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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Two Hundred and Fourteenth Day: Thursday, 29th August, 1946
(Part 3 of 14)

[Page 253]

"It was a matter of course that the German offices in Hungary did everything possible after 19th March to eliminate the Jewish element as rapidly and as completely as was at all possible. In view of the proximity of the Russian front, they commenced with the cleaning up of the northeastern area, where the Jewish element was the strongest numerically. Then the Jews were collected in the remaining Hungarian provinces and transported to Germany or German-controlled territories ... 100,000 Jews remained in the hands of the Hungarians to be employed in labour battalions. By the appointed day, the 9th July, the Hungarian provinces were without any Jews. Here remarkable consistency and severity were used in the shortest possible time."

[Page 254]

We do not know who received copies of that paper but we do know that Donitz contributed and that Gauleiter Kaufmann "might have received it." Moreover, it appears from what has been written on the copy we possess that that copy found its way to the NSDAP in the village of Hochen near Aachen. Donitz must have known what it contained; so must every other high-ranking Nazi official. Did Kaufmann and all his fellow Gauleiter know nothing of this hideous policy that their Nazi Government were pursuing? They say so, but they lie. Will you look at Document 49 of the document book which has been submitted in defence of the Corps of Political Leaders. It is a confidential information bulletin issued by the Nazi Party from the Party Chancellery on 9th October, 1942. It deals with the preparatory measures for the final solution of the Jewish question in Europe, and rumours concerning the conditions of the Jews in the East. It is a document which bears in the margin the remark "Open only for G and K," which may mean for Gau and Kreis. But it shows beyond all question that knowledge of these things went far below Kreis. Listen to what it says:
"While the final solution of the Jewish question is being worked out, discussions are going on among the population of various parts of the Reich territory concerning 'very severe measures' against the Jews, particularly those in the Eastern territories. Investigations have shown that such statements - mostly in distorted or exaggerated form - were passed on by men on leave from various units employed in the East who personally had the opportunity to observe such measures."
You may think after what you have heard that it was not possible to exaggerate the "very severe measures" which the soldiers on leave from the East were discussing - and must have been discussing ever since September, 1941, in every village and homestead throughout Germany. But even if they were exaggerated, they are not denied. The article, which is appended as a footnote (2.) makes five main points:

[Page 255]

(a) The measures carried out up to that date, namely, elimination of Jews from the various walks of life of the German people, and expelling the Jews completely from Reich territory were no longer possible by emigration.

(b) The next generation will no longer consider this question as so vital. Therefore the problem must be served by this generation.

(c) The complete segregation and elimination of the millions of Jews residing in the European economic sphere remains a compelling necessity of the German peoples' struggle for existence.

(d) Starting with the Reich territory and then going over to the other European countries included in the final solution the Jews will, according to a steady plan, be shipped to the East into large camps ... from where they will be either used for labour or sent still further to the East.

(e) These very difficult problems will only be solved with ruthless severity.

If they still deny knowledge of the real fate that awaited these Jews, not one of these defendants, not one of the witnesses who have given evidence before you or before your Commissioners, not one of the members of these organizations can deny knowledge of their deportation. And what could they have thought of the meaning of the phrase:
"Their complete elimination is no longer possible by emigration"?
On the mildest interpretation, this treatment of Jews in occupied territory is a war crime. The Leadership Corps is being mobilised to ensure that public opinion will not only condone, but support and encourage this war crime. If there were nothing else, this would stamp it as criminal.


In the occupied territories the Corps of Political Leaders were as responsible as any others for the crimes committed against the local population. Frick, on 16th December, 1941, in giving Rainer his instructions on his appointment as Gauleiter of Carinthia, urged him in the strongest terms to Germanize the Slovenes in the incorporated territory and eradicate the Slovenic language. (3.) We strongly contest the suggestion of Dr. Servatius that it was admissible to Germanize former German nations. The claim to Germanize any Slav who was held in the old Empire has only to be stated for its preposterous character to be seen.

Gauleiter by themselves could not execute such orders. Their subordinates had to play their part. You will remember the instructions of 30th April, 1942, issued by the Kreisleiter in Pettau to all Ortsgruppenleiter, for the removal of all Slovenian inscriptions from all religious and other sites. (4.)

We know that the business discussed at the Gauleiter's Staff Conferences at Marburg included the transfer to Serbia of two thousand persons, the placing of hundreds in concentration camps, and retaliatory shootings. In June of 1942, when the subject was the evacuation of the prison of Cilli, it is stated that the

[Page 256]

prisoners were to be transferred or shot to create the necessary space for a large-scale operation. On 13th July half of the four hundred arrested are to be rendered harmless through delivery to a concentration camp or shooting. A similar incident, including this time the shooting of a priest, is told in the minutes for March. (5.)

