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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
12th March to 22nd March, 1946

Eighty-Sixth Day: Wednesday, 20th March, 1946
(Part 4 of 10)

[MR. JUSTICE JACKSON continues his cross examination of HERMANN WILHELM GORING]

[Page 257]

Q. That is, if any individual was attempting to profit by Jewish possessions - is that what you meant?

A. By the Aryanisation.

Q. I will quote another portion:

"In other words, it must be an ordinary business transaction. One sells his business and another buys it. If there are Party members among the would-be purchasers, they are to be given preference if they fulfil the same conditions. First of all come the casualties according to their merits, priority being given to those who have suffered most. After that, selection should be made on grounds of Party membership."
I will omit a line or two:
"This Party member should have a chance to buy the business for as cheap a price as possible, equivalent to the amount received by the Jew from the State.
Is that correct?

A. Just a moment, please, I believe you omitted something.

Q. Yes, we did. If you want to put it in, you may read it.

A. No, I want to put it quite briefly, so that it will not take too long. I said what you have already said, that all things being equal, the Party member is to be given preference, the first on the list being the member who suffered prejudice by having his business licence cancelled because he was a Party member. Then follows the paragraph which you read and which is correct.

Q. Now, you then speak at considerable length of the method by which you intended to Aryanise Jewish businesses, is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. And then you take up the Aryanisation of Jewish factories.

A. Yes.

Q. You speak of the smaller factories first.

A. Yes.

Q. Have you found the place where you speak of the factories?

A. Yes, I have found it.

[Page 258]

Q. I quote:
"With regard to the smaller and medium sized ones, two things will have to be made clear: First, which are the factories for which I have no use, and which ones can be shut down? Could they not be put to another use? If not, then these factories are to be pulled down.

Second, if the factory should be needed, it will be turned over to Aryans in the same manner as the stores."

That is correct, is it not?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you care to say any more on that subject?

A. No, these should be the basic elements for the laws.

Q. Now, I call your attention to the second paragraph, starting, "Take now the larger factories." Do you find that?

A. Yes.

Q. Dealing with the larger factories, do you not say the solution is very simple, that the factory can be compensated in the same manner as the stores, that is, at a rate which we shall determine, and the Trustee shall take over the Jew's interest, as well as his shares, and in turn sell or transfer them to the State, as he thinks fit.

A. That means anyone who has any interest in the factories will receive compensation, according to the scale laid down by us.

Q. And the reparation will be turned over to the State Trustee, will it not?

A. Yes, to the State Trustee. The matter was quite simple: The Jew relinquished his ownership and received bonds. These 3 per cent. bonds were to be settled by the Trustee.

Q. Well, we will pass on to where you deal with the foreign Jews, do you recall that?

A. Yes.

Q. At that point a representative of the Foreign Office claimed the right to participate on behalf of the Foreign Minister, is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. Well, now, we will pass on to the point of the conversation between yourself and Heydrich.

A. Just a moment, please. Part of the minutes are missing. All right. I have found the place where Heydrich is mentioned for the first time.

Q. You inquired how many synagogues were actually burned, and Heydrich replied, "Altogether there were 101 synagogues destroyed by fire, 76 synagogues demolished, and 7,500 stores destroyed in the Reich." Have I quoted that correctly?

A. Yes.

Q. Well, then Dr. Goebbels interposed, "I am of the opinion that this is our chance to dissolve the synagogues." And then you have a discussion about the dissolving of the synagogues, have you not?

A. By Dr. Goebbels, yes.

Q. Then, Dr. Goebbels raised the question of Jews travelling in railway trains?

A. Yes.

Q. Let me know if I quote correctly the dialogue between you and Dr. Goebbels on that subject. Dr. Goebbels said, "Furthermore, I advocate that Jews be banned from all public places where they might cause provocation. It is still possible for a Jew to share a sleeper with a German. Therefore, the Reich Ministry of Transport must issue a decree ordering that there shall be separate compartments for Jews. If this compartment is full, then the Jews cannot claim a seat. They can only occupy separate compartments after all.

