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-Fourth Day: Thursday, 21st February, 1946
(Part 3 of 8)


[Page 181]

(I pass to a quotation on Page 83 of the report)-:
"They immediately seized the valuable apparatus, instruments and scientific equipment in many of the occupied institutions. The scientific libraries were systematically and methodically damaged. Scientific books

[Page 182]

and films were extracted and taken away, the archives of the Academic Senate (the Highest University Authority) were torn up or burned, the card-indices destroyed and scattered.

Suppression of Czech Schools.

K. H. Frank, in November, 1939, personally ordered the closing of all Czech higher educational institutions.

Such university students as were still at liberty were forbidden to exercise any intellectual profession and were invited to find manual occupation within 48 hours, failing which they would be sent to labour camps in Germany.

The closing of the universities was aggravated by the closing of the great scientific libraries and of all institutions capable of offering intellectual sustenance to the students expelled from the universities. The library of the University of Prague was henceforth accessible to Germans only.

Suppression of all Scientific Activities.

The closing down of Czech universities and colleges was merely a preliminary step towards the complete suppression of the entire Czech scientific life. The buildings of scientific institutions were converted either into German universities and colleges or placed at the disposal of the German military and civil authorities. The Germans removed all scientific instruments and books and even complete laboratories, to Germany, on the pretext that the Czechs would no longer need them. The number of works of art, pictures, statues and rare manuscripts stolen from the Library of the University of Prague and from private collections cannot be calculated, nor can their value be estimated. Scientific collections were also given to German schools, provided they had not been stolen piecemeal."

I pass on to the excerpts on Page 86 of the Czechoslovak report.
"Hundreds of Czech elementary and secondary schools were closed in 1939, and so rapid was the systematic closing of Czech schools during the first year of the war that, by the end of 1940, 6,000 of the 20,000 Czech teachers were unemployed.

By September, 1942, some 6o per cent. of the Czech elementary schools had been closed by the Germans.

All Czech books published during the Republican regime were confiscated, and the glorification of Greater Germany and its Fuehrer became the basis of all teaching at Czech elementary schools. In 1939 the number of pupils permitted to enter Czech secondary schools had diminished by 50 per cent. as compared with 1936. About 70 per cent. of the Czech secondary schools had been closed by the end of 1942. Girls had been entirely excluded from the secondary schools.

Nursery schools for children between three and six were completely Germanised and employed only German teachers.

Other Crimes in Cultural Spheres.


In many towns the 'Masaryk Houses', which for the most part contain libraries and halls for the showing of educational films and for the performance of plays and concerts, have been confiscated and transformed into barracks or offices for the Gestapo. The statues they housed, sometimes of great artistic value, were spoiled and broken. A number of monuments in Prague, among them Bilek's 'Moses' and Mashatka's 'Memorial to the Fallen Legionaries' have been melted down.

A decree of the autumn of 1942 ordered all university libraries to hand over all early printed Czech works and first editions to the Germans. The collections in the National Museum were pillaged and the Modern Art

[Page 183]

Gallery, containing a unique collection of Czech art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with some precious specimens of foreign (mainly French) art, was closed.The crown jewels of the ancient Czech Kings had to be handed over to Heydrich.


Translations of works by English, French and Russian authors, both classic and modern, were withdrawn from circulation. The severest censorship was applied to the works of modern Czech authors. The Germans liquidated many leading publishing firms."

(A recess was taken.)
"The entire political literature of the Free Republic, as well as the works of the Czech participants in the Renaissance of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, were withdrawn. The books of Jewish authors were banned, as well as those of politically unreliable writers. The Germans withdrew the Czech classics, as well as the works of the fifteenth century reformer Jan Hus, of Alois Irassek, the author of historical novels, the poet Victor Dieck, and others."
Thus the Hitlerites destroyed the national culture of the peoples of Czechoslovakia, plundered and pillaged works of art, literature and science.

