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

Sixty-Third Day: Wednesday, 20th February, 1946
(Part 8 of 8)

[L. R. SHENIN continues]

[Page 167]

Second excerpt:-
"At this moment Germany commands the richest granaries that ever existed in the European area, stretching from the Atlantic to the Volga and the Caucasus, lands more highly developed and fertile than ever before, even if a few of them cannot be described as granaries. I need only remind you of the fabulous fertility of the Netherlands, the unique paradise that is France. Belgium too is extraordinarily fertile, and so is the province of Posen. Then, above all, the Government, General is, to a great extent, the rye and wheat granary of Europe, and along with it are the amazingly fertile districts of Lemberg, Galicia, etc., where the harvest is exceptionally good. Then there comes Russia, the black earth of the Ukraine on both shores of the Dnieper, the Don region, with its remarkably fertile districts, which have scarcely been touched. Our troops have now occupied, or are in process of occupying the excessively fertile districts between the Don and the Caucasus."
Goering then goes on to say:

[Page 168]

"God knows, you are not sent out there to work for the welfare of the people in your charge, but to squeeze the utmost out of them, so that the German people may live. That is what I expect of your exertions. This everlasting concern about foreign peoples must cease now, once and for all.

I have here before me reports on what you expect to be able to deliver. It is nothing at all when I consider your territories. It makes no difference to me if you say that your people are starving.

One thing I shall certainly do: I will make you deliver the quantities asked of you; and if you cannot do so, I will set forces to work that will force you to do so whether you want to or not".

Third excerpt:
"The wealth of Holland lies close to the Ruhr. She could send a much greater quantity of vegetables into this stricken area now than she has done so far. What do I care what the Dutchmen think of it.

The only people in whom I am interested are those who work to provide armaments and food supplies. They must receive just enough to enable them to continue working. It is all one to me whether Dutchmen are Germanic or not. They are only all the greater blockheads if they are, and more important persons than they have been shown in the past how Germanic numskulls sometimes have to be treated. Even if you get abuses from every quarter, you will have acted rightly, for it is the Reich alone that counts".

And now I come to the next excerpt:-
"I am still discussing the Western territories. Belgium has taken care of herself extraordinarily well. That was very sensible of Belgium. But there, too, gentlemen, rage incarnate could seize me. If every plot of ground in Belgium is planted with vegetables, then they must surely have had vegetable seed. When we wanted to start a big campaign last year for utilising uncultivated land, we did not have nearly as much seed as we needed. Neither Holland nor Belgium nor France would deliver it, although I myself was able to count 170 sacks of vegetable seed on a single street in Paris. It is all very well for the French to plant vegetables for themselves; they are accustomed to doing this.

But gentlemen, these people are all our enemies and you will not win over any of them by humane measures. The people are polite to us now because they have to be polite. But let the English once force their way in and then you will see the real face of the Frenchman. The same Frenchman who dines with you and in turn invites you to dine with him will at once make it plain to you that the Frenchman is a Germanphobe. That is the situation and we do not want to see it any other way than it is. It is a matter of indifference to me how many courses are served every day at the table of the Belgian king. The king is a prisoner of war and if he is not treated as such, I will see to it that he is taken to some other place where this can be made clear to him. I am really fed up with the business.... I have forgotten one country because nothing is to be had there except fish; that is Norway.

With regard to France, I say that it is still not cultivated to the greatest possible extent. France can be cultivated in a very different way if the peasants there are forced to work in a different manner. Secondly, inside France itself the population is gorging itself to a scandalous degree ..

Besides, Heaven help a German car parked outside a French tavern in Paris; it is reported. But a whole row of French petrol-driven vehicles parked there does not bother anyone.

I would say nothing at all, on the contrary, I would not think much of you if we did not have a marvellous restaurant in Paris where we could get the best food obtainable. But I do not want the French to be able to saunter into it. Maxim must have the best food for us."

[Page 169]

Mr. President, I see one of the German defence counsel wishes to take the floor. I will, therefore, give him an opportunity to do so.

DR. THOMA (Counsel for defendant Rosenberg): I have only a short question.

The prosecutor has not told us where this document can be found, in which document book and what number it has. He only mentioned the page on which the Tribunal can find that document.

