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 15 of 15)

[Page 375]

[GENERAL R. A. RUDENKO, Continued]

The Ministry of Education was created on 1st May, 1934. Its function was to educate youth in the spirit of militarism and racial hatred, and in conceptions of reality as distorted by the delirium of Fascism.

Similar tasks were allotted to the Reich Youth Leader and to the organizations which were subordinate to him.

The principles of personal inviolability, of the freedom of the Press and of speech were abolished.

Also abolished were the free trade unions. Their property was confiscated, and the majority of their leaders jailed.

In order to suppress by terror every kind of resistance, the Government founded the Gestapo and the concentration camps. Hundreds of thousands were arrested and murdered without any trial or concrete evidence, merely on the suspicion of having anti-Fascist tendencies.

The defence has attempted to prove that members of the Government did not participate in the promulgation of the shameful Nuremberg Laws nor in the racial discrimination against the Jews. Meanwhile the Nuremberg Laws included special instructions to two members of the Government of the Reich - namely, Hess and Frick - to elaborate and promulgate additional decrees implementing these laws. And such decrees were elaborated and promulgated by Hess and Frick.

This same Frick, together with Funk, and acting on Goering's instructions, issued on 3rd December, 1938, a decree concerning "the liquidation of Jewish property" as well as a series of other decrees.

In any other State the Government is usually fully responsible for all the laws promulgated during the period when this particular government is in power.

The Tribunal had the opportunity of analyzing in detail all the activities of the Hitlerite Government in connection with the preparation and the initiation of aggression. It is not necessary for me to mention once again the invasion of Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939, the attacks on Poland, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Numerous documents submitted to the Tribunal confirm the fact that the Hitlerite Government did everything possible to retain the invaded territories of France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Norway, Holland, Belgium and other countries, as well as parts of the territories of the USSR. It was only the powerful blows administered by the Red Army and the armies of the Allies that prevented the Fascist conspirators from realizing their predatory plans.

The activities of the Hitlerite Government resulted in the war which cost millions of human lives and caused inestimable losses and immeasurable suffering to many other nations.

The Hitlerite Government is also responsible for all the War Crimes and the Crimes Against Humanity committed by the German troops and the German authorities during the war. The great mass of evidence submitted to the Tribunal clearly proved that Hitlerite Germany had prepared itself for conducting a war by ruthless measures and in complete contempt of the laws and customs of war.

The War Crimes and the Crimes Against Humanity were committed not only against the armed forces of the peace- loving nations united against the Fascist aggressor, but also against the completely innocent civilian population. Long before the treacherous aggression against the Soviet Union had taken place, the Government of Hitlerite Germany carefully laid plans for the monstrous extermination of the most educated sections of the Soviet people.

The reports published by the Extraordinary Commission on the German Fascist atrocities in Novgorod, Stavropol, Orel, Stalino, Smolensk, Kiev and other towns has proved the existence of a carefully planned and intentional programme of mass extermination conducted by the German invaders against Soviet prisoners of war and Soviet civilians.

[Page 376]

The defendants, members of the Hitlerite Government, have all hypocritically alleged that never, until the present Trial, had they heard of the monstrous atrocities of the Hitlerites in the concentration camps, of the savage club- law of the SS, or of the lawless behaviour of the German authorities in the temporarily occupied territories. Those claims are thoroughly false.

Every German to a certain extent knew something of these facts. The radio stations of the whole world had broadcast them.

The revolting atrocities committed by the German authorities against Soviet prisoners of war and peaceful Soviet citizens were brought to the attention of the whole world in the official Notes of the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR, V. M. Molotov, 25th November, 1941, and 27th April, 1942, respectively, and in spite of the fact that the violation of the most elementary principles of International Law and of human morality, committed by the German Army and the German authorities, were made known to the Government of the Reich by the above-mentioned documents, this criminal violation of the laws and customs of war persisted also from 1943 to 1945. It is therefore clear that all these crimes were committed with the full knowledge and on the direct instructions of the Hitlerite Government.

Did Rosenberg not receive an official note from Lammers, mentioning that the convention of Geneva was not valid for Soviet prisoners of war?

Was not a circular of the Party Chancellery, signed by the defendant Bormann and including instructions for the cruel treatment and insults to be reserved for the Soviet prisoners of war, distributed to the ministers?

