The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
2nd February to 13th February, 1946

Fiftieth Day: Monday, 4nd February, 1946
(Part 2 of 8)

[M. EDGAR FAURE continues]

[Page 26]

In Norway the decree of 24th April, 1940, appointed Terboven as Reichskommissar. This decree is signed by Hitler, Lammers and the defendants Keitel and Frick. In Holland the decree of 18th May, 1940, appointed the defendant Seyss-Inquart as Reichskommissar. This decree is signed by the same persons as the preceding decree, and it bears in addition the signatures of G"ring and Ribbentrop.

The decrees appointing the Reichskommissars also defined their functions as well as the division of the functions between the civil commissar and the military authorities. I am not submitting these two decrees as documents since they are direct acts of German legislation. The decree concerning Norway provides in its first article:

"The Reichskommissar has the task of safeguarding the interests of the Reich, and of exercising supreme power in the civil domain."
The decree adds:
"The Reichskommissar is directly under me and receives from me directives and instructions."
As far as the division of functions is concerned, I give the text of Article 4:
"The Commander of the German troops in Norway exercises the rights of military sovereignty. His orders are carried out in the civil doman by the Reichskommissar."
This decree was published in the Official Gazette of German Decrees for 1940, No. 1. The same instructions are given in a similar decree of 18th May, 1940, concerning the Netherlands. The establishment of Reichskommissaere was accompanied at the beginning by some pronouncement intended to reassure the population. Terboven proclaimed that he intended to limit as much as possible the inconveniences and costs of the occupation. This is the proclamation of 5th April, 1940, which is in the Official Gazette, Page 2.

Likewise, after his appointment, the defendant Seyss-Inquart addressed an appeal to the Dutch people. This is to be found in the Official Gazette for Holland for 1940, Page 2, and in it he expressed himself as follows. He starts off with a categorical phrase:

"I shall take all measures, including those of a legislative nature, which will be necessary for carrying out this mandate";
and he says also:
"It is my will that the laws in force up to now shall remain in force, and that the Dutch authorities shall be associated with the carrying out of government affairs, and that the independence of justice be maintained."
But these promises were not kept. It is evident that the Reichskommissar was to become in Norway and in Holland the principal instrument for the usurpation of sovereignty. He was to act, however, in close relation with a second instrument of usurpation, the National Socialist organisation in the country. This collaboration of the local Nazi Party with the German authority, represented by the Reichskommissar, took perceptibly different forms in each of the two countries under consideration. Thus, the exercise of power by the Reichskommissar presents in itself differences between Norway and Holland which were more apparent than real.

In both countries the local National Socialist Party existed before the war. It grew and was inspired by the German Nazi Party and had its place in the general plan of war preparations and the plan for Germanisation. I should like to give some information concerning Norway.

[Page 27]

The National Socialist Party was called "Nasjonal Samling." It had as leader the famous Quisling. It was a perfect imitation of the German Nazi Party. I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 920 the text of the oath of fidelity subscribed to by members of this "Nasjonal Samling" Party. I quote:
"My promise of fidelity: I promise on my honour:

(1) Unflinching fidelity and loyalty towards the National Socialist movement, its idea and its Fuehrer.

(2) To work energetically and boldy for the cause. Always in my work to be worthy of confidence and to show discipline. To do all that I can to acquire the knowledge and aptitude which my activity in the movement requires.

(3) As far as I am able, to live according to the National Socialist spirit, and towards all my companions in the struggle to show solidarity and understanding and be a good comrade to them.

(4) To obey any administrative decision taken by the Fuehrer or by his trusted advisers, when the latter do not act against or in disagreement with the directions of the Fuehrer.

(5) Never to reveal to others (to foreigners or to enemies) details of N.S. methods of work or anything whatsoever which might harm the movement.

(6) To make the utmost effort at all times to contribute to the progress of the movement, and to the achievement of its purpose, and to play the part in the fighting organisation which I have undertaken to do under promise of fidelity; quite conscious that I would be guilty of an unworthy and vile act if I broke this promise.

(7) If circumstances should make it impossible for me to continue as a member of the fighting organisation, I rpomise to withdraw in a loyal manner. I shall remain bound by the vow of secrecy which I made and I shall do nothing to harm the movement. Our purpose, the purpose of the Nasjonal Samling, is this: A New State, a Norwegian and Nordic Fellowship within the World Community, organically constructed on the basis of work, with strong and stable leadership. The union between the common good and private property and rights."

