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 5 of 8)

[Page 317]

THE PRESIDENT: What is the document?

M. DUBOST: This is a French official telegram. You have the original before you, Mr. President. "Official Paris. State Telegram 101, State, Paris," typed on the text of the telegram itself.

THE PRESIDENT: Can we receive a telegram from anybody addressed to the Tribunal?

M. DUBOST: Mr. President, it is not addressed to the Tribunal; it is addressed to the French Delegation. It is an official telegram from the French Government in Paris, and it was transmitted as an official telegram to the French Delegation.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the Delegation Francais, IMT, Paris?

M. DUBOST: This is the Delegation in Paris of the International Military Tribunal in the French Ministry of Justice. It is one of the sections of the French Ministry of Justice, Place Vendome. The telegram begins, "By General Giraud." This is a statement of testimony by telegram. The letters "OFF " at the beginning of the telegram mean "Official."

Forgive me for not insisting that the three letters "OFF " at the beginning of the telegram means "Official" or "Government Telegram." No French Telegraph Office could transmit an official telegram which did not come from an official authority. This official authority is the French Delegation of the IMT in Paris, which received the statement made by General Giraud and transmitted it to us, "By General Giraud, care of the French Delegation at the IMT."

[Page 318]

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, the Tribunal will receive the document under Article 21 of the Charter.

M. DUBOST: I am grateful to the Tribunal.

On Page 2 of the document - that is Page 150 of your own document book, in the middle of the page, we read:

"On the other hand the death of Madame Granger on 24 September 1943 is undoubtedly due to lack of care and medicine, in spite of her reiterated requests for both. After an autopsy of her body, which took place in the presence of French doctors who had been specially summoned from Paris after her death, authorisation was given to Dr. Claque to bring the three children back to France and then to Spain, where they would be turned over to their father. This was refused by the Gestapo in Paris, and the children were sent back to Germany as hostages, where their grandmother found them only six months later."
In the last four lines is stated:
"The health of Madame Giraud, her daughter, Marie Theresa, and two of her grandchildren has been gravely impaired by the physical, and particularly by the moral hardships of their deportation."
Seventeen persons, all of them innocent of the escape of General Giraud, were therefore arrested as punishment therefore.

I have frequently shown that, in their determination to impose their reign of terror, the Germans resorted to means which revolt the human conscience. Of these one of the most repugnant is inducement to become informers.

Document F-278, Page 152, which we place before you as Exhibit RF 408, is a reproduction of an ordinance of 20 September 1941, which is so obviously contrary to International Law that the Foreign Ministry of the Reich itself took cognisance of it. On Page 152, paragraph 2, the ordinance of 27 December 1941 prescribes as follows:

"Whosoever may have knowledge that arms are in the possession of an unauthorised person or persons is obliged to declare this at the nearest police headquarters."
On Page 153, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, on 29 June 1942, objected to the draft of the reply to the French note, which we have not here, but which must have been a protest against this ordinance of 27 December 1941. The Tribunal knows that in the military operations which accompanied the liberation of our land, many archives disappeared, and therefore we cannot give the Tribunal knowledge of the protest of the de facto government to which the note of 29 June of the German Foreign Ministry relates.

Paragraph 2 summarises the arguments of the French protest.

The French evidently had replied as follows: "Assuming that German territory were occupied by the French, we surely would consider as a man without honour any German who denounced -to the occupying power an infraction of the laws."

This was taken up and adopted by the German Foreign Ministry.

The note continues:

"On consideration of this matter, the Foreign Office considers it subject to question whether a punishment, applicable without any instructions whatever, should be prescribed for anyone who fails to denounce a person possessing or known to possess arms. Such a prescription of penalty under a general form is, in the opinion of the Foreign Office, the more impracticable in that it would offer the French the possibility of calling attention to the fact that the German Army is demanding of them acts which it would consider criminal if committed by German citizens."
This German note, I repeat, comes from the Reich Ministry of Foreign

[Page 319]

Affairs and is signed "Strack." There is no more severe condemnation of the German Army than that by the Reich Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself. The reply of the German Army will be found by the Tribunal on Page 155:
"Berlin. 8 December 1942. High Command of the Wehrmacht."
The High Command of the Wehrmacht concludes in the fourth paragraph:
"Since it does not seem desirable to undertake any discussion with the French Government on the questions of law evoked by them, we also consider it appropriate not to reply to the French note."
This note begins by asserting that amelioration of the given orders would be considered a sign of weakness in France and in Belgium. (These are the last two lines of paragraph 1.)

