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 6 of 10)

[Page 68]

The Tribunal is familiar with Goering's complicity in the aggression against Austria. However, some additional documents have just come to our notice which show that he not only participated actively, but may even have been in direct charge of the German plan to bring about the Austrian Anschluss. I will offer the first of these documents, Document 3473-PS, as Exhibit USA 581. I shall not read from that exhibit, if your Honours please, but I would like to call the attention of the Tribunal to a letter addressed to Goering from Keppler, who was one of his agents. It is dated the 6th January, 1938. From its context it would seem that a valid inference can be drawn that Goering was already active in the Austrian matter in 1937. Our prior evidence brought him into the picture much later. The prosecution believes it to be of great significance, as it shows that the defendant Seyss-Inquart actually had Goering's mandate to carry out the orders of the Nazi conspirators in Vienna. The document itself will be read and discussed in the presentation of the case showing the individual responsibility of the defendant Seyss-Inquart; and I shall not take the time of the Tribunal at present.

The second document I wish to introduce is Exhibit USA 582, our Document 3472-PS. This exhibit would seem to show that the conspirators attempted to create the impression that the Anschluss, when it took place, was achieved by "legal" means. The command apparently was given to the members of the N.S.D.A.P. in Austria to keep "hands off" in order to permit the devilry to be worked out by the official Reich agencies, i.e., through the defendant Goering and, presumably, the defendant von Papen, by direct contact with the Austrian officials.

I read from that document:

"Yesterday information reached me to the effect that Landesleiter Leopold" - and may I interrupt for a moment to point out that the word "Landesleiter" is the title of the Leader of the Nazi community in Austria - "also on his part has started negotiations with Chancellor Schuschnigg. Thereupon I have asked the Foreign Office to investigate the truth of this information and, in case it is true, to take care that such negotiations be not held because they would merely disturb the proceedings of the other negotiations.

Just now I got word from the Foreign Office that they had received a report from the embassy in Vienna confirming the facts. I therefore would like to know whether it would not be more appropriate to forbid Landesleiter Leopold and the other members of the country's leadership to negotiate with Chancellor Schuschnigg or with any Austrian Government authorities, as to the execution of the pact of the 11th July, 1936

[Page 69]

unless it is done after contacting and in agreement with the authorities in charge in the Reich."
Now below, if I may call the attention of the Tribunal to the note that appears in this letter. It is typewritten in blue, and, while the translator has not indicated the initial below that note, it is a large "G"; and I have no doubt that this note was written by the defendant Goering. It reads:
"Agreed, Minister Hess or Herr Bormann can give this order best! Keppler ought to ask therefore by telephone!"
If I may direct your attention to the upper right corner, there is another note in pencil, "Transmitted to Herr Keppler on the 11th February, 1938, by Miss Cest," and it is signed with initial "G," which, in this case, however, we are quite sure is the initial of Miss Grundmann, one of Goering's secretaries.

The third document I offer as Exhibit USA 583 - our Document 3471-PS. The first letter of this exhibit is written by the same Keppler to the same Bodenschatz mentioned a short while ago, but who is now a General. I shall not read from this exhibit, with the permission of the Tribunal, but I shall briefly summarise it. This letter and the annexes show that Leopold, the Nazi Landesleiter in Austria, was apparently not completely amenable to the orders given by Berlin, and that he pursued his own methods for accomplishing an Anschluss. The second annex to this letter, addressed to Keppler, who appears from it to have been an S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer, shows that prominent Nazis had declared themselves in favour of a Major Klaussner to succeed Leopold as Landesleiter; and I would like to call the Tribunal's attention to the fact that in the left margin of the covering letter appear some red crayon marks in the characteristic colour employed on several occasions, to our knowledge, by Goering; and they would seem to show that Goering personally had seen those documents and that General Bodenschatz had brought them to his attention. In any event these letters again demonstrate that Goering was one of the principal conspirators in the Austrian affair.

When the time finally came, on 11th March, 1938, to consummate the Anschluss, Goering was in complete command. Throughout the afternoon and evening of that day he directed by telephone the activities of the defendant Seyss-Inquart and of the other Nazi conspirators in Vienna. The pertinent portions of these telephone conversations, it will be remembered, were read into the record.

It will be recalled that early on the same evening, the 11th March, he dictated to the defendant Seyss-Inquart the telegram which the latter was to send to Berlin, requesting the Nazi Government to send German troops to "prevent bloodshed." Two days later he was able to telephone the defendant Ribbentrop in London and gleefully relate to him his success and that "this story that we had given an ultimatum is just foolish gossip."

If I may interrupt for a moment, that passage I just alluded to was read into the record (Page 260, Part 1).

