The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
14th February to 26th February, 1946

Sixtieth Day: Friday, 15th February, 1946
(Part 2 of 8)

[COLONEL L. N. SMIRNOV continues]

[Page 45]

The offensive on the Western Front, which began on 10 May, 1940, diverted the attention of world public opinion from the crimes committed under the personal direction of Frank, and permitted Frank to have several thousand representatives of the Polish intelligentsia condemned to death by court- martial and exterminated.

I quote Frank's statement at the police conference held on 30 May, 1940, where this crime was finally decided upon. I begin this quotation on Page 86 of the document book, sixth paragraph:

"The offensive in the West began on 10th May. On that day the centre of interest shifted from the events taking place here. It would be a matter of

[Page 46]

complete indifference to me if the deeds attributed by atrocity propaganda and lying reports all over the world to the National Socialist authorities in these districts worried the Americans, the French, the Jews-or the Pope in Rome for that matter. But it was terrible for me and for all of us to be told unceasingly during all these months by the Ministry of Propaganda, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, and even the Army, that ours was a regime of murder, that these crimes of ours were to cease and so forth.

And we had to say, of course, we would no longer do it.

It was equally clear that up to that moment, under the cross-fire of the whole world, we could not do anything of the kind on a large scale.

But, since 10 May, we are completely indifferent to this atrocity propaganda. We must use the opportunity to hand."

I omit two paragraphs and continue with the quotation:-
"I frankly admit that it will cost the lives of thousands of Poles and that they will be taken mainly from leading members of the Polish intelligentsia.

In these times, we as National Socialists are bound to ensure that no further resistance is offered by the Polish people."

I draw the attention of the Tribunal to this sentence particularly:-
"I realise the responsibility we are thus assuming."
I omit one paragraph and continue the quotation, which the Tribunal will find on Page 86 of the document book, fifth paragraph.
"Furthermore, S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Kruger and I have decided that measures should be speeded up.

I ask you, gentlemen, to take the most rigorous measures possible to help us in this task. For my own part, I will do everything in my power in order to facilitate its execution.

I appeal to you as the champions of National Socialism, and I need surely say nothing further. We will carry out this measure and I may tell you in confidence that we shall be acting on the Fuehrer's orders. The Fuehrer said to me, the handling of German policy in the Government General and its establishment on a firm basis is a matter which devolves personally on the responsible men in the Government General.

He expressed himself in this way: 'The men capable of leadership whom we have found in Poland must be liquidated. Those succeeding them must be eliminated in their turn.'

There is no need to burden the Reich and the Reich police organisation with this. There is no need to send these elements to Reich concentration camps, and by so doing involve ourselves in disputes and unnecessary correspondence with their relations. We will liquidate our difficulties in the country itself and we will do it in the simplest way possible."

I conclude this quotation and pass on to Page 87, second paragraph. I think that this quotation is characteristic, for it was precisely Frank, as the diary proves, who first thought about the creation of special concentration camps, later officially known as "Vernichtungslager" or "Extermination Camps".

I quote from the same speech of Frank (Page 9, first paragraph):-

"As to the concentration camps, we know perfectly well that these, in the true sense of the word, are not going to be organised in the Government General. Every suspected person must be immediately liquidated. Internees from the Government General at present in concentration camps in the Reich must be handed over to us for operation AB or liquidated on the spot."
I quote further from the same speech in the section - "further excerpts from the diary of Hans Frank concerning the year 1940". The Tribunal will find this place

[Page 47]

on Page 94 of the document book, fifth paragraph:-
"We cannot burden the concentration camps in the Reich with our affairs. We had terrible trouble with the Cracow professors. If we had done the thing from here, it would have been different. For this reason I would ask you most urgently not to send any more people to concentration camps in the Reich but to liquidate them here or to impose punishment according to regulations. Any other method is a burden for the Reich and a perpetual source of trouble. We have an entirely different method of treatment here and we must adhere to it. I must point out expressly that even if peace is concluded, this treatment will not be altered. Peace will only mean that as a World Power we should continue more intensively the same general political operations."
I deem it opportune to draw the attention of the Tribunal to the fact that all the major extermination camps were indeed located on the territory of the "Government General."

The fascist crimes ran in cycles, and varied in enormity, and if in 1940 Frank made a long speech to the policemen justifying the so-called "actions" with regard to several thousand Polish intellectuals, then on 18 March, 1944, in his speech at the Reichstag, he stated: I quote from Page 93 of the document file, third paragraph:-

"18 March, 1944. Speech at the Reichstag. Dr. Frank: If I had gone to the Fuehrer and said: 'Fuehrer, I have to report that I have destroyed a further 150,000 Poles', he would say, 'All right, if it was necessary'."
This Fascist specialist on legal questions annihilated three million Jews in the territory under his jurisdiction, which fell only temporarily into the hands of the fascist invaders. I now quote from a speech made by Frank at a business meeting of the N.S.D.A.P. spokesmen in Cracow on 4 March, 1944, and the Tribunal will find this excerpt on Page 93 of the document book, second paragraph:-
"Dr. Frank: If there are any woebegone souls to-day who bemoan the fate of the Jews and say, with tears in their eyes: 'Isn't it awful what is being done to the Jews', we should ask them if they are still of the same opinion now. If we had on the one hand two million Jews carrying on their activities and on the other the few Germans in the country to-day, we would no longer have control of the situation. Jews are a race which must be eradicated. When we catch one of them, it is the end of him."
I pass on to that part of Frank's diary -

THE PRESIDENT: Shall we adjourn now?

