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 July to 27th July 1946

One Hundred and Eighty-Eighthth Day: Saturday, 27th July, 1946
(Part 7 of 8)


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Kaltenbrunner, as chief of the RSHA, must be guilty. The reports of the Einsatz Commandos were sent to him monthly. You will remember the words of Gisevius, a witness for the defence:
"We asked ourselves whether it was possible that an even worse man could possibly be found after such a monster as Heydrich .... Kaltenbrunner came ... and things got worse every day .... He had the experience that perhaps the impulsive actions of a murderer like Heydrich were not as bad as the cold legal logic of a lawyer who was handling such a dangerous instrument as the Gestapo."
You will remember his description of those horrible luncheon parties at which Kaltenbrunner discussed every detail of the gas chambers and of the technique of mass murder.

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Rosenberg's guilt as the philosopher and theorist who made the ground fertile for the seeds of Nazi policy is not in doubt, and it is beyond belief that he, as Reich Minister for Eastern Occupied Territories, did not know of and support the destruction of the ghettoes and the operations of the Einsatz Commandos. In October, 1941, when the operations of those Commandos were at their height, one of Rosenberg's ministerial department chiefs was writing to the Reich Commissioner for the East in Riga informing him that the Reich Security Main Office had complained that he had forbidden the executions of the Jews in Libau and asking for a report upon the matter. On 15th November, the report comes back addressed to the Reich Minister for Occupied Eastern Territories:
"I have forbidden the wild executions of Jews in Libau because they were not justifiable in the manner in which they were carried out. I should like to be informed whether your inquiry of 31st October is to be regarded as a directive to liquidate all Jews in the East? Shall this take place without regard to age and sex and economic interests? ... Of course, the cleansing of the East of Jews is a necessary task; its solution, however, must be harmonised with the necessities of war production."
Frank - if it is not sufficient to convict him that he was responsible for the administration of the Government General and for one of the bloodiest and most brutal chapters in Nazi history - has himself stated:
"One cannot kill all lice and all Jews in one year."
It is no coincidence that that was exactly Hitler's language.

And again:

"As far as the Jews are concerned, I want to tell you quite frankly that they must be done away with in one way or another .... Gentlemen, I must ask you to rid yourselves of all feeling of pity. We must annihilate the Jews wherever we find them and whenever it is possible in order to maintain the structure of the Reich as a whole .... We cannot shoot or poison 3,500,000 Jews, but we shall nevertheless be able to take measures which will lead to their annihilation."
Can Frick, as Minister of the Interior, have been unaware of the policy to exterminate the Jews? In 1941 one of his subordinates, Heydrich, was writing to another - the Minister of Justice:
"It may safely be assumed that in the future there will be no more Jews in the annexed Eastern territories."
Can he, as Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia, deny responsibility for the deportations of thousands of Jews from his territory to the gas chambers of Auschwitz, only a few miles across the frontier?

Of Streicher, one need say nothing. Here is a man more responsible, perhaps, than any, for the most frightful crime the world has ever known. For twenty-five years the extermination of the Jews had been his terrible ambition. For twenty-five years he had educated the German people in the philosophy of hate, of brutality, of murder. He had incited and prepared them to support the Nazi policy, to accept and participate in the brutal persecution and slaughter of millions of his fellow-men. Without him these things could not have been. It is long since he forfeited all right to live.

The fact that the defendants Schacht and Funk dealt chiefly with economics ought not to blind the Tribunal to their important part in the general plan. Schacht says that he had clean hands in this matter. It is for you to say. Schacht played his part in bringing Hitler to power. He says he thought that Hitler was "a man with whom one could co- operate", and assured Hitler that he could always count on him "as your reliable assistant". He helped to consolidate the Nazi position and he was the main figure in collecting election funds from the industrialis

ts. It then became his task to provide the economic plan and machinery necessary to launch and maintain aggression. He knew the policy about the Jews, he knew the methods Hitler was using to build up his power, he knew the ultimate aim was

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aggression. But he continued to play his part. Messersmith has summed up his work:
"Yet by Schacht's resourcefulness, his complete financial ruthlessness and his absolute cynicism, Schacht was able to maintain and to establish the situation for the Nazis. Unquestionably, without this complete lending of his capacities to the Nazi Government, and all of its ambitions, it would have been impossible for Hitler and the Nazis to develop an armed force sufficient to permit Germany to launch an aggressive war."
The fact that that was in Schacht's mind was shown at a very early date most clearly in a secret report issued by his Ministry of Economics on 30th September, 1934. I have already referred to his deputy's report showing the amazing detail in which plans and preparations for the management of German economy in time of war had been worked out before Schacht resigned in 1937.

