The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th January to 19th January, 1946

Twenty-Eighth Day: Monday, January 7th, 1946
(Part 4 of 10)

[COLONEL TAYLOR continues]

[Page 14]

Your Lordship, the next exhibit will be USA 556, and it has been given the number D-411. It is also Exhibit UK 81. It is the last document in Document Book 2. This is a set of documents which includes a directive dated 10th October, 1941, by Field Marshal von Reichenau, who was the Commander- in-Chief (Oberbefehlshaber) of the German 6th Army, then operating on the Eastern Front. Reichenau, who died in 1942, was therefore a member of the group as defined in the Indictment, and here is what he had to say. I begin reading at Page 5 of the translation:
"Subject: Conduct of Troops in Eastern Territories.

Regarding the conduct of troops towards the Bolshevistic System, vague ideas are still prevalent in many cases. The most essential aim of the war against the Jewish- Bolshevistic system is a complete destruction of their means of power and the elimination of Asiatic influence from the European culture. In this connection the troops are facing tasks which exceed the one-sided routine of soldiering. The soldier in the Eastern Territories is not merely a fighter according to the rules of the art of war, but also a bearer of ruthless national ideology and the avenger of bestialities which have been inflicted upon German and racially related nations.

Therefore, the soldier must have full understanding of the necessity for a severe but just revenge on subhuman Jewry. The Army has to aim at another purpose, that is, the annihilation of revolts in the Hinterland, which, as experience proves, have always been caused by Jews.

[Page 15]

The combating of the enemy behind the front line is still not being taken seriously enough. Treacherous, cruel Partisans and unnatural women are still being made prisoners of war, and guerrilla fighters dressed partly in uniforms or plain clothes, and vagabonds, are still being treated as proper soldiers and sent to prisoner-of- war camps. In fact, captured Russian officers even talk mockingly about Soviet agents moving openly about the roads and very often eating at German field kitchens. Such an attitude of the troops can only be explained by complete thoughtlessness, so it is now high time for the commanders to clarify the meaning of the present struggle.

The feeding from our army kitchens of the natives and of prisoners of war who are not working for the armed forces is an humanitarian act just as much misunderstood as is the giving of cigarettes and bread. Things which the people at home can spare under great sacrifices and things which are being brought by the Command to the Front under great difficulties, should not be given to the enemy by the soldier, not even if they originate from booty. They are an important part of our supply.

When retreating, the Soviet troops have often set buildings on fire. The troops should be interested in extinguishing fires only as far as it is necessary to secure sufficient numbers of billets. Otherwise, the disappearance of symbols of the former Bolshevistic rule, even in the form of buildings, is part of the struggle of destruction. Neither historic nor artistic considerations are of any importance in the Eastern Territories.

The command issues the necessary directives for the securing of raw materials and plants essential for war economy. The complete disarming of the civil population in the rear of the fighting troops is imperative, considering the long and vulnerable lines of communication. Where possible, captured weapons and ammunition should be stored and guarded. Should this be impossible because of the situation, the weapons and ammunition must be rendered useless. If isolated Partisans are found, using firearms in the rear of the Army, drastic measures are to be taken. These measures will be extended to that part of the male population who were in a position to hinder or report the attacks. The indifference of numerous allegedly anti-Soviet elements, which originates from a 'wait-and-see' attitude, must give way to a clear decision for active collaboration. If not, no one can complain about being judged and treated as members of the Soviet system.

The fear of the German counter-measures must be stronger than the threats of the wandering Bolshevistic remnants. Being far from all political considerations of the future the soldier has to fulfil two tasks:

1. Complete annihilation of the false Bolshevistic doctrine of the Soviet State and its Armed Forces.

2. The pitiless extermination of foreign treachery and cruelty, and thus the protection of the lives of military personnel in Russia.

This is the only way to fulfil our historic task to liberate the German people once and for ever from the Asiatic-Jewish danger.

(Signed) von Reichenau,

The Tribunal will note the sheet immediately preceding Reichenau's order. That is sheet number 4 of the translation, which is a memorandum dated 28th October, 1941. It shows that Reichenau's order met with Hitler's approval and was thereafter circulated by order of the Commander-in- Chief of the German Army.

The Tribunal will also note from the first sheet, the very top sheet of the several following, that Reichenau's order was thereafter circulated down to

[Page 16]

divisional level, and was received by the 12th German Infantry Division on 27th November, 1941.

