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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
16th April to 1st May, 1946

One-Hundred-and-Tenth Day: Wednesday, 17th April, 1946
(Part 6 of 13)

[MR. DODD continues his cross examination of Alfred Rosenberg]

[Page 66]

Q. We will go into what it means in a minute. We're just talking about the initial "L." While we're talking about the initial, will you look at it and see if there are any "R's," "capital "R."

A . Yes, here is an "L." An "R"?

Q. Yes, "R."

A. Yes, there are two "R's."

Q. Did you put those on there?

A. No.

Q. You initialled them, did you?

A. I cannot decipher that as my "R."

Q. You say that it's not your "R"? We'll have to be clear about this. You'd have to know your own initial when you saw it anywhere.

A. I never made such a pointed "R" on the top. You can compare it with my handwriting.

Q. We'll do that; don't worry. I just want to ask you now if that's your initial or not?

A. I cannot identify that as my initial.

Q. Do you say that it is not your initial?

A. Yes.

Q. All right. Now, I wish you'd look at Document 3666-PS, which is also related to these other documents, and that's also a letter written on the stationery of the Reich Minister of the occupied Eastern Territories, and it's dated 18 December, 1941. Subject: Jewish Question. Re: Correspondence of 15 November, 1941. This is an answer then to the letter marked "L," inquiring whether or not executions of the Jews is to be understood as a fixed policy.

"Clarification of the Jewish question has most likely been achieved by now through verbal discussions. Economic considerations should fundamentally remain unconsidered in the settlement of the problem. Moreover, it is requested, that questions arising be settled directly with the Senior S.S. and Police Leaders. By order (signed) Braeutigam."
Have you seen that letter before?

A. No, I have not seen it, in my opinion no. Here I see again such an "R," pointed on the top, and I cannot identify that as my "R" either.

Q. So that you do not identify that as having your initial, either?

A. Well, I could simply not identify that as my "R" because this was a letter, signed by Braeutigam sent from the Eastern Office to the Eastern Territories, and the notes on the top are from an office that has received that letter.

DR. THOMA: Mr. President, may I clarify an explicit error here? This "R" is in connection with a "K." That apparently means Reichskommissioner.


Q. I am not discussing the "R" on the top of the letter; I am discussing the one of the hand-written letter.

A. Well, it can be seen from this "R" that it relates to the man who received

[Page 67]

the letter. "Received on 22 February-R." And it is addressed from the Ministry to the East (Ostland). That note, therefore, was written by a person living in Riga, and that is the same "R" which can be found also on the other document.

Q. Who was your Reichskommissioner in the East for Riga?

A. Lohse.

Q. His name didn't begin with "R," did it?

A. No, but it is clear that this letter obviously was initialled in his department.

DR. THOMA: May I also help the Tribunal in this matter? In the hand-written document with the German "L" you will find on the left margin "WV 1/12/41" which means to be presented again (Wiedervorlage). And then you find "presented again (vorgelegt) 1/12/41 R." That appears to have taken place in the office of the Reichskommissar and it is a first draft and, therefore, it was only marked with the first letter of his name.

MR. DODD: We do not accept that as being any statement with which we can prove this at this trial. I think the matter as to whose initial it is will be presented later for determination.

THE PRESIDENT: What do the words at the top mean "The Reich Minister of the occupied Eastern Territories"?

MR. DODD: That is the stationery upon which it is written. It is hand-written on this particular paper because this whole letter was hand-written on the back of the first letter. These were both found in this defendant's office in Berlin.


Q. Well, now, I'd like to call your attention to another document, No. 36.

A. I maintain emphatically that that initial "L" was put down by the person who received the letter, to whom the letter was addressed.

Q. Well, we'll get around that. Document No. 36. I ask that you be shown Document No. 3428, which becomes Exhibit USA- 827.

THE PRESIDENT: Give me the number again, will you?

MR. DODD: I am sorry. Document 3428-PS becomes 827, Exhibit USA-827.


Q. Now, this is a letter written from Minsk in the occupied area on July 31, 1942, and it is written by Kube, K-u-b-e. He was another one of your subordinates, wasn't he? Will you answer that please?

