May 23, 1900: Hans Michael Frank is born in Karlsruhe to lawyer Karl Frank and his wife Magdalena Buchmaier.
1917 WW1: Frank joins the German Army.
From Hans Frank’s IMT (International Military Tribunal) Testimony: In 1919 I finished my studies at the Gymnasium, and in 1926 I passed the final state law examination, which completed my legal training. I had several legal posts. I worked as a lawyer; as a member of the teaching staff: of a technical college; and then I worked principally as legal adviser to Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers Party. I joined the German Labor Party, which was the forerunner of the National Socialist German Workers Party, in 1919, but did not join the newly formed National Socialist Workers Party at the time.
Note: As always, these excerpts from trial testimony should not necessarily be mistaken for fact. It should be kept in mind that they are the sometimes-desperate statements of hard-pressed defendants seeking to avoid culpability and shift responsibility from charges that—should they be found guilty—can be punishable by death.
February 24, 1920: The 25-point Program of the NSDAP is propagated. [For the full text, Click here.]
Point 19: We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: The idea (regarding the concept of a state controlled by a legal system) as far as I was concerned, was contained in Point 19 of the Party program, which speaks of German common law to be created. In the interest of accelerating the proceedings, I do not wish to present my ideas in detail. My first endeavor was to save the core of the German system of justice: the independent judiciary. My idea was that even in a highly developed Fuehrer State, even under a dictatorship, the danger to the community and to the legal rights of the individual is at least lessened if judges who do not depend on the State Leadership can still administer justice in the community. That means, to my mind, that the question of a state ruled by law is to all intents and purposes identical with the question of the existence of the independent administration of law. Most of my struggles and discussions with Hitler, Himmler, and Bormann during these years were more and more focused on this particular subject. Only after the independent judiciary in the National Socialist Reich had been definitely done away with did I give up my work and my efforts as hopeless.
April 2, 1925: Frank weds his domineering 29-year-old secretary Brigitte Herbst. She will later be known as the 'Queen of Poland' (Königin von Polen). The couple will have five children.
1926: Frank becomes a lawyer as he passes his final state law examination. He is also the party's chief legal counsel and Hitler's personal lawyer.
1927: Frank joins the Nazi Party.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: In 1923 I joined the Movement in Munich as a member of the SA; and eventually, so to speak, I joined the NSDAP for the first time in 1927. I have never been a member of the SS. I never had the rank of an SS Obergruppenfuehrer or SS General. No, not even honorary. I was Obergruppenfuehrer in the SA at the end, and this was an honorary position. In 1929 I became the head of the legal department of the Supreme Party Directorate of the NSDAP. In that capacity I was appointed Reichsleiter of the NSDAP by Adolf Hitler in 1931. I held this position until I was recalled in 1942. I was Bavarian State Minister of Justice, and after the ministries of justice in the various states were dissolved I became Reich Minister without portfolio. I was the Reich Leader of the National Socialist Jurists Association, which was later on given the name of "Rechtswahrerbund." In 1933 and 1934 I was Reich Commissioner for Justice, and in 1939 I became Governor General of the Government General in Krakow. These are the principal offices I have held in the Party.
1930: Frank is elected to the Reichstag.
1931: Hitler appoints Frank NSDAP Reichsleiter.
1933: The Academy for German Law (Akademie für deutsches Recht) is founded. Frank is also appointed the Minister of Justice for Bavaria, and the head of the National Socialist Jurists Association (Rechtswahrerbund).
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: In 1933 I became the President of the Academy of German Law, which I had founded. The Academy of German Law was the meeting place of the most prominent legal minds in Germany in the theoretical and practical fields. Right from the beginning I attached no importance to the question whether the members were members of the Party or not. Ninety percent of the members of the Academy of German Law were not members of the Party. Their task was to prepare laws, and they worked somewhat on the lines of an advisory committee in a well-organized parliament. It was also my idea that the advisory committees of the Academy should replace the legal committees of the German Reichstag, which was gradually fading into the background in the Reich. In the main the Academy helped to frame only laws of an economic or social nature, since owing to the development of the totalitarian regime it became more and more impossible to cooperate in other spheres.
March 22, 1933: The first of many Nazi Concentration Camps goes into operation, at Dachau, in Bavaria.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: I learned that the Dachau concentration camp was being established in connection with a report which came to me from the Senior Public Prosecutor's Office in Munich on the occasion of the killing of the Munich attorney, Dr. Strauss. This Public Prosecutor's Office complained to me, after I had given them orders to investigate the killing, that the SS had refused them admission to the Dachau concentration camp. Thereupon I had Reich Governor, General Von Epp, call a meeting where I produced the files regarding this killing and pointed out the illegality of such an action on the part of the SS and stated that so far representatives from the German Public Prosecutor's Office had always been able to investigate any death which evoked a suspicion that a crime had been committed and that I had not become aware so far of any departure from this principle in the Reich.
1934: Frank becomes Reich Minister Without Portfolio.
After that I continued protesting against this method to Dr. Guertner, the Reich Minister of Justice and at the same time Attorney General. I pointed out that this meant the beginning of a development which threatened the legal system in an alarming manner. At Heinrich Himmler's request Adolf Hitler intervened personally in this matter, and he used his power to quash any legal proceedings. The proceedings were ordered to be quashed I handed in my resignation as Minister of Justice, but it was not accepted. Concentration (camps) were entirely a matter for the police and had nothing to do with the administration. Members of the civil administration were officially prohibited from entering the camps. In 1935 I participated in a visit to the Dachau concentration camp, which had been organized for the Gauleiters. That was the only time that I have entered a concentration camp.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: In my own sphere I did everything that could possibly be expected of a man who believes in the greatness of his people and who is filled with fanaticism for the greatness of his country, in order to bring about the victory of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist movement. I never participated in far-reaching political decisions, since I never belonged to the circle of the closest associates of Adolf Hitler, neither was I consulted by Adolf Hitler on general political questions, nor did I ever take part in conferences about such problems. Proof of this is that throughout the period from 1933 to 1945 I was received only six times by Adolf Hitler personally, to report to him about my sphere of activities.
March 20, 1934: From a radio address by Hans Frank:
The first task was that of uniting all Germans into one State. It was an outstanding historical and legislative accomplishment on the part of our Fuehrer that by boldly grasping historical development he eliminated the sovereignty of the various German states. At last we have now, after 1,000 years, again a unified German State in every respect. It is no longer possible for the world, based on the spirit of resistance inherent in small states, which are set up on an egoistical scale and solely with a view to their individual interest, to make calculations to the detriment of the German people. That is a thing of the past for all times to come... The second fundamental law of the Hitler Reich is racial legislation. The National Socialists were the first in the entire history of human law to elevate the concept of race to the status of a legal term. The German Nation, unified racially and nationally, will in the future be legally protected against any further disintegration of the German race stock...
The sixth fundamental law was the legal elimination of those political organizations which within the State, during the period of the regeneration of the people and the reconstruction of the Reich, were once able to place their selfish aims ahead of the common good of the nation. This elimination has taken place entirely legally. It is not the coming to the fore of despotic tendencies, but it was the necessary legal consequence of a clear political result of the 14 years' struggle of the NSDAP. In accordance with these unified legal aims in all spheres, particular efforts have for months now been made regarding the work of the great reform of the entire field of German law. As the leader of the German jurists, I am convinced that, together with all strata of the German people, we shall be able to construct the legal state of Adolf Hitler in every respect and to such an extent that no one in the world will at any time be able to dare to attack this constitutional state as regards its laws.
July 11, 1934: The Academy for German Law (Akademie für deutsches Recht) becomes a public Reich corporation "To promote the reconstruction of German legal life and to realize, in constant close collaboration with the competent legislative organizations, the National Socialist program in the entire sphere of law." Frank will be president of the Institute from 1933 to 1943.
March 16, 1935: Hitler illegally reintroduces mandatory military service and raises troop levels from 100,000 to 555,000 soldiers. The “Reichswehr” becomes the “Wehrmacht.”
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: I was not Reich Minister of Justice. The Reich Minister of Justice, Dr. Guertner, was, however, not competent for the entire field of legislation but merely for those laws which came within the scope of his ministry. Legislation in the Reich, in accordance with the Enabling Act, was in the hands of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor and the Reich Government as a body. Consequently my name appears in the Reichsgesetzblatt at the bottom of one law only, and that is the law regarding the Reintroduction of Compulsory Military Service. However, I am proud that my name stands at the end of that law.
October 3, 1936: Frank speaks before the Congress of the Reich Group of University Professors of the National Socialist Jurists' League:
It is so obvious that it hardly needs mentioning that any participation whatsoever of the Jew in German law—be it in a creative, interpretative, educational or critical capacity—is impossible. The elimination of the Jews from German jurisprudence is in no way due to hatred or envy but to the understanding that the influence of the Jew on German life is essentially a pernicious and harmful one and that in the interests of the German people and to protect its future an unequivocal boundary must be drawn between us and the Jews.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: War is not a thing one wants. War is terrible. We have lived through it; we did not want the war. We wanted a great Germany and the restoration of the freedom and welfare, the health and happiness of our people. It was my dream, and probably the dream of every one of us, to bring about a revision of the Versailles Treaty by peaceful means, which was provided for in that very treaty But as in the world of treaties, between nations also, it is only the one who is strong who is listened to; Germany had to become strong first before we could negotiate. This is how I saw the development as a whole: the strengthening of the Reich, reinstatement of its sovereignty in all spheres, and by these means to free ourselves of the intolerable shackles which had been imposed upon our people. I was happy, therefore, when Adolf Hitler, in a most wonderful rise to power, unparalleled in the history of mankind, succeeded by the end of 1938 in achieving most of these aims; and I was equally unhappy when in 1939, to my dismay, I realized more and more that Adolf Hitler appeared to be departing from that course and to be following other methods.
September 1, 1939: Hitler invades Poland, beginning what will become WW2. Himmler’s Einsatzgruppen begin their genocidal activities.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: On 24 August 1939, as an officer in the reserve, I had to join my regiment in Postdate. I was busy training my company; and on 17 September, or it may have been 16, I was making my final preparations before going to the front when a telephone call came from the Fuehrer's special train ordering me to go to the Fuehrer at once. The following day I traveled to Upper Silesia where the Fuehrer's special train was stationed at that time; and in a very short conversation, which lasted less than ten minutes, he gave me the mission, as he put it, to take over the functions of Civil Governor for the occupied Polish territories. At that time the whole of the conquered Polish territories was under the administrative supreme command of a military commander, General Von Rundstedt. Toward the end of September I was attached to General Von Rundstedt's staff as Chief of Administration, and my task was to do the administrative work in the Military Government. In a short time, however, it was found that this method did not work; and when the Polish territories were divided into the part which was incorporated into the German Reich and the part which then became the Government General, I was appointed Governor General as from 26 October (Note: In fact, the 26th was day the directive concerning the Governor General became effective). . . . .
October 1939: Frank is appointed Governor General of occupied Poland and assumes the rank of SS Obergruppenführer. An enthusiastic proponent of Nazi racist ideology, Frank will order the execution of hundreds of thousands of Poles, the enslavement of hundreds of thousands of Polish workers, the wholesale confiscation of Polish property, and the herding of most of Poland's Jews into ghettos as a prelude to their extermination.
Poland, which had been jointly conquered by Germany and the Soviet Union, was divided first of all between the Soviet Union and the German Reich. Of the 380,000 square kilometers, which is the approximate size of the Polish State, approximately 200,000 square kilometers went to the Soviet Union and approximately 170,000 to 180,000 square kilometers to the German Reich. Please do not ask me for exact figures that was roughly the proportion. That part of Poland which was taken over into Soviet Russian territory was immediately treated as an integral part of the Soviet Union. The border signs in the east of the Government General were the usual Reich border signs of the Soviet Union, as from 1939. That part which came to Germany was divided thus: 90,000 square kilometers were left to the Government General and the remainder was incorporated into the German Reich. . . . .
During the first 10 minutes of the audience in his special train Adolf Hitler instructed me to see to it that this territory, which had been utterly devastated—all the bridges had been blown up; the railways no longer functioned, and the population was in a complete turmoil-was put into order somehow; and that I should see to it that this territory should become a factor which would contribute to the improvement of the terribly difficult economic and war situation of the German Reich.
All my complaints, everything I reported to him, were unfortunately dropped into the wastepaper basket by him. I did not send in my resignation 14 times for nothing. It was not for nothing that I tried to join my brave troops as an officer. In his heart he was always opposed to lawyers, and that was one of the most serious shortcomings of this outstandingly great man. He did not want to admit formal responsibility, and that, unfortunately, applied to his policy too, as I have found out now. Every lawyer to him was a disturbing element working against his power. All I can say, therefore, is that, by supporting Himmler's and Bormann's aims to the utmost, he permanently jeopardized any attempt to find a form of government worthy of the German name.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: I was not informed about anything. I heard about special action commandos of the SS here during this trial. In connection with and immediately following my appointment, special powers were given to Himmler, and my competence in many essential matters was taken away from me. A number of Reich offices governed directly in matters of economy, social policy, currency policy, food policy, and therefore, all I could do was to lay upon myself the task of seeing to it that amid the conflagration of this war, some sort of an order should be built up which would enable men to live. The work I did out there, therefore, cannot be judged in the light of the moment, but must be judged in its entirety, and we shall have to come to that later. My aim was to safeguard justice, without doing harm to our war effort.
The Higher SS and Police Leaders were in principle subordinate to the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler. The AS did not come under my command, and any orders or instructions which I might have given would not have been obeyed. Witness Buehler will cover this question in detail.
The general arrangement was that the Higher SS and Police Leader was formally attached to my office, but in fact, and by reason of his activities, he was purely an agent of the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler. This state of affairs, even as early as November 1939, was the cause of my first offer to resign which I made to Adolf Hitler. It was a state of affairs which made things extremely difficult as time went by. In spite of all my attempts to gain control of these matters, the drift continued. An administration without a police executive is powerless and there were many proofs of this. The police officers, so far as discipline, organization, pay, and orders were concerned, came exclusively under the German Reich police system and were in no way connected with the administration of the Government General. The officials of the SS and Police therefore did not consider that they were attached to the Government General in matters concerning their duty, neither was the police area called "Police Area, Government General." Moreover the Higher SS and Police Leader did not call himself "SS and Police Leader in the Government General" but "Higher SS and Police Leader East." However, I do not propose to go into details at this point.
