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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Two Hundred and Fifteenth Day: Friday, 30th August, 1946
(Part 8 of 15)

[Page 344]

[GENERAL R. A. RUDENKO, Continued]

Counsel for the defence, Servatius, understands that the probative value of this mass of written evidence is highly dubious and he resorts to the last argument, stating that: "Counsel for the defence were unable to visit the camps in Austria, no claims having been received from the Soviet Zone." But did the testimony of the witnesses for the defence become more convincing in consequence? Does the fact that Servatius did not visit Austria change the situation in the very least? Servatius was given unlimited possibilities for visiting the camps in the Soviet Zone of occupation. He visited certain camps. He knew that the right of the members of the organizations to submit declarations and to make statements before the Tribunal had been repeatedly announced in the newspapers published in the Soviet Zone and broadcast by radio. Servatius knew all this, but nevertheless he still endeavoured to deceive the Tribunal. He attempted to do this in other cases as well.

When Servatius refers to Hess's directive of the 27th July, 1935, in order to confirm the fact that the Political Leadership Corps never existed, and that allegedly the title of "Political Leaders" was not an official one, he passes over in silence that it was indicated, in the very same directive, that "it stands to reason that the term 'Political Leaders' remains in use."

Servatius artificially increases the number of the leading staff of the NSDAP to 2,100,000 persons, in order, like a demagogue, to impute to the prosecution a tendency to punish millions of Germans. At the same time and in order to

[Page 345]

shelter outstanding Fascist leaders from all legal responsibility, he, without any proof whatsoever, affirms that of the workers of the Gauleiter organizations only 140,000 were "honorary workers."

The ill-famed Fascist, Kaufmann, summoned by the defence to the witness-stand, having been a member of the Nazi Party since 1921 and Gauleiter for twenty years, appears not to have known anything about the crimes of the Hitlerite conspirators. He was exclusively "Socialist" and was only taking care of the welfare of the population.

Another witness for the defence, Hans Wegscheider, who had been an Ortsgruppenleiter for a period of twelve years, went even farther in his testimonies. It appears that during these twelve years he did not have time to read even Mein Kampf.

A third witness, Meyer-Wendeborn, a Kreisleiter since 1934, surpassed even Kaufmann by trying to justify his accomplices. When the latter gave an affirmative answer to the question "Were Block- and Zellenleiter some kind of Political Leaders?" Meyer-Wendeborn answered the same question in the negative.

It would be very easy, by some further examples, to prove the inconsistency of the standpoint of the defence, but I consider it unnecessary to enter into a controversy with a defence which resorts to witnesses such as Kaufmann, Wendeborn, et alia.

Among the Political Leaders of Hitlerite Germany (this term was legalized by Hess's directive of 27th July, 1935) there was within the Party hierarchy of the NSDAP a separate group of so-called "Hoheitstrager" - bearers of sovereignty, who occupied a special position.

Together with the Gauleiter and Kreisleiter, the group of "Hoheitstrager" also included the Ortsgruppenleiter, Zellen- and Blockleiter.

The special character of Political Leaders called "Hoheitstrager" is described in the Party Manual (Charter) of NSDAP and in the special journal called Der Hoheitstrager, which was secret from everybody, except a certain inner circle of the Leadership Corps of the NSDAP, SS and SA.

From the contents of Der Hoheitstrager it is quite evident that the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party paid continual attention to the measures and doctrines carried out as and when the Fascist conspiracy was being realized. In 1937 to 1938 this journal dealt with the following problems: the slanderous anti-Semitic articles, among them some by the not unknown Ley, the attacks on the Church, the justification of the necessity of increasing the "living-space" and seizing colonies; the motorization of the Army; the utilization of Nazi Party Cells and Blocks to gain favourable votes for the Hitlerites in the plebiscite; the cult of the leadership, race theory, etc.

These problems were dealt with from copy to copy. And after this, the defence is trying to assert that the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party was not acquainted with the plans of the Hitlerite conspirators.

The Nazis are now trying in every way to disown their compromising connections with the Gestapo and the SD, but then these connections are indisputable.

As far back as on the 26th June, 1935, Bormann had issued an order in which was stated: "In order to effect a closer contact between the Party offices and its organizations with the Directors of the Secret State Police (Gestapo), the Deputy Fuehrer requests that the Directors of the Gestapo be invited in future to all the larger official rallies of the Party and its organizations."

In another directive, issued on the 14th November, 1935, and also signed by Bormann, it was stated:

"Inasmuch as the success of the work of the Party primarily depends on the work of the SD, it is inadmissible that its expansion be influenced by attacks provoked by the failure of individuals. On the contrary, it should be wholeheartedly assisted."

