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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Two Hundred and Fifteenth Day: Friday, 30th August, 1946
(Part 7 of 15)

[Page 340]

[GENERAL R. A. RUDENKO, Continued]

In fact, the Charter of the Tribunal provides for the decision of the question concerning criminal organizations on the indispensable condition of considering the case of any factual representative of this organization sitting in the defendants' dock. The defendants at this Trial were, at the same time, both participants in the conspiracy and the leading members of the organizations, in whose case the Tribunal has to decide the question of considering them as criminal. Therefore, the evidence that has already been admitted in the case of individual defendants is, at the same time, the fundamental evidence for the organizations which they represent. The documents submitted by the prosecution have quite clearly proved how the organizations mentioned in the Indictment served as continuous and direct instruments for realizing the criminal plots of the conspirators. Thus the legal proceedings have fully and comprehensively proved the criminal character of these organizations.

In order to secure the most comprehensive and many-sided investigation of the cases of the organizations, the Charter of the Tribunal invited by broadcast, through the Press and by special announcements, the members of the accused organizations to submit their explanations to the Tribunal. The Tribunal is aware of the number of persons interned in concentration camps who wish to avail themselves of this possibility. The formation of an auxiliary commission enabled the Tribunal to interrogate the greatest possible number of members of the organizations who are to be examined and later judged by the National Courts. Thus, as a result of intricate preparatory work, the group of witnesses selected by the defence counsel appeared before the Tribunal. Being unable to deny the irrefutable force of the documental evidence submitted by the prosecution, the defence counsel decided to oppose them with their own witnesses.

Your Honours, we remember these witnesses and their testimonies. If more evidence were required to prove that, with the Hitlerites, lies were a constant and unvarying companion of their crimes, then the lying evidence of Kaufmann, Sievers, Manstein, Reinecke, Best and others may serve as convincing illustrations. These "witnesses" in their effort to whitewash the criminal organizations, of which they were the leading members, talked themselves into crass absurdities. The SS as well as the Gestapo are found to be a society of the elite, a club of noble-minded men - an order of knighthood. It is not without reason that the counsel for the defence had previously included Rosenberg among the knights. There everybody shines with moral purity and all are filled with charity towards their

[Page 341]

neighbours. The Obergruppenfuehrer of the SS professional henchmen went forth to save Jews from the pogroms and massacres, and General Brauchitsch was a violent pacifist.

At the same time it is instructive to note that, according to the testimonies of the witnesses, all the organizations without exception, which are considered as criminal by .the Indictment, are innocent and pure. But who in that case had committed the murder of twelve million peaceful inhabitants? Who tortured the prisoners of war and deported millions for slave labour to Germany from the occupied territories? It appears such defendants do not exist.

Lies, the cynical and blasphemous lies of people whose conscience did not hesitate before murder, and honour which did not hesitate before perjury, do not deserve to be refuted.

When examining the case concerning the criminal organizations, the prosecution submitted supplementary and striking documents testifying to new atrocities perpetrated by the criminal Hitlerite organizations.

Facts, irrefutable facts have been established. The inflexible will of the law is clear. The time has come for drawing conclusions.

At the congress of the Nazi Party in 1934, Hitler declared: "It is not the State that has created us, but it is we who have created the State. It is possible that some considered us a party, others an organization, and others again as something different, but in reality we are what we are."

The present Trial gives an exhaustive and exact answer to the question - what the Hitlerites were. The Fuehrer, at the head of a criminal gang of conspirators, appearing in different roles and nominations (Minister, Gauleiter, Obergruppenfuehrer, etc.) surrounded by a network of criminal organizations of their creation, which had seized in their clutches millions of German citizens - such was the outline of the political structure of Hitler's Germany.

The recognition of the criminality of the organizations mentioned in the Indictment, as well as the recognition of the existence of the conspiracy, are therefore the necessary conditions for the triumph of justice, the triumph longed for by all the freedom-loving nations.

With regard to the individual organizations which were necessarily considered as criminal by the prosecution, I would in addition to the convincing arguments expressed by my honourable colleagues mention the following:


In Count I, Paragraph IV, Art. (A) of the Indictment, entitled "Nazi Party as the central core of the Common Plan or Conspiracy," it is said:

"In 1921 Adolf Hitler became the supreme leader or 'Fuehrer' of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers' Party), also known as the Nazi Party, which had been founded in Germany in 1920 .... The Nazi Party, together with certain of its subsidiary organizations, became the instrument of cohesion among the defendants and their co- conspirators, and an instrument for the carrying out of the aims and purposes of their conspiracy."
The legal investigation has fully confirmed this conclusion.