Similarly, Goering played an important role in the attack on Czechoslovakia. In March, 1938, at the time of the "Anschluss," he had given a solemn assurance to the Czechoslovakian Minister in Berlin that the developments in Austria would in no way have a detrimental influence on the relations between Germany and Czechoslovakia, and he had emphasised the continued earnest attempts on the part of Germany to improve these relations. In this connection he had used the expression: "Ich gebe Ihnen mein Ehrenwort" (I give you my word of honour).

That expression was read previously into the record (Page 123, Part 2).

On the other hand, in his address to German aeroplane manufacturers on the 8th July, 1938, which I have already mentioned, he made his private views on this subject, which were hardly consistent with his solemn official statements, abundantly clear.

[Page 70]

On the 14th October, 1938, shortly after the Munich Agreement, at a conference in the Air Ministry, Goering stated that the Sudetenland had to be exploited with all means and that he counted upon a complete industrial assimilation of Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, as proof before the Tribunal shows, he was deceiving the representatives of the puppet Slovakian government to the same end.

In the following year, with the rape of Czechoslovakia complete, Goering frankly stated what Germany's purpose had been throughout the whole affair. He explained that the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia into the German economy had taken place, among other reasons, in order to increase the German war potential by exploitation of the industry there.

Goering was also a moving force in the later Crimes against Peace. As the successor designate to Hitler, Chief of the Air Forces and Economic Czar of Greater Germany, he was a party to all the planning for military operations of the Nazi forces in the East and in the West.

In the Polish affair, for example, it was Goering who on the 31st January, 1935, gave assurances to the Polish Government through Count Czembek, as revealed in the Polish White Book, of which I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice, that "there should be not the slightest fear in Poland that on the German side it" - meaning the German-Polish alliance - "would not be continued in the future." Yet, four years later, Goering helped to formulate plans for the ruthless invasion of Polish territory.

In respect to the attack upon the Soviet Union, the documents already introduced prove that plans for the ruthless exploitation of Soviet territory were made months in advance of the opening of hostilities. Goering was placed in charge of this army of spoliation, whose mission was that of "seizing raw materials and taking over all important concerns."

But these specific instances cited are merely illustrative of Goering's activities in the field of aggressive war. On Pages 20, 21 and 22 of our brief, there appears a list of documents - by no means exhaustive - previously offered by the prosecution, which demonstrate Goering's knowledge of and continued participation in the Nazi war programme.

We turn now to his responsibility for planning and his participation in the procurement of forced labour, the deportation and enslavement of residents of occupied territories, the employment of prisoners of war in war industry, the looting of works of art, and the Germanisation and spoliation of countries overrun by the Nazis.

Evidence previously introduced has detailed the slave labour programme of the Nazi conspirators and has shown its two purposes, both of them criminal. The first was to satisfy the labour requirements of the Nazi war machine by forcing residents of occupied countries to work in Germany. The second purpose was to destroy or weaken the peoples of the occupied territories. It has been shown that millions of foreign workers were taken to Germany, for the most part under pressure and generally by physical force, that these workers were forced to work under conditions of indescribable brutality and degradation, and that often they were used in factories and industries devoted exclusively to the production of munitions of war.

Goering was at all times implicated in the slave labour programme. Recruitment and allocation of man-power and determination of working conditions were included in his jurisdiction as Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan, and from its beginning a part of the Four Year Plan Office was devoted to such work. I ask the Tribunal in this connection to take judicial notice of our Document 1862-PS, Ordinance for the Execution of the Four Year Plan, dated l8th October, 1936, which appears in 1936 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, p. 887, and, with the permission of the Tribunal, I shall not read it.

[Page 71]

Soon after the fall of Poland Goering began the enslavement of large numbers of Poles. On 25th January, 1940, the defendant Frank, the Governor General of Poland, reported to Goering on his directive for:
"Supply and transportation of at least 1,000,000 male and female agricultural and industrial workers to the Reich- among them at least 750,000 agricultural workers of whom at least 50 per cent. must be women, in order to guarantee agricultural production in the Reich and as a replacement for industrial workers lacking in the Reich ..."
which is taken from our Exhibit USA 172, Document 1375.

That orders for this enormous number of workers originated with the defendant Goering is clear from statements in the defendant Frank's diary for 10th May, 1940, already introduced in evidence.

For the harsh treatment given those workers when they reached Germany the defendant Goering is also responsible. On 8th March, 1940, as Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan and as Chairman of the Cabinet Council for the Defence of the Reich, he issued a directive entitled: "Treatment of Male and Female Civilian Workers of Polish Nationality in the Reich." I refer to our Document R-148 as proof of that fact. I shall not introduce it at this time into evidence, with the permission of the Tribunal, as it will be introduced by the Soviet prosecution at a later date.

On 29th January, 1942, the Division for the Employment of Labour in the Four Year Plan Office issued a circular, signed by Dr. Mansfeld, the general delegate for labour employment in the Four Year Plan Office, addressed to various civilian and military authorities in the occupied territories, explaining that, and I quote, "any and all methods must be adopted" to force workers to go to Germany. I shall not read from our exhibit, if the Tribunal please, but I would like to offer in evidence, as Exhibit USA 585, Document 1183-PS. This is a circular letter of the Commissioner for the Four Year Plan, dated the 29th January, 1942.

