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-Ninth Day: Tuesday, January 8th, 1946
(Part 4 of 10)


[Page 58]

The final quotation from "Mein Kampf" comes from Page 570:
"As long as the eternal conflict between France and Germany is waged only in the form of a German defence against a French attack, that conflict can never be decided, and from century to century Germany will lose one position after another. If we study the changes that have taken place,

[Page 59]

from the twelfth century up to our day, in the frontiers within which the German language is spoken, we can hardly hope for a successful issue to result from the acceptance and development of a line of conduct which has hitherto been so detrimental for us.

Only when the Germans have taken all this fully into account will they cease allowing the national will-to- live to wear itself out in merely passive defence and rally together for a last decisive contest with France. And in this contest the essential objective of the German nation will be fought for. Only then will it be possible to put an end to the eternal Franco-German conflict which has hitherto proved so sterile.

Of course it is here presumed that Germany sees in the suppression of France nothing more than a means which will make it possible for our people finally to expand in another quarter. To-day there are eighty million Germans in Europe. And our foreign policy will be recognised as rightly conducted only when, after barely a hundred years, there will be 250 million Germans living on this Continent, not packed together as the coolies in the factories of another Continent, but as tillers of the soil and workers whose labour will be a mutual assurance for their existence."

I submit, therefore, that, quite apart from the evidence already submitted to the Tribunal, the evidence of "Mein Kampf," taken in conjunction with the facts of Nazi Germany's subsequent behaviour towards other countries, goes to show that from the very first moment that they attained power, and, indeed, long before that time, Hitler and his confederates, the defendants, were engaged in planning and preparing aggressive war as is alleged against them in this Indictment.

Events have proved, in the blood and misery of millions of men, women and children, that "Mein Kampf " was no mere literary exercise to be treated with easy indifference, as unfortunately it was treated before the war by those who were imperilled, but was the expression of a fanatical faith in force and fraud as the means to Nazi domination in Europe, if not in the whole world. The Prosecution's submission is that, accepting and propagating the jungle philosophy of "Mein Kampf," the Nazi confederates who are indicted here deliberately pushed our civilisation over the precipice of war.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will now adjourn for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken.)

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: May it please the Tribunal, the next stage of the prosecution is the presentation of the cases against the individual defendants under the Counts 1 and 2 of the Indictment. Before that is begun the Chief Prosecutors for the United States and Great Britain wish, with the permission of the Tribunal, to make four points perfectly clear.

The object of this part of the case is to collect for the benefit, first, of the members of the Tribunal and, secondly, of the defence counsel concerned, the evidence against each defendant under Counts 1 and 2 which has been presented by the American and British delegations. Otherwise it would be easy among the many documents already before the Court to miss relevant pieces of evidence which the Tribunal might wish to consider and to which the defendants may wish to make a reply.

This does not mean that the case against these defendants has in any way ended. Vital and important parts of the case remain concerning the actual atrocities, both war crimes and crimes against humanity. The evidence in regard to these will shortly be presented by the French delegation and the delegation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and when the massive documentation of these crimes is placed before the Court, the French and Soviet delegations will have the opportunity of relating them to the individual defendants in the dock.

[Page 60]

It has been the desire of all the Chief Prosecutors to delimit as clearly as possible the evidence under the respective Counts of the Indictment. The documents in evidence, however, were not written with a view to this trial, and therefore many of them inevitably deal with offences under more than one Count. It is by reason of this alone that some overlapping and repetition necessarily exists.

Similarly, it may occur that, as the French and Soviet cases are developed, documents may come to light which bear on the Common Plan or the Initiation of Wars of Aggression, or on other material connected with Counts 1 and 2. The American and British delegations will welcome any addition to the evidence on these parts of the case which such documents may provide and will gladly receive such reinforcement from their French and Soviet colleagues.

With this explanation, and I am very grateful to the Tribunal for allowing me to make it, I call on my friend Mr. Albrecht to commence this part of the case.

DR. THOMA (Counsel for defendant Rosenberg): Colonel Wheeler in his prosecution speech talked about the Church and persecution in the Eastern Territory, and the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, the defendant Rosenberg, was mentioned and held responsible. I have, however, neither in the speech of the prosecutor nor in the document book, found proof that such persecution of the Church also took place in those territories administered by Rosenberg. I wish rather to direct the attention of the Tribunal to Document 1517-PS, in which there is a note for the files signed by Rosenberg in regard to a conversation dealing with questions of the East. This document contains the following statement made by Rosenberg: "The Fuehrer agrees with Rosenberg's Edict of Tolerance."

THE PRESIDENT: Am I to understand that you are making a motion at this stage?

DR. THOMA: I have a request to make to the prosecution: that, if possible, its charge against Rosenberg be subsequently substantiated.

