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 5 of 8)

[Page 356]

M. FAURE: Your Honours, I was speaking this morning of the incident which occurred at the Strasbourg faculty in Clermont-Ferrand, on 25 November 1943. I pointed out to the Tribunal that I would produce to this a relevant document. This document has not been classified in the document book, and I shall ask the Tribunal to accept it as an annex number or as the last document of this book, if that is agreeable.

This is a report of M. Hoeppfher, Dean of the Faculty of Letters, established on the 8 January 1946, and transmitted from Lorraine to the French prosecution. I should like to read to the Tribunal, in order not to take up too much of its time, only the two passages which constitute the texts which were submitted to it as an appendix.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you the original document here?

M. FAURE: Yes.

"It is the 25 of November 1943, a Thursday. The 1000 o'clock class is drawing to an end. As I come out of the room, a student posted at a window in the hall makes a signal to me to approach and shows me in the inner court in front of the Department of Physics, a Wehrmacht soldier with helmet, boots, a submachine gun in his arm, mounting guard. 'Let us try to flee!' - Too late. At the same moment, wild cries arise from all directions - the corridors, the stairways are filled with the sound of heavy boots, the clanking of weapons, fierce cries, a frantic shuffling. A soldier rushes down the hall shouting 'Everybody to courtyard - tell the others.' Naturally, everyone understood."
Second passage:
"One of our people, Paul Collomp, was cold-bloodedly murdered with a shot in the chest, and an eye-witness confirms the fact. Alas, it is only too true. Asked to leave the Secretariat where he was alone, he was, no

[Page 357]

doubt, obeying too slowly to suit the policeman, for the latter gave him a violent blow on the back ; instinctively, our colleague turned around, and the other then fired a shot directly into his chest. Death was almost immediate, but the body was left there alone for some time. Another sound reached us. We did not know from where. A colleague in Protestant Theology, M. Eppel, was apparently also shot down, in his own house, where they had gone to look for him. He received, as was later learned, several bullet shots in the abdomen, but miraculously recovered and even survived the horrors of Buchenwald Camp."
As I indicated to the Tribunal this morning, I wish to say that the prosecution has no proof that such crimes were due to a German governmental order, but I believe that it is nevertheless interesting to advise the Tribunal of this last episode in the German undertakings against the University of Strasbourg, for the episode constitutes the sequel, and in a sense, the climax of the preceding incidents. We have seen, in fact, that German procedure began at first regularly, and that after these regular procedures, it reached the stage of recourse to the police. Brutality and violation accompanied this recourse.

I wish to advise you that this document which I have just read will be Exhibit RF 712b.

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

The leaders of the Reich began by organising specifically German administration. I already indicated a while ago the appointment of Gauleiter as Heads of the civil administration. I continue on this point by submitting as Exhibit RF 713 the Ordinance of 28 August, 1940, German Official Journal 1940, Page 22. The Ordinance is entitled: "Concerning the Introduction of the German Regime in Alsace." I shall not read this Ordinance. I simply indicate that its object is put into effect, from 1st October 1940 on, the German municipal regime of 30 January 1935.

The text and the organisation show that the territories annexed were reorganised on the basis of German administrative concepts. At the head of each district (arrondisement) we no longer have a French sub-prefect but a Landkommissar, who has under his orders the. different offices of Finance, Labour, School Inspection, Commerce, and Health. The large towns, the chief towns of arrondissements and even of cantons, were endowed with a Stadtkommissar instead of, and replacing, the mayors and elected counsellors, who had been got rid of.

The judiciary offices were attached to the court of appeals in Karlsruhe. The economic departments, and in particular the chambers of commerce, were run by the representatives of chambers of commerce of Karlsruhe for Alsace and of Saarbrucken for Moselle.

After having Germanised the forms of administrative activity, the Germans undertook to Germanise the staffs. They nominated numerous German officials to posts of authority. They attempted, moreover, on a number of occasions, to make the officials who had remained in office sign declarations of loyalty to the Germans. These attempts, however, met with a refusal from the officials. They were therefore renewed on a number of occasions in different forms. We have recovered from the archives of the Gauleiter of Strasbourg eight or ten different formulas for these declarations of loyalty. I shall produce one of these for the Tribunal, by way of example.