From The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer: Frank was a typical example of the Nazi intellectual gangster. He had joined the party in 1927, soon after graduation from law school, and quickly made a reputation as the legal light of the movement. Nimble-minded, energetic, well read not only in the law but in general literature, devoted to the arts and especially music, he became a power in the legal profession after the Nazis assumed office, serving first as Bavarian Minister of Justice, then Reichsminister without Portfolio and president of the Academy of Law and of the German Bar Association. A dark, dapper, bouncy fellow, father of five children, his intelligence and cultivation partly offset his primitive fanaticism and...made him one of the least repulsive of the men around Hitler. But behind the civilized veneer of the man lay the cold-blooded killer. The forty-two volume journal he kept of his life and works, which showed up at Nuremberg, was one of the most terrifying documents to come out of the dark Nazi world, portraying the author as an icy, efficient, ruthless, bloodthirsty man...it omitted none of his barbaric utterances.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: The universities in the Government General were closed because of the war when we arrived. The reopening of the universities was prohibited by order of Adolf Hitler. I supplied the needs of the Polish and Ukrainian population by introducing university courses of instruction for Polish and Ukrainian students-which were actually on a university level-in such a way that the Reich Authorities could not criticize it. The fact that there was an urgent need for native university-trained men, particularly doctors, technicians, lawyers, teachers, et cetera, was the best guarantee that the Poles and Ukrainians would be allowed to continue university teaching to the extent which war conditions would allow. My suggestion to reopen the Gymnasiums and secondary schools was rejected by Adolf Hitler. We helped to solve the problem by permitting secondary school education in a large number of private schools.
October 3, 1939: (Document EC 344-16, Exhibit USA 297)
In the first interview which the chief of the Central Division and the liaison officer between the Armament Department Upper East and the Chief Administrative Officer (subsequently called Governor General) had with Minister Frank on 3rd October, 1939, in Posen, Frank explained the directive and the economic and political responsibilities which had been conferred upon him by the Fuehrer and according to which he intended to administer Poland. According to these directives, Poland can only be administered by utilizing the country through means of ruthless exploitation; deportation of all supplies, raw materials, machines, factory installations, etc., which are important for the German war economy; availability of all workers for work within Germany; reduction of the entire Polish economy to the absolute minimum necessary for the bare existence of the population; and the closing of all educational institutions, especially technical schools and colleges in order to prevent the growth of the new Polish intelligentsia. Poland, defendant Frank stated (and this is an exact quotation), 'Poland shall be treated as a colony; the Poles shall be the slaves of the Greater German World Empire.' . . . .
By destroying Polish industry, its subsequent reconstruction after the war would become more difficult, if not impossible, so that Poland would be reduced to its proper position as an agrarian country which would have to depend upon Germany for the importation of industrial products.
October 7, 1939: (Document 686-PS, Exhibit USA 305) From a secret decree signed by Hitler, Goering, and Keitel:
The Reichsfuehrer S.S. has the obligation in accordance with my directives:
1. To bring back for final return into the Reich all German nationals and racial Germans in the foreign countries.
2. To eliminate the harmful influence of such alien groups of the population as represent a danger to the Reich and the German folk community.
3. To form new German settlements by resettling and, in particular, by settling returning German citizens and racial Germans from abroad.
The Reichsfuehrer S.S. is authorized to take all necessary general and administrative measures for the execution of this obligation.
October 19, 1939: (Document EC-410, USA 298) From a directive found among the captured O.K.W. files, issued and signed by Goering:
In the meeting of 13th October, I have given detailed instructions for the economical administration of the occupied territories. I will repeat them here in short:
1. The task for the economic treatment of the various administrative regions is different, depending on whether a country which will be incorporated politically into the German Reich is involved, or whether we are to deal with the Government General, which, in all probability, will not be made a part of Germany.
In the first-mentioned territories the reconstruction and expansion of the economy, the safeguarding of all their production facilities and supplies must be aimed at, as well as a complete incorporation into the Greater German economic system at the earliest possible time. On the other hand, there must be removed from the territories of the Government General all raw materials, scrap materials, machines, etc., which are of use for the German war economy. Enterprises which are not absolutely necessary for the mere maintenance of the naked existence of the population must be transferred to Germany, unless such transfer would require an unreasonably long period of time, and would make it more practical to exploit these enterprises by giving them German orders to be executed at their present location.
November 7, 1939: The new Governor General arrives in Krakow.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: On 7 November 1939 I came to Krakow. On 5 November 1939 before my arrival, the SS and the police, as I found out later, called the Krakow professors to a meeting. They thereupon arrested the men, among them dignified old professors, and took them to some concentration camp. I believe it was Oranienburg. I found that report when I arrived and against everything which may be found there in my diary, I want to emphasize here under oath that I did not cease in my attempts to get every one of the professors released whom I could reach, in March 1940. That is all I have to say to this.
November 20, 1939: Deputy Fuehrer Rudolf Hess, from a captured O.K.W. file:
I hear from Party members who came from the Government General that various agencies, as, for instance, the Military Economic Staff, the Reich Ministry for Labor, etc., intend to reconstruct certain industrial enterprises in Warsaw. However, in accordance with a decision by Minister Dr. Frank, as approved by the Fuehrer, Warsaw shall not be rebuilt nor is it the intention of the Fuehrer to rebuild or reconstruct any industry in the Government General.
December 27, 1939: From a speech by Hans Frank:
Today we are proud of having formulated our legal principles from the very beginning in such a way that they need not be changed in the case of war. For the maxim—that which serves the Nation is right, and that which harms it is wrong, which stood at the beginning of our legal work and which established this idea of the community, of the people as the only standard of the law —this maxim shines out also in the social order of these times.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: An accusation which is one that touches my private life and affects me most deeply, is that I am supposed to have enriched myself with the art treasures of the country entrusted to me. I did not collect pictures and I did not find time during the war to appropriate art treasures. I took care to see that all the art treasures of the country entrusted to me were officially registered, and had that official register incorporated in a document which was widely distributed; and, above all, I saw to it that those art treasures remained in the country right to the very end. In spite of that, art treasures were removed from the Government General. A part was taken away before my administration was established. Experience shows that one cannot talk of responsibility for an administration until some time after it has been functioning, namely, when the administration has been built up from the bottom. So that from the outbreak of the war, 1 September 1939, until this point, which was about at the end of 1939, I am sure that art treasures were stolen to an immeasurable extent either as war booty or under some other pretext.
February 25, 1940: From the 'diary' of Hans Frank:
During the registration of the art treasures, Adolf Hitler gave the order that the Veit Stoss altar should be removed from St. Mary's Church in Krakow, and taken to the Reich. In September 1939 Mayor Liebel came from Nuremberg to Krakow for that purpose with a group of SS men and removed this altar. A third instance was the removal of the Duerer etchings in Lvov by a special deputy before my administration was established there. In 1944, shortly before the collapse, art treasures were removed to the Reich for storage. In the Castle of Seichau, in Silesia, there was a collection of art treasures which had been brought there by Professor Kneisl for this purpose. One last group of art treasures was handed over to the Americans by me personally. The largest and most valuable library which we found, the Jagellon University Library in Krakow, which thank God was not destroyed, was transferred to a new library building on my own personal orders; and the entire collection, including the most ancient documents, was looked after with great care.
Thereupon the Governor General spoke, and made the following statements: I shall, therefore, again summarize all the points.
1. The Government General comprises that part of the occupied Polish territory which is not an integral part of the German Reich...
2. This territory has primarily been designated by the Fuehrer as the home of the Polish people. In Berlin the Fuehrer, as well as Field Marshal Goering, emphasized to me again and again that this territory would not be subjected to Germanization. It is to be set aside as the national territory of the Polish people. In the name of the German people it is to be placed at the disposal of the Polish nation as their reservation.
There is one thing I should like to tell you: The Fuehrer has urged me to guarantee the self-administration of the Poles as far as possible. Under all circumstances they must be granted the right to choose the Wojts and the minor mayors and village magistrates from among the Poles, which would be to our interest as well.
Note: The Frank Diary is not a diary in the traditional sense, but rather an official journal, kept at Frank's direction, of the official texts of speeches, transcripts of conferences, minutes of cabinet sessions, and records of his administration in the General Government.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: The representation of the Polish and Ukrainian population was on a regional basis, and I united the heads of the bodies of representatives from the various districts in the so-called subsidiary committees. There was a Polish and an Ukrainian subsidiary committee. Count Ronikie was the head of the Polish committee for a number of years, and at the head of the Ukrainian committee was Professor Kubiowicz. I made it obligatory for all my offices to contact these subsidiary committees on all questions of a general nature, and this they did. I myself was in constant contact with both of them. Complaints were brought to me there and we had free discussions. My complaints and memoranda to the Fuehrer were mostly based on the reports from these subsidiary committees. A second form in which the population participated in the administration of the Government General was by means of the lowest administrative units, which throughout the Government General were in the hands of the native population. Every ten to twenty villages had as their head a so-called Wojt. This Polish word Wojt is the same as the German word "Vogt"-V-o-g-t. He was, so to speak, the lowest administrative unit.
March 8, 1940: From notes of a meeting of department heads of the Government General:
A third form of participation by the population in the administration was the employment of about 280,000 Poles and Ukrainians as government officials or civil servants in the public services of the Government General, including the postal and railway services. The proportion varied. The number of German civil servants was very small. There were times when, in the whole of the Government General, the area of which is 150,000 square kilometers-that means half the size of Italy-there were not more than 40,000 German civil servants. That means to one German civil servant there were on the average at least six non-German civil servants and employees.
One thing is certain. The authority of the Governor General as the representative of the will of the Fuehrer and the will of the Reich in this territory is certainly strong, and I have always emphasized that I would not tolerate misuse of this authority. I have made this known anew at every office in Berlin, especially after Herr Field Marshal Goering on 12-2-1940, from Karin Hall, had forbidden all administrative of offices of the Reich, including the Police and even the Wehrmacht, to interfere in administrative matters of the Government General. There is no authority here in the Government General which is higher as to rank, stronger in influence, and of greater authority than that of the Governor General. Even the Wehrmacht has no governmental or official functions here of any kind; it has only security functions and general military duties - it has no political power whatsoever. The same applies to the Police and the SS. There is here no state within a state, but we are representatives of the Fuehrer and of the Reich.
March 16, 1940: From the Frank Diary:
The Governor General remarks that he had long negotiations in Berlin the representatives of the Reich Ministry for Finance and the Reich Ministry for Food. Urgent demands have been made there that Polish farm workers should be sent to the Reich in greater numbers. He has made the statement in Berlin that he, if it is demanded from him, could of course exercise force in some such manner: he could have the police surround a village and get the men and women in question out by force, and then send them to Germany. But one can also work differently, besides these police measures, by retaining the unemployment compensation of these workers in question.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: Forced labor and compulsory labor service were introduced by me in one of the first decrees; but it is quite clear from all the decrees and their wording that I had in mind only a labor service within the country for repairing the damage caused by the war, and for carrying out work necessary for the country itself, as was of course done by the labor service in the Reich.
April 12, 1940: From the Frank Diary:
Under pressure from the Reich, it had now been decreed that, since sufficient labor did not present itself voluntarily for service in the German Reich, compulsion could be used. This compulsion meant the possibility of arresting male and female Poles. A certain amount of unrest had been caused by this, which, according to some reports, had spread very widely and which could lead to difficulties in all spheres. Field Marshal Goering had once pointed out, in his big speech, the necessity for sending a million workers to the Reich. One hundred and sixty thousand had been delivered to date.... To arrest young Poles as they left church or the cinema would lead to ever-increasing nervousness among the Poles. Fundamentally Frank had no objections to removing people capable of work who were lounging about in the streets. But the best way would be to organize a round-up, and one was absolutely justified in stopping a Pole in the street and asking him what work he did, where he was employed, et cetera.
April 15, 1941: (Document R- 92, Exhibit USA 312) From a memo by Reich Leader S.S., Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood: "Instruction for internal use on the application of the law concerning property of the Poles:
The conditions permitting seizure according to Section 2, Sub-section 2, are always present if the property belongs to a Pole, for the Polish real estate will be needed without exception for the consolidation of the German nationhood.
May 10, 1940: From the Frank Diary:
Then the Governor General deals with the problem of the compulsory labor service of the Poles. Upon the pressure from the Reich it has now been decreed that compulsion may be exercised in view of the fact that sufficient manpower was not voluntarily available for service inside the German Reich. This compulsion means the possibility of arrest of male and female Poles. Because of these measures a certain disquietude had developed which, according to individual reports, was spreading very much and might produce difficulties everywhere. General Field Marshal Goering some time ago pointed out, in his long speech, the necessity to deport into the Reich a million workers. The supply so far was 160,000.
However, great difficulties had to be overcome here. Therefore it would be advisable to cooperate with the district and town chiefs in the execution of the compulsion, so that one could be sure from the start that this action would be reasonably expedient. The arrest of young Poles when leaving church service or the cinema would bring about an ever increasing nervousness of the Poles. Generally speaking, he had no objections at all to the rubbish, capable of work yet often loitering about, being snatched from the streets. The best method for this, however, would be the organization of a raid; and it would be absolutely justifiable to stop a Pole in the street and to question him as to what he was doing, where he was working.
May 30, 1940: From the Frank Diary, concerning the so-called "AB Action: Extraordinary Pacification Action. "Any arbitrary actions must be avoided; in all cases the safeguarding of the authority of the Fuehrer and of the Reich has to be kept in the foreground—The action is timed for 15 June."
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: I cannot say any more or any less than what is contained in the diary. The situation was extremely tense. Month after month attempted assassinations increased. The encouragement and support given by the rest of the world to the resistance movement to undermine all our efforts to pacify the country had succeeded to an alarming degree, and this led to this general pacification action, not only in the Government General, but also in other areas, and which I believe was ordered by the Fuehrer himself. My efforts were directed to limiting it as to extent and method, and in this I was successful. Moreover I should like to point out that I also made it clear that I intended to exercise the right of reprieve in each individual case; for that purpose I wanted the police and SS verdicts of death by shooting to be submitted to a reprieve committee which I had formed in that connection. I believe that can be seen from the diary also. Nevertheless, I would like to say that the method used at that time was a tremendous mistake. When I received the first reports about it, I complained in writing to Reich Minister Lammers about that peculiar development of the law.
May 22, 1940: (1352-PS, Exhibit USA 176) "Details of the Confiscation in the Bielitz Region."
Some days ago the commandant of the concentration camp being built at Auschwitz called on Staff Leader Muller and requested support for the carrying out of his assignments. He said that it was absolutely necessary to confiscate the agricultural enterprises within a certain area around the concentration camp, since not only the fields but also the farmhouses of these border directly on the camp. A local inspection held on the 21St of this month revealed the following: there is no room for doubt that agricultural enterprises bordering on the concentration camp must be confiscated at once. In addition, the camp commandant requests that further plots of farmland be placed at his disposal, so that he can keep the prisoners busy. This too can be done without further delay since enough land can be made available for the purpose. The owners of the plots are all Poles.. . . .
I had the following discussion with the head of the labor office in Bielitz: The lack of agricultural laborers still exists in the Old Reich. The transfer of the previous owners of the confiscated enterprises, together with their entire families, to the Reich, is possible without any further consideration. It is only necessary for the labor office to receive the lists of the persons in time in order to enable it to take the necessary steps (collection of transportation, distribution over the various regions in need of such labor). . . . .
