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-Seventh Day: Thursday, 31st January, 1946
(Part 2 of 8)

[Page 303

THE PRESIDENT: Go on, M. Dubost. As I say, do it slowly.

DR. STAHMER: It is not correct that we received it three days ago. We found this pile in our room yesterday evening. We really have not had the time to number these pages. As I say, this was in our room only yesterday evening or this morning.

THE PRESIDENT': Let us go on, now, M. Dubost, and go slowly in describing the identification of the document.

M. DUBOST: We shall pass to Document F-357, which will be submitted as Exhibit RF 381, which is on Page 120 in the French document book. This document deals with the carrying out of general orders concerning the execution of prisoners of war. It contains the testimony of a German police officer who was made prisoner on 25 May 1945 and who (on Page 127, paragraph before the last, underscored lines in the French text) declares:

"All war prisoners whom we might have in our possession, however that might have happened, were to be killed by us instead of being handed over to the nearest Wehrmacht post as had been done until then."
This has to do with an order which was given in the middle of August 1944.

The witness continues:

"This execution was to be carried out in a deserted spot."
On Page 128, the same witness gives, paragraph 3, the names of the Germans who had executed war prisoners.

We shall now submit Document 1634-PS, which will become Exhibit RF 382. The Tribunal will find it on Page 129 in their document book. It is a document which has not yet been read, which relates to the murder of 129 American

[Page 304]

war prisoners, carried out by the German Army in a field South west and West of Baignes, in Belgium, on 17 December 1944 during the German offensive.

Page 129, bottom of the page. The author of this report summarised the facts.

"The American prisoners are brought together near the cross-roads. A few soldiers, whose names are indicated, rush across the field toward the West, hide among the trees in the high grass and thickets and ditches, and thus escape the massacre of their companions. A few others who, at the moment when this massacre began, were in the proximity of a barn, were able to hide in it. They are also survivors."
Third paragraph:
"The artillery and machine-gun fire on the column of American vehicles continued for about ten to fifteen minutes, and then two German tanks and some half-track vehicles came down the road from the direction of Weismes. Upon reaching the intersection, these vehicles turned South on the road toward St. Vith. The tanks directed machine gun fire into the ditch along the side of the road in which the American soldiers were crouching, and upon seeing this, the other American soldiers dropped their weapons and raised their arms over their heads. The surrendering American soldiers were then required to march back to the road intersection, and while doing this, and as they passed by some of the German vehicles then on Highway N-23, German soldiers on these vehicles took from the American prisoners of war such items as wrist watches, rings and gloves. The American soldiers were then assembled on the St. Vith road in front of a house standing on the Southwest corner of the intersection. Other German soldiers who had arrived at the road intersection in tanks and half-track vehicles, further searched some of the captured Americans at this place and also took valuables from them."
Top of Page 131, before the end of the paragraph:
"An American prisoner was questioned and led with his other comrades to the crossroads just referred to."
Third paragraph:
"At about this time some German light tank or half-track vehicles attempted to manoeuvre into position on the road so that their cannon would be directed at the group of American PW's gathered in the field approximately twenty to twenty-five yards from the road. I again omit four lines. "Some of these stopped when they came opposite the field in which the unarmed American PW's were standing in a group, with their hands up in the air or clasped behind their heads. A German soldier, believed to be a non-commissioned officer, in one of these vehicles which stopped, raised and pointed a pistol and took deliberate aim and fired into the group of American PW's. One of the American soldiers fell. This was repeated a second time and another American soldier in the group fell to the ground. At about this time, machine guns on two of the vehicles on the road started to fire into the group of American PW's in the field. All, or most of the American soldiers dropped to the ground and stayed there while the firing continued for two or three minutes. Most of the individuals in the field were hit by this machine gun fire. The German vehicles on the road then moved on toward the South and were followed by more vehicles which also came from the direction of Weismes and as these latter vehicles came opposite the field in which the American soldiers were lying, they also fired with small arms from the moving vehicles at the prostrate bodies in the field."
Page 132, first paragraph:
"Some German soldiers, evidently from the group of those who were

[Page 305]

on guard at the intersection, then walked among the group of American PW's who were still in the original position in the field, and also among those who had run away for a short distance, and shot with pistol or rifle, or clubbed with a rifle butt or other heavy object, any of the individual American soldiers who still showed any sign of life. In some instances, it is evident that American PW's were shot at close range squarely between the eyes, in the temple, or the back of the head."
This act constitutes an act of pure terrorism, the shame of which will remain with the German Army, for nothing justified it. These prisoners were un-armed and had surrendered.

