The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-First Day: Tuesday, 5th February, 1946
(Part 12 of 14)

[Page 93]

I now present to the Tribunal further details under the same heading, including a certain number of documents which have been collected in order to show, in accordance with our general line of presentation, the perpetual interference of the German administrative services.

As I am a little behind my time-table, I shall give only the numbers of these documents which I should like to offer in evidence, and which I have no time to describe. They will become Exhibits RF 1238 to 1249.

I would like to read to the Tribunal only the document which bears the exhibit number 1243, and which is interesting as showing the organic character and the juridical pretensions of the German organisations. I shall quote a few sentences from this document:

"In the report made by the Chief of the Administrative General Staff on experience during the reprisal operation from 7th to 14th December, 1941, it was proposed to avoid the execution of hostages in future and to replace them by death sentences to be pronounced by courts martial."

[Page 94]

I shall omit some lines and continue:

"The reprisal will be carried out by pronouncing and inflicting capital punishment on prisoners who would normally be sentenced only to imprisonment, or else be acquitted altogether. This method of influencing the judge's determination of the sentence to be pronounced for murder and sabotage takes account of the French love of juridical form."
I should like now, in the last paragraph of my presentation, to submit documentary evidence in connection with criminal actions of which the Tribunal has not yet been informed and which involve the personal responsibility of certain of the defendants present here. I must remind you that the criminal actions of the Nazis took extremely varied forms, which have already been put before the Tribunal at some length. A particularly new and unusual manifestation of this consisted in causing crimes to be committed by organised bands of murderers who were ordinary criminals, under conditions which made it appear as if these crimes were committed by ordinary bandits or even by Resistance organisations, which they tried in this way to dishonour.

Such crimes were committed in all the occupied countries, but the precautions taken -- with good reason -- to camouflage them sometimes make it difficult to trace back the responsibility for these crimes to the ringleaders -- the leaders of the Nazi State. We were, however, able to find this evidence in the records of proceedings instituted in Denmark. All the elements are contained in Danish reports of which we were able to get possession only a short time ago.

I can indicate the position very briefly. It concerns a series of murders known as "compensatory" or "clearing" murders. Counsel for the defence tells me that there is an error in translation in the last document which I read. He says that "acquittal" is not the correct translation of "Begnadigung." As I do not know German, it is quite possible that this error exists and that the word means "reprieve."

THE PRESIDENT: Which part of the document?

M. FAURE: This error really exists. I hope the Tribunal will excuse me, because there is a considerable amount of translation work. I shall read line 14 of document 1243:

"Prisoners who would normally be sentenced only to imprisonment or else be acquitted altogether."
According to counsel for the defence that should be:
"Prisoners who would normally be sentenced to imprisonment only or else be reprieved."
The construction of the sentence seems less good when this word is used, which explains the error in translation, if there was one. In any case, I think it is sufficient to note the instructions given: the imposition of "capital punishment" in cases where a sentence of imprisonment only would normally have been justified.

To come back to the subject I was discussing, I should like to make the situation clear by reading the definition given in the Danish report. It is found on Page 19 of the supplementary memorandum of the Danish Government. This document was submitted last Saturday as Exhibit RF 901. As it is very bulky, I see that it is not included in the document book, but that the passages which I cite can be found in my brief.

The page numbers start again at the end of this brief, and I am now on Page 3 in the last series of numbers.

I quote Page 19 of the Danish report:

"From New Year, 1944, onwards, a large number of persons -- most of them well known -- were murdered at intervals which grew steadily shorter. The door-bell would ring, for instance, and one or two men would ask to speak to them. The moment they appeared at the door..."

[Page 95]

THE PRESIDENT: I have not got it. Is it in this dossier of the administrative and juridical organisation of the criminal actions? Under which document?

M. FAURE: It is not in the document book. It is in the dossier of the brief.

THE PRESIDENT: In the dossier? Which part of the dossier?

M. FAURE: It is the last part of the dossier. The numbering of the pages starts again after Page 76. If the Tribunal will turn to Page 76, the page numbers begin again after that -- with Page 1.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I have it.

M. FAURE: I read from Page 19 of the report, the extract reproduced on Page 3:

"From New Year, 1944, onwards, a large number of persons -- most of them well known -- were murdered at intervals which grew steadily shorter. The doorbell would ring, for instance, and one or two men would ask to speak to them. The moment they appeared at the door they were shot by these unknown persons. Or someone would pretend to be ill and go to a doctor during the latter's consulting hour. When the doctor entered the room, the unknown shot him. At other times, unknown men would force their way into a house and kill the owner in front of his wife and his children. Or a man would be ambushed in the street by civilians and shot."
I do not need to read the following paragraph. I go on reading at the last paragraph on Page 19:
"As the number of victims increased it became clear to the Danes, to their amazement, that there was a certain political motive behind all these murders; for they realised that in one way or another the Germans were the instigators.

After the capitulation of the German forces in Denmark, investigations by the Danish police established the fact that all these murders, running into hundreds, were in reality committed on the direct orders of the supreme authorities and with the active collaboration of Germans who occupied the highest positions in Denmark."

I end my quotation here, and I shall summarise what follows: The Danish authorities were able to clear up these crimes -- 267 in number -- and they are analysed in the official Danish report and the documents attached to it.

These acts consisted not only in actual crimes but also in other criminal activities, notably explosions. It was established that all these acts were committed by bands consisting of Germans and some Danes, who constituted real groups of bandits, but who acted, as I am going to prove to you, on orders from the highest quarters.

The Danish report contains in particular the detailed story of the investigation made into the first of these crimes, of which the victim was Kaj Munk, the well-known Danish poet and pastor of a parish. The crime was confessed by the men who carried it out.

I summarise the document in order not to take too much time.

"The pastor was taken from his home, forced into a vehicle and killed on the highway. His body was found next day with a sign pinned on it with the words, "Swine, you worked for Germany just the same."
The Tribunal sees how many similar crimes were committed in the vilest possible way. Now, one of the first things discovered was that the members of the gangs of bandits who committed these different crimes had all received a personal letter of congratulation from Himmler. The text of this letter, which was found on one of the murderers, constitutes Appendix 14 of the Danish report, and in addition we have here photostatic copies with Himmler's signature.

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