Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

In one way the fate of these men means little: their personal power for evil lies forever broken; they have convicted and discredited each other and finally destroyed the legend they created round the figure of their leader. But on their fate great issues must still depend, for the ways of truth and righteousness between the Nations of the world, the hope of future international cooperation in the administration of law and justice are in your hands. This trial must form a milestone in the history of civilization, not only bringing retribution to those guilty men, not only marking that right shall in the end triumph over evil, but also that the ordinary people of the world (and I make no distinction now between friend or foe) are now determined that the individual must transcend the State. The State and the law are made for man, that through them he may achieve a fuller life, a higher purpose and a greater dignity. States may be great and powerful. Ultimately the rights of men, made as all men are made in the image of God, are fundamental. When the State, either because as here its leaders have lusted for power and place, or under some specious pretext that the end may justify the means, affronts these things, they may for a time become obscured and submerged. But they are imminent and ultimately they will assert themselves more strongly still, their imminence more manifest. And so, after this ordeal to which mankind has been submitted, mankind itselfstruggling now to reestablish in all the countries of the world the common simple things—liberty, love, understanding—comes to this Court and cries "These are our laws—let them prevail."

Then shall those other words of Goethe be translated into fact, not only, as we must hope, of the German people but of the whole community of man: “Thus ought the German people to behave

giving and receiving from the world, their hearts open to every fruitful source of wonder, great through understanding and love, through mediation and the spirit—thus ought they to be; that is their destiny.”

You will remember when you come to give your decision the story of Gruber, but not in vengeance—in a determination that these things shall not occur again.

"The Father”-do you remember?-pointed to the sky, “and seemed to say something to his boy”.

CLOSING ARGUMENT FOR THE PROVISIONAL GOVERN.

MENT OF THE FRENCH REPUBLIC

by

M. DUBOST, DEPUTY CHIEF PROSECUTOR

with introduction by M. Champetier de Ribes, Chief Prosecutor

Introduction

For the last nine months more than fifteen years of history have been evoked at this bar. Germany's archives, those the Nazis were unable to burn before their defeat, have yielded us their secrets. We have heard numerous witnesses, whose recollections would have been lost to history but for the present trial.

All the facts have been submitted with the strictest objectivity, leaving no room for passion nor even for sensibility. The Court has excluded from the debate anything that, in its opinion, seemed insufficiently demonstrated, anything that might have appeared dictated by a spirit of vengeance.

For the interesting point of these trials is above all that of historical truth. Thanks to them, the historian of the future, as well as the chronicler of today, will know the truth about the political, diplomatic and military events of the most tragic period of our history; he will know the crimes of Nazism as well as the hesitancies, the weaknesses, the omissions of the pacific democracies. He will know that the result of twenty centuries of civilization, which believed itself to be eternal, nearly collapsed before the renewed onslaught of a new form of the ancient barbarism, all the more savage for being more scientific.

He will know that technical progress, that the modern means of propaganda, that the devilish processes of a police defying the most elementary rules of humanity, have enabled a small minority of criminals to distort within a few years the collective conscience of a great people, and to transform the nation, which Dr. Sauter alluded to at the end of his speech in favor of von Schirach stating that it was faithful, fair, and full of virtue, to transform the nation into that of Hitler, of Himmler and of Goebbels, to mention only the dead.

He will know the crime of these men has been to have conceived the most gigantic plan of world domination and to have wished to realize it by all and every means. By every means,

that is to say without a doubt by the breaking of the given word and by the unleashing of the very worst kind of war of aggression, but particularly by the methodical, scientific extermination of millions of human beings and specifically of certain national or religious groups, the existence of which hampered the hegemony of the Germanic race.

This crime is so monstrous, so unknown in history up to the birth of Hitlerism, that the neologism of “genocide” had to be created to define it, that it required an accumulation of documents and testimonies to make it believable.

That, to the shame of the times we live in, this crime was possible, the perfect collaboration of the four Public Prosecutors has permitted the proof to be given, and, within the limits of the counts of the indictment she reserved for herself, France believes she has done her part in the common task.

While the defendants and their defense counsels have spoken much before the Tribunal regarding the protection which the innocent civilian population is entitled to, as of an obvious principle, it has been established by us that the defendants have deliberately violated this principle by treating these civilian populations with utter disregard for human life. Is it necessary to evoke the terrible sentence pronounced by the defendant Keitel “human life is worth less than nothing in the occupied territories.”

Renewing a tradition which symbolizes the most primitive practices of warfare, the defendants reinstated the system of hostages. They put their signatures to general orders to capture and execute thousands of martyrs. In France alone 29,000 hostages were shot. We know that the fighters of the resistance, whose patriotism is now being admired by the defendants, have been massacred, tortured, interned for the purpose of their slow extermination; that, under the pretext of reprisals, by the carrying out of orders or by the committing of individual cruelties which were covered by the complicity of the authorities, civilians chosen absolutely at random have been executed, that entire villages were burnt down: Oradoursur-Glane, Maille in France, Putten in Holland have not yet risen from their ruins.

We all have in mind the atrocious orders issued in the operational sector of Marshal Kesselring to combat partisan activity by terror. We saw there one officer order as a reprisal the execution of fifty, of one hundred, or even of all the men of a region as a reply to isolated acts directed against the German army. The carrying out of that order was authorized on the basis of instructions by the commander of the theater of operations, who himself acted on more general instructions issued by the defendant Keitel. This example illustrates the perfect collaboration of the National

Socialist Cadre and the State and pleads, if it is still necessary, for the joint responsibility of the leading personalities of the regime.

We know that thousands of men have been torn away from their homes and forced to produce arms against their own country.

The bad treatment given to the soldiers hurt us even more, because Germany, be it the traditional Germany, the Nazi Germany in power, or the same Germany now presenting the poor argument of its defense in the prisoners' docks, has always claimed to adhere to the universal rules of military honor and to the respect due to all soldiers. And, in spite of this, we have seen Keitel himself, the champion of these ideas to a point that he brought it up again at the conclusion of his testimony in the witness box, urge the Wilhelmstrasse and the co-defendant Goering to approve his criminal propositions concerning the treatment of aviators who fell into their hands.

Documents like the testimony of Grunner admit of no doubt that the criminal orders to exterminate and lynch aviators had been issued in the regular manner and been transmitted to the agencies charged with their execution.

No doubt is possible as to the principles involved in the drawing of the order concerning the commandos, nor as to the execution of this order in the various theaters of operations. The Prosecution has furnished a striking collection of evidence on this point.

Our concern became even stronger when we acquired the certitude that cruel orders had been issued to execute or intern for the purpose of their extermination men who had already been reduced to a state of helplessness by their detention in a prisoner of war camp.

We have in mind the sinister affair of Sagan, often evoked in the course of this trial. The defendants themselves attempt only to evade their personal responsibility without denying the atrocity nor the truth of the facts. We have shown how the refractory escaped officers and non-commissioned officers, whose past records and attitude demonstrated their moral force, had been exterminated by the "action" Kugel.

Finally, Nazi Germany has unveiled her plan of expansion and world domination by systematically organizing the extermination of the populations whose territories she occupied.

This action was carried out at first, as we have proved, by the political economic and moral destruction of the occupied countries. The means used for that purpose were the brutal or gradual seizure of sovereignty, or the carefully worked out interfer

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »