The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
21st January to 1st February, 1946

Forty-Second Day: Thursday, 24rd January, 1946
(Part 6 of 7)

[M. DUBOST continues]

[Page 141]

You will find this testimony under letter "A" in Document 402 RF, which has already been submitted as Exhibit RF 287? at the bottom of Page 1 you will read:
"There were 70 of us, including Professors Jacques Solomon, Decourtemanche and Georges Politzer, Dr. Boer and MM. Engros, Dudach, Cadras, Dalidet, Golue, Pican, who were shot in the month of May, 1942, and an approximately equal number of women.

Some of us were transferred to the German quarter of the Sante (a prison in Paris), but the majority of us were taken to the military prison of Cherche-Midi (in Paris). We were questioned in turn by a Gestapo officer, in the offices of the Rue des Saussaies. Certain of us, in particular Politzer and Solomon, were tortured to the point of having their limbs broken, according to the testimony of their wives.

Moreover, while questioning me, the Gestapo officer confirmed this to me:

I repeat his words:
'Rabate, here you will have to speak. Professor Langevin's son-in-law came in here arrogant. He went out crawling.'

After a short stay of five months in the prison of Cherche-Midi, in the course of which we learned of the execution, as hostages of the 10 prisoners already mentioned, we were transferred, on the 24 August 1942, to the Fort of Romainville.

It is to be noted that from the day of our arrest we were forbidden to write or to receive mail, or to inform our families where we were. On the doors of our cells was written: 'Alles verboten' (Everything is forbidden). We received only the strict prison ration, namely, three- fourths of a litre of vegetable soup and two hundred grams of black bread per day. The biscuits sent to the prison for political prisoners by the Red Cross or by the Quakers' Association were not given to us because of this prohibition.

In the fort of Romainville we were interned as 'isolated prisoners,' an expression corresponding to the 'NN' (Nacht und Nebel), of which we have heard in Germany."

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, the Tribunal thinks that, unless there is anything very special that you wish to read in any of these documents, they have already heard the number of the hostages who were put to death and they think that they really do not add to it - the actual details of these documents.

M. DUBOST: I thought, Mr. President, that I had not spoken to you of the regime to which men were subjected when they were prisoners of the German Army. I thought that it was my duty to enlighten the Tribunal on the condition of these men in the German prisons.

I thought that it was also my duty to enlighten the Tribunal on the ill-treatment inflicted by the Gestapo, who left the son-in-law of Professor Langevin with his limbs broken.

[Page 142]

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly, if there are matters of that sort which you think it right to go into, you must do so, but the actual details of individual shooting of hostages we think you might, at any rate, summarise. But if there are particular atrocities to which you wish to draw our attention, by all means do so.

M. DUBOST: Mr. President, I have only given you two examples of executions out of the multiple executions which caused 29,660 deaths in my country.


M. DUBOST: In the region of the North of France, which was administratively attached to Belgium and subjected to the authority of General Falkenhausen, the same policy of execution was practised. You will find in Document 123 RF, submitted as Exhibit RF 288, the reproduction of a great number of placards announcing either arrests, executions or deportations. Certain of these placards include, moreover, an appeal to denunciation; and they are analogous to those which I read to you in connection with France. Perhaps it would be well, nevertheless, to point out the one that you will find on Page 3 concerning the execution of 20 Frenchmen, ordered as the result of a theft; that on Page 4 which concerns the execution of 15 Frenchmen prescribed as a result of an attack against a railroad installation; and finally, particularly this last, the one that you will find on Pages 8 and 9, which announces that executions will be carried out, and invites the civilian population to hand over the guilty ones, if they know them, to the German Army.

As particularly concerns those countries of the West other than France, we have a very great number of cases. You will find in your document book, as No. 680, a copy of a placard by the Military Commander-in-Chief for Belgium and the North of France, which announces the arrest in Tournai, on 18 September 1941, of 25 inhabitants as hostages, on which it specifies the condition on which certain of them will be shot if the guilty are not discovered. But you will find, as Document 680, a document particularly remarkable since it comes from the German authorities themselves; it is the secret report of the German Chief of Police in Belgium dated 13 September 1944, that is to say, when Belgium was totally liberated, and this German official wished to summarise for his Chiefs his service during the occupation of Belgium.

This document will be submitted as Exhibit RF 290: on the first page you will find the following passage.

"The growing incitement of the population by the radio and the Press of the enemy which urge them to acts of terrorism and sabotage" - this is applied to Belgium - "the passive attitude of the population, in particular of the Belgian administration, the complete failure of the public prosecutors, the examining judges and of the judicial police, in disclosing and preventing terrorist acts, have at last led to preventive and repressive measures of the most rigorous kind, that is to say, to the execution of persons closely related to the group of the culprits themselves.