A. Yes.

Q. And it is written to Lohse, the Reich Commissioner for the Eastern Territory, isn't it?

A. Yes, that's right.

Q. Now, then, let's look at it, "Combating of Partisans and action against Jews in the District General of White Ruthenia." It says:-

"In all the clashes with partisans in White Ruthenia it has been proved that Jewry, in the former Polish section," and so on, "is the main bearer of the Partisan movement. In consequence, the treatment of Jewry in White Ruthenia is a matter of political concern."
Then, moving down a sentence or two -
"After exhaustive discussions with the S.S. Brigadier General Zenner and the exceedingly capable Leader of the S.D., S.S. Lieutenant Colonel Dr. jur. Strauch, we have liquidated in the last ten weeks about 5 5,000 Jews in White Ruthenia. In the area of Minsk Jewry has been completely eliminated, without endangering the manpower commitment. In the predominantly Polish district of Lida, 16,000 Jews; in Zlonin, 8,000 Jews; and so forth, have been liquidated. Owing to an encroachment in the army rear zone, already reported, the preparations made by us for liquidation of the Jews in the Glebokie area have been disturbed. The army

[Page 68]

supply and communications section of the rear zone, without contacting me, has liquidated 10,000 Jews, whose systematical elimination had been provided for by us in any event. In the city of Minsk approximately 10,000 Jews were liquidated on the 28 and 29 July, 6,500 of them Russian Jews, predominantly aged persons, women and children - the remainder consisting of Jews unfit for commitment to labour, the greater majority of whom were deported to Minsk in November of last year from Vienna, Bruenn, Bremen and Berlin, by order of the Fuehrer. The area of Luzk, too, has been relieved of several thousands of Jews. The same applies to Novogrodek and Vilejka. Radical measures are imminent for Baranowits-schi and Hanzewitschi. In Baranowitschi alone, approximately 10,000 Jews are still living in the city itself; of these, 9,000 will be liquidated next month."
And it goes on to say:-
"In the city of Minsk 2,600 Jews from Germany are left over. In addition, 6,000 Russian Jews and Jewesses are still alive. Even in the future Minsk will still retain its character as the strongest centre of the Jewish element, necessitated for the present by the concentration of the armament industries and demands of railroad services. In all other areas, the number of Jews to be drafted for labour commitment will be limited by the S.D. and by me to 800 at the most, but if possible to 500."
And so on. It tells of other situations with respect to Jews, all of which I do not think it is necessary to read. But I do want to call your attention to the last paragraph, the last sentence:-
"I fully agree with the commander of the S.D. in White Ruthenia, that we shall liquidate every shipment of Jews which is not ordered or required by our superior offices, to prevent further disturbances in White Ruthenia."
And up above I did omit one sentence or two that I wanted to read:-
"Naturally, after the termination of the demands of the Armed Forces, the S.D. and I would like it best to eliminate Jewry once and for all in the District General of White Ruthenia. For the time being, the necessary demands of the Armed Forces, which are the main employers of Jews, are considered."
I ought to tell you as well that this document was also found in your office in Berlin. Now, that is a letter -

A. (Interposing) That seems very improbable to me, that it has been found in my office in Berlin. If so, it can only be at most that the Reich Commissioner for the Eastern Territories had sent all his files to Berlin, packed in boxes. It was not in my office at that time, and this letter was also never presented to me. There is stamped here: "The Reich Commissioner for the Ostland," not the Reich Minister for the occupied Eastern Territories. I stated yesterday, however, that quite a number of such happenings were reported to me as, individual actions in the fighting, and that I received this one report from Luzk personally, and Gauleiter Meyer was immediately charged to protest to Heydrich and to order an investigation. That presupposes that such a general action was not assumed to be ordered for one centre.

Q. Well, I only want to suggest to you that it is a strange coincidence that two of your top men were in communication on these lines in 1942 without your knowledge.

Did you also tell the Tribunal yesterday that you understood that most of the difficulties or a large part of the difficulties in the East for the Jewish people came from the local population? Do you remember saying that yesterday?

