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-Eighth Day: Friday, 1st February, 1946
(Part 3 of 8)

[Page 347]

M. FAURE: Mr. President: Before resuming my brief, I should like to ask the Tribunal if they could agree to hear, during the afternoon session, a witness M. Reuter, President of the Chamber of Luxembourg.

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly, M. Faure, if that is convenient to you, the Tribunal is quite willing to hear the witness you name.

M. FAURE: I propose then to have him heard at the beginning of the second part of the afternoon session.

Further I should like to point out in connection with Exhibit RF 602, that where a part of the text was missing in the document book, this is due to the fact that the page was affixed elsewhere, that is to say before the first page - I beg your pardon, but I must say the text was complete. However, it was not in its proper order. I shall subsequently put it in the dossier in its proper place.

I pointed out a moment ago that the different methods of disguised annexation can correspond to the term "vassalisation." From a German author I will borrow a formula which is eloquent. It is Dr. Sperl, in an article in the "Krakauer Zeitung," who used this expression: "A differentiation in methods of German domination." In using, thus, indirect and differentiated methods of domination, the Germans acted in political matters, as we have seen before, in the same way as they acted in economic matters. I had the opportunity to point out to the Tribunal, in my first brief, that the Germans immediately seized the keys of economic life. If you will permit me to use this Latin expression, I shall say as far as sovereignty in the occupied countries is concerned they insured for themselves the power of the keys, "potestas clavium"; they seized the keys of sovereignty in each country. In that fashion, without being obliged to abolish officially national sovereignty as in the case of annexation, they were able to control and direct the exercise of this sovereignty.

Beginning with these principle ideas, the plan of my brief was conceived as follows:

In the first chapter I shall examine the regime in annexed territories where national sovereignty was abolished. In a second chapter I shall examine the mechanism of the seizure of sovereignty for the benefit of the occupying power in the regions which were not annexed. Then it will be suitable to scrutinise the results of these usurpations of sovereignty and the violation of the rights of the population which resulted from them. I thought it necessary that I

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should group these results by dealing only with the principal ones in a third and fourth chapter.

The third chapter will be devoted to spiritual Germanisation, that is to the propaganda in the very extensive sense that the German concept gives to this term.

Chapter four and the last, will bear the heading, "The Administrative Organisation of Criminal Action."

I would now like to point out, as far as the documentation of my brief is concerned, I have forced myself to limit the number of texts which will be presented to the Tribunal and I shall attempt to make my quotations as short as possible. For the fourth chapter, for example, I might point out that the French Delegation examined more than two thousand documents, counting only the original German documents, and of these I have kept only about fifty.

I should like also to point out to the Tribunal how the documents will be presented in the document books which you have before you. The documents are numbered at the top of the page to the right; they are numbered in pencil and correspond to the order in which I will quote them. Each dossier has the pages numbered from one hundred onwards.

I would ask the Tribunal to now take up the document book entitled: "The Annexed Territories of Eupen, Malmedy and Moresnet."

In carrying out, without any attempt or cloak of legality, the annexation of occupied territories, Germany did something much more serious than violating the rules of war. It is the negation of the very idea of International Law. The lawyer, Bustamante Y Sirven, in his treaties on International Law expresses himself in the following terms regarding this subject:

"It can be observed that never have we alluded at any moment to the hypothesis that an occupation terminates because the occupying power takes possession of the occupied territory through his military forces and without any convention. The motive for this omission is very simple and very clear. Since conquest cannot be considered as a legitimate mode of acquisition, these results are uniquely the result of force and cannot be either determined or measured by the rules of law."
On the other hand, I have said just now that Germanisation did not necessarily imply annexation. Inversely, we might conceive that annexation did not necessarily mean Germanisation. We shall prove to the Tribunal that annexation was only a means, the most brutal one of Germanisation, that is to say, Nazification.

The annexation of the Belgian Cantons of Eupen, Malmedy and Moresnet, was made possible by a German law of 18 May 1940, and was the subject of an executive decree of 23 May 1940. These are public regulations which were published in the Reichsgesetzblatt, Pages 777 and 804. I should like to ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of this.

As a result of this decree the three Belgian districts were attached to the province of the Rhineland district of Aachen.