The confiscation of these Polish enterprises in Alzen will also be carried out within the next few days. The commandant of the concentration camp will furnish S.S. men and a truck for the execution of the action. Should it not yet be possible to take the Poles from Alzen to Auschwitz they should be transferred to the empty castle at Zator. The liberated Polish property is to be given to the needy racial German farmers for their use.
October 1941: 2,000 Soviet POW’s begin construction of the Majdanek (KL Lublin) Concentration Camp on the outskirts of city of Lublin, Poland.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: I heard the name Maidanek for the first time in 1944 from foreign reports. But for years there had been contradictory rumors about the camp near Lublin, or in the Lublin District, if I may express myself in such a general way. Governor Zoerner once told me, I believe already in 1941, that the SS intended to build a large concentration camp near Lublin and had applied for large quantities of building materials, et cetera. At that time I instructed State Secretary Buehler to investigate the matter immediately, and I was told, and I also received a report in writing from Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler, that he had to build a large camp required by the Waffen-SS to manufacture clothes, footwear, and underwear in large SS-owned workshops. This camp went under the name of "SS Works," or something similar.
December 16, 1941: From closing address to a cabinet session by Governor General Frank of occupied Poland:
Now, I have to say I was in a position to get information, whereas the witnesses who have testified so far have said under oath that in the circles around the Fuehrer nothing was known about all these things. We out there were more independent, and I heard quite a lot through enemy broadcasts and enemy and neutral papers. In answer to my repeated questions as to what happened to the Jews who were deported, I was always told they were to be sent to the East, to be assembled, and put to work there. But, the stench seemed to penetrate the walls, and therefore I persisted in my investigations as to what was going on. Once a report came to me that there was something going on near Belcec. I went to Belcec the next day. Globocznik showed me an enormous ditch which he was having made as a protective wall and on which many thousands of workers, apparently Jews, were engaged. I spoke to some of them, asked them where they came from, how long they had been there, and he told me, that is, Globocznik, "They are working here now, and when they are through-they come from the Reich, or somewhere from France-they will be sent further east." I did not make any further inquiries in that same area.
The rumor, however, that the Jews were being killed in the manner which is now known to the entire world would not be silenced. When I expressed the wish to visit the SS workshop near Lublin, in order to get some idea of the value of the work that was being done, I was told that special permission from Heinrich Himmler was required.
I asked Heinrich Himmler for this special permission. He said that he would urge me not to go to the camp. Again some time passed. On 7 February 1944 I succeeded in being received by Adolf Hitler personally-I might add that throughout the war he received me three times only. In the presence of Bormann I put the question to him: "My Fuehrer, rumors about the extermination of the Jews will not be silenced. They are heard everywhere. No one is allowed in anywhere. Once I paid a surprise visit to Auschwitz in order to see the camp, but I was told that there was an epidemic in the camp and my car was diverted before I got there. Tell me, My Fuehrer, is there anything in it?" The Fuehrer said, "You can very well imagine that there are executions going on-of insurgents. Apart from that I do not know anything. Why don't you speak to Heinrich Himmler about it?" And I said. "Well, Himmler made a speech to us in Krakow and declared in front of all the people whom I had officially called to the meeting that these rumors about the systematic extermination of the Jews were false; the Jews were merely being brought to the East." Thereupon the Fuehrer said, "Then you must believe that."
When in 1944 I got the first details from the foreign press about the things which were going on, my first question was to the SS Obergruppenfuehrer Koppe, who had replaced Krueger. "Now we know," I said, "you cannot deny that." And he said that nothing was known to him about these things, and that apparently it was a matter directly between Heinrich Himmler and the camp authorities. "But," I said, "already in 1941 I heard of such plans, and I spoke about them." Then he said that was my business and he could not worry about it.
The Maidanek Camp must have been run solely by the SS, in the way I have mentioned, and apparently, in the same manner as stated by the witness Hoess. That is the only explanation that I can give. . . . . Auschwitz was not in the area of the Government General. I was never in Maidanek, nor in Treblinka, nor in Auschwitz.
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. The Fuehrer said once: 'Should united Jewry again succeed in provoking a world war, the blood of not only the nations which have been forced into the war by them will be shed, but the Jew will have found his end in Europe.' I know that many of the measures carried out against the Jews in the Reich at present are being criticized. It is being tried intentionally, as is obvious from the reports on the morale, to talk about cruelty, harshness, etc. Before I continue, I would beg you to agree with me on the following formula: We will principally have pity on the German people only and nobody else in the whole world. The others, too, had no pity on us. As an old National Socialist I must also say: This war would be only a partial success if the whole lot of Jewry would survive it, while we would have shed our best blood in order to save Europe.
My attitude towards the Jews will therefore, be based only on the expectation that they must disappear. They must be done away with. I have entered negotiations to have them deported to the East. A large conference concerning that question, to which I am going to delegate the State Secretary Dr. Buehler, will take place in Berlin in January. That discussion is to take place in the Reich Security Main Office with SS Lieutenant General Heydrich. A great Jewish migration will begin, in any case. But what should be done with the Jews? Do you think they will be settled down in the 'Ostland' in villages? This is what we were told in Berlin: Why all this bother? We can do nothing with them either in the 'Ostland' or in the 'Reichskommissariat.' So liquidate them yourselves. Gentlemen, I must ask you to arm yourselves against all feeling of pity. We must annihilate the Jews, wherever we find them and wherever it is possible, in order to maintain there the structure of the Reich as a whole. This will, naturally, be achieved by other methods than those pointed out by Bureau Chief Dr. Hummel. Nor can the judges of the Special Courts be made responsible for it because of the limitations of the frame work of the legal procedure. Such outdated views cannot be applied to such gigantic and unique events. We must find at any rate a way which leads to the goal, and my thoughts are working in that direction.
The Jews represent for us also extraordinarily malignant gluttons. We have now approximately, 2,500,000 of them in the Government General, perhaps with the Jewish mixtures and everything that goes with it, 3,500,000 Jews. We cannot shoot or poison those 3,500,000 Jews; but we shall nevertheless be able to take measures which will lead, somehow, to their annihilation, and this in connection with the gigantic measures to be determined in discussions with the Reich. The Government General must become free of Jews, the same as the Reich. Where and how this is to be achieved is a matter for the offices which we must appoint and create here. Their activities will be brought to your attention in due course.
February 16, 1942: From Himmler’s "Polonised Germans" directive:
II. The re-Germanisation of the Polonised Germans presupposes their complete separation from Polish surroundings. For that reason the persons entered in Division 4 of the German Ethnical List are to be dealt with in the following manner:
A. They are to be resettled in Old Reich territory. 1. The Superior S.S. and Police Leaders are charged with evacuating and resettling them according to instructions which will follow later.
2. Asocial persons and others who are of inferior hereditary quality will not be included in the resettlement. Their names will be turned over at once by the Higher S.S. and Police Fuehrer (Inspectors of Security Police and Security Service) to the competent State Police (Superior) Office. The latter will arrange for their transfer to a concentration camp.
3. Persons with a particularly bad political record will not be included in resettlement action. Their names will also be given by the Higher S.S. and Police Fuehrer (Inspectors of Security Police and Security Service) to the competent State Police (Superior) Office for transfer to a concentration camp.
The wives and children of such persons are to be resettled in old Reich territory and to be included in the Germanisation measures. Where the wife also has a particularly bad political record and cannot be included in the resettlement action, her name, too, is to be turned over to the competent State Police (Superior) Office with a view to imprisoning her in a concentration camp. In such cases the children are to be separated from their parents and dealt with according to III, Paragraph 2 of this decree.
Persons are to be considered as having a particularly bad political record who have offended the German nation to a very great degree - e.g., who participated in persecutions of Germans or boycotts of Germans, etc."
March 5, 1942:
From The Third Reich: A New History by Michael Burleigh: Frank was summoned to Lammers' train to meet his accusers. Himmler acted as prosecutor, censoriously enumerating the ten fur coats Frau Frank had acquired at bargain-basement prices; the gold bracelets, pens and rings the Franks had purloined from Jews; and the convoys of food - two hundred thousand eggs, 150 pounds of beef, twenty geese, 25 pounds of salami and dried fruit - and the sheets, angels and icons which Frank had shipped to his estate as Shobernhof. For high and low, the Nazis practiced the injunction 'enrichez-vous.' Corruption charges were compounded by Frank's belated public subscription to the rule of law in a series of lectures at German universities. His local difficulties with the SS in Poland led him to say: 'I shall continue to assert, with all the force at my command, that it would be bad if the Police State were to be presented as the ideal of National Socialism. Nowadays many people say that humanity is an out-of-date notion, something incompatible with the severity of the period. That is not my opinion.'
March 18, 1942: From a conference of district political leaders at Krakow:
Frank: Incidentally, the struggle for the achievement of our aims will be pursued cold-bloodedly. You see how the state agencies work. You see that we do not hesitate at anything, and stand dozens of people up against the wall. This is necessary because a simple reflection tells me that it cannot be our task at this period, when the best German blood is being sacrificed, to show regard for the blood of another race; for out of this, one of the greatest dangers may arise. One already hears today in Germany that prisoners of war, for instance, in Bavaria or Thuringia, are administering large estates entirely independently, while all the men in a village fit for service are at the front. If this state of affairs continues, then a gradual retrogression of Germanism will result. One should not underestimate this danger. Therefore, everything revealing itself as a Polish power of leadership must be destroyed again and again with ruthless energy. This does not have to be shouted abroad; it will happen silently.
March 30, 1942: (Document 910-PS, Exhibit USA 310) Department of the Interior, Cracow:
The Reichsfuehrer S.S. (Himmler) developed additional trains of ideas to the effect that in the first Five Year Plan for resettlement after the war the new German Eastern territories should first be filled; afterwards it is intended to provide the Crimea and the Baltic countries with a German upper-class at least. Into the Government General perhaps further German Island Settlements should be newly transplanted from European nations, an exact decision in this respect, however, has not been issued. In any case, it is wished that at first a heavy colonization along the San and the Bug be achieved so that these parts of Poland are encircled with alien population. Hitherto, it has been always proved that this kind of resettlement leads most quickly to the desired nationalization.
April 20, 1942: Hans Frank invites Archbishop Sapieha to a birthday party for Adolf Hitler.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: I was in constant personal contact with the Archbishop, now Cardinal, Sapieha in Krakow. He told me of all his sufferings and worries, and they were not few. I myself had to rescue the Bishop of Lublin from the hands of Herr (SS Gruppenfuehrer) Globocznik in order to save his life. . . . .
May 7, 1942: By a decree of the Fuehrer, a State Secretariat for Security in the Government General is created.
I may summarize the situation by quoting the letter which Archbishop Sapieha sent to me in 1942, in which, to use his own words, he thanked me for my tireless efforts to protect the life of the church. We reconstructed seminaries for priests; and we investigated every case of arrest of a priest, as far as that was humanly possible. The tragic incident when two assistants of the Archbishop Sapieha were shot, which has been mentioned here by the Prosecution, stirred my own emotions very deeply. I cannot say any more. The churches were open; the seminaries were educating priests; the priests were in no way prevented from carrying out their functions. The monastery at Czestochowa was under my personal protection. The Krakow monastery of the Camaldulians, which is a religious order, was also under my personal protection. There were large posters around the monastery indicating that these monasteries were protected by me personally.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: The establishment of this State Secretariat was one of the many attempts to solve the problem of the police in the Government General. I was very happy about it at the time, because I thought now we had found the way to solve the problem. I am certain it would have worked if Himmler and Krueger had adhered to the principle of this decree, which was co-operation and not working against each other. But before long it transpired that this renewed attempt, too, was merely camouflage; and the old conditions continued.
June/July 1942: (Document 2915-PS, Exhibit USA 306) Himmler, in Deutsche Arbeit: “It is not our task to Germanize the East in the old sense, that is, to teach the people there the German language and German law, but to see to it that only people of purely German, Germanic blood live in the East.”
Wherever the SS is discussed here, the SS and the police are considered as forming one body. It would not be right of me if I did not correct that wrong conception. I have known during the course of these years so many honest, clean, and upright soldiers among the SS, and especially among the Waffen-SS and the police, that when judging here the problem of the SS in regard to the criminal nature of their activities, one can draw the same clear distinction as in the case of any of the other social groups. The SS, as such, behaved no more criminally than any other social groups would behave when taking part in political events. The dreadful thing was that the responsible chief, and a number of other SS men who unfortunately had been given considerable powers, were able to abuse the loyal attitude which is so typical of the German soldier.
On the strength of this new decree I repeatedly gave orders. These orders were supposedly communicated to Heinrich Himmler; and as his agreement was necessary, these orders were never carried out. . . . .
The police were not subordinate to me, even by reason of that decree-only the State Secretary for Security. It does not say here that the police are subordinate to the Governor General, only the State Secretary for Security is subordinate to him. If you read Paragraph 4, then you come to the difficulties again. Adolf Hitler's decree was drawn up in my absence, of course. I was not consulted by Hitler, otherwise I would have protested, but in any case it was found impracticable. Paragraph 4 says that the Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police gave direct instructions to the State Secretary for Security in the field of security and for the preservation of German nationality. If you compare the original agreement with this, as contained in the diary, you will find that in one of the most important fields the Fuehrer had changed his mind, that is, concerning the Commissioner for the Preservation of German Nationality. This title embraces the Jewish question and the question of colonization.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: The Government General presented the same picture as every occupied country We do not have to look far from this court room to see what cultural life is like in an occupied country.
August 4, 1942: From the Frank Diary:
We had broadcasting in the Polish language under German supervision. We had a Polish press which was supervised by Germans, and we had a Polish school system, that is, elementary schools and high schools, in which at the end, 80,000 teachers taught in the service of the Government General. As far as it was possible Polish theaters were reopened in the large cities, and where German theaters were established we made sure that there was also a Polish theater at the same time. After the proclamation of the so-called total war in August 1944, the absurd situation arose in which the German theater in Krak6w was closed, because all German theaters were closed at that time, whereas the Polish theaters remained open. I myself selected composers and virtuosos from a group of the most well known musicians of Poland I found there in 1939 and founded the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Government General. This was in being until the end, and played an important part in the cultural life of Poland. I established a Chopin Museum in Krakow, and from all over Europe I collected relics of Chopin. I believe that is sufficient on this point. Culture cannot be exterminated. Any measures taken with that intention would be sheer nonsense.
State Secretary Kruger then continues, saying that the Reichsfuehrer's next immediate plan until the end of the following year would be to settle the following German racial groups in the two districts (Zamoscand Lublin)—1,000 peasant homes (1 homestead per family of about 6) for Bosnian Germans;—1,200 other kinds of homes;—1,000 homesteads for Bessarabian Germans;—200 for Serbian Germans;—2,000 for Leningrad Germans;—4,000 for Baltic Germans;—500 for Wolhynia Germans; and—200 homes for Flemish, Danish, and Dutch Germans; in all 10,000 homes for 50,000 to 60,000 persons...