A. I did not receive the translation.

Q. I asked you if it wasn't a fact that yesterday you told the Tribunal that much of the difficulties for the Jews in the East came from the local population of those areas.

[Page 69]

A. Yes. I was informed about that in the beginning by people returning from the East, that it was not due to local authorities but to parts of the population. I knew the attitude in the East from former association and could well understand that this was true.

Secondly, I have stated that I had been informed that the police took care of various other nests of resistance, and centres of sabotage. Thereby a large number of Jews were shot in various cities. And then I have treated of the case of Slutsk ...

Q. I think you will agree that in the Ukraine your man Koch was doing all kinds of terrible things, and now I understand that you do not dispute that Lohse and Kube were helping to eliminate or liquidate the Jews; and that Brautigam, an important member of your staff, and that Leibbrandt, an important member of your staff, were informed of the programme. So that five people at least under your administration were engaged in this kind of conduct, and not small people at that.

A. I should like to point out that a decree by the Reich Kommissar for the Eastern Territories is at hand, which in agreement ...

THE PRESIDENT: (Interposing) Will you answer the question first? Do you agree that these five people were engaged in exterminating Jews?

THE WITNESS: Yes. They knew about a certain number of liquidations of Jews. That I admit, and they have told me so, or if they didn't, I have heard it from other sources. I only want to state one thing: That according to the general law of the Reich, the Reichkommissar for the Eastern Territories issued a decree according to which Jewry, which of course was hostile to us, should be concentrated in certain Jewish quarters of the cities. And until the end, until 1943-1944, I have heard that in these cities such work was still carried out in these Jewish ghettos to a large extent.

And may I supplement this with still another case which came to my knowledge, namely, that a District Kommissar ...


Q. I don't want you to point out anything else. You have answered the question, and you have explained your answer. I don't ask you further -

A. (Interposing) What I wanted to add explains another part of my answer in a very concrete way. A district Kommissar in the Ukraine had been accused before the court of committing blackmail in a Jewish community and had sent furs, clothes, etc., to Germany. He was brought before the court, and was sentenced to death and was shot.

Q. Well, that is very interesting, but I don't think it is a necessary explanation of that answer at all. And I would ask that you try to limit these answers. I would like to get through here in a few minutes.

You are also, of course, the man who wrote the letter, as you told the Tribunal yesterday, suggesting the out-of-hand execution of 100 Jews in France, although you said you thought that - was what, a little bad judgement or not quite just, or something of the kind? Is that right?

A. I have made my statement about that yesterday.

Q. I know you have, and I would like to talk about it for a minute today. Is that what you said about it, that it was not right, and that it was not just? Yes or no, didn't you say that to the Tribunal yesterday?

A. You have to quote literally, word for word, if you want me to answer yes or no.

Q. I will ask you again. Didn't you say yesterday before this Tribunal that your suggestion in that letter, in Document 001-PS, was wrong and was not just? Now, that is pretty simple, and you can answer it.

A. I have stated that it was humanly incorrect.

Q. It was murder - isn't that what it was, a plan for murder? Yes or no.

A. No. But I considered the shooting of hostages, which was publicly made

[Page 70]

known by the Armed Forces - as an obviously generally accepted necessity in the extraordinary times of war. These shootings of hostages were published in the Press. Therefore, I had to assume that according to International Law and certain traditions of warfare this was an accepted act of reprisal. Therefore, I cannot admit -

Q. (Interposing) Well, were you talking then as the benign philosopher or as a soldier? When you wrote this letter, Document 001 -PS, in what capacity were you writing it, as a benign, philosophical minister on ideology and culture, or were you a member of the Armed Forces?

A. As can be seen from the document, I have spoken about the fact that sabotage and murder against German soldiers had been committed here, so that good future relations, which I also aimed for, between Germany and France would be poisoned forever. For that reason this letter was written, in which I am sorry from the human point of view.

Q. It comes a little late, don't you think?

The witness Hoess - you were in the courtroom when he testified, Hoess, H-o-e-s-s?

A. Yes, I heard him.

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