The Tribunal authorised me yesterday to present the documents on which the French accusation is based for establishing the guilt of Goering, Keitel, Jodl, Bormann, Frank, Rosenberg, Streicher, Schirach, Hess, Frick, the OKW, OKH, OKL, the Reich Cabinet, and the Nazi Leadership Corps, as well as the SS and the Gestapo, in the atrocities committed in the camps. I shall be very brief. I have very few documents to present in addition to those which have already been presented.

The first places Kaltenbrunner under accusation. It is the American Document L-35 which the Tribunal will find on Page 266 of the document book concerning concentration camps, i.e., the second book. This document has not been submitted. Paragraph 3, Page 246, is the testimony of Rudolf Mildner, Doctor of Law, Colonel of the Police, who declares, paragraph 2 of his declaration:

"The internment orders were signed by the Chief of the Sipo and SD, Dr. Kaltenbrunner, or, as deputy, the Chief of Amt IV, SS Gruppenfuehrer Muller."
I submit this as Exhibit RF 383. Concerning Goering we submit American Document 343-PS, Page 203 of document book 11. This is a letter from Field Marshal Milch to Wolff. On Page 204, this letter concludes with the phrase:
"I express to the SS the special thanks of the Commander- in-Chief of the Luftwaffe for the considerable aid they have rendered."
Now, from the preceding one can conclude that these thanks refer to the biological experiments of Dr. Rascher. Thus, Goering is involved in these.

The German SS Medical Corps is implicated also. This one can gather from Document 1635-PS, which has not yet been handed to the Tribunal, which becomes Exhibit RF-385, which the Tribunal will find in the annex of the second document book. These are extracts from reviews on microscopic and anatomical research. They deal with experiments made on persons who died suddenly, although in good health. The circumstances of their death are described by the experimenters in such a way that no reader can be in any doubt as to what they were.

With the authorisation of the Tribunal, I shall read a few brief extracts. Page 132, at the top of the document which we submit to the Tribunal:

"The thyroid glands. 21 persons between 20 and 40 years of age were examined. They had been in supposedly good health, but suddenly died."
The following paragraph
"The persons in question, 19 men and 2 women, until their death had all lived for several months under the same conditions both of housing and food. At the end the food they were given consisted chiefly of hydrocarbons." "Replacement Products and Examination Methods": (this is the title) "In the course of a rather long period, substance for the experiment was taken from the liver of 24 adults in good health, who suddenly died between 5 and 6 o'clock in the morning."

[Page 306]

In examining these documents, the Tribunal will see that German medical literature is very rich in experiments carried out on "adults in good health who died suddenly between five and six o'clock in the morning." No one in Germany could be fooled, since the accounts of the SS doctors' experiments in the camps were published in this way.

A last document is F-185, A and B, which refers to an experiment with poisoned bullets, carried out on 11 August 1944, in the presence of SS Sturmbannfuehrer Dr. Ding, and Dr. Widmann; Page 187 of the second document book concerning concentration camps. These two documents are submitted as Exhibits RF 386 and 387. The Tribunal will find on Page 187 the description of this experiment, in which the victims are persons sentenced to death, where, in fact . . .

THE PRESIDENT: The document has been read already, I think.

M. DUBOST: F-185 is a French document.

THE PRESIDENT: But I cannot help that. It has been read already, I think.

M. DUBOST: I beg the Tribunal's pardon. I did not realise that. It is a document from the French archives. However, Mr. President, I doubt if the Tribunal has heard Document 185 B, which is by the French Professor, May, a surgeon. This document will become Exhibit RF 386, and, on Page 222, second paragraph, Professor May, Fellow of Surgery, to whom the pseudo-scientific documents to which I alluded a while ago were submitted - the reports from scientific reviews on experiments - wrote :

"The wickedness and the stupidity of the experimenters amazed me. The symptoms of aconite poisoning have been known from time immemorial. This poison is sometimes employed by certain savage tribes to poison their war arrows. It is unheard of that observations on the anticipated result of experiments should be presented in such a pretentious style, observations, by the way, which are completely inadequate and childish or that these could be signed by a 'Doz,', that is to say, a professor."
We now submit Document F-278A, as Exhibit RF 388. The Tribunal will find it on Page 75. It involves Keitel. It is a letter signed: " By order of the High Command of the Wehrmacht, Dr. Lehmann." It is addressed on 10 February 1942 to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and it incriminates him. I quote paragraphs 2 and 3 on Page 75, which concern the regime in the internment camps:
"The delinquents brought to Germany in application of the decree of the Fuehrer are to have no communication of any kind with the outside world. They must, therefore, neither write themselves, nor receive letters, parcels or visits. The letters, parcels and visits are to be refused, with the remark that all communications with the outside world is forbidden."
The High Command shares the point of view of the recipient of this letter, expressed in his letter of 31 January 1942, according to which access of Belgian lawyers to Belgian prisoners shall not be permitted.