Governor General Frank declares that "the resettlement plan is to be discussed cooperatively by the competent authorities and he declares his willingness to approve the final plan by the end of September after satisfactory arrangements had been made concerning all the questions appertaining thereto—in particular the guaranteeing of peace and order—so that by the middle of November, as the most favorable time, the resettlement can begin.
August 18, 1942: From the Frank Diary:
Anyone who passes through Krakow, Lvov, Warsaw, Radom, or Lublin today must in all fairness admit that the efforts of the German administration have been crowned with real success, as one now sees hardly any Jews.
August 24, 1942: From a cabinet meeting of the Government General, Hans Frank:
Before the German people suffer starvation, the occupied territories and their people shall be exposed to starvation. In this moment, therefore, we here in the Government General must have the iron determination to help the great German people, that is our fatherland. The Government General, therefore, must do the following: The Government General has undertaken to send 500,000 tons of bread grain to the fatherland in addition to the foodstuffs already being delivered for the relief of Germany or consumed here by troops of the Armed Forces, Police, or SS. If you compare this with our contributions of last year you can see that this means a six-fold increase over that of last year's contribution by the Government General. The new demand will be fulfilled exclusively at the expense of the foreign population. It must be done cold-bloodedly and without pity…
With all the difficulties which arise from the illness of workers, or the breaking down of your co-operatives, you must always bear in mind that it is much better if a Pole collapses than if the Germans are defeated. The fact that we shall be condemning 1,200,000 Jews to death by starvation should be mentioned incidentally. Of course, if the Jews do not die from starvation, it is to be hoped that anti-Jewish measures will be expedited in the future.
August 28, 1942: From the Frank Diary:
I have since 1920 continually dedicated my work to the NSDAP. As a National Socialist I was a participant in the events of November 1923, for which I received the Order of the Blood. After the resurrection of the movement in the year 1925, my really greater activity in the movement began, which made me, first gradually, later almost exclusively, the legal adviser of the Fuehrer and of the Reich Party Directorate of the NSDAP. I was thus the representative of the legal interests of the growing Third Reich in a legal-ideological as well as in a practical way. The culmination of this work I see in the Leipzig army trial, in which I succeeded in having the Fuehrer admitted to the famous oath of legality, a circumstance which gave the Movement legal grounds to expand on a large scale.
The Fuehrer, indeed, recognized this achievement and in 1926 made me leader of the National Socialist Lawyers' League; in 1929, Reichsleiter of the Reich Legal Office of the NSDAP; in March 1933, Bavarian Minister of Justice; in the same year, Reich Commissioner for Justice; in 1934, President of the Academy of German Law, founded by me; and in December 1934, Reich Minister without Portfolio. And in 1939, I was finally appointed Governor General for the occupied Polish territories. So I was, am, and will remain the representative jurist of the struggle period of National Socialism...I profess myself now and always, as a National Socialist and a faithful follower of the Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, whom I have now served since 1919.
December 14, 1942: From a statement by Frank made to the political leaders of the NSDAP at Krakow:
I will endeavor to get out of the reservoir of this territory everything that is yet to be had out of it. When you consider that it was possible for me to deliver to the Reich 600,000 tons of bread grain and in addition 180,000 tons to the Armed Forces stationed here; further, an abundance amounting to many thousands of tons of other commodities, such as seed, fats, vegetables, besides the delivery to the Reich of 300 million eggs, etcetera, you can estimate how important the work in this territory is for the Reich. In order to make clear to you the significance of the consignment from the Government General of 600,000 tons of bread grain, you are referred to the fact that the Government General, by this achievement alone, covers the raising of the bread ration in the Greater German Reich by two-thirds for the present rationing period. This enormous achievement can rightfully be claimed by us…You know that we have delivered more than 940,000 Polish workers to the Reich. The Government General thereby stands absolutely and relatively at the head of all European countries. This achievement is enormous and has also been recognized as such by Gauleiter Sauckel.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: First, I would like to emphasize that the Government General had to start with a balance sheet which revealed a frightful economic situation. The country had approximately twelve million inhabitants. The area of the Government General was the least fertile part of the former Poland. Moreover, the boundary between the Soviet Union, as well as the boundary between the German Reich, had been drawn in such a way that the most essential elements, indispensable for economy, were left outside. The frontiers between the Soviet Union and the German Reich were immediately closed; and so, right from the start, we had to make something out of nothing.
January 25, 1943: From notes of a meeting at Warsaw between Frank and Kruger: "
Galicia, the most important area in the Republic of Poland from the viewpoint of food supplies, was given to the Soviet Union. The province of Posen belonged to the German Reich. The coal and industrial areas of Upper Silesia were within the German Reich. The frontier with Germany was drawn in such a way that the iron works in Czestochowa remained with the Government General, whereas the iron-ore basins which were 10 kilometers from Czestochowa were incorporated into the German Reich.
The town of Lodz, the textile center of Poland, came within the German Reich. The city of Warsaw with a population of several millions became a frontier town because the German border came as close as 15 kilometers to Warsaw, and the result was that the entire agricultural hinterland was no longer at the disposal of that city. A great many facts could be mentioned, but that would probably take us too far. The first thing we had to do was to set things going again somehow. During the first weeks the population of Warsaw could only be fed with the aid of German equipment for mass feeding. The German Reich at that time sent 600,000 tons of grain, as a loan of course, and that created a heavy debt for me.
I started the financial economy with 20 million zlotys which had been advanced to me by the Reich. We started zenith a completely impoverished economy due to the devastation caused by the war, and by the first of January 1944 the savings bank accounts of the native population had reached the amount of 11,500 million zlotys, and we had succeeded by then in improving the feeding of the population to a certain extent. Furthermore, at that time the factories and industrial centers had been reconstructed, to which reconstruction the Reich authorities had made outstanding contributions; Reich Marshal Goering and Minister Speer especially deserve great credit for the help given in reviving the industry of the country. More than two million fully paid workers were employed; the harvest had increased to 1.6 million tons in a year; the yearly budget had increased from 20 million zlotys in the year 1939 to 1,700 million zlotys. All this is only a sketch which I submit here to describe the general development.
Kruger: We are removing those who constitute a burden in this new colonization territory. Actually, they are the asocial and inferior elements. They are being deported; first brought to a concentration camp and then sent as labor to the Reich. From a Polish propaganda standpoint, this entire first action has an unfavorable effect. For the Poles say: 'After the Jews have been destroyed, then they will employ the same methods to get the Poles out of this territory and liquidate them just like the Jews.
January 25, 1943: From an address by Frank at labor conference meetings in the Government General:
We must remember that we who are gathered together here figure on Mr. Roosevelt's list of war criminals. I have the honor of being Number One. We have, so to speak, become accomplices in the world historic sense.
April 19 – May 16, 1943: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising occurs.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: I was surprised when the American Chief Prosecutor said in his opening speech, while submitting a document here with pictures about the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, that that report had been made to me. But that has been clarified in the meantime. The report was never made for me, and was never sent to me in that form. And, thank Heaven, during the last few days it has been made clear by several witnesses and affidavits that this destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto was carried out upon direct orders of Himmler, and over the head of all competent authorities of the Government General. When in our meetings anybody spoke about this Ghetto, it was always said that there had been a revolt in the Warsaw Ghetto which we had had to quell with artillery; reports that were made on it never seemed to me to be authentic.
May 31, 1943: By this date, the staggering total of 693,252 Polish-owned estates, comprising 6,097,525 hectares, had been seized, and 9,508 estates, comprising 270,446 hectares, had been confiscated by the Estate Offices Danzig, West Prussia, Poznan, Zichenau, and Silesia.
June 19, 1943: From a report by Frank to Hitler:
In the course of time, a series of measures, or of consequences of the German rule, have led to a substantial deterioration of the attitude of the entire Polish people to the Government General. These measures have affected either individual professions or the entire population and frequently also—often with crushing severity—the fate of individuals. Among these are in particular:
1. The entirely insufficient nourishment of the population, mainly of the working classes in the cities, the majority of which are working for German interests. Until the war of 1939 their food supplies, though not varied, were sufficient and were generally assured owing to the agrarian surplus of the former Polish State and in spite of the negligence on the part of their former political leadership.
2. The confiscation of a great part of the Polish estates, expropriation without compensation, and evacuation of Polish peasants from maneuver areas and from German settlements.
3. Encroachments and confiscation's in the industries, in commerce and trade, and in the field of other private property.
4. Mass arrests and shootings by the German Police who applied the system of collective responsibility.
5. Extreme rigorous methods of recruiting workers.
6. The extensive paralyzing of cultural life.
7. The closing of high schools, colleges, and universities.
8. The limitation, indeed the complete elimination, of Polish influence from all spheres of State administration.
9. Curtailment of the influence of the Catholic Church, limiting its extensive influence-an undoubtedly necessary move - and, in addition, until quite recently, often at the shortest notice, the closing and confiscation of monasteries, schools, and charitable institutions.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: With reference to Maidanek we were talking about the extermination of Jews. The extermination of Jews in Maidanek became known to me during the summer of 1944. Up to now the word "Maidanek" has always been mentioned in connection with extermination of Jews.
From Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte: Before me sat Frank, on his high stiff-backed chair in the old Polish royal palace of the Wawel in Cracow, as if he were sitting on the throne of the Jagiellons and Sobieskis. He appeared to be fully persuaded that the great Polish traditions of royalty and chivalry were being revived in him. There was a light of innocent pride on his face, with its pale, swollen cheeks and the hooked nose suggesting a will both vainglorious and uncertain. His black glossy hair was brushed back revealing a high ivory-white forehead. There was something at once childish and senile in him: in his full pouting lips of an angry child, in his prominent eyes with their thick, heavy eyelids that seemed to be too large for his eyes, and in his habit of keeping his eyelid lowered - thus cutting two deep, straight furrows across his temples. A slight film of sweat covered his face, and by the light of the large Dutch lamps and the silver candlesticks that ranged along the table and were reflected in the Bohemian glass and Saxon china, his face shone as if it were wrapped in a cellophane mask. 'My one ambition,' said Frank thrusting himself back against his chair by propping his hands against the edge of the table, 'is to elevate the Polish people to the honor of civilization.'
August 1, 1944: As the Soviet Army approaches Warsaw, the citizens rise in revolt.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: That revolt broke out when the Soviet Russian Army had advanced to within about 30 kilometers of Warsaw on the eastern bank of the Vistula. It was a sort of combined operation; and, as it seems to me, also a national Polish action, as the Poles at the last moment wanted to carry out the liberation of their capital themselves and did not want to owe it to the Soviet Russians. They probably were thinking of how, in Paris, at the last moment the resistance movement, even before the Allies had approached, had accomplished the liberation of the city.
October 14, 1943: (L-70, Exhibit USA 308) From a speech by Hitler:
The operation was a strictly military one. As Senior Commander of the German troops used to quell the revolt, I believe, they appointed SS General Von dem Bach-Zelewski. The civil administration, therefore, did not have any part in the fighting. The part played by the civil administration began only after the capitulation of General Bor, when the most atrocious orders for vengeance came from the Reich.
A letter came to my desk one day in which Hitler demanded the deportation of the entire population of Warsaw into German concentration camps. It took a struggle of 3 weeks, from which I emerged victorious, to avert that act of insanity and to succeed in having the fleeing population of Warsaw, which had had no part in the revolt, distributed throughout the Government General.
During that revolt. unfortunately, the city of Warsaw was very seriously damaged. All that had taken years to rebuild was burned down in a few weeks.
I consider that in dealing with members of a foreign country, especially of some Slav nationality, we must not start from German points of view, we must not endow these people with decent German thoughts and logical conclusions of which they are not capable, but we must take them as they really are.
Obviously in such a mixture of peoples there will always be some racially good types. Therefore I think that it is our duty to take their children with us, to remove them from their environment, if necessary, by abducting them. Either we win over any good blood that we can use for ourselves and give it a place in our people, or we destroy that blood. . . . .
For us the end of this war will mean an open road to the East, the creation of the Germanic Reich in this way or that . . . the bringing home of 30,000,000 human beings of our blood, so that during our lifetime we shall be a people of 120,000,000 Germanic souls. That means that we shall be the sole decisive power in Europe. That means that we shall then be able to tackle the peace, during which we shall be willing for the first 2o years to rebuild and spread out our villages and towns, and that we shall push the borders of our German race 500 kilometres further to the East.
January 12, 1944: From a speech by Frank before German political leaders at Krakow:
Once the war is won, then, for all I care, mincemeat can be made of the Poles and the Ukrainians and all the others who run around here; it doesn't matter what happens.
June 28, 1944: (Exhibit Number USA-506) The Higher SS and Police Leader East issues the following order: "The security situation in the Government General has deteriorated so much during the recent months that the most radical means and the most severe measures must now be employed against these alien assassins and saboteurs. The Reichsfuehrer SS in agreement with the Governor General, has given order that in every case of assassination or attempted assassination of Germans, not only the perpetrators shall be shot when caught, but that in addition, all their male relatives shall also be executed, and their female relatives above the age of sixteen put into a concentration camp."
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: As I have said that I was never called upon by the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler to give my approval to such orders, your question has already been answered. In this case, I was not called upon either. The reason why this was not done was always the same. I was told that as Poles were living not only in the Government General but also in those territories which had been incorporated into the Reich, the fight against the Polish resistance movement had to be carried on by unified control from a central office, and this central office was Heinrich Himmler.
October 22, 1944: Churchill to FDR:
Major War Criminals. UJ (Churchill and FDR refer to Josef Stalin as Uncle Joe, or UJ, in their correspondence) took an unexpectedly ultra-respectable line. There must be no executions without trial otherwise the world would say we were afraid to try them. I pointed out the difficulties in international law but he replied if there were no trials there must be no death sentences, but only life-long confinements.
October 22, 1944: FDR to Churchill:
Your statement of the present attitude of Uncle J. towards war criminals, the future of Germany, and the Montreux Convention is most interesting. We should discuss these matters, together with our Pacific war effort, at the forthcoming three-party meeting.
April 13, 1945: Former US Attorney General and now Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Justice Robert Jackson, speaks before the American Society of International Law:
We have been a freedom-loving people. Our Constitution and our philosophy of law have been characterized by a regard for the broadest possible liberty of the individual. But the dullest mind must now see that our national society cannot be so self-sufficient and so isolated that freedom, security, and opportunity of our own citizens can be assured by good domestic laws alone
April 30, 1945: Adolf Hitler commits suicide in his Berlin bunker.
