camps in the Government General. The head of the Lublin Concentration Camp was provided with suitable contracts. The conference was the result of a visit by SS Obergruppenfuehrer Krueger and SS Standartenfuehrer Schellin."

Then paragraph 3: "In pursuance thereof, a letter from the Commandant of the Lublin Concentration Camp, dated 14th September, 1943, to the SS Working Camps announced that they had become subsidiaries of the Lublin Concentration Camp."
And then there follows the sentence: "The mixing of guards of foreign race with the German Concentration Camp guards from the Reich has also been started."

And I need not trouble you with the rest of that document.

If you will turn to Page 8 of the German text you will see the "Report on the administrative winding up of Action Reinhardt " - just two pages, in the English text, from the one that I have just read. The first paragraph described the assets of this Action Reinhardt.

Paragraph 3 of the text says: "The assets I collected were regularly delivered to the SS Economic and Administrative Head Office against receipts, and they in turn passed on the assets to the Reichsbank, the Reich Ministry of Finance, textile concerns, etc."

[Page 271]

And then the next paragraph but one - perhaps it is only fair that I should read the next paragraph: "On the orders of the Reichsfuehrer SS, necessary articles could be removed for the maintenance of persons of the German race. The Reichsfuehrer SS forbade any appropriation for the purpose of the SS." But you will see later how this was qualified: "What is remarkable about the accounting is that no hard and fast basis for the amount collected existed, as the collection of the assets was carried out under orders and only the decency and honesty, as well as the surveillance of the SS men used for this purpose, could guarantee a complete delivery."
Page 9 of the German text - I trust you are following this, witness, because it is not without interest, you know.

Page 9 of the German text sets out the assets, first sums of Reichsmarks and Zloty:

"By far the greater portion was placed at the disposal of the SS Economist in the Government General and the amounts were credited to the Action Reinhardt in Reichsmarks by the WVHA Office by an accounting transaction, and handed over to the Reichsbank."

Next page, paragraph 2: "Foreign currency in banknotes or coined gold was collected, sorted, and also handed over to the Reichsbank via the WVHA."

Then Page 10 of your German text: "Jewels, jewellery, watches and suchlike were sorted according to their value and delivered to the WVHA. On orders from this office, watches of non-precious metals were handed over to the troops, spectacles were repaired and placed at the disposal of wounded persons, and articles of no value were principally handed over to Wehrmacht authorities to cover urgent needs."

Paragraph 4: "Textiles, garments, underclothing, bed feathers and rags were collected and sorted according to their quality. The sorted articles had to be searched for hidden valuables and finally disinfected. More than 1,900 wagons were then placed at the disposal of the authorities named by the Reich Ministry of Economy by order of the WVHA. Out of these stocks not only foreign workers were clothed but a large portion was used for remanufacture. The best garments were separated and, by order of the Reichsfuehrer SS, were used for supplying persons of the German race. Shoes were also sorted according to how far they could be used and then either given to persons of German race or to concentration camps for supplying inmates, or else taken to pieces and used for wooden shoes for supplying inmates."

Paragraph 5: "Individual valuables of a special kind, such as stamps, coins and suchlike, were sorted and delivered to the WVHA."

Paragraph 8 on Page 11 of your German text: "Valuable furniture and household utensils were reconditioned and mainly put at the disposal of settlers of German race. But furniture was also loaned to German and Wehrmacht authorities against an accommodation bill. Inferior goods were either destroyed or given to the population as a reward for good work at the harvest, etc."

The last paragraph: "The total value of the articles received is, according to the attached list, approximately 18,000,000 Reichsmarks. However, minimum values have been assumed, so that the total value is most likely twice as much, quite apart from the value of the articles obtained which are in short supply, such as textiles, of which alone more than 1,900 wagons have been made available to German industry."

And then there follows a detail of these assets, on Page 12 of the report:

"Assets delivered from Action Reinhardt. The following assets from the Action 'Reinhardt' were delivered to the WVHA, Berlin, for further transmission to the Reichsbank or to the Reich Ministry of Economics:

(a) Reichsmark sums totalling 53,000,000.

[Page 272]

(b) currency in banknotes from all the principal countries in the world (half a million dollars being particularly worthy of note) to a total value of 1,450,000-odd Reichsmarks

(c) foreign currency in gold coins to a total value of 843,000-odd Reichsmarks

(d) precious metals ... to a total value of 5,353,000- odd Reichsmarks

(e) other valuables such as jewellery, watches, spectacles, etc. (the number of watches being particularly worthy of note - about 16,000 in working order and about 51,000 requiring repair, which have been placed at the disposal of the troops) value 26,000,000-odd Reichsmarks

(f) about 1,000 wagons of textiles to a total value of 13,000,000-odd Reichsmarks. Grand total, 100,047,000- odd Reichsmarks.

1,000 wagons of textiles and about 50 per cent of the above-mentioned assets - which still have to be counted and valued - are warehoused here. It should be noted that the estimated values were based on the officially established rates of exchange or prices, which, however, would be much higher on the open market, for instance if the precious stones or precious metals were sold abroad, as the investment in articles whose value is not subject to much fluctuation is much greater there than with us. Besides, these sales abroad bring us foreign currency. If these prices were taken as a basis of evaluation here, this was done in order to be able to give a picture of the assets delivered; in general this evaluation is not authoritative. The value of the acquisition lies principally in the fact that such large quantities of urgently needed raw materials can thereby be gained and that, on the basis of the assets obtained, foreign currency can be brought in with which new materials can in turn be bought by Reich authorities."
Then there follows a list of Jewish property received for delivery up to the 3rd of February, 1943. This is a sort of interim report: Cash in hand: 53,000,000; foreign currency in notes 14,000,000-odd.

Then on Page 15 of the report: Currency in gold coins of various countries of the world, 843,000-odd Reichsmarks; 5,000,000 - odd in precious metals.

Then I want you to look at Page 16 of this report, witness:

"Other valuables: gold revolving pencils, 578, gentlemen's watches, 13,445, gentlemen's pocket watches, and miscellaneous ladies' jewellery"; then the item "22,324 spectacles," and then next but one to that, "11,675 rings"; then all the precious little possessions of these people, necklaces, a mother-of-pearl opera glass, each one itemised down to the very last sordid Reichsmark.
Then on the next page, Page 17, there are other little items of private possessions, making a total of 26,000,000 Reichsmarks.

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