The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

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

Thirty-Fifth Day: Wednesday, January 16th, 1946
(Part 8 of 11)


[Page 322]

This report is too long, if the Tribunal please, to quote from at too great length, but if the Tribunal will turn over to Page 7, I would like to read in some extracts of what occurred while the defendant was in Lublin. From the report it appears that the defendant Seyss-Inquart, after meeting the various local German administrative officers, "then expounded the principles" - and I am now quoting from the top of Page 7 - "in accordance with which the administration in the 'Government' must be conducted."

Then, omitting a sentence:

"The resources and inhabitants of this country would have to be made of service to the Reich, and only within these limits could they prosper. Independent political thought should no longer be allowed to develop. The Vistula area might perhaps be still more important to German destiny than the Rhine. The Minister than gave as a guiding theme to the District Leaders: 'We will further everything which is of service to the Reich and will put an end to everything which may harm the Reich.' Dr. Seyss-Inquart then added that the Governor-General wished that those men who were fulfilling a task for the Reich here should receive a post with material benefits in keeping with their responsibility and achievements."
Then, if the Tribunal will turn over two more pages, the reporter is describing a sightseeing tour which was made to the village of Wlodawa, Cycow - and I quote:
"Cycow is a German village ..." - passing down a couple of sentences - Reich Minister Dr. Seyss-Inquart made a speech in which he pointed out that the fidelity of these Germans to their nationality now found its justification and reward through the strength of Adolf Hitler."
And then the next sentence, apparently thrown in by the reporter:
"This district with its very marshy character could, according to District Chief Schmidt's deliberations, serve as a reservation for the Jews, a measure which might possibly lead to heavy mortality among the Jews."
THE PRESIDENT: We might break off here for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken.)

LIEUTENANT ATHERTON: If the Tribunal please, at the time the Tribunal rose, I was in the process of considering the functions of the defendant Seyss-Inquart, his place as Deputy Governor-General of Poland, between 1939 and 1940.

Now the Tribunal has already heard evidence of the atrocities which were perpetrated by the administration which Seyss-Inquart thus helped to create. The Prosecutors for the Soviet Union will present to the Tribunal more evidence of such atrocities. For our present purposes, to show the importance of the work which this man did to further the Nazi plan for the Government General of Poland, it is enough to quote a few words from the diary of the defendant Frank.

On the occasion of what was apparently a farewell lunch to Seyss-Inquart, when he became Reich Commissar of the Netherlands, Frank said - and I now quote from Document 3465- PS, Pages 5 10 and 511 of Volume 2, the 1940 volume of the diary, which is Exhibit USA 614:

[Page 323]

"I am extremely glad, Mr. Reich Commissar and Reich Minister, to assure you, in this hour of your departure, that the months of our collaboration with you belong to the most precious memories of my life, and that your work in the Government General will be remembered forever in the building of the coming World Empire of the German nation."
Passing down a little, if the Tribunal please, Frank went on to say:
"In the construction of the Government General your name will forever take a place of honour as an originator of this organisation and this State system. I express our thanks, Mr. Reich Minister, for your collaboration and for your creative energy."
Then reading the last two or three sentences:
"During the hard times common work united us here in the East, but it is at the same time the starting point for a gigantic power development of the German Reich. Its perfection will show the development of the greatest energy unit which has ever been in the history of the world. In this work you were placed by the Fuehrer very effectively, in the most important position."
And to these remarks the defendant Seyss-Inquart replied - and I now quote from the second page of the translation:
"I learned here a lot, many things which I did not understand before at all, and mainly on account of the initiative and firm leadership as I found them in my friend Dr. Frank."
Then, omitting a sentence:
"I will now go to the West, and I want to be quite open with you. With my whole heart I am present, because my whole attitude is one directed toward the East. In the East we have a National-Socialist mission; over there, in the West, we have a function; that may be the difference."
I submit, if the Tribunal please, that the sentences which I have just read show clearly enough the conscious participation of the defendant Seyss-Inquart in the Polish phase of the conspiracy.

Thus equipped with experience gained in Poland and under the defendant Frank, Seyss-Inquart was ready to undertake his last and most ambitious task, the enslavement of the Netherlands. The ruthless manner in which he performed it marks his position in the Nazi Common Plan or Conspiracy.

