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Blood was running away from their necks. I was surprised that I was not ordered away but I saw that there were two or three postmen in uniform nearby. The next batch was approaching already. They went down into the pit, lined themselves up against the previous victims and were shot. When I walked back round the mound I noticed another truck load of people which had just arrived. This time it included sick and infirm persons. An old, very thin woman with terribly thin legs was undressed by others who were already naked, while two people held her up. The woman appeared to be paralysed. The naked people carried the woman around the mound. I left with my foreman and drove in my car back to Dubno.
On the morning of the next day, when I again visited the site, I saw about 30 naked people lying near the pit—about 30-50 metres away from it. Some of them were still alive; they looked straight in front of them with a fixed stare and seemed to notice neither the chilliness of the morning nor the workers of my firm who stood around. A girl of about 20 spoke to me and asked me to give her clothes and help her escape. At that moment we heard a fast car approach and I noticed that it was an SS detail. I moved away to my site. Ten minutes later we heard shots from the vicinity of the pit. The Jews still alive had been ordered to throw the corpses into the pit; then they had themselves to lie down in this to be shot in the neck."
That no man in that dock can have remained ignorant of the horrors perpetrated to support the Nazi war machine and the policy of genocide becomes the more clear when you consider the evidence with regard to another great crime little heard of during the course of this trial but which, as clearly as any other, illustrates the wickedness of these men and of their regime—the murder of some 275,000 persons by so-called mercy killing. To what base uses that beautiful word was put! (1556-PS, USA 716.)
Some time in the summer of 1940 Hitler secretly ordered the murder of ill and aged people in Germany who were no longer of productive value for the German war machine. Frick, more than any other man in Germany, was responsible for what took place as a result of that decree. Of his knowledge and of the knowledge of a great many people in Germany there is abundant evidence. In July, 1940, Bishop Wurm was writing to Frick (M-152, GB 530):
“For some months past, insane, feeble-minded and epileptic patients of State and private medical establishments have been transferred to another institution on the orders of the Reich Defense Council. Their relatives, even when the patient was
in this way
kept at their cost, are not informed of the transfer until after it has taken place. Mostly they are informed a few weeks after that the patient concerned has died of an illness and that owing to the danger of infection the body has had to be cremated. At a superficial estimate several hundred patients of an institution in Wurttemberg alone must have met their death
*** Owing to numerous enquiries from town and country and from the most variegated circles, I consider it my duty to point out to the Reich Government that this fact is causing a particular stir in our small province. Transports of sick people who are unloaded at the small railway station of Marbach, the buses with opaque windows which bring sick persons from more distant railway stations or directly from the institutions, the smoke which rises from the crematorium and which can be noticed even from a considerable distance * * * all this gives rise to speculation as no one is allowed into the Castle *** Everybody is convinced that the causes of death which are published officially are selected at random. When, to crown everything, regret is expressed in the obituary notice that all endeavors to preserve the patients' life were in vain, this is felt as a mockery. But it is above all the air of mystery which gives rise to the thought that something is happening which is contrary to justice and ethics and cannot therefore be defended by the Government. This point is continually stressed by simple people as well as in the numerous oral and written statements which come to us.”
Frick's ears were deaf to pleas for justice and ethics such as that. A year later, in August 1941, the Bishop of Limbourg wrote to the Reich Ministries of the Interior, of Justice, and Church Affairs (615-PS, USA 717):
"About 8 km. from Limbourg in the little town of Hadamar, on a hill overlooking the town there is an institution which had formerly served various purposes and of late has been used as a nursing home. This institution was renovated and furnished as a place in which, by consensus of opinion, the above mentioned euthenasia had been systematically practiced for months, approximately since February 1941. The fact has become known beyond the administrative district of Weisbaden *** Several times a week buses arrive in Hadamar with a considerable number of such victims. School children of the vicinity know this vehicle and say: "There comes the murder box again. After the arrival of the vehicle citizens of Hadamar watch the smoke rise out of the chimney and are tortured with the thoughts of the misery of the victims, especially when repulsive odours annoy' them. The effect of the principles at
work here are that children call each other names and say: ‘You're crazy, you will be sent to the baking ovens in Hadamar.' Those who do not want to marry or find no opportunity say: 'Marry, never! Bring children into the world so that they can be put into the bottling machine!' You hear old folks say: 'Don't send me to a State Hospital: after the feeble minded have been finished off the next useless eaters whose turn it will be are the old people' * * * Officials of the Secret State Police, it is said are trying to suppress discussion of the Hadamar occurrences by means of severe threats. In the interests of public peace this may be well intended, but the knowledge and the conviction and the indignation of the population cannot be changed by it. The conviction will be increased with the realisation that discussion is prohibited with threats but that the actions themselves are not prosecuted under penal law. Facta loquantur.”