This will be Exhibit RF 714. It is the formula for the new declaration which the officials are obliged to sign if they wish to retain their position:

"Name and first name, grade and service, residence. I have been employed from ..... 1940 to this date in the public service of the German administration in Alsace. During

[Page 358]

this period I have had, from my own observation as well as from the Party and the authorities, verbally and in writing, occasion to learn the obligations of a German official and the requirements which are exacted of him from a political and ideological point of view. I approve these obligations and these requirements without reservation and am resolved to be ruled by them in my personal and professional life. I affirm my adherence to the German people and to the National Socialist ideals of Adolf Hitler."
Together with the administration proper, the Nazis set up in Alsace the parallel administration of the National Socialist Party, as well as that of the Arbeitsfront, which was the sole labour organisation.

German currency legislation was introduced in Alsace on 19 October and in Lorraine on 25 October 1940. The Reichsmark became thenceforth the legal means of payment in the annexed territory. The German judiciary organisation was introduced by a series of successive measures leading up to the decree of 30 September 1941 concerning the simplification of the judiciary organisation in Alsace. I produce this ordinance as Exhibit RF 715, without reading it.

In regard to the teaching system, the German authorities established a series of regulations and ordinances which were aimed at assuring the unification of the Alsatian school system with the German teaching system. I shall merely mention the dates of the principal texts, which we produce as documents, and which are of a public nature, since they were all published in the Official Journal in Germany.

Here are the main texts:

Exhibit RF 717, regulation of 2 October, 1940.

Exhibit RF 718, ordinance of 24 March, 1941 on elementary teaching in Alsace.

Exhibit RF 719, ordinance of 21 April, 1941, concerning the allocation of subsidies in Alsace.

Exhibit RF 720, ordinance of 11 June, 1941, on obligatory education in Alsace.

I now quote a series of measures regarding the introduction in Alsace and Lorraine of German civil law, German criminal law, and even, procedure. I shall quote as the most important, as Exhibit RF 721, the ordinance of 19 June 1941 concerning the application of the provisions of German legislation to Alsatians. I should like to read the first paragraph of Article I because it contains an interesting item

"Para. 1.

The law in force in pre-1938 Germany shall be deemed to be the domiciliary law (Heimatrecht) governing the legal relationships of persons who acquired French citizenship under the Appendix to Articles 51-79 of the Versailles Dictate (or those who derive their nationality from such person), in particular in the domain of personal and family law, and in so far as the law of pre-1938 Germany declares the statutes of the country of domicile (Heimatstaat) to be applicable."

A similar ordinance was drawn up for Lorraine - Exhibit RF 722, ordinance of 15 September, 1941 concerning the application of German legislation to personal and family status in Lorraine. German Official Bulletin, Page 817.

I should like to quote, indicating the titles and the references, the principal measures which have been introduced in penal matters.

Exhibit RF 723, notice of 14 February 1941, relative to the penal dispositions declared applicable in Lorraine by virtue of Section I of the second ordinance concerning certain transitory measures in the domain of justice.

Exhibit RF 724, ordinance of 29 October 1941 relative to the introduction

[Page 359]

into Alsace of the German legislation of penal procedure and of other penal laws.

Exhibit RF 725, ordinance of 30 January 1942 relative to the introduction into Alsace of the German penal code and other penal laws.

I do not wish to read the long text, but I should like to draw the attention of the Tribunal to two features which show that the Germans introduced into Alsace the most extraordinary provisions of their penal law, conceived from the point of view of the National Socialist regime. The Tribunal will thus see in this Exhibit RF 725, Page 1 under No. 6 of the enumeration, that the law of 20 December 1934, repressing perfidious attacks directed against the State and the Party and protecting Party uniforms and insignia, was introduced into Alsace, as well as the ordinance of 25 November 1939-under No. 11 of the enumeration - completing, the penal provisions relating to the protection of the military power of the German people.

As concerns public freedom, the Germans eliminated from the beginning the right of association, and they dissolved all existing associations. They intended to leave free room for the Nazi system, which was to be the only and obligatory association.

I shall quote in the same way a number of documents, with the titles of these public texts. I give them their exhibit numbers:

Exhibit RF 726, regulation of 16 August 1940, dissolving the youth organisations in Alsace.

Exhibit RF 727, regulation of 22 August 1940, setting up a supervising commissariat for associations in Lorraine.

Exhibit RF 728, regulation of 3 September 1940, providing for the dissolution of teachers' unions. I point out in regard to this document 728, that the last article provides an exception in favour of the organisation called "Union of National Socialist Teachers."

Exhibit RF 729, regulation of 3 September 1940, providing for the dissolution of gymnastic societies and of sports associations in Alsace.