(A recess was taken.)

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I received information from our staff that the 11 pages which were not incorporated into the English text in your possession were handed to you. Is it true, sir ?


COLONEL SMIRNOV: I am quoting now from Frank's diary at the place which the Tribunal will find on Page 93 of the document book, second paragraph below the title: "Meeting of political leaders of N.S.D.A.P. in Cracow, on 15 January, 1944 It begins thus:-

"Dr. Frank: I did not hesitate to say that for every German killed, up to a hundred Poles would be shot. "
In these dark days the Polish people regarded the victims of Frank and of his henchmen as martyrs.

That, it seems to me, is the reason that on 16 December, 1942, at a Government meeting in Cracow - I am quoting excerpts from the diary on Page 92 in the document book, third paragraph after the heading - Frank stated:-

[Page 48]

"We must consider whether, for practical reasons, executions should not be carried out as far as possible on the spot where the murder of a German was attempted. It might also be as well to consider whether special places for execution should be chosen, as it has been established that the Polish population flocks to the scenes of execution, which are accessible to everyone, for the purpose of filling vessels with the blood- stained earth, and taking them to church."
I brought Frank's diary to your attention, your Honours, because he was one of Hitler's closest associates and because this very well-known "learned" jurist of fascism was actually a positive alter ego of those who cut in two the bodies of children in the Yanov Camp. At the same time he was one of the creators of that part of the legal code of the German fascists which completely negatived justice.

After all, the whole miserable juridical wisdom of "Mein Kampf" fundamentally comes down to just one wicked formula, that is, that "might is right". I studied this book and found no other sense in the text. I quote the sixty-fourth edition, Page 740.

Frank was to Hitler that necessary evil gnome of jurisprudence whom Hitler needed to clothe in legal form the inhuman theories of fascism. To prove how far went the profanation of the basic ideas of justice incorporated in the criminal and civil law of all civilised people, I submit to the Tribunal the original copy of one of Frank's directives published in the official bulletin of the Governor General for 1943. It is dated 2 October, 1943, and is being presented by the Soviet delegation to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 335. The Tribunal will find the document quoted on Page 95 of the document book

I quote the document in full:-


Measures against attacks on German constructional work in the Government General, issued 2 October, 1943.

On the basis of paragraph 5, Section 1, of the Fuehrer's decree of 12 October 1939 (Reichsgesetzbl.1 2077), I decree, until further notice:

Paragraph 1.

(1) Non-Germans who violate laws, decrees, official regulations or orders with the intention of hampering or interfering with German construction work in the Government General will be punished by death.

(2) Section 1 does not apply to nationals of countries allied to the Greater German Reich or those which are not at war with the Reich.

Paragraph 2.

The abettor and the accomplice will be considered as equally guilty with the perpetrator; the same penalty will be exacted in the case of attempted violations as in the case of those actually committed.

Paragraph 3.

(1) The summary courts of the police shall be competent to pass judgement.

(2) The summary court of the Security Police may pass the matter to the German Public Prosecution if there are special reasons for doing so.

Paragraph 4.

The summary courts of the Security Police will consist of an S.S. Fuehrer belonging to the office of the Commander of the Security Police and Security Service and two members of the office.

[Page 49]

Paragraph 5.

(1) The following shall be recorded in writing:-

1.The names of the judges.
2. The names of those on whom sentence is passed.
3. The evidence on which judgement was based.
4. The offence.
5. The date on which the sentence was imposed.
6. The date on which the sentence was put into effect.
(2) In matters not covered by the above, the Summary Court of the Security Police will decide upon its procedure after proper consideration.

Paragraph 6.

Sentences passed by the Summary Court of the Security Police will be put into effect without delay.

Paragraph 7.

In cases where an offence against Paragraphs 1 and 2 of this decree also constitutes another offence which must be dealt with by the Summary Court, only those paragraphs of this decree are applicable which relate to procedure.

Paragraph 8.

This decree will come into force on 10 October, 1943.

Cracow, 2nd October, 1943,
The Governor General


In this manner, point one of the first paragraph established one single punishment, that is, death, for practically any action of a " Non-German", regardless of whether such action was classified by the German Overlords as constituting a breach of law or a violation of an administrative order.

The same punishment was to be exacted for any attempt at similar actions in which the police officials could include practically any actions or words of a suspected person (paragraph 2 of the above-quoted document).

