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 7 of 8)

[Page 365]

M. FAURE: Mr. Dodd would like to speak to the Tribunal concerning a question he wishes to put.

MR. DODD: Mr. President, I ask to be heard briefly to inform this Tribunal that the affiant Andreas Pfaffenberger, whom the Tribunal directed the prosecution for the United States to locate, if possible, was located yesterday and he is here in Nuremberg today. He is available for the cross- examination which, if I remember correctly, was requested by Counsel for the defendant Kaltenbrunner.

THE PRESIDENT: Was his affidavit read?

MR. DODD: Yes, your Honour, it was.

THE PRESIDENT: And on the condition that he should be brought here for cross-examination?

MR. DODD: Yes, Sir. He asked for him to be brought, if I recall it.

THE PRESIDENT: Does counsel for Kaltenbrunner wish to cross- examine him now - I mean, not this moment - does he still wish to cross-examine him?

DR. KAUFFMANN (counsel for defendant Kaltenbrunner): I believe that the defendant Kaltenbrunner does not need the testimony of this witness. However, I would have to take this question up with him once more, for up till today it was not certain that Pfaffenberger would be in court, and if he is to be cross-examined and to testify, I believe Kaltenbrunner would have to be present at the hearing.

[Page 366]

THE PRESIDENT: It seems somewhat unfortunate that this witness should be brought here for cross-examination and that then you should be saying that you do not want to cross- examine him, after reading the affidavit. It seems to me that the reasonable thing to do would be to make up your mind whether you do, or do not, want to cross-examine him, and I should have thought that would have been done and he would have been brought here, if you wanted to cross- examine, and not brought here if you did not want to cross- examine. Anyway, as he has been brought here now, it seems to me that if you want to cross-examine him you must do so. Mr. Dodd, can he be kept here for some time?

MR. DODD: He can, your Honour, except that he was in a concentration camp, for six years, and we have to keep him here under certain security, and it is somewhat of a hardship on him to be kept too long. We would like not to keep him any longer than necessary. We located him with some difficulty with the help of the United States Forces.

DR. KAUFFMANN: In perhaps two or three days we might wish to cross-examine; perhaps two or three days.

THE PRESIDENT: I imagine that after the affidavit had been read, you demanded to cross-examine him and that he has therefore been produced - well, in those circumstances it seems to me unreasonable that you should ask that he should now be kept for two or three days when he is produced. Mr. Dodd, would it be possible to keep him here until Monday?

MR. DODD: Yes, he can be kept here until Monday.

THE PRESIDENT: We will keep him here until Monday, and you can cross-examine as you wish. You understand what I mean; when an affidavit has been put in and one of the defence counsel said that he wants to cross-examine him, he ought to inform the prosecution if, after reading and considering the affidavit, they find that they do not want to cross-examine him; they ought to inform the prosecution so as to avoid all the cost and trouble of bringing a witness from some distance off. Do you follow?

DR. KAUFMANN I will proceed with the cross-examination on Monday.


M. FAURE: Mr. President, I would ask the Tribunal whether they would agree to hear the witness Emil Reuter at this point?

(EMIL REUTER, a witness on behalf of the French prosecution takes the stand.)

THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?

THE WITNESS: Reuter, Emil.

THE PRESIDENT: Emil Reuter, do you swear to speak without hate nor fear, to speak the truth, all the truth, only the truth? Raise the right hand and say, "I swear."

(The witness repeated the oath in French.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.


Q. M. Reuter, you are a lawyer of the Luxembourg Bar?

A. Yes.

Q. You are President of the Chamber of Deputies in Luxembourg?

A. Yes.

Q. You had been exercising these functions at the time of the invasion of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg by the German troops?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you give us any indication on the fact that the Government of the Reich had, a few days before the invasion of Luxembourg, given to the Government of the Grand Duchy assurances of its peaceful intentions?

A. In August 1939 the German Minister for Luxembourg gave to the Minister

[Page 367]

of Foreign Affairs of the country a statement according to which the German Reich, in the event of a European war, would respect the independence and neutrality of the country, provided that the Luxembourg Grand Duchy should not violate its own neutrality. A few days before the invasion, in May, 1940, the Germans constructed pontoon bridges over half of the Moselle River which separates the two countries. An explanation from the German Minister in Luxembourg tried to represent such construction of pontoon bridges as landing stages in the interest of navigation. In the general public opinion, these installations were really of a military character.