The numerous crimes of Hitler's clique were inspired and directed by the Nazi Party - the motive power of the Fascist conspiracy.

Many of the defendants and the so-called witnesses of the defence said that they were nationalists, who had protected Germany from attempts by other countries. This is an evident lie. Only impostors can assert that Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and other freedom-loving countries had made any attempts against the integrity and independence of Germany. In reality the German Nazis were not nationalists but imperialists, whose main and decisive purpose was the seizure

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of foreign territory in order to ensure the expansion of militant German capitalism. They shamelessly called themselves Socialists. Only insolent demagogues can assert that German Nazis, who have destroyed all the democratic freedoms of the people and replaced them by the concentration camps, who have introduced slave labour at works and factories and restored serfdom in the villages of Germany and in the countries occupied by them - are defenders of the interests of the workers and the peasants.

And if these imperialists and reactionaries disguised themselves in the robes of "Nationalists" and "Socialists," they did this exclusively to deceive the nation.

The very programme of the Nazi Party contained the basis of the plan for domination, the seizure of foreign territories and the foundations of the hatred of humanity.

In one of the annuals of the NSDAP, published under the direction of Ley, it was said:

"The programme ...... is the political foundation of NSDAP and, consequently, the fundamental political law of the State. All legal principles should be applied in the spirit of the Party programme. After seizing power the Fuehrer managed to realize the fundamental parts of the Party programme, beginning with the basic principles, and continuing with the details."
Hitler's Party is inseparable from Hitler's Government, from the SS, Gestapo and other criminal organizations of Hitler's regime, as the Nazi leaders in the dock are inseparable from the henchmen of Auschwitz and Maidanek, Baby-Yar and Treblinka.

"What I have achieved," said Hitler, "is known to the Party, thanks to which I became great and which was in turn glorified by me."

Indeed, soon after the seizure of power by the Hitlerites the decree of 14th July, 1933, forbade the creation of any other political party. Later, on 1st December, 1933, the law "Concerning the ensuring of unity of Party and State" was issued, in which it was mentioned: "After the victory of the National Socialist revolution, the NSDAP is the bearer of German statesmanship and is indissolubly connected with the State.

To ensure close collaboration of the Party organizations with the offices of the State, the Deputy Fuehrer is appointed Member of the Government of the Reich."

Paragraph 3 of this law proclaimed the members of NSDAP and the shock detachments (including the organizations subordinated to them) as "the leaders and motive power of the National Socialist State."

The law of 1st December, 1933, was the fundamental measure, which provided the leaders of the criminal Nazi Party with full political power in Germany, since this law established the Nazi Party as the embodiment of the State.

In order to win over the masses of the population to the Fascist regime, the Hitlerites introduced the most shameless social bribery, besides gambling upon national feelings and unheard, of social demagogy. Major organizations were created: The Union of Hitler Youth, Labour Front, SA, SS, etc. Numerous members of these organizations were connected with the Fascist regime not only through various privileges and material advantages, but also by mutual responsibility in the perpetration of crimes committed in common. The overwhelming machinery of terror with its ramified network of detection, provocation, perfidy, concentration camps, and summary justice operated, against all malcontents in the regime.

The system of combining the leading posts in the Nazi Party with the leading posts of the terror organizations - SS, SD, Gestapo- and of the Government, promoted the realization of the plans of the Fascist conspirators, the plans of subjugation and control over the German people and the State of Germany.

Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler was, at the same time, Reichsleiter of the NSDAP.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ribbentrop, was General of the SS; and the Deputy Fuehrer Hess was, at the same time, a Reichsminister.

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The President of the Secret Council, Neurath, was General of the SS; and one of the leaders of the Gestapo, Best, was Kreisleiter of the Nazi Party, and so on.

After having achieved, with the assistance of the Party, full control over Germany, Hitler's conspirators began the realization of their aggressive plans. In his speech before the Reichstag, on 20th February, 1938, Hitler said:

"The greatest guarantee of the National Socialist revolution consists in complete external as well as internal domination of the National Socialist Party over Germany, and over all offices and organizations of Germany .... All offices are under the control of the supreme political leadership."
I have already mentioned in my final statement that NSDAP was transformed, under the leadership of Bormann, into a political organization which was in close interaction with the German Secret Police and SS; that the entire Party machinery of the NSDAP was utilized for the realization of the aggressive plans of the leaders of Hitlerite Germany; that the Party machinery of the NSDAP participated actively in the measures of the German military and civil authorities for the inhuman allocation of prisoners of war and participated in the deportation into slavery of the population of the territories occupied by the Germans.