It is not surprising that on Schacht's 60th birthday the then German Minister of War, von Blomberg, said to him:

"Without your help, my dear Schacht, none of this armament could have taken place."
In the witness box Schacht says that as early as .the second half of 1934 and the first half of 1935 he found he was "wrong in thinking" that Hitler would bring the "revolutionary forces" of Nazism into the regular atmosphere, and he discovered that Hitler did nothing to stop the excesses of individual Party Members or Party Groups. He was pursuing a "policy of terror".

That accords very closely with Schacht's statement to the American Ambassador in September, 1934:

" ... the Hitler Party is absolutely committed to war and the people too are ready and willing. Only a few Government officials are aware of the danger and are opposed."
Schacht's further suggestions that his purpose in the Government was to be critical and was to act as a brake are, as we submit, impossible to reconcile with his own actions. He need not have become Minister of Economics according to his own account, but he did so none the less. In May, 1935, the month in which he undertook his task as General Plenipotentiary for War Economy, "to put all economic forces in the service of carrying on the war and to secure the life of the German people economically", he wrote to Hitler:
"All expenditures which are not urgently needed in other matters must stop and the entire, in itself small, financial power of Germany must be concentrated toward the one goal - to arm."
In May, 1936, he told a secret meeting of Nazi Ministers that his programme of financing armaments had meant "the commitment of the last reserve from the beginning". He said he would continue to work since he stood "with unswerving loyalty to the Fuehrer because he fully recognises the basic idea of National Socialism".

In 1937, when Hitler bestowed the Golden Party Badge upon him, Schacht appealed to all his colleagues:

"Further to devote with all their hearts their entire strength to the Fuehrer and the Reich. The German future lies in the hands of our Fuehrer."
The mercy killings; the persecution of the Jews. These things must have been known at that time. Were his hands so clean?

In the light of these quotations it is not unexpected to find Ambassador Dodd, whom Schacht counted among his friends, recalling in his diary on 21st December, 1937:

"Much as he dislikes Hitler's dictatorship he (Schacht) as most other eminent Germans wishes annexation, without war if possible, with war if the United States will keep hands off."
These quotations, in our submission, make it clear that Schacht knew well that Hitler's aim was war very much earlier than he himself admits. He does admit,

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however, that he knew that the plot to discredit General von Fritsch meant war. Despite that knowledge, on 9th August, 1938, he accepted the appointment, as Reichsbank President for an additional four years. He joyously took part in the acquisition of the former Austrian National Bank on 21st March, 1938, and on 7th June, 1939, wrote to Hitler:
"From the beginning the Reichsbank has been aware of the fact that a successful foreign policy could be attained only by the reconstruction of the German armed forces. It therefore assumed to a very great extent the responsibility to finance the rearmament in spite of the inherent dangers to the currency. The justification thereof was the necessity - which pushed all other considerations into the background - to carry through the armament at once, out of nothing and furthermore under camouflage which made a respect-commanding foreign policy possible."
These words, and others like them, are merely putting into fine phrases Schacht's knowledge that, if the proposed victims resisted, Hitler was prepared and would be able to plunge into war conditions to achieve his aims. Schacht's intellect and international position only increased the cynical immorality of his crimes.

Moreover, Schacht must face these facts. The Tribunal has seen the evidence of the film which showed his sycophantic trotting beside Hitler and smarming over him in 1940. Long before 1943 he must have known of the treatment of the Jews and the reign of terror in occupied countries. Yet until 1943 Schacht remained a minister without portfolio and at all events lent his name and weight to this regime of horror. Should anyone be left to boast that he did this with impunity?

Funk carried on Schacht's work. He had already rendered invaluable service to the conspirators by his organization of the Ministry of Propaganda. From 1938 on he was Minister of Economics, President of the Reichsbank and Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics, mobilising economy for aggressive war well knowing the Nazi plans for aggression. We find him in every field; attending Goering's conference on 12th November, 1938, the meeting of the Reich Defence Council in June, 1939, advising on decrees to be issued against the Jews at the former and the employment of concentration camp and slave labour at the latter. The final proof of the welcome with which he viewed aggression is found in his letter to Hitler on the 25th August, 1939 the day before the invasion of Poland had been said to begin; he said:

"How happy and how grateful we must be to you to be favoured to experience these colossal and world-moving times, and that we can contribute to the tremendous events of these days. General Field-Marshal Goering informed me last night that you - my Fuehrer -have approved in principle the measures prepared by me for financing the war, for settling up the wage and price system and for carrying out the plan for an emergency contribution.