[Page 259]

Germans have secured seats. They must not mix with the Germans; if there is no more room, they will have to stand in the corridor." Is that right?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Goering: "I think it would be more sensible to give them separate compartments." Goebbels: "Not if the train is overcrowded." Goering: "Just a moment. There will be only one Jewish coach. If that is filled up the other Jews will have to stay at home." Goebbels: "But suppose there are not many Jews going on the long-distance express train to Munich. Suppose there are two Jews on the train and the other compartments are overcrowded; these two Jews would then have a compartment to themselves. Therefore, the decree must state, Jews may claim a seat only after all Germans have secured a seat." Goering: "I would give the Jews one coach, or one compartment, and should a case such as you mentioned arise, and the train be overcrowded, believe me, we will not need a law. They will be kicked out all right, and will have to sit alone in the toilet all the way." Is that correct?

A. Yes. I was getting irritated when Goebbels came with his small details when important laws were being discussed. I refused to do anything. I issued no decrees or laws in this connection. Of course, to-day, it is very pleasant for the prosecution to bring it up, but I wish to state that it was a very lively meeting at which Goebbels made demands which were quite outside the economic sphere, and I used these expressions to give vent to my feelings.

Q. Then Goebbels, who felt very strongly about these thing, said that Jews should stand in the corridor, and you said that they would have to sit in the toilet. That is the way you said it?

A. No, it is not. I said that they should have a special compartment, and when Goebbels still was not satisfied, and harped on it, I finally told him, "I do not need a law. He can either sit in the toilet or leave the train."

Q. Let us go down to where Goebbels brings up the subject of the German forests.

A. Just a moment. Yes. It starts where Goebbels asked for a decree which would prevent Jews from going to German holiday resorts. To which I replied, "Give them their own," and then he suggested, "It would have to be considered whether we should give them their own resorts or place some German bathing places at their disposal, but not the best ones. The people could then say: You allow the Jews to get fit by using our bathing resorts. The question must also be considered whether it is necessary to forbid the Jews to go into the German forests. Herds of Jews are to-day running about in the Grunewald." Then when he broke in again, I replied very sharply: "It would be better to put a certain part of the forest at the disposal of the Jews, if you want them out of the rest of the forest." Then I made the remark which seems to cause so much interest.

Q. Let us have that remark. Is it not correct that you stated, "We will give the Jews a certain part of the forest, and Alpers will see to it that the various animals, which are damnably like the Jews - the elk, too, has a hooked nose - go into the Jewish enclosure and settle down among them." Is that what you said?

A. Yes, I said it, but it should be linked up with the whole atmosphere of the meeting. Goebbels comes back to it again in the next sentence and says he considers my attitude provoking. I, too, can say I was provoked by his insistence on unimportant things, when such far-reaching and decisive matters were being discussed.

Q. Now, you come to the point where you ask Herr Hilgard from the insurance company to come in. Can you find that?

A. Yes.

Q. Then you made a statement to Herr Hilgard when he came in. "The position is as follows: Because of the justified anger of the people against the

[Page 260]

Jews, the Reich has suffered a certain amount of damage. Windows have been broken, goods damaged, and people hurt; synagogues have been burned, and so forth. I suppose many of the Jews are also insured against damage committed by public disorder." Hilgard: "Yes." Goering: "If that is so, the following situation arises. The people in their justified anger meant to harm the Jews, but it is the German insurance companies which have to compensate the Jews for the damage. The thing is simple enough. I have only to issue a decree to the effect that damage resulting from these riots shall not have to be paid by the insurance companies." Is that what you said?

A. Yes, I said all that.

Q. Hilgard then outlined three kinds of insurance. He pointed out that at least as far as plate glass insurance was concerned, the majority of the sufferers were Aryans who owned buildings and that, as a rule, the Jews only rented them. Is that right?

A. Yes, those are the details of the discussion.

Q. And Hilgard said: "May I draw your attention to the following facts: Plate glass is not manufactured by the Bohemian glass industry, but is entirely in the hands of the Belgian glass industry. In my estimation the damage amounts to six millions, that is to say, under the insurance policies, we shall have to pay the owners, who for the most part are Aryans, about six millions compensation for the glass."

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, before you pass from that page, in the third paragraph, just for the sake of accuracy, it appears, does it not, that the name "Herr Hilgard" is wrongly placed, because he seems both to put the question and to answer it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, I think that is -

THE PRESIDENT: Probably the defendant Goering put the question. It is the third paragraph on my page.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I take the minutes to read that when Hilgard appeared,, Goering addressed him as "Herr Hilgard."


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But it is correct as your Honour suggests.

THE DEFENDANT: I wish to point out what was said before concerning the broken glass. Goebbels said: "The Jews must pay for the damage," and I said, "It is no use, we have no raw material, it is all foreign glass. That will require foreign currency. It is like asking for the moon." Then Hilgard comes with the discussions just mentioned.


Q. Yes, and Hilgard pointed out that - "Incidentally the amount of damage, equals about half a year's production of the whole of the Belgian glass industry. We believe that the manufacturers will take six months to deliver the glass." Do you recall that?

A. Yes.

Q. Well, passing down, you come to a point at which Hilgard tells you about a store on Unter-den-Linden which was attacked. Can you find that?

A. He said, "The biggest incident is the case of Markgraf, Unter-den-Linden." Is that not so?

Q. That is right.

A. Yes, I have found the place.

Q. "The damage reported to us amounts to about one million, seven hundred, thousand, because the store was completely ransacked." Is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. Goering: "Daluege and Heydrich, you have got to get me these jewels by large-scale raids." Is that the order you gave?

A. Yes, of course, so that the stolen goods should be brought back.

Q. Brought back to you, not to the Jews?

[Page 261]

A. Not to me personally, I beg your pardon.

Q. Brought back to the State-you did not intend to return them to the Jews?

A. It does not say that here. The main thing is, that they should be brought back.

Q. "We are trying to get the loot back," as Heydrich put it, is that right? And you added, "And the jewels."

A. If a large jeweller's shop were plundered, something had to be done about it because with these valuables a great deal of trouble could be caused. Therefore, I ordered raids to be carried out to have these things, as well as other stolen goods, brought back. When a business was Aryanised, its stock was also transferred to the new owner. The main point, however, was that action should be taken against those who had stolen and plundered, and in fact a hundred and fifty had already been arrested.

Q. And Heydrich went on to report on the method of these raids after you reminded him to bring back, to get the jewels.

"It is difficult to say. Some of the articles were thrown into the street and picked up. The same happened with the furriers. For example, in the Friedrichstrasse, within the district of Police Station C, there the crowd naturally rushed to pick up mink and skunk furs, etc. It will be very difficult to recover them. Even children filled their pockets just for the fun of the thing. It is suggested that the Hitler Youth should not be employed on such actions without the Party's consent. Such things are very easily destroyed."
A. Yes, so it says.

Q. And Daluege then suggests: "The Party should issue an order to the effect that the police must immediately be notified if the neighbour's wife (everybody knows his neighbour) has a fur coat remodelled, or somebody is seen wearing a new ring or bracelet. We should like the Party to assist in this matter."


A. This is absolutely correct.

Q. Now, Hilgard objected to your plan of releasing the insurance companies from paying the claims, did he not?

A. Yes, this is also correct.

Q. And he gave the reasons:

"Hilgard: If I may give the reasons for my objection: the point is that we do a large international business. Our business has a sound international basis, and in the interest of the foreign exchange position in Germany we cannot allow the confidence in the German insurance- business to be shaken. If we were now to refuse to fulfil commitments entered into by legal contracts it would be a blot on the escutcheon of the German insurance business.

Goering: But it would not be if I were to issue a decree or a law."

Am I quoting correctly?

A. Yes, and Hilgard's reply - and that was the reply I was concerned with - he pointed out that the insurance companies could not get out of paying claims unless a law provided for it. If the sovereign State passes a law to the effect that the insurance sums must be forfeited to the State, then the insurance companies are no longer under any obligation.

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