When we spoke here, at the trial, about Goebbels's lies, Himmler's terrorism and Ribbentrop's perfidy - this referred in its entirety to the Nazi Party. When the prosecution submitted proofs of the criminal activities of Goering and Hess, Rosenberg and Streicher, Schirach and Frank, Speer and Sauckel, these were simultaneous proofs of charges against the NSDAP, of which the defendants were the chiefs. These proofs were quite sufficient to recognize the entire Nazi Party as a criminal organization, as understood in Article 9 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal. However, the prosecution does not put the question about the responsibility of the rank and file of the Party, many of whom became the victims of their own credulity.

In full conformity with the Indictment we raise the question of declaring it a criminal organization, only in so far as it concerns the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party, which was the brain, backbone and motive power of this party, without which the Hitlerite conspirators would not have been able to carry out their criminal plans.

The Leadership Corps was a special, selected group, within the Nazi Party itself, and as such was endowed with extraordinary prerogatives. Political Leaders were organized according to principles of leadership, which applied not only to Hitler but to the entire Leadership Corps.

"The basis of the Party organization is the principle of leadership" - is stated in the charter of the NSDAP.

Each political leader took the oath of allegiance. According to the Party Charter the wording of the oath was as follows:

"I swear inviolable allegiance to Adolf Hitler: I pledge unconditional obedience to him and the leaders appointed by him."
All Political Leaders were appointed by process of a special selection. The only difference was that some of them, such as Reichsleiter, Gauleiter and Kreisleiter, were appointed by Hitler himself, and the others - such as the department and division chiefs in Gau and Kreis, as well as Ortsgruppenleiter - by Gauleiter. Political Leaders such as Block and Zellenleiter were appointed by Kreisleiter.

Many of these Reichs- and Gauleiter have passed here before your Honours. In the defendants' dock are Reichsleiter Rosenberg, Schirach and Frick. Together with the missing Reichsleiter Bormann, Himmler, Ley and Goebbels, they represented the leading group of the Hitler Party and Government, and were also leaders of the Fascist conspiracy.

There sits the Gauleiter of Franconia - Streicher. There is the slave-dealer Sauckel Gauleiter of Thuringia. You have heard of the murderous activities of Erich Koch in the Ukraine. Erich Koch too was a Gauleiter.

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The Gauleiter of Lower Styria, Uiberreither, conducted the mass shootings and executions of Yugoslavia. I will quote again some short excerpts concerning his activities.
"20th June, 1942. Within the period accounted for, in the district of Celje, 105 people were shot and 362 arrested .... The chief of the Security Police will empty the prison in two weeks' time. One part of the imprisoned people will be transferred to other prisons - the other part will be shot. Thus we shall prepare the premises for the next large-scale campaign.

30th June, 1942. 67 persons were shot in Celje. Among them were six women," etc.

Gauleiter Wagner raged in Alsatia, Gauleiter Terboven - in Norway. Gauleiter Bohle, leader of the organization of the NSDAP abroad, installed and directed a widely ramified terroristic espionage and diversionist network and created the so-called Fifth Column in different countries.

According to the decree of the 1st September, 1939, sixteen Gauleiter were appointed Reich Plenipotentiaries for Defence. Later on in connection with the necessity for the further mobilization of military resources, the Gauleiter were endowed with functions of ever-increasing importance: each Gau (district) becomes a Reich Defence Area and each Gauleiter is appointed Commissar of this area. According to the decree of the Cabinet's Council for the Defence of the Reich of 16th November, 1942, it was established that "in wartime special functions are laid on the Gauleiter." During the war Gauleiter also attended to matters of billeting, they were entrusted with important military tasks, and all branches of German war economy were coordinated by them.

At the end of the war the Gauleiter were Commanders of the Volkssturm in their respective areas.

We should remember that when in March, 1945, Speer was appointed as Hitler's plenipotentiary for the total destruction of industrial objectives, bridges, railways and other means of communications, he addressed his telegram to the Gauleiter, for they personally directed the destruction of the important objectives on the spot.

And now, after all that has been done, the defence is trying to present Hitler's Party as a kind of welfare society, and its leaders as lady patronesses; it is trying to confuse a perfectly clear matter by a heap of written documentary evidence collected in various prisons and camps where the arrested Fascists have been kept.

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