It has been shown previously that on 21st March, 1942, Hitler promulgated a decree appointing the defendant Sauckel Plenipotentiary General for Manpower, directing him to carry out his tasks within the frame-work of the Four Year Plan, and making him directly responsible to Goering as head of the Four Year Plan.

On 27th March, 1942, Goering issued his important Enabling Decree in pursuance of the decree of the Fuehrer of 21st March, 1942. The Tribunal has already judicially noted this decree, which is our Document 1666-PS.

Since the defendant Sauckel was an authority under the Four Year Plan, the defendant Goering retains full responsibility for the enormous War Crimes committed by Sauckel as Plenipotentiary-General for Man-power. These crimes have been the subject of our presentations on Slave Labour and on the Illegal Use of Prisoners of War.

It was also proven during those presentations that the Nazi conspirators ordered prisoners of war to work under dangerous conditions and in the manufacturing and transportation of arms and munitions of war, in violation of the Laws of War and of Articles 31 and 32 of the Geneva Convention of 27th July, 1929, on Prisoners of War. The defendant Goering had a part in all these crimes.

At a conference on 7th November, 1941, the subject of which was the employment of citizens of the Soviet Union, including prisoners of war, it appears from a memorandum signed by Kurner, who was State Secretary to Goering as Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan, that Goering gave certain ruthless directives for the use of Soviet citizens, both prisoners of war and free Soviet workers, as labourers. I refer to our Document 1193-PS which, with the permission of the Tribunal, I shall not offer in evidence at this time and which will be offered by the Soviet prosecution.

[Page 72]

In a set of top secret notes of outlines laid down by Goering in what was apparently the same conference of 7th November, 1941, which are already in evidence, the following facts appear:
(1) That, of a total of 5,000,000 prisoners of war, 2,000,000 were employed in war industries;

(2) That it was better to employ P.W.'s than unsuitable foreign workers;

(3) That Poles, Dutchmen, etc., should be seized, if necessary, as P.W.'s and employed as such, if work through free contract cannot be obtained.

These facts, if your Honours please, appear in our Document 1206-PS, which is submitted in evidence as Exhibit USA 215.

In a secret letter from the Reich Minister of Labour to the Presidents of the Regional Labour Exchange Offices, already in evidence, it is furthermore recorded that upon the personal order of the Reich Marshal, the defendant Goering, 100,000 men were to be taken from among the French P.W.'s not yet employed in the armament industry and assigned to the aeroplane armament industry and that gaps in man-power supply resulting therefrom were to be filled by Soviet P.W.'s.

Evidence has also been introduced showing the organised, systematic programme of the Nazi conspirators for the cultural impoverishment of every country in Europe. The continuous connection of the defendant Goering with these activities has been substantiated.

In October, 1939, Goering requested Dr. Muhlmann to undertake immediately the "securing" of all Polish art treasures. In his affidavit, already offered, Dr. Muhlmann states that he was the special deputy of the Governor General of Poland, the defendant Frank, for the safeguarding of art treasures in the Government General from October, 1939, to September, 1943, and that the defendant Goering, in his capacity as chairman of the Reich Defence Council, had commissioned him with this duty.

Muhlmann also confirms that it was the official policy of the defendant Frank to take into custody all important art treasures which belonged to Polish public institutions, private collections and the Church, and that such art treasures were actually confiscated.

It appears also from a report made by Dr. Muhlmann on 16th July, 1943, on his operations, that at one time, 31 valuable sketches by the artist Albrecht Durer were taken from a Polish collection and personally handed to the defendant Goering who took them to the Fuehrer's headquarters.

The part played by Goering in the looting of art by the Einsatzstab Rosenberg has been shown. We refer to Exhibit USA 368, Document 141-PS, which is an order dated 5th November, 1940, already read in evidence, in which Goering directs the Chief of the Military Administration in Paris and the Einsatzstab Rosenberg to dispose of the works of art brought to the Louvre in the following priority:

"(1) Those works of art regarding which the Fuehrer has reserved for himself the decision as to their use.

(2) Those works of art which serve to complete the Reich Marshal's collection.

(3) Those works of art and library stocks, the use of which seems useful to the establishing of higher institutes of learning.

(4) Those works of art that are suited for German museums."

In view of the high priority afforded by the foregoing order to the completion of the defendant's own collection, it is not surprising to find that Goering continued to aid the operations of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg. It has been established that on 1st May, 1941, Goering issued an order under his own signature

[Page 73]

to all Party, State and Wehrmacht Services requesting them to give all possible support and assistance to the Chief of Staff of Reichsleiter Rosenberg.

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