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 13 of 15)

[Page 366]

[GENERAL R. A. RUDENKO, Continued]

An entire programme for training agents of the Einsatzgruppen recruited from collaborators in foreign countries and Germans from the Sudetenland was prepared. The utilization of "suitable persons" of German origin living in Czechoslovakia was equally envisaged, and special mention was made of the point that: "one must bear in mind that in spite of all precautionary measures we shall not have many such people at our disposal since, under certain conditions, a considerable number will be arrested, deported or killed."

The Einsatzgruppen, organized and prepared in German territory, were to concentrated near the German-Czechoslovak border in order to move info Czechoslovak territory jointly with the invading armies. In this connection document says:

"2. As soon as any district is free from the enemy, i.e., when occupied, the allocated groups are immediately sent to the district administration centre, following the leading troops. With them at the same time, definite groups appointed for the next regions to be freed from the enemy, in order to gain a hold there."
For refuting the statement of the defence concerning the relations between the SD and the Gestapo, the fifth part of the document is of considerable interest, this passage being specially dedicated to the delimitation of the activities of the SD and the Gestapo. It says there: "Measures in the Reich are carried out under the direction of the Gestapo. The SD assist them. Measures in the occupied regions are under the leadership of a senior SD leader. The Gestapo officials are appointed to certain special purpose staffs."

There is therefore no possible doubt that it was precisely the members of the SD who played the leading role in the activities of the Einsatzkommandos in Czechoslovakia. They were to stand at the head of the Einsatzkommandos, executing directly the tasks assigned to them by the Reichsfuehrer SS, for the extermination of the Czech patriots, the annihilation of the intellectuals and the suppression of any kind of national movement of liberation in the occupied country.

We have to pay special attention to the fact that members of the SD specially detailed to the Einsatzgruppen had to establish, as we can see from Paragraph 7 of the document, a liaison with the units of the armed SS forces, or with the SS units of special task units called the "Totenkopf." The Einsatzkommando, specially formed by the SD before the invasion of the Czechoslovak territory, had to accomplish, in Germany, a preparatory criminal task. This consisted in

[Page 367]

the creation of the so-called "M Index Card." These index cards were prepared in duplicate for each district. The names of persons who for one reason or another were to be eliminated were entered on these "M Index Cards." Questions of life and death were decided by a simple note entered on the index cards by an agent of the SD.

In the document quoted by me it is said in this respect:

"(c) The card index, when filled in, must bear the references: arrest, dismissal, removal from office, observation, confiscation, police surveillance, deprival of passport, etc."
The compiling from the card index of all kinds of reference books in which were entered the names of these people captured in the temporarily occupied territories, who were to be physically eliminated, was in general one of the inalienable tasks of the SD. The direct physical elimination was realized later by the Gestapo or by the special SS units, by the Sonderkommandos, and the regular police.

In preparing the aggression against the Soviet Union, the members of the SD carefully compiled a whole series of reference books and investigation lists, in which were entered the names of the representatives of the Soviet intellectuals and political leaders who were to be exterminated in accordance with the inhuman directives of the Hitlerite criminals.

Appendix No. 2 to Operational Order No. 8 of the Chief of Security Police of the SD, dated 17th July, 1941, said that long before the beginning of the war against the Soviet Union, the Security Service had compiled the "German Research Book," "Lists of the Addresses," and a "Special Research Book for the USSR," in which are entered all the names of "Soviet Russians considered as dangerous."

We know from these instructions of Heydrich what the intentions of the Hitlerite criminals in respect to those "dangerous Russians" were.

All of them, without any judicial sentence whatsoever, were to be exterminated by the Sonderkommandos in conformity with instructions No. 8 and No. 14 of the RSHA, dated 17th July and 29th October, 1941, respectively.

The same criminal task was carried out by the SD prior to the invasion of Yugoslavia. The Soviet prosecution presented to the Tribunal a "Research Book" prepared by the German Balkan Institute; the so-called "Sud-Ost Deutches Institut," pertaining to the SD. This book contained the names of over 4,000 Yugoslav citizens who were to be arrested immediately after the invasion of Yugoslavia. The book, previously prepared by the SD, was transmitted to the executive police, i.e., the Gestapo, which was to operate these arrests directly.

The book was found in the registry office of the Gestapo at Maribor and bore the following stamp made by an SD member: "The persons mentioned in the text are to be arrested and the RSHA to be informed immediately about the completion of the task."

