The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Third Day: Thursday, 7th February, 1946
(Part 16 of 18)


[Page 157]

I turn then to a fragment of evidence of the part he played in the waging of aggressive war against Poland. On Page 16 of the document book there is a report of a speech that he made on the 27th August, 1939, which shows at least that he was taking part in the official propaganda that was being thrown at the world in those days, two days before the war was declared. I quote from the second paragraph:

"Rudolf Hess, constantly interrupted with strong applause from the German citizens living abroad, as well as fellow countrymen from the District of Styria, stressed the unexampled forbearance shown by Germany towards Poland, in the magnanimous offer of the Fuehrer that had assured peace between Germany and Poland. An offer that Mr. Chamberlain seems to have forgotten, for he says he has heard nothing of Germany's having tried to solve certain acute present-day questions by peaceful discussion. What else was the German offer then, if it was not such an attempt?"
Then he goes on to accuse Poland of agitating for war, Poland's lack of responsibility and so on. In view of the time, I shall quote no more of that. The Document 107-M, is in evidence and it becomes Exhibit GB 266.

[Page 158]

After the conquest of Poland, it was Hess that signed the decree incorporating Danzig into the Reich, the decree of 1st September, 1939, a decree incorporating Polish territories into the Reich on 8th October, 1939; and on 12th October, 1939, a decree concerning Polish territory, in which it was stated that regulations were to be made for the planning of German Lebensraum and economic expansion. Those are all decrees in the Reichsgesetzblatt. I regret that the last two that I mentioned are not actually included in the Tribunals document book, but the effect of them is set out in the trial brief. That, in view of the evidence that has been given as to his Fifth Column organisation, is all that I propose to offer in respect to Poland. It must be clear that my submission will be that he was deeply involved both in the planning and in the preparation for aggressive war.

I turn to an example of his participation in War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, and would refer only to two documents; one appears as set out on Page 18 of the trial brief, 3245-PS, which becomes Exhibit GB 267. It was an order issued by Hess through the Party Chancellery demanding support from the Party for recruiting members for the Waffen S.S.; and one paragraph, which is set out in the trial brief I quote:

"The units of the Waffen S.S., consisting of National Socialists, are more suitable than other armed units for the specific tasks to be solved in the occupied Eastern territories, due to their intensive National Socialist training in regard to questions of race and nationality."
But, in view of what was happening and what was going to happen in the occupied Eastern territories because of the Waffen S.S. (we have not, I know, forgotten the part they played in the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto). I suggest that the inference that can be drawn from that letter is damning.

There is one further document. That document will be found on Page 121 of the Tribunal's document book. The other document that I would refer to in this respect is Document 96-R, which becomes Exhibit GB 268, and again that will be found on Page 175 of the document book. It is a letter written by the Reich Minister of Justice to the Chief of the Reich Chancellery on 17th April, 1941, and it is discussing proposed penal laws for Jews and Poles in the occupied Eastern territories. It shows quite clearly that Hess has been involved in discussions on this subject because it refers to certain proposals that he himself has made. My Lord, I would venture to draw the attention of the Tribunal to one or two passages. I quote from the beginning of that letter on Page 175:

"It has been my opinion from the outset that special conditions prevailing in the annexed Eastern territories require special measures of penal law and penal procedure against Poles and Jews. "
And then I go on to the second paragraph, the first two lines:
"The aim to create a special law for Poles and Jews in the Eastern territories was pursued further according to plan, by the ordinance dated 6th June, 1940. By this ordinance German penal law, which had been used in the Eastern territories already, from the outset, was formally made applicable."
There I omit three lines.
"The procedure for enforcing a prosecution has been abrogated, for it seems intolerable that Poles or Jews should be able to force the German public prosecutor to launch an accusation. Poles and Jews have also been deprived of the right to prosecute in their own names or join the public prosecutor in an action. In addition to this special law in the sphere of procedure, some special conditions have been included in Article 2 of the introductory ordinance. These provisions were established in agreement with the Reich Minister of the Interior on the basis of needs which had made themselves felt. From the beginning it was intended to

[Page 159]

augment the special conditions in case of need. This need, which had become apparent in the meantime, was met by an executive and supplementary order which was added to the original ordinance and which was referred to in the letter from the Fuehrer's deputies. "
I turn to the next page, top of the page:
"Later I was informed of the express wish of the Fuehrer. As a matter of principle, Poles, and I presume the Jews, are to be treated differently from the Germans within this sphere of penal law. After preliminary discussions, et cetera, I drew up the enclosed draft concerning criminal law and procedure against Poles and Jews. "
I pass over to the next paragraph:
"The draft represents altogether special law, both in the sphere of penal law and penal procedure.

The suggestions of the Deputy Fuehrer have been taken into consideration to a far-reaching extent. Number 1: Paragraph 3: contains a general crime formula on the basis of which any Pole or Jew in the Eastern territory can in future be prosecuted, and any kind of punishment can be inflicted on him for any attitude or action which is considered punishable and is directed against Germans."

Then I go on to the next paragraph:
"In accordance with the opinion of the Deputy of the Fuehrer, I started from the supposition that the Pole is less susceptible to the infliction of ordinary imprisonment."
And a few lines further down:
"Under these new kinds of punishment prisoners are to be lodged outside prisons in camps and are to be forced to do heaviest and hardest labour."
I go to the next page, second paragraph:
"The introduction of corporal punishment, which the Deputy of the Fuehrer has brought up for discussion, has not been included in the draft. I cannot agree to this type of punishment because its infliction does not, in my opinion, correspond to the cultural level of the German people."
My Lord, as I said, the purpose of that document is to show that the Deputy of the Fuehrer was well aware of what was going on in the Eastern occupied territories and indeed was advocating even stronger measures than the Reich Minister of Justice was prepared to accept.

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