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to him on the 26th March, 1938, to institute anti-semitic measures in Austria, followed by the Progress Report on 12th November by one of his officials. As far as concerns the Jews in the Netherlands, he admits that he knew they were being deported but says he was powerless to stop it as it was ordered from Berlin. He has further said that he knew they went to Auschwitz but he says he was sent there to enquire about them, was told they were well off and arranged for them to send mail from Auschwitz to Holland (3460-PS, USA 437; 1816-PS, USA 261). It is likely that SeyssInquart who admits knowledge of large-scale crimes against the Jews in the Netherlands, for example
“a drive to force the Jews to be sterilised”, who admits that many and grave excesses occurred in the Netherlands concentration camps and indeed that in wartime he
"considered that almost inevitable", who pleads that in comparison with camps elsewhere
“it was perhaps not quite so bad in the Netherlands”, is it possible that he was really deceived as he says into thinking the people in Auschwitz were
"comparatively well off”? One comes next to the defendants Speer and Fritzsche who have appeared in this trial as experts. Speer has admitted that his responsibility for conscription of labour helped to bring up the total number of workers under him to 14,000,000. He stated that when he took over office in February 1942 all the perpetrations or violations of International Law of which he could be accused had already been realised. Nevertheless he went on to say
“The workers were brought into Germany against their will. I had no objection to their being brought to Germany against their will. On the contrary during the first period until autumn of 1942 I certainly used my energy that as many workers as possible should be brought to Germany in this manner." Further, workers were placed at his disposal by Sauckel and he was responsible for their allocation priorities.
He acknowledged the receipt of 1,000,000 Soviet labourers in August 1942. On 4-1-44 he demanded 1,300,000 workers for the coming year. Speer produced no defense of this conscription of labour but he did assert that from 1943 he had supported the retention of French workers in France, which is a mere matter of mitigation. The moderation of Speer's manner ought not hide the fact that this policy, which he cheerfully adopted and applied was one that meant the most appalling misery and suffering for millions of Soviet and other families. (R-124, USA 179; 1292-PS,
USA 225) It displays once again the complete disregard of the fate of other people which runs like a sordid thread through the evidence in this trial, and no moral awakening regarding the interest of the German people (I repeat “the German People") at the end of the war, can offset the participation in this horrible action.
With regard to the treatment of foreign workers Speer's general point was that the evidence for the Prosecution is simply that of individual bad instances and should not be taken as the general condition. If it were the general condition he would accept responsibility. The Prosecution submit that their evidence, viewed as a whole, is conclusive evidence of general bad conditions.
Neurath who has told the Tribunal that he joined Hitler's Government to keep it peace-loving and respectable, knew within a few weeks that the Jews were being persecuted, that reputable foreign papers and reputable German papers too for that matter were quoting official figures of ten to twenty thousand internees. He knew that the opposition, the Communists, the Trade-Unionists and Social Democrats were being destroyed as political forces. The Blood Purge followed yet he went on and seconded Hitler in his breaches of the Treaty of Versailles. We have the evidence of Paul Schmidt that the murder of Dollfuss and the attempted Putsch in Austria seriously disturbed the career personnel of the Foreign Office whilst they regarded the Mutual Assistance Pact between France and the Soviet Union as a further very serious warning as to the potential consequences of German foreign policy.
“At this time the career officials at least expressed their reservation to the Foreign Minister Neurath. I do not know whether or not Neurath in turn related these expressions of concern to Hitler.” (3308-PS, GB 288) Yet when Raeder was issuing orders about the danger of showing "enthusiasm for war", von Neurath would have you believe that he had failed to realise its growth. He, as much as Raeder, saw and took part in the events which followed the secret meetings, the treatment of von Blomberg and von Fritsch, he it was at the time of the Anschluss who, though no longer Foreign Minister, gave the support of a name, not yet notably tarnished, to Hitler's action by transmitting untruths in denial of the British Note and by reassuring the Czechs. That reassurance ought never be forgotten there can be few things more grimly cynical than von Neurath who had listened to the Hossbach speech solemnly telling M. Mastny that Hitler would stand by the Arbitration Treaty with Czechoslovakia. As soon as Hitler had marched into Prague, he it was who became protector of Bohemia and Moravia. You have heard his admission that he applied all decrees for the treatment of the Jews 744400—47-12
which had appeared in Germany between 1933 and 1939. (C-194, USA 55)
Fritzsche's work was to organise the entire German Press so that it became "a permanent instrument of the Propaganda Ministry". Propaganda was a most potent factor in all Nazi strategy. Here in turn that factor made all the press its most potent weapon. The fact that he knew and participated in the use of his organisation is shown by his attempt to whitewash the successive propaganda actions which led up to each of the various aggressions mentioned in his affidavit. As he said (3469-PS, USA 721):
“All news checked by me was full of tendency while not invented".
It is incredible that when he was called upon time after time to conduct what was specifically referred to as actions and when each time he saw the practical results he did not realise the dishonesty with which the German policy was being conducted or that the aim of the Nazi Government was aggressive war.