In Poland, as in Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, the German fascist invaders carried out a large-scale liquidation of national culture with exceptional cruelty. The Hitlerite conspirators destroyed the Polish intelligentsia, closed educational establishments, prohibited the publication of Polish books, looted works of art, blew up and burned national monuments.

I am reading into the record relevant extracts from the Polish Government report, which was submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 93. These excerpts, your Honours, are on Pages 197-200 of the document book:-

"Annihilation of the Polish Intelligentsia.

In the incorporated regions, the intelligentsia were deprived of all means of livelihood. Many of them - professors, teachers, lawyers and judges - were interned in concentration camps or murdered.

In the Government General about 80 per cent. of the intelligentsia were deprived of all means of subsistence. Owing to the liquidation of the press, journalists and writers were unable to earn a living. The publication of new books was prohibited.

Four universities and twelve schools of the university type ceased to exist. Their average attendance before September, 1939, reached 45,000.

Secondary schools.

There were about 550 secondary schools in the German occupied territory. Their closing was ordered. In the incorporated territories they were completely closed down. In the Government General they were allowed to continue their activity, but in November, 1939, an order was issued to cease teaching. The only schools which were allowed to continue work were commercial or trade schools. Educated Poles were not needed; the Poles were to become artisans and workmen. Such was the official programme of German policy.

Elementary schools.

In the incorporated territories, Polish schools were completely abolished. They were replaced by German schools. Polish children were educated in the German tongue and German spirit.

On the eve of war there were about 2,000 periodicals published in Poland, including 170 magazines. By order of the Germans, the press was almost entirely eradicated.

[Page 184]

The publication, printing and distributing of Polish books was prohibited as early as October, 1939.

On the 5th November, 1940, the German Verordnungsblatt published the following decree:-

'Until further notice, the publication, without exception, of all books, pamphlets, periodicals, journals, calendars and music is prohibited, unless published under the authority of the Government General'.
Theatres, Music and Radio.

The principles of German policy in Poland were outlined in a circular of a special branch of National Education and Propaganda in the German Government General. It read as follows:-

'It is understood that not a single German official will assist in the development of Polish cultural life in any way whatsoever'.
The sole purpose which was to be followed, in the words of the circular, was to 'satisfy the primitive demands for entertainment and amusement, all the more as this was a question of diverting as far as possible the attention of the intellectual circles from conspiracy or political debates, which encouraged the development of an anti- German feeling'.
I omit the last paragraph and pass on to the next page.
"Looting, Spoliation and Destruction of Works of Art, Libraries and Collections."
The excerpts are on Pages 207 and 208 of the document book.
"On 13 December, 1939, Gauleiter Wartholland issued an order that all public and private libraries and collections in the incorporated territories were to be registered. Upon completion of registration, libraries and book collections were confiscated and transported to the 'Buchsammelstelle.' There special experts carried out a selection. The final destination was either Berlin or the newly constituted State Library (Staatsbibliothek) in Poznan. Books which were considered unsuitable were sold, destroyed or thrown away as waste paper.

The best and largest libraries of the country were victims of the organised looting in the Government General. Among them were the university libraries in Cracow and Warsaw. One of the best, though not the largest, was the library of the Polish Parliament. It consisted of about 38,000 volumes and 3,500 periodical publications. On 15 16 November, 1939, the main part of this library was transported to Berlin and Breslau. Ancient documents, such as, for instance, a collection of parchments - the property of the Central Archives - were also seized.

The Diocesan Archives in Pelilin, containing twelfth- century documents, were burnt in the furnaces of a sugar refinery.

The first art treasure removed from Poland was the well- known Altar of Wit Stosz from the Cracow Cathedral. It was taken to Germany on 16 December, 1939. The defendant Frank issued a decree concerning the confiscation of works of art."

I omit a few paragraphs and pass on to the last paragraph on Page 221.
"Three valuable pictures were removed from the galleries of the Czartoryski in Seniava. Frank seized and kept them until the 17th January, 1945, and then transferred them to Silesia, and thence, as his personal property, to Bavaria.