May 2, 1945: Executive Order of US President Truman:
Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson is hereby designated to act as the Representative of the United States and as its Chief of Counsel in preparing and prosecuting charges of atrocities and war crimes against such of the leaders of the European Axis powers and their principal agents and accessories as the United States may agree with any of the United Nations to bring to trial before an international tribunal.
May 4, 1945: Frank is captured by American troops at Tegernsee near Berchtesgaden. Upon his capture, and after a severe beating from two American soldiers, he tries to cut his own throat. Two days later, he will lacerate his left arm in a second unsuccessful suicide attempt. Note: Only Streicher, of all the other defendants, will be similarly mistreated in captivity.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: I bear the responsibility (for the events of Poland after 1939); and when, on 30 April 1945, Adolf Hitler ended his life, I resolved to reveal that responsibility of mine to the world as clearly as possible. I did not destroy the 43 volumes of my diary, which report on all these events and the share I had in them; but of my own accord I handed them voluntarily to the officers of the American Army who arrested me. I ask the Tribunal to decide upon the degree of my guilt at the end of my case. I myself, speaking from the very depths of my feelings and having lived through the 5 months of this trial, want to say that now after I have gained a full insight into all the horrible atrocities which have been committed, I am possessed by a deep sense of guilt.
May 18, 1945: The complete forty-three volume set of the Frank Diary is found in Bavaria, at Neuhaus, near Schliersee, by the 7th American Army; it is right where Frank told them it would be. It is taken to the 7th Army document center at Heidelberg.
From Hans Frank’s IMT Testimony: One has to take the diary as a whole. You can not go through 43 volumes and pick out single sentences and separate them from their context. I would like to say here that I do not want to argue or quibble about individual phrases. It was a wild and stormy period filled with terrible passions, and when a whole country is on fire and a life and death struggle is going on, such words may easily be used.
From The Devil's Disciples by Anthony Read: (The second defendant to arrive at the Palace Hotel at Mondorf was) Hans Frank, who arrived in a US army ambulance, 'a pitiful wreck of a man' still in a serious condition after slashing his wrists and throat in a suicide attempt. Now forty-five years old, with thinning dark hair...he had been responsible for transforming Germany's legal system to serve National Socialism. In spite of his culpability for countless cases of perverted justice, he might still have escaped as a major war criminal had he not been appointed Governor General of Poland in October 1939. Hitler's orders to Frank when he appointed him as his viceroy were unequivocal: he was 'to assume the administration of the conquered territories with the special order ruthlessly to to exploit this region as a war zone and booty country, to reduce it, as it were, to a heap of rubble in its economic, social, cultural and political structure. Ruling like some oriental despot from the splendor of Cracow Castle, Frank more than fulfilled his brief, turning his fiefdom into the bloodiest of all occupied territories, with the possible exception of the western Soviet Union under Alfred Rosenberg's tender care. Basically insecure, and with his authority threatened by a constant power struggle with the SS, Frank compensated for his weakness with exaggerated brutality. He supervised the slaughter of the Polish intelligentsia, shipped hundreds of slave laborers to the Reich, and provided the sites for several of the most notorious death camps, including Auschwitz, Treblinka and Sobibor, proclaiming his mission was 'to rid Poland of lice and Jews.'
July 16, 1945: Since May, the Allies have been collecting Nazis and tossing the high-ranking ones into a former hotel in Mondorf, Luxemburg, affectionately reffered to as 'Ashcan.' On this day, Ashcan's commander, Colonel Burton C. Andrus, takes representatives of the world's Press on a tour of the facility to squash rumors that the prisoners are living the high-life. "We stand for no mollycoddling here," Andrus proclaims. "We have certain rules and the rules are obeyed.. ..they roll their own cigarettes." (Tusa)
July 19, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: From the minutes of this days Conference Session:
Nikitchenko: By our formula we should not give those who committed criminal acts the possibility of considering themselves political criminals. If we were to try to set forth in detail the various crimes committed by the Nazis, we might very well make a mistake. It is quite impossible to give an exhaustive list of the crimes. If, on the other hand, we should confine ourselves to a few matters, that too would not be right. Therefore we should work out a formula which would make it possible to bring to trial and punish those who have committed all the various atrocities
August 2, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: During this days Four Power conference session:
Lord Chancellor: I feel myself that speed in getting these trials going is very important and I rather feel this, that, if there is unreasonable delay—I hope and believe there won't be—but if there is delay, then, of course, the various powers might have to resort to their rights under article 6-that is, they might have to conduct their own trials. But I hope and believe that there will be no delay
August 12, 1945: Colonel Andrus and his 15 Ashcan prisoners are loaded onto a US C-47 transport plane bound for Nuremberg. As they fly above Germany, Goering continually points out various geographical features below, such as the Rhine, telling Ribbentrop to take one last look as he is unlikely to ever get the opportunity again. Streicher becomes air-sick. (Tusa)
August 25, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: Representatives of the Big Four (Jackson, Fyfe, Gros, and Nikitchenko), agree on a list of 22 defendants, 21 of which are in custody. The 22nd, Martin Bormann, is presumed to be in Soviet custody, but Nikitchenko cannot confirm it. The list is scheduled to be released to the press on August 28. (Conot)
August 28, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: Just in time to delay the release of the names of the final 22, Nikitchenko informs the other three Allied representatives that, unfortunately, Bormann is not in Soviet custody. However, he announces that the valiant Red Army has captured two vile Nazis, Erich Raeder, and Hans Fritzsche, and offers them up for trial. Though neither man was on anyone's list of possible major defendants, it emerges that their inclusion has become a matter of Soviet pride; Raeder and Fritzsche being the only two ranking Nazis unlucky enough to have been caught in the grasp of the advancing Russian bear. (Conot)
August 29, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: With the additions of Raeder and Fritzsche, the final list of 24 defendants is released to the press. Bormann, though not in custody (or even alive), is still listed. (Conot, Taylor)
August 29, 1945: The Manchester Guardian reacts to the release of the list of defendants:
Grave precedents are being set. For the first time the leaders of a state are being tried for starting a war and breaking treaties. We may expect after this that at the end of any future war the victors—whether they have justice on their side or not, as this time we firmly believe we have —will try the vanquished.
August 30, 1945: The Glasgow Herald reacts to the release of the list of defendants:
Scanning this list, one cannot but be struck by the completeness of the Nazi catastrophe. Of all these men, who but a year ago enjoyed wide influence or supreme power, not one could find a refuge in a continent united in hate against them.
September 4, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
In the afternoon I talked with Helen Krassezyk, formerly secretary to Hans Frank, the governor general of Poland - 'the bloody butcher.' She painted Frank as a man who was forced to put these vicious measures into effect, and forced to take all the steps he did take in Poland by Himmler and Hitler. She insists he wanted to resign and Hitler refused to permit it. Well - the same old song. It would be relieving to hear one of them admit some blame for something. They blame everything on the dead and missing. I sometimes believe they do not include Hitler only because they are not certain he is dead."
September 17, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
Yesterday, Jackson told the press that the US would be ready to start the trial on November 1. By the way, the Russian representative (Nikitchenko) had been suddenly withdrawn. No explanations - mere notice that he will no longer represent Russia in this matter. After weeks of negotiating, weeks of work with him as chief counsel for Russia, he simply goes home and does not come back. These Russians are impossible. What effect this will have on the trial or the trial; date no one knows, but you can imagine the confusion that may arise out of it.
September 20, 1945: The complete set of the Frank Diary is sent to the Office of US Chief of Counsel at Nuremberg; 11,367 typed pages.
October 5, 1945: Andrus loses his first German prisoner to suicide; Dr Leonard Conti, Hitler's 'Head of National Hygiene.'
October 6, 1945: To the Clerk or Recording Officer, International Military Tribunal:
The representative of the United States has found it necessary to make certain reservations as to the possible bearing of certain language in the Indictment upon political questions which are considered to be irrelevant to the proceedings before this Tribunal. However, it is considered appropriate to disclose such reservations that they may not be unknown to the Tribunal in the event they should at any time be considered relevant. For that purpose, the foregoing copy is filed. Dear Sirs: In the Indictment of German War Criminals signed today, reference is made to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and certain other territories as being within the area of the USSR. This language is proposed by Russia and is accepted to avoid the delay which would be occasioned by insistence on an alteration in the text. The Indictment is signed subject to this reservation and understanding: I have no authority either to admit or to challenge on behalf of the United States of America, Soviet claims to sovereignty over such territories. Nothing, therefore, in this Indictment is to be construed as a recognition by the United States of such sovereignty or as indicating any attitude, either on the part of the United States or on the part of the undersigned. toward any claim to recognition of such sovereignty. Respectfully submitted, Robert H. Jackson, Chief of Counsel for the United States.
October 8, 1945: Frank spots his diaries stacked on a table when reports to interrogation, and remarks to his interrogator: "Here you have the story of my life for five years. You are in the fortunate position of knowing everything about me in writing and printing." (Conot)
October 19, 1945: British Major Airey Neave presents each defendant in turn with a copy of the indictment. Gilbert, the Nuremberg psychologist, asks the accused to write a few words on the documents margin indicating their attitude toward the development. Frank: "I am awaiting the trial as the world's judgment, ordained by God, to examine the terrible time of suffering under Adolf Hitler, and bring it to an end." He then burst into tears. (Heydecker)
October 25, 1945: Andrus loses yet another Nazi as Defendant Dr Robert Ley, Hitler's head of the German Labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF), commits suicide in his Nuremberg cell. Scorecard: There are now officially 23 indicted defendants; 22 of these are actually alive and in Allied custody.
October 29, 1945: Only seven of the defendants have obtained counsel by this date. Frank, a lawyer and former high-ranking jurist, is consulted by more than a few defendants concerning counsel. Frank, Frick, Schirach and Sauckel unsuccessfully apply for the services of a Munich lawyer named Scanzoni. Frank will ultimately be represented by a much younger Munich lawyer, Dr Alfred Seidl. Seidl, a member of the Nazi Party, will soon defend Hess as well. Note: Eighteen of the forty-eight German lawyers who eventually participate in the trial will have Nazi backgrounds. (Conot, Maser)
October 31, 1945: During this days preliminary session, the Tribunal rules that the defendants not be allowed to converse with each other prior to the trial. Rosenberg requests that he be defended by fellow defendant Hans Frank. The Tribunal discusses the notion: de Vabres: “If we admit that Frank can be Rosenberg's lawyer, the result is that he can have conversations with him." Birkett: "And we should also have to pay him 4,000 marks." The Tribunal rules against the idea. (Conot)
1945: Prior to the trial, the defendants are given an IQ test. Administered by Dr. Gilbert, the Nuremberg Prison psychologist, and Dr. Kelly, the psychiatrist, the test includes ink blots and the Wechsler-Bellevue test. Frank scores 130. Note: After the testing, Gilbert comes to the conclusion that all the defendants are 'intelligent enough to have known better.' Andrus is not impressed by the results: "From what I've seen of them as intellects and characters I wouldn't let one of these supermen be a buck sergeant in my outfit." (Tusa)
November 19, 1945: After a last inspection by Andrus, the defendants are escorted individually into the empty courtroom and given their assigned seats. (Tusa)
November 19, 1945: The day before the opening of the trial, a motion is filed on behalf of all defense counsel:
The Defense consider it their duty to point out at this juncture another peculiarity of this Trial which departs from the commonly recognized principles of modern jurisprudence. The Judges have been appointed exclusively by States which were the one party in this war. This one party to the proceeding is all in one: creator of the statute of the Tribunal and of the rules of law, prosecutor and judge. It used to be until now the common legal conception that this should not be so
November 20, 1945: Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 1 of the historic trial, the prosecutors take turns reading the Indictment http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/count.asp in court. Unfortunately, no one had given any thought to the prisoners lunch break, so, for the first and only time during 218 days of court, the defendants eat their midday meal in the courtroom itself. This is the first opportunity for the entire group to mingle, and though some know each other quite well, their are many who've never met. (Tusa, Conot)
November 21, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 2, the defendants enter their pleas: "The President: I will now call upon the defendants to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges against them. They will proceed in turn to a point in the dock opposite to the microphone... Frank: "I declare myself not guilty."
November 21, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: Immediately following the pleas of the defendants, Justice Jackson delivers his opening statement:
Jackson: And the Defendant Hans Frank, a lawyer by profession, I say with shame, summarized in his diary in 1944 the Nazi policy thus: 'The Jews are a race which has to be eliminated; whenever we catch one, it is his end.' And earlier, speaking of his function as Governor General of Poland, he confided to his diary this sentiment: 'Of course I cannot eliminate all lice and Jews in only a year's time.' I could multiply endlessly this kind of Nazi ranting but I will leave it to the evidence and turn to the fruit of this perverted thinking
November 21, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: The Tribunal rejects the Defense motion of Nov 19 on the grounds that, in so far as it is an argument against the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, it is in conflict with Article 3 of the Charter.
November 21, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 3, Major Frank Wallis, Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States, presents the case known as the Common Plan or Conspiracy:
Wallis: As a means of implementing their master race policy and as a means of rallying otherwise discordant elements behind the Nazi banner, the conspirators adopted and publicized a program of relentless persecution of Jews. This program was contained in the official, unalterable 25 points of the Nazi Party, of which 6 were devoted to the master race doctrine. The Defendants Göring, Hess, Rosenberg, Frank, Frick, Streicher, Funk, Schirach, Bormann, and others, all took prominent parts in publicizing this program. Upon the Nazis coming into power, this Party program became the official State program
November 29, 1945: The prosecution presents as evidence a film shot by US troops as they were liberating various German concentration camps. That evening in their cells, the defendants react to the horrific images. Frank:
To think we lived like kings and believed in that beast! Don't let anybody tell you they had no idea! Everybody sensed that there was something horribly wrong with this system, even if we didn't know all the details. They didn't want to know! It was too comfortable to live on the system, to support our families in royal style, and to believe that it was all right. May God have mercy on our souls. (Conot)
December 11, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the trial's 17th day, the prosecution presents as evidence a four-hour movie, 'The Nazi Plan,' compiled from various Nazi propaganda films and newsreels. The film opens with Rosenberg, plump in his Party uniform, providing the pompous narration for 'Triumph of the Will.' Far from viewing the film as another nail in their coffins, the defendants enjoy it hugely. From the diary of Dr. Victor von der Lippe: 'Göring was visibly delighted to see himself once more "in the good times."' Ribbentrop spoke of the gripping force of Hitler's personality, another defendant declared himself happy that the Tribunal would see him at least once in full uniform, and with the dignity of his office." (Taylor, Conot)
December 11, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: After the court views the film The Nazi Plan, Dr. Thomas Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel for the United States, begins presentation of the Case on Forced Labor:
Dodd: We shall also show in this presentation that the Defendant Göring, as Plenipotentiary General for the Four Year Plan, is responsible for all of the crimes involved in the Nazi slave labor program. Finally, we propose to show that the Defendant Rosenberg, as Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, and the Defendant Frank, as Governor of the Government General of Poland, and the Defendant Seyss-lnquart, as Reich Commissar for the occupied Netherlands, and the Defendant Keitel, as Chief of the OKW, share responsibility for the recruitment by force and terror
December 12, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 18, the subject of Frank's Diary begins the morning session:
Dodd: May it please the Tribunal, I should like to report to the Tribunal this morning with reference to the questions which arose yesterday afternoon concerning three documents. After adjournment we found that Document 2220-PS was in the defendants' information Center in photo static-form, and that the two other documents, being respectively two entries from the Frank diary, were also there but in a different form. The Frank diary consists of some 40-odd volumes which we, of course, were not able to Photostat, so we had placed instead in the defendants' room the excerpts. As a matter of fact, we had placed the entire document book there.
