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 3 of 8)

[Page 308]

THE PRESIDENT: The number of the page came through to me as one hundred and sixty something, and my pages end at 155.

M. DUBOST: Excuse me ; I made the mistake. It is Page 6 of the document book, paragraph 3, third line. "The action of the German troops, if we acknowledge the truth of the facts presented by the French, exceeds by far in scope any purely police action against isolated outlaws .... "

THE PRESIDENT: Is this from 673? Are you reading from 673?

M. DUBOST: Excuse me, Mr. President, this document is not before the Tribunal, and I shall not quote it.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps this would be a convenient time to break off.

(A recess was taken).

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, M. Dubost.

M. DUBOST: The few minutes recess has afforded me the opportunity now to submit a passage from Document F-673 (Exhibit RF 392) which I cited to you, and I am thankful to the Tribunal. This document is now before you. It has just been given to you. In paragraph three of this document, which is a note of presentation to the Wiesbaden Commission, we read the following:

"The action of the German troops, if we acknowledge the truth of the facts presented by the French exceeds by far in scope any purely police action against isolated outlaws. On the enemy side we have organisations which absolutely refuse to accept the sovereignty of the Vichy Government, and which also, from the point of view of numbers as well as of armament and command, can almost be considered to be troops. It has been reiterated that these revolutionary units consider themselves as being a part of the forces fighting against Germany.

General Eisenhower has designated the terrorists who are fighting in France as 'Troops under my orders.' It is against such troops" (on the original is written in red pencil "unfortunately not only") "that preventive measures are directed."

This document shows us that when in action the French Forces of the Interior, as well as all French forces in the Western occupied countries, were considered as troops by the German Army.

THE PRESIDENT: I see that it may be useful for the record. It is in the document book on the extermination of innocent populations, on Page 167.

M. DUBOST: I thank you, Mr. President.

The patriots who were consequently considered by the German Army as constituting regular troops, were they then treated as soldiers? No.

The order of Falkenhausen is proof thereof. They were either to be killed on the spot and, after all, that is the fate of a combatant, or else delivered to the Sipo, or to the SD, and tortured to death by units free of any legal constraint,

[Page 309]

in the manner demonstrated by Document 835-PS, which has already been submitted as Exhibit USA 527. and by F-673, Page 6 in your document book, which is now before you as Exhibit RF-392.


M. DUBOST: Six of your document book.

THE PRESIDENT: Of the same document book?

M. DUBOST: This is the only document book that we are referring to now Mr. President, "Terrorist Action against Patriots", F-673, on Page 6 of the book which is now before you. The whole of that document has already been submitted as Exhibit RF-392. F-673 is a considerable bundle of papers which comes from the archives of the German Commission at Wiesbaden, and we are placing it in its entirety as Exhibit RF 392 after classifying it in the French archive as number 673. Whenever we refer to Document 673 it will be one of the documents in this big German book.

"Letter from the Fuehrer's headquarters, 18 August 1944, thirty copies, copy number twenty-six. Top secret. Subject.

(1) Action against terrorists and saboteurs in occupied territories.

(2) Jurisdiction over non-German civilians in occupied territories."

"(1) In the enclosure," says the writer of this letter, " we are transmitting a copy of the order of the Fuehrer of 30 July 1944 ". This order of the Fuehrer of 30 July 1944 will be found on Page 9 of your document book. Here is the order, Page 9, paragraph three.
"I therefore order the troops and every individual member of the Wehrmacht, the SS and the police, immediately to shoot on the spot terrorists and saboteurs who are caught red-handed. (2) Whoever is captured later is to be transferred to the nearest local office of the Security Police and SD. Sympathisers, particularly women, who are not taking direct part in these hostile acts are to be put to work."
We know what that means. We know the working conditions in concentration camps. But I shall proceed to read the text of the letter covering this order, paragraph four. This paragraph is a comment on the order itself.

THE PRESIDENT: Has this not been read before?

M. DUBOST: It has never been read, Mr. President.

This is F-673 of the Wiesbaden Armistice Commission.

"Pending judicial proceedings against any act of terror or sabotage, or any other crime committed by non-German civilians in the occupied territories which endangers the security or the state of tactical readiness of the occupying power, are suspended. Indictments are to be withdrawn. The carrying out of sentences is not to be ordered. The accused and the records are to be turned over to the nearest office of the Security Police and SD."
This order, which is to be transmitted to all commanding generals, as indicated on Page 7, is accompanied by one last comment on Page 8, the penultimate paragraph.
"Non-German civilians in the occupied territories who endanger the security or state of tactical readiness of the occupying power in a manner other than through acts of terrorism and sabotage are to be turned over to the SD." This order is signed by Keitel.
By this comment, which we have just read to you, Keitel has associated himself in spirit with the order of his Fuehrer. He has brought about the execution of numerous innocent individuals, for the uncontrolled killing of any one suspected of being a terrorist affects not only the terrorists but the innocent, and affects the innocent more than the terrorists. Moreover, Keitel's

[Page 310]

comment goes even beyond even Hitler's own order. Keitel applied Hitler's stipulation, - on Page 9 of your document book - to a hypothetical case which had not been foreseen, to wit:
"Acts committed by non-German civilians in occupied territories which endanger the security of state of tactical readiness of the occupying power."
This is from the General himself. It is a political act which has nothing to do with the conduct of war. It is a political act which compromises and involves him. It makes him participate in the development and extension of the Hitlerian policy; for it is the interpretation of an order from Hitler, within the spirit of the order, perhaps, but beyond its scope.

Instructions were given to the Sipo and the SD to execute without sentence. These instructions were carried out. Document F-574 on Page 10 of your document book, which is placed before you as Exhibit RF 393, is testimony by a certain Goldberg, an adjutant to the Security Service in Chalon sur Saone before the liberation of that city. He was captured by the patriots and interrogated by the divisional commissar who was Chief of the Regional Office of Criminal Investigation (Police Judiciaire) at Dijon. The defence will certainly not reproach us for having had him examined by a junior police officer. It was the same chief of the Regional Office of Criminal Investigation for the Dijon region who had interrogated this very witness. The witness declared, Page 12, at the bottom of the page:

"At the end of May 1944, without my having seen any written order on this subject, the Security Police of Chalon had the right to pronounce capital punishment, and to have the sentence carried out without those concerned having appeared before a Tribunal, and without the case having been submitted for approval to the commander in Dijon. It is the Chief of the SD in Chalon, that is, Kruger, who had all necessary authority to make such a decision. There was no opposition so far as I know on the part of the SD of Dijon, which allows me to conclude that this procedure was regular and was the result of instructions which were not officially communicated to me but which emanated from higher authorities."
The execution was carried out by members of the SD. The names are given by the witness, but they are not of particular interest to this Tribunal, which is only concerned with the punishment of the major criminals, those who gave orders and from whom orders emanated.

How were these orders applied in the various countries of the West?

In the case of Holland, we have the following testimony in a report given by the Dutch Government. I read from Page 15 of that report:

"Three days after the attempt against Rauter, I witnessed the execution of several Dutch patriots by the German green (political) police."
This Dutch document is classified in the French file as F- 224, and it has been submitted to you, but the specific passage to which I refer has not been read.

The witness continues, on Page 16 of your document book:

"I spoke to a master sergeant of the green (political) police, whose name is unknown to me, and he told me that this execution was revenge for the attempt against Rauter. He told me also that hundreds of Dutch terrorists had been executed in accordance with the order."
In the penultimate paragraph of Page 17, another witness stated:
"About 6 o'clock in the evening" - this is the German who gave the orders to execute the Dutch patriots - "when I went to my office, I received the order to have 40 prisoners shot."
On Page 19, at the very bottom of the page, the investigators, who were

[Page 311]

Canadian officers, state the circumstances under which the corpses were discovered. I do not think that the Tribunal will wish me to read this passage.

On Page 21 the Tribunal will find the report of Munt, completing and correcting his report of 4 June on the execution of Dutchmen after the attempt against Rauter.

The execution was carried out upon order from Kolitz; 198 prisoners were involved. Munt denies having sanctioned the execution of the Dutch patriots, but says that it was nevertheless impossible for him to prevent it, in view of the orders from higher sources which he had received.

