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 11 of 11)

[Dr. Robert M. W. Kempner]

[Page 334]

I now offer Document 1556-PS, Exhibit USA 716. This is an official report dated December, 1941, of the Czechoslovak War Crimes Commission entitled "Detailed Statement of the Murdering of Ill and Aged People in Germany." I should like to quote very brief excerpts from this report. Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 read as follows:
"(1) The murdering can be traced back to a secret law which was issued some time in the summer of 1940.

(2) Besides the Chief Physician of the Reich, Dr. L. Conti, the Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler, and the Reichsminister of the Interior Dr. Frick, as well as other men, the following participated in the introduction of this secret law ..." (other names listed).

"(3) As I have already stated, there were-after careful calculation at least 200,000 mainly mentally deficient, imbeciles, besides neurological cases and medically unfit people - these were not only incurable cases - and at least 75,000 aged people."

The most striking example of the continued killings in these institutions, which were under Frick's jurisdiction and operated under the order of which Frick was a co-author, is the famous Hadamar case.

Your Honour, may I ask you whether I can have ten more minutes to end this presentation, because the Chief Prosecutors agreed, as I understood, to start to-morrow morning the case of the French, and I have just ten more minutes.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, very well.

DR. KEMPNER: Thank you, your Lordship.

I refer to the Hadamar case. I now offer in evidence Document 615-PS, Exhibit USA 717.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): What is this last report that you spoke about. Whose is it?

DR. KEMPNER: The Czechoslovak War Crimes Commission report. After I have shown the general scheme, of which Frick was a co-author, I would like to show that Frick's ministry was acquainted with the things that were going on under his organisational authorship, and therefore I am quoting now a letter showing that he was acquainted with these killings, and that these killings had even become public knowledge. For this reason I offer in evidence Document 615-PS, Exhibit USA 717. This document is a letter from the Bishop of Limburg, of 13th August, 1941, to the Reichsminister of Justice. Copies were sent to the Reichsminister of the Interior - this means Frick - and to the Reichsminister for Church Affairs. I quote:

"About 8 kilometres from Limburg, in the little town of Hadamar, on a hill overlooking the town, there is an institution which had formerly served various purposes and of late had been used as a nursing home

[Page 335]

this institution was renovated and furnished as a place in which, by consensus of opinion, the above-mentioned euthanasia has been systematically practised for months - approximately since February, 1941. The fact has become known beyond the administrative district of Wiesbaden, because death certificates from a Registry Hadamar-Monchberg are sent to the home communities."
And I quote further:
"Several times a week buses arrive in Hadamar with a considerable number of such victims. School children of the vicinity know this vehicle and say: 'There comes the murder-box again.' After the arrival of the vehicle, the citizens of Hadamar watch the smoke rise out of the chimney and are tortured with the ever-present thought of the miserable victims, especially when repulsive odours annoy them, depending on the direction of the wind.

The effect of the principles at work here are: Children call each other names and say, 'You're crazy; you'll be sent to the baking oven in Hadamar.' Those who do not want to marry or find no opportunity say, 'Marry, never! Bring children into the world so they can be put into the bottling machine!" You hear old folks say, 'Do not send me to a State hospital! After the feeble-minded have been finished off, the next useless eaters whose turn will come are the old people.'

... The population cannot grasp that systematic actions are carried out which, in accordance with paragraph 211 of the German criminal code, are punishable with death....

Officials of the Secret State Police, it is said, are trying to suppress discussion of the Hadamar occurrences by means of severe threats. In the interest of public peace this may be well intended. But the knowledge and the conviction and the indignation of the population cannot be changed by it; the conviction will be increased with the bitter realisation that discussion is prohibited with threats, but that the actions themselves are not prosecuted under penal law."

I quote the last paragraph of the letter, the postscript:
"I am submitting copies of this letter to the Reich Minister of the Interior and the Reich Minister for Church Affairs." - Initialled by above.
Nevertheless, the killings carried out in these institutions under the secret law created by defendant Frick, Himmler and others continued year after year.

THE PRESIDENT: Was any answer made to that letter?

DR. KEMPNER: No answer has been found. I have other letters which I am not able to quote here to-day which bear the words: "Please do not answer."

THE PRESIDENT: "Please do not answer?"

DR. KEMPNER: So that it should be unanswered.

Nevertheless, the killings carried out in these institutions under the secret law created by defendant Frick, Himmler and others continued year after year. I offer in evidence Document 3592-PS, Exhibit USA 718, which is a certified copy of the charge, specifications, findings and sentence of the U.S. Military Commission at Wiesbaden, against the individuals who operated the Hadamar Sanatorium, where many Russians and Poles were murdered. In this particular proceeding seven defendants were charged with the murder in 1944 of400 persons of Polish and Russian nationality, and three of the defendants were sentenced to be hanged; the other four were sentenced to confinement with hard labour.