A decree dated 24 September 1940 installed local German government and German municipal laws. A decree of 28 July 1940 introduced the German judicial system in these territories. Local courts were established in Malmedy, in Eupen and St. Vith and district courts at Aachen which could promulgate statutes for the local courts.

The Court of Appeal of Cologne replaced the Belgian Court of Cassation for cases where the latter would have been competent. German law was introduced in these territories by the decree of 23 May 1940, signed by Hitler, Goering, Frick and Lammers, and was effective as from September 1940.

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A decree of 3 September 1940, regulates the details of the transition of Belgian law into German law, in the domains of private law, commercial law and law of procedure.

By the decree of annexation German nationality was conferred upon the inhabitants of German racial origin in Belgian territory. The details of this measure were specified and stipulated by the decree of 23 September 1941. All persons who had acquired Belgian nationality as a result of the ceding of these territories could, according to the terms of the decree, resume their German nationality, with the exception, however, of Jews and Gypsies.

All other inhabitants, on condition that they were racially German, could acquire German nationality, which might be revoked after ten years.

I shall not take up, at great length, the situation which resulted from the annexation of these Belgian territories, for the developments of the situation are analogous to those which we shall examine in the other countries. I simply would like to point out a special detail of this subject: A law of 4 February 1941, signed by Hitler, Goering, Frick and Lammers, granted the citizens of Eupen, Malmedy and Moresnet, representation in the Reichstag, that is to say, the benefits of the German parliamentary regime, the democratic character of which is known.

I shall ask the Tribunal now to take up the file entitled "Alsace and Lorraine." There is a file "Expose" and a file "Documents."

Contrary to what took place in the Belgian cantons the Germans did not officially proclaim by law the annexation of the three French departments which constitute Alsace and Lorraine. The very fact of this annexation, however, is in no way doubtful. I should like to remind the Tribunal here of extracts from a document which has already been submitted to it, which is Number 3 of the French documentation. It concerns a deposition made before the French High Court of Justice by the French Ambassador, Leon Noel, who was a member of the Armistice Delegation. I did not put this document in your book again because I will only cite one sentence from it. The document has already been submitted to the Tribunal, as I have just said.

Ambassador Noel, in this document, pointed out the conversations which he had at the time of the signing of the Armistice Convention with the German representatives, notably with the accused Keitel and Jodl. The sentence which I would like to remind the Tribunal of is as follows:

" ... and likewise, in thinking of Alsace and Lorraine, I required them to say that the administrative and judicial authorities of the occupied territories would keep their positions and functions and would be able. to correspond freely with the government."
The affirmations are dated 22 June 1940.

I am now going to submit to the Tribunal a document of 3 September 1940, which is a note of protest of the French Delegation, addressed to the Armistice Commission. I submit this to the Tribunal in order that the Tribunal may see that during the period which elapsed between these two dates, a period which covers barely two months, the Nazis had already applied a series of measures which created, in an incontestable manner, a state of annexation.

This document which I submit bears the number 701 of the French documentation. It is the first document of the document book which the Tribunal has before it. All the documents in this chapter will bear numbers beginning with the number 7, that is to say, beginning with 701.

This document comes from the file of the French High Court of Justice and the copy submitted to the Tribunal has been certified by the clerk of this jurisdiction, I should like to quote from this document, beginning with the fourth paragraph on Page 1 of the Exhibit RF 701:

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"1. Prefects, sub-prefects and mayors, as well as a number of local officials whose tendencies were considered suspicious, have been evicted from their respective offices.

2. Monseigneur Heintz, Bishop appointed under the Concordat to Metz, was driven from his diocese. Several members of the clergy, secular as well as regular, were also expelled, under the pretext that they were French in tongue and mentality.

3. Monsiegneur Ruch, the Bishop appointed under the Concordat to Strasbourg, was forbidden to enter his diocese and; consequently, to resume his ministry.

4. M. Joseph Burckel was appointed on 7 August, Gauleiter of Alsace. The first of these provinces." -

I ask the Tribunal's pardon: " M. Joseph Burckel, Gauleiter of Lorraine and M. Robert Wagner, Gauleiter of Alsace." I omit a line.
"the first of these provinces was attached to the Gau of Saar-Palatinate the second to the Gau of Baden.

