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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Two Hundred and Fourteenth Day: Thursday, 29th August, 1946
(Part 12 of 14)

[Page 299]

[MR DODD, Continued]

It takes character to stand up against great evil - this has always been so. It may be necessary for a man to brave some humiliation and some sacrifice, in order to refuse to do the evil bidding of an evil master. But responsibility for the crimes of these organizations should not be evaded by the application of a dry, technical or meaningless concept of compulsion.


From the establishment of the Nazi Party in 1920, until the conclusion of the war in 1945, these organizations were used by the conspirators for the execution of their schemes, and each committed one or more of the crimes described in Article 6 of the Charter, and participated in the general conspiracy. The Leadership Corps was the first of the organizations to appear on the stage. The next step was the creation in 1920 of a semi-military organization, the SA, to secure by violence a predominant place for the Party in the political scene. Out of this group, the more select and fanatical SS was formed in 1925, to replace the SA while the latter was banned, and then to join with it in laying the groundwork for the revolution. Upon the seizure of power in 1933, the next organization, the Reich Cabinet, took its place in the conspiracy. With the Government in their hands, the conspirators hastened to suppress all potential opposition, and to that end they created the Gestapo and the SD. Internal security having been guaranteed, they then obtained for promotion of their plans of aggrandizement the last of their implements - in the form of the military.

Each of these was necessary to the successful execution of the conspiracy - the Leadership Corps to direct and control the Party through which political power had to be seized; the SA and SS to oppose political opponents by violence and, after 1933, to fasten the Nazis' control on Germany by extra- legal activities; the Cabinet to devise and enact the laws needed to insure continuance of the regime; the Gestapo and the SD to detect and suppress internal opposition; and some servile soldiery to prepare and carry out the expansion of the regime through aggressive war.

Each of the organizations continued to play a necessary and vital part at all times throughout the conspiracy. The programme of the Nazi regime sprang from the Nazi Party. As Hitler said in 1933, "It is not the State which gives orders to us, it is we who give orders to the State." Again in 1938 Hitler stated, "National Socialism possesses Germany entirely and completely since the day when, five years ago, I left the house in Wilhelmplatz as Reich Chancellor ... The greatest guarantee of the National Socialist revolution lies in the complete domination of the Reich and all of its institutions and organizations, internally and externally, by the National Socialist Party." It was the Leadership Corps that formulated the policy of that Party. It was the Leadership Corps that held the Party together. It was the Leadership Corps, through its descending hierarchy of Fuehrer, down to the Blockleiter, who controlled forty households, that kept a firm grip upon the entire populace. Every crime charged in the Indictment was a crime committed by a regime controlled by the Party, and it was the Leadership Corps which controlled the Party and made it function.

While the Party, through the Political Leaders, gave orders to the State, it was the Reich Cabinet - the law-making, executive and administrative representative of the State - that transformed those orders into laws. Just as the Leadership Corps made the Party function, so the Cabinet made the State function. Every crime which we have proved was a crime of the Nazi State, and the Reich Cabinet was the highest agency for political control and direction within the Nazi State.

But policy and laws are not enough. They must be put into effect and carried into operation. The four other organizations were the executive agencies of the

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Party and the State. When it was a question of enforcing laws, of detecting, apprehending, imprisoning and eliminating opponents or potential opponents, the SD, the Gestapo, the SS and the machinery of concentration camps came into play. The close relationship between the SD and the Gestapo, and the importance of the former in selection of Nazi officials, is disclosed by the defence affidavit of Karl Weiss, who averred that all political police officials were screened by the SD before being accepted into the Gestapo, and the SD violated the integrity of German elections by reporting how the people voted in secret ballots. Special units of the SA were used to supplement the police in arresting Communists and in the course of interrogations, men were beaten to death. Such brutal conduct was consistently excused by decrees of amnesty, under which the purposes of the interrogators were alone decisive. When the policy called for war, the paramilitary organizations like the SA and SS laid the foundation, and top militarists prepared the plans for a powerful German Army. When it became a question of exterminating the population of conquered territories, of deporting them for slave labour and confiscating their property, the OKW and the SS had to plan joint operations and, in collaboration with the Gestapo, to carry them into effect. Thus, the Party planned, the Cabinet legislated, and the SS, SA, Gestapo and the military leaders executed. The manner in which this was done can be illustrated by taking up a number of the principal crimes alleged in the Indictment and showing how the five organizations participated in the commission of each crime.

The basic programme for aggression is to be found in the Nazi Party Programme of Twenty-five Points proclaimed by Hitler in 1920 and declared unalterable. It included demands for the unification of all Germans in Greater Germany, for the abrogation of the treaties of Versailles and St. Germain, for land and colonies, and for the creation of a national army.

As the Party Manual shows, this platform was the table of commandments and from it was drawn the dogma for every Political Leader. All members of the Leadership Corps bound themselves to follow these precepts and to spread this doctrine.

As early as April, 1933, the Cabinet, by resolution, created the Reich Defense Council, a body of cabinet members whose function was to prepare the nation for war. In October, 1933, the Cabinet proclaimed Germany's withdrawal from the League of Nations and the Disarmament Conference. A year and a half later, in March, 1935, it re-established the Wehrmacht and provided for compulsory military service. Its war planning measures were carried further by its enactment in May, 1935, of a secret unpublished Reich Defence Law, providing for the appointment of a plenipotentiary-general for war economy with sweeping powers, and its decision that the plenipotentiary should begin his work at once, even in peace time. In February, 1938, on the eve of the seizure of Austria, a second component of the Reich Cabinet, the Secret Cabinet Council, was created to advise Hitler in conducting foreign policy, and it was the defendant von Neurath, the President of that council, who took diplomatic steps to justify and excuse this aggressive action. After the seizure had been accomplished, it was the Cabinet which provided for the reunion of Austria with the Reich. Six months later, in September, 1938, by another secret and wholly unpublished law, the Cabinet provided for a three-man Council of Plenipotentiaries whose function was to have prepared at all times complete plans and ready measures for the sudden and not-to-be-declared war. In November, 1938, it was a Cabinet law which provided for the integration of the Sudetenland with Germany, and in March, 1939, for the incorporation of Memel into Germany. The Tribunal will remember the dramatic meeting of the Reich Defence Council held in June of 1939, where preparations were completed for the coming war and detailed plans were approved, such as using prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates for war production, compulsory work for women in war time, and the bringing of hundreds of thousands of workers from the Protectorate to be housed together in hutments. In August,

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1939, on the eve of the attack on Poland, the Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich, the third component of the Reich Cabinet, was created out of members of the Cabinet, to act as a smaller working group in the exercise of legislative and executive war-time powers. Thereafter, it was this component of the Reich Cabinet, rather than the ordinary Cabinet, which enacted most of the legislation for carrying on the war, but with the knowledge and participation of the entire membership of the ordinary Cabinet.

While the Cabinet was thus preparing the legal and administrative framework for aggression, the other organizations were actively engaged in related preparations to the same end; an aggressive militaristic psychology on the part of the people and the building up of a powerful army were essential to prepare the nation for war. To the attainment of those ends the SA assiduously devoted itself. First in 1933 by engaging in an intensive propaganda campaign demanding colonies, Lebensraum, the abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles; falsely attributing aggressive designs to Germany's neighbours; and generally spreading the now well-known party bromides. Almost simultaneously, it organized a training programme for German youth in the technique of modern war, at first in dark secrecy, but finally in the open, when it felt itself sufficiently prepared and was sure of no outside interference. But the SA did not confine itself to mere preparations. When the first aggressive action, that against Austria, was taken, units of the SA marched through the streets of Vienna and seized the principal government buildings, and, in the plans for the seizure of the Sudetenland, the SA formed a part of the Henlein Free Corps, and furnished it with supplies and equipment.

The activities of the SS were similar to the SA and even more widespread; like the SA, it served as a para-military organization in the years preceding 1939. Like the SA, it took part in the aggression against Austria and in the conspiracy to undermine Czechoslovakia, through the Henlein Free Corps. Its activities are distinguishable from those of the SA in these matters only because it played the more important part. Its professional combat forces joined with the Army in marching into the Sudetenland and Bohemia- Moravia, and in the invasion of Poland. One of its main departments, the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle, was a centre for Fifth Column activities. The SD of the Reichsfuehrer SS operated a network of spies throughout the world, and its agents were spying in the United States before Germany declared war upon America. The largest branch of the SS, the Waffen SS, was created and developed for the sole purpose of carrying on the war, and participated, as an SS army, in all phases of the war in the East and in the West. Its shameful record of war atrocities needs no amplification here. The Gestapo and SD were likewise involved in the commission of Crimes Against Peace. The very incident that served as an excuse for the invasion of Poland, and thus set off the entire war, was executed by the Gestapo and the SD. I refer to the simulated Polish attack on the radio station at Gleiwitz, where concentration camp prisoners were dressed in Polish uniforms, murdered and left as evidence of a Polish raid, so as to afford Hitler a justification for the attack upon Poland. Of course the professional military clique planned and participated in all aggressions, from the militarisation of the Rhineland in 1936 to the attack on Soviet Russia in 1941.

The waging of those wars of aggression was possible for Germany only by the utilization of-millions of enslaved workers, and the slave labour programme was possible only with the assistance of these organizations. Sauckel was the master slaver, but he needed a million Party whips to enforce his merciless dictates. The SS, the Gestapo and the SD, at his bidding, drove the foreign serfs within the Reich borders under the lash of deceit, of kidnapping, or heart- breaking family separations, of arson, of torture and of murder. The Leadership Corps, in cooperation with the Nazi Labour Front and with industrial management, were Sauckel's receiving agents for these unfortunate ones. At the Reich level and at