His personal ability as a broadcaster caused him to become virtually an official commentator. To quote his own words:
“May I add that it is known to me that in the far corners of German colonies abroad my radio speeches were, shall we say, the political comments.”
He has emphasized that in these comments he had a free hand. Is it to be doubted that this was because he was prepared to broadcast whatever lie Goebbels wanted? He himself says, in dealing with the uses to which his influence was put:
“Again and again I was requested to awaken hatred against individuals and against systems."
You have seen a sample in his broadcast on the Athenia. As early as 1940 he broke far enough away from the restraint which he tried to picture in the witness box to call the Poles “under people” and “beasts in human form” (D-912, GB 526).
On the 18th December 1941 he referred to the fate of European Jews in the following words (3064-PS, USA 723):
“The fate of Jewry in Europe has turned out to be as unpleasant as the Fuehrer predicted it would be in the event of a European war. After the extension of the war instigated by the Jews, this unpleasant fate may also spread to the New World, for you can hardly assume that the nations of the New World will pardon the Jews for the misery of which the nations of the Old World did not absolve them.”
There were few more dreadful or hate-provoking accusations among the whole miasma of Nazi lies against the Jews, than that
of instigating the war which brought such misery to humanity, yet this educated and thoughtful defendant deliberately made it.
It is difficult to imagine any more fulsome or callous adulation of Hitler's aggression than his speech on 9th October 1941 which contained the words (3064-PS, USA 723):
and we are particularly grateful for those lightning victories because—as the Fuehrer emphasized last Friday —they gave us the possibility of embarking on the organization of Europe and of lifting the treasures of this old continent even in the middle of a war, without having to keep millions and millions of German soldiers on guard
Perhaps the key to the concealment of war crimes by Fritzsche is the basic principle of his propaganda.
“But decisive for us for such a news machine is not the detail but the final fundamental basis on which propaganda is built. Decisive is the belief in the purity of the leaders of the State on which every journalist must rely.”
Fritzsche maintained until practically the very end the most excellent relations with Dr. Goebbels. When the Tribunal consider the picture of total extremism and violent anti-semitism which the other defendants have painted of Goebbels it is difficult to imagine that the worship of his closest collaborator could have been based on innocent ignorance.
The prosecution submit that it is laughable that such a man should try and persuade you that it was in ignorance of these horrors that he went on exhorting and persuading the German people to tread the path to their doom. Fritzsche shares with Streicher, Rosenberg, Schirach the responsibility for the utter degradation of the German people so that "they shut the gates of mercy on mankind.” It was because of them that such scenes as that in the Jewish cemetery at Schwertz on that Sunday morning in October 1939 occurred, when 200 of Keitel's decent Wehrmacht soldiers watched without a murmur the murder of that lorry-load of women and children. You will remember the story as three of them have told it (UK-38):
“On Saturday evening I heard from a comrade in my company that on that day a number of Poles had been shot in the Jewish Cemetery. The talk about these facts went through the whole Company like lightning. On the following morning * *
I went to the cemetery at 8 o'clock with two of my. comrades from my Company. There I found a great number of soldiers belonging to the Companies of our Battalion and also from troops who were stationed in Schwetz.
There were roughly 200 to 300 soldiers at the cemetery
*. At 9:30
hours the bus arrived loaded with women and children. I stood near the mass graves which had been prepared beforehand and I saw a woman holding one little boy by the right hand and one or two girls by the other, walking from the bus to the grave. I then saw a few seconds later how the woman stood in the grave and one of the boys was handed down to her by the SS men. We then turned round and left because I did not want, nor could, witness the shooting of these children. Immediately after that I heard the shots
Shortly after that another bus arrived, loaded with Poles. An SS man shouted to the soldiers who stood around “Now you can all come in and watch.” Then I went in once more and saw a group of four men step into the same mass grave in which the woman had been shot previously. They were ordered to lie down and then they were liquidated by shooting through the back of their heads from a very short distance. Flesh, brains and sand were flung around over the grave and dirtied the uniforms of the soldiers who were watching. About eighty soldiers stood too close to the edge of the grave. These happenings could also be seen by the civilian population from the windows of their houses opposite the Jewish cemetery.”
You are asked to believe that these 21 Ministers and loading officers of State did not know about these matters—were not responsible. It is for you to decide.
Years ago Goethe said of the German people that some day fate would strike them
“would strike them because they betrayed themselves and did not want to be what they are. It is said that they do not know the charm of truth, detestable that mist smoke and berserk immoderation are so dear to them, pathetic that they ingenuously submit to any mad scoundrel who appeals to their lowest instincts, who confirms them in their vices and teaches them to
conceive nationalism as isolation and brutality.” With what a voice of prophecy he spoke for these are the mad scoundrels who did those very things.
Some it may be are more guilty than others; some played a more direct and active part than others in these frightful crimes. But when these crimes are such as you have to deal with here slavery, mass murder and world war, when the consequences of the crimes are the deaths of over 20,000,000 of our fellow men, the devastation of a continent, the spread of untold tragedy and suffering throughout the world, what mitigation is it that some took less part than others, that some were principals and others mere accessories. What matters it if some forfeited their lives only a thousand times whilst others deserved a million deaths ?