The defendant was deprived of any procedural rights and guarantees. The document which, in accordance with paragraph 5, was to take the place of the court verdict was, as is evident from the particulars which had to be recorded in writing, actually to serve the purpose of registering individual cases of summary justice and not the purpose of finding justifiable bases for the application of punishment.

Every possibility of cassation or appeal to the higher authorities was excluded. The verdict was to be carried out immediately.

And finally, even the "court" procedure itself, based on Frank's directives, was actually merely a mockery of justice. The court - and it seems to me that word "court" should be in quotation marks - consisted of three officials of the same S.D. which kept arresting innocent people on the streets of Polish towns and organising wanton mass shootings of hostages.

How justified are the conclusions which are made by me on the basis of the aforementioned document, you shall see from the text of another document submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 332. In the document book which is being submitted to the Tribunal, is contained the original copy of the minutes of the interrogation of the attorney, Stefan Korbonski; it also contains a translation of the document into Russian, which was certified by the members of the Polish Delegation. Stefan Korbonski lives in Warsaw and, according to information received from the Polish Delegation, should the Tribunal consider it necessary to call him for cross-examination, he can be brought here.

I shall take the liberty to express in my own words the introductory part of the document.

After having been sworn in Warsaw on 31 October, 1945, Stefan Korbonski, who is a lawyer, was interrogated, and testified that he was one of the leaders of

[Page 50]

resistance among the Polish people against the German invaders. This can be found in the first paragraph of the text of the minutes. In the second half of the minutes the Tribunal will find in the document book, from Page 98 to Page 102, that Stefan Korbonski speaks of exactly the same directives of Frank's as were read into the record by me just now. In paragraph one of the interrogation minutes he states that, in the beginning of October, 1943, the Germans posted on the walls of the houses in Warsaw and other cities of the Government General the text of that particular order which I read into the record.

I continue the quotation to the end - omitting the first part on Page 99 in the document book which is in the possession of the Tribunal - because it seems to me that this document is very characteristic:-

"Soon after the publication of this decree and quite apart from the increasing number of executions performed by the Germans in secret in what used to be the Warsaw Ghetto, in the Warsaw jail, which was called 'Pavwiac,' the Germans began to introduce public executions, that is, shooting of whole groups of Poles of from 20 to 200 persons.

These public executions were carried out in various districts of the city, in streets usually open to normal traffic, which were surrounded by the Gestapo guards immediately before the actual executions, so that the Polish population caught within the surrounding district would have to watch the executions either in the streets, or from the windows of the houses situated right behind the backs of the Gestapo men.

During these executions the Germans shot either people from the 'Pavwiac' where they were confined after their arrest during raids in the streets, or people caught immediately before the actual execution. The number of these public executions, as well as the number of persons executed each time, kept increasing until 200 persons were shot each time. These executions continued until the very beginning of the Warsaw insurrection. At first the Germans transported the Poles to the place of execution in covered trucks. They were clad in civilian clothes, and sometimes their hands were tied behind their backs. However, as the victims thus brought to the place of execution usually shouted 'Down with Hitler', 'Long Live Poland', 'Down with the Germans', and similar things, the Germans took steps to prevent the possibility of any such disturbances and began to fill their mouths with cement, or seal their lips with adhesive tape. The victims were brought from the 'Pavwiac' clad in shirts, or in clothes made out of paper.

I often received information from our underground organisation, through our agents who were working in the Pavwiac jail, that shortly before the execution the Germans usually performed operations on the condemned. They bled them and injected various chemical substances to cause physical weakness, thus preventing any attempts at escape or at resistance.

This was the reason why the condemned were brought to the place of execution pale, weak and apathetic, and barely able to stand on their feet. But even so, they acted as heroes and never begged for mercy.

The bodies of those who were shot were loaded into trucks by other prisoners and were taken to what used to be a Ghetto, where they were usually burned. The prisoners whose duty it was to transport and to bum the corpses were mostly those confined in the Pavwiac prison, it was their regular assignment.

The Polish population immediately covered with flowers the blood spots which remained on the ground. Lighted candles were placed where the corpses had been and crosses and ikons, were hung on the surrounding walls. During the night members of the underground or resistance organisations would put an inscription in lacquer on the walls, such as 'Glory to Heroes', 'Glory to those who Perished for the Fatherland', and so forth, When the Germans noticed these inscriptions they arrested all those who happened to

[Page 51]

be on the spot and led them to the Pavwiac prison. Sometimes the Germans shot at groups of people kneeling and praying at the execution spots. Such an incident took place in Senator Street where several people were shot and quite a number were wounded.

After each public execution the Germans would put on the walls of houses lists of the names of those who had just been killed, and the names of hostages who would be shot in case the German regulations were not obeyed were given below.

In Warsaw alone the Germans shot several thousand Poles in these public executions. This does not include the victims who were shot in other towns. In the Cracow District several thousand men were similarly shot."

Thus was carried out Hans Frank's directive, which has already been submitted by me to the Tribunal. In the light of Korbonski's testimony it becomes clear, why, on 16 December, 1943, there appears in Frank's diary...

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