(4 of 6)
From The Devil's Disciples by Anthony Read: He [Hitler] ordered his Race and Resettlement Office, the RuSHA, to draw up a master plan for the East, in which a huge area bounded by Leningrad and Lake Ladoga, the Valdai Hills, Bryansk and the River Dnieper was to be settled by Germans--ruled by Heinrich Himmler. Fourteen million inhabitants were to be deported to make room for them; another fourteen million would be allowed to stay, but must be "Germanized" within thirty years. The General-Government and the Baltic States were to be "repopulated." It was a vision of breathtaking presumption, marred only by Hitler's choice of Rosenberg to head the civil administration in the East. But even this had its compensation: Rosenberg's appointment came as a devastating blow to Ribbentrop, who had become so convinced that he would be given the job that he had set up a Foreign Ministry committee to form the nucleus of the government that he would head. He was so shocked by the snub that he took sick for most of April. Himmler was not unduly put out--he thought so little of Rosenberg that he would simply ignore him, as would Goering.
I expressly request that you prohibit the removal of cultural objects of any kind from your Reichskommissariat, by any agencies whatsoever, without your approval. What confiscated cultural objects will remain in the Reichskommissariat Ostland and what may possibly be utilized for specialized research work must come under a later regulation. I request that you inform your subordinate general and district commissioners of this directive. The national administration of museums, libraries, et cetera, regardless of the right of inspection and inventory by the Einsatzstab, remain unaffected by this directive.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: I would like to add a few words because they seem important to me in view of the charges of the Soviet Prosecution relative to the treatment of cultural treasures by the Einsatzstab in the former Occupied Eastern Territories. At the end of the work report, there is stated under the title, "Work in the Eastern regions"--I quote:
"The activity of Special Einsatzstab 'Plastic Art' was limited in the Occupied Eastern Territories to scientific and photographic recording of public collections, their safeguarding and care in collaboration with military and civilian offices. In the. course of evacuation of the area, several hundred of the most valuable Russian icons, several hundred Russian paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries, individual pieces of furniture and household articles . . . were recovered and brought to the Reich for safekeeping."I only wanted to point out by this that the Einsatzstab in the East did not transport any Soviet cultural and art treasures to the Reich, but only brought them to safety--as may be seen from later documents, when the territories directly menaced by operations were evacuated--first into the rear areas, then further back and partly into the Reich.
From the same document I would like to point to a letter of 5 July 1942 from the Reich Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery. I refer to the charge of the Polish Government that the entire removal of works of art and museum pieces was concentrated in the Einsatzstab or in the Rosenberg office in Berlin. I will return again to this Polish accusation. I just want to point to the paragraph in Dr. Lammers' letter which says that the Fuehrer had decreed that various libraries of the Eastern region were to be confiscated; and then there is stated expressly, "The Government General is not included."
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: Reich Commissioner Koch had jurisdiction over the execution of all orders coming from the highest Reich authorities. He was responsible for the execution of all measures within the bounds of the instructions. He had, I now believe, often overstepped the bounds of these instructions and acted on his own initiative in taking, as he thought, exclusively war economic measures. Sometimes I heard of these measures, and often I did not.
The populace is aware and understands that a very large part of their total harvest has to be given to the Wehrmacht (and economical command); but they resist against "unjust" and "individual" requisitions, that means against continued confiscation in the villages along the same large routes of march, without uniformly requisitioning in the country; and also against irrational or wild demands (the confiscation of pregnant cows requisition without proper receipts, disregarding of letters of safe conduct issued by higher German echelons, etc.).
Individual German economical commands made complaints, and rightly so, over delayed terms and quantities; in most cases it was found that technical hindrances were the reasons (delayed or curtailed orders, lack of transportation) and not malice or sabotage. The farmers reply to the oft heard remarks of their laziness and lack of working effort, was that they brought in the large harvest on their own free will without having many machines, manpower and the time.
Personal. The Bolshevists, using brutal measures (such as prison, deportation, etc.) in general nevertheless refrained from punishing individuals (by whipping). Now that it occasionally is done by German troops, well meaning people blame it on the misunderstanding or ignorance of the language; but should it be done too often, antipathy and distrust will be created. Furthermore the population emphasizes the difference which exists between the occasional mistakes of the Germans and the systematic oppressions by our allies. Here especially the Rumanians and Hungarians caused much gossip.
Referring to the report made by phone on 27 October 1941 I now beg to inform you in writing of the following
On 27 October in the morning at about 8 o'clock a first lieutenant of the police battalion No. 11 from Kauen (Lithuania) appeared and introduced himself as the adjutant of the battalion commander of the security police. The first lieutenant explained that the police battalion had received the assignment to effect the liquidation of all Jews here in the town of Slutzk, within two days. The battalion commander with his battalion in strength of four companies, two of which were made up of Lithuanian partisans, was on the march here and the action would have to begin instantly. I replied to the first lieutenant that I had to discuss the action in any case first with the commander. About half an hour later the police battalion arrived in Slutzk. Immediately after the arrival the conference with the battalion commander took place according to my request.
I first explained to the commander that it would not very well be possible to effect the action without previous preparation, because everybody had been sent to work and that it would lead to terrible confusion. At least it would have been his duty to inform me a day ahead of time. Then I requested him to postpone the action one day. However, he rejected this with the remark that he had to carry out this action everywhere and in all towns and that only two days were allotted for Slutzk.
Within these two days, the town of Slutzk had to be cleared of Jews by all means. I immediately protested violently against it, pointing out that a liquidation of Jews must not be allowed to take place in an arbitrary manner. I explained that a large part of the Jews still living in the towns were tradesmen and families of tradesmen respectively. But these Jewish tradesmen were not simply expendable because they were indispensable for maintaining the economic life. Furthermore, I pointed out that White Ruthenian tradesmen are so to say non-existent, that therefore all vital plants had to be shut down all at once, if all Jews would be liquidated. At the end of our conference, I mentioned that all tradesmen and specialists, inasmuch as they were indispensable, had papers of identification and that these should not be pulled out of the factories.
