The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Second Day: Wednesday, 6th February, 1946
(Part 5 of 6)

[THE PRESIDENT continues]

[Page 112]

and therefore the Tribunal does not consider that it is properly proved by mere introductions of the document, without anything on it. Perhaps you can furnish some supplementary proof.

M. GERTHOFFER: I can bring an affidavit to the Tribunal in order to have it authenticated.

THE PRESIDENT: In what way have the other documents been certified?

M. GERTHOFFER: The other documents were certified as a whole in the covering letter. They were not certified individually. This formality can be carried out subsequently.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think we must wait until this is properly identified.

M. GERTHOFFER: I continue with the reading of my report and I would point out to the Tribunal that in all the occupied countries the defendant Goering employed a whole group of buyers, the best known of whom were Dr. Lohse, who was a member of the "Einsatzstab," and Hofer. Hofer and Lohse acted for the defendant most often, however, under their own names. The personal collection of the defendant Goering flourished very considerably. In this regard I submit a document which becomes RF 1332 and to which my colleague, in charge of individual accusations, will soon refer.

Among the principal leaders of the Reich connected with the "Einsatzstab" (Page 55), Rosenberg had, as his superior in the hierarchy, the defendant Ribbentrop in his capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs (Page 56). It was von Ribbentrop who was responsible for the Fuehrer's order of 30th June, 1940, which I presented a short time ago as Exhibit RF 1301 and which I read to the Tribunal.

Ribbentrop's activities are likewise shown in a letter of 1st June, 1940, addressed by Ambassador Abetz to the Military Commander of Paris, a copy of which I submit as Exhibit RF 1334 (Page 56). I submit, furthermore ----

THE PRESIDENT: What is this document, 1334?

M. GERTHOFFER: It is the copy of a letter addressed to the Military Commander of Paris by Ambassador Abetz (Page 56 of the statement). I can read it to the Tribunal, if it wishes. It shows Ribbentrop's activities. Here is the letter:

"I beg you to be good enough to have transmitted by radio ..."
THE PRESIDENT: What does this mean at the top of the document, "COL, Bureau of ----"

M. GERTHOFFER: It is the seal of the office which seized the letter.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the French Government in any way certify this document? You see, we do not know what that stamp on it may mean.

M. GERTHOFFER: This document was supplied by the General Agency of Studies and Research. It is one of the supplementary services which affixed this seal and registered it under Number 9724.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I see what that is; but it does not of itself show that it is a French document, does it? Is there any French Government report, anything which could be considered to be within the meaning of Article 21 of the Charter, an official Government document or report, or an act or a document set up by the Government itself? Unless it comes within Article 21, we are not at liberty to consider it as in evidence, unless there is an affidavit which deals with it.

M. GERTHOFFER: I do not insist on the presentation of this document since the activities of Ribbentrop as Minister for Foreign Affairs appear from other PS documents which have never been disputed. It is a superfluous piece of evidence. I therefore do not insist on presenting it. It was merely a further piece of evidence, at is all.

THE PRESIDENT: If you find that there is some Government report which identifies it, anything which proves that that stamp on it shows that it is a

[Page 113]

Government document within Article 21, then of course, you may renew your application.

M. GERTHOFFER: I think that it is not necessary, Mr. President. There are sufficient other documents. I do not insist. The activities of the defendant Keitel are also to be borne in mind.

THE PRESIDENT: One moment! You are passing over that document then.

M. GERTHOFFER: Exhibit RF 1336 is composed of a series of orders, of reports of the Army and of the "Einsatzstab." It was Document 1015-PS, submitted by the prosecutor of the United States as Exhibit USA-385.

"The directives concerning the co-operation with the Armed Forces will be issued by the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces in agreement with Reichsleiter Rosenberg."
I shall not insist on the responsibility of the defendant Keitel. My colleague, who is charged with the individual accusations, will lay special stress on the development of this point, and to expedite the proceedings I shall merely mention the following:

The defendant Seyss-Inquart bears a grave responsibility for the pillaging in Holland of works of art and books.

I thus come to the conclusion of my presentation. Whatever the markets, whoever the purchasers, where the traffic in works of art is concerned, the motive is the same and the methods are the same. It is difficult to conceive that identical acts of pillaging committed simultaneously in all the occupied countries of Western Europe, were not the result of one single will, a ruthless will to dominate in every sphere, which expressed itself in a desire to invest the most irregular acquisitions with an appearance of legality. This is proved by the numerous declarations of the defendants, such as have been submitted to the Tribunal.