This institute of the SD carried on a special and undermining activity by preparing Fifth Column agents in Yugoslavia. A fellow worker in the SD, a lecturer in Graz University, Hermann Ibler, prepared on this occasion a special work entitled Des Reiches Sudgrenze, which bears the stamp "top secret" and includes a list of Fifth Column agents in Yugoslavia.

It was the SD who staged political provocation abroad. The former Chief of the Security Police and SD, Kaltenbrunner, had to confess to this, when interrogated by the representative of the Soviet prosecution. He could not even deny his signature on the letter to Ribbentrop, concerning the allocation by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of one million tomans for bribing voters in Iran.

The workers in the SD fully understood the part assigned to them in the occupied territories for the realization of the inhuman Hitlerite plans for the extermination of the enslaved nation.

[Page 368]

From this point of view a German document captured by the units of the Polish Army in the Blockstelle of the SD at Mogilno (Poland) and presented to the Tribunal by the Soviet prosecution is most characteristic.

In this letter addressed to the intelligence agents of the SD, a certain chief of a Blockstelle, a Hauptsturmfuehrer SS, informs them of Himmler's speech of 15th March, 1940, in which the latter requested the commanders of the concentration camps scattered over Poland first to utilize the qualified Polish workers in the system of the military industries of the concentration camps, and later to exterminate all these Poles. In his turn this Hauptsturmfuehrer SS from Mogilno, therefore, requested all his "trusted intelligence agents" of the SD to prepare lists of Poles whom they considered as dangerous in order to exterminate them at a later date.

The SD was one of the most important links in the inhuman SS police machinery of German Fascism. It was an espionage and intelligence organization spread over the entire territory both of the "Old Reich," as well as throughout all the temporarily occupied regions and countries. In certain instances it was the agents of the SD who initiated the most cruel police measures of the Hitlerites.

For this reason the Soviet prosecution, supported by irrefutable evidence, considers that the entire system of the SD is to be declared criminal.


In the course of the present Trial there have been repeated attempts on the part of several of the defendants, the defence and those witnesses for the defence from among the generals of Hitlerite Germany, to represent both the German High Command and the General Staff as organizations whose activities were guided by the sole and fundamental principle of "fulfillment of their soldierly duty."

The higher echelons of the German war machine were allegedly far removed from the criminal politics of the Hitlerite Government, did not participate in the solution of political problems, and confined their activities exclusively to the fulfillment of orders emanating from the Commander-in-Chief in the spheres of purely military matters.

An opinion was expressed to the effect that the German General Staff, in view of the nature of the military structure then existing in Hitlerite Germany, was neither more nor less than a subsidiary technical organization.

In conclusion, attempts were repeatedly made, and this is quite understandable, to separate, by all possible means, the Army High Command from the activities of the German police organizations and of the SS.

Anybody who has followed the development of European politics after the First World War is perfectly aware that the Kaiser's officers and generals immediately showed their willingness to return to the game that they had lost. They blamed everything and everybody - except themselves - for the military rout of Germany, they created illegal military organizations, nourished dreams of revenge, and were prepared to sell their honour and their swords to any political adventurer who would not hesitate to start another world war. It was in the spirit of these "traditions" that a new generation of officers was educated. Nor was it an accident that the future leader of this generation, Adolf Hitler, appeared out the void in the political arena with the direct moral and financial support of the Reichswehr.

The Reichswehr, with few exceptions, followed this adventurer with enthusiasm when he, having seized the power, immediately began to rearm Germany. The haughty Prussian generals bowed to Hitler, the corporal, because they realized that Hitler meant war.

Field-Marshals Brauchitsch, Milch, Manstein and others came here under an Allied guard to give false testimony, regarding their own positions, to the International Military Tribunal.

[Page 369]

And so we saw a peculiar metamorphosis. Wolves became sheep. I do not know just what kind of artless people Brauchitsch, for instance, expected to find, when he declared himself a confirmed pacifist. If we are to believe him, he, the Commander-in-Chief of the German Land Forces, knew nothing whatever of any aggressive plans, nothing of the coming invasions of Austria and Czechoslovakia, and persistently and importunately persuaded Hitler not to fight.

Such a clumsy defence could deceive nobody but himself.

I shall only allow myself to dwell briefly on evidence disproving the dodges and devices of the defence, whose chief aim has been to camouflage and diminish the scope and nature of the criminal activities of the leading German military organizations.


