The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Fourth Day: Friday, 8th February, 1946
(Part 21 of 22)


The so-called "Henlein Free Corps" (Freikorps Henlein) was established in Bohemia and Moravia.

During the interrogation of 15th August, 1945, Karl Hermann Frank testified that Henlein and his staff were in Tandorf Castle near Reuch. Henlein himself was the Chief of Staff of the Corps, which bore the title "Freikorps des Fuehrers." According to Frank the Free Corps was established by Hitler's order. Part of that corps which was in the territory of the German Reich was equipped with small arms in small quantities, as stated by Frank. According to him, the Free Corps consisted of about 15,000 people, chiefly Sudeten Germans. We find this information on Page 3 of the Russian translation of Document No. 3061-PS. In your book it is Page 185 of Volume I, Part 1.

Among the trophies collected by our heroic Red Army are the archives of the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The Soviet Delegation has at its disposal other documents which I consider it advisable to read in part in order to supplement the data previously submitted to the Tribunal. They are particularly interesting, if we bear in mind that one of the favorite pretexts for aggression of the Hitler conspirators was their intention to protect the interests of the German minorities. I will read an excerpt from the top-secret minutes of the meeting held in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at noon, 29th March, 1938, in Berlin, especially on the subject of the Sudeten German. I shall refer to our Exhibit USSR 271. You will find this passage on Page 196, Volume I, Part 1. I quote:

"The conference was attended by the gentlemen mentioned in the attached list: In his opening address the Reichsminister emphasised the importance of keeping this conference strictly secret and later, referring to the Fuehrer's instruction which he had personally given to Conrad Henlein yesterday afternoon, he stated that there were primarily two questions of importance to the political guidance of the Sudeten German Party.

(1) The Sudeten Germans must know that they are backed by a German nation of 75,000,000 inhabitants who will not tolerate any further oppression of the Sudeten Germans by the Government of Czechoslovakia.

(2) It is the responsibility of the Sudeten German Party to submit to the Czechoslovak Government certain demands."

THE PRESIDENT: I am sorry to interrupt you but it is not quite clear, on the translation that has come through, whether you have deposited the original of this document and have given it an exhibit number -- that is, if it has already been put in.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: All the documents presented by the Soviet Delegation are submitted by us to the Tribunal in Russian and they are then handed for translation to the international translators' pool, which is entrusted with the examination of the translation of documents. This document is referred to by me in precise correspondence with its registration number -- our number USSR 271.

[Page 205]

THE PRESIDENT: If the original document is not in Russian, it must be deposited with the Tribunal in its original condition. I do not know what the document is. It is about a conference apparently, and I suppose the original is in German.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: The original document is in German.

THE PRESIDENT: If that is so, we would like to see the original in German.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: The original document, in the German language, is at present at the disposal of the Tribunal. May I continue?

THE PRESIDENT: One moment. Is this the original?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: It is a photostat.

THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid that we must insist upon having the original.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: The original document is at the disposal of the Soviet Government and, if the Tribunal wishes, it can be sent for and presented to the Tribunal a little later. The photostat is certified.

THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid we must have the original document. After the original documents have been produced and exhibit numbers given to them, they will remain in the hands of the Tribunal. Of course, the subject of the translations is quite a different one, but for the purpose of insuring that we get really genuine evidence we must have the originals deposited with the General Secretary.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I note the wish of the Tribunal and we shall give instruction for the original documents to be submitted to the Tribunal although, in this case, we have followed the established precedent where the Tribunal considers it sufficient to accept the certified photostats. We can submit the original, but we shall have to do it somewhat later, as not all the requisite material is in Nuremberg at the present time.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, so long as you undertake to do it. But I do not think you are right in saying that it is the practice that has been already established, because we have been demanding the production of the original document from the French prosecutors, and they have been produced.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: We shall take the necessary measures so that the Tribunal will receive, although of course somewhat later, all the original documents from which the present photostats were taken. May I now continue?

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, I imagine that you will be able to produce, to-morrow, the originals of the documents which were referred to to-day?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I cannot promise that, because not all the originals are here. A considerable part of these documents are unique and consequently not kept in Nuremberg. Here we keep only a certain part of the originals. All that I can do is to submit, in future, the originals at our disposal. Those which we do not have here we shall request the Soviet Government to send over in exchange for the photostats. This we can do.

THE PRESIDENT: I think the Tribunal had better adjourn for the purpose of considering this matter.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has considered the matter of the deposition of original documents, and they wish the following procedure to be adopted:

In the first place, they want original documents deposited with the General Secretary of the Tribunal, wherever possible. Secondly where it is impossible for original documents to be deposited, or highly inconvenient, they will accept photostat copies of the original documents, provided that a certificate accompanies the photostat document that it is a true copy of an original document, and that the original is an authentic document, giving the origin of the original document and the place of its present custody. Thirdly, they will accept photostat copies for the present on the undertaking of counsel that certificates, such as I have indicated, will be furnished as soon as possible.

Is that clear, Colonel Pokrovsky?

[Page 206]

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I would ask the Tribunal to explain one point to me. Do I understand that the Tribunal only confirms its former decision and practice, which was established in connection with the presentation of the document in evidence by my American and British colleagues, or is it something new that the Tribunal is introducing?

The documents which I presented here to-day have already been accepted as a photostat in the same session of the Court, under Exhibit No. USA 95 or Document 2788-PS. Therefore, it is not quite clear to me whether I am dealing with a new decision or the reiteration of an old practice.

THE PRESIDENT: I think what you have stated is true, that this particular document does not appear to have any certificate that it is a true copy. But the Tribunal expects that the United States will produce such a certificate that it is a true copy of an authentic document and will state the origin and the custody of the original document.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: Pray forgive me, but I consider that the question which I wish to elucidate is of equal interest to all the prosecutors. Am I, and with me all the representatives of the prosecution, to understand the decision of the Tribunal to mean that we are to present supplementary documentation in support of all photostats, including the photostats previously accepted by the Tribunal, or does it only refer to documents which the Soviet Delegation will present in the future?

THE PRESIDENT: If a document had been accepted in photostatic form and there has been no certificate that it was a true copy of an authentic document, then such a certificate must be given. And we desire that the certificate should also show that the document was authentic, and the place of its present custody. And that applies equally to all the Chief prosecutors.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: Now, I understand that the Tribunal is confirming its former practice, which means that we can present a photostat, but that they must be certified and that the originals should be presented whenever possible. Have I understood you correctly?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we desire originals, if possible. If it is impossible or if it is highly inconvenient, then we will accept photostats. And in the meantime, and for your convenience -- because this practice has not been perhaps adequately stated before, we will accept photostat copies without certificate, on your undertaking that you will have the certificate later on.

Is that clear?

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