Q. Can you tell us about the situation of public authorities in Luxembourg, following the departure of Her Royal Highness, the Grand Duchess, and of her Government?

A. The further administration of the country was ensured by a government commission which possessed the necessary powers bestowed upon it by the competent constitutional authorities. There was, therefore, no lack of authority in the administration.

Q. Is it not true that the Germans claimed, upon their arrival in that country, that the Government had failed to carry out its functions, and that following the departure of the Government there was no regular authority in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg?

A. Yes, indeed. Such a declaration was made by the Ministers of the Reich in Luxembourg before a Parliamentary Commission.

Q. Do I understand correctly that these statements on the part of the German authorities did not in fact correspond to the truth inasmuch as you have told us that there did exist a higher organism for the administration of the country?

A. This statement did not correspond to the reality. It was evidently aimed at usurping authority.

Q. M. Reuter, the Germans never proclaimed by law the annexation of Luxembourg. Do you consider that the measures adopted by the Germans in that country were equivalent to annexation?

A. The measures that were taken by the Germans in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg were obviously equivalent to an annexation of that country. A few days after the invasion the leaders of the Reich in Luxembourg stated in public and official speeches that the annexation by law would occur at a time which would be freely selected by the Fuehrer. The proof of this de facto annexation is shown in a clear manner by the whole series of ordinances which the Germans published in the Grand Duchy.

Q. The Germans organised a census in Luxembourg. In the form that was given the inhabitants of Luxembourg to effect the census, there was one question concerning the native or usual language, and also another question as to the racial background of the individual. Are you prepared to assert that in view of these two questions this census was considered as having the character of a plebiscite?

A. From the comminatory instructions published by the German authorities in connection with this census, the political purpose was obvious; therefore public opinion never envisaged this census except as a sort of attempt to achieve a plebiscite camouflaged as a census, a political operation destined to give a certain justification to the annexation which was to follow.

Q. The report of the Luxembourg Government does not give any indication of the statistical results of this census, specifically with regard to the political question of which I spoke a moment ago. Would you be kind enough to tell us why these statistical data are not to be found in any document?

A. The complete statistical data have never been collected, because after a partial examination of the first results the German authorities noted that only an infinitesimal fraction of the population had answered the two tricky questions

[Page 368]

in the German sense. The German authorities then preferred to stop the process, and the forms distributed in the country for obtaining the answers were never collected.

Q. Do you remember the date of the census?

A. This census must have taken place in 1942.

Q. After the census the Germans realised that there was no majority, and not even any considerable part of the population which was desirous of being incorporated into the German Reich. However, did they continue to apply their measures of annexation?

A. Measures tending to Germanisation, and later to the annexation of the country, were continued, and later on they were even reinforced by further new measures.

Q. Am I to understand, therefore, that during the application of these measures the Germans could not be ignorant of the fact that the Luxembourg population was opposed to them?

A. There can be no doubt at all on this question.

Q. Can you tell us whether it is correct that the German authorities obliged members of the constabulary force and the police to take an oath of allegiance to the Chancellor of the Reich?

A. Yes. This was forced upon the constabulary corps and the police with very serious threats and punishments. Recalcitrants were usually deported, if I remember rightly, to Sachsenhausen, and on the approach of the Russian Army all or a part of the recalcitrants who were in the camp were shot (about 150).

Q. Can you tell us anything concerning the transfer - I believe the Germans call it "Umsiedlung" - of a certain number of inhabitants and families living in your country?

A. The transplanting was ordered by the German authority of Luxembourg for elements which appeared to be unfit for assimilation or unworthy of or undesirable for residence on the frontiers of the Reich.

Q. Can you indicate the approximate number of people who were victims of this transplanting?

A. There must have been about 7000 people who were transplanted in this manner, because we found in Luxembourg a list mentioning between 2800 and 2900 homes or families.

Q. These indications are based on knowledge you received as President of the Chamber of Deputies?

A. Not exactly, the list was found in Luxembourg; it is still deposited there and the office of War Criminals took cognisance of it, like all the judiciary authorities in Luxembourg.

Q. Can you state, M. Reuter, how the people who were transplanted were informed of this measure concerning them, and how much time they had to get ready?

