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ence of the German authorities in all domains, the creation and implacable execution of a program of economic pillage in order to achieve the exhaustion of the occupied country and to put it at the absolute mercy of the occupant, and as a result of the Nazification of the State and the people, together, with the destruction of cultural and moral values.
But the methodical extermination was also carried out in the material domain of the systematic massacring of people.
Is it necessary to evoke the gigantic extermination of groups supposedly impossible of assimilation with the National-Socialist world, the immense graveyard of the concentration camps, where 15,000,000 people perished, the abominable achievements of the “Einsatzgruppen” (groups for special commitment) described with irrefutable exactness by General Ohlendorf.
We think we have also established the proof of those pernicious extermination attempts which upon examination, prove to be one of the most perfect expressions of the policy followed by the defendants. I am referring to the deliberate under-nourishment to which these non-Germans were subjected who fell under Nazi authority under whatever circumstance entire nations starved out in reprisals, civilians in occupied territories ruthlessly rationed in the framework of the pillage of the territory. The Tribunal recalls what Goering says to the Gauleiters, Number 170 USSR, "It is absolutely immaterial to me if you tell me that your people are collapsing for hunger. Let them collapse, so long as no German starves.” And again with reference to Holland: "It is not our mission to feed a nation which spiritually rejects
If its people are so weak that they cannot as much as raise a hand where they are not employed to work for us, so much the better * * *»
Famine, physiological misery and the resulting reduction of vital potential, all this, as well as the slow exhaustion of political internees and prisoners-of-war, is included in the plan of extermination of populations to clear German vital space.
The same idea governs the detention in captivity or semicaptivity in the case of labor deportees, of young healthy men whose presence at home was necessary to the future of the country.
All this has been confirmed to us by the latest census results.
These reveal to us that every German occupied country has registered a decrease in population of 5 to 25 per cent whereas Germany is the only country in Europe which shows an increase in population.
We have proved all these crimes. After the submission of our documents the hearing of the witnesses, after the projection of
films which the defendants themselves could not behold without a shudder of horror, nobody in the world can possibly claim that the extermination camps, the executed prisoners, the slaughtered populations, the mounds of corpses, the human herds maimed in flesh and soul, the instruments of torture, gas chambers and crematories, that all these crimes existed only in the imagination of anti-German propagandists.
Indeed, none of the defendants have challenged the truth of the facts we have reported. Since they cannot deny them, they merely try to clear their responsibility by burdening the memory of those of their accomplices who committed suicide.
“We knew nothing of those horrors”, they say, or again: "we did everything we could to prevent them but Hitler, who was allpowerful, commanded and did not allow disobedience or even resignation from office”.
What a poor defense! Whom can they possibly persuade that they alone were ignorant of that which the whole world knew and that their monitoring stations never reported to them the solemn warnings which the heads of the United Nations gave to the war criminals by radio.
They could not disobey Hitler's orders, they could not even resign from office? Indeed! Hitler could doubtless govern their bodies but not their minds; by disobeying they would perhaps have lost their lives but they would have saved their honor at least. Cowardice has never been an excuse, nor even an extenuating circumstance.
The truth is that all knew perfectly-from having taken part at its elaboration—the doctrines of National Socialism and its will for universal domination, that they well knew to what monstrous crimes it led its adepts and its performers with disastrous results, that they had accepted its responsibilities as they profited by the material and moral advantages which it lavished upon them.
But they thought themselves sure of immunity because they were certain of victory, and that before the triumph of force, the question would not be asked: was the cause just? They persuaded themselves as they had done after the war of 1914, that no international jurisdiction could ever pursue them. They thought that Pascal's pessimistic judgment on human justice in international relations would always be true: “Justice is liable to argument. Force is easily recognizable without argument. So being unable to make strong what is right, one has made right what is strong.”
They are mistaken. Since Pascal, slowly but surely, the notion
of Moral and of Justice is born, and has taken shape in the international custom of civilized nations and, in order to preserve the world from barbary, the victory of the United Nations was cause that, today strength runs together with justice, which is referred to in the Charter establishing your Tribunal and that your sentence will sanction.
The Court will no doubt remember that in conclusion of its enumeration of the charges of the Prosecution, the French Prosecution has stated precisely the responsibility of all the defendants, "guilty of having, in their capacity of principal Hitlerite leaders of the German people, conceived, desired, ordered or only tolerated by their silence that murders or other inhuman actions be systematically committed, that violence be systematically exerted on prisoners-of-war or civilians, that devastation without justification be systematically committed as a deliberate means of accomplishing their design to dominate Europe and the world by terror, and to exterminate entire populations, so as to extend the living space of the German people.”
It is only left to us to demonstrate that the debates which have taken place before you, have only confirmed and reinforced the accusations and the qualifications, that at the beginning of the proceedings we already formulated against the big criminals, whom, in execution of the Charter and to satisfy the exigencies of Justice the United Nations have deferred to your Court.