This Party therefore conforms completely to the Fuehrer principle, and while it shows a Norwegian facade, it is nothing but a facade. In fact, on the very day of the invasion the Nazis imposed the establishment of an alleged Norwegian Government, presided over by Quisling. At that time the Norwegian Supreme Court appointed a board of officials who were to be invested, under the title of Administrative Council, with powers of higher administration. This Administrative Council constituted therefore, in the exceptional circumstances in which it was set up, a qualified authority for representing the legitimate sovereignty - at least in a conservative way. It functioned only for a short time. By September the Nazis found that it was not possible for them to obtain the participation or even passive acceptance of the Administrative Council and of the administrators. They themselves then appointed thirteen Kommissaere, of whom ten were selected among the members of the Quisling Party. Quisling himself did not exercise any nominal function, but he remained the Fuehrer of his Party.

Finally, a third period began on 1st February, 1944. At that date Quisling returned to power as Minister-President, and the Kommissaere themselves assumed the title of Ministers. This situation lasted until the liberation of Norway. Thus, except for a few months in 1940, the Germans completely usurped all sovereignty in Norway. This sovereignty was divided between their direct agent, the Reichskommissar, and their indirect agent, first called

[Page 28]

State Councillor and then the Quisling Government, but always an emanation of National Socialism.

There is no doubt whatever that the independence of these organisations vis-a-vis the German authorities was absolutely nil. The fact that the second organisation was called a Government did not mean a strengthening of its autonomous authority. These were merely differences of form the nature of which I shall point out to the Tribunal. I submit, in this connection, two documents as Exhibits RF 921 and 922. By comparing these two documents you will see that what I have just affirmed is correct. Here are instructions addressed by the Reichskommissar to his offices concerned with legislative procedure. I point out to the Tribunal that the first in order of date has been numbered the second, so that first of all I shall read part of Exhibit RF 922 and subsequently 921. The two constitute a whole.

No. 922 is dated 10th October, 1940 - that is, the very beginning of the period of the State Councillors. I quote an extract from it:

"All the decrees of the State Councillor must be submitted before their publication to the Reichskommissar."
This is to be found in the second paragraph. It is the only point which I would like to bring out in this document. Therefore all the decrees of the higher Norwegian administration were under the control of the Reichskommissar.

The second, 921, is dated 8th April, 1942. It relates to the period shortly after the establishment of the second Quisling Government. I start at the second sentence:

"In view of the formation of the National Norwegian Government, the Reichskommissar has decided that from now on this form of agreement - a prior agreement in writing - is no longer required. Nevertheless, this modification of form of legislative procedure does not mean that the Norwegian Government may proclaim laws and decrees without the knowledge of the competent department of the Reichskommissar. His Excellency, the Reichskommissar, expects every department chief to acquaint himself, through close contacts with the competent Norwegian departments, with all legislative measures which are in preparation, and to find out in each case whether these measures concern German interests, and to assure himself, if necessary, that German interests will be taken into consideration."
Thus, in the one case, there is a formal control with written authorisation. In the other case, there is a control by information among the different departments, but the principle is the same. The establishment of local authority under one form or another was merely a means of finding out the best way of deceiving public opinion. When the Germans put Quisling into the background, it was because they thought the State Councillors, being less well known, might more easily deceive the public. When they returned Quisling, it was because the first manceuvre had obviously failed, and because they thought that perhaps the official establishment of an authority qualified as governmental would give the impression that the sovereignty of the country had not been abolished. One might, however, wonder what was the reason for these artifices and why the Nazis used them, instead of purely and simply annexing the country. There is a very important reason for that. It operates for Norway and it will operate for the Netherlands. The Nazis always preferred to maintain the fiction of an independent State and to gain a definite hold from within by using and developing the local party. It is with this end in view that they granted the Party in Norway advantages of prestige, and if they did not act in an identical manner in Holland, their general conduct was, however, imbued with the same spirit.

[Page 29]

This policy of the Germans in Norway is perfectly illustrated by the Norwegian law - or so-called Norwegian law - of 12th March, 1942 (Official Norwegian Gazette, 1942, Page 215, which I offer in evidence as Exhibit RF 923). I quote:
"Law concerning the Party and the State, 12th March, 1942, No. 2.

Paragraph 1: In Norway the Nasjonal Samling is the fundamental Party of the State and closely linked with the State.

Paragraph 2: The organisation of the Party, its activity, and the duties of its members are laid down by the Tribunal of the Nasjonal Samling. Oslo, 12th March, 1942, signed Quisling, President of the Council."