Furthermore, it was agreed that all Jews still living in the town should first be brought into the ghetto in order to segregate them, especially with regard to the families of tradesmen which I did not want to have liquidated either. Two of my officials should be assigned to segregate them. The commander did not in any way contradict my idea and I had therefore the firm belief that the action would be carried out accordingly. However, a few hours after the beginning of the action the greatest difficulties already developed. I noticed that the commander had not at all abided by our agreement. All Jews without exception were taken out of the factories and shops and deported in spite of our agreement. It is true that part of the Jews was moved by way of the ghetto where many of them were processed and still segregated by me, but a large part was loaded directly on trucks and liquidated without further delay outside of the town.
Shortly after noon complaints came already from all sides that the factories could not function any more because all Jewish tradesmen had been removed. As the commander had proceeded on his way to Baranowitschi I got in touch with the deputy commander, a captain, after searching a long time, and demanded to stop the action immediately because my instructions had been disregarded and the damage done so far with respect to the economic life could not be repaired anymore. The captain was greatly surprised at my idea and stated that he had received orders from the commander to clear the whole town of Jews without exception in the same manner as they had done in other towns. This mopping up had to be executed on political considerations and economic reasons had never played a role anywhere. However, due to my energetic intervention, he finally halted the action toward evening.
For the rest, as regards the execution of the action, I must point out to my deepest regret that the latter bordered already on sadism. The town itself offered a picture of horror during the action. With indescribable brutality on the part of both the German police officers and particularly the Lithuanian partisans, the Jewish people, but also among them White Ruthenians, were taken out of their dwellings and herded together. Everywhere in the town shots were to be heard and in different streets the corpses of shot Jews accumulated. The White Ruthenians were in greatest distress to free themselves from the encirclement. Regardless of the fact that the Jewish people, among whom were also tradesmen, were mistreated in a terribly barbarous way in the face of the White Ruthenian people, the White Ruthenians themselves were also worked over with rubber clubs and rifle butts.
There was no question of an action against the Jews any more. It rather looked like a revolution. I myself with all my officials have been in it without interruption all day long in order to save what could yet be saved. In several instances I literally had to expel with drawn pistol the German police officials as well as the Lithuanian partisans from the shops. My own police was employed for the same mission but had often to leave the streets on account of the wild shooting in order to avoid being shot themselves. The whole picture was generally more than ghastly. In the afternoon a great number of abandoned Panje carriages with horses were standing in the streets so that I had to instruct the municipal administration to take care of the vehicles immediately. Afterwards it was ascertained that they were Jewish vehicles ordered by the armed forces to move ammunition. The drivers had simply been taken off the carriages and led away, and nobody had worried in the least about the vehicles.
I was not present at the shooting before the town. Therefore I cannot make a statement on its brutality. But it should suffice, if I point out that persons shot have worked themselves out of their graves some time after they had been covered. Regarding the economic damage I want to state that the tanner has been affected worst of all. 26 experts worked there. Of them, fifteen of the best specialists alone have been shot. Four more jumped from the truck during the transport and escaped, while seven others were not apprehended after they fled. The plant barely continues to operate today. Five wheelwrights worked in the wheelwright shop. Four of them have been shot and the shop has to keep going now with one wheelwright. Additional tradesmen such as carpenters, blacksmiths, etc. are still missing. Up till now it was impossible for me to obtain an exact survey.
I have mentioned already in the beginning, that the families of tradesmen should be spared too. But now it seems that almost in all families some persons are missing. Reports come in from all over, making it clear that in one family the tradesman himself, in another family the wife and in the next one again the children are missing. In that way, almost all families have been broken up. It seems to be very doubtful whether under these circumstances the remaining tradesmen will show any interest in their work and produce accordingly, particularly as even today they are running around with bloody and bruised faces due to the brutality. The White Ruthenian people who had full confidence in us, are dumbfounded. Though they are intimidated and don't dare to utter their free opinion, one has already heard that they take the viewpoint that this day does not add to the glory of Germany and that it will not be forgotten. I am of the opinion that much has been destroyed through this action which we have achieved during the last months and that it will take a long time until we shall regain the confidence of the population which we have lost.
In conclusion I find myself obliged to point out that the police battalion has looted in an unheard of manner during the action, and that not only in Jewish houses but just the same in those of the White Ruthenians. Anything of use such as boots, leather, cloth, gold and other valuables, has been taken away. On the basis of statements of members of the armed forces, watches were torn off the arms of Jews in public, on the street, and rings were pulled off the fingers in the most brutal manner. A major of the finance department reported that a Jewish girl was asked by the police to obtain immediately 5,000 rubles to have her father released. This girl is said to have actually gone everywhere in order to obtain the money.
Also within the ghetto, the different barracks, which had been nailed up by the civil administration and were furnished with Jewish furniture, have been broken open and robbed. Even from the barracks in which the unit was quartered, window frames and doors have been forcibly removed and used for campfires. Although I had a discussion with the adjutant of the commander on Tuesday morning concerning the looting and he promised in the course of the discussion that none of the policemen would enter the town anymore. yet I was forced several hours later to arrest two fully armed Lithuanian partisans because they were apprehended looting. During the night from Tuesday to Wednesday the battalion left the town in the direction of Baranowitschi. Evidently, the people were only too glad when this report circulated in the town.
So far the report. I shall come to Minsk in the immediate future in order to discuss the affair personally once again. At the present time, I am not in a position to continue with the action against the Jews. First, order has to be established again. I hope that I shall be able to restore order as soon as possible and also to revive the economic life despite the difficulties. Only, I beg you to grant me one request: "In the future, keep this police battalion away from me by all means."
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: I might perhaps give the following general answer about the many files and reports from my office: In the course of 12 years of my Party office and 3 years in the Eastern Ministry, many reports, memoranda, carbon copies from all sorts of divisions were delivered to my office. I know of some of them, of some I received oral knowledge which was then entered in detail in the files, and there are a great number of more important and some entirely unimportant things which I was entirely unable to take note of during these years.
As far as these documents are concerned, I must say with regard to Document 212-PS, that this clearly represents a submission to my office--which is without heading, without signature, and without any other details which I never received personally, but which I assume was probably delivered from police circles to my office. Thus, with the best intentions I cannot state my position as to the contents of this document.