As early as 19 October 1941, on the occasion of the murder of two police officials in Tournai, the Military Commander-in-Chief declared, by an announcement appearing in the Press, that all the political prisoners in Belgium would be considered as hostages, with immediate effect. In the provinces of the North of France, subject to the jurisdiction of the same Military Commander-in-Chief, this ordinance was already in force as from 26 August 1941. Through repeated notices appearing in the Press the civilian population has been informed that political prisoners taken as hostages will be executed if the murders continue to be committed.

As a result of the assassination of Teughels, Rexist Mayor of Charleroi, and other attempts at assassination against public officials, the Military

[Page 143]

Commander-in-Chief has been obliged to order, for the first time in Belgium, the execution of 8 terrorists. The date of the execution is 27 November 1942."
On the following page of this same document, 680 (B), you will find another order dated 22 April 1944, marked "Secret," also issued by the Military Commander in Belgium and the North of France, concerning measures of expiation for the murder of two Walloon SS, who had fought at Tcherkassy; 5 hostages were shot on that day.

On the following page 9 hostages are added to these 5, and still a 10th on the following page. Then 5 others on the following page.

You will find, finally, on the penultimate page of the document, a projected list of persons to be shot in expiation of the murder of the SS men. Compare the dates, and judge of the ferocity with which the assassination of these two Walloon traitors, SS volunteers, was revenged.

Finally, under No. 7, you will see the names of the 20 Belgian patriots who were thus murdered.

THE PRESIDENT: Which page did you say?

M. DUBOST: The last page, Mr. President, Page 6, the last document reproduced on the last page. I have not read it in order not to lengthen the case, but I will read it, if you wish.

"Brusseler Zeitung-25 April 1944.

Measures of expiation for the murder of men who fought at Tcherkassy. The German authority announces: the perpetrators of the assassination on 6 April of the members of the SS Sturmbrigade Wallonie, Hubert Stassen and Francois Musch, who fought at Tcherkassy, have so far not been apprehended. Therefore, in accordance with the communication dated 10 April 1944, the 20 terrorists whose names follow have been executed :

Renatus Diericks of Louvain; Francois Boets of Louvain; Antoine Smets of Louvain; Jacques Van Tilt of Holsbeek; Emiliens Van Tilt of Holsbeek; Franciskus Aerts of Herent; Jean Van der Elst of Herent; Gustave Morren of Louvain; Eugene Hupin of Chapelle-lez-Herlaimont; Pierre Leroy of Boussois; Leon Hermann of Montigny-sur- Sambre; Felix Trousson of Chaudfontaine; Joseph Grab of Tirlemont; Octave Wintgens of Baelen-Hontem; Stanislaw Mrozowski of Grace- Berleur; Marcel Boeur of Athus; Marcel Dehon of Ghlin; Andre Croquelois of Pont des Briques, near Boulogne; Gustave Hos of Mons; and the Stateless Jew, Walter Kriss of Herent."

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now for ten minutes. (A recess was taken)

M. DUBOST: As far as the other Western Countries, Holland and Norway are concerned, we have received documents which we submit as Document 224 RF, Exhibit RF 291. Page 2 of Document 224 RF.

In the French text you will find a long list of civilians who were executed. Also on Pages 4 and 5 you will find a report of the Chief of the Criminal Police, Munt, in connection with these executions, and you will observe that Munt tries to prove his own innocence, in my opinion without success.

On Page 6 you will find the account of an investigation concerning mass executions which the Germans carried out in Holland. I do not think it is necessary to read this investigation. It brings no new factual element and simply illustrates the thesis that I have been presenting since this morning: that in all the Western countries the German military authorities systematically carried out executions of hostages, as reprisals.

On Page 8, second paragraph, you will see that on 7 March 1945 an order

[Page 144]

was given to shoot 80 prisoners, and the authority who gave this order said : "I do not care where you get the prisoners" - execution without any designation of age or profession or origin.

On Page 9 the Tribunal will see that there was a total of 2080 executions - that is on lines 6 and 7. In paragraph one, on Page 9, the Tribunal will note that as a reprisal for a murder committed against an SS soldier, a house was destroyed and 10 Dutchmen were executed and, in addition, two other houses were destroyed - under No. 1, in the middle of the page. Under No. 2, 10 Dutchmen were executed, and under No. 3, 14. Altogether, 3,000 Dutchmen were thus executed according to the testimony of this document, which was established by the War Crimes Commission, and signed by the Chief of the Dutch Delegation to the International Military Tribunal, Colonel Baron Van Tuyll van Serooskerken.

Pages 33 and 34 of this document give the approximate number of victims, region by region. The Tribunal will excuse me if I do not read these pages: it seems unnecessary, and they are before you.

I do not wish to conclude the statement about hostages, concerning Holland without drawing the attention of the Tribunal to section (B) of Document 224, which gives a long list of hostages, prisoners or deceased, arrested by the Germans in Holland. The Tribunal will observe that most of these hostages were intellectuals or very highly placed personages in Holland. We note therein, the names of members of parliament, lawyers, senators, Protestant clergymen, and judges, and amongst them we find a former Minister of Justice. The arrests were made systematically from amongst the intellectual elite of the country.