These are not the signs of weakness that the German Army gave in our occupied countries of the West. The weakness manifested itself in terror, it brought terror to reign throughout our countries so as to permit the development of the policy of extermination of the vanquished nations, which, in the minds of all German leaders, has remained the principal purpose, if not the single purpose, of this war.

This terrorist policy, of which the Tribunal has just seen examples in the repression of attacks of our French Forces of the Interior, developed without any military necessity in all of the countries of the West. The devastations committed by the enemy are extremely numerous. We shall limit our presentation to the destruction of Rotterdam at a time when the city had already capitulated, and when only the question of the form of capitulation was to be settled; and secondly, to a description of the inundations which the German Army caused, without any military necessity of any sort, in 1945, on the eve of its destruction, when that Army already knew that the game was lost.

We have chosen the example of Rotterdam because it is the first act of terrorism of the German Army in the West. We have taken the inundations because, without her dykes, without fresh water, Holland ceases to be. When her dykes are destroyed Holland disappears.

One sees here the fulfilment of the enemy's project of destruction formulated long ago by Germany, as already shown by the citation from Hitler with which I opened my presentation, and which was carried on to the very last minute of Nazi Germany's existence, as proved by the inundation of Holland.

We place before the Tribunal Document F-719 as Exhibit RF 409, which will be found on Page 38 of the second document book, which comprises a Dutch report on the bombing of Rotterdam and the capitulation of the Dutch Army.

On Pages 38 and 39 are copies of the translations of documents exchanged between the commander of the German troops before Rotterdam and the colonel who was in command of the Dutch troops defending the city.

On Page 40 Engineer Captain Backer relates the incidents of that evening which ended with the bombing: At 1030 hours a German representative appeared with an ultimatum, unsigned and without any indication of the sender, demanding that the Dutch capitulate before 1230 hours. This document was returned by the Dutch colonel, who asked to be told the name and the military rank of the officer who had called upon him to surrender.

At 1215 Captain Backer appeared before the German lines and was received by a German officer. At 1235 hours he had a conversation with the German officers in a creamery. A German general wrote his terms for capitulation on the letter of reply, which the representative of the Dutch General Staff had just brought to him.

At 1320 hours Captain Backer left the place where the negotiations had taken place with the new terms, to which a reply was to be given. Two

[Page 320]

German officers escorted him. These escorting officers were protected by the flight of German aircraft, and red rockets were fired by the Germans, at 1322 and 1325 hours.

At 1330 hours the first bomb fell upon Rotterdam, which was completely set on fire.

On Page 41 - the entry of the German troops was to take place at 1850 hours, but it was put forward to 1820 hours.

Paragraph 4 - later the Germans said to Captain Backer that the purpose of the red rockets was to avoid being bombed. However, there had been excellent wireless communication from the ground to the aircraft. Captain Backer expressed his surprise that this should have been done by means of fuses.

The inundation of the polder "Wieringermeer" took place on 9 and 10 April 1945. The Tribunal will find the document on Page 7 of the document book.

"Today German soldiers appeared on the polder, gave orders, and set up a guard for the dyke."
Paragraph 2 of Page 7:
"On 17 April 1945, at 1215, the dyke was dynamited so that two parts of it were destroyed up to a height somewhat above the surface of the water of the Ijesselmeer."
Paragraph 2, the last paragraph of Page 7:
"As for the population, they had an alert during the night of 16 to 17 April; that is, at the time when the water was about to flood the polder.

In Wieringerwerf the news received at the City Hall was transmitted from house to house that at noon the dyke would be destroyed. In general, for the great polder, with an area of 20,000 hectares, not more than 8 1/2-9 hours were granted for its evacuation. Telephone communications had been completely interrupted, and it was impossible to use automobiles, which meant that some individuals did not receive any warning until eight o'clock in the morning."

