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-Eighth Day: Tuesday, 26th February, 1946
(Part 1 of 7)

[Page 305]

THE PRESIDENT: I wanted to explain the Tribunal's decision with reference to General Halder and General Warlimont.

Would Dr. Nelte kindly come to the lectern?

I wanted to ask you, Dr. Nelte, whether you were the only one of the defendants' counsel who wished to call General Halder and General Warlimont.

DR. NELTE (Counsel for defendant Keitel): No, besides myself, so far as I know, my colleagues Dr. Laternser, Professor Kraus and Professor Exner, have called both General Halder and General Warlimont.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, I understand Then the Tribunal's decision is this: the Tribunal ordered, when the Soviet prosecutor wished to put in the affidavits of these two generals, that if they were put in, the witnesses must be produced for cross-examination; but in view of the fact that defendants' counsel have asked to call these witnesses themselves, the Tribunal is willing that the defendants' counsel should decide whether they prefer that these two generals should be produced now, during the prosecution's case, for cross-examination, or should be called hereafter during the defendants' case for examination by the defendants, in which case, of course, they would be liable to cross-examination on behalf of the prosecution.

It must, however, be clearly understood, in accordance with the order which the Tribunal made the other day - either yesterday or the. previous day, I forget which it was - that these witnesses, like other witnesses, can only be called once, and when they are called, each of the defendants' counsel who wishes to put questions to them must do so at that time.

Now, if there were any difference of opinion among defendants' counsel, one defendant's counsel wishing to have these two generals produced now during the prosecution's case for cross-examination, and other defendants' counsel wishing to have them called hereafter as witnesses on their behalf during the course of their case, then the Tribunal consider that, in view of the order which they have already made, Generals Halder and Warlimont ought to be produced and called now, and the same rule would then apply. They could be called once only, and any questions which the other defendants' counsel wish to be put to them should be put to them then, but the decision as to whether they should be called now or whether they should be called during the course of the defendants' case is accorded to defendants' counsel.

Is that clear?

DR. NELTE: I request permission to give the decisions of the various defence counsel at the beginning of the afternoon session.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly; certainly, you can let us know during the afternoon session, at the beginning of the afternoon session, what the decision of defendants' counsel is.

DR. NELTE: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Colonel Smirnov.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I continue the quotation of the "political report" of Professor Paul Thompson, which was already submitted at yesterday's afternoon session to the Tribunal. Your Honours will find it on Page 116 of the document book. I quote only two short excerpts from this political report:-

"I consider it is my duty, although I am here in the East only on a specific

[Page 306]

scientific mission, to add a general political outline to my actual reports. I must admit, openly and in all honesty, that I return home with the most grievous impressions. In this fateful hour of our nation every mistake we make may result in the most disastrous consequences. A Polish or a Czech problem can be solved, because the biological forces of our people are sufficient for that purpose; remnants of people like Esthonians, Lithuanians and Latvians have to adapt themselves to us or they will perish, but things are quite different in the immense Russian area, of vital necessity to us as a basis for raw materials."
Here I interrupt my quotation and continue on Page 117 of the document book, paragraphs 10 and 11:-
"I do not dare to voice an opinion on the economic measures, such as, for instance, the abolition of the free market in Kiev, which has been a heavy blow to the population, since I am in no position to survey the entire situation, but the bullying sergeant-major attitude, the beatings up and shouting in the streets, and the senseless destruction of scientific institutions which are still going on in Dniepropetrovsk, to quote one instance, should cease immediately and be punished severely.

Kiev, 19th October, 1942. Professor Dr. Paul Thompson."

The German fascist theory of "Germanisation", already well known to the Tribunal, meant that not the people but the territories were to be "Germanised."

I shall submit evidence to the Tribunal that a similar Hitlerite crime was to have been committed in Yugoslavia; but this crime could not be perpetrated because of the Liberation movement which flared up all over that country.

I quote a short excerpt from the statement of the Yugoslav Government, which is on Page 68, paragraph 7 in the document book.