In Poland, too, the Political Leaders are co-operating in the appalling treatment of the local people. A letter from the Reich Security H.Q. in November, 1942, to the directors of the SD sections informs them of the iniquitous agreement between Himmler and Thierack by which a trial is to be denied to Poles, Eastern nationals, Jews and gipsies. It is based on the impudent theory that they are inferior people living in the German Reich territory. What is interesting in this argument is that there is to be no hesitation in informing the Gauleiter. What possible need could there be to inform the latter unless it was that his assistance and co-operation might be required? (6.)


I pass to consider the evidence in connection with slave labour which shows perhaps more clearly than the evidence we have in respect of any other particular crime, how deeply every branch of the Corps of Political Leaders was involved. Every witness that has been called by the defence has denied all knowledge of or participation in the maltreatment of foreign labourers, but what is such evidence worth when you consider the documents which have been presented? The treatment of Polish agricultural workers, for whose care the Bauernfuehrer on staffs of the Gau-, Kreis- and Ortsgruppenleiter were particularly responsible, can be seen from the instructions issued to the Kreisbauernschaften in Karlsruhe in March, 1941. They were instructions which were issued as a result of negotiations between the State Peasant Association of Baden and the Higher SS and Police Officer in Stuttgart, and they were received with "great satisfaction." The Polish labourer was no longer to have any right to complain. He was prohibited transport, entertainment and religious worship; he was forbidden to change his employment; there were to be no time limits to his working hours:

"Every employer has the right to award corporal punishment to farm workers of Polish nationality .... The employer may not be held accountable in any such case by an official agency. Farm workers of Polish nationality should, if possible, be removed from the community of the home and they can be quartered in stables, etc. No remorse whatever should restrict such action."

[Page 257]

Can it really be possible that instructions of that nature were issued in Karlsruhe and nowhere else? Is it possible that while the Poles in Baden were being treated like animals, in the next-door Gau they were being accepted as members of the family? This is the evidence of the witness Mohr called on behalf of the Bauernfuehrer before the Commission:
"In practically all cases, I think with very few exceptions, the foreign labourer was accepted in the farmer's family unit. He ate with the family and moved around in the circle of the farmer's family."
In the industrial areas the responsibility for the care of foreign workers was in the hands of the DAF Political Leaders. Sauckel had decreed m March, 1942:
"The food supply for the industrial workers in transit within the Reich is the duty of the DAF .... The care for the foreign workers employed in the Reich will be carried out ... by the DAF in the case of non-farm labourers .... All camps with foreign non-agrarian workers, regardless of who furnishes or maintains the camps, will be cared for by the DAF .... In the German Gaue, the Gauleiter will have the rights of inspection and control of the execution of these orders."
It is unnecessary to remind you of the appalling conditions in which the workers of Essen barely existed. Once again I ask: is it possible that the Gauleiter, Kreisleiter, Ortsgruppenleiter, Zellen- and Blockleiter and the Political Leaders of the DAF in Essen were unaware of these conditions, when the hutments in which the workers lived and the punishment cells in which they were confined and tortured are situated, as the photographs show, in the very grounds of the Krupp foundries and workshops; with the works railway running within a few feet of their doors; and with the Krupp cranes stretching almost above their roofs?

It is said that if indeed any such conditions did exist in Essen, they were exceptional, and due only to the chaos caused by Allied bombing. But it is not so. Before the bombing of Essen had started, the Office Chief of Krupps Locomotive Construction Works was complaining that:

"the people came in the morning without bread and tools. During both breaks the prisoners of war crept up to the German workers and begged for bread, pitifully pointing out their hunger."
He went to the kitchens to try to find them food:
"Since a few Russians had collapsed already, I telephoned Fraulein Block and asked for an increase in the food as the special ration had ceased from the second day onwards. As my telephone conversation was unsuccessful, I again visited Fraulein Block personally. Fraulein Block refused in a very abrupt manner to give any further special ration."
Fraulein Block did not let the matter rest there. She reported it to the DAF who requested the Krupps Office Chief to go and see them.

The DAF representative:

"accused me, gesticulating in a very insulting manner, saying that I had taken the part of the Bolsheviks in too apparent a way. He referred to the law paragraphs of the Reich Government which spoke against it .... I then tried to make it clear with special emphasis that the Russian prisoners of war were assigned to us as workers and not as Bolsheviks. The people were starved and were not in a position to perform the heavy work in boiler making which they were supposed to do. Sick people are a liability to us and not a help to production. To this remark Herr Prior stated that if one was worth nothing, then another was, that the Bolsheviks were soulless people and if 100,000 of them died another 100,000 would replace them."
Nor can it be true that these conditions and this treatment were confined only to Essen. In March, 1943, Goebbels found it necessary to hold a conference on the question of increasing production. The minutes of that conference report:
"The hitherto prevailing treatment of the Eastern workers has led not only to diminished production but has most disadvantageously influenced the

[Page 258]

political orientation of the people in conquered Eastern territories, and has resulted in the well-known difficulties for our troops .... The treatment of foreigners which, until now, was markedly different for subjects of Western and Eastern countries, will be put on a uniform basis as much as possible, in particular the living standards of the Eastern workers will be raised."
We see from those minutes the attitude of the Party Chancellery - the Party Chancellery from which the Corps of Political Leaders received their orders. Its representative "pointed out the controversies which are already appearing and which would result for the German population if more freedom were granted for the foreigners."