Dr. Alfred Seidl (Counsel for the Defendant Frank): Yesterday the Prosecution submitted documents concerning the Defendant Frank...These are not ordinary documents, but excerpts from the diary of Frank. Six weeks ago I applied in writing to have this diary, which consists of 42 heavy, thick volumes, submitted to me. I made this request for the first time on the 2d of September, the second time on the 16th of November, the third time on the 18th of November, and the fourth time on the 3rd of December. Unfortunately, I have not so far received this diary, and I should like to ask the Tribunal that it be submitted to me as soon as possible, not least because this material was surrendered by the Defendant Frank himself to the officers who arrested him and was to be used as evidence for his defense. I am of course not in a position to work through all this material in a few days, and I should like to ask the Tribunal that this diary be put at my disposal without delay
December 13, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 19, Major William Walsh, Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States, begins presentation of the Case on Persecution of the Jews:
Major Walsh: It is difficult from this point to follow the thread of chronological order or a topical outline. So numerous are the documents and so appalling the contents that in this brief recital the Prosecution will make no effort to itemize the criminal acts. Selected documents, however, will unfold the crimes in full detail. Before launching a discussion of the means utilized to accomplish the ultimate aim, that is the extermination of the Jewish people, I now turn to that fertile source of evidence, the diary of Hans Frank, then Governor General of occupied Poland
December 14, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 20, Major William Walsh, Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States, continues presentation of the Case on Persecution of the Jews:
Major Walsh: I would like first to discuss starvation. Policies were designed and adopted to deprive the Jews of the most elemental necessities of life. Again the Defendant Hans Frank, then Governor General of Poland, wrote in his diary that hunger rations were introduced in the Warsaw ghetto; and referring to the new food regulations in August 1942, he callously, and perhaps casually, noted that by these food regulations he virtually condemned more than 1 million Jews to death
December 20, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: After this days session, the trial adjourns for a Holiday break until Wednesday, the 2nd of January.
January 8, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 29, Colonel Leonard Wheeler Jr., Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States, presents the prosecutions case on the Suppression of Churches:
The repressive measures adopted by the Nazi conspirators in Poland against the Christian Church were even more drastic and sweeping. The Vatican documents now to be introduced describe persecutions of the Catholic Church in Poland in three areas: First, the incorporated territories, especially the Warthegau; second, the Government General; and third, the incorporated Eastern territories. The Court will recall that the incorporated territories comprised territories adjacent to the old Reich, chiefly the Reich District Wartheland or Warthegau, which included particularly the cities of Poznan and Lodz and the Reich district Danzig-West Prussia.
The occupied Polish territories which were organized into the Government General comprised the remainder of Poland, seized by the German forces in 1939 and extending to the new boundary with the Soviets formed at that time. This included Warsaw and Krakow. After the Nazis attacked the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in June 1941, the parts of old Poland lying farther to the east and then overrun were included in the so-called Occupied Eastern Territories. For the purpose of tying the defendants' responsibility for the persecutions occurring in their respective areas, the Court will bear in mind that the Defendant Frick was the official chiefly responsible for the reorganization of the Eastern territories. The Defendant Frank was head of the Government General
January 10, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 31 of deliberations, the prosecution presents its case against Frank:
The machinations of Frank divide themselves logically into two periods. In the one, from 1920 to 1939, he was by his own admission the leading Nazi jurist, although parenthetically the word 'jurist' loses its reputable content when modified by the word 'Nazi.' In the other period, extending from 10 October 1939 until the end of the war, he was Governor General of occupied Poland. While he is most notorious for his persecutions and carrying out of the conspiracy in the latter capacity, it is the opinion of the United States Prosecution that the Defendant Frank's contributions to the Nazi rise to power as the leading Nazi jurist should not pass without mention
January 17, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 36 of deliberations, M. Francois de Menthon, the Chief Prosecutor for the French Republic, presents France's case:
Menthon: The craving for justice of the tortured peoples is the basic foundation of France's appearance before Your High Tribunal. It is not the only one, nor perhaps the most important one. More than toward the past, our eyes are turned toward the future. We believe that there can be no lasting peace and no certain progress for humanity, which still today is torn asunder, suffering, and anguished, except through the co-operation of an peoples and through the progressive establishment of a real international society. Technical procedures and diplomatic arrangements will not suffice. There can be no well balanced and enduring nation without a common consent in the essential rules of social living, without a general standard of behavior before the claims of conscience, without the adherence of all citizens to identical concepts of good and evil
January 17, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Frank's reaction to de Menthon's speech: "Ah, that is stimulating! That is more like the European mentality. It will be a pleasure to argue with that man. But, you know, it is ironic - it was the Frenchman, de Gobineau, who started racial ideology." (Tusa)
January 18, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Inadvertently denying Frank the 'pleasure' of crossing swords, De Menthon steps down as Chief Prosecutor for the French Republic and returns to his duties in France. He is replaced by Champetier de Ribes. (Tusa)
January 28, 1946 From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett: "The evidence is building up a most terrible and convincing case of complete horror and inhumanity in the concentration camps. But from the point of view of this trial it is a complete waste of valuable time. The case has been proved over and over again..."
February 8, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 54, the Russian prosecution presents its case:
Rudenko: I charge the defendants with having prepared and carried out a perfidious attack on the peoples of my country and on all freedom-loving nations. I accuse them of the fact that, having initiated a world war, they, in violation of the fundamental rules of international law and of the treaties to which they were signatories, turned war into an instrument of extermination of peaceful citizens-an instrument of plunder, violence, and pillage. I accuse the defendants of the fact that, having proclaimed themselves to be the representatives of the 'master race,' a thing which they have invented, they set up, wherever their domination spread, an arbitrary regime of tyranny; a regime founded on the disregard' for the elementary principles of humanity
February 8, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: The defendants react with scorn to the speech of the Russian Prosecutor. Göring, who, along with Hess had removed his earphones in disgust during Rudenko's presentation, declares during the lunch break: 'I did not think that they (the Russians) would be so shameless as to mention Poland.' And later: "You will see—this trial will be a disgrace in 15 years." (Gilbert)
February 9, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
Yesterday, Friday, opened the Russian case. General Rudenko made his statement and the Russian photographers were all over the place. It lasted most of the day and about 4 o'clock the Russkies began presenting evidence. I conferred with the Justice about segregating Göring from the other defendants for he is browbeating and threatening them - and particularly those who might admit some guilt. He wants all to hang together - and to prove that Roosevelt was the cause of the war! Well, we will take care of that defense all right but I do not think he is entitled to go on intimidating people as he has done for much of his life.
February 15, 1946 From the diary of Mr. Justice Birkett:
The presentation of the case dealing with crimes against the civilian population of various countries overrun by the German armies has been most detailed, and is contained for the most part in official documents which purport to record judicial hearings of the evidence. The impression created on my mind is that there has been a good deal of exaggeration, but I have no means of checking this. But no doubt can remain in any dispassionate mind that great horrors and cruelties were perpetrated. I think, also, that there is a good deal of evidence to show that the Nazi hierarchy used calculated cruelty and terror as their usual weapons. But it is impossible to convict an army generally, and no doubt many of the terrible excesses were those of a brutal and licentious soldiery, to quote Gibbon. The only importance of the evidence is to convict the members of the Cabinet and the military leaders of calculated cruelty as a policy.
February 15, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Colonel Andrus tightens the rules for the defendants by imposing strict solitary confinement. This is part of a strategy designed to minimize Goering's influence among the defendants. (Tusa)
February 22, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: In a further move to minimize his influence, Goering is now required to eat alone during the courts daily lunch break. The other defendants are split up into groups, with Frank now sharing his mid-day meal with Keitel, Sauckel, and Syss-Inquart. (Tusa)
March 5, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Winston Churchill introduces the phrase Iron Curtain into the English language (the term was originally coined by Josef Goebbels) during his famous Cold War speech at Fulton, Missouri. Speer recorded the defendants' reactions:
(The defendants showed) tremendous excitement. Hess suddenly stopped playing the amnesiac and reminded us how often he had predicted a great turning point that would put an end to the trial, rehabilitate all of us, and restore us to our ranks and dignities. Göring, too, was beside himself; he repeatedly slapped his thighs with his palms and boomed: 'History will not be deceived. The Führer and I always prophesied it. This coalition had to break up sooner or later.' (Speer II)
April 18, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: The day before Frank takes the witness stand, Dr Gilbert visits him in his cell.
Frank: I will be first to admit my guilt.
Gilbert: In what way do you feel guilty?
Frank: Because I was an ardent Nazi and did not kill him (Hitler)." (Maser)
From Justice at Nuremberg, by Robert E. Conot: On the surface, there was a stark difference between Frank and the defendants who had preceded him. He was the first of the accused to reject and denounce Hitler. He had Goering's cunning and intelligence, and Hitler's ability to assess an audience and play to it. While Keitel and Rosenberg had sat rigidly in the witness box and Kaltenbrunner had crouched tensely, Frank seemed relaxed, his keen black eyes scanning the entire room. Lawrence had made it clear during Rosenberg's appearance, chiding prosecution and defense alike, that the tribunal was tired of prolixity, repetition, and irrelevancies; so Frank answered questions fairly succinctly. Beyond and beneath his sense of theater, however, Frank was only marginally different from the others. Forced into speaking the truth by the twelve thousand pages of his journal, he nevertheless resorted to mendacity whenever he thought ho would not get caught...Frank's testimony precipitated a storm of dissension among his fellow defendants. 'According to your diary, you damned well knew what was happening! It would have been more honorable to say so, and not try to hide among the millions of our nation whom you are trying to burden with a thousand years of guilt,' Fritzsche accosted him when he returned from the stand.
April 18, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 111, Frank testifies:
Dr. Seidl: I am coming now to the next question. Did you ever have hostages shot?
Frank: My diary contains the facts. I myself have never had hostages shot.
Dr. Seidl: Did you ever participate in the annihilation of Jews?
Frank: I say "yes;" and the reason why I say "yes" is because, having lived through the 5 months of this trial, and particularly after having heard the testimony of the witness Hoess, my conscience does not allow me to throw the responsibility solely on these minor people. I myself have never installed an extermination camp for Jews, or promoted the existence of such camps; but if Adolf Hitler personally has laid that dreadful responsibility on his people, then it is mine too, for we have fought against Jewry for years; and we have indulged in the most horrible utterances-my own diary bears witness against me. Therefore, it is no more than my duty to answer your question in this connection with "yes." A thousand years will pass and still this guilt of Germany will not have been erased. . . . .
Mr. Counselor Smirnov: While discussing the AB Action with the Police you stated that the results of this action would not concern the reprieve committee which was subordinated to you, is that right?
Frank: That sentence is contained in the diary. It is not, however, the final result, but rather an intermediate stage.
Mr. Counselor Smirnov: Perhaps I can recall to you another sentence, in order that you may judge the results of this action. Perhaps you can recall this part which I will put to you. You stated the following: "We need not bring these elements into German concentration camps, for in that case we would only have difficulties and an unnecessary correspondence with their families. We must simply liquidate matters in the country, and in the simplest way." What you mean is that this would simply be a question of liquidation in the simplest form, is that not so?
Frank: That is a terrible word. But, thank God, it did not take place in this way.
Mr. Counselor Smirnov: Yes, but these persons were executed. What do you mean by saying that this was not carried out? Obviously this was carried out, for the persons were executed.
Frank: When they were sentenced they were killed, if the right to pardon them was not exercised.
Mr. Counselor Smirnov: And they were condemned without application of the right of pardon?
Frank: I do not believe so.
Mr. Counselor Smirnov: Unfortunately these people are no more, and therefore obviously they; were executed.
Frank: Which people?
Mr. Counselor Smirnov: Those who were arrested under the AB Action. I will remind you of another excerpt connected with this AB Action. If you did not agree with the Police with regard to certain police actions it would be difficult to explain the celebrations in connection with the departure of Brigadefuehrer SS Streckenbach when he left for Berlin. Does this not mean that you were at least on friendly terms with the Police?
Frank: In connection with political relations many words of praise are spoken which are not in keeping with the truth. You know that as well as any other person.
Mr. Counselor Smirnov: I will allow myself to remind you of only one passage of your speech addressed to the Brigadefuehrer Streckenbach, one sentence only. You said: "What you, Brigadefuehrer Streckenbach, and your people, have done in the Government General must not be forgotten; and you need not be ashamed of it." That testifies, does it not, to quite a different attitude toward Streckenbach and his people?
Frank: And it was not forgotten either
April 19, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
The court recessed yesterday at 4:30 PM after a day which saw Hans Frank take the witness stand and make the most dramatic admissions of the trial. He has become a Catholic and I guess it took. We expected him to be a most ornery defendant - his record in Poland was wicked. Well, you no doubt know from the press that he practically admitted his guilt. We saw little need for cross-examination. I asked him only a few questions hoping to get even more admissions from him. I got only one. He stung Goering on his theft of art treasures. We also finished two of his witnesses and as a result we moved nearer to the end.
April 23, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 112, Frank's defense witness Dr Joseph Buehler, former state secretary in the government of the Government General, undergoes cross-examination:
Mr. Counselor Smirnov: Will you kindly inform me who, while Krueger was still Chief of Police, issued instructions for the shooting of one male inhabitant from each house which displayed a poster announcing a Polish national holiday?
Buehler: That is unknown to me.
Mr. Counselor Smirnov: I ask to have the corresponding document submitted to you. It is in the document book, on Page 1, Paragraph 7: 'The Governor General received District Chief, Dr. Waechter, who reported on the appearance in some districts of inflammatory posters on the occasion of the 11 November (the Polish Day of Liberation). The Governor General ordered that from every house where a poster remains exhibited one male inhabitant is to be shot. This order is to be carried out by the Chief of Police. Dr. Waechter has taken 120 hostages in Krakow as a precautionary measure.' Do you remember that? Who then introduced this criminal practice of taking hostages?
Buehler: Are you trying to say that I was present during that conference?
Mr. Counselor Smirnov: I should like to ask you about something else.
Buehler: Please, will you answer my question? Was I there or was I not?
