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-Sixth Day: Wednesday, 30th January, 1946
(Part 2 of 7)

[Page 273

THE PRESIDENT: You have read 31 now, have you not? Have you read 31?

M. DUBOST: I said to the Tribunal that the document which we now submit and read (Document L 159, Exhibit RF 352) is in the second document book, Pages 31, 32 and 33.

Page 31: "Atrocities and other conditions in the concentration camps in Germany. Report of a committee set up by General Eisenhower under the auspices of the Chief of Staff, General George Marshall, to the Congress of the United States, concerning atrocities and other conditions in concentration camps in Germany."

THE PRESIDENT: I asked you whether you had read the part you wished to read on Page 31.

M. DUBOST: Yes, Mr. President, I read the title, and then, from Page 32.

THE PRESIDENT: Where are you going to read on page 32?

M. DUBOST: The second paragraph.


M. DUBOST: Page 32, second paragraph.

"The purpose of this camp was extermination, and the means of extermination."
THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, that is Page 31.

M. DUBOST: I beg your pardon Mr. President. I have a sheet which is numbered in a different way from yours.

We find then on Page 31, the first paragraph:

"The purpose of this camp was extermination, and the means of extermination were blows, torture, overcrowding of the dormitories, and illness. The result of these measures was heightened by the fact that prisoners were obliged to work in an armament factory adjoining the camp which manufactured small firearms, rifles" - and so on.

[Page 274]

The means which were used to carry out this progressive extermination are numerous. We are going to submit documents which have just been handed to us, which we have communicated to the defence, and which consist more or less of printed formulas from Auschwitz, concerning the number of blows which could be administered to the internees or prisoners.

These documents will be handed over to the defence for their criticism. They have just been given to us. I am not able to authenticate their origin today. They appear to me to be of a genuinely authentic character. Photostats of these documents have been given to the defence.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal think that they cannot admit these documents at present. It may be that after you have had more time to examine the matter you may be able to offer some evidence which authenticates the documents, but we cannot admit the documents simply upon your statement that you believe them to be genuine.

M. DUBOST: Moreover, everything in the camps contributed to pave the way for the progressive extermination of the people who were interned there. Their situation was as follows: all suffered from the hard climate, and severe exposure. Some worked in subterranean caves. Their living conditions have been brought to light by the testimony which you have heard, including the conditions under which the internees were received, being compelled to remain naked for hours while they were being registered or waiting to be tattooed.

Everything combined to cause the rapid death of those who were interned in the camps. A good number of them were subjected to an even harder regime, the description of which was given to the Tribunal by the American Prosecution when they submitted Exhibit USA 243 and the following dealing with the "Nacht und Nebel" regime, the NN.

I do not think it is necessary to return to the description of this regime. I shall merely submit a new document which shows the rigour with which it was applied to our compatriots. This document is the second of the first document book. It is included under the number 278. It comes from the German Armistice Commission of Wiesbaden, and shows that no steps were ever taken in reply to repeated protests by the French population, and even by the de facto government of Vichy, against the silence which shrouded the internees of the NN camps (paragraphs 1 and 2).

I shall now read from paragraph 2, which explains why no reply could be given to families who had good reason to worry.

This was foreseen and desired by the Fuehrer His opinion was that effective intimidation of the population, which would put a stop to criminal activities against the occupation forces, would be achieved by the death sentence, or by measures which would leave the offender's next of kin, and the population generally, uncertain as to their fate.

This document becomes Exhibit RF 326.

We will not devote any more time to describing the blocks and the unhygienic conditions under which the internees in the blocks lived. Four witnesses who all came from different camps have pointed out to you that the hygienic conditions in different camps were identical. The blocks were equally overcrowded in all these camps. We know that in all cases the water supply was insufficient, and that deportees slept two or three in beds only 75 to 80 centimetres wide. We know that the linen was never renewed or was in very bad condition. We know likewise the conditions in which the medical services of the camp functioned. Several witnesses belonging to the medical profession have testified to this fact before the Tribunal. The Tribunal will find confirmation of their testimony in Document F-121, Exhibit RF 354, Page 98 of the second document book. We shall read the last line of Page 100 of your document book.