These being the directives and policies prescribed by the German military leaders, it is no wonder that the Wehrmacht joined in the monstrous behaviour and activities of the S.S. and S.D. on the Eastern Front.

Colonel Storey described to the Tribunal the formation by the Sipo and S.D. of units known as Einsatzgruppen, which were sent out to operate in and behind the operational areas on the Eastern Front, in order to combat Partisans and to cleanse and pacify the civilian population. Major Farr and Colonel Storey both presented to the Tribunal a large amount of evidence showing the manner in which these units operated.

I want to refer back briefly to a few of these documents in order to trace the participation of the Armed Forces in those circumstances.

Colonel Storey read at length from Document 3012-PS, which is Exhibit USA 190, dated 19th March, 1943. It is a directive from the Commanding Officer of one of these groups. This directive praised and justified such activities as the shooting of Hungarian Jews, the shooting of children and the total burning of villages, and directed that in order not to obstruct the procuring of slave labour for the German armament industry, "as a rule no more children will be shot."

Major Farr read from Document R-102, which is Exhibit USA 470, a report covering the Work of the Einsatzgruppen in the German occupied territories of the Soviet Union during the month of October, 1941. This report states cynically on Page 4: "Spontaneous demonstrations against Jewry followed by pogroms on the part of the population against the remaining Jews have not been recorded, on account of the lack of adequate investigation."

It shows as clearly as the human eye can see that "pacification" and "anti-Partisan activities" became mere code words for the extermination of Jews just as much as "Weserubung " was the code word for the invasion of Norway and Denmark.

We have seen from the documents quoted a few moments ago that the German Army received some similar policies and directives. It only remains to show that in the field the army and the S.S. worked hand in glove.

The Tribunal will recall the document quoted by Major Walsh, 1061-PS, already in evidence as Exhibit USA 275, It describes the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, and at this time I merely want to call attention to one paragraph appearing at Page 6 of the translation, the third paragraph from the bottom of the page, where the author of the document stresses the close co-operation between the S.S. and the Army. Quoting:

"The longer the resistance lasted, the tougher the men of the Waffen S.S., Police and Wehrmacht became; they fulfilled their duty indefatigably in faithful comradeship, and stood together as models and examples of soldiers. Their duty hours often lasted from early morning until late at night. At night, search patrols with rags wound round their feet remained at the heels of the Jews and gave them no respite. Not infrequently they caught and killed Jews who used the night hours for supplementing their stores from abandoned dug-outs and for contacting neighbouring groups or exchanging news with them."
To the same general effect is Document R-135, Exhibit USA 289, which is a report dated 5th June, 1943, by the German General Commissioner for Minsk. Major Farr read from this report, describing an anti-Partisan operation in which 4,500 enemies were killed, 5,000 suspected Partisans and 59 Germans. The co-operation by the German Army is shown in the following excerpt, and I will begin reading at the bottom of Page 3 of the translation:
"The figures mentioned above indicate that again a heavy destruction of the population must be expected. If only 492 rifles are taken from

[Page 17]

4,500 enemy dead, this discrepancy shows that among these enemy dead were numerous peasants from the country. The battalion Dirlewanger especially has a reputation for destroying many human lives. Among the 5,000 people suspected of belonging to bands, there were numerous women and children.

By order of the Chief of anti-Partisan units, S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer von dem Bach, units of the Armed Forces have also participated in the operation. S.S. Standartenfuehrer Kunze was in command of the Armed Forces detachments, among whom there were also 90 members from my office and from the District Commissariat of Minsk. Our men returned from the operation yesterday without losses."

I need not read the rest of that. The next paragraph shows again the participation of the Armed Forces personnel.

The S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer von dem Bach, referred to in this quotation, will be a witness later in the day, and in this connection I want to call the Court's attention to Document 1919-PS, Exhibit USA 170, which is Himmler's speech on 4th October, 1943 to a gathering of S.S. Generals at Posen. In this speech, Himmler mentioned the appointment of von dem Bach to be chief of all anti-Partisan units, and I would like to read one paragraph from Page 3 of the document merely for purposes of identification of the witness:

"Chief of the anti-Partisan Units:

In the meantime I have also set up the department of the Chief of the anti-Partisan units. Our comrade S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer von dem Bach is chief of the anti- Partisan units. I considered it necessary for the Reichsfuehrer S.S. to be in authoritative command in all these battles, for I am convinced that we are best in a position to take action in this struggle, which is decidedly a political one. Except where the units which had been supplied and which we had formed for this purpose were taken from us to fill in gaps at the front, we have been very successful."