THE PRESIDENT: Is your point that this Document 1517-PS has not yet been in, or what is your point?

DR. THOMA: To my knowledge this document has already been submitted in connection with Hitler's opinion that the crimes should be cleaned up completely. But in my present request I am concerned with the fact that the prosecution stated that just as the Government General and Warthegau and in the Eastern countries, so in the areas administered by the defendant Rosenberg, persecution of the Church actually took place. The prosecution has presented evidence for the first three points, but as far as the last point is concerned, I have heard no such evidence in the document book or in the personal presentation made by the prosecution.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you must understand that the Tribunal are not at this stage accepting everything that has been said by the prosecution. You will have full opportunity when you present the case on behalf of the defendant Rosenberg to present any document which may be relevant and to comment upon any documents which have been cited by the prosecution and to make any argument that you think right; but this is not the appropriate time to make any such argument. We are still considering the case for the prosecution, and you will have full opportunity hereafter. Do you understand?

DR. THOMA: Then I ask the High Tribunal to consider my present explanation as nothing but a statement of fact.

THE PRESIDENT: We will do so, but it is not convenient that counsel for the defence shall intervene with statements of this sort; otherwise each one of the defendants' counsel might be doing it all the time. We must ask you therefore

[Page 61]

to withhold such statements until your time comes to answer the case for the prosecution.

MR. ALBRECHT: May it please the Tribunal, I have been charged by the Chief of Counsel for the United States with the duty of pointing out, on the basis of evidence already admitted and of additional evidence that will be offered, the individual responsibility of some of these defendants for the crimes specified in Counts 1 and 2 of the Indictment.

When these defendants chose to abandon everything that had been recognised as good in German life and affirmatively participated in the work of achieving the objectives of the Party, we submit that they well knew what National Socialism stood for. They knew of the programme announced. by the Nazi Party and they also had knowledge of Nazi methods. The official N.S.D.A.P. programme with its 25 points was open and notorious. Announced and published to the world in 1920, it was published and republished and referred to throughout the years. The Nazis made no secret of their intentions to make the Party programme the fundamental law of the German State. The Nazis made no secret of their intentions generally. For all to read there was "Mein Kampf," the product of the warped brain of the Fuehrer, and there were the prolific writings and utterances of many other leaders who rose to prominence, some of whom are not sitting in the defendants' box. And Hitler himself had announced that the Nazis would use force if necessary to achieve their purposes.

Among these conspirators there were those who, like the defendants Hess, Rosenberg and Goering, were associated with Hitler since the very inception of the conspiracy. These men were among the original planners. They were the men who subsequently set the pace and cast the mould for the future. But there were also other conspirators (the balance of the defendants in the dock fit into this category), who - voluntarily - joined the conspiracy later.

While these men may be characterised perhaps as cruel, callous or inhuman, they certainly may not be called dull or stupid. They knew, and had had the opportunity to observe, the manifestations of Nazi violence and Nazi methods as the pattern of the Swastika developed. They knew the nature of what they were getting into. Therefore they must be presumed to have had the desire to participate (and participate they did) voluntarily, and so we submit that it may not validly be inferred that they did not join the stream of the conspiracy with their eyes open, scienter, as the conspiracy gathered momentum and developed into a rushing torrent.

Much evidence has already been admitted by the Tribunal of the overt acts of these defendants, as well as of their fellow conspirators. We shall make no effort at this time to present an exhaustive recital of all crimes planned or initiated by these defendants for which they must bear full responsibility beyond peradventure. The world already knows more of the evil deeds of these men and of their co- conspirators than the prosecution could possibly hope to establish within the reasonable limits of time and of men's patience. At this point we shall attempt to focus attention merely to illustrative criminal conduct of the individual conspirators.

There is, we submit, an advantage in proceeding, as we propose to, with the permission of the Tribunal, to show in outline the extent to which these defendants have become implicated in the serious charges against them. In the case of many of them, a recital of their crimes will relate to their planning of several of the categories of crimes described in Counts 1 and 2 of the Indictment. We shall draw these various threads together and show, as I have said, the outline of the completed proof, as it were, within Count 1 of the Indictment, against the individual conspirators.

Thus, on behalf of the United States, I shall begin by showing how some of these defendants fit into the broad stream of the Common Plan or Conspiracy

[Page 62]

to Wage Aggressive War and the extent of their individual responsibility for their acts in pursuance of that conspiracy.

First of all, we mention the late defendant Robert Ley who, by recourse to self-destruction, has escaped all punishment for his participation in the conspiracy.

Next we mention Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, the action against whom has been severed from this proceeding.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that documentary proof has been offered and will be offered in support of the allegations of the Indictment that implicate both Ley and Krupp as co-conspirators, for whose crimes the remaining defendants also must accept responsibility.