Evidence submitted to the Tribunal proves beyond all manner of doubt that both the General Staff and the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces were fully informed of the criminal plans of aggression on the part of the Hitlerite Government, that they shared these plans and actively participated both in their preparation and realization.

The aggressive anti-social plans of the Hitler conspirators became known in Germany to every German from the time when Hitler's Mein Kampf appeared. They were widely advertised and circulated from day to day and month to month.

From the very beginning these plans were adopted by the German military leaders, who subsequently placed both their experience and their knowledge at the service of the Hitlerite State.

I do not however intend delving into the history of the Hitlerite State and its military machine, to prove just when and under what conditions the subsequent criminal activities of the leading German military organizations emerged.

I only want to recall the extremely important evidence referring to the period of the outbreak of war.

As far back as 23rd May, 1939, at the staff meeting held in the new Reich Chancellery, Hitler told his supreme military chiefs:

"Danzig is not the point. What I am talking about is the expansion of our 'Lebensraum' to the east .... Thus the question of whether Poland is to be spared automatically disappears, and there remains only the decision to attack Poland at the first opportunity."
While expounding his military and political plans to his senior officers and generals at the staff meeting of 22nd August, 1939, in Obersalzberg, Hitler stated:
"In the first place there is the annihilation of Poland ... if there is also to be war in the West, still the primary task is to destroy Poland .... I shall provide some excuse for beginning the war, which will serve propaganda purposes; whether it is true or not is unimportant."
At the conference of the commanders-in-chief which took place on 23rd November, 1939, Hitler stated, while talking to his closest military advisers:
"Basically I did not organize the armed forces in order not to strike. The decision to strike was always in me. Earlier or later I wanted to solve the problem. The situation is necessarily such that at least for the moment action in the East is out of the question."
Does this not prove the fact, that where the high military leaders of Hitlerite Germany were concerned, Hitler made no secret of his criminal plans?

Even more convincing in this respect are the operational documents of the German Command, in which the criminal aims of aggression of the Hitler Government are cynically described.

In Hitler's directive of 30th May, 1938, dealing with the execution of the plan "Grun" for the seizure of Czechoslovakia, it is said:

"It is my unalterable decision to smash Czechoslovakia by military action in the near future ....

[Page 370]

From a military as well as a political standpoint the most favourable course is a lightning-swift action as the result of an incident, through which Germany is provoked in an unbearable way, and which at least part of the world will consider as moral justification for military action."
Or the directive of the 27th March, 1941, regarding the seizure of Yugoslavia, which provides that:
"Even if Yugoslavia should declare her loyalty to us, we should still consider her an enemy and subsequently beat her down at the first opportunity."
This cynical frankness reaches its climax in the German military and operational documents dealing with preparations for attacking the USSR.

In a directive of the OKW of 13th March, 1941, with regard to "special regions," i.e., long before the attack on the USSR, it was stated:

"The Russian territory which is to be occupied shall be divided up into individual States with governments of their own, as soon as military operations are concluded."
In the "Instructions on the use of propaganda in the Barbarossa Region," published by the OKW in June, 1941, it was foreseen that "for the time being it is not suitable that the aims of our propaganda should be the dismemberment of the Soviet Union."

Finally, Directive No. 21, dated 18th December, 1940, coded under the name of "Plan Barbarossa," stated:

"The final aim of the operation is to cut oneself off from Asiatic Russia by following the general line of Archangel-Volga."
The former Field-Marshal of the German Army Friedrich Paulus gave the Tribunal an exhaustive explanation of this "final aim," pursued by Hitlerite Germany in its war against the Soviet Union, and which was known to the entire High Command of the German armed forces.

A no less convincing proof on this matter was given to the Tribunal by my American colleague, who presented an order of Field-Marshal von Mannstein, former commander of the German 11th Army. In this order von Mannstein, when explaining the political aims of the war against the Soviet Union in accordance with Hitler's instructions, unequivocally informs his subordinates that the aim of the attack on the Soviet Union is the destruction of the Soviet Union's political system of government.

It is strange, therefore, to hear after all this the words of the Hitlerite General von Mannstein that he was only a soldier, who was not informed of the policy of Hitler's Government.

This order not only shows that the generals were acquainted with the political aims of the war but also that they fully approved them. Nor could it be otherwise. What could Hitler and his clique have done if the military experts, the generals of the German Army, had not approved of his plans?

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