Now I come to the last page of my presentation, the final case of Frick's responsibility, which arises under his position as Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia for the period from 20th August, 1943, until the end of the war. I think it is not necessary to say anything about the functions of the Protector of Bohemia and Moravia; these broad powers are known to the Court.

[Page 336]

THE PRESIDENT: Before you pass from 3592-PS, is it clear that that trial related to the killing of Polish and Russian nationals in nursing homes or institutions of that sort?

DR. KEMPNER: It is absolutely clear in this document, the sentence of the Military Commission of Hadamar for Wiesbaden.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you show me where that is?

DR. KEMPNER: Document 3592-PS. I quote:

"Specification: In that Alfons Klein, Adolf Wahlmann, Heinrich Ruoff, Karl Willig, Adolf Merkle, Irmgard Huber, and Phillip Blum, acting jointly and in pursuance of a common intent and acting for and on behalf of the then German Reich, did, from or about 1st July, 1944 until about 1st April, 1945, at Hadamar, Germany, wilfully, deliberately, and wrongfully aid, abet and participate in the killing of human beings of Polish and Russian nationality; their exact names and number being unknown, but totalling over 400, and who were then and there confined by the German Reich as an exercise of belligerent control."
THE PRESIDENT: It does not show that it came within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior.

DR. KEMPNER: Sometime ago I referred to the Manual of the German Administrative Officials. This manual points out very clearly that nursing homes, sanitaria, and similar establishments are under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior.

THE PRESIDENT: I follow that; but this document does not refer to nursing homes. That is what I was asking you.

DR. KEMPNER: Yes, it says only Hadamar. It is, in fact, the Hadamar nursing home. This portion was not given by the Judge Advocate General, but I am willing to give later a more extended document showing that Hadamar is a common name for the so-called Hadamar killing mill, which is a nursing home.

Now I come to the last paragraph of my presentation.

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a moment, Dr. Kempner. Counsel for the defence wishes to speak. There is the gentlemen standing by your side.

DR. PANNENBECKER (Counsel for defendant Frick): From Document 3592-PS, which was just read, I cannot find that the defendant Frick is connected with the document in any way.

THE PRESIDENT: Surely it is not necessary for you to get up and repeat what I have just said.

DR. PANNENBECKER: I would like to add something else.

THE PRESIDENT: I beg your pardon.

DR. PANNENBECKER: I would like to add that the defendant Frick since August, 1943, was not Minister of the Interior, and for that reason this document cannot be used against him.

THE PRESIDENT: And it does not give the date of the death of these people. At any rate, until Dr. Kempner produces something to show that this was a nursing home and in a time during which the defendant Frick was Minister of the Interior, the Tribunal will not treat it as being evidence which implicates Frick.

DR. KEMPNER: I quoted this killing in Hadamar for two reasons: First, because the Ministry of the Interior has become acquainted, as I said before, with the letter of the Bishop of Limburg, in 1941, when Frick was Minister of the Interior and knew about these facts; and I quoted the military decision for this reasons that these killings were still going on in 1944 and 1945 under a law of which the defendant Frick was the co-author.

The final phase of Frick's responsibility arises under his position as Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia for the period from 20th August, 1943, until the end of the war. I have not to prove his function but I shall mention one example, and I offer in evidence Document 3589-PS, Exhibit USA 720, which

[Page 337]

is a supplement to an official Czechoslovak report on German crimes against Czechoslovakia. I would like to quote only the following brief passage from this report:
"During the tenure of office of defendant Wilhelm Frick as Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, from August, 1943, until the liberation of Czechoslovakia in 1945, many thousands of Czechoslovak Jews were transported from the Terezin ghetto in Czechoslovakia to the concentration camp at Oswiecziem (Auschwitz) in Poland and were there killed in the gas chambers."
Brought from the territory over which Frick was Protector to the gas chamber.

Thus, we submit, it has been shown that the defendant Frick was a key conspirator from 1923 until the Allied armies crushed the resistance of the Nazi Armed Forces. Frick's guilt rests on his own record, and on the record of his co- defendants, with whom he is co-responsible under our Charter.

I would like to express my appreciation for the assistance rendered in connection with the preparation of this case by my colleagues, Mr. Karl Lachmann, Lt. Frederick Felton, and Captain Seymour Krieger.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 10.00 hours on 17th January, 1946.)

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.