Next we consider the defendant Fritz Sauckel. The case against Sauckel has been completely stated and supported by a wealth of damning evidence by my learned colleague Mr. Dodd in his presentation of the case on slave labour. We submit that it is unnecessary to add anything further to the case against Sauckel to demonstrate how completely he filled his place in the stream of the conspiracy.

The next defendant to be considered is Albert Speer. Like his fellow-conspirator Sauckel, Speer is deeply implicated as a member of the conspiracy and much of the case against him has been presented by Mr. Dodd in the case on slave labour. But, unlike Sauckel, Speer's criminal activity went substantially beyond the realm of slave labour. His was one of the master minds in the plan for the systematic robbery and spoliation of the lands overrun by the German war machine. Documentary proof of Speer's participation in the spoliation practices in the countries of Western Europe, as well as in the Occupied Eastern Territories will be presented subsequently by our learned colleagues, the Chief Prosecutor representing the Soviet Union and the Chief French Prosecutor, under the remaining Counts of the Indictment. This is essentially the case that proves Speer to have been a member of the conspiracy.

There is, however, one additional Exhibit that I would like to offer into evidence at this time. It was received only a few days ago from the Ministerial Document Centre at Kassel and it is a dossier maintained on the defendant Speer in the offices of the Reichsfuehrer S.S. I offer this file as Exhibit USA 575. It is our Document 3568, and I shall read from the dossier.

I shall read from the letter dated the 25th July, 1942, from the second paragraph: "Reich Minister Speer was enrolled as an S.S. man on the personal staff of the Reichsfuehrer S.S. under S.S. No. 46104, with effect from the 20th July, 1942, by order of the Reichsfuehrer S.S." - and I think that is all I need to read from that letter. But I should like to call the Tribunal's attention to the annexed document, which is a questionnaire, and right at the beginning of it it is related that Albert Speer had been in the S.S. since the autumn of 1932, and his membership number in the Party was 474481.

I next mentioned the defendant Ernst Kaltenbrunner, whose case has been completely presented in connection with the presentation on the Gestapo and the S.D. as Criminal Organisations. We submit that further proof is not needed to prove how completely this enemy of his own fatherland, Austria, had been carried along in the stream of the conspiracy.

We pass then to the case of, perhaps, the most important conspirator on trial before this Tribunal; the Number Two Nazi, the Nazi who stood next to the Fuehrer himself; the Nazi who was in some respects even more dangerous than the Fuehrer and other leading Party leaders.

We say that he was more dangerous because, unlike many leading Nazis, including Hitler, who were morally and socially on the fringes of society before the Nazi Party rode to success in 1933, this conspirator was known to come of substantial family which had furnished officers to the army and important civil servants to the country in the past. Moreover, he was possessed of

[Page 63]

substantial appearance, an ingratiating manner, a certain affability. But all of these facets of character were but deceptions, because they helped to conceal the man's core of steel, his vindictiveness, his cruelty, his lust for self- adornment, self-glorification and power.

This man, was most dangerous, furthermore, because the outward characteristics to which I have called attention, and which he has to some extent demonstrated here in the presence of the Tribunal, were useful in deceiving the representatives of foreign states who, in their concern, sought to learn from him the true intentions of the Nazi State which, by its repeated floutings of its international commitments, had so seriously disturbed the tranquillity of the world since 1933.

And I think that the record should show how throughout the earlier stages of this trial, that is, before the nature of the documentary evidence offered by the Prosecution became too grim and almost implausible, much of the benevolence of this conspirator, his ever-ready smile and ingratiating manner, were daily in evidence in this chamber. His ready affirmation, by a pleasant nod for all to see, of the correctness of statements made or the contents of documents offered by counsel, his chiding shake of the head when he disagreed with such facts were commonplace.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think the Tribunal is interested in this, Mr. Albrecht.

MR. ALBRECHT: I shall pass on, then, with the presentation, with the permission of the Tribunal, and I shall give an account of certain facts already established by the documents in evidence; and with the permission of the Tribunal I shall not, unless it is so wished, refer to the exhibit numbers or citations of most of the old evidence that I shall allude to. These are all set forth in the Trial Brief that has already been distributed.

Against the background of this factual account, into which we have drawn the main threads of the case already presented that show the complicity of the defendant Goering, we shall offer certain additional documentary evidence which we believe necessary to demonstrate his connection and responsibility for certain phases of the conspiracy.

I should have said before, if your Honours please, that there have been distributed and are now before you three volumes of document books bearing the letters "DD," which contain substantially all the documents, new as well as old, bearing on the individual responsibility of this defendant.

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