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how to determine the human measure.
(The Defense Counsel compared French absolutism with Nazism: Here is the answer). "Politics sacrifice the individual to the common weal, and this is right to a certain degree. It is good that one man die for the people. By that Caiphas understood that an innocent person could be sentenced to the supreme penalty under the pretext of the common weal, which is never allowed, for, on the contrary, the innocent blood cries for revenge against those who shed it."
We are aware of what could be the result of the Nazi precepts. The witness Roser related the words of this young German soldier, who, after having described the mass murders in a ghetto, concluded: "Ah, my dear Friend, it was horrible, but * * * an order is an order". The Tribