The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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(b) Resettlement of conquered territories by Germans. The SS
not only destroyed or deported conquered peoples and
confiscated their property, but it also repopulated the
conquered regions with so-called racial Germans. Thousands
upon thousands of these Germans were transported from all
parts of Europe to join the greater Reich. Not all Germans
were deemed reliable colonists, however. Those who were not,
were returned to Germany proper for "re-Germanization" and
"reeducation" along Nazi lines. A typical instance of the
fate of such Germans is found in the decree of the Reich
Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Folkdom of 16
February 1942, dealing with the treatment to be accorded so-
called "Polonized" Germans (R-112). By the terms

                                                  [Page 233]
of that decree two other SS functionaries were charged with
the responsibility for the re-Germanization program, the
Higher SS and Police Leaders and the Gestapo. Paragraph III
of the decree provide:
     "III. The Higher SS and Police Fuehrer will further the
     re-Germanization actions with every means at their
     disposal and continuously take stock of their success.
     In case they find that obstacles are put in the way of
     a re-Germanization action, they will report on their
     findings to the competent State Police (Superior)
     Office for appropriate measures. Where it proves to be
     impossible to attain re-Germanization even by forcible
     measures taken by the State Police, they will apply for
     a revocation of the naturalization through the Reich
     Fuehrer SS, Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of
     German Nationhood and give notice to the competent
     State Police (Superior) Office." (R-112)
Paragraph IV of the decree provides:
     "IV. In the course of fulfilling their duties imposed
     on them by this Decree the competent State Police
     (Superior) Offices will take in particular the
     following measures :"
     "4. They will assist the Higher SS and Police Fuehrer
     in their task of re-Germanization, particularly in
     removing obstacles by forcible measures whenever there
     is opposition to re-Germanization. Before ordering
     forcible measures by the State Police they will give
     the Counsellor of the person in question an opportunity
     to state his opinion.
     "5. They will take into protective custody all persons,
     with regard to whom the Higher SS and Police Fuehrer
     has applied for revocation of their naturalization and
     will order their imprisonment in a Concentration Camp."

In the final stage of the process, the resettlement of the
conquered land by racially and politically desirable
Germans, still other SS agencies participated. The National
Socialist Yearbook for 1941 states that:

     "Numerous SS-leaders and SS-men helped with untiring
     effort in bringing about this systematic migration of
     peoples, which has no parallel in history.
     "There were many authoritative and administrative
     difficulties which, however, were immediately overcome
     due to the unbureaucratic working procedure. This was
     especially guaranteed above all by the employment of SS
     "The procedure called 'Durchschleusung' (literally,
     'passing through the lock') takes to 4 hours as a rule.
     The resettler
                                                  [Page 234]
     is passed through 8 to 9 offices, following each other
     in organic order: registration office, card-index
     office, certificate and photo-office, property office,
     and biological hereditary and sanitary test office. The
     latter was entrusted to doctors and medical personnel
     of the SS and of the Armed Forces. The SS-Corps Areas
     [Oberabschnitte] Alpenland, North-West, Baltic Sea,
     Fulda-Werra, South and South East, the SS-Main Office
     [SS-Hauptamt], the NPEA (National Political Education
     Institution) Vienna, and the SS-Cavalry-School in
     Hamburg provided most of the SS-Officer and SS-Non-Coms
     who worked at this job of resettlement."
     "The settlement, establishment and care of the newly
     won peasantry in the liberated Eastern territory will
     be one of the most cherished tasks of the SS in the
     whole future." (2165-PS)

E. Defendant's Membership in the SS.

In the course of its development from a group of strong
armed bodyguards, some 200 in number, to a complex
organization participating in every field of Nazi endeavor,
the SS found room for its members in high places. Persons in
high places moreover, found for themselves a position in the
SS. Of the defendants charged in the indictment at least 7
were high ranking officers in the SS. They are the
defendants Ribbentrop, Hess, Kaltenbrunner, Bormann,
Sauckel, Neurath, and Seyss-Inquart. The vital part that
Kaltenbrunner played in the SS, the SD, and the entire
Security Police system is discussed in Section 6 on the

With respect to the other six defendants, the facts as to
their membership in the SS are to be found in two official
publications. The first is the membership list of the SS as
of 1 December 1936. On line 2, page 8, of that publication,
there appears the name "Hess, Rudolf," followed
by the notation, "By authority of the Fuehrer the right to
wear the uniform of an SS Obergruppenfuehrer." In the 1937
edition of the same membership list, line 50, page 10, there
appears the name "Bormann, Martin," and in line with his
name on the opposite page, under the heading
"Gruppenfuehrer," appears the following date "20 April
1937." In the same edition, line 56, page 12, is the name
"von Neurath, Konstantin" and on the opposite page, under
the column headed "Gruppenfuehrer," the date "18 September