Were the Ministry of the Interior, the Reich Security Main Office, the Gestapo, the prisons and the concentration camps, not organizations of the German Government?

The Government must bear in full the responsibility for the atrocities committed by these Fascist Government organizations.

The members of Hitler's Government tried, by every possible device, to separate themselves from the men of the SS, but, once exposed, they each time invented a new version - more mendacious than the previous one.

Rosenberg, Neurath, Frick, Ribbentrop and other ministers were generals of the SS, and that this was no mere formality can be seen from the letter of the defendant Ribbentrop to Himmler, dated 22nd July, 1940, which has been presented to the Tribunal by the Soviet prosecution.

Minister Rosenberg tried to make the Tribunal believe that he did not know anything about the savage orders of Minister Himmler.

Actually it was Himmler who, on 7th September, 1943, enjoined the Fuehrer of the SS and SD to carry out, jointly with the military command, the complete' destruction of the areas in the Ukraine, and he proposed that:

"Not a human being, not a single head of cattle, not a hundredweight of grain and not a railway line remain behind; that not a house remain standing, not a mine is available which is not destroyed for years to come, that there is not a well which is not poisoned,"
and recommended that special care be taken to inform the Reich Minister of the Occupied Territories in the East, Rosenberg, of this order.

On 8th March, 1940, Minister Goering sent to the "highest authorities of the Reich" a criminal directive concerning "the treatment of civilian workers of Polish nationality in the Reich."

Minister Frank, as he repeatedly mentioned in his diary, received instructions from Goering to send hundreds of thousands of Poles for slavery to Germany, and to use all possible means in the process.

Ministers Speer, Rosenberg, Keitel, Funk, Seyss-Inquart and others have been exposed during the trial as having issued directives and prepared measures for utilizing the forced labour of prisoners of war and peaceful inhabitants of the territories seized by the Germans.

[Page 377]

It was no other than Minister Rosenberg who approved the measure of Army Group Centre for the seizure on Soviet territory of 40,000 to 50,000 children between the ages of 10 and 14, and their transfer to Germany.

Do these examples not testify to the crimes committed by Hitler's Government?

It is established by documentary evidence that the carefully organized plunder of the territories seized by the Germans was carried out in conformity with official directives and instructions of the Hitlerite Government and of its individual members. The directive of Minister Goering concerning the organized plunder of the occupied Soviet territories (the so-called "Goering Green File"), the activities of the looting "Einsatzstab" and "special purpose units," the activities of Ministers Rosenberg and Ribbentrop concerning the plunder of cultural treasures and monuments, as well as the activities of Ministers Funk and Speer, is all this not sufficient to conclude the participation of Hitler's Government in the plunder of the territories occupied by the Germans?

The Government of the German Reich is responsible, therefore, for the plunder of the State, public and private property, and for the destruction and looting of cultural treasures in the temporarily occupied territories. In the USSR alone the material damage caused by the occupational forces amount to 679 billion roubles.

The members of the Reich Government are responsible for the compulsory Germanisation of areas seized by the Germans. It was the Reich Ministers Goering, Frick, Hess and Lammers who signed the directive incorporating the four Western provinces of Poland into the body of Germany.

It was none other than Minister Frick who, in his instruction to Gauleiter Rainer, stated:

" ... Your principal task will be to incorporate into the German Reich the entire new areas of Corinthia and Carniola .... Because without the setting up of a 'German wall' any administrative construction, good as it may be, will sooner or later collapse .... Your task, comrade Rainer, is to make this district entirely German .... "
In order to gain a correct impression of this government of bandits it is sufficient to recall the agreement between Ministers Ribbentrop and Himmler concerning the organization of intelligence services abroad; the Himmler-Bormann agreement with the Minister of Justice, von Schirach, of 18th September, 1942, which put into practice special large- scale police measures for the extermination of Jews, gipsies, Russians, Ukrainians, Poles and Czechs on the pretext that they constituted anti-social elements; the letter of Minister Lammers of 4th June, 1944, addressed to Minister von Schirach regarding the non-prosecution of the murderers of Allied airmen who had been shot down; the letter of Minister Keitel to the Minister for Foreign Affairs concerning the treatment to be meted out to Allied airmen.