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the Gau level members of the Leadership Corps helped to arrange for the conditions of bedding, feeding and restraining those wretched human beings, giving them less attention and showing them less decent concern than primitive man often gave to his brutes. The Gauleiter, functioning as Reich Defence Commissars, at the order of Speer and Sauckel, and under the most revolting transport conditions, shunted the slaves from receiving depots to armament industries, where, like stanchioned beasts, they were submitted to sub-human indignities and worked to death. Medical care and even the most simple medical supplies were refused them. Denied even the social advantages of the barnyard they struggled under less than good stable standards. With a coarseness unknown to ordinary domestic animal care, directives providing for the abortion of female labourers were distributed to Gauleiter and Kreisleiter and their staffs. Their keepers were of the Gestapo and the SD, and the cells of the concentration camp awaited anyone who chafed under the cruelty. Urged on by Speer, the Gauleiter utilized prisoners of war for slave labour purposes, and Rosenberg's minions in the Eastern territories, under the spur of Sauckel's demands, gleaned new millions for thraldom. The Army harnessed thousands for the construction of military fortifications and for military production, and Keitel carried out Hitler's orders by hitching honourable soldier prisoners of war to machines that made materials for war. The greedy Goering sought prisoners of war as slaves for his air armament industries, and suggested new uses for old orders violating recognized codes of warfare, and his aide Milch thought of the forced use of Russian prisoners of war to man anti-aircraft batteries as comedy relief for the oppressive madness of the times. Depravity supplanted degradation and death became the declared objective of concentration camp labour establishments under the SS. Of necessity all of this went on with high Cabinet approval as the impact of all this terrible programme created new problems for Germany.

So suffered the slaves in the midst of the German population, as thousands of them were farmed out for better or for worse to householders, to great and to small industries, until at last, in the closing hours of the conflict, under pressure of the grim necessities of the war situation and solely to increase the war effort, the Nazi Government itself was forced to issue an order to slacken the violence against those who were in chains. The great significance of this order cannot be overstated. By its own terms, it makes perfectly clear that cruelty to the slaves was a State policy carried out by the German people. It is damning evidence against the whole German nation. It is, in our judgment, one of the most important documents in this case. It is shocking to realize that it came from the Party Chancellery and the Reich Security Main Office - both high State agencies; and it was directed, in writing, to all Political Leaders down to Ortsgruppenleiter, and to the lowest level of German society by word of mouth.

The extent of the crimes committed against the Jewish people is too great for the human mind to grasp completely. Our mental processes are conditioned by our whole experience in living. We shudder at one bestial murder, we shrink from a few disgusting crimes, but when confronted with mass horror we find ourselves groping for adequate reaction. We simply cannot comprehend six million murders. In the regular course of life it is good that this is so; but in weighing the evidence in this case it is something of a handicap for all parties except the guilty. Of some facts, however, we do have full knowledge and full understanding. They are all in evidence before this Tribunal. We know that these indicted organizations all share responsibility for the vast crimes committed against the Jewish people. We know that the evil geniuses of the Nazi plan understood how to nurture a nation for hatred. They began easily by the Leadership Corps writing into the Party platform that only a member of the race could be a citizen. Thus they laid the groundwork for the basic premise upon which Jews were deprived of human rights in Germany. Then the same Leadership Corps began the work of directing a campaign of abuse against the whole

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Jewish people. Every man's failure, all worry, each disappointment, any fear, was resolved in the crucible of Jewish responsibility. Throughout the Reich, Jew-baiting committees were established under the direction of various Political Leaders. Led by Gauleiter Streicher, Party members first engaged in open violence against Jews and their property by destroying the synagogue here in Nuremberg. Then came the hideous occurrences on the night of 10th November, 1938, under the incitement of Party propaganda leader Goebbels and with the open assistance of the Leadership Corps and the SA. To add mockery to malefaction, the Nazis set up a Supreme Party Court to investigate these outrages and although it found that instructions for carrying out these pogroms had been telephoned by the Gauleiter to their subordinate leaders, it ruled that, in the killing of Jews without orders or contrary to orders: "at heart the men were convinced that they had done a service to their Fuehrer and to their Party." Under the guise of this judicial hypocrisy, none of the participants was so much as expelled from the Party.

Throughout the years, as this hate movement progressed, all manner of discriminatory legislation was enacted to restrict the mobility of the Jew, to impoverish him, and to degrade him. Great numbers of these legislative monstrosities, all of them the creations of the Reich Cabinet, are in evidence in this record. With quickened pace the Nazis moved to new cruelties and, from a confused policy which demanded the departure of the Jew and called for his detention in German concentration camps, they approached the depths of shame in a Reich Cabinet proposal for the sterilization of even half- Jews. In a cold setting of sadism and sin, the Reich Cabinet reviewed the manner in which half-Jews were to be treated, and the recommendations of the Cabinet were submitted to Hitler for final action. The SA men were among the first to apply direct force and brutality against the Jewish people in Germany. The witness Severing has told the Tribunal from the witness-stand that during the years after 1921 the SA engaged in organized terror against the Jews. These street ruffians, having nearly completed their orgies against ordinary political opponents, now found new uses for their clubs and whips and new outlets for their perverse propensities. Any Jew was fair game and it was open season the year round for Jew-hunting. They smashed into private homes and abused the terrified Jewish inhabitants without any pretence of cause or provocation. And they interlaced their physical violence with their constant tirade of slanderous anti-Jewish propaganda.

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