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 10 of 13)

[Page 82]


Q. Defendant Rosenberg, I am going to read this document into the record. It is not very long.

"6 February, 1938. My Fuehrer, because I was unable ..."
THE PRESIDENT: The document is translated into German, isn't it?

GENERAL RUDENKO: The original is in German.

THE PRESIDENT: It is in German to start with. It is not necessary to read it all; you can put it in like other documents.



In this letter you expressed your resentment in connection with the

[Page 83]

appointment of the defendant Ribbentrop as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Is that correct?

A. Yes, yes.

Q. You thought that the post of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Hitler Cabinet could have been filled by yourself, defendant Rosenberg; is that correct?

A. Yes, and I do not find it so extraordinary that I should have expressed my wish to be used in the State service of the German Reich after so many years of activity.

Q. Very well. You speak in this letter of the existence of the Secret Cabinet is that correct?

A. Well, may I read through this letter a little? Because I cannot answer fragmentary questions.

Q. Very well, yes. Please read it through.

A. Yes, I have read this.

Q. Everything that is contained in it, is it correct?

A. Certainly, yes.

Q. This is your own letter?

A. Yes.

Q. You asked to be appointed into this Secret Cabinet?

A. Yes.

Q. You asked for the position of Reich Minister?

A. I reported that I had spoken to Party Member Goering about the question of the appointment, and since the Fuehrer had charged me with the ideological education of the Party, and since the foreign political office of the Party still existed, and the impression might thereby arise in the Party that I had somehow been refused by the Fuehrer, I therefore asked the Fuehrer to receive me personally to discuss this matter. I think it quite understandable that I should express the wish to speak about a matter which was important to me personally.

Q. Therefore-here is my last question - you were the nearest associate of Hitler in carrying out all his plans and his ideas?

A. No, that is not correct; that is absolutely wrong.

Q. Very well, let us consider it as a reply to my question.

GENERAL RUDENKO: I have finished, Mr. President.

M. MONNERAY: I have only a few questions to ask the defendant.


Q. Defendant Rosenberg, is it correct that the deportation and the execution of the Jews in France gave your organisation the possibility to seize furniture and valuables which belonged to these Jews?

A. It is quite true that I received a governmental order to confiscate archives, works of art, and later, household goods of Jewish citizens in France.

Q. The mass deportation of Jews could only increase the profits of your confiscation and seizures. Isn't that so?

A. No. The deportation of Jews has nothing to do with that. The suggestion for these measures was given only when I was informed that the Jewish people in question no longer inhabited their institutions, castles and apartments, that they had left Paris and had not returned.

Q. Once the Jews were deported they were absent, isn't that true?

A. When the German troops marched in, Paris was almost entirely depopulated. The rest of the Parisians and inhabitants of cities in the north of France returned in time, but, as I have been informed, the Jewish population did not return to these cities, particularly not to Paris. Therefore they had not been deported, but they had fled, I believe the number of those who had fled was given as 5, 6 or 7 millions or more.

Q. Do you mean to say by that, defendant Rosenberg, that in the time that followed, when new deportation measures were carried out in the course of the

[Page 84]

German occupation of France, the apartments and homes of people deported were not seized by your organisation?

A. No, I cannot express it that way. It may very well I be that the apartments of Jewish persons who had been arrested may also have been confiscated under certain circumstances, but I cannot give any exact information about that.

Q. One can therefore say that the deportation measures gave to your organisation a greater chance of succeeding in seizures and confiscations; isn't that true?

A. No, that does not agree with the facts; but, as may be seen from the report which the French Prosecution made here, what actually happened was that confiscated apartments were sealed by the police. Two months were allowed to elapse to see whether or not the owners of these apartments would return, and only after the fact had been established that this was not the case were the household goods transferred to Germany for those whose homes had been damaged by bombs. That can be seen from the report which the French Prosecution has submitted.

Q. I suppose that there are very few cases - and I am sure you would agree with me on that - of people who had been deported returning after two months?

A. On the contrary! I was informed about such cases. Even in Document 001-PS, regrettable as it is from the humane point of view, it is clearly stated that we had heard that a large number of Jewish people who had been formerly arrested had been released again.

Q. You remember, certainly, the memorandum which you sent to Hitler on 3 October, 1942, which has already been presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit 1327-RF. In that document you remind Hitler of your jurisdiction and your powers, and you say that it is a matter for you, as Reich Minister for the occupied Eastern Territories, to seize the homes of Jews who had taken flight, who were absent, or who were ordered to leave. I can submit this document to you in order to refresh your memory if necessary.

The first lines of that document are the ones I am referring to. I emphasise the words "the Jews who were called upon to leave later." It is a document of 3 October, 1942, which has already been submitted.

A. Yes, that is correct, that is according to facts and, as I said before, it is possible that a number of apartments of arrested people, other people who were absent, were included in that; but as I said before, in the other report there was more detailed information. But this document as such corresponds to the facts. It is a letter from me.

Q. The consequence of this act was that you were entrusted not only with the seizure of apartments which you found vacant at the time of the arrival of the Germans in Paris, but also of apartments of people who were, as you say, called upon to leave in the following period.

You surely know, defendant Rosenberg, under what conditions, in territories occupied by the Germans in the West as well as in the East, Jews were called upon to leave, namely, in special trains which generally led to concentration camps.