As far as Document 1104-PS [above] which deals with the terrible incidents in the city of Slutzk is concerned, that is a report from October 1941, and I must say that this report was submitted to me. This report aroused indignation in the Eastern Ministry, and as is seen here, my permanent representative, Gauleiter Meyer, sent a copy of this complaint of the civil administration, together with all the criticism of the civil administration, to the Police, to the Chief of the Security Police, at that time Heydrich, with the request for investigation. I must say that the Police had their own jurisdiction, in which the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories could not interfere. But I am unable to say here what measures Heydrich took. Yet, as may be seen from this, I could not assume that an order--which was attested to by the witness here yesterday--was given to Heydrich or Himmler by the Fuehrer.
This report, and many other communications which came to my ears, regarding shootings of saboteurs and also shootings of Jews, pogroms by the local population in the Baltic States and in the Ukraine, I took as occurrences of this war. I heard that in Kiev a larger number of Jews had been shot, but that the greater part of the Jews had left Kiev; and the sum of these reports showed me, it is true, terrible harshness, especially some reports from the prison camps. But that there was an order for the individual annihilation of the entire Jewry, I could not assume and if, in our polemics, the extermination of Jewry was also talked about, I must say that this word, of course, must make a frightful impression in view of the testimonies we think are available now, but under conditions prevailing then, it was not. interpreted as an individual extermination, an individual annihilation of millions of Jews. I must also say that even the British Prime Minister, in an official speech in the House of Commons on 23 or 26 September 1943, spoke of the extermination in root and branch of Prussianism and of National Socialism. I happened to read these words from this speech. However, I did not assume that in saying this he meant the shooting of all Prussian officers and National Socialists.
The Reich and Security Main Office has complained that the Reich Commissioner for the East has forbidden executions of Jews in Liepaja (Libau). I request a report in regard to this matter by return mail. Signed: Dr. LeibbrandtNovember 8, 1941: From notes of a conference held in Berlin on the stationery of the Supreme Headquarters Armament Procurement Office:
I. For the duration of the war the requirements of the war economy will be the all-dominant factor of any economic measures in the newly-occupied Eastern territories.
II. Seen from a long range point of view the newly-occupied eastern areas will be exploited economically from the point of view of colonial administration and by colonial methods. Exceptions will be made only for those parts of the East-land which are to be Germanized by order of the Fuehrer, but even they are subject to the principle expressed in paragraph I.
III. The main emphasis of all economic work rests with the production of food and raw materials. The highest possible production surplus for the supply of the Reich and of other European countries is to be attained by cheap production based on the maintenance of the low living standard of the native population. Besides covering thereby the European needs for food supplies and raw materials as far as possible, this measure is intended to create a source of income for the Reich which will make it possible to liquidate in a few decades, with utmost consideration for the German taxpayer, an essential part of the debts incurred in the financing of the war.
I have forbidden the wild executions of Jews in Liepaja because they were not justifiable in the manner in which they were carried out. I should like to be informed whether your inquiry of 31 October is to be regarded as a directive to liquidate all Jews in the East? Shall this take place without regard to age and sex and economic interests (of the Wehrmacht, for instance in specialists in the armament industry)?
[Note in different handwriting:] Of course the cleansing of the East of Jews is a necessary task; its solution, however, must be harmonized with the necessities of war production. So far I have not been able to find such a directive either in the regulations regarding the Jewish question in the "Brown Portfolio" [Braun Mappe] or in other decrees.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: This note in the back is not quite clear to me. Essentially, however, it means that this was a protest against police measures which had become known . . . . I have not in general spoken about the extermination of the Jews in the sense of this term. One has to consider the words here . . . . In a conference [December 1941, notes above] with the Fuehrer there was once an open discussion on this question about an intended speech which was not delivered. The sense of it was that now a war was going on and that this threat which had been made should not be mentioned again. That whole speech was also not delivered.
I do not need a foreign dictionary in order to explain the various meanings "Ausrottung" may have in the German language. One can exterminate an idea, an economic system, a social order, and as a final consequence, also a group of human beings, certainly. Those are the many possibilities that are contained in that word. For that I do not need an English-German dictionary. Translations from German into English are so often wrong, and just as in that last document you have submitted to me, I heard again the translation of "Herrenrasse." In the document itself "Herrenrasse" is not even mentioned; however, there is the term "ein falsches Herrenmenschentum" (a false master mankind). Apparently everything is translated here in another sense. Here I heard again a different translation, which again used new German words, so I cannot determine what you wanted to express in English. It means "to overcome" on one side and then it is to be used not with respect to individuals but rather to juridical entities, to certain historical traditions. On the other side this word has been used with respect to the German people and we have also not believed that in consequence thereof 60 millions of Germans would be shot . . . .
No, that is not correct, for Adolf Hitler said in his declaration before the Reichstag: Should a new world war be started by these attacks of the emigrants and their backers, then as a consequence there would be an extermination and an extirpation. That has been understood as a result and as a political threat. Apparently, a similar political threat was also used by me before the war against America broke out. And, when the war had already broken out, I have apparently said that, since it has come to this, there is no use to speak of it at all. Then, may I perhaps ray something about the use of the words here? We are speaking here of extermination of Jewry; there is also still a difference between "Jewry" and "the Jews."
To begin with, I [Rosenberg] asked the Fuehrer about my speech in the Sportspalast and referred to several points that seemed to call for further discussion. The Fuehrer was of the opinion that the speech was given prior to the declaration of war by Japan and therefore under different suppositions, but in view of this, still desires to think over several points. It probably would not be appropriate if I were to officially say that the provinces in the East were to remain under Germany. I said thereupon that I, too, had considered this point, that one can probably only say that the Eastern Provinces [Ostland] will remain under German protection. The Fuehrer was of the opinion, only to go so far that the provinces never would come under communism and now from the German side appear as secured.
I remarked on the Jewish question that the comments about the New York Jews must perhaps be changed somewhat after the conclusion (of matters in the East). I took the standpoint, not to speak of the extermination [Ausrottung] of the Jews. The Fuehrer affirmed this and said that they had burdened the war upon us and that they had brought the destruction; it is no wonder if the results would strike them first.
