The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Accused Organisations:
The Leadership Corps Of The Nazi Party:
Criminal Activity
(Part 3 of 10)

[Page 68]

Criminal Activity: These steps, which relate merely to the consolidation of control of the Nazi Party, are not criminal under the view of the conspiracy to wage aggressive war which has previously been set forth. But the Leadership Corps was also used for similar steps in Austria and those parts of Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Poland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Yugoslavia which were incorporated into the Reich and within the Gaus of the Nazi Party. In those territories the machinery of the Leadership Corps was used for their Germanization through the elimination of local customs and the detection and

[Page 69]

arrest of persons who opposed German occupation. This was criminal under Article 6 (b) of the Charter in those areas governed by the Hague Rules of Land Warfare and criminal under Article 6 (c) of the Charter as to the remainder.

The Leadership Corps played its part in the persecution of the Jews. It was involved in the economic and political discrimination against the Jews which was put into effect shortly after the Nazis came into power. The Gestapo and SD were instructed to coordinate with the Gauleiters and Kreisleiters the measures taken in the pogroms of 9th and 10th November in the year 1938. The Leadership Corps was also used to prevent German public opinion from reacting against the measures taken against the Jews in the East. On the 9th October, 1942, a confidential information bulletin was sent to all Gauleiters and Kreisleiters entitled "Preparatory Measures for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe. Rumors concerning the Conditions of the Jews in the East." This bulletin stated that rumors were being started by returning soldiers concerning the conditions of Jews in the East which some Germans might not understand, and outlined in detail the official explanation to be given. This bulletin contained no explicit statement that the Jews were being exterminated, but it did indicate they were going to labor camps, and spoke of their complete segregation and elimination and the necessity of ruthless severity. Thus, even at its face value, it indicated the utilization of the machinery of the Leadership Corps to keep German public opinion from rebelling at a program which was stated to involve condemning the Jews of Europe to a lifetime of slavery. This information continued to be available to the Leadership Corps. The August, 1944 edition of "Die Lage" a publication which was circulated among the Political Leaders, described the deportation of 430,000 Jews from Hungary.

The Leadership Corps played an important part in the administration of the Slave Labor Program. A Sauckel decree dated 6th April, 1942, appointed the Gauleiters as Plenipotentiary for Labor Mobilization for their Gaus with authority to coordinate all agencies dealing with labor questions in their Gaus, with specific authority over the employment of foreign workers, including their conditions of work, feeding, and housing. Under this authority the Gauleiters assumed control over the allocation of labor in their Gaus, including the forced laborers from foreign countries. In carrying out this task the Gauleiters used many Party offices within their Gaus, including subordinate Political Leaders. For example, Sauckel's decree of 8th September, 1942, relating to the allocation for household labor of 400,000 women laborers brought in from the East, established a procedure under which applications filed for such workers should be passed on by the Kreisleiters, whose judgment was final.

Under Sauckel's directive the Leadership Corps was directly concerned with the treatment given foreign workers, and the Gauleiters were specifically instructed to prevent "politically inept factory heads" from giving "too much consideration to the care of Eastern workers." The type of question which was considered in their treatment included reports by the Kreisleiters on pregnancies among the female slave laborers, which would result in an abortion if the child's parentage would not meet the racial standards laid down by the SS and usually detention in a concentration camp for the female slave laborer. The evidence has established that under the supervision of the Leadership Corps, the industrial workers were housed in camps under atrocious sanitary conditions, worked long hours and were inadequately fed. Under similar supervision, the agricultural workers, who were somewhat better treated, were prohibited transportation, entertainment, and religious worship, and were worked without any time limit on their working hours and under regulations

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which gave the employer the right to inflict corporal punishment. The Political Leaders, at least down to the Ortsgruppenleiters, were responsible for this supervision. On the 5th May,1943, a memorandum of Bormann instructing that mistreatment of slave laborers cease was distributed down to the Ortsgruppenleiters. Similarly on the 10th November, 1944, a Speer circular transmitted a Himmler directive which provided that all members of the Nazi Party, in accordance with instructions from the Kreisleiter, would be warned by the Ortsgruppenleiters of their duty to keep foreign workers under careful observation.