On 4th February, 1938, Hitler formed a Secret Cabinet Council, indicating its purpose in the following words: "I am establishing this Secret Council to help me in questions of foreign policy."

Hitler appointed Neurath chairman of this Secret Council and Ribbentrop, Goering, Hess, Goebbels, Lammers, Brauchitsch, Raeder and Keitel as members.

On 21st May, 1935, Hitler created the Reich Defence Council.

On 30th August, 1939, Hitler reorganized the Reich Defence Council into a Council of Ministers for the Defence of the German Reich. He appointed Minister Goering chairman of this Council, and Ministers Hess, Frick, Funk, Keitel and Lammers as members.

At a meeting of 23rd June, 1939, the chairman of this Council, Goering, emphasized that "the Reich Defence Council is the deciding organization in the Reich on questions connected with the preparation for war," and that "the Reich Defence Council will convene for the adoption of all the most important decisions."

[Page 378]

It was not the defence but the aggression, the preparation for aggressive warfare, which constituted the tasks of this Council.

Not only its members participated in the preparation for war but all the other ministers as well.

Thus, at the meeting of the Council on 23rd June, 1939, Ministers Schwerin von Krossigk, Dorpmuller and others were present together with Goering, Funk, Frick, Himmler, Keitel and Lammers.

On this occasion they planned not only the utilization in the war industry of prisoners of war and of the population of the occupied territories but the utilization of civil internees, and they even discussed the number of internees to be confined in war time.

It is stated in the minutes of this meeting that: "the General Plenipotentiary for Economy (i.e., Funk) has to define the task which is to be executed by the prisoners of war as well as by the persons confined in prisons, concentration camps, or condemned to hard labour. According to information from the Reichsfuehrer SS, there will be a great number of people in the concentration camps during the war. According to preliminary data 20,000 prisoners will be employed in the concentration camp workshops."

The subjects recorded at this meeting also included directives of 3rd May, 1939, on the collaboration of the OKW with the General Plenipotentiary for Economy during the preparation of military enterprises for war. Plans for total warfare were likewise discussed, and in conclusion special reports were read from Colonel Gerke, Chief of Section V of the General Staff, and from Minister of Transport. Dorpmuller.

Were all the members of the Reich Government informed of these decisions? Definitely yes, and this is evident if only from the list of addresses to which the minutes of the meeting of 23rd June, 1939, were sent. The minutes of the meeting of the Reich Defence Council were sent to the Deputy Fuehrer, to the Chief of the Reich Chancellery, to the Chairman of the Secret Council of Ministers, to the Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan, and to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs Justice, the Interior, Education, Economy, Church and Religion, Food and Agriculture, Labour, Finance, Transport, Postal Services, etc., President of the Reichsbank, etc.

The very fact that most of the members of the Reich Government are defendants in the present Trial says much for the nature of the organization in question.

I consider that the guilt of the German Hitlerite Government for the very grievous crimes mentioned has been fully proven, and that the Reich Cabinet, should therefore be declared a criminal organization.

Your Honours, in order to carry out their preconceived crimes, the ringleader of the Fascist conspiracy created that system of criminal organizations to which my statement has applied.

Today, those who had made world domination and genocide their aim awaiting with trepidation the coming verdict of the Tribunal.

This verdict should strike not only at the defendants in the dock - the authority of the bloody Nazi "ideas," the chief organizers of the crimes of Hitlerism - but should condemn the entire criminal system of German Fascism, that complicated and widespread network of Party, Government, SS, and military organizations, which directly brought into being the infamous designs of the chief conspirators.

Mankind has already pronounced its verdict on German Nazism on the battlefield.

In the fire of the greatest battles known to the history of mankind, battles fought by the heroic Red Army and the valiant armies of the Allied forces, not only were the hordes of the Hitlerites destroyed but the sublime and noble principles of international co-operation, the morality of mankind and the humane rules of social communal life were confirmed at one and the same time.

[Page 379]

The prosecution has accomplished its duty towards the Supreme Tribunal, towards the sacred memory of the innocent victims, towards the conscience of the nations, as well as towards its own.

May the judgment of the nations - just and severe - descend upon all the Nazi henchmen.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn until 10.00 o'clock tomorrow morning.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 31st August, 1946, at 10.00 hours.)

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