But the need for increased war production was all important, and - notwithstanding the fears his representative had expressed at the meeting in March - on the 5th May, 1943, Bormann issued from the Party Chancellery a memorandum to all Reichsleiter, Gauleiter, Verbandefuehrer, Kreisleiter and Ortsgruppenleiter. They were instructed that the treatment of foreign labourers should become more humane although at the same time it was "demanded by members of the German race that they observe the difference between themselves and foreign nationals as a patriotic duty .... Injustices, insults, trickery, maltreatment, etc., must be discontinued. Punishment by beating is forbidden."

Does not that document illustrate the utter lie that every one of these witnesses for the defence has told? Does it not show more clearly perhaps than any other document the savage brutality with which the Political Leaders of the National Socialist Party were encouraging the people of Germany? Is it not almost beyond our comprehension that in these days of enlightenment in a great and civilized country, orders should have been necessary from the Government to its Political Leaders to discontinue the maltreatment of men and women that they had deported into slavery? Is it not inconceivable that it should have been necessary to forbid their Political Leaders and their employers to beat the men and women working for them?

Lastly, upon this aspect of the case, you will remember the instructions issued by the Gaustabsamtsleiter from Strasbourg in the Gau Baden-Alsace. Foreign woman workers induced to sexual intercourse by Germans were to be taken temporarily into protective custody and then sent to another place of work.

"In other cases the foreign female worker will be sent to a concentration camp for women."
Their children, if they were racially satisfactory and hereditarily healthy, were to be seized from them immediately after birth to "go to homes for foreign children to be looked after by the National Socialist Welfare organization."

The provisions of that order do little more than add a detail to the evidence we already have of the callous brutality which was prescribed by the Party for the treatment of foreign workers. But it is an important document because it shows how many branches of the Political Leaders were involved in this trafficking in slaves. Kreisleiter and the Kreisobmann of the German Labour Front were to report cases of pregnancy. In fact, as one might expect, it was the Ortsgruppenleiter that made the necessary enquiries. As well as the DAF and NSV, the order was circulated to the Gau Propaganda Leiter, the Gau Press Leiter, the Gauamtsleiter for Racial Policy, for National Health, for Peasantry, for National Welfare, for Questions of Race, the Gau Political Leader of the National Socialist Women's Organization and to similar staff officers on the Kreisleiter's staff. It is perhaps worth noting the action - or as it might more accurately be described, the lack of action - which the National Socialist Welfare Organization took:

"As far as I can find out up to now," reports the Kreisleiter of Villigen, "there have been about 21 pregnancies, of these four abortions are said to have been carried out, during which two of the women died. Of the remaining 17 births, five were stillborn. Welfare work by the NSV has not take place anywhere."

[Page 259]

You see once again the Corps of Political Leaders working hand in hand with the Security Police and the SD and the Reich Commissar for the Consolidation of the German Race, another institution over which Himmler reigned supreme.

On this subject it would almost be enough to say: It is admitted by Dr. Servatius that the Political Leaders knew that the majority of the workers were forced. It is submitted that they supervised the condition of that labour. Thereafter res ipsa loquitur.


The Attorney-General has already addressed you upon the vast scale on which the murder of sick and aged persons was carried out. That "action" commenced some time in the summer of 1940, but long before then, in pursuance of their racial policy, the Nazi Government were taking steps to improve the German race. One document we have, dated January, 1937, is illuminating upon the part the Political Leaders were expected to take. It is a letter from the Gauleiter of Westfalen South setting out Hess's decree of 14th January, 1937:

"The question whether the person is an imbecile cannot be ascertained solely by carrying out an intelligence test, but requires detailed evaluation of the whole personality of the human being. This review shall not only take into consideration the knowledge and intellectual abilities of the imbecile but also his ethical, moral and political attitude. A number of civil service doctors have, up to date, attached little importance to the reviewing of the personality as a whole. They have, up to now, hardly ever called for or used information regarding the political conduct of the supposed patient. Now that the Party, by virtue of the decree of the Reich and Prussian Minister of the Interior, is consulted in the proceedings on matters of hereditary diseases against Party members, it is the task of all Gauleiter to ascertain that the law regarding hereditary health will in fact be used in the sense in which it was designed .... He must investigate whether the person about to be sterilized has achieved very outstanding merits for the National Socialist movement. If the Gauleiter reaches this conviction and feels that he must use his influence to prevent the sterilization, he will report to this department."

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