A will to dominate the cultural sphere was expressed by the intention to extend the "action" of confiscation to ever- fresh fields.

A will to despoil the occupied countries, manifested itself right up to the very last hours of the occupation. The last document which I present to the Tribunal is 160-PS, contained in the document book as Exhibit RF 1346. Here is the text. It is extremely brief:

"14th August, 1944 -- Mission B.

The Heads of Special Missions (`Haupteinsatzfuehrer'), Dr. Lohse and Dr. Borchers, of my "Einsatzstab" for the occupied territories, are charged with the immediate transport from the Jeu de Paume Museum and the Louvre depot, by all means still available, of works of art taken into safe custody by order of the Fuehrer and still stored in Paris,.

The Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich has recently, by a personal directive of 13th August, 1944, placed the two above-named persons at the disposal of the "Einsatzstab" until the completion of this operation. It is requested that every possible assistance be rendered to these Heads of Special Missions."

Whatever the reasons of a legal nature submitted by the Germans to justify the seizures of Jewish property (Page 65), this property has never lost the character of private property, and it has for this reason always remained guaranteed by the clauses of the Hague Convention, and especially by Article 46. The seizure of this property cannot, in particular, be explained as a measure of protection rendered necessary by circumstances since, for France at least, the French administration was in a position to take all the measures desired. As for the fate reserved for the National Socialist leaders, the documents produced have sufficiently shown their intentions and their plans.

[Page 114]

The defence will undoubtedly contest that important treasures of national works of art from occupied territories were taken to Germany. If such an argument were presented, I should answer:

(1) For various reasons, the occupying authorities did not have the chance to do so, since they barely had time to collect, to catalog and to transport the numerous art treasures of which the occupied countries had been dispossessed.

(2) It is obvious that the occupational authorities preferably private works of art which are, generally speaking, easily negotiable even in neutral countries, whereas national works of art are, in a certain sense, outside the commercial sphere and are in any case difficult to dispose in foreign countries.

It may perhaps be claimed that, a great number of works of art having been recovered, the accusation of removing them no longer holds good.

You will consider, Gentlemen, that if many works of art have been recovered by the Allied armies, usually in hiding places, the reprehensible fact held against the defendants nevertheless remains. As a matter of fact these works of art have been recovered against their will, and thanks to the victory of the Allied armies. The crime had, therefore, been entirely consummated at the time of their discovery. It is clear from the declaration that it is chiefly works of art belonging to private individuals of Belgian, Dutch and French nationality -- mostly qualified as Jews by the Occupying Power -- which were looted; looted with the obvious intention of gratifying their personal vanity and of obtaining valuable property viewed from an economic standpoint, contrary to the principles of International Law.

These acts of pillage were often accompanied by aggravating circumstances, not the least of which was the constant menace of violence threatening the population of the occupied countries. The looting of works of art, therefore, appears as a form of general economic pillaging and the defendants must answer for this before your Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: Could you tell me what documents FA-20, 21 and so forth, refer to? There is an inscription which is on these various documents. If you look at Exhibit RF 1333 or 1334 you will see that on the copies that are before us there is an inscription "International Military Tribunal," and then the "French Delegation, the Public Ministry, Economic Section" and then "LVR, Document FA-21" and "Document FA-20." Now, where is Document FA-21, and where is Document FA-20?

M. GERTHOFFER: It is a serial number referring to the document sent to us. It is Exhibit RF 1334, which was rejected by the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but what is Document FA-20 or Document FA-21; what does it mean?

M. GERTHOFFER: FA-20 is the serial number which had been given to this document in the series of documents which we received. It is of no importance.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean that it is only a number given by you or that it is a number given by the Economic Section of the...?

M. GERTHOFFER: It is a number given to it by the Economic Section.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, then, if that is so, if it is the number given to this document by the Economic Section, it does identify the document as a document of a public nature.

M. GERTHOFFER: We had likewise given to the document, which I quoted a short time ago, a exhibit number, which, for Document FA-21, was RF 1333.

THE PRESIDENT: Document FA 21 is Exhibit RF 1333.

M. GERTHOFFER: We likewise gave it a number.

THE PRESIDENT: I see, the Economic Section is merely a section of the French prosecution.

[Page 115]

M. GERTHOFFER: Yes, it is a section of the French prosecution.

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