We now submit Document 682-PS, Page 134 of the second document book, which becomes Exhibit RF 389. This document involves the German Government and the Reich Cabinet. It is a record of a conversation between Dr. Goebbels and Thierack, Minister of Justice, on 15 September 1942, from 13.00 hours to 14.15 hours.

"With regard to the destruction of asocial elements Dr. Goebbels is of the opinion that the following groups should be exterminated: Jews and Gypsies unconditionally, Poles who have to serve 3-4 years of penal servitude, and Czechs and Germans who are sentenced to death or penal servitude for life or to protective custody (Sicherungsverwahrung) for life. The idea of extermination through work is the best..."

[Page 307]

We stress this last phrase which shows, in the German Government itself, the will to "extermination through work."

THE PRESIDENT: Has that document been read before?

M. DUBOST: This document does not seem to have been read before. We made enquiries of the American Delegation.

THE PRESIDENT: Read the last two lines.

M. DUBOST: "The idea of extermination through work is the best."

The last document that we shall submit in regard to the concentration camps is F-662, which becomes Exhibit RF 390. Pages 77 and 78, second document book. This document is the testimony of M. Poutiers, living in Paris, Place de Breteuil, who points out that the prisoners in the commandos of Mauthausen Ebens worked under the direct control of civilians, the SS dealing only with the supervision of the prisoners. This witness, who was in numerous work commandos, testifies that all were controlled by civilians, and only supervised by the SS, and that, thus, the inhabitants of the country, during the movement of the labourers to and from work, could observe their misery, which confirms the testimony which has already been given before the Tribunal.

We shall summarise the progress of the German criminal policy in the West: At the beginning of the occupation: Violation of Article 50: execution of hostages, but creation of a pseudo "law of hostages" to justify these executions in the eyes of the populace of the occupied countries.

In the years that follow; contempt for the rights of the human being increases. It becomes complete in the last months of the occupation. At that time arbitrary imprisonment, parodies of trials, or executions without trials were a daily practice.

The sentences, the Tribunal will remember, are no longer put into effect in cases of acquittal or reprieve; those acquitted by German tribunals, who should be released are deported and die in concentration camps.

At the same time there develops and grows in strength the organisation of Frenchmen who remain on the soil of France and refuse to let their country die. At this stage German terrorism intensifies against them, increasing from month to month. What follows is the description of the terroristic repression by the Germans against the patriots of the West of Europe, against what was called the "Resistance," without giving this word any other meaning than its generic sense.

From the time when Germany understands that its policy of collaboration is doomed to failure, that its policy of hostages only exasperates the fury of the people whom it is trying to subdue, instead of modifying its policy with regard to the citizens of the occupied countries, it intensifies the terror which already reigns over them, and tries to justify itself by saying it is an anti-Communist campaign.

The Tribunal recalls Keitel's order; The tribunal understands what one must think of this pretext. All the French, all the citizens of Europe, without any distinction of party, profession, religion, or race who were involved in resistance against Germany, were mingled in the graves, in the collective charnel houses into which the Germans threw them after their extermination.

But this confusion is deliberate, it is calculated, it justifies to a certain degree this arbitrariness of repressive measures, this arbitrariness of which we have already had evidence in Document F-278, Page 4 of the document book, which we submit as Exhibit RF 391, dated 12 January 1943, signed "Falkenhausen"

THE PRESIDENT: Which document book is it?

M. DUBOST: "Terrorist action against Patriots," Document F- 278, Page 4, second paragraph:

"In the future, persons who are found in possession of explosives

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and fire arms without valid authorisation, may be immediately shot without trial."
This order and others analogous to it continue to be executed even after the Allied landing in Western Europe. These orders are even executed against organised forces in Belgium as well as in France, although the Germans themselves to a certain extent considered these forces as troops. This can be verified by reference to Document F-673, Page 167, third paragraph.

THE PRESIDENT: That is in a different book, I am afraid, is it not?

M. DUBOST: We are now dealing with the terrorist actions against patriots, and it is in the document book entitled "Terrorist Action Against Patriots."

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