A. No, I did not know about those trains. We definitely dealt with deserted apartments, and I was probably informed that, eventually, also the apartments of people who bad been arrested, people who were still living or had long since fled, would be included. Nothing more is stated here, and I could not give you any further information. As to the reports which have been submitted here at the trial, I have seen them here for the first time. I can only tell you that in the end I was informed that before the conquest of Paris by Allied troops, all available furniture and household equipment was turned over to the French Red Cross.

Q. Do you agree with me on the following point: that your organisation had the right to seize valuables and apartments which had become vacant after the

[Page 85]

arrival of the German troops in Paris? Do you agree with me on that point?

A. Yes.

Q. Defendant, you have just said that you had no knowledge whatsoever of the deportations in special trains to special destinations. Do you know - and I suppose you do know it since the document to which I am referring has already been produced before the Tribunal - that in Paris every Tuesday since 1941 and until the end of the German occupation, conferences called "Tuesday meetings," brought together the representatives of the various German organisations in Paris, that is to say, the experts in Jewish affairs in the different German administrative offices to be exact, a representative of the German Military Command, a representative of the Administrative Department, a representative of the Police Department, and a representative of the Economics Department. At these meetings there was also present a representative of the German Embassy in Paris, as well as a representative of your Special Staff.

I am referring to Exhibit 1210-RF, which is a report of Dannecker of 22 February, 1942. He was the responsible Chief and the great expert an anti-Jewish terrorist action in Paris during the occupation. If you wish, I will submit that document to you.

A. I remember these declarations made during the Trial very well, but I have never received a report about these Tuesday conferences which took place regularly. The fact that my deputy for the "furniture action" had to maintain closest liaison with the police was a matter of course, since the confiscations of such articles could not be carried out by my office, that being an exclusive right of the police. Therefore one had to speak to the police about these matters. No reports came to me of proceedings at such Tuesday conferences. I believe that if such reports had been consistently sent in they would have been submitted to me.

Q. You agree, however, that these Tuesday meetings were extremely useful to the interests of your organisation. As a matter of fact the various collective actions which were taken against the Jews, that is to say, arrests, police raids and deportations, were discussed at those meetings. Didn't it, therefore, seem completely logical and natural for your organisation to be regularly informed of these actions in order that it might take the resulting economic steps, namely, seizures of property?

A. In my opinion that is not logical at all, because if a certain Chief of Police sent secret transports of that kind into these camps, as has been revealed here, then it does not follow that he would report about that every Tuesday to the other gentlemen. Neither do I believe that this Chief of Police informed the representative of the Foreign Office about these things in detail.

Q. You are perhaps badly informed on this point, but I would like to read again the concluding passage of the report which says:

"The conference had as a result an alignment of Jewish policy as complete as could be realised in the occupied territory ..."
THE PRESIDENT: (Interposing) The witness has said, has he not, that he does not know anything about these Tuesday meetings, he received no reports of them?

M. MONNERAY: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Then why are you asking about them?

M. MONNERAY: The agencies in Paris collaborated actively in the terrorist policy of the police and benefited by it through the economic step which followed, namely, the seizure of valuables.

THE PRESIDENT: You have not been able to connect him with these reports, with the document. He has not signed the document. Nothing shows on the document that he received it, at least I suppose not, or you would have put it to him. He says he did not know the document.

[Page 86]

M. MONNERAY: Allow me, Mr. President, in that case to ask, whether he contests the accuracy of the evidence concerning the representation of his Paris organisation at this meeting.


Q. Do you deny that your organisation was represented at this meeting?

A. I cannot give any information about that because I have not received any report.

Q. I would like to conclude this cross-examination by reminding you of a document which has already been produced, quoted, and discussed, that is, 001-PS. In that document, the defendant in the first paragraph proposes the transport of all seized household goods to the East, and in paragraph 2 he suggests to Hitler that some French Jews instead of other Frenchmen should be shot as hostages.

Considering, as a result of the questions and answers, that the organisation of the defendant could benefit by measures of execution and deportation, it seems that the real motive of this document is very clear. It is necessary - isn't that your opinion, defendant - first to get rid of the people, in order to be able afterwards to seize their property?

A. No, that is not true.

M. MONNERAY: I have no more questions to ask, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you want to ask anything of the witness, Dr. Thoma?

DR. THOMA: Mr. President, may I quite briefly ask the defendant whether he wants me to ask him another question? I believe I shall have finished immediately.


DR. THOMA: Thank you. The defendant does not want any more questions. Then, with the permission of the Tribunal, I should like to call the witness Riecke.

THE PRESIDENT: Will he be long or not?

DR. THOMA: Half an hour at most.

THE PRESIDENT: All right. Well then, the defendant may retire.

HANS JOACHIM RIECKE, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:


Q. What is your name?

A. Hans Joachim Riecke.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me?

I swear by God, the almighty and omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

Dr. Thoma, will you spell the name, please?

DR. THOMA: R-i-e-c-k-e.


Q. Witness, what position did you have in the Economic Staff East and in the Eastern Ministry?

A. I had two positions upon orders from Goering. I was in charge of the Nutrition and Agriculture Department.

[Page 87]

Q. What was the task of these offices?

A. The main task of these offices was the reconstruction of Russian agriculture; the second task was the utilisation of the surplus of the areas in the South for the Armed Forces and for nutrition purposes.

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