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-Thirteenth Day: Wednesday, 24th April, 1946
(Part 3 of 9)

[Page 195]

DR. SEIDL: This concerns an entry dated 22 September, 1943, a meeting of the War Economy Staff and the Defence Committee. I quote only the first lines:-
"In the course of the past few months, in the face of the most difficult and senseless struggles, I have had to work on the principle that the Poles should, at last, be given a sufficient quantity of food. You all know the foolish attitude of looking on the nations we have conquered as being inferior to us, and that at a moment when the labour potential of these peoples represents one of the most important factors in our fight for victory. By my opposition to this absurdity, which has caused most grievous harm to the German people, I personally - and many men of my Government and many of you - have incurred the charge of being friendly or soft towards the Poles.

For years now people have not hesitated to attack my way of governing this area with the foulest arguments of this kind, and, behind my back, to hinder the fulfilment of these tasks. Now it has been proved as clear as day that it is insane to want to reconstruct Europe and at the same time to persecute the European nations with such unparalleled chicanery."

And then I turn to Page 34 of the document book, an entry dated 20 April, 1943, concerning a government meeting. I ask the Tribunal to note only the final words of the Governor General's speech on Page 38 of the document book and Page 41 of the diary. Then I turn to Page 39 of the document book, a meeting dated 22 July, 1943 ; I quote from the second paragraph, the tenth line:-
"The question of the resettlement was, in general, particularly difficult for us in this year. I can give you the good news that resettlement in general has been completely discontinued for the duration of the war. In regard to the restoration of industry, we have just started to work at full speed. As you know - I personally attach great importance to this - we have to satisfy the needs of the Reich, and in the coming months we shall install great industrial concerns of international renown in the Government General.

However, in regard to this question we must consider the almost complete reconstruction of the Government General which has consequently been forced upon us. While until now, we have always figured as a country supplying the Reich with labourers, as an agricultural country and the granary of Europe, we shall within a very short time become one of the most important industrial centres of Europe. I remind you of such names as Krupp, Heinkel, Henschel, whose industries will be moved into the Government General."

I now ask the Tribunal to turn to Page 41 of the document book. It is the

[Page 196]

statement which was made by the witness Dr. Buehler on 26 October, 1943, in which he states that this report dealt with four years of reconstruction in the Government General on the basis of reliable information, from the 13 chief departments. The statement includes Pages 42 to 69 of the document book. I do not propose to quote from this statement, but I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of it.

I turn at once to Page 70 of the document book, which concerns a government meeting dated 16 February, 1944. I quote the last paragraph, Page 4 of the document book:-

"As opposed to this, the fact must be established that the developing, constructing and securing of those things which today make this territory important, were possible only because, in opposition to the ideology of brute force so utterly untimely in the midst of a world war, we were able to bring into the service of the German war effort the human and material resources of this area, and to do this in a constructive and sound manner."
The next quotation is from Page 75, Page 5 of the diary, an entry dated 6 March, 1944. I quote the last paragraph:-
"The Governor General does not, as a matter of principle, oppose the training of the younger generation for the priesthood, because, if courses for doctors and others are arranged, similar opportunities must also be created in the field of religion."
Page 77 deals with an order by the Governor General prohibiting the evacuation of the population, or that part of it which was in the fighting zone near Lublin. On Page 80 is an entry dated 12 April, 1944. I quote the second paragraph:-
"In this connection, President Gerteis spoke of the treatment of the Poles in the Reich. The result of this treatment, said to be still worse than that of any other foreign workers, was that practically no Pole would any longer voluntarily apply for work in Germany. There were 21 points, Gerteis said, on which the Polish workers in the Reich were more badly treated than any other foreign workers. The Governor General requested President Gerteis to acquaint him with these 21 points, which he would certainly attempt to have abolished."
I now ask the Tribunal to turn to Page 100 of the document book. It concerns a conference on 6 June regarding a large- scale action against the partisans in the Bilgoraje Forest. I quote Page 101, Page 4 of the diary:-
"The Governor General wants to be quite sure that protection is given to the harmless population, which is itself suffering under the partisan terror."
Page 102 deals with the views of the Governor General on concentration camps. It is an entry dated 6 June, 1944. I quote the last paragraph:-
"The Governor General declared that he would never sign such a decree, since it meant sending the person concerned to a concentration camp. He stated that he had always protested with the utmost vigour against the system of the concentration camps, for he saw in it the greatest offence against the sense of justice. He had thought there would be no concentration camps for such matters, but they had apparently been secretly put into operation. It could only be handled in such a manner that the persons condemned would be 'pardoned to jail or prison for a certain number of years.' He pointed out that prison sentences, for instance, were imposed and examined by State institutions. He therefore requests that State Secretary Dr. Buehler should be informed that he, the Governor General, would not sign such a decree, since he did not wish the concentration camps to be officially sanctioned. He went on to say that there was no reprieve which could send anybody into a concentration camp. The courts-martial

[Page 197]

are State organs of a special character and consist of police units; actually they should normally be staffed by members of the Armed Forces."
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, can you explain the translation of the words at the bottom of Page 202 which are in English, "It only could be handled in a manner that the persons would be pardoned to jail or prison for a certain number of years." Can you explain that from the point of view of meaning?