The Leadership Corps was directly concerned with the treatment of prisoners of war. On 5th November, 1941, Bormann transmitted a directive down to the level of Kreisleiter instructing them to insure compliance by the Army with the recent directives of the Department of the Interior ordering that dead Russian prisoners of war should be buried wrapped in tar paper in a remote place without any ceremony or any decorations of their graves. On 25th November, 1943, Bormann sent a circular instructing the Gauleiters to report any lenient treatment of prisoners of war. On 13th September, 1944, Bormann sent a directive down to the level of Kreisleiter ordering that liaison be established between the Kreisleiters and the guards of the prisoners of war in order "better to assimilate the commitment of the prisoners of war to the political and economic demands" On 17th October, 1944, an OKW directive instructed the officer in charge of the prisoners of war to confer with the Kreisleiters on questions of the productivity of labor. The use of prisoners of war, particularly those from the East, was accompanied by a widespread violation of rules of land warfare. This evidence establishes that the Leadership Corps down to the level of Kreisleiter was a participant in this illegal treatment.

The machinery of the Leadership Corps was also utilized in attempts made to deprive Allied airmen of the protection to which they were entitled under the Geneva Convention. On 13th March, 1940, a directive of Hess transmitted instructions through the Leadership Corps down to the Blockleiter for the guidance of the civilian population in case of the landing of enemy planes or parachutists, which stated that enemy parachutists were to be immediately arrested or "made harmless" On 30th May, 1944, Bormann sent a circular letter to all Gau and Kreisleiters reporting instances of lynchings of Allied low-level fliers in which no police action was taken. It was requested that Ortsgruppenleiters be informed orally of the contents of this letter. This letter accompanied a propaganda drive which had been instituted by Goebbels to induce such lynchings, and clearly amounted to instructions to induce such lynchings or at least to violate the Geneva Convention by withdrawing any police protection. Some lynchings were carried out pursuant to this program, but it does not appear that they were carried out through out all of Germany. Nevertheless, the existence of this circular letter shows that the heads of the Leadership Corps were utilizing it for a purpose which was patently illegal and which involved the use of the machinery of the Leadership Corps at least through the Ortsgruppenleiter.


The Leadership Corps was used for purposes which were criminal under the Charter and involved the Germanization of incorporated territory, the persecution of the Jews, the administration of the slave labor program, and the mistreatment of prisoners of war. The Defendants Bormann and Sauckel, who were members of this organisation, were among those who used it for these purposes. The Gauleiters, the Kreisleiters, and the Ortsgruppenleiters participated, to one degree or another in these criminal

[Page 71]

programmes. The Reichsleitung as the staff organisation of the Party is also responsible for these criminal programs as well as the heads of the various staff organisations of the Gauleiters and Kreisleiters. The decision of the Tribunal on these staff organisations includes only the Amtsleiters who were heads of offices on the staffs of the Reichsleitung, Gauleitung, and Kreisleitung. With respect to other staff officers and Party organisations attached to the Leadership Corps other than the Amtsleiters referred to above, the Tribunal will follow the suggestion of the Prosecution in excluding them from the declaration.

The Tribunal declares to be criminal within the meaning of the Charter the group composed of those members of the Leadership Corps holding the positions enumerated in the preceding paragraph who became or remained members of the organisation with knowledge that it was being used for the commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the Charter, or who were personally implicated as members of the organisation in the commission of such crimes. The basis of this finding is the participation of the organisation in War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity connected with the war; the group declared criminal cannot include, therefore, persons who had ceased to hold the positions enumerated in the preceding paragraph prior to 1st September, 1939.

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