The Fuehrer further said that he did not deem it necessary to order forth the other nations to contribute as yet, since they can produce therein a legal claim for later. He does that from time to time in single negotiations. I told him that I, too, had written that down as a question. I would comply with these instructions to edit more carefully the corresponding paragraphs in my speech. The Fuehrer agreed throughout that I had touched upon the Asiatic conflict.
Following, I laid before the Fuehrer the outline of a religious tolerance decree, to which the Fuehrer consented after careful consideration.
Then I came to talk about the lecture of Professor Schuessler, to whom Dr. Dietrich had given instructions to evaluate the political testament of Peter the Great in an address. Dr. Dietrich had not previously informed me thereon. Upon my indication that this testament is a forgery out of the 18th Century, the Fuehrer thought that the authenticity was contradicted by a German Scholar in the 19th Century. Thereupon I pointed out that this so-called testament was written in Polish circles and that it then was converted and changed by Napoleon in the political strife. However, I would make an accurate check. I asked the Fuehrer for a general rule that if the Fuehrer had specific desires over the press to have Dr. Dietrich inform me of these to insure a regulated working arrangement.
The Fuehrer replied to the question by the military commanders in the occupied Eastern territories about the marriage of persons belonging to the Armed Forces with inhabitants of these territories that no marriages will be permitted during this war. After the war a relaxation could be introduced to agree with the political limits and blood relationship.
I then spoke about the relation with Reich Commissioner Koch and told the Fuehrer that Koch had, through various declarations, created the impression among the officers of the High Command of the Armed Forces (OKW) as if he dealt directly with the Fuehrer and otherwise decided to rule without Berlin. Similar utterances that he made the law were made to collaborators and he also told me once that he regarded himself as coordinated. I made it clear to him that here exists a distinct official relation. I spoke with him regarding the above and I hope that clarification over the cooperation will result. I have only the wish that the Fuehrer no longer will receive Koch alone but only in my presence. The Fuehrer agreed immediately.
Then I told the Fuehrer of the visit by General Kitzinger, who said that he was assigned with the thrashing of the harvest. For this purpose he was promised several divisions which have not yet arrived. Moreover, they took from him other units. The Fuehrer said that he would see to it that a change will be enforced and that divisions will be given him. On the conditions of the captured prisoners Kitzinger remarked that because of malnutrition [Entkraeftung] in the camps in his territory, some 2500 prisoners die daily. Anyhow, they are already unable to consume good food and one must count on it that not very many will remain. Aside from that, the manpower in the country is large enough-the land even partly over-populated.
I further asked the Fuehrer if he had scrutinized the memoir on the establishment of Turkish legions. What I surmise, since the High Command of the Armed Forces (OKW) issued an order, is that beside the Turkish-Aserbeidschander Legion, other Caucasian legions will be set up also. The Fuehrer affirmed the question, and I once more referred to the danger of a panturanian movement. I reported further about the petition of the Crimean tartars from Constantinople and the request to visit the prison camps and to inspect the countrymen. I told the Fuehrer that I had denied this request, which he absolutely affirmed. The only thing one could do would be to segregate the 250 captured Crimean tartars with respect to Turkey, and to handle them accordingly. In conclusion, the Fuehrer once more emphasized that he later wished to have the Crimea cleaned out. I told him that I, too, had given much consideration to the renaming of the towns and thought to rename Simferopol to Gotenburg and Sevastopol to Theodorichhafen-this according to the instructions of the Fuehrer himself.
Then I suggested a boundary settlement between Nikolajew and Transnistry to the Fuehrer, because the way things are, the Rumanians can look into all the shipbuilding installations; just an insignificant regulation will prevent this. I had also made this suggestion to General Field Marshal Keitel. The Fuehrer looked at the map and agreed to such a boundary regulation. Finally, I told the Fuehrer that I had in mind to go to Riga in January and to visit other territories during the next year. I begged the Fuehrer to allow me to obtain several coaches for a special train. I have already started dealings over the procurement of such coaches in Holland. The Fuehrer thought this all right and agreed with my wish.
Thereupon I gave the Fuehrer an aforementioned letter of a Japanese scholar over the Japanese and National Socialistic Philosophy of Life as related to Christianity, over which we talked for a long time. The Fuehrer took the memoir with him, which immediately engrossed him.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: These allegations [regarding unbearable conditions in connection with the recruiting of workers in the Occupied Eastern Territories], which were received by the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories, have been constantly checked by Main Department of Labor and Social Policy during all these years and I asked the Tribunal to hear as a witness here the official who always had charge of this question, Dr. Beil. This request has been granted by the Tribunal, but I now hear that Dr. Beil is ill and that he can give a report of his experiences only by a written statement.
From my knowledge I can say the following: These matters were reported to me frequently by Dr. Beil and the so-called Central Department for People of Eastern Nationalities. In a letter which has already been mentioned I transmitted them to Sauckel.
Then they were always sent to the Reich Commissioner for the Ukraine or some other administrative officials for investigation and comments. A part of these proved to be correct, a part proved to be untrue and exaggerated; and as far as I know, the Plenipotentiary General for Allocation of Labor, Sauckel, even made the complaints received from me an occasion for his own intervention, as did the German Labor Front, which was responsible for the welfare of all foreign workers in Germany. There was constant negotiation with the head of this Labor Front, and the Ministry for Occupied Eastern Territories made requests here continuously, until eventually, at the end of 1944, Dr. Ley, as the chief of this welfare department, thought that he could inform me that now after considerable difficulties, really lasting and good conditions had been achieved. I replied to him even then that I could express my pleasure about it, but that I still received reports that here and there things were going wrong. In practice the members of my ministry, together with inspectors of the German Labor Front, went to inspect a number of labor camps in order to investigate the complaints and then have them adjusted by the Labor Front.
In compliance with the order of the Fuehrer for protection of Jewish cultural possessions, a great number of Jewish dwellings remained unguarded. Consequently, many furnishings have disappeared because a guard could, naturally, not be posted. In the whole East the administration has found terrible conditions of living quarters, and the chances of procurement are so limited that it is not possible to procure any more. Therefore, I beg the Fuehrer to permit the seizure of Jewish home furnishings of Jews in Paris who have fled or will leave shortly and those of Jews living in all parts of the occupied West to relieve the shortage of furnishings in the administration in the East. A great number of leading Jews were, after a short examination in Paris, again released.
