The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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         Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression, Supplement B
        Reason for Harsh Treatment of Eastern Peoples
     Testimony of Alfred Rosenberg, taken at Nurnberg,
     Germany, on 29 September 1945, 1022-1152, by Lt.
     Col. Thomas A. Hinkel, IGD. Also present: Bernard
     Reymon, Interpreter; S/Sgt. William A. Weigel,
     Court Reporter
                                                 [Page 1347]
Q. Why were the occupied countries of the West treated
differently from the occupied countries of the East?

A. Because those whom we considered as our adversaries or
opponents from the point of view of our conception of the
world are different in the West from what they are in the
East. In the West there were certain Jewish organizations
and Masonic lodges, and in the East there was nothing more
than the Communist Party.

Q. Well, I am not speaking now so much with reference to
organizations, but to racial groups. Why was the treatment
accorded the racial groups in the East different from that
accorded the racial groups in the West?

A. I don't understand your question.

Q. Well, the question is very simple. You know and I know
that the treatment accorded the peoples of the eastern
occupied territories was quite different from that accorded
the peoples of the Western occupied territories, and I want
to know why.

A. Inasmuch as I could in my capacity as Reichsminister for
the East bring about a fairer treatment of the population
compatible with a state of war, I did it.

Q. You don't really mean that, do you?

A. Well, I used to see those reports about those collisions
and certain struggles between the mutineers and the police.
As I already told you once, all the confidential people of
those racial groups were represented in my department, so as
to centralize in my department all of their claims and
complaints, in order that they may be remedied as far as

Q. Well, wasn't there a policy in existence in the German
Reich will called for much more harsh treatment of the
peoples of the East than accorded the peoples of the West?

A. Yes, that is indeed correct.

Q. I am not speaking of that. I am speaking of the situation
where people in the occupied territories of the West were
treated in one way, and the people in the occupied
territories of the East were treated in another way. Now, I
want to know why the difference in treatment.

A. Well, on the whole we had to face the actual Bolshevik

                                                 [Page 1348]
danger, and when large numbers of those eastern elements had
been sent to Germany we had reason to believe that there may
emanate from those masses a certain danger to Germany.

Q. What about the situation of the Poles? You know and I
know that the Poles were not favorable to the Russians, that
they were anti-Bolshevik too. Why were they treated in the
manner in which they were treated?

A. Well, I have never had anything to do with the Polish
question, but the persecution of the German Nationals in
Poland for the last 20 years would certainly have been a
reason for it.

Q. Didn't you discuss that question with the Fuehrer on
several occasions?

A. I submitted to the Fuehrer the various instructions which
I had issued to the commissars, and he approved of them.

Q. I am not speaking of that. I am speaking of the Polish
situation. Isn't it a fact that you held several discussions
with the Fuehrer regarding your theories of racial
superiority and racial inferiority?

A. Well, of course, we spoke about these various peoples.

Q. And isn't it a further fact that the Poles were decided
to be one of the inferior peoples from your viewpoint and
that of the Fuehrer?

A. The Poles were considered in such a way that they had a
certain layer of cultured, educated people, but that the
masses had been left sadly behind and in a low state.

Q. Wasn't it decided that the best way of dealing with the
problem was to dispose of the masses of the Poles?

A. Well, I didn't speak to the Fuehrer about the Polish

Q. You knew the Polish policy, didn't you?

A. Well, I saw it on the exterior.

Q. Yes, but you were familiar with what was happening, isn't
that so?

A. Well, yes. At the first Polish campaign I heard of the
slaughter of 50,000 German Nationals.

Q. I am not talking about the slaughter of German Nationals.
I am talking about the treatment accorded the Polish
population, and you know what I am talking about, so why
don't you answer my questions? Now, my question is, did you
not know of the policy regarding the treatment to be
accorded the Polish people?

A. Well, I did know that in the course of these rather
difficult events, the Poles were treated in a harsher way.

Q. Yes, not only a harsher way---

A. But as far as I know, the Governor General Frank was
always endeavoring to bring about a better state of things.

                                                 [Page 1349]
Q. I am not talking about Governor General Frank. I am
talking about the situation where the Polish people, whether
in the General Gouvernement Poland or in occupied Poland,
were accorded treatment along a particular line and with a
particular aim in view, and my question is, did you not know
of the policy regarding this treatment?

A. Well, I did know that the policy there was rather harsh.

Q. From whom did you learn that?

A. Well, there was talk about it.

Q. Talk by whom?

A. No, I never meddled into this business.

Q. It isn't a question of meddling. You stated you had
talked about it, and I want to know from whom you heard that

A. No, I can't. I once made a speech in Poznan.

Q. My question is, from whom did you hear regarding the
treatment accorded the Poles?

A. Well, I can't say.

Q. As a matter of fact, it was a matter of common knowledge
throughout Germany, wasn't it?

A. Yes. Of course, there was quite a great deal of talk
about it.

Q. And the German people knew that Polish people were being
killed, didn't they?

A. Yes. Killed why?

Q. I am asking you why.

A. Well, what we did know what that in the course of the
war, and those things had been found out after the war, a
certain number of executions did take place. That much I do

Q. You knew during the war that executions were taking
place, didn't you?

A. Well, I had no certain information.

Q. Never mind about that. Just answer my questions. Did you
or did you not know that these executions were taking place?

A. Well, I can't give any specific answer to this question.

Q. Why can't you? You know.

A. Because I can't remember whether I received any reports
on such things.

Q. It is not a question of receiving reports, formal
reports. You had all kinds of discussions with various
people regarding this policy.