Mr. Counselor Smirnov: I am not obliged to answer your question. It is you, Witness, who have to answer mine
From The Nuremberg Trial by Ann and John Tusa: Frank was not charged on Count Two: his war crimes and crimes against humanity were the main focus of the prosecution case. And in the witness box on 18 April, Frank admitted his guilt in them all. He took only two hours and fifteen minutes. One newspaper called it 'a record for brevity and candor.' He did not behave with his usual groveling self-pity; he spoke in a loud and clear voice, waved his hands, expressed himself with 'almost religious fervor'...
April 24, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 113, Dr. Seidl presents selected items from the Frank Diary for use by the defense:
Frank's witnesses added nothing significant: small details of criticism of aspects of Nazi policy and that was all; certainly no suggestion that Frank had opposed policies in principle. The defendants in the dock had listened to Frank's testimony intently, leaning forward and following every word. At lunch, Papen and Seyss-Inquart gave him some words of encouragement. But most of the others had been horrified by what they heard. Fancy saying that Germany had been disgraced! Frank, however, was delighted with his testimony, proud that he had stood out from the other defendants who always claimed ignorance of what was going on. 'I DID know what was going on. I think that the judges are really impressed when one of us speaks from the heart and doesn't try to dodge the responsibility.'
Schirach had certainly been impressed. Having wavered for so long he was now inspired to make a clean breast of things himself; to declare that everyone had been misled by Hitler on the racial question. As Schacht noticed, Scirach's mood was the first sign that Goering had lost control over the other defendants. Frank had damaged the united front. Schacht himself was prepared to go further. He wanted to make accusations against fellow defendants - Goering, Ribbentrop, Keitel and Raeder were his chosen targets. 'My people must be shown,' he declared 'how the Nazi leaders plunged them into an unnecessary war.' So by mid-April the defendants were clearly divided.
Dr. Seidl: I now come to the last document which the Prosecution of the United States has already submitted...an excerpt from the diary: 'Concluding reflections on the events of the last three months.' In these reflections Dr. Frank once more definitely states his attitude towards the concept of the legal state, and I ask the Tribunal to take cognizance particularly of his basic assumptions...Here, Dr. Frank again formulated the prerequisites which he considered necessary for the existence of any legal state. I quote only a few lines from Page 74:
) No fellow German can be convicted without regular court procedure, and only on the basis of a law in effect before the act was committed.
) The proceedings must carry full guarantee that the accused will be interrogated on all pertaining to the indictment, and that he will be able to speak freely.
) The accused must have the opportunity, at all stages of the trial, to avail himself of the services of defense counsel acquainted with the law.
) The defense counsel must have complete freedom of action and independence in carrying out his office in order to strike an even balance between the State prosecutor and the defendant.
) The judge or the court must make his or its decision quite independently-that is, the verdict must not be influenced by any irrelevant factors-in logical consideration of the subject matter and in just application of the purport of the law.
) When the penalty imposed by the sentence has been paid, the act has been expiated.
) Measures for protective custody and security custody may not be undertaken or carried out by police organs, nor may measures for the punishment of concentration camp inmates, except from this aspect, that is, after confirmation of the intended measures by regular, independent judges.
) In the same manner, the administration of justice for fellow Germans must guarantee full safeguarding of individual interests in all relations pertaining to civil suits proper.'
The President: Dr. Seidl, are there any passages in these documents which express the opinion that the same principles ought to be applied to others than fellow Germans?
Dr. Seidl: In this last quotation the Defendant Dr. Frank dealt basically with questions of law without making any difference here between Germans and people of foreign nationality. However, in his capacity as Governor General he also fundamentally objected at all times to the transfer of Poles, Ukrainians, and Jews to concentration camps. This can be seen from a whole series of entries
June 20, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 159, Speer testifies on his own behalf about his failed attempt to assassinate Hitler. Later, Frank expresses the opinion that Speer has disgraced himself. He states that he himself would 'rather be sitting here than before a German court on account of treason.' (Tusa)
July 11, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 176, Dr. Seidl presents his final argument in Frank's defense:
Dr. Seidl: Adolf Hitler's attitude toward the conception of a State founded on law, insofar as any doubt could still have been entertained about it, has become perfectly clear through the evidence presented at this Trial. Hitler was a revolutionary and a man of violence. He looked on law as an impeding and disturbing factor in the realization of his plans in the realm of power politics. Incidentally, he left no doubt about this attitude of his and discussed the subject of the State founded on law in a number of speeches. He was always very reserved in his dealings with lawyers, and for this reason alone it was impossible from the outset that any close association could have developed between him and the Defendant Frank. The Defendant Frank considered it his life's work to see the conception of the State founded on law
From The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials by Telford Taylor: Seidl made only a passing reference to Versailles, was all business, and began with a well-written and entirely convincing showing that before the war Frank's official positions were entirely concerned with legal matters, remote from the conspiracy charged against him in the Indictment. As a practical matter, Frank's case involved only his activities as Governor-General in Poland. Seidl's argument was essentially the same as Frank's testimonial defense; police, labor recruitment, the treatment of the Jews, and other important powers were not in the Governor-General's hands. Most of the notorious 'Hans Frank Diary' had not been written by him. Frank had attempted to prevent the atrocities spread by Himmler's men. Seidl's presentation was well-organized and compact (it was completed in the morning session) and was far more forceful than Frank's answers to questions and, of course, Seidl was not cross-examined. However, his script owed a great deal to its omissions. It was all very well to urge caution in using the diary, but Seidl discussed none of the passages most harmful to his client. Seidl handled his points skillfully, but there was too much evidence against Frank to which there was no answer.
July 12, 1946 From the diary of Dr. Victor von der Lippe (assistant defense attorney for Raeder):
From a court source...the rumor went round today that, irrespective of the final pleas, the Tribunal was so far advanced with its findings that, as things stood, death sentences must be reckoned with except for Schacht, Papen and Fritzsche.
July 16, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
The defendants reflect the ending of these proceedings. They seem to feel that the days are definitely numbered. Even Goering, who has been positively impish up to very recently, now is gray and crestfallen. Keitel wears the mask of the doomed already. And so it goes through the entire dock. General Jodl and Seyss-Inquart being exceptions to some extent and mostly because they are more stable emotionally.
July 26, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 187 and 188, US Justice Jackson details Prosecutions closing arguments against Frank:
Jackson: The extent of the slaughter in Poland alone was indicated by Frank, who reported, and I quote: "If I wanted to have a poster put up for every seven Poles who were shot, the forests of Poland would not suffice for producing the paper for such posters". Those who will enslave men cannot be expected to refrain from plundering them. Boastful reports show how thoroughly and scientifically the resources of occupied lands were sucked into the German war economy, inflicting shortage, hunger, and inflation upon the inhabitants...In the words of Defendant Frank: "A thousand years will pass and this guilt of Germany will still not be erased." . . . .
Hitler, in announcing his plan to attack Poland, had already foreshadowed the slave-labor program as one of its corollaries when he cryptically pointed out to the Defendants Goering, Raeder, Keitel, and others that the Polish population "will be available as a source of labor". This was part of the plan made good by Frank, who as Governor General notified Goering that he would supply "at least one million male and female agricultural and industrial workers to the Reich", and by Sauckel, whose impressments throughout occupied territory aggregated numbers equal to the total population of some of the smaller nations of Europe...
The fanatical Frank, who solidified Nazi control by establishing the new order of authority without law, so that the will of the Party was the only test of legality, proceeded to export his lawlessness to Poland, which he governed with the lash of Caesar and whose population he reduced to sorrowing remnants. Frick, the ruthless organizer, helped the Party to seize power, supervised the police agencies to insure that it stayed in power, and chained the economy of Bohemia and Moravia to the German war machine...
Hitler stated, at a conference with his commanders, that: "The main objective in Poland is the destruction of the enemy and not the reaching of a certain geographical line". Frank picked up the tune and suggested that when their usefulness was exhausted, ". . . then, for all I care, mincemeat can be made of the Poles and Ukrainians and all the others who run around here—it does not matter what happens
July 26, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 188, Sir Hartley Shawcross, Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom, details Prosecutions closing arguments:
Shawcross: I say legally guilty. That these defendants participated in and are morally guilty of crimes so frightful that the imagination staggers and reels back at their very contemplation is not in doubt. Let the words of the Defendant Frank, which were repeated to you this morning, be well remembered: "Thousands of years will pass and this guilt of Germany will not be erased." Total and totalitarian war, waged in defiance of solemn undertakings and in breach of treaties; great cities, from Coventry to Stalingrad, reduced to rubble, the countryside laid waste, and now the inevitable aftermath of war so fought—hunger and disease stalking through the world; millions of people homeless, maimed, bereaved. And in their graves, crying out, not for vengeance but that this shall not happen again: 10 million who might be living in peace and happiness at this hour, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and civilians killed in battles that ought never to have been
July 23, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Frank reacts badly to Shawcross's presentation, cursing 'that damned Englishman' while being escorted from the courtroom. Göring turns to Ribbentrop and quips: "There, it is just as if we hadn't made any defense at all." Ribbentrop will later tell Gilbert: "Compared to him (Shawcross), even Jackson was downright chivalrous." (Tusa, Taylor)
July 29, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 189 of deliberations, M. Charles Dubost, Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the French Republic, details Prosecutions closing arguments:
Dubost: They stopped at nothing in order to achieve their end: Violation of treaties, invasion, and enslavement in peacetime of weak and peaceful neighbors, wars of aggression, and total warfare, with all the atrocities which these words imply. Goering and Ribbentrop cynically admitted that they took both a spiritual and a material part in it; and the generals and admirals did their utmost to help matters forward. Speer exploited to the point of exhaustion and death the manpower recruited for him by Sauckel, Kaltenbrunner, the NSDAP Gauleiter, and the generals. Kaltenbrunner made use of the gas chambers, the victims for which were furnished by Frick, Schirach, Seyss-Inquart, Frank, Jodl, Keitel, and the rest. But the existence of the gas chambers themselves was only made possible through the development of a political ideology favorable to such things; there, inextricably merged, we find the responsibility of all of them—Goering, Hess, Rosenberg, Streicher, Frick, Frank, Fritzsche, down to Schacht himself, the pro-Jewish Schacht. Did he not say to Hirschfeld: "I want Germany to be great; to accomplish this I am prepared to ally myself with the very devil." He did enter into this alliance with the devil and with hell. We may include Papen, who saw his secretaries and his friends killed around him and still continued to accept official missions in Ankara and Vienna because he thought he could appease Hitler by serving him
July 29, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 189 of deliberations, General Rudenko, Chief Prosecutor for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, details Prosecutions closing arguments:
Rudenko: The regime, established by Hans Frank throughout Poland during all the stages of the temporary German domination in this country, was a regime for the inhuman destruction of millions of people by varied, but invariably criminal, methods. It is not merely incidental that the German fascist assassins who annihilated 11,000 Polish prisoner-of-war officers in Katyn forest should refer to the regime which Frank instituted in Poland as an example for their own activities - as the Tribunal has been able to ascertain not so very long ago
. (Note: This cynical (and criminal) Soviet moment is arguably the low-point of the trial.)
August 30, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 216 of deliberations, the defendants make their final statements. The President: "I call upon the Defendant Hans Frank."
Final Statement of Hans Frank: Your Honors: Adolf Hitler, the chief defendant, left no final statement to the German people and the world. Amid the deepest distress of his people he found no comforting word. He became silent and did not discharge his office as a leader, but went down into darkness, a suicide. Was it stubbornness, despair, or spite against God and man? Perhaps as though he thought: "If I must perish, then let the German people fall into the abyss also." Who will ever know? We—and if I now use the term "we," then I mean myself and those National Socialists who will agree with me in this confession, and not those fellow defendants on whose behalf I am not entitled to speak—we do not wish to abandon the German nation to its fate in the same way without a word; we do not wish to say simply, "Now you will just have to see how you can get along with this collapse which we have left you."
September 2, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: As the defendants await the courts judgment, Colonel Andrus somewhat relaxes the conditions of confinement, allowing those prisoners with wives or children limited visitation. Frank spends the majority of this long period hurriedly attempting to finish his memoirs (as if he'd not already committed quite enough to paper). (Conot)
Even now, perhaps as never before, we still bear a tremendous spiritual responsibility. At the beginning of our way we did not suspect that our turning away from God could have such disastrous deadly consequences and that we would necessarily become more and more deeply involved in guilt. At that time we could not have known that so much loyalty and willingness to sacrifice on the part of the German people could have been so badly directed by us. Thus, by turning away from God, we were overthrown and had to perish. It was not because of technical deficiencies and unfortunate circumstances alone that we lost the war, nor was it misfortune and treason. Before all, God pronounced and executed judgment on Hitler and the system which we served with minds far from God. Therefore, may our people, too, be called back from the road on which Hitler—and we with him—have led them. I beg of our people not to continue in this direction, be it even a single step; because Hitler's road was the way without God, the way of turning from Christ, and, in the last analysis, the way of political foolishness, the way of disaster, and the way of death. His path became more and more that of a frightful adventurer without conscience or honesty, as I know today at the end of this Trial.
We call upon the German people, whose rulers we were, to return from this road which, according to the law and justice of God, had to lead us and our system into disaster and which will lead everyone into disaster who tries to walk on it, or continue on it, everywhere in the whole world. Over the graves of the millions of dead of this frightful Second World War this state trial was conducted, lasting for many months, as a central, legal' epilogue, and the spirits passed accusingly through this room. I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to prepare a defense and justification against the accusations raised against me. In this connection I am thinking of all the victims of the violence and horror of the dreadful events of war. Millions had to perish unquestioned and unheard. I surrendered my war diary, containing my statements and activities, in the hour when I lost my liberty. If I was really ever severe, then it was above all toward myself, at this moment when my actions in the war were made public.
I do not wish to leave any hidden guilt which I have not accounted for behind me in this world. I assumed responsibility on the witness stand for all those things for which I must answer. I have also acknowledged that degree of guilt which attaches to me as a champion of Adolf Hitler, his movement, and his Reich. I have nothing to add to the words of my defense counsel. There is still one statement of mine which I must rectify. On the witness stand I said that a thousand years would not suffice to erase the guilt brought upon our people because of Hitler's conduct in this war. Every possible guilt incurred by our nation has already been completely wiped out today, not only by the conduct of our war-time enemies towards our nation and its soldiers, which has been carefully kept out of this Trial, but also by the tremendous mass crimes of the most frightful sort which—as I have now learned—have been and still are being committed against Germans by Russians, Poles, and Czechs, especially in East Prussia, Silesia, Pomerania, and Sudetenland. Who shall ever judge these crimes against the German people?
I end my final statement in the sure hope that from all the horrors of the war and all the threatening developments which are already appearing everywhere, a peace may perhaps still arise in whose blessings even our nation may be able to participate. But it is God's eternal justice in which I hope our people will be secure and to, which alone I trustfully submit.