The attempts on the lives of members of the Forces have not stopped; on the contrary they continue. This reveals an unmistakable plan to disrupt the German-French cooperation, to force Germany to retaliate and, with this, evoke a new defense on the part of the French against Germany. I suggest to the Fuehrer that, instead of executing 100 Frenchmen, we shoot in their place 100 Jewish bankers, lawyers, etc. It is the Jews in London and New York who incite the French Communists to commit acts of violence, and it seems only fair that the members of this race should pay for this. It is not the little Jews but the leading Jews in France who should be held responsible. That would tend to awaken the anti-Jewish sentiment.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: I have not seen it [the above document]; in my opinion no. Here I see again such an "R." pointed on the top, and I cannot identify that as my "R" either. Well, I could simply not identify that as my "R" because this was a letter, signed by Brautigam sent from the Ministry of the Eastern Occupied Territories to the Ostland, and the notes on the top are from an office that has received that letter. Well, it can be seen from this "R" now quite unequivocally that this concerns the man who received the letter. "Received on 22 December-R." And it is addressed from the Ministry to the "Ostland." That note, therefore, was written by a person living in Riga, and that is the same "R" which can be found also on the other document. I maintain emphatically that that initial "R" was put down by the person who received the letter, to whom the letter was addressed.
All inhabitants of the Occupied Eastern Territories are subject to the general liability for work according to their capacity . . . . A special ruling is drawn up for Jews.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: In the beginning, a general compulsory labor service law was promulgated. The document, which has been submitted to me, is signed by the Reich Commissioner for the Ukraine and is concerned with a skeleton law of the Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. I would like to refer to just one point. Under Paragraph 1 it says expressly that people not completely able to work are to be used according to their capability for work. This shows the state of health had been considered.
The workers are to be recruited. Forced enlistment should be avoided; instead, for political reasons, the enlistment should be kept on a voluntary basis. In case the enlistment should not bring the required results and there should be a surplus of workers still available, use may be made in case of emergency, and in agreement with the Commissioner General of the decree dated 19 December 1941 concerning the introduction of compulsory labor in the Occupied Eastern Territories.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: Mr. Prosecutor, you read the introduction, and from that we can see also that my deputy clearly tried in every way to avoid forced enlistment and, as he says, the enlistment was to "be kept on a voluntary basis." That is proof of what I already said yesterday, that Meyer, my permanent deputy, most emphatically tried to work along these Ones, and lastly this does not refer to arbitrary measures but rather to a general compulsory labor law in the Occupied Eastern Territories which would prevent hundreds of thousands who could neither work nor study from wandering about idly in the streets. I would however like to read also the end of the paragraph, and that says:
"Promises which cannot be kept may not be given, neither in writing nor verbally. Therefore, the announcements, posters, and appeals in the press and over the radio may therefore not contain any untrue information in order to avoid disappointment among the workers employed in the Reich, and thus reactions against future recruitment in the Occupied Eastern Territories."I think a more legal attitude in the midst of war is not at all thinkable . . . . A compulsory labor law was issued by me at the end of 1941 for the territory of the Reichskommissariat concerned, that is, for the Ostland and for the Ukraine. The compulsory recruitment of this manpower for the Reich was not taken until much later, and compulsory labor service in the occupied countries was, in my opinion, legally necessary so that on the one hand no wildcat recruitment would take place, and also to prevent chaos resulting from the hundreds of thousands loitering in the streets.
When compulsory labor service was also instituted for the Reich, I said that I was in favor of voluntary enlistment. I could not persist in this attitude for long and therefore, of course, I agreed that then also compulsory labor laws would have to be instituted. I already admitted that three times yesterday; I have not disputed it. Excesses are connected with every law, and as soon as I learned of excesses, I did take steps against them. I, of course, will take the responsibility for these laws which I issued, and for any framework of directives which were issued by my ministry. The territorial governments were legally responsible for their execution. Where they went beyond these measures--they were 1,500 kilometers away from me--I concerned myself with every case. Many exaggerations were made and excesses also took place. I admit that terrible things did occur. I tried to intervene, to apply punitive measures and because of this quite a number of German officials were taken to court and were sentenced. I accept the responsibility due to a State law, which empowered Gauleiter Sauckel to place these claims to me which I applied in legal form to the Eastern territories.
1. The death penalty, or, in lesser cases, penal servitude will be inflicted upon: Those who undertake to use violence against the German Reich or against the high authority established in the occupied territories; those who undertake to commit violence against a Reich citizen or a person of German nationality for his or her belonging to this German nationality; those who undertake to use violence against a member of the Wehrmacht or its followers, the German police including its auxiliary forces, the Reich Labor Service, a German authority or institution, or the organizations of the NSDAP; those who appeal or incite to disobedience of orders or directives issued by the German authorities; those who with premeditation damage the furniture of German authorities and institutions or things used by the latter for their work or in the public interest; those who undertake to assist anti-German movements or to maintain the organizational connection of groups prohibited by the German authorities; those who participate in or incite hostile activity and thus reveal anti-German mentality or who by their behavior lower or injure the authority or the welfare of the German State and people; those who commit premeditated arson and thereby damage German interests in general or the property of a Reich citizen or persons of German nationality.
2. Furthermore, the death penalty and, in lesser cases, penal servitude is to be inflicted upon: Those who agree to commit any punishable action as foreseen by Paragraph 1; those who enter into serious negotiations on that subject; those who offer their services to commit such an action or accept such an offer; or those who possess credible information on such an action or its intention at a moment when the danger can still be averted, and willfully refrain from warning the German authorities or the menaced person in due time.
3. An offense not coming under Paragraphs 1 and 2 is to be punished by death, even if this penalty is not provided for by the general German criminal laws and by decrees of German authorities, if the offense is of a particularly base type or for other reasons is particularly serious. In such cases the death penalty is also permissible for juvenile hard criminals.
4. (1) If there is insufficient justification for turning the case over to competent courts-martial, the special courts are competent. (2) The special instructions issued for the Armed Forces are not hereby affected.