Page 8, paragraph 2:
"The time given to the population was, therefore, too short to permit them to evacuate the polder."
The next to the last paragraph:
"The looting in the flooded polder has already been mentioned. During the morning of 17 April, on the day of the disaster, groups of German soldiers began to loot. These soldiers came from Wieringen. Moreover, they broke everything that they did not want to take."
On Page 10, Paragraph 1:
"The polder by itself covers half of all the flooded lands in Northern Holland. It was flooded on 17 April, when defeat was already a fact as far as the German Army was concerned."
The Dutch people are seeking to recover the land which they have lost. Their courage, industry and energy arouse our admiration, but it is an immense loss which the German Army imposed upon those people on 17 April.

Terrorism and extermination are intimately interwoven in all countries in the West.

Document C-45, 10 February 1944, which we submit as Exhibit RF 410 and is the first in the Tribunal's document book, in paragraph 1, shows that repression, in the minds of the leaders of the German Army, is to be carried out without consideration of any kind.

"One must immediately shoot back. If, as a result, innocents are struck, this is to be regretted, but it is entirely the fault of the terrorists."

[Page 321]

These lines were written over the signature of an officer of the General Staff of the German Military Command in Belgium and Northern France. This officer was never condemned by his superiors.

Document F-665 is submitted as Exhibit RF-411. Page 2 of your document book, the last paragraph:

"The search of suspected villages requires experience. SD or GFP (Secret Field Police) personnel should be called upon. The real accomplices of the guerrillas must be unmasked, and apprehended with all severity. Collective measures against the inhabitants of entire villages (this includes the burning of villages) are to be taken only in exceptional cases and may be ordered exclusively by divisional commanders or by chiefs of the SS and Police."
This document is dated 6 May 1944. It comes from the High Command of the Wehrmacht, and it, or at least the covering letter, is signed by Jodl.

This document involves not only the Army General Staff, but the Labour Service, that is to say, Sauckel, and the Todt Organisation, that is to say, defendant Speer.

In the next to the last paragraph we can read:

"The directive is applicable to all branches of the Wehrmacht and to all organisations which exercise their activities in occupied territories (the Reich Labour Service, the Todt Organisation, etc.)."
These orders, which in their spirit tend to the extermination of civilian populations, will be carried out vigorously, but at the price of constant collusion of the German Army, the SS, the SD and Sipo, which the people of all countries of the West mass together in the same horror and in the same reprobation.

We submitted to the Tribunal the war diary of General Brodowski as Exhibit RF-405, an excerpt of which is to be found on Pages 3, 4 and 5 of the document book. It states - Page 3, the penultimate paragraph-(Page nine ,of the German text), second paragraph starting from the top,-that repressive operations were carried out.

"An action was undertaken in the South-western area of the department of Dordogne near Lalinde, in which a company of Georgians, a detachment of Field Police, and members of the SD took part ..."
On Page 4 - Page 10 of the German text - 14 June 1944, is a statement of the destruction of Oradour Sur Glane. I shall come back to the destruction ,of this village. "Six hundred persons were killed," writes General Brodowski. It is underscored in the text.
"The whole male population of Oradour has been shot. Women and children took refuge in the church. The church caught fire. Explosives had been placed in the church. All the women and children perished as well."
We shall let you know the results of the French inquiry on the destruction of Oradour. The Tribunal will see to what degree General Brodowski lied when he described the annihilation of Oradour in these terms.

Page 5, paragraph 2:

"Tulle, 11 July 1944: The barracks occupied by the 13th Company 95th Security Regiment was attacked by terrorists. The struggle was terminated by the arrival of the Panzer Division, " Das Reich ". One hundred and twenty male inhabitants of Tulle were shot, and 1,000 turned over to the SD of Limoges for inquiries."
In reality, those 120 patriots were not shot, but hanged, as we shall show presently.

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, could we see the original of this document?

[Page 322]

M. DUBOST: I showed it to you this morning, Mr. President. I placed it before you this morning. It is rather a large document, if you will remember, Sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. We would like to see it.

DR. SERVATUS (Counsel for defendant Sauckel): I should like briefly to rectify an error now, before it is carried any further.

The French prosecutor pointed out that certain people were put at the disposal of the Arbeitsdienst. I should like to point out that Arbeitsdienst is not to be confused with Arbeitseinsatz. The Arbeitsiensatz was ultimately directed Sauckel, whereas the Arbeitsdienst had nothing whatsoever to do with Sauckel. I should like to ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of that distinction. That is what I wished to state.

THE PRESIDENT: It is not coming through correctly to the Russian members. The Tribunal will adjourn for five minutes.

(A recess was taken)

[ 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.