DR. SEIDL: The meaning of the words becomes clear from the statement made by President Wille in the previous paragraph where, among others, you will find the following. It is the tenth line from the top:-

"The Reprieve Commission had asked the representative of the Security Police Chief, in which form this pardon was to be carried out. As far as he knew, the sentence had been imposed in one case only. In all other cases it was customary to adopt security police measures once the sentence had been remitted. It was feared, otherwise, that these people might disappear."
Now the Governor General was of the opinion that, for example, a reprieve from the death sentence to a term in prison or penitentiary, was possible, but that he would have to refuse commutation of a death penalty into an indefinite prison sentence (Freiheitsstrafe) if the police in that event wore to adopt security measures.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean that it meant that pardon from a death sentence might be made by a reprieve for a sentence in prison for a certain number of years, but not by sending to a concentration camp, which would be for an indefinite period and under police methods?

DR. SEIDL: Yes, that is the sense of it.

I now turn to Page 104 of the document book. This question also deals with the general question of treatment of the population in the Government General.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, you have been very much longer than you said you would, and the Tribunal thinks you might be able to cut down a great deal of this. It is all very much on the same lines.

DR. SEIDL: Yes. In that case, I ask the Tribunal to turn to Page 112 of the document book; an entry dated 10 July, 1944. This entry deals with the official control of art treasures. I quote the second paragraph:-

"The Governor General issues orders to President Palizieux to establish a complete index of these art treasures."
THE PRESIDENT: You have already told us and given us some evidence to support the view that the defendant Frank was preserving the art treasures and was wishing them to be preserved in Poland, and it is not necessary under those circumstances to go reading passages about it.

DR. SEIDL: Yes, I ask the Tribunal to take notice of that entry and, if the Tribunal agrees, I shall merely give the pages of the documents in the document book which appear to me important. That is page ...

(There was a breakdown in the sound recording system.)

My Lord, there is a breakdown on channel which causes so much interruption that we cannot hear the speaker I am afraid.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, the Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)

DR. SEIDL: Gentlemen of the Tribunal, if the Tribunal is agreeable I should like to give only the numbers of the pages of Volume 4 of the document book which seem to me particularly important. These are the Pages 115, 121, 123, 134, 139, 152 and 182. That concludes Volume 4 of the document book and I come to the last volume of the document book which will be finished in much less time. Volume 5 deals exclusively with the accusations made by the prosecution

[Page 198]

of the United States against the defendant Frank concerning his activity as President of the Academy for German Law, as President of the National Socialist Organisation, and similar positions. Volume 1, Page 1, is a document which has already been submitted by the prosecution, 1391-PS. It still has no USA number and will be Exhibit Frank-11. It is the law regarding the Academy for German Law with the necessary statutes and the tasks resulting therefrom.

I turn to Page 25 of the document book. This quotation becomes Exhibit Frank-12. It deals with a sentence which has been ascribed to the defendant: "Right is that which serves the people." This quotation should prove only that the defendant Dr. Frank only wanted to express what is implied in the Roman sentence: "Salus publica suprema lex," "The supreme law is what serves the people." I shall ask the Tribunal to take cognisance of this and turn to Page 26 of the document book; an excerpt from the magazine of the Academy for German Law of 1938. That will be the Exhibit Frank-13. This quotation also deals with the aforementioned sentence: "Right is that which serves the people."

Page 30 is an excerpt from Exhibit USA-670 and deals with the closing celebration on the "Day of German Law 1939" at Leipzig, where the defendant Dr. Frank made the concluding speech before 25,000 lawyers. I quote from Page 31, line 10 from the bottom:-

"Only by applying legal security methods, by administering true justice, and by clearly following the legislative ideal of law can the community continue to exist. This legal method, which permanently ensures the fulfilment of the tasks of the community has been assigned to you, fellow guardians of the law, as your mission. Ancient Germanic principles have come down to us through the centuries.
(1) No one who has not had the opportunity of defending himself shall be judged.

(2) No one shall lose the rights which he enjoys in accordance with national standards, except by decision of the judge. Honour, liberty, life, profits of labour are among those rights.

(3) Regardless of the nature of the proceedings, the reasons for the indictment or the law which applies, everyone who is under indictment must be given the opportunity to take a defence counsel who can make legal statements for him; be must obtain a hearing which is legal and objective."