Of 3.6 million prisoners of war, only a few hundred thousand remain capable of working. Many have died of starvation, others from typhus. Although, given the immense numbers, supply problems were bound to be inevitable, a proper appreciation of our policies could have avoided this extent of loss. Thus, while a few sensible camp commanders facilitated the provision of food by local inhabitants, most of them prohibited it, preferring to let the men die or (on many occasions) even shooting them. In many camps, even in snow and ice, there was no covered accommodation and not only were there no latrines, but not even tools to enable the prisoners to dig holes. The result of the commonly employed maxim, 'The more croak, the better,' is that typhus has spread not only to the civilian population and German troops, but even into Germany.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: To refute the assertion that I destroyed culture and art and science in Estonia, I must point out that one of the first directions of the Eastern Ministry was to establish indigenous administrations in these three countries and to have the German administration in principal serve as a supervisory body. The limitations due to the war conditions were naturally given in times of war; they applied to spheres of war and armament economy, to the sphere of police security, and naturally to the political attitude in general.
A complete cultural autonomy was enjoyed by Estonia and Latvia as well as by Lithuania; their art and their theaters were active all through these years; many faculties of the university at Dorpat functioned and so did some faculties in Riga; the judicial sovereignty of these countries was under the power of the indigenous administration--national directorates as they were called--with all the authoritative departments necessary for the administration. The entire school system remained untouched. I visited these territories twice, and I can say only that the commissioners in charge there did everything to work as closely as possible in accordance with the desires of the indigenous administration which often expressed itself with criticism regarding the German administration, although, frankly speaking, we could not quite fully recognize the political sovereignty in the midst of war.
On Page 2 of this document it is stated, under corporal punishment for of flee employees, that the intruders had prescribed corporal punishment of Estonian workers in accordance with the regulation of the railway administration of 20 February 1942, for neglect of work or if the employee came drunk to work. This regulation of the director of the railway administration corresponds with the facts. But when this regulation was made known, of course it aroused the indignation of the German civil administration. Reich Commissioner Lohse at once annulled it, and we asked the Reich Minister of Transportation to have this impossible official removed. This took place immediately; he was disqualified and called home, and the fact that he was recalled was to be made known in the press. However, I cannot say whether it actually appeared in the press.
On Page 5 of this document, in Paragraph 2, it is set forth that the Germans destroyed historical edifices, that they had searched through and destroyed the Tartu--that is, the University of Dorpat which had a glorious past of more than 300 years, and was one of the oldest seats of higher learning.
Now I would like to add that these houses dating from the 17th and other centuries were constructed by Germans exclusively, and that German troops would certainly not be interested in destroying arbitrarily the houses of their own people. Secondly, this 300 year-old University of Dorpat was a German university for 300 years, which in fact supplied Russia and Germany with scholars of European repute.
In the year 1942 I was once in Dorpat. A large part of the city had been destroyed through combat activity, but the university buildings were still standing. In this connection I had the opportunity to learn that the Einsatzstab Rosenberg in the Ukraine could confiscate 10,000 to 12,000 volumes belonging to the University of Dorpat and restore them again to their rightful owner.
I consider it out of question that an arbitrary destruction of this old German university could have been carried out by German troops and I can assume only that it was the result of combat activity, if a destruction actually had taken place.
As far as the other details of the document are concerned, I cannot define my position. It deals with many shootings of a police nature, matters clearly connected with combat activity, and I cannot make any statement about this, since it obviously refers to the time of the retreat. I refer again to the declarations I have just made. On Page 6, Column 1, at the beginning, it says that the Germans in their rage against Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia destroyed all national cultures, national monuments, schools, and literature. But this, as I have just stated, is not in accordance with the facts. The Note of the Peoples' Commissar for Foreign Affairs of 27 April 1942, which has been read here repeatedly and in detail, makes on Page 1, Column 1 the same assertion that here the pillage of the territory of the Soviet State had been carried out. I refer to the statement I have just made.
On Page 7 it is stated that the Germans intended and actually executed wholesale robbery of the land given free of charge by the Soviet Government to the collective farms (Kolkhozes) for their permanent use. I do not wish to make any statements on this special question here. State Secretary Riecke, whom the Tribunal has approved as witness, will make his expert statements on the law for the new agrarian order issued to strengthen farming in White Ruthenia and the Ukraine.
As the Soviet Prosecution withdrew the charge against me of having been a former Czarist spy, I do not need to go into that. I also cannot, of course, check in detail the various quotations that have been submitted here. But in one case it is possible for me to give an explanation here. It is on Page 9, Column 1, at the top, where the Foreign Commissar's so-called "Twelve Commandments" for the behavior of the Germans in the East is mentioned. There follows a quotation from which it can be concluded only that it is an unbroken quotation from a German directive. These 12 commandments have been submitted by the Soviet Prosecution to the Tribunal, under Exhibit USSR-89 (Document USSR-89). It deals, as it has been established, with a directive of the State Secretary Backe, of the beginning of June 1941, a directive which I have learned of only here. This apparently unbroken quotation of the Foreign Commissar proves to be a compilation of fragments of sentences which were actually Dispersed over a page and a half of the document, and these fragments, moreover, have not been given in their proper sequence, but in a completely different sequence from that in the document. But I would like to call your attention to a few changes in the wording.
Under Point 6 of the commandments:
"You must therefore"--this is directed to the agricultural leaders--"you must therefore carry out with composure the most severe and ruthless measures that are demanded by the national requirements. Deficiencies in character on the part of the individual will lead to his recall as a matter of principle. Anyone who is recalled for such reasons can no longer have an authoritative position in the Reich."In the quotation of the official note it says:
"Therefore, you yourself will have to take with composure the most cruel and ruthless measures that are dictated by German interests. Otherwise you cannot have any responsible positions at home."Therefore, instead of the word "severe" the word "cruel" has been substituted: in place of "national requirements" it says very generally "German interests"; and in place of the reference to a "lack of character" it is set down quite generally that if one does not thus take the most cruel measures one cannot have any responsible positions. I would not want to identify myself otherwise in any way with these 12 commandments, but I would like to state that on Page 3 under Point 7 it says:
"But be just and personally decent, and always set a good example."And in part 9:
"Do not spy on Communists. The Russian youth has been trained for communism for two decades. Russian youth does not know any other education. It is therefore senseless to punish them for the past."I believe that also there, Herr Backe who otherwise used stronger language, does not mean any regulation for extermination. Now, I am passing to the charge by the Polish Government. It concerns me in one point only. On Page 20, under Point 5, it is stated that the exploitation, plundering, and the carrying off of art objects, et cetera, from museums and collections of all kinds, was centralized under the office of Rosenberg in Berlin. That is incorrect, as has been shown by the report of State Secretary Muhlmann, which has been read here many times and which shows that an entirely different department was set up for the safeguarding of these works of art. Furthermore, I read today a decree by Dr. Lammers, dated, I believe, 5 July 1942, in which the Government General was expressly excluded.