A. Well, I didn't discuss the matter, but, of course, those
were things about which people did hear.

Q. Yes. As a matter of fact, the activities which were
carried out were along the lines of your ideology, isn't
that right?

                                                 [Page 1350]
A. Just a moment. An ideology has nothing in common with
executions. Those are special cases of emergency which may
arise in cases of war or revolution.

Q. And didn't you also advocate the theory of racial

A. I simply voiced the theory that certain peoples have
certain superiorities for certain tasks, while other peoples
are gifted for other tasks.

Q. Isn't it a fact that in your discussion and even in your
writings, you advocated an expansion of the German Reich to
the East?

A. That is correct.

Q. And isn't the easiest way to expand, territorially
speaking, to remove the people who are already occupying the
land into which you wish to expand?

A. Well, this is a matter which had been debated within the
Party, and it was agreed upon that those territories which
had been separated or torn away from Germany had to reenter
the German realm.

Q. Those weren't the only territories that were to be
reincorporated or to be taken into the German Reich, were

A. That is something which one could behold practically. All
of the Polish revolutionary units of Upper Silesia ---

Q. I wish you would just answer the questions that I ask. It
seems to me that this morning every time I have asked you a
question, you go off on a tangent and do not give a direct
response. Now, my question is, wasn't it contemplated that
territories other than those which have formerly been part
of the German Reich be made a part thereof by conquest or by
other means?

A. Well, yes. Through the creation of the province of
Wartheland, a certain portion of that territory was to be
incorporated into Germany.

Q. So, it didn't surprise you, did it, when you heard that
Polish people were being killed, as that would be a very
logical way to make room for Germans to move into that

A. Well, such a policy of murdering Poles, such a policy was
not expected.

Q. Not expected by whom?

A. Well, in the previous 20 years, about one million Germans
had also been expelled from Poland.

Q. I am not asking about that. Why don't you answer the
questions as I ask them? Will you read the question?

(The question was read by the reporter as set forth above.)

The question is: You stated that the policy of murdering
Poles was not expressed and I want to know the people who

                                                 [Page 1351]
make an expression thereof if they were going to. In other
words, who created the policy?

A. Well, if there was anybody at all who had to determine
the German policy in Poland, then that was the Fuehrer
himself. I can't intervene into things which officially
don't concern me.

Q. Do you recall conferring with Himmler regarding the
policy in the East?

A. In the occupied Eastern territories?

Q. Yes.

A. I had a conference with Himmler regarding the relations
between the ministry and the police.

Q. Do you recall any other conferences, particularly one on
the 16th of November 1943, at which, among other things,
questions concerning Estonia and Lithuania were discussed?

A. Yes. The problem of an autonomy for Estonia, Latvia, and
Lithuania was discussed in that year several times.

Q. What about this conference that I just asked you about?
Do you recall it?

A. Yes. Now I remember the 16th and 17th of November `43. It
was the last time when I was in the headquarters to report
to Hitler, and there I met Himmler.

Q. What was the subject of the conversation between you and

A. Well, the subject which brought us to the Fuehrer was to
discuss the autonomy, whether in a larger measure or a
smaller measure, of these countries.

Q. That is not all you talked about either, is it?

A. The outcome of this conference was a proclamation to be
issued to those three peoples.

Q. My question is: That is not all you talked about with
Himmler, is it?

A. I also discussed with him a rather ugly incident which
had taken place between an official of the administration at
Minsk and the organizations to fight the partisans, which
belonged also to the police.

Q. What was the nature of this incident?

A. Apparently in a state of inebriety, a few officers, after
threatening, eventually killed the Commissar.

Q. That is not the incident I am concerned about. Think some
more and see if you can't remember what else you talked to
Himmler about.

A. I cannot recollect.

Q. Do you recall writing a memorandum regarding the meeting
on 16-17 November 1943? [Document referred to did not form
part of prosecution case as finally prepared and hence is
not published in this series.]

                                                 [Page 1352]
A. I do not believe so.

Q. Do you remember making a statement therein to the effect
that you had had a heart-to-heart talk with Himmler?

A. No.

Q. Do you recall in the course of this conversation or this
heart-to-heart talk that you impressed upon Himmler that it
was quite impossible that he should repeat certain remarks
of the Fuehrer? Do you recall that?

A. No, I don't.

Q. Now, these remarks were made in connection with the
policy in the East and purportedly had been made to
outsiders and to representatives of foreign nations. Does
that help you to remember?

A. With my best recollection I don't remember what it was.

Q. Does it help you to remember if I tell you that these
remarks had created what you described as an awful mess?

A. It can only be that Hitler will have spoken to Himmler
about a larger autonomy to be granted to Estonia, Latvia,
and so on, and Himmler will have repeated such remarks, and
this will have created a certain mess. It was not his duty
to comment on any political matters.

Q. What else could it have been besides the theory that you
just advanced?

A. Those two points were the actual kernel or the gist of
those conferences.

Q. Well, was it not a fact that Himmler had repeated certain
remarks made by the Fuehrer with reference to the treatment
to be accorded the peoples in the Eastern occupied
territories, including Estonia and Lithuania, and that
Himmler's repetition of these remarks had a bad impression?

A. With my best will, I cannot recall this.

Q. You think about it and I will ask you about it at some
future time.

A. Well, I usually jot down certain recollections of years
past. Otherwise, they just fall into oblivion.

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