L. R. SHENIN: This document was presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 170. The photostatic copy was turned over to defence counsel.

May I continue, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: It comes from the archives of the defendant Goering, does it not? You have so stated.

L. R. SHENIN: Yes.

"For German officers and men three or four first class restaurants - excellent, but not for the French....

Furthermore, you should be like bloodhounds on the track of anything the German people can use; that stuff should be brought out of the warehouses like lightning. Whenever I issued a decree, I stated repeatedly that soldiers are entitled to buy as much as they want and whatever they want, as much as they can carry ...."

Next excerpt:-
"Now you will say - Laval's foreign policy. Herr Laval calms down Herr Abetz and as far as I am concerned, goes to Maxims', although it is out of bounds. But the French will soon have to learn. You have no idea of the impudence they have.

When our friends hear that a German is interested they charge fantastic prices. They charge three times the normal price and if they hear that the Reich Marshal is in the market, they charge five times the normal price. I wanted to buy a tapestry. Two million francs were asked. The woman was told that the buyer wanted to see the tapestry. She said she did not wish to let it out of her sight. Well, then she would have to go with it. She was told that she was going to see the Reich Marshal. When she arrived the tapestry was priced at three million francs. I reported it. Do you think anything was done? I submitted the case to the French court and they taught milady that it is inadvisable to profiteer when dealing with me....

All that interests me is what we can squeeze out of the territory now under our control with the utmost application and by straining every nerve; and how much of that can be diverted to Germany. I do not give a damn about import and export statistics of former years.

Now, regarding shipments to the Reich. Last year France shipped 550,000 tons of grain, and now I demand 1,200,000 tons. Two weeks from now a plan will be submitted for handling it. There will be no more discussion about it. What happens to the Frenchmen is of no importance. One million two hundred thousand tons will be delivered. Fodder: last year 500,000 tons; now 1,000,000. Meat: last year 135,000 tons; now 350,000. Fats: last year 23,000, this year 60,000", and so on.

The next excerpt from this address concerns the quotas to be fixed for deliveries from countries such as Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and the Government General. In reply to Goering's question's and instructions definite figures were quoted by those attending the meeting. I omit one page and continue:-
Goering: How about fats?

Neuhausen: I have supplied the Wehrmacht up to now. It has received 250,000 kilograms in the past year. I also supply Greece, and I have also to supply the German troops in Croatia.

[Page 170]

Goering: What can you give the German people, in spite of that? Fifteen thousand?

Neuhausen: I shall manage that. As far as oil is concerned, I again give 25,000 to 30,000 tons to the Reich.

Goering: So much for the West. A special order will be issued concerning purchasers who buy up all the clothes, shoes, etc., that are to be had.

Now comes the East. I have settled this point with the Wehrmacht. The Wehrmacht waives the demands it made on the home country. How much hay was required?

Backe: 1,500,000 tons. 1,000,000 tons of straw and 1,500,000 tons of oats. We can't manage that.

Goering: Now, gentlemen, there is only one thing more regarding Wehrmacht supplies. I want to hear nothing more about you until further notice. No more requests. The country - with its sour milk, apples and white bread - will feed us abundantly. The Don valley will take care of the rest."

Passing to the next quotation:-
"Berger: The Wehrmacht in France will, of course, be supplied with food by France. That is a matter of course, and I did not even mention it before.

Now about Russia: There is no doubt of her fertility. The position there is almost incredibly good".

The next quotation. Goering is still speaking:-
"I was glad to hear that the Reich Commissioner in the East (Ostland) is doing just as well, and the people are just as fat and chubby, and puff a little when they work. Nevertheless, I shall see to it, no matter how carefully certain groups are treated, that some contribution is made from the inexhaustible fertility of this area".
After this Lohse, Reichskommissar for Bielorussia, addressed the meeting:-
"May I state my opinion in a few words? I would like to give more, but certain conditions have to be observed. The harvest is certainly excellent but in more than half of the area of Bielorussia, which is well cultivated, it is scarcely possible to get in the crops, unless we can put a stop to the disturbances caused by guerrillas and partisans. I have already been crying out for help for four months".
He goes on to describe the activities of the partisans in Bielorussia. In this connection Goering interrupts him and says:-
"My dear Lohse, we have known each other for a long time. I know well enough that you have a vivid imagination."
And Lohse answered:-
"I will not stand for that; I never imagine anything."
In conclusion here are the last three quotations from Goering's speech. He said:-
"We must have buyers from the Minister of Economics, Funk, in the Ukraine and elsewhere.