I should like to read Article 4 of 729:

"My commissar of Physical Culture will take, in regard to other gymnastic societies and sports associations in Alsace, all necessary provisions in view of their integration into the Reich's National Socialist Union for Physical Culture."
Following up these measures of Germanisation, we now encounter two texts which are very characteristic, and which I produce as Exhibits RF 730 and 731. Of 730 I read only the title, which is significant:
"Ordinance of 7 February 1942 relative to the creation of an Office of Genealogical Research of the Upper Rhine."
I shall likewise read the title of Exhibit RF 731: "Regulation of 17 February 1942 concerning the creation of the Department of the Reichskommissar for the Strengthening of Germanism."

I indicated a moment ago to the Tribunal that the Party had been established in Alsace and in Lorraine in a way that was parallel with the administration in Germany. I shall produce in this connection Exhibit RF 732, which is a confidential note of the National Socialist Workers Party of the province of Baden, dated Strasbourg, 5 March 1942. This document belongs likewise to the series found in the files of the Gauleiter of Strasbourg. It bears as a heading, "Gaudirektion - Auxiliary Bureau of Strasbourg."

If it pleases the Tribunal, I shall read the beginning of it:

"Evaluation of possible adherence to the Party, to its subdivisions and related groups in Alsace.

In the framework of the drive of '19 June,' organised for the recruiting of Party members, the Kreisleiter, in collaboration with the Ortsgruppen-

[Page 360]

leiter, is to establish which Alsatians over the age of 18, even if their membership has not yet been effected within the framework of the drive, are to be considered as future members of the Party, its subdivisions, and affiliated groups; and also the men between the ages of 17 and 48 who may be actively employed in the Party or in its subdivisions. These evaluations are equally to include, in order that we may soon obtain a numerical estimate, persons already enrolled in the Party, in the Opferring - this is the collecting organisation for the Party - its subdivisions and affiliated groups.

The Kreisleiter may call upon the collaboration of the Kreisorganisationsleiter" - these are the organising directors of the sections- "and of the Kreispersonalamtsleiter" - the personnel information offices of the sections - "The '19th June' drive, organised with a view to recruiting members, must not because of this become a secondary matter, but must be carried on, by all possible means, toward the purpose indicated by the Director of the Gau, and must be concluded at the date specified.

The results of the investigation of the population are to be compiled in five lists, namely:

List 1a

List 1b

List 2a

List 2b

Control list."

I shall omit the following paragraphs, which are a bit long and purely administrative, and I shall continue on Page 2 of the document, paragraph 9:
"The objective of the National Socialist movement being that of putting all Germans into a National Socialist organisation in order to be able to influence and to lead them according to the design of the movement, it will be necessary to feature on List I (a) and (b) 2 (a) and (b), ninety per cent of the population, and on the control list solely those who shall have been considered unworthy of belonging to an organisation led or supported by the Party; namely, persons of inferior race or Germanophobes."
I shall now enter upon two most serious questions which are directly interconnected, questions which, on the one hand, concern nationality, and, on the other hand, military recruiting.

The German policy in the matter of nationality reveals a certain hesitation, which is related to the German policy in regard to military recruiting. Indeed the German leaders seem to have been swayed by two contradictory trends. One of these trends was that of bestowing the German nationality on a large number of people, in order to impose the corresponding obligation for military service. The other trend was that of conferring nationality only with discrimination. According to this viewpoint, it was considered, first of all, that the possession of nationality was an honour and should to some extent constitute a reward when conferred on those who had not previously possessed it. On the other hand, nationality confers on its possessor a certain special quality. In spite of the abolition of all democracy, it gives that person a certain influence in the German community. It should, therefore, be granted only to persons who give guarantees in certain regards: notably that of loyalty (and we know that from the German point of view, loyalty is not only a matter of mental attitude and choice, but that it also applies to certain well-known physical elements, such as those of blood, race and origin).

These are the two opposed trends in the German policy of conferring nationality. This is how they develop:

At first - and up to the month of August 1942 - the Reich, not yet requiring

[Page 361]

soldiers as urgently as it did later, deferred the introduction of compulsory recruiting. Along with this, they also deferred any action to impose German nationality on the population generally. During this earlier period, the Nazis did not resort to compulsory recruiting, but relied simply on voluntary recruiting, which, however, they tried to render more effective by offering all kinds of inducements and exercising pressure in various ways.

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