A. The families to be transplanted were never given notice in advance, officially at least. About six o'clock in the morning, the Gestapo rang at the door, and they notified those who were selected to be ready for departure within one or two hours with a minimum of luggage. Then they were taken to the station and put on a train for the camp to which they were at first to be sent.

Q. Can you tell us whether these measures were applied to people whom you know personally?

A. I know personally a large number of people who were transplanted among them members of my own family, a great number of colleagues of the Chamber of Deputies, many members of the Bar, many magistrates and so forth.

[Page 369]

Q. In addition to these transplantations, were there deportations to concentration camps? This is another question.

A. Yes, there were deportations to concentration camps which everyone knew about. The number of such deportations in the Grand Duchy may be approximately four thousand.

Q. M. Reuter, it has been established, through their ordinances, that the German authorities prescribed compulsory military service, - I will not ask you, therefore, any question on this particular point. However, I would like to ask you whether you are able to state, approximately, the number of Luxembourg citizens who were enrolled in the Germany Army.

A. The young people who were incorporated into the German Army by force belonged to five classes, beginning with the class of 1920. The number is about eleven thousand to twelve thousand, at least. A certain number of them, I think about one-third, succeeded in avoiding conscription, and became refractory. Others later deserted the German Army and fled to other countries.

Q. Can you indicate the approximate number of Luxembourgers who died as a result of their forced enlistment?

A. At the end of September 1944 we had about two thousand five hundred dead. Searches have continued and at present, I think, we have established the names of at least three thousand.

Q. The sanctions that had been provided to force the enlistment of the Luxembourgers, were they very severe?

A. These sanctions were extremely severe. First of all, the young people who were refractory were pursued and hunted by the police and by the Gestapo. Then they were brought before various types of Tribunals, in Luxembourg, France, Belgium, or Germany. Their families were deported; the family fortune was generally confiscated. The penalties pronounced by the Tribunals against these young people were likewise very severe. The death penalty was general, or else imprisonment, forced labour, deportation to concentration camps. Some of them were released later on, but there were some who were shot as hostages after having been released.

Q. I would like to ask one last question. Do you think it is possible that these measures, which constituted a de facto annexation of Luxembourg, could have been unknown to the persons who belonged to the Reich Government, or to the German High Command?

A. I believe that it is hardly possible that such a situation could have been unknown to the members of the Reich and the Supreme Military Authority. My opinion is based on the following facts: First of all, our young people, when mobilised by force, frequently protested, at the time of their arrival in Germany, by invoking the fact that they were all of Luxembourg nationality, and that they were the victims of force, so that the military authorities must have been informed of the situation in the Grand Duchy.

In the second place, several Ministers of the Reich, among them Thierack, Rust and Ley, visited the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and could see for themselves the situation of the country and the reaction of the population: other high political personalities of the Reich, such as Bormann and Sauckel, also paid visits.

Finally there were German decrees and ordinances, concerning the denationalisation of certain categories of Luxembourg citizens. These ordinances bore the signature of the Minister of the Reich. The executive measures implementing these ordinances were published in the Official Gazette of the Reich Ministry of the Interior, under the signature of the Minister of Interior Frick, with the indication that these instructions were to be communicated to all the superior Reich authorities.

[Page 370]

M. FAURE: I thank you. Those are all the questions I have to put to you.

THE PRESIDENT: Is there any member of the defendants' counsel who wishes to ask the witness any questions? (No response). Then the witness can retire.

M. FAURE: Mr. President, am I to understand that the witness will not have to remain any longer at the disposal of the Tribunal and he may return to his home?


M. FAURE: I had stopped my presentation at the end of the second part. That is to say, I have examined so far, in the first place, the elimination of the French formation or culture and, secondly, the imposition of German rules.

(c) Measures for transplantation and colonisation

The German authorities applied, in these annexed departments, characteristic methods for the transport of populations. It so happens that, as the witness from Luxembourg was heard sooner than I had anticipated, the Tribunal is already informed of the aspect which these measures of transplantation assumed in the annexed territories.

The situation which I am about to describe with respect to Alsace-Lorraine is, indeed, analogous to the situation which existed with regard to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The principal purpose of the application of such methods by the Germans was to enable them to colonise by bringing German subjects into the country, who then seized the lands and property of the inhabitants who had been expelled.

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