We must send them to Venice to buy odds and ends, those frightful alabaster things and cheap jewellery, etc. I don't think there is any other place except Italy where one gets quite such junk.

Now let us see what Russia can deliver. I think, Riecke, we should be able to get two million pounds of cereals and fodder out of the whole of Russia.

Riecke: That can be done.

Goering: That means that we must get three million, apart from Wehrmacht supplies.

[Page 171]

Riecke: No, the figures given are for the Wehrmacht only.

Goering: Then we must have two million.

Riecke: No.

Goering: Well - a million and a half.

Riecke: Yes.

Goering: All right."

The discussion went on in the same way. Goering's speech ends with the following sentence:-
"Gentlemen, I would just like to say one thing more. I have a very great deal to do and a very great deal of responsibility. I have no time to read letters and memoranda informing me that you cannot supply my requirements. I have only time to ascertain from time to time through short reports from Backe, whether the commitments are being fulfilled. If not, the matter will have to be approached from another angle."
As your Honours have heard, besides Goering this conference was attended by the defendants Rosenberg, Sauckel, Seyss-Inquart, Frank, Funk and others. As you have heard, Goering finished his speech with a direct threat against the participants in this conference, by saying that he "would have to approach the matter from another angle".

This threat came true. The matter has, in every sense of the term, been "approached from another angle" - from the angle of their responsibility for the crimes they have committed.

Thus the whole volume of evidence submitted establishes beyond all doubt:-

1. That simultaneously with their well-laid plans for the military invasion of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia and the USSR, the criminal Hitlerite Government and the High Command of the German Armed Forces worked out a plan for the mass plunder and spoliation of private, public and State- owned property in the territories belonging to these countries.

2. That having worked out this criminal plan, the conspirators carried out all the preliminary measures necessary for its execution by training special bodies of officers and officials for the despoliation of the territories they meant to seize; by preparing and issuing special instructions, reference books and orders for this purpose; by creating a special and very complicated organisation of all sorts of "economic inspectorates", "detachments", "groups", "joint-stock companies", "plenipotentiaries", etc., and by calling in a large number of specialists in different branches, military experts on agriculture, agricultural leaders, economic spies, etc.

3. That in accordance with this long prepared plan, they subsequently plundered and despoiled private, public and State property in the occupied territories and also robbed the peaceful population of these territories, having recourse to atrocities, violence and arbitrary practices of the most appalling nature.

4. That in order to make the soldiers and the officers of the German Army "economically interested" in the work, the conspirators not only failed to prosecute cases of marauding and robbery committed by German soldiers and officers, but even encouraged these crimes, and incited their men to commit wholesale looting.

5. That by the commission of all these crimes the conspirators caused enormous economic damage to the people of the occupied territories, exposing them to starvation and suffering, and that they derived from their criminal activities personal gain and enrichment of themselves and their adherents.

6. That having thus planned, prepared and initiated wars of aggression against the freedom-loving nations, the conspirators aimed at the predatory despoliation of these nations, and thereafter achieved these criminal ends by means of equally criminal and predatory methods.

[Page 172]

On the strength of the above, the defendants have consciously and deliberately violated the laws and customs of war, the general principles of criminal law accepted by the penal codes of all civilised nations, as well as the national law of those countries in which these crimes were committed.

Of these criminal acts, each and all of which are covered by Article 6 (b) of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, all the defendants must be found guilty; all of them without exception must be held responsible both individually and as members of the conspiracy.

With this statement of the charges I will conclude my presentation.

May it please your Honours, the documents which I have presented to the Tribunal and which I have read into the record, bear silent witness to the crimes organised and committed by the defendants.

But the conscience of the Judges will hear the testimony of these silent witnesses, who relate truthfully the story of the arbitrary practices and crimes of the Hitlerite brigands and the boundless sufferings of their innumerable victims.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 21st February, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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