The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Murder And Ill-Treatment
Of Civilian Population
(Part 3 of 4)

[Page 52]

In Poland the intelligentsia had been marked down for extermination as early as September, 1939, and in May, 1940 the defendant Frank wrote in his diary of "taking advantage of the focusing of world interest on the Western Front, by wholesale liquidation of thousands of Poles, first leading representatives of the Polish intelligentsia." Earlier, Frank had been directed to reduce the "entire Polish economy to an absolute minimum necessary for bare existence. The Poles shall be the slaves of the Greater German World Empire." In January, 1940, he recorded in his diary that "cheap. labor must be removed from the General Government by hundreds of thousands.

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This will hamper the native biological propagation." So successfully did the Germans carry out this policy in Poland that by the end of the war one third of the population had been killed, and the whole of the country devastated.

It was the same story in the occupied area of the Soviet Union. At the time of the launching of the German attack in June, 1941, Rosenberg told his collaborators:

"The object of feeding the German People stands this year without a doubt at the top of the list of Germany's claims on the East, and there the southern territories and the northern Caucasus will have to serve as a balance for the feeding of the German People .... A very extensive evacuation will be necessary, without any doubt, and it is sure that the future will hold very hard years in store for the Russians."

Three or four weeks later Hitler discussed with Rosenberg, Goering, Keitel, and others his plan for the exploitation of the Soviet population and territory, which included among other things the evacuation of the inhabitants of the Crimea and its settlement by Germans.

A somewhat similar fate was planned for Czechoslovakia by the defendant von Neurath, in August, 1940; the intelligentsia were to be "expelled" but the rest of the population was to be Germanized rather than expelled or exterminated, since there was a shortage of Germans to replace them.

In the West the population of Alsace were the victims of a German "expulsion action." Between July and December, 1940, 105,000 Alsatians were either deported from their homes or prevented from returning to them. A captured German report dated the 7th August, 1942, with regard to Alsace states that:

"The problem of race will be given first consideration, and this in such a manner that persons of racial value will be deported to Germany proper, and racially inferior persons to France."

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken)

THE PRESIDENT: I now ask General Nikitchenko to continue the reading of the judgment.

GENERAL NIKITCHENKO: Article 49 of the Hague Convention provides that an occupying Power may levy a contribution of money from the occupied territory to pay for the needs of the army of occupation, and for the administration of the territory in question. Article 52 of the Hague Convention provides that an occupying Power may make requisitions in kind only for the needs of the army of occupation, and that these requisitions shall be in proportion to the resources of the country. These articles, together with Article 48, dealing with the expenditure of money collected in taxes, and Articles 53, 55, and 56, dealing with public property, make it clear that under the rules of war, the economy of an occupied country can only be required to bear the expense of the occupation, and these should not be greater than the economy of the country can reasonably expected to bear. Article 56 reads as follows:

"The property of municipalities, of religious, charitable, educational, artistic, and scientific institutions, although belonging to the State, is to be accorded the same standing as private property. All pre-meditated seizure, destruction, or damage of such institutions, historical monuments, works of art and science, is prohibited and should be prosecuted."

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The evidence in this case has established, however, that the territories occupied by Germany were exploited for the German war effort in the most ruthless way, without consideration of the local economy, and in consequence of a deliberate design and policy. There was in truth a systematic "plunder of public or private property" which was criminal under Article 6 (b) of the Charter. The German occupation policy was clearly stated in a speech made by the defendant Goering on the 6th August, 1942, to the various German authorities in charge of occupied territories:

"God knows, you are not sent out there to work for the welfare of the people in your charge, but to get the utmost out of them, so that the German People can live. That is what I expect of your exertions. This everlasting concern about foreign people must cease now, once and for all. I have here before me reports on what you are expected to deliver. It is nothing at all, when I consider your territories. It makes no difference to me in this connection if you say that your people will starve."

The methods employed to exploit the resources of the occupied territories to the full varied from country to country. In some of the occupied countries in the East and the West, this exploitation was carried out within the framework of the existing economic structure. The local industries were put under German supervision, and the distribution of war materials was rigidly controlled. The industries thought to be of value to the German war effort were compelled to continue, and most of the rest were closed down altogether. Raw materials and the finished products alike were confiscated for the needs of the German industry. As early as 19th October, 1939, the defendant Goering had issued a directive giving detailed instructions for the administration of the occupied territories; it provided:

"The task for the economic treatment of the various administrative regions is different, depending on whether the country is involved which will be incorporated politically into the German Reich, or whether we will deal with the Government- General, which in all probability will not be made a part of Germany. In the first mentioned territories, the.. safeguarding of all their productive facilities and supplies must be aimed at, as well as a complete incorporation into the Greater German economic system, at the earliest possible time. On the other hand, there must be removed from the territories of the Government- General all raw materials scrap materials, machines, etc., which are of use for the German war economy. Enterprises which are not absolutely necessary for the meager maintenance of the naked existence of the population must be transferred to Germany, unless such transfer would require an unreasonably long period of time, and would make it more practicable to exploit those enterprises by giving them German orders, to be executed at their present location."

As a consequence of this order, agricultural products, raw materials needed by German factories, machine tools, transportation equipment, other finished products, and even foreign securities and holdings of foreign exchange were all requisitioned and sent to Germany. These resources were requisitioned in a manner out of all proportion to the economic resources of those countries, and resulted in famine, inflation, and an active black market. At first the German occupation authorities attempted to suppress the black market, because it was a channel of distribution keeping local products out of German hands. When attempts at suppression failed, a German purchasing agency was organized to make purchases for Germany on the black market, thus carrying out the

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assurance made by the defendant Goering that it was "necessary that all should know that if there is to be famine anywhere, it shall in no case be in Germany."

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