I ask the Tribunal first to take judicial notice of a decree of Hitler of 18th May, 1940, which is found in 1940 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 778. The translation will be found in the book as Document 1376-PS. By Section I of this decree it is provided that:

"The Reich Commissar is protector of the interests of the Reich and will represent the supreme power of the Government within the civil sphere. He will be directly subordinated to me and will receive directives and orders from me."
Section 3 provides that:
"The Reich Commissar may use German Police forces to carry out his orders. The German Police forces are at the disposal of the German military commander in so far as military necessities require this and if the missions of the Reich Commissar permit it."
Then by Paragraph or Section 5 of the law it is provided that the Reich Commissar may promulgate laws by decree, such orders to be published in the "Verordnungsblatt" for the Occupied Territory of the Netherlands, a publication which I shall hereafter refer to merely as the "Verordnungsblatt."

On 29th May, 1940, acting within these powers, the defendant promulgated an order covering the exercise of governmental authority in the Netherlands, and this appears as 3588-PS in the document book. I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of its contents.

[Page 324]

That will contain two decrees. I am now referring to the first one.

By Section 1 of this decree the defendant modestly purports to assume, to the extent required for the fulfilment of his duties, "all powers, privileges and rights heretofore vested in the king and the Government, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the Netherlands." That is a direct quotation.

And then Section 5 of the order entrusts the maintenance of public peace, safety and order to the Netherlands Police Force, unless the Reich Commissar calls on German S.S. or Police Forces for the enforcement of his orders. It further provides that the investigation and combating of all activities hostile to the Reich and Germanism shall be the concern of the German Police Force.

On 3rd June, 1940, a further decree was promulgated, concerning the organisation and establishment of the Office of the Reich Commissar. This decree is found in the "Verordnungsblatt" for 1940, Number 1, at Page 11, and is the second decree under Document 3588-PS. This decree provided for general commissioners on the staff of the Reich Commissar to head four enumerated sections, one of which, the Superior S.S. and Police Chief, was to head the section for Public Safety. It was provided by Section 5 of this decree that this official should command the units of the military S.S. and German Police Forces transferred to the occupied Netherlands territories, supervise the Netherlands central and municipal Police Forces, and issue to them necessary orders.

Section 11 provided that the Reich Commissar alone -

THE PRESIDENT: Lieutenant Atherton, do not you think that we can assume that the defendant Seyss-Inquart, who had been appointed to administer the occupied territory of the Netherlands, had all these powers and that you can turn your attention to what he did under those powers?

LIEUTENANT ATHERTON: Yes, Sir, I will do that, but I wanted to make plain to the Tribunal, because of the peculiar set- up of this German Police Force, the fact that he was granted the power to give orders to them, and not only that, but that he customarily did. If that point is made clear, as I believe it is, in these two decrees, I will pass on to the next matter.

THE PRESIDENT: I think the Tribunal has no doubt that an officer under the Reich who had got the powers of the administrator of an occupied territory could make use of the Police Forces.


THE PRESIDENT: It is really a matter that we should be prepared to assume until it is proved to the contrary.


THE PRESIDENT: We would wish you to turn your attention to show what he did, under those powers, which constitute crimes.

LIEUTENANT ATHERTON: Yes, Sir. It is not our intention at this time to go into the crimes against persons and property, which the defendant Seyss-Inquart is responsible for in the Netherlands, in any detail, because evidence of Nazi barbarity in this country is to be presented by our associates, the Prosecutors for the French Republic. It is our purpose only to show a few illustrations, and to give some idea of the scope of this defendant's activities and his responsibilities, as evidence of his part in the execution of the Nazi's Common Plan or Conspiracy, which it is our part to prove.

Now, in the first place, there will be much evidence to show that the defendant was responsible for widespread spoliation of property. Merely as an illustration of the way in which he was implicated in the smallest parts of this, I offer in evidence Document 176-PS, as Exhibit USA 707.

This document is a report on the activities of the "Work- Group Netherlands," a part of the Einsatzstab-Rosenberg, on which the Tribunal has already heard, evidence. Quoting from the first page of this report, the first sentence:

[Page 325]

"The Work-Group Netherlands of the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg began its work in agreement with the competent representative of the Reich Commissar, during the first days of September, 1940."
The report then proceeds to detail the property taken from Masonic Lodges and similar institutions. Reading from page - I believe it is Page 3 - of this report, the very bottom:
"An extremely precious library, containing invaluable works on Sanscrit, was confiscated and packed into 96 cases, when the 'Theosophische' Society in Amsterdam was dissolved. A number of smaller libraries belonging to the Spiritists, the Esperanto movement, the Bellamy movement, the International Bible Students and various other minor international organisations, were packed into seven cases; texts belonging to various minor Jewish organisations were packed into four cases; and a library of the 'Anthroposophic Society' in Amsterdam into three.