The second publication is "Der Grossdeutsche Reichstag" for
the Fourth Voting Period, edited by E. Kienast, Ministerial

                                                  [Page 235]
of the German Reichstag an official handbook containing
biographical data as to members of the Reichstag. On page
349 the following appears: "von Ribbentrop, Joachim,
Reichsminister des Auswaertigen, SS Obergruppenfuehrer"; and
on page 360 the following: "Sauckel, Fritz, Gauleiter and
Reichsstalthalter in. Thuringen, SS Obergruppenfuehrer"; and
on page 389 the following: "Seyss-Inquart, Arthur, Dr. Jur.,
Reichsminister, SS Obergruppenfuehrer."

F. Conclusion.

It is the prosecution's contention that the SS, as defined
in Appendix B of the Indictment, was unlawful. Its
participation in every phase of the conspiracy alleged in
Count One is clear. As an organization founded on the
principle that persons of "German blood" were a "master
race," it exemplified a basic Nazi doctrine. It served as
one of the means through which the conspirators acquired
control of the German government. The operations of the SD,
and of the SS Totenkopf Verbaende in concentration camps,
were means used by the conspirators to secure their regime
and terrorize their opponents as alleged in Count One. All
components of the SS were involved from the very beginning
in the Nazi program of Jewish extermination. Through the
Allgemeine SS as a para-military organization, the SS
Verfuegungstruppe and SS Totenkopf Verbaende as professional
combat forces, and the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle as a fifth
column agency, it participated in preparations for
aggressive war, and, through its militarized units, in the
seizure of Austria, the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the
attack on Poland, and the waging of aggressive war in the
West and in the East, as set forth in Counts One and Two of
the Indictment. In the course of such war, all components of
the SS had a part in the war crimes and crimes against
humanity, set forth in Counts Three and Four, the murder and
ill treatment of civilian populations in occupied territory,
the murder and ill treatment of prisoners of war, and the
Germanization of occupied territories.

The evidence has shown that the SS was a single enterprise-a
unified organization. Some of its functions were, of course,
performed by one branch or department or office, some by
another. No single branch or department participated in
every phase of its activity. But every branch and department
and office was necessary to the functioning of the whole.
The situation is much same as in the case of the individual
defendants at the bar. Nat all participated in every act of
the conspiracy; but all performed a contributing part in the
whole criminal scheme.

                                                  [Page 236]

The evidence has shown, not only that the SS was an
organization of volunteers but that applicants had to meet
the strictest standards of selection. It was not easy 'to
become an SS member. That was true of all branches of the
SS. During the course of the war, as the demands for
manpower increased and the losses of the Waffen SS grew
heavier and heavier, there were occasions when men drafted
for compulsory military service were assigned to units of
the Waffen SS rather than to the Wehrmacht. Those instances
were relatively few. Evidence of recruiting standards of the
Waffen SS in 1943 has shown that membership in that branch
was as essentially voluntary and highly selective as in
other branches. The fact that some individuals may have been
arbitrarily assigned to some Waffen SS unit has no bearing
on the issue before the tribunal, which is this, whether the
SS was or was not an unlawful organization. Doubtless some
of the members of the SS, or of other of the organizations
alleged to be unlawful, might desire to show that their
participation in the organization was small or innocuous,
that compelling reasons drove them to apply for membership,
that they were not fully conscious of its aims, or that they
were mentally irresponsible when they became members. Such
facts might or might not be relevant if they were on trial.
But in any event this is not the forum to try out such

The question before this Tribunal is simply this, whether
the SS was or was not an unlawful organization. The evidence
has fully shown what the aims and activities of the SS were.
Some of these aims were stated in publications. The
activities were so widespread and so notorious, covering so
many fields of unlawful endeavor, that the illegality of the
organization could not have been concealed. It was a
notorious fact, and Himmler himself admitted that in 1936,
when he said:

     "I know that there are people in Germany now who become
     sick when they see these black coats. We know the
     reason and we don't expect to be loved by too many."

It was at all times the exclusive function and purpose of
the SS to carry out the common objectives of the
conspirators. Its activities in carrying out those functions
involved the commission of the crimes defined in Article 6
of the Charter. By reason of its aims and the means used for
the accomplishment thereof, the SS should be declared a
criminal organization in accordance with Article 9 of the

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