[Page 346]

The Tribunal has at its disposal numerous proofs of the most grievous crimes in which the entire Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party participated, from Reichsleiter to Blockleiter inclusive. I will recall only a few of them.

While carrying out the plans of Hitlerite conspirators for the enslavement of the Yugoslav people, the Kreisleiter of the Pettau district, with the assistance of Ortsgruppenleiter and Blockleiter, destroyed all inscriptions, posters and announcements, etc., written in the Slovene language. This Fascist ruler even went so far as to entrust the Gruppenleiter "to see to it that all Slovene inscriptions should also be immediately and completely removed from the images of saints (icons), chapels and churches."

In the letter of 13th November, 1944, addressed to all Reichsleiter, Gauleiter and Kreisleiter, Bormann notified them of the agreement concluded with the OKW concerning "the co-operation of the Party in the utilization of prisoners of war. Therefore, the officers assigned to matters pertaining to prisoners of war have been instructed to co-operate as fully as possible with the 'Hoheitstrager'; the commandants of the prisoner-of-war camps have immediately to detail liaison officers to the Kreisleiter."

What the results of this co-operation were and how prisoners of war were utilized in Germany, are well known.

In Goering's directive of the 27th March, 1942, issued in connection with the appointment of Sauckel as Plenipotentiary General for the Utilization of Manpower, it was provided that Sauckel had the right to issue orders ... also to the Party organizations, its component parts and allied organizations.

And Sauckel did take advantage of this right. As he wrote in his "programme issued on the Fuehrer's birthday," he "with the Fuehrer's and Reichsmarschall's consent, as well as with the consent of the head of the Party Chancellery" appointed all Gauleiter of the German Reich his plenipotentiaries. Sauckel's decree outlined the Gauleiter's tasks as follows:

"To ensure the uninterrupted co-operation of all State, Party, military and economic authorities in order to attain the greatest effect in the utilization of manpower."
On 25th September, 1944, Himmler issued a top secret directive concerning "the strengthening of discipline and efficiency of foreign workers." In this directive Himmler made it obligatory for: " ... the Party Leaders in all business enterprises to observe with particular attention the frame of mind of the foreign workers. For this purpose close co-operation of the Party, State and economic authorities with the Gestapo is essential."

It was stated farther on in this directive that all members of the NSDAP working in business enterprises, subject to instructions given them by the Kreisleiter and through the Ortsgruppenleiter, are obliged "to watch the foreign workers most carefully and notify the Party Leader immediately of their observations, for further communication to officials of the 'Abwehr'." Where there was no permanent official of the "Abwehr," the information was delivered to the Ortsgruppenleiter.

Himmler's directive prescribed that "in the interest of a unified political leadership, the 'Abwehr' officials should co-ordinate their work with the Gestapo Leaders, who, as and when needed, are summoned by the Kreisleiter."

That is exactly what was meant by "political leadership" of Kreis- and Ortsgruppenleiter. Similar espionage functions were carried out by Blockleiter, and this was clearly indicated in the "Organization Book of the NSDAP" (Party Manual).

"A Blockleiter should expose all persons spreading pernicious rumours and report them to the Ortsgruppenleiter, in order that the latter could report them through official channels to the State authorities."
A Blockleiter was required "to propagate the National Socialistic ideology among the members of the Nazi Party and the population entrusted to him."

[Page 347]

He recruited members into the Hitler Youth, SA, SS, and DAF (German Labour Front); he secured their attendance at the Party rallies, their participation in demonstrations, etc."
"A Blockleiter has to carry out continuous National Socialistic propaganda."
What the nature of Nazi propaganda was is well known to everybody.
"We want arms again," wrote Hitler. "Therefore, everything - starting from the child's ABC book up to the latest newspaper - every theatre, every cinema, every signpost and signboard should be placed at the service of this great mission."
Not every German knew these words of Hitler's, but everyone knew the Blockleiter of his district, and this Blockleiter was continuously spreading the Fascist contagion, poisoning the people's conscience, thereby assisting in the realization of the general plans of the Hitlerite conspirators.

Blockleiter were small Fuehrer, but even they were endowed with very real power over the citizens living in their districts.

Certainly the Blockleiter did not elaborate the plans of aggressive wars, but they did contribute very much to the realization of these plans.

They formed, too, a very important section of the Nazi Party which was the centre of the Fascist conspiracy.

That is why we insist on the recognition of the group of the Political Leaders of the Nazi Party as a criminal organization, together with all big and small Fuehrer: Reichleiter, Gauleiter, Kreisleiter, Ortsgruppenleiter, Zellenleiter, and Blockleiter - that is to say, the entire Leadership Corps of the monstrous machinery of Fascist dictatorship.