With the proposals worked out by me regarding a ruthless choking of any unessential consumption and any public expenditure and project not necessary for war, we will be able to meet all financial and economic demands without any serious repercussions."

His part during the war needs no further mention than reference to the minutes of the Central Planning Board and to his arrangement with Himmler for the exploitation of the SS loot which, as he knew, came in truck-loads from Auschwitz and the other concentration camps to the vaults of the Reichsbank. The Tribunal will also remember the document which shows that his Ministry of Economics received enormous quantities of civilian clothing from these unhappy victims.

Was Donitz ignorant, when he addressed to a navy of some 600,000 men a speech on the "spreading poison of Jewry"? Donitz, who thought fit to circulate to the Naval War Staff Hitler's directive for dealing with the general strike at Copenhagen - "terror should be met by terror" - and asked for 12,000

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concentration camp workers for the shipyards, recommending collective reprisals for Scandinavian workers in view of the efficacy of similar methods in France.

Are Raeder's hands unstained with the blood of murder? As early as 1933, to use his own words:

"Hitler had made a clear political request to build up by the 1st April, 1938, armed forces which he could put in the balance as an instrument of political power."
When, therefore, he received successive orders to fight if war resulted from Hitler's foreign policy, he knew very well that war was a certain risk if that policy went awry. Again and again he had this warning, first when Germany left the Disarmament Conference, again at the time of the negotiations for the Naval Agreement in 1935, at the time of the Rhineland, and later when he attended the famous Hoszbach Conference. He has tried to persuade this Tribunal that he regarded Hitler's speeches at these meetings as mere talk, yet we know that they gave Neurath a heart attack. His old service comrades, von Blomberg and von Fritsch, who were unwise enough to object at the conference which sealed the fate of Austria and Czechoslovakia, were dealt with in a manner which, in his own words, shook his confidence not only in Goering but in Hitler as well.

Can Raeder have been ignorant of the murder of thousands of Jews at Libau in the Baltic? You will remember the evidence that many of them were killed in the naval port and the facts reported by his naval officers at the local headquarters to Kiel. We now know from the report of the Commando which dealt with the Jews of Libau that at the end of January, 1942, they had accounted for 11,860 in that district alone. Raeder who, on Heroes' Day, 1939, spoke of the clear and inspiring summons to fight international Jewry. Do you really believe, when he was always helping individual Jews, he had never heard of the horrors of concentration camps or the murder of millions? Yet he still went on.

Von Schirach. What need one say of him? That it were better that a millstone had been placed round his neck...? It was this wretched man who perverted millions of innocent German children so that they might grow up and become what they did become - the blind instruments of that policy of murder and domination which these men carried out.

The infamous "Heu Aktion" by which between forty and fifty thousand Soviet children were kidnapped into slavery was a product of his work. You will remember the weekly SS reports on the extermination of the Jews found in his office.

What is the crime of Sauckel whose Gau contained the infamous camp of Buchenwald? Sauckel may now seek to put a gloss on his order to shanghai Frenchmen, to deny that he advocated the hanging of a prefect or a mayor to crush opposition, to say that references to ruthless action referred to interdepartmental disputes and that reformatory labour camps were purely educational institutions. You who have seen the documents which attest the horrors perpetrated in what we are now told was the product of an emergency - the urgent need for workers to feed the Nazi war machine, you who have heard and read of the conditions in which seven million men, women and children torn from their homes were dragged into slavery at his orders can need no further proof of his guilt.

Papen and, if mercy can survive his record in Czechoslovakia, Neurath are in like case with Raeder. Like him they professed old family and professional integrity, factors which carry with them a great responsibility from which men like Ribbentrop and Kaltenbrunner are free.

Within eighteen months of putting Hitler in power Papen knew that Hitler's Government meant oppression of opponents, ill- treatment of the Jews and persecution of the Churches including his own. His recent political friends had been sent to concentration camps or killed, including men like von Schleicher and von Bredow. He had himself been arrested, two members of his staff killed and another

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compelled to witness killing. None of these things were hidden from von Neurath, yet he remained in office.

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