"Immediately after the entry of the German troops into Slovenia, the Germans began to put into effect their long premeditated plan for the Germanisation of the 'annexed' regions of that country. It was perfectly clear to the leading fascist circles that a successful Germanisation of Slovenia could not be achieved unless the greater part of the nationally and socially conscious elements had previously been removed; and in order to weaken the resistance of the mass of the people towards the Nazi authorities engaged in the task of Germanisation, it would be essential to cut down their numbers and destroy them economically. The German plan foresaw the complete removal of all the Slovenes from certain regions of Slovenia, and their re-population by Germans (Germans from Bessarabia)."
I omit a passage and continue:-
"A few days after the seizure of Slovenia, central offices were organised for control of deportation. The Headquarters Staff was established at Maribor (Marburg on the Drava) and Bled (Veldes).

Further, on 22 April, 1941, a decree for the strengthening of the German national spirit was published. The immediate aim of this decree was the confiscation of the property of all persons and institutions 'antagonistically inclined towards the Reich'. Naturally, all those who, in accordance with the aforesaid plan, were to be deported from Slovenia, were included in this category.

The Hitlerites proceeded to carry out this plan. They arrested a large number of persons registered for deportation to Serbia and Croatia. The treatment of the arrested persons was extremely cruel. Their entire property was confiscated in the interests of the Reich. Numerous assembly points were set up and practically turned into concentration camps, in Maribor, Zelle and other localities."

[Page 307]

As regards the treatment of arrested persons at these points, the statement of the Yugoslav Government reads as follows: (the members of the Tribunal will find this passage on Page 69, paragraph 4, of the document book).
"The internees were left without food; in unhygienic conditions; the personnel of the camp subjected them to bodily and mental torture. All the camp commanders and personnel belonged to the S.S. Among them were Germans from Carinthia and Styria who hated anything connected with Yugoslavia in general and Slovenia in particular.
The following sentence is typical:-
"The members of the so-called 'Kulturbund' (Cultural Union) particularly distinguished themselves by their cruelty."
In corroboration of this Hitlerite crime, I submit to the Tribunal, as Exhibit USSR 139, a letter from the German Kommandantur in Smeredov, addressed to the Yugoslav Quisling, Commissar Stefanovitch, ordering him to state what were the possibilities of transferring to Serbia a large number of Slovenes. Your Honours will find this document on Page 119 of the document book.

In the report of the Yugoslav Government, Page 49 of the Russian text, which corresponds to Page 59, paragraph 7, of the document book of the Tribunal, it is stated that the Germans primarily intended to transfer 260,000 Slovenes to Serbia. However, the realisation of this plan met with a number of difficulties. In this connection I should like to quote a paragraph from the report of the Yugoslav Government:-

"But in view of the fact that the transportation to Serbia of such a very large number of Slovenes met with a great many difficulties, negotiations were opened shortly afterwards between the German authorities and the Quisling Oustachi administration in Zagreb, concerning the transportation of the deported Slovenes through Croatian territory, and the re-settling of a certain number of these Slovenes in Croatia proper, while the Serbs in Croatia were deported from the country."
I submit to the Tribunal, as Exhibit USSR 195, or Yu 88, the minutes of a conference held on 4 June, 1941, at the German Legation in Zagreb, and presided over by Obergruppenfuehrer of the S.A., Siegfried Tasche, German Ambassador in Zagreb. These minutes, in the Serbian translation, were seized in the archives of the Refugee Commission of the so-called "Government of Milan Neditch". They give the subject-matter of the conference, i.e., "The Expulsion of the Slovenes from Germany to Croatia and Serbia, as well as of the Serbs from Croatia to Serbia". The Tribunal will find this document on Page 120 of the document book. The passage in question reads as follows:-
"The conference was approved by the Reich Ministry for Foreign Affairs by telegram No. 389, dated 3 1 May. The Fuehrer's approval for the deportation was confirmed by telegram No. 344, dated 24 May."
We are thus able to prove that the direct responsibility for this crime against humanity rests on the defendant von Ribbentrop.