Among other criminal organizations created by German Fascism, special position should be granted to the so-called "Schutzstaffel" of the Hitlerite party, or, abbreviated, the "SS."

The most grievous crimes of German Fascism are connected with the title of "SS," such as: murder carried out in concentration camps, merciless butchery of the civilian populations and prisoners of war, savage large-scale "actions."

Generally speaking, the SS men were supposed to render effective the genocide plans of Hitler and his clique.

Himmler, Reichsfuehrer of the SS, often called the SS "Das Schwarze Korps." Das Schwarze Korps (Black Corps) was likewise the title of the official SS newspaper, "the organ of the Reichsfuehrer SS."

It was not a title selected at random. The whole system applied by the SS, beginning with the so-called "Allgemeine SS" (General SS) and ending with the camp guards and SS armed forces, was actually built up as a special "corps" of criminals convinced of their own impunity, and purposely trained and educated in the meaning of the most cruel and inhuman "theories" of the Hitlerites. The chief Fascist conspirators needed the mass cadres for carrying out the murder of millions of enslaved people, for the seizure of territories and realization of the so-called "Germanisation." It was the SS men who carried out these tasks.

The SS organization was created and became known as Hitler's "Praetorian Guard," and as an organization of pogrom-makers and murderers. During the entire period of its existence it has always remained the same.

Among other evidence presented by the Soviet prosecution, a copy of Das Schwarze Korps, issued on 20th August, 1942, was submitted with a leading article entitled "Should we Germanize?"

The contents of this article, representing the Nazi ideas of Himmler, are of such importance for a correct illustration of the essence of the SS that I am going to quote once again a brief extract from it:

" ... The following slogan has been given by the Reichsfuehrer SS: 'It is not our purpose to Germanize the East in the old sense, i.e., to imbue the people living there with the German language and German laws, rather

[Page 348]

should we strive that only people of true Germanic blood should live in the East.' "
This article had been published for the information of all the SS men at a time when criminal German Fascism was still certain of victory and had already started to carry out its programme of genocide, involving the death of millions.

At the conference of Gruppenfuehrer, held in Poznan on the 4th October, 1943, Himmler, creator of the SS, in a speech concerning the extermination of European Jews, stated:

"Among ourselves it should be mentioned quite frankly, and yet we will never speak of it publicly. Just as we did not hesitate on 30th June, 1934, to do the duty we were bidden, and stand comrades who had lapsed up against the wall and shoot them, so we have never spoken about it and will never speak of it .... I mean the clearing out of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish race. It is one of those things it is easy to talk about. 'The Jewish race is being exterminated,' says every Party member, 'that is quite clear, it is in our programme - elimination of the Jews, and we are doing it, exterminating them.' ... Most of you know what it means when 100 corpses are lying side by side, or 500, or 1,000 .... Altogether, however, we can say that we have fulfilled this most difficult duty for the love of our people. And our spirit, our soul, our character has not suffered injury from it."
I shall not dwell on the history of the SS. One may only add to what has already been said, that the "Schutzstaffeln," created as far back as 1925, became, according to Hitler's special decree of the 20th July, 1934, an independent organization of the Hitlerite party, to wit - after political murders committed by the SS men on the 30th June, 1934.

Hitler's decree reads as follows:

"In consideration of the valiant service of the SS, especially in connection with the events of 30th June, 1934, I raise it to the standing of an independent organization within the Nazi Party."
The process of development of the SS within the system of the Hitlerite State testifies to the ever-increasing consolidation of the SS, the so-called General SS as well as the armed SS forces, with the police organization of the Gestapo, SD, Einsatzgruppen and Sonderkommandos carrying out large scale "actions" and "filtrations" in the camps, etc.

This process of development was completed on the 17th August, 1938, by a secret directive of Hitler's, in which, explaining the reasons for which he united on the 17th June, 1936, the offices of the Chief of the German Police and the Reichsfuehrer SS, he stated:

"By appointing the Reichsfuehrer SS Chief of the German Police at the Ministry of the Interior on the 17th June, 1936 (Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 487), I have created a foundation for the unification and reorganization of the German police."
In accordance with this measure the "Schutzstaffeln" of the National Socialists, under the Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police, entered into close collaboration with the German police. And only in this organic and close collaboration with the outstandingly cruel police organizations created by German Fascism, and specially appointed to carry out tortures and extermination of people, could the role of the SS be correctly understood.

The defence has unsuccessfully tried to refute this fact. It has tried to present this organization to the Tribunal as composed of a number of absolutely independent cells separated by means of impenetrable partitions, such as: "Allgemeine SS" (General SS), "Waffen SS" (armed SS forces), "Verfugungstruppe SS " (Special SS Units), and the "Totenkopf" Division (Death's Head Division).

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