On Page 22, penultimate paragraph, the same Munt states:

"After an attack against two members of the Wehrmacht on two days in succession in which both were wounded and robbed of their rifles, my chief insisted that 15 Dutch citizens be shot; 12 were shot."
An important document is to be found on Page 30 in your document book. It is included in Document F-224, which comprises the documents relative to inquiries made by the Dutch Government. This is a decree concerning the proclamation of summary justice for the Occupied Netherlands. It is signed by the defendant Seyss-Inquart. Therefore one must go to him when one seeks the chief responsibility for these summary executions of patriots in Holland.

From this decree we stress paragraph 1:

"I proclaim summary police justice for the whole of the Occupied Netherlands, and this will take effect immediately.

At the same time I order that all must abstain from any kind of agitation which might disturb public order and the security of public life."

I omit a paragraph.
"The senior officer of the SS and of the police will take every step deemed necessary by him for the maintenance or restoration of public order or the security of public life."
The following paragraph:
"In the execution of his task he can deviate from the existing law."
Summary police justice! These words do not deceive us. This is purely and simply a matter of murder, in that the police is authorised, in executing its functions, to deviate from the existing law. This decree which Seyss-Inquart signed, and which, gave impunity to his subordinates, who murdered Dutch patriots, is his very condemnation.

In accordance with this decree the Tribunal will see that on 2 May - this is Page 32 of your document book - a summary police court pronounced the death sentence against ten Dutch patriots.

Another summary police court pronounced the death sentence on ten other Dutch patriots. All of them were executed - this is on Page 34 of your document book.

On the next page, still in application of the same decree, you will see that a summary police court pronounced the death sentence on a patriot, and he was executed.

This Document, F-224, comprises a very long list of similar acts, which seem to me superfluous to cite. The Tribunal may refer to the last only, which is especially interesting. We may consider it for a moment; it is on Page 46 of your document book. This is the report of the Identification and Investigation Service of the Netherlands, according to which, while it was not possible to make known at that time the number of ordinary citizens who were shot by the military units of the occupying power, we can state now that a total of more than 4,000 of them were executed. The details of the executions, with the places where the corpses were discovered, follow.

[Page 312]

This constitutes only a very fragmentary aspect of the sufferings endured by Holland and the sacrifices in human life which she made in our common cause. That needs to be stated because it is the consequence of the criminal orders of the defendant Seyss-Inquart.

In the case of Belgium, the basic document is the French Document F-685, submitted as Exhibit RF 394, and you will find it on Page 48 of your document book. It is a report drawn up by the Belgian War Crimes Commission, which deals only with the crimes committed by the German troops at the time of the liberation of Belgian territory, September 1944. These crimes were all committed against Belgian patriots who were fighting against the German Army.

It is not merely a question of executions, but of ill- treatment and tortures as well.

Page 50: "At Graide a camp of the secret army was attacked. 15 corpses were discovered to have been frightfully mutilated." That is the first paragraph at the top of Page 50. "The Germans employed bullets with sawn off tips. Some of the bodies had been pierced with bayonets. Two of the prisoners had been beaten with cudgels before being finished off with a pistol shot."
The prisoners were soldiers taken with weapons in hand and in battle, belonging to those units which officially, according to documents formerly cited to you, were considered by the German General Staff as from that time on as being combatants.
The sixth paragraph: "At Foret, on 6 September, several hundred men of the Resistance were billeted in the Chateau de Foret. The Germans, having been warned that they were going into action, decided to carry out a repressive operation. A certain number of unarmed members of the Resistance tried to flee. Some were shot down; others succeeded in getting back to the castle, not having been able to break through the cordon of German troops; others were finally made prisoners. The Germans advanced with the Resistance prisoners in front of them. After two hours the fighting stopped for lack of ammunition. The Germans promised to spare the lives of those who surrendered. Some of the prisoners were loaded on a lorry; others, in spite of the promise, were massacred after having been tortured. The castle, and the corpses, sprinkled with petrol, were set on fire. Twenty men perished in this massacre; fifteen others had been killed during the fight."
The examples are numerous. This tribute to heroic Belgium was necessary. It was necessary that there should be recalled here what we owe to these combatants of the secret army, and the price paid by it.

With regard to Luxembourg, we have a document given to us by the Ministry of Justice of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which is UK-77, already submitted as Exhibit RF 325, which the Tribunal will find on page 53 of the document book.

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