It is safe to say that the stocks of books confiscated, packed and so far sent to Germany by the Work-Group, are of extraordinary scientific value, and will contribute an integral part of the library of the 'Hohe Schule.'"

The money value of these libraries can only be estimated, but must surely amount to from 30,000,000 to 40,000,000 Reichsmark. Then, quoting from the very end of the report:
"The Work-Group, in executing the aforementioned tasks is bound strictly to the pace set by the Reich Commissar for the handling of the Jewish questions and those of the international organisations."
As Reich Commissar, it was one of the functions of the defendant Seyss-Inquart to supervise the execution of the conspirators' programme for deportation of Dutch citizens to Germany for slave labour. The Tribunal will recall that Mr. Dodd read into evidence at Page 1372 a portion of a transcript of an interrogation of the defendant Sauckel, on 5th October, 1945, in which it appeared that the quotas for the workers for Holland were agreed upon, and then the numbers given to the Reich Commissar Seyss-Inquart to fulfil; and after the quota was given to Seyss-Inquart, it was his mission to fulfil it with the aid of Sauckel's representative. And then the Tribunal will recall that Mr. Dodd, having shown the defendant Seyss-Inquart's part in recruitment for slave labour in this fashion, and his responsibility for it, read into the record (Page 307, Part 2) some portions from Document 1726-PS, Exhibit USA 195, which showed the numbers of Netherlands citizens deported to the Reich at various times. Since that is all a matter of record, I will not go into it again.

In the Netherlands, as in Austria and elsewhere, Seyss- Inquart was relentless in his treatment of Jewish Netherlanders. To illustrate his attitude, I offer in evidence Document 3430-PS, which consists of extracts from the defendant's book, "Four Years in the Netherlands. Collected Speeches." It becomes Exhibit USA 708. In a speech in Amsterdam on 13th March, 1941 - and I am now quoting from Page 57 of the original book, the last extract on the translation - Seyss-Inquart said:

"The Jews, for us, are not Dutch. They are those enemies with whom we can come to neither an armistice nor to peace. This applies here, if you wish, for the duration of the occupation. Do not expect an order from me which stipulates this, except regulations concerning police matters. We will beat the Jews wherever we meet them, and those who join them must bear the consequences. The Fuehrer declared that the Jews have played their final, act in Europe, and therefore they have played their final act."
Now, as promised, the defendant Seyss-Inquart proceeded to promulgate the long series of decrees which first threatened to deprive the Jewish people

[Page 326]

in the Netherlands of their property, of their rights, and degraded them to something lower than the lowest, and which eventually resulted in their deportation to Poland. These decrees, all signed by Seyss-Inquart, are collected in our brief, Page 65. I ask the Court to take judicial notice of them, By way of illustration, the first to which I wish to refer appears in the document book as 3333-PS, and it is a decree of 26th October, 1940, requiring the registration of businesses belonging to Jews as defined in the decree, including partnerships or corporations in which Jews owned a substantial interest. You have seen that this type of law was the inevitable prelude to mass confiscation of the property of Jews under the Nazi administration. In a law found in "Verordnungsblatt," Volume 6, Page 99, 14th February, 1941, 3325-PS, Dutch universities and colleges were limited in the registration of Jewish students. This of itself does not seem important, but it is a part of the programme to take away from these people their rights and degrade them. Document 3328-PS is a decree published in "Verordnungsblatt, " No. 44, at Page 841, of 23rd October, 1941. This prevented Jews from exercising any profession or trade without authorisation from administrative authorities, and permitted such authorities to order the termination of any employment contract concerning Jews.

As a final illustration I refer in passing to Document 3336- PS, a decree published in the "Verordnungsblatt," No. 13, Page 289, and dated 23rd May, 1942. This decree required all Jews to make written declaration of claims of any kind, under which they might be beneficiaries, at a banking firm known as Lippmann-Rosenthal and Company, which was actually an agency of the Reich at Amsterdam. The decree gave the bank - this named bank - all rights to dispose of the claim, and provided that payment to the bank should be released in full. This type of Nazi decree was, of course, a forerunner of ultimate deportation to the East, and allowed the Nazis to snatch the insurance.

Evidence of the success of this defendant's efforts to annihilate all Jews in the Netherlands has already been read into the record. The Court will find that Major Walsh - again reading from the report of the Netherlands Government, Exhibit USA 195, at Page 1497 - showed that out of 140,000 Jewish Netherlanders, 117,000 were deported, over 115,000 of them to Poland - over 80 per cent. The evidence has shown what was the probable fate of most of these people, and I shall not dwell on it further.

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