I turn to Page 35 of the document book, which deals with a speech, an address by the defendant Dr. Frank, made at a meeting of the heads of the main departments of the National Socialist Lawyers' Organisation, on 19 November, 1941. The speech becomes Exhibit Frank-14. I quote only a few sentences at the top of Page 37:-
"Therefore, it is a very serious task which we have imposed upon ourselves, and we must always bear in mind that it can be fulfilled only with courage and self- sacrifice. I observe the developments with great attention. I watch every anti-juridical tendency. I know only too well from history - as do you all - of the attempts to obtain ever more power because one has weapons with which to shoot, and because one has some authority on the basis of which one can cause people who have been arrested to disappear. I mean by this not only the attempts undertaken by the S.S., the S.D. and by the Central Police Office, but the attempts of many other agencies of the State and the Reich to exclude themselves from general jurisdiction."
I turn to ... I would like to quote the last five lines on Page 41. These were the last words spoken during that session:-
"One cannot debase law to a commercial item; one cannot sell it; it

[Page 199]

exists or it does not exist. Law is not an exchange commodity. If Justice is not supported, the State loses its moral foundation; it sinks into the abyss of darkness and horror."
The next document is on Page 42. It is the first address which the defendant Dr. Frank made in Berlin at the University on 8 July, 1942. It will be Exhibit Frank-15. I quote from Page 44, second paragraph, seventh line:
"On the other hand, however, a member of the community cannot be deprived of honour, liberty, life and property, he cannot be expelled and condemned without first being able to defend himself against the charges brought against him. The Armed Forces can serve us as a model in this respect. In the Wehrmacht every one is a free, honoured member with equal rights, until a judge - standing independently above him - has weighed and judged between indictment and defence."
I then turn to Page 49 of the document book, the second of these four long speeches. It was held in Vienna, and will become Exhibit Frank-15. THE PRESIDENT: We have already had Exhibit Frank-15 on Page 41.

DR. SEIDL: No, I beg your pardon, Mr. President; it will be 16. I quote only one sentence, from Page 51:

"I shall continue to repeat with all the strength of my convictions that it would be a shame if ideals advocating a police State were to be presented as distinctly National Socialist ideals, while old Germanic ideals of law fell entirely into the background."
Now I ask the Tribunal to turn to Page 57 of the document book, to the speech made by the defendant Dr. Frank at the University of Munich, on 20 July, 1942. This will be Exhibit Frank-17. I quote from Page 58, line 16:
"It is, however, impossible to talk about a national community and still to regard the servants of the Law as excluded therefrom and to pull them into the mire in the midst of the war. The Fuehrer has transferred the tasks of the Reich leader of the Reich Legal Office and that of the leader of the National Socialistic Lawyers' Association to me, and therefore it is my duty to state that it is detrimental to German national community if, in the 'Black Corps', lawyers are called 'sewer-rats.'"
I ask the Tribunal to turn to Page 67 of the document book. That is the speech which he made at Heidelberg on 21 July, 1942, and will be Exhibit Frank-18. I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of that speech. From Page 69 I quote only one sentence: "But never should there be a police State, never. That I oppose."

I now come to the last document, which the prosecution of the United States has already submitted as Exhibit USA 607, an excerpt from the diary: "Concluding reflections on the events of the last three months." In these reflections, Dr. Frank once more definitely states his position toward the concept of the legal State, and I ask the Tribunal to take particular cognisance of his basic postulates on Pages 74 and 75 of the document book. Here, Dr. Frank again formulated the prerequisites which he considered necessary for the existence of any legal State.

I only quote a few lines from Page 74:

"(1) No fellow German can be convicted without regular court procedure, and on the basis of a law in effect before the act was committed.

(2) The proceedings must carry full guarantee that the accused will be interrogated on all matters pertaining to the indictment and that he will be able to speak freely.

(3) The accused must have the opportunity, at all stages of the trial, to avail himself of the services of a defence counsel acquainted with the law.

(4) The defence counsel must have complete freedom of action and

[Page 200]

independence in carrying out his office in order to strike an even balance between the State Prosecutor and the defendant.

(5) The judge or the court must make his or its decision quite independently - that is, the verdict must not be influenced by any irrelevant factors - in logical consideration of the subject matter and in just application of the content of the law.

(6) When the penalty meted out by the sentence has been paid, then the act has been atoned for.

(7) Measures for protective custody and security custody may not be undertaken or carried out by police organs, any more than measures for the punishment of concentration camp inmates, except from this same point of view, that is, upon approval of the intended action by the regular, independent judges.

(8) In the same manner, the administration of justice for fellow Germans must guarantee full safeguarding of individual interests in all relations pertaining to civil suits proper."

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