We gather, at the same time, from the report of the Yugoslav Government, that the deportation of a considerable number of Slovenes from Germany was put into effect. I quote a paragraph from the report of the Yugoslav Government, which your Honours will find on Page 70, last paragraph of the document book:-

"Shortly afterwards the deportation itself began. In the morning German lorries arrived in the villages. Soldiers and Gestapo men, armed with machine guns and rifles, broke into the houses and ordered the inhabitants to leave, each man being allowed to take with him only as much as he could carry. The unfortunate people were only given a few minutes in which to quit, and they were forced to leave all their property behind them. The

[Page 308]

lorries drove them to the Roman Catholic Trappist monastery of Reichenberg, from which the transports started, each consisting of 600 to 1,200 persons to be taken to Germany. Bregiza was almost completely depopulated, and Krshko - up to 90 per cent., 56,000 inhabitants being deported from these two districts. Over and above this 4,000 were deported from the communities of Zirkovsky and Ptuya."
I omit one paragraph and continue:-
"They were forced to perform the very hardest tasks and to live under the most horrible conditions. The death rate assumed enormous proportions in consequence. The harshest penalties were applied for the slightest offence."
I shall not enumerate other passages in the report of the Yugoslav Government in connection with the same subject. I do not quote this document. I merely ask the Tribunal to accept as evidence the supplementary official report of the Yugoslav Government, which I am submitting as Exhibit USSR 357. Similar crimes were committed by the German criminals on the territory of occupied Poland. I quote a few excerpts from the official report of the Polish Republic. Your Honours will find the passage I wish to quote on Page 3, paragraph 3, of the document book. The passage is in sub-paragraph "A" and is entitled " The Germanisation of Poland": -
"Clear indications concerning the programme are found in a publication distributed among members of the National Socialist Party in Germany in 1940. It contained the principles of German policy in the East. Here are some quotations from this document:-

"In a military sense the Polish question has been settled, but from the point of view of national policy it is only now beginning for Germany. The national political conflict between Germans and Poles must be carried forward to a degree never yet seen in history.

The aim which confronts German policy in the territory of the former Polish state is twofold: First, to see that a certain portion of space in this area is cleared of the alien population and colonised by German nationals; second, by imposing German leadership, in order to guarantee that in that area no fresh conflagrations should flare up against Germany. It is clear that this aim can never be achieved with the Poles, but only against them."

I interrupt this quotation and continue on Page 15 of the report of the Polish Republic, which corresponds to Page 5, paragraph 5, of the document book. This part is entitled "The Colonisation of Poland by German Settlers":-
"The policy in this respect was clearly expressed by the official German authorities. In the 'Ostdeutscher Beobachter " of 7 May, 1941, the following proclamation is printed:

'For the first time in German history we can exploit our military victories in a political sense. Never again will even a centimetre of the earth which we have conquered belong to the Pole.'"

Such was the plan, and it was carried out as follows:-
"Locality after locality, village after village, hamlets and cities in the incorporated territories were cleared of the Polish inhabitants. This began in October, 1939, when the district of Orlov was cleared of all the Poles who lived and worked there; then came the Polish port of Gdynia; and in February, 1940, about 40,000 persons were expelled from the city of Poznan. They were replaced by 36,000 Baltic-Germans, families of soldiers and of German officials.

[Page 309]

The Polish population was expelled from the following towns: Gnesdno, Helmno, Postian, Neshiva, Gonovrotzlau, as well as from many others.

"The German newspaper 'Grenzzeitung' reported that in February, 1940, the entire centre of the city of Lodz was cleared of Poles and reserved for the use of future German settlers. By September, 1940, the total number of Poles deported from Lodz was estimated at 150,000.

It was not, however, that the persons living in these places were merely ordered to leave: they were even forbidden to take their property with them; everything was to be left behind. The German new-comers took the place of the Poles evicted from their homes, business shops and estates, and by January, 1941, more than 150,000 Germans had been settled in this manner."

I omit the next part of this report which I wished to quote and I would request the Tribunal to pay attention only to the part entitled "Germanisation of Polish children". This is a short quotation. just two small paragraphs:-
"Thousands of Polish children (between the ages of seven and fourteen) were ruthlessly torn from their parents and families and carried off to Germany. The purpose of this most brutal measure was explained by the Germans themselves in the 'Kolnische Zeitung' No. 1584, 1940, issue. We read: 'They will be taught German. They will be inculcated with the German spirit so that later they can be brought up as model German boys and girls.'"
In order to explain the methods adopted by the German fascists in the execution of their cannibalistic plan for the extermination of the Soviet people - peaceful citizens of my Motherland, women, children and old people - I request the Tribunal to call and question witness Jacob Grigoriev, a peasant from the village of Pavlov, village soviet of Shkvertovsk, region of Porkhovsk, district of Pskov. He has arrived from the district of Pskov - a district near Leningrad - and, according to my information, is now in the Court House. I ask the permission of the Tribunal to examine this witness.

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