If the common people of Germany knew and were complaining of these relatively insignificant murders, when the Ministries of Justice, of the Interior and of Church Affairs were receiving protests from the Bishops of two districts far removed from each other, on what was common knowledge in their dioceses, how much greater were the security problems of the Einsatz Commandos in the East. In May 1942 an SS leader reporting to Berlin on a tour of inspection of the progress of the extermination drive wrote of the gas vans (501-PS, USA 288):
“By having small windows introduced, one on each side of the smaller van and two on each side of the bigger van, such as one sees often on peasant's houses in the country, I have had the vehicles in group D disguised to look like vans for living in. The cars are so well known that not only the authorities but also the civilian population allude to it as the 'Death Car' as soon as one of these vehicles appear. In my opinion even with the camouflage it cannot be kept secret for any length of time.”
Can these defendants have remained in ignorance? What peculiar dispensation of providence was there that protected them from knowledge of these matters, matters which were their concern?
This slaughter of the aged and imbeciles—the subject of gossip throughout Germany and of articles in the world press-must have been known to every one of these men. How much more then must they have known of the concentration camps which, during those years, covered like a rash the whole of Germany and the occupied territories. If only they could acquiesce in the mercy killings, with what favour they must have regarded the extermination of the Jews.
In 1939 there had been six main concentration camps—Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Flossenburg and Ravensbruck. Frick's budget for the Ministry of the Interior for that year includes a sum of RMS. 21,155,000 for armed SS and concentration camps—no less than a fifth of the total budget. By April 1942 there had been added to those six camps nine more, and more were to follow afterwards (3873-PS, GB 326).
But these were only the core of the system. Like planets, each of them had its attendant satellites. Ziereis has given you some idea of the extent of this system. He describes the subsidiary camps that were based on Mauthausen alone. 33 of them he mentioned by name, giving the numbers of prisoners at each—a total of over 102,000. Besides those 33, there were another 45, also all under the authority of the Mauthausen Commandant (D-626, USA 810).
You have seen the map of Europe showing the location of as many of these main subsidiary concentration camps as are known. Over 300 of them are marked on that map (RF 331).
By August, 1944, there was a total of 1,136,000 prisoners, which included 90,000 from Hungary, 60,000 from the police prison and ghetto of Litzmannstadt, 15,000 Poles from the Government General, 10,000 convicts from eastern territories, 17,000 former Polish officers, 400,000 Poles from Warsaw and between 15,00020,000 continually arriving from France (1166-PS, USA 458).
These were only the physically fit and therefore permanent residents—permanent, at least until through physical exhaustion their productive capacity was no longer worth the nuisance that their continued existence meant. Then they took their place in the daily detail for the gas chambers.
Day after day the chimneys of the crematoria belched their nauseating stench over the countryside. When the Bishop of Limbourg could write to Frick of the repulsive odours from the comparatively insignificant ovens at Hadamar, can we doubt the evidence of Hoess that I mentioned?
“The foul and nauseating stench from the continuous burning of bodies permeated the entire area and all the people living in the surrounding communities knew that exterminations were going on at Auschwitz."
Day after day trainloads of victims travelled over the railroads of the whole Reich on their way to the extermination centers or their own slavery. Many arrived dying and even dead through the appalling conditions under which they journeyed. An offi
cial at the railway station at Essen has described the arrival of workers from Poland Galicia and the Ukraine (D-321, USA 895):
“They came in goods wagons in which potatoes, building materials and also cattle had been transported. The trucks were jammed full with people. My personal view was that it was inhuman to transport people in such a manner. The people were squashed closely together and they had no room for free movement. It was enraging to every decent German to see how the people were beaten and kicked and generally maltreated in a brutal manner. In the very beginning, as the first transports arrived, we could see how inhumanly these people were treated. Every wagon was so overfull that it was incredible that such a number could be jammed into one wagon
The clothing of prisoners of war and civilian workers was catastrophic. It was ragged and ripped and the footwear was the same. In some cases they had to go to work with rags round their feet.
"Even in the worst weather and bitterest cold I have never seen that any of the wagons were heated.”
Those men were not destined for concentration camps that was certain. How much worse the conditions of these who were. Great columns, too, trekked on foot along the highways of the Reich. They walked until they could walk no more; then they died by the side of the road. Ziereis, Commandant of Mauthausen, in his dying confession said (D-626, USA 810):
"In the presence of Baldur von Schirach and others I received the following order from Himmler:
"All Jews of localities in the southeast, working on the socalled fortification-commands, are to be sent on foot to Mauthausen."
“In consequence of this order we were expecting to receive 60,000 Jews at Mauthausen, but in fact only a small fraction of this number arrived. I remember that out of one convoy of 4,500 Jews which started out from somewhere in the country, only 180 arrived. The women and children had been without shoes and clothes and were very verminous. In that convoy complete families had started out together but an immense number had died on the way from exposure, weakness, etc."
Now whatever may have been hidden from view behind the stockades of the concentration camps, these things were open for all to see. Every one of these defendants must have seen them and the thousands of concentration camp prisoners working in the fields and factories adorned in their striped pyjamas—a uniform that was as familiar as any other in Germany.
How possibly could any one of these defendants, had he even