5. Alsace and Lorraine were incorporated in the civil administration of Germany. The frontier and custom police were then placed on the Western limits of these territories.

6. The railroads were incorporated in the German network.

7. The post offices, telegraph and telephone administration was taken over by the German postal authorities, who gradually substituted for the Alsatian personnel their own personnel.

8. The French language was eliminated, not only in administrative life, but also from public use.

9. Names of localities were Germanised.

10. The racial legislation of Germany was introduced into the country and, as a result of this measure, the Jews were expelled, as well as nationals which the German authorities considered to be intruders.

11. Only those Alsatians and Lothringians, who agreed to consider themselves as being of German stock, were permitted to return to their homes.

12. The property of associations of a political character and of Jews was confiscated, as well as property acquired after 11 November 1918, by French persons.

Nothing illustrates better the spirit which animates these measures, in themselves arbitrary, than the words pronounced publicly July 16, at Strasbourg, by M. Robert Wagner. Stressing the elimination which was taking place of all elements of foreign stock or nationality, this high official affirmed that the purpose of Germany was to settle once and for all the Alsatian question.
"Such a policy, which could not be the function of subordinate occupational authorities, was equivalent to disguised annexation, and is strictly contrary to agreements subscribed to by Germany at Rethondes."
Numerous protests were subsequently addressed or lodged by the French delegation. We have attached to our file a list of these protests; there are 62 of them. This list is found in the book as Exhibit RF 702.

The development of the German policy may now be studied through three series of measures which were carried out.

(a) A group or body of measures destined to ensure the elimination of what can be called the French complex, that is to say, of everything which can bind an inhabitant of an annexed country to his way of life and to his national tradition.

(b) A body of measures destined to impose German standards in all domains of life of the population.

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(c) The measures of transplantation and of colonisation. We use here the German terminology.

(a) Elimination of the French complex.

The elimination of French nationality and of French law automatically resulted from the measures which we shall study relative to the imposition of German standards.

I should like to point out particularly, that the Germans tried to fight against all elements of French organisation which might have survived the suppression of their national juridical conditions.

At first they prescribed, in an extraordinarily brutal way, the use of the French language. Several regulations were formulated relative to this. I shall cite only the third regulation, bearing the date of 16 August 1940, entitled, "Concerning the Reintroduction of the Mother Tongue." This document is published in the Journal of German Ordinances or Decrees of 1940, (Verordnungsblatt) at Page 2. It will become Exhibit RF 703. The Tribunal will find it in the document book after 702, which is the list of French protests. I should like to read a large part of this document, which is interesting, and I shall begin at the beginning.

"Following the measures undertaken to reintroduce the mother tongue of the Alsatian people, I decree as follows:

1. Official Language.

All public services or departments in Alsace, including administration of communities, of corporations within the meaning of civil law, public establishments, churches, and foundations, as well as tribunals, will exclusively use the German language, orally and in writing. The Alsatian population will exclusively use its German mother tongue in both oral and written applications to the above establishments."

2. Christian and Family Names.

Christian names will be exclusively used in their German form orally and in writing, even when they have been inscribed in the French language on the birth register. As soon as this present decree comes into force, only German Christian names may be inscribed upon the birth register. Alsatians who bear French Christian names, which do not exist in German form, are asked to apply for a change of their Christian names in order to show their attachment to Germanism. The same holds good for French family names." I omit the following page. "3. Social Reasons.

The enterprises and establishments having their seat in Alsace, trading, under a name which is entirely or partly French, must replace this trade name by a corresponding German designation by 15 September 1940, at the latest."

I shall omit the following sentence and go to paragraph 4:
"It is forbidden to draw up, in the French language, contracts and accounts under private seal, of whatever nature they may be. Anything printed on business paper and on forms must be drawn up in the German language. Books and 'accounts of all business firms, establishments and companies must be kept in the German language.

5. Inscriptions in Cemeteries.

In the future, inscriptions on crosses and on tombstones can only be written in the German language. This provision applies to new inscriptions as well as to the renewal of old ones."

These measures were accompanied by a Press campaign. Because of the

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resistance of the population, this campaign was carried on throughout the occupation.

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