I must, however, admit that in one case in the beginning, the Einsatzstab confiscated a German collection of music and it was taken to the Reich for purposes of research. This action was not right, and from a correspondence with the then Governor General Frank that must also be here in my file, it is shown that we had agreed that this collection was to be returned to the Government General as a matter of course after a scholarly survey had been made, which I, to be sure, requested.
The incorrectness of this charge may be seen also from the fact that it is contended here that I had in the Einsatzstab among the various departments also an office "East" for Poland. The incorrectness of this statement may be gathered from the fact that the so-called special purpose staffs, which were established for music and the plastic arts in the East, were actually expert special staffs, and besides them the so-called working groups had regional tasks. I could, therefore, not have had an office "East" for Poland and at any rate the term "Poland" was never used in official circles, only the term "Government General." I believe I can limit myself to this explanation. In addition, there have been presented a number of other general documents from Smolensk and from other cities, referring to much destruction and police measures. I cannot testify here concerning these points.
In conclusion I would like to refer only to Document 073-PS, which a few days ago was submitted to the witness Dr. Hammers. This document is concerned with the transmission of a document of the Foreign Office, in which some mistaken information was given after it had been said that the Soviet prisoners of war were under the command of the Reich Minister for the occupied Eastern countries.
In the introduction, it can be seen that here we are concerned exclusively with the doctrinaire care and propaganda work which Minister Goebbels considered his province, rather than that of the Foreign Office. The Foreign Office stated that it had leading jurisdiction over all prisoners of war with the exception of this moral and propaganda care of the Soviet prisoners of war, which in this respect were attended to by the Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, because these prisoners did not come under the provisions of the Geneva Convention. This statement, that they were not bound by the Geneva Convention, was the legal opinion issued by the Fuehrer's headquarters for the setting up of the administration in the Occupied Eastern Territories.
Since the beginning of its existence, the Reich Ministry for the occupied Eastern territories has taken the viewpoint, that the large number of Soviet prisoners of war constitute a highly valuable material for propaganda. The treatment of Soviet prisoners of war must be considered differently than the treatment of prisoners of war of other nations, for various reasons:
1. The war in the East has not been concluded, and the treatment of the prisoners of war must have far-reaching results on the will-to-desert of the Red Army man who is still fighting.
2. Germany intends to keep a large part of the former Soviet Union occupied, even after the end of the war, and to develop it industrially for her purposes. Therefore she depends on a far-reaching cooperation of the population.
3. Germany is conducting the fight against the Soviet Union because of ideological viewpoints. Bolshevism must be overthrown and something better must be put in its place. Even the prisoners of war themselves must realize that National Socialism is willing and in the position to bring them a better future. They must return later to their homes from Germany with a feeling of admiration and esteem for Germany and German institutions; and thus become propagandists for the cause of Germany and National Socialism.
This attempted goal has not been attained so far. The fate of the Soviet prisoners of war in Germany is on the contrary a tragedy of the greatest extent. Of 3.6 millions of prisoners of war, only several hundred thousand are still able to work fully. A large part of them has starved, or died, because of the hazards of the weather. Thousands also died from spotted fever. It is understood, of course, that there are difficulties encountered in the feeding of such a large number of prisoners of war. Anyhow, with a certain amount of understanding for goals aimed at by German politics, dying and deterioration could have been avoided in the extent described. For instance, according to information on hand, the native population within the Soviet Union are absolutely willing to put food at the disposal of the prisoners of war. Several understanding camp commanders have successfully chosen this course. However in the majority of the cases, the camp commanders have forbidden the civilian population to put food at the disposal of the prisoners, and they have rather let them starve to death.
Even on the march to the camps, the civilian population was not allowed to give the prisoners of war food. In many cases, when prisoners of war could no longer keep up on the march because of hunger and exhaustion, they were shot before the eyes of the horrified civilian population, and the corpses were left. In numerous camps, no shelter for the prisoners of war was provided at all. They lay under the open sky during rain or snow. Even tools were not made available to dig holes or caves. A systematic delousing of the prisoners of war in the camps and of the camps themselves has apparently been missed. Utterances such as these have been heard: "The more of these prisoners die, the better it is for us". The consequence of this treatment is now this, that spotted fever is spreading due to the escape and discharge of prisoners and has claimed its victims among the armed forces as well as among the civilian population, even in the old part of Germany.
Finally, the shooting of prisoners of war must be mentioned; these were partly carried out according to viewpoints which ignore all political understanding. For instance, in various camps, all the "Asiatics" were shot, although the inhabitants of the areas, considered belonging to Asia, of Transcaucasia and Turkestan especially, are among those people in the Soviet Union who are most strongly opposed to Russian subjugation and to Bolshevism. The Reich ministry of the occupied Eastern territories has repeatedly emphasized these abuses. However, in November for instance, a detail [Kommando] appeared in a prisoner of war camp in Nikolajew, which wanted to liquidate all Asiatics.
The treatment of prisoners of war appears to be founded for a great part on serious misconceptions about the people of the Soviet Union. One finds the opinion that the people become more inferior the further one goes East. If the Poles already were given harsh treatment, one argues, it should therefore be done to a much greater extent to the Ukrainians, White Ruthenians, Russians, and finally the "Asiatics".
It was apparently completely ignored, in the treatment of prisoners of war, that Germany found, in contrast to the West (France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway), a people who went through all the terror of Bolshevism, and who now, happy about their liberation, put themselves willingly at the disposal of Germany. A better gift could not come to Germany in this war, which requires every last man. But instead of accepting this gift, the people of the East are being treated more contemptibly and worse than the people of the West, who do not hide their enmity towards Germany.