On the other hand, the Nazis organised on a large scale the system of the duplication of functions which existed among the higher authorities. In fact, it is the transposition of the German system which shows a constant parallelism between the State administration and the Party organisations. Everywhere German Nazis were installed to second and supervise the Norwegian Nazis who had been put in official positions.

As this point is interesting from the point of view of seizure of sovereignty and of action taken in the administration, I think I may submit two documents, which become Exhibits RF 924 and 925. These are extracts of judicial interrogations by the Norwegian Court of two high German officials of the Reichsleommissariat at Oslo. Exhibit 924 refers to the interrogation of Georg Wilhelm Mueller, interrogation dated 5th January, 1946. Wilhelm Mueller was the Chief of the Department for the Enlightenment of the People and Propaganda. The information which he gives concerns more particularly the functioning of the Propaganda Service, but similar methods were used in a general way, as this statement admits. I quote:

"Question: In 1941 nobody in your country thought that there would be military difficulties. At that time they certainly tried to organise the Norwegian people along Nationalist Socialist lines?

Reply: They did this until the very end.

Question: What were the practical measures for achieving this National Socialist formation ?

Reply: They supported the Nasjonal Samling as far as possible, and they did it, in the first place, by strengthening the structure very strongly from the organisational point of view."

I may point out that this translation into French is not first rate; it is, however, comprehensible.
"Question: In what way was it strengthened?

Reply: In each fyIking, or province, they appointed National Socialists who had been specially selected to support the Norwegian National Socialists.

Question: Were there other practical measures?

Reply: That was done in all domains, even in the domain of propaganda; the Einsaustab put propagandists at their disposal. They also did this in Oslo at the central offices of the Nasjonal Samling.

Question: How did these propagandists work?

Reply: They worked closely with similar Norwegian propagandists and made suggestions to them. Grele did this by virtue of his double capacity as Chief of Propaganda in the Reichskommissariat and Chief of the Landesgruppe.

Question: What was the practical method?

Reply: These continued conferences were carried through to the very top of the hierarchy. There was a man who was specially appointed for

[Page 30]

this; first Wegeler, then Neuman, then Schnurbusch, who had the task of strengthening National Socialist ideas within the Nasjonal Samling.

Question: In the Einsaustab there were experts from the different branches whose task it was to contact Norwegians and give them useful advice. In what domains?

Reply: There were organisers, and especially consultants for the Hird, leaders of the S.A. and S.S. We had at the head a Press man, a propagandist, Herr Schnurbusch, until he himself became leader of the Einsatzstab, a financier, an expert on social welfare questions in the same way as in the N.S.V. in Germany."

The Tribunal will notice in this document the name of Schnurbusch as being that of the leader of the Einsatzstab, and of the organism for liaison with and penetration into the local party. I am now going to quote an extract from the interrogation of Schnurbusch, which is found in Exhibit RF 925.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you putting these documents in?

M. FAURE: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you say, for the purposes of the shorthand notes, that you offer them in evidence?

M. FAURE: Will you excuse me? I should like to point out that I submit as evidence Exhibit RF 925 as well as 924 of which I spoke just now.

This is from the interrogation of Heinrich Schnurbusch, leader of the liaison service in the Reichskommissariat on 8th January, 1946, in Oslo:

"Question: How did the German departments try to carry out this National Socialist transformation?"
I wish to point out to the Tribunal that I have passed over the first three questions as they are not of much interest.
"Reply: We sought to strengthen this movement by all the customary means for leading the masses, in the same way as we did in Germany. The Nasjonal Samling took advantage of the fact that they had all the means of transmission and propaganda at their disposal. But we soon saw that the object could not be achieved. After 25th September, 1940, the atmosphere in Norway changed from one day to the other, when some State Councillors were appointed as N.S. State Councillors, and that because the action of Quisling during April, 1940, was considered a betrayal.

Question: In what way did you assist, from the material point of view, the Nasjonal Sarnling in this propaganda? In what way did you give your advice to the Nasjonal Samling?

Reply: During the time I was in office, when propaganda activity was to be carried out, it harmonised with the propaganda which was being given out in Germany.

Question: Did you issue any directives for the Nasjonal Samling?

Reply: No. In my time the Nasjonal Samling worked in an autonomous manner in this domain, and even in some ways contrary to our advice. The Nasjonal. Samling took the view that it understood the Norwegian mentality better, but it made many mistakes.

Question: Were pecuniary means put at its disposal?

Reply: Certainly, financial help was given, but I do not know the exact amount."

(A recess was taken.)

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