As far as Norway is concerned, the Tribunal will find in Document 240, submitted as Exhibit RF 292, a short report of the executions which the Germans carried out in that country. On 26 April, 1942, two German policemen who tried to arrest two Norwegian patriots were killed on an island on the West coast of Norway. In order to avenge them, four days later 18 young men were shot without trial. All these 18 Norwegians had been in prison since 22 February of the same year, and therefore had nothing to do with this affair.

In the first paragraph of the French translation in the French document book, which is Page 22 of the Norwegian original, it states that:

"On 6 October, 1942, 10 Norwegian citizens were executed in reprisal for attempts at sabotage.

On 20 July, 1944, an unspecified number of Norwegians were shot without trial. They had all been taken from a concentration camp. The reason for this arrest and execution is unknown."

Finally after the German capitulation the bodies of 44 Norwegian citizens were found in graves. All had been shot and we do not know the reason for their execution; it has never been published, and we do not believe they were tried. The executions were effected by a shot through the back of the neck or a revolver bullet through the ear, the hands of the victims being tied behind their backs. This information is given by the Norwegian Government for this Tribunal.

I draw the attention of the Tribunal to the final document, 54-R, signed by Terboven, which concerns the execution of eighteen Norwegians who were taken prisoner for having made an illegal attempt to reach England.

It is by thousands and tens of thousands that in all the Western countries citizens were executed without trial, in reprisal for acts in which they never participated. It does not seem necessary to me to multiply these examples. Each of these examples involves individual responsibility which is not within the competency of this Tribunal. The examples are only of interest in so far

[Page 145

as they show that the orders of the defendants were carried out, and notably the orders of Keitel.

I believe that I have amply proved this. It is incontestable that in every case the German Army was concerned with these executions, which were not solely carried out by the police or the SS.

Moreover, they did not achieve the results expected, Far from reducing the number of attacks, it increased them. Each attack was followed by an execution of hostages, and every shooting of hostages occasioned more attempts on lives. In a general way, new executions of hostages plunged the countries into a stupour and forced every citizen to become conscious of the fate of his country, despite the efforts of the German propaganda. Faced with the failure of this terroristic policy, one might have thought that the defendants would modify their methods. Far from modifying them, they intensified them. I shall endeavour to show what was the activity of the police and the law from the time when, the policy of hostages having failed, it was necessary to appeal to the German police in order to keep the occupied countries in servitude. The German authorities made arbitrary arrests at all times, and from the very beginning of the occupation; but with the failure of the policy of the execution of hostages, which was, as you remember, commented upon by General Falkenhausen in the case of Belgium, arbitrary arrests increased to the point of becoming a constant practice, substituted for that of arresting hostages.

We submit to the Tribunal Document 715-PS, as Exhibit RF 294.

The document concerns the arrest of high-ranking officers, who were to be transferred to Germany in honourable custody.

"Subject: Measures to be taken against French Officers.

In agreement with the German Embassy in Paris, and with the Chief of the Security Police and the SD, the Supreme Commander in the West has made the following proposals:

First: The senior officers enumerated below will be arrested and transferred to Germany in honourable custody:

The Generals of the Army, Frere - who died subsequently in Germany after his deportation - "Gerodias, Cartier, Revers, de Lattre de Tassigny, Fornel de la Laurencie, Robert de Saint-Vincent, Laure, Doyen, Pisquendar, Mittelhauser, Paquin; Generals of the Air Force, Bouscat, Carayon, de Greffrier, d'Harcourt, Mouchard, Mendigal, Rozoy; Colonels Loriot and Fonck."

I continue on Page 2:
"It affects generals whose names have a propaganda value in France and in foreign countries, or whose attitude or abilities represent a danger."
I pass over paragraph two.
"Moreover, we have chosen from the index of officers of the 'Arbeitsstab' in France, about 120 officers who have distinguished themselves by their anti-German attitude during the last two years. The SD has also made a list of about 130 officers who have previously been under suspicion. After the compilation of these two lists, the arrest of these officers is to be arranged at a later date, depending on the situation."
The sixth paragraph at the bottom of the page:
"In the case of all officers of the French Army at the time of the Armistice, the Chief of the Security Police, in collaboration with the Supreme Commander of the West, will fix the same day for the whole territory, for a check by the police of their domiciles and of occupation."
Page 3, paragraphs 7 and 8:
"As a measure of reprisal, families of suspected persons having already shown themselves recalcitrant, or who might become such in the future, will be transferred as internees to Germany or to the territory of Eastern

[Page 146]

France. For these the question of billeting and supervision must first of all be solved. Afterwards we can contemplate, as a later measure, the withdrawal of their French nationality and the confiscation of property, already carried out in other cases by Laval."

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