[Page 275]

"Because of lack of water the prisoners were obliged to satisfy their thirst by drinking the stagnant water in the water closets."
Page 119 of Document F-121, Page 103 in the German text, third paragraph:
"The surgical work was done by a German who claimed to be a surgeon from Berlin, but who was an ordinary criminal. At each operation he killed the patient."
Two paragraphs lower:
"The management of the block was carried out by two Germans, who acted as sick-bay attendants; unscrupulous men, who carried out surgical operations on the spot with the help of a certain H - who was a mason by trade."
After the statement by our witnesses, who in their capacity as doctors of medicine, were able to care for patients in the camp infirmaries, it seems superfluous to give further quotations from our documents.

When the workers had been worked to the point of exhaustion, when it seemed impossible that they could ever recover, selections were made to set apart those who were of no further use, with a view to exterminating them either in the gas-chambers, as related by our first witness, Madam Vaillant Couturier, or by intra-cardiac injections, as related by two other French witnesses, Dr. Dupont and Dr. Balachowsky.

This system of screening was carried out in all the camps, and was done in execution of general orders, proof of which we find in Document R-91.

In the first document book the Tribunal will find the testimony of Blaha, testimony which it will certainly recall and which was given here on 9 January - it is the 5th document of the first document book, the testimony of Blaha, Document 3249-PS -

THE PRESIDENT: You have already given this as evidence, have you not?

M. DUBOST: I am not going to read it. I merely wish to recall this for the record, because it enters into the body of proofs which I wish to submit.

THE PRESIDENT: We do not want affidavits by witnesses who have already given evidence. This affidavit, PS-3249, has not been put in, has it?

M. DUBOST: No, I am merely recalling the testimony which was given at the session. We shall not submit this document, Mr. President. We are merely using it to remind the Tribunal that during the session Blaha pointed out conditions existing in the infirmaries.

To all these wretched living conditions must be added work, exhausting work, for all the deportees were intended to carry out extremely hard work. We know that they worked in labour gangs and in factories, we know, according to the witnesses, that the duration of this work was a minimum of 12 hours, and that it was often prolonged to suit the whim of the camp commandant.

Document R-129, from which I have already read, which was issued by Pohl, and addressed to Himmler, Pages 22 and 23 of the second document book, suggests that the working hours should be limited to a certain extent.

This work was carried out, according to the witnesses, in water, and in mud, in underground factories in Dora, for instance, and in quarries in Mauthausen. In addition to the work, which was exhausting in itself, the deportees were subject to ill-treatment by the SS and the Kapo, such as blows, or being bitten by dogs.

Our Document F-274, Pages 74 and 75, brings official testimony to this effect. Is it necessary to read to the Tribunal from this document, which is an official one, to which we constantly refer, and which has been translated into German and into English?

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think you need read it. Give us the page.

[Page 276]

M. DUBOST: Thank you, Mr. President.

This same document, Pages 77, 78, informs us that all the prisoners were forced to do the work assigned to them, even under the worst conditions of health and hygiene. There was no quarantine for them even in case of contagious diseases or during epidemics.

The French Document 392, which we have already submitted and which is in the first document book - the testimony of Doctor Steinberg - confirms that of Madame Vaillant- Couturier. It is the twelfth document of your first document book, third paragraph, Page 4.

"We received half a litre of herb tea; this was when we were awakened. A supervisor, who was at the door, hastened our washing by giving us blows with a cudgel. The lack of hygiene led to an epidemic of typhus."
At the end of the third paragraph and the beginning of the fourth :
"The conditions under which the prisoners were taken to the factories."
In the fifth paragraph: "Description of shoes.
We had been provided with wooden shoes which in a few days caused us wounds. These wounds produced boils which brought death to many."
I shall now read Document R-129, Pages 22, 23 and 24 in the second document book, and which we submit under the number-

THE PRESIDENT: One moment; the Tribunal will adjourn now for fifteen minutes.