There is one further document which has already been introduced, from which I wish read new material. That is L- 180, which is already in evidence as Exhibit USA 276. It is the report of Einsatzgruppe A, covering the period up to 15th October. 1941. I think the excerpts which I will read will make clear beyond doubt the participation of the German military leaders and Armed Forces in the activities of these Einsatzgruppen. I read first from Page 2 of the translation, the top of the page:
"Einsatz Group A, after preparing their vehicles for action, proceeded to their area of concentration as ordered on 23rd June, 1941, the second day of the campaign in the East. Army Group North, consisting of the 16th and 18th Armies and Panzer-Group 4, had left the day before. Our task was to establish hurriedly personal contact with the Commanders of the Armies and with the Commander of the Army of the Rear Area. It must be stressed from the beginning that co-operation with the Armed Forces was generally good; in some cases, for instance, with Panzer-Group 4, under Colonel General Hoeppner, it was very close and almost cordial. Misunderstandings which cropped up with some authorities in the first days, were cleared up mainly through personal discussions."
This ends that particular extract. I read next a series of extracts, of which the first is at the bottom of Page 2:
"Similarly, native anti-Semitic forces were induced to start pogroms against Jews during the first hours after the occupation, though this inducement proved to be very difficult. According to orders, the Security Police was determined to solve the Jewish question with all possible means and most decisively. But it was desirable that the Security Police should not put in an immediate appearance, at least in the beginning, since the

[Page 18]

extraordinarily harsh measures were apt to stir even German circles. It had to be shown to the world that the native population itself took the initiative, by way of natural reaction against the suppression by Jews during several decades, and against the terror exercised by the Communists during the preceding period."
Next I pass to Page 4 of the translation, about half-way down the page, the middle of the first complete paragraph:
"After the failure of purely military activities, such as the placing of sentries and combing through the newly occupied territories with whole divisions, even the Armed Forces bad to look out for new methods. The Einsatz Group undertook to search for new methods. Soon, therefore, the Armed Forces adopted the experiences of the Security Police and their methods of combating the Partisans. For details I refer to the numerous reports concerning the struggle against the Partisans."
I pass next to Page 6 under "Instigation of Self-Cleansing Actions":
"Considering that the population of the Baltic countries had suffered very heavily under the government of Bolshevism and Jewry while they were incorporated in the U.S.S.R., it was to be expected that after the liberation from that foreign government, they (that is, the population themselves) would render harmless most of the enemies left behind after the retreat of the Red Army. It was the duty of the Security Police to set in motion these self-cleansing movements, and to direct them into the correct channels in order to accomplish the purpose of the cleansing operations as quickly as possible. It was no less important, in view of the future, to establish the unshakeable and provable fact that the liberated populations themselves took the most severe measures against the Bolshevist and Jewish enemy quite on their own, so that the direction by German authorities could not be found out.

In Lithuania this was achieved for the first time by Partisan activities in Kowno. To our surprise it was not easy at first to set in motion an extensive pogrom against Jews. Klimatis, the leader of the Partisan unit mentioned above, who was used for this purpose primarily, succeeded in starting a pogrom on the basis of advice given to him by a small advance detachment acting in Kowno, and in such a way that no German order or German instigation was noticed from the outside. During the first pogrom, in the night from 25th to 26th June, the Lithuanian Partisans did away with more than 1,500 Jews, set fire to several synagogues or destroyed them by other means, and burned down a Jewish dwelling district consisting of about 60 houses. During the following nights about 2,300 Jews were made harmless in a similar way. In other parts of Lithuania similar actions followed the example of Kowno, though smaller and extending only to the Communists who had been left behind.

These self-cleansing actions went smoothly because the Army authorities, who had been informed, showed understanding for this procedure. From the beginning it was obvious that only the first days after the occupation would offer the opportunity for carrying out pogroms. After the disarmament of the Partisans the self- cleansing action of necessity came to an end."

I pass to Page 10 of the translation, toward the bottom under "Other Jobs of the Security Police":
"Occasionally the conditions prevailing in the lunatic asylums necessitated operations of the security Police."
Passing to the next paragraph:
"Sometimes authorities of the Armed Forces asked us to clean out in a similar way other institutions which were wanted as billets. However,

[Page 19]

as interests of the Security Police did not require any intervention, it was left to the authorities of the Armed Forces to take the necessary action with their own troops."
I pass on to Page 17 of the translation, the paragraph at the top of the page:
"But it was decided - "

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