It was a basic mistake that no difference was made between real prisoners of war and deserters. It is known that German propaganda deposited millions of leaflets beyond the lines, and encouraged the Red soldiers to desert, whereby good treatment and sufficient food was specifically assured to them. These promises were not kept. The deserters were beaten and left to starve the same as so many prisoners of war. A natural consequence of this politically and militarily unwise treatment was not only a paralyzing of the will to desert, but a plain deadly fear to get into German captivity. It would be naive to assume that the occurrences in the prisoner of war camps could be kept hidden from the Soviet government. As can be seen in Molotov's circular the Soviets have in fact an excellent knowledge of the conditions described above, and naturally they have done everything in their power to influence the Soviet population and Red soldiers accordingly It can be said without exaggeration that the mistakes in the treatment of prisoners of war are to a great extent the cause for the stiffening power of resistance of the Red Army, and therefore also cause for the death of thousands of German soldiers.
After the Reich ministry for occupied Eastern territories was finally successful in overcoming the prejudice against Soviet prisoners of war partially and when the prisoners of war were to come to Germany to a great extent for work, it was found that of 3.6 million only several hundred thousand were still able to work. Thus, German economy and armament industry also must suffer for the treatment of prisoners of war.
The above explanations are not intended to be a belated, fruitless criticism, nor are they directed against any official agency, especially since very many objective situations came into play, as has been mentioned, and the responsibility is shared. They should only become the basis for a new policy toward the prisoners of war which corresponds more to our military and civilian interests. The Reich ministry for the occupied Eastern territories is endeavoring with all its powers to assist the fighting troops by effective propaganda for the deterioration of the enemy's military forces. All propaganda will be useless, however, if there is more fear of captivity than of death and wounds on the battlefield.
The primary demand is that the treatment of the prisoners of war ensues according to the laws of humanity and according to the dignity of the German nation. It is understandable that inhuman treatment, proven many times, of German prisoners of war, by members of the Red Army has embittered the German troops so much that they retaliate with the same treatment. However, such retaliatory measures do not improve the situation of German prisoners of war by any means, but must have as their last consequence the fact that neither side will take any more prisoners thus that they conduct the war in a most inhuman manner. At any rate, as much as is known, such retaliatory measures have not been able up to now to cause the enemy to change. They were therefore without purpose.
Furthermore, sufficient food, and at least primitive shelter, are to be provided for the prisoners within the framework of possibility. In the camps for prisoners, scheduled for work projects, as well as in those for the others, skillful propaganda is necessary, which must be carried out by camp newspapers, movies, lectures, simple musical events, games, etc.
Every camp commandant must be made responsible that ever prisoner of war, guarded by him, will return to his home later on as a propagandist for Germany. Of course, on the other side action must be taken with utmost severity against possible agitators. In any case, in the future a difference must be made between real prisoners of war and deserters. The deserters are to be provided with identification certificates, and in any case are to be treated better than the prisoners of war. Especially this measure should have far-reaching success in reference to the deterioration of the Red Army.
I would appreciate an expression of opinion soon, and information of appropriate action.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: The complaints regarding prisoners of war came from various sources. Fairly near the beginning they were already lodged with the Eastern Ministry; then later on, particularly during the winter 1941-1942, they were brought by passing officers or soldiers and were reported to me by my political department. We then passed these complaints on to the competent military offices with a request that, for obvious reasons, they should be given consideration.
These complaints were received frequently and my staff, as time went by, stated to me that they encountered a great deal of understanding for these wishes, particularly for the wish expressed by us that prisoners from this large number of Soviet prisoner-of-war camps should be selected according to their nationality and taken to small camps, because through this national segregation, good political and humane treatment would be best guaranteed. In view of the numerous complaints about the death of many thousands of Soviet prisoners, I received more than once reports that during battles of encirclement, units of the Red Army had defended themselves in the hardest way and had not surrendered. In fact they were completely exhausted from hunger when the Germans finally captured them, and even numerous cases of cannibalism had been established, born of their tenacity not to surrender in any case.
The third complaint I received was to the effect that political commissars were shot. We too passed on this complaint. That an order existed in this connection was unknown to me. We concluded from other reports that here clearly there must have been a political or police reprisal, since we heard that many German prisoners, who later were freed, were most of them found, again dead or mutilated. Later on I was informed that such shootings were prohibited, and thus we assumed that the political commissars also belonged to the regular Red Army.
Now here is Document 081-PS [above]. It has been stated by the Prosecution that this is a letter from the Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories to the Chief of the OKW. The document was also found in my files. But it is not a letter from me to the Chief of the OKW, Keitel; on the contrary, it was obviously deposited in my office by the sender. In the left-hand top corner on Page 1, it can be seen that there is a figure "I." That means Department "I." In the case of letters originating from me such a reference would always be absent, since "I" was not a department of my own of lice. Furthermore, letters of mine to the Chief of the OKW were always of a personal character, either beginning with the name of the addressee, or a personal address. Chief of the OKW is the office. In the same way the ordinary address, "Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories," would not be a personal letter to me, but would mean the office.
I will not go into these details, but I will take the liberty of reading one final paragraph in connection with which I may also state that it is in keeping with the spirit which I endeavored to instill in my collaborators. And likewise, they thought that they ought to act and express themselves in this spirit. I merely wanted to quote this letter because I have no other documents at my disposal on the activity of my political department, and this is only an example of the work, which I think touches on these problems.
Caution: 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 possibly be punishable by death.
Disclaimer:The Propagander! includes diverse and controversial materials--such as excerpts from the writings of racists and anti-Semites--so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and anti-Semitic discourse. It is our sincere belief that only the informed citizen can prevail over the ignorance of Racialist "thought." Far from approving these writings, The Propagander! condemns racism in all of its forms and manifestations.
Source Note: The trial portion of this material, which is available in its entirety at the outstanding Avalon and Nizkor sites, is being presented here in a catagorized form for ease of study and is not meant to supplant or replace these highly recommended sources.
Fair Use Notice: This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of historical, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, environmental, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.