September 26, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: From the Daily Telegraph, byline by Rebecca West:
The judgement that is now about to be delivered has to answer a challenge which has been thrown down not only by Germans but by many critics among the Allies. It has to prove that victors can so rise above the ordinary limitations of human nature as to be able to try fairly the foes they vanquished, by submitting themselves to the restraints of law...The meeting of the challenge will also warn all future war-mongers that law can at last purue then into peace and thus give humanity a new defense against them. Hence the judgement of the Nuremberg Tribunal may be one of the most important events in the history of civilization.
September 29, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: From notes by Dr Pflücker, Nuremberg Prison's German Doctor: "Yesterday, the defendants said farewell to their relatives...Frank asks whether I am staying to the end and says jokingly that I shall undoubtedly take his pulse on the very last day." (Maser)
September 30, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day the penultimate day of this historic trial, the final judgements are read in open court.
Final Judgment: Frank is indicted under Counts One, Three, and Four. Frank joined the Nazi Party in 1927. He became a member of the Reichstag in 1930, the Bavarian State Minister of Justice in March 1933, and when this position was incorporated into the Reich Government in 1934, Reich Minister without Portfolio. He was made a Reichsleiter of the Nazi Party in charge of legal affairs in 1933, and in the same year President of the Academy of German Law. Frank was also given the honorary rank of Obergruppenfiffirer in the SA. In 1942 Frank became involved in a temporary dispute with Himmler as to the type of legal system which should be in effect in Germany. During the same year he was dismissed as Reichsleiter of the Nazi Party and as President of the Academy of German Law.
Crimes against Peace: The evidence has not satisfied the Tribunal that Frank was sufficiently connected with the common plan to wage aggressive war to allow the Tribunal to convict him on Count One.
War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity: Frank was appointed Chief Civil Administration Officer for occupied Polish territory and, on 12 October 1939, was made Governor General of the occupied Polish territory. On 3 October 1939, he described the policy which he intended to put into effect by stating: "Poland shall be treated like a colony; the Poles will become the slaves of the Greater German World Empire." The evidence establishes that this occupation policy was based on the complete destruction of Poland as a national entity, and a ruthless exploitation of its human and economic resources for the German war effort. All opposition was crushed with the utmost harshness. A reign of terror was instituted, backed by summary police courts which ordered such actions as the public shootings of groups of 20 to 200 Poles and the widespread shooting of hostages. The concentration camp system was introduced in the Government General by the establishment of the notorious Treblinka and Maidanek camps.
As early as 6 February 1940, Frank gave an indication of the extent of this reign of terror by his cynical comment to a newspaper reporter on Von Neurath's poster announcing the execution of the Czech students: "If I wished to order that one should hang up posters about every seven Poles shot, there would not be enough forests in Poland with which to make the paper for these posters." On 30 May 1940, Frank told a police conference that he was taking advantage of the offensive in the West, which diverted the attention of the world from Poland, to liquidate thousands of Poles who would be likely to resist German domination of Poland, including "the leading representatives of the Polish intelligentsia." Pursuant to these instructions the brutal AB Action was begun, under which the Security Police and SD carried out these exterminations which were only partially subjected to the restraints of legal procedure.
On 2 October 1943, Frank issued a decree under which any non-German hindering German construction in the Government General was to be tried by summary courts of the Security Police and SD and sentenced to death. The economic demands made on the Government General were far in excess of the needs of the army of occupation and were out of all proportion to the resources of the country. The food raised in Poland was shipped to Germany on such a wide scale that the rations of the population of the occupied territories were reduced to the starvation level, and epidemics were widespread. Some steps were taken to provide for the feeding of the agricultural workers who were used to raise the crops, but the requirements of the rest of the population were disregarded. It is undoubtedly true, as argued by counsel for the Defense, that some suffering in the Government General was inevitable as a result of the ravages of war and the economic confusion resulting therefrom. But the suffering was increased by a planned policy of economic exploitation. Frank introduced the deportation of slave laborers to Germany in the very early stages of his administration.
On 25 January 1940, he indicated his intention of deporting a million laborers to Germany, suggesting on 10 May 1940 the use of police raids to meet this quota. On 18 August 1942, Frank reported that he had already supplied 800,000 workers for the Reich and expected to be able to supply 140,000 more before the end of the year. The persecution of the Jews was immediately begun in the Government General. The area originally contained from 2,500,000 to 3,500,000 Jews. They were forced into ghettos, subjected to discriminatory laws, deprived of the food necessary to avoid starvation, and finally systematically and brutally exterminated.
On 16 December 1941, Frank told the Cabinet of the Government General: "We must annihilate the Jews wherever we find them and wherever it is possible in order to maintain there the structure of the Reich as a whole." By 25 January 1944, Frank estimated that there were only 100,000 Jews left. At the beginning of his testimony, Frank stated that he had a feeling of "terrible guilt" for the atrocities committed in the occupied territories. But his defense was largely devoted to an attempt to prove that he was not in fact responsible; that he ordered only the necessary pacification measures; that the excesses were due to the activities of the Police which were not under his control; and that he never even knew of the activities of the concentration camps. It has also been argued that the starvation was due to the aftermath of the war and policies carried out under the Four Year Plan; that the forced labor program was under the direction of Sauckel; and that the extermination of the Jews was by the Police and SS under direct orders from Himmler.
It is undoubtedly true that most of the criminal program charged against Frank was put into, effect through the Police, that Frank had jurisdictional difficulties with Himmler over the control of the Police, and that Hitler resolved many of these disputes in favor of Himmler. It therefore may well be true that some of the crimes committed in the Government General were committed without the knowledge of Frank, and even occasionally despite his opposition. It may also be true that some of the criminal policies put into effect in the Government General did not originate with Frank but were carried out pursuant to orders from Germany. But it is also true that Frank was a willing and knowing participant in the use of terrorism in Poland; in the economic exploitation of Poland in a way which led to the death by starvation of a large number of people; in the deportation to Germany as slave laborers of over a million Poles; and in a program involving the murder of at least 3 million Jews.
Conclusion: The Tribunal finds that Frank is not guilty on Count One but is guilty under Counts Three and Four.
From Nuremberg: A Nation on Trial by Werner Maser, translated by Richard Barry: Some time before the members of the Tribunal had made up their minds on the sentences, the thirty-two American journalists present had made up theirs. On a blackboard in the foreign press room industrious pollsters had chalked up the correspondents' forecasts in columns headed 'Guilty,' 'Not Guilty,' 'Death Sentence' and 'Prison.' The pressmen were unanimous on the death sentence only for Göring, Ribbentrop and Kaltenbrunner; as regards the rest, bets on the death sentence were: Keitel and Sauckel 29, Hans Frank 27, Seyss-Inquart 26, Rosenberg 24, Hess 17, Raeder 15, Dönitz and Streicher 14, Jodl 13, Frick 12, Speer 11, von Schirach 9, von Papen 6, Schact 4, von Neurath 3 and Fritzsche 1.
(Justice) Jackson...had also made his 'calculation.' In a secret meeting with his closest associates he had even proposed that, since the defendants had so continuously incriminated each other during their period under arrest, they should themselves vote on the guilt or innocence of each of them. It may be regarded as fairly certain that, had this happened, none of them would have escaped the gallows. The Tribunal, however, worked on other hypotheses. The last stage now having been reached, most of the defendants awaited the judgments with calm and composure, some of them even cheerfully. The trial had revealed details and events against which no argument could carry weight, yet it seems that, when the trial ended, none of the defendants was really clear as to what sentence awaited him in Room 600 of the Palace of Justice. After the reading of the Judgment, awaited with impatience by the numerous press correspondents, the defendants were led back to their cells, each handcuffed to a US soldier.
October 1, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the 218th and last day of the trial, sentences are handed own: "Defendant Hans Frank, on the Counts of the Indictment on which you have been convicted, the Tribunal sentences you to death by hanging." Frank, who appears confused as he is led before the judges, busts into sobs upon hearing the verdict. He bows to the judges before being led out. (Conot)
From Justice at Nuremberg by Robert E. Conot: The eleven condemned to death were no longer permitted to exercise in the yard. Whenever one emerged from his cell, he was handcuffed to a guard. For a few minutes a day, one at a time, they were marched up and down in the center of the cell block in lock step with a military policeman. When they saw their attorneys in the Palace of Justice, a GI sat with each of them like a Siamese twin joined at the wrist...The Allied Control Council ordered the executions carried out on the fifteenth day after sentencing. The condemned, however, were not informed of the date...Frank, on the other hand, was almost serene. Reading 'The Song of Bernadette,' he identified himself with the martyrs of the Church...The British and French were so apprehensive about demonstrations or a possible attempt to rescue the prisoners that they insisted that no prior announcement of the executions be made.
October 5, 1946: Dr Pflücker, Nuremberg Prison's German Doctor, visits all the condemned defendants and records their moods in his diary: "During my rounds on October 5 I find all those sentenced in a calm frame of mind...Frank is cheerful. We talk about Franz Werfel's book 'Von der Heiligen von Lourdes,' of which he is very fond." (Maser)
October 13, 1946: Frank, along with Goering and Streicher, had declared that they wished no appeals for clemency to be filed on their behalfs. Seidl had ignored Franks wishes and filed an appeal requesting that his sentence be reduced to life imprisonment. Colonel Andrus informs the prisoners on this day that all appeals have been denied. (Tusa, Maser)
October 13, 1946: Justice Jackson reports to President Truman:
In a world torn with hatreds and suspicions where passions are stirred by the "frantic boast and foolish word," the Four Powers have given the example of submitting their grievances against these men to a dispassionate inquiry on legal evidence. The atmosphere of the Tribunal never failed to make a strong and favorable impression on visitors from all parts of the world because of its calmness and the patience and attentiveness of every Member and Alternate on the Tribunal. The nations have given the example of leaving punishment of individuals to the determination of independent judges, guided by principles of law, after hearing all of the evidence for the defense as well as the prosecution. It is not too much to hope that this example of full and fair hearing, and tranquil and discriminating judgment will do something toward strengthening the processes of justice in many countries
October 13, 1946: From Spandau Diary by Albert Speer: "A guard goes from cell to cell. He asks whether we want to make use of our right to a daily walk on the ground floor. The yard is still barred to us. I have to get out; the cell is beginning to feel unbearably oppressive. So I ask to go. But I shudder at the prospect of seeing the men on death row (Note: The 11 condemned men are housed in cells on the ground floor; the 7 sentenced to prison time are being kept in an upper tier of cells). The guard holds out the chrome handcuffs. Linked together, we have some difficulty descending the winding staircase. In the silence, every step on the iron stairs sounds like a thunderclap. On the ground floor I see eleven soldiers staring attentively into eleven cells. The men inside are eleven of the surviving leaders of the Third Reich...
And then there is Hans Frank, governor-general of Poland, whose own diary revealed his ruthlessly brutal actions. But in Nuremberg he freely confessed his crimes, abjured them, and became a devout Catholic; his capacity to believe fervently and even fanatically had not deserted him. Gilbert recently told me that Frank is working on his memoirs...
As the rules prescribe, most of them are lying on their backs, hands on the blanket, heads turned toward the inside of the cell. A ghostly sight, all of them in their immobility; it looks as though they have already been laid on their biers. Only Frank is up, sitting at his table and writing away. He has wound a damp towel around his neck; he used to tell Dr. Pfluecker he did that to keep his mind alert...I cannot stand it for long. Back in my cell, I decide not to go back down again."
Note: German author Werner Maser, in Nuremberg: A Nation on Trial, comments critically on the above passage by Speer: "These and the comments immediately following are typical of Speer's usual fanciful descriptions. Since he was handcuffed to a guard, he could not have seen what was going on in the cells. His remarks on his fellow-defendants speak for themselves."
October 14, 1946: The condemned men, most of whom have become convinced that the executions will be carried out on the 15th, spend this day as if it were their last. Frank reads the poem 'Holy Night' by Thomas, repeatedly leafs through the nine letters he has recieved, and pens two in reply. (Heydecker)
October 16, 1946: From Spandau Diary by Albert Speer: "At some hour of the night I woke up. I could hear footsteps and indistinguishable words in the lower hall. Then silence, broken by a name being called out: 'Ribbentrop!' A cell door is opened; then scraps of phrases, scraping of boots, and reverberating footsteps slowly fading away. Scarcely able to breathe, I sit upright on my cot, hearing my heart beat loudly, at the same time aware that my hands are icy. Soon the footsteps come back and I hear the next name: 'Keitel!' Once more a cell door opens, once more noises and the reverberation of footsteps. Name after name is called..." (Speer II)
Frank: Simultaneously with the formation of the Government General and my appointment as Governor General Hitler had signed a secret decree placing Krüger, the SS and Police Leader for the Government General, together with all SS and police forces in the area under Himmler's direct and exclusive command; this decree was concealed from me to the very end and I only discovered it during the course of the proceedings in Nuremberg. This was sheer deceit on the part of Hitler, who outwardly had appointed me as his representative but secretly handed the area over to the crazy tyranny of Himmler and his minions. All my complaints to Hitler over their activities, against which I was in effect powerless and which I frequently tried to counter by the most desperate measures, were met with silence...
October 16, 1946: Frank's last words: "I am thankful for the kind treatment during my captivity and I ask God to accept me with mercy."
It has been totally forgotten under what inconceivable pressure anyone had to work at this stage of the Hitler regime if he wanted to do so objectively and justly and to have any effect at all...
Another matter which has been quietly ignored is that I was most cruelly compelled by Hitler to continue as Governor General although I offered my resignation fourteen times...
Hitler knew what he was doing to me...The post in Cracow was his revenge on me...He knew what went on in Treblinka and other places. And he knew the load of crime with which he was besmirching me and my name...
But apart from all this it is not for me to haggle or negotiate over my 'guilt' with a conclave of the victors. Moreover I feel myself generally guilty as a participant in Hitler's overall enterprise; I therefore owe it to my overburdened conscience, and consequently to God and mankind, to take upon myself the blame for all that happened in Poland because, though entangled in Hitler's overall system, I was frequently at fault both in word and deed." -From Hans Frank's memoirs, quoted from Maser.
From The Devil's Disciples by Anthony Read: (The defendant's bodies) were photographed, wrapped in mattress covers, sealed in coffins then driven off in army trucks with a military escort to a crematorium in Munich, which had been told to expect the bodies of fourteen American soldiers. The coffins were opened for inspection by American, British, French and Soviet officials, before being loaded in the cremation ovens. That same evening, a container holding all the ashes was driven away into the Bavarian countryside, in the rain. It stopped in a quiet lane about an hour later, and the ashes were poured into a muddy ditch...
From The New York Times:
The ashes of the innocent and the ashes of unspeakable criminals are composed of the same elements, blown by the same winds, dissolved in the same waters. And in the midst of our dark day we must now hope and pray for the growth of a new world.