National Monuments.

In the process of destroying everything that was connected with Polish history and culture, many monuments and works of art were destroyed and demolished.

[Page 185]

The monument of the eminent Polish King, Bolislav the Valiant, in Gniezno, was first wound round with ropes and chains, with a view to throwing it off its pedestal. After an unsuccessful attempt, acetylene was used: the head was cut off and the pedestal broken in pieces. The same fate befell the monument of the Sacred Heart in Poznan, the monuments to Chopin, the poet Slovacki, the composer Moniuszko, the Polish national hero Kostinshno, President Wilson, the greatest Polish poet Mickiewiez, and many others."
To the report of the Polish Government is attached a list of public libraries, museums, books, and other collections sacrificed to plunder and looting. These lists of things are available on Pages 254 and 255 of the document book.

In the first list we find the names of thirty libraries; and, in the second, of twenty-one museums and collections of works of art which were plundered and destroyed.

I will not read these lists in full, but will mention only some of the museums and collections which were an object of national pride and constituted the treasure of the Polish State.

The following things became the booty of the German vandals: The treasure house of the Vavelsky Cathedral in Cracow, the Pototzky Collection in Yablonnia, the Tchartoryssky Museum in Cracow, the National Museum in Cracow, the Museum of Religious Art in Warsaw, the State Numismatic Collections in Warsaw, the Palace of King Stanislav-August in the Lazenkovsky Park, the Palace of King Jan Sobiesky in Vilianove, the collection of Count Tarnovsky in Sukhaya, the Religious Museum in Poznan, and many others.

The Hitlerite invaders also plundered monasteries, churches and cathedrals.

On Page 43 of the report of the Polish Government, corresponding to Page 223 of the document book, there are final notes by the Polish Primate, Cardinal Glond. They concern a written communication from Cardinal Glond to Pope Pius XII. I shall read into the record only two paragraphs of these concluding notes. I quote:-

"Monasteries have been methodically suppressed, as well as their flourishing institutions for education, publishing, social welfare, charity and care of the sick. The houses and institutions have been seized by the army of the Nazi Party.

Then the invaders confiscated or sequestrated the patrimony of the Church, considering themselves the owners of this property. The cathedrals, the episcopal palaces, the seminaries, the canons' residences, the revenues and endowments of bishoprics and chapters, the funds of the seminaries, all were pillaged by the invaders."

I omit the end of Page 29 and pass on to Page 30.

Yugoslavia. The destruction of the national culture of the peoples of Yugoslavia was carried out by the Hitlerites by various means and methods. I shall not, your Honours, enumerate them in detail. These means and methods are already known.

In Yugoslavia, the same thing occurred as in Poland and Czechoslovakia. We need only stress that, in the destruction of the culture of the peoples of Yugoslavia, the German fascist occupants showed great ingenuity and utilised the vast experience acquired in the other countries that they had occupied.

The system of destruction' of the national culture of the peoples of Yugoslavia starts with attack and pillage and ends with mass murder camps and the ovens of the crematories.

In the report of the Yugoslav Government, presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 36, there are quoted a large number of facts and documents which establish, without any possibility of doubt, the criminal deeds of the defendants But even these numerous facts quoted in the report do not exhaust all the crimes committed by the Hitlerites. The report of the Yugoslav Government quotes

[Page 186]

Only typical cases as examples. I will cite a few excerpts from this report. These excerpts, your Honours, are on Page 303 of the document book. I quote:-
"Immediately after the invasion of Slovenia, the Germans started to fulfil their plans, thought out long beforehand, of Germanising the 'annexed' territories of Slovenia."
And, further, on Page 307:-
"...The occupiers closed all the schools in Slovenia, exiled all the Slovene teachers, destroyed all Slovene libraries and books, and forbade the use of the Slovene language; all of which were considered as acts of sabotage."
The German barbarians destroyed and plundered not only schools and libraries; they also destroyed universities and broadcasting stations, cultural establishments and sanatoria.

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