(A recess was taken)

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, the Tribunal have been considering the question of the evidence which you have presented on the concentration camps, and they are of the opinion that you have proved the case for the present, subject, of course, to any evidence which may be produced on behalf of the defendants, and of course subject also to your right under Article 24(e) of the Charter to bring in rebutting evidence, should the Tribunal think it right to admit such evidence. They think, therefore, that it is not in the interests of the Trial, which the Charter directs should be an expeditious one, that further evidence should be presented at this stage on the question of concentration camps, unless there are any particular new points about the concentration camps to which you have not yet drawn our attention; and, if there are such points, we should like you to particularise them before you present any further evidence upon them.

M. DUBOST: I thank the Tribunal for this statement. I do not conceal from the Tribunal that I shall need a few moments to select the points which it seems necessary to stress. I did not expect this decision.

With the authorisation of the Tribunal, I shall pass to the examination of the situation of prisoners of war.

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, possibly you could, during the adjournment, consider whether there are any particular points, new points, on concentration camps which you wish to draw our attention to, and present them after the adjournment, in the meantime proceeding with some other matter.

M. DUBOST: The 1 o'clock recess?

THE PRESIDENT . Yes, that is what I meant.

M. DUBOST: I shall, therefore, consider as established provisionally the proof that Germany, in its internment camps and in its concentration camps, pursued a policy tending towards the annihilation and extermination of its enemies, while at the same time creating a system of terror, which it exploited to facilitate the realisation of its political aims.

Another aspect of this policy of terror and extermination appears when one studies the War Crimes committed by Germany against prisoners of

[Page 277]

war. These crimes, as I shall prove to you, had two motives among others: the first was to debase the prisoners as much as possible in order to sap their energy; to demoralise them, to make them lose faith in themselves and in the cause for which they fought, and despair of the future of their country. The second was to cause the disappearance of those of them who, by reason of their previous history or of indications which they had given since their capture, showed that they could not be adapted to the new order which the Nazis intended to set up.

With this aim, Germany multiplied the inhuman methods of treatment intended to debase the men in her hands, men who were soldiers and who had surrendered trusting in the military honour of the army to which they had surrendered.

The transfer of prisoners was carried out under the most inhuman conditions. The men were badly fed, and were obliged to make long marches on foot, exposed to every kind of punishment, and struck down when they were tired and could no longer follow the column. No shelter was provided at the halting places, and no food. Evidence of this is given in the report on the evacuation of the column that left Sagan on 8 February, 1945, at 12.30 p.m., a document which the Tribunal will find in the appendix to the document book on the prisoners. This document has been submitted by my colleague, M. Herzog, under No. 46.

THE PRESIDENT: Where shall we find it?

M. DUBOST: I shall read the second appendix, last line.

THE PRESIDENT: I have not got the document, I am afraid, M. Dubost. I have the document book.

M. DUBOST: The document has been submitted.

THE PRESIDENT: If you could tell us which book it is in - just hand it up.

M. DUBOST: It is in the document book submitted by M. Herzog. The French Secretariat was instructed to hand these documents to you. I am surprised that this has not yet been done.

Will the Tribunal excuse me? I shall not be able to read this document now. It was handed over at the time of M. Herzog's speech. The Tribunal will find it among M. Herzog's documents. It is the report on the evacuation of the column that left Sagan on 8th February, 1945. We have no other copies.

THE PRESIDENT: Can you identify the document book in which it is, so that we can find it thereafter, and then pass on to the next document?

M. DUBOST: It is the document book which was handed to the Tribunal by my colleague, M. Herzog, when he gave his presentation on the question of labour.

THE PRESIDENT: And how is it marked?

M. DUBOST: It is U.K. 78, submitted under No. 46. A column of 1357 British soldiers, of all ranks, started on 28 January, 1945, toward Spremberg.

THE PRESIDENT: Possibly this is the first document in your document book which has been handed up to us.

M. DUBOST: That is right, Mr. President. I shall now read to you the document on the evacuation of the Sagan camp from 4- 6 February, 1945, since the Tribunal has not the copy before it. I pass to Document U.K. 170, Exhibit RF 355.

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