Personal Responsibility of the Defendants I am recalling the facts set forth by the French Delegation. This reminder was needed to establish our contribution to the trial. We do not intend, however, to disjoin our work from the whole work of the trial, such as results from the expositions of the other three Delegations and the debates. It is on the basis of this work as a whole that we shall proceed with our indictment and examine the personal responsibility of the defendants.
Reviewing the deeds charged against them one by one, they are found to be murder, indictable theft, and other serious offenses against persons and their property which are always punishable in civilized countries. M. de Menthon has in his introductory address shown this already.
The defendants did not actually commit the crimes, they were satisfied with ordering them. In the technical sense of our French law, they are therefore accomplices. Making allowance for certain differences, mostly differences of form only, in most countries the perpetrators of serious offences and their accomplices are punished by capital punishment or very severe penalties, forced labor, solitary confinement. That is the Anglo-Saxon prac
tice. This also follows in France from application of Articles 221 ff, 379 ff, 59 ff of the French Penal Code. In Germany Article 211 punishes homicide, Article 212 murder, Articles 223 to 226 tortures, Article 229 poisoning and murder by gas. Article 234 covers slavery subjection to serfdom, incorporation with a view to military service in a foreign country; Articles 242 and 243 cover theft and pillage; Article 130 provoking the population to violence. The case of accomplices and of co-ordinators is covered by Articles 47 and 49.
Similar arrangements exist in Soviet legislation.
That, as the leaders of the Reich, as the accomplices of the Fuehrer, these men are all responsible for the crimes perpetrated under their rule, that before the universal conscience their responsibility is heavier than that of the common executioners, two defendants: Frank and Schirach have admitted it: Frank said:
“I never created extermination camps for Jews. I never favored the existence of these camps either, but if Adolf Hitler placed this terrible responsibility on the shoulders of his people, this responsibility rests also on me, for we fought the Jews for
years, we made all kinds of statements against them * and these last words of Frank condemn, with him, all those who pursued the campaign of instigation against the Jews in Germany or elsewhere. Let us remember Frank's answer to the question, put to him by his Defense Counsel regarding the charges stated in the indictment. It holds good against all the defendants and still more against those who were closer to Hitler than he was:
“Regarding the charges I will only say this: I request the Tribunal to decide as to the extent of my culpability at the end of this trial, but I should like to say personally that from all that I saw in the course of these five months of trial, which has given me a general survey of all the horrible things that have
been committed, I feel thoroughly guilty.” Von Schirach on his part stated :
“Here is my fault for which I am answerable before God and the German people. I brought up our youth for a man whom in the course of many long years I considered, as the chief of our country. For him I trained our youth that considered him as I myself did. It is my fault for having trained our youth for a man who was an assassin, who killed millions of people * * * Any German who after Auschwitz still adheres to the social policy is guilty * * I consider it my duty to say so". Such cries of conscience were rare in the course of this tria)
and more frequently, copying Goering's quibbling vanity, the defendants tried to justify themselves in the name of a policy of Neo-Machiavellism which would free the leaders of the State of all personal responsibilty. Let us note only that no such provisions are made anywhere in the laws in any of the civilized countries, and that on the contrary the arbitrary and aggressive acts aimed at individual liberty, at Civic rights or at the constitution are more severely punished when they have been committed by a public functionary, a Government official of higher rank, and that the severest punishment is meted out to the Ministers themselves (Articles 114 and 115 of the French Penal Code).
But let us limit ourselves on this point. Our only aim is to recall that the main facts charged against the defendants may be analysed separately as violations of the criminal laws of any one of the positive internal laws of all civilized countries, or else of hat common international law which M. de Menthon has already interpreted and which has been submitted here as the root of international custom, and that thus the punishment of each of these facts is not without a foundation, but that on the contrary, even restricting one's self to this analytical preview, the gravest penalties have already been incurred.
It is, however, necessary to go beyond that, for while it does not omit any culpable fact as such, the analysis of the defendant's guilt in the light of internal laws is only a first approximation which would enable us to prosecute the defendants merely as accomplices and not as principal perpetrators. And we are anxious to demonstrate that indeed they were the principal culprits.
We hope to succeed in this by developing the following three propositions:
1. The acts of the defendants are the elements of a criminal political plan.
2. The coordination of the various departments which were headed by these men implies a close cooperation between them for the realization of their criminal policy.
3. They must be judged as acting in behalf of this criminal policy. The Acts of the Defendants Are the Elements of a Criminal Political Plan
The defendants have practised widely different activities. As politicians, diplomats, soldiers, sailors, economists, financiers, jurists, or propagandists, they represent practically all the forms of liberal activity. Without any hesitation, however, one is able to recognize the tie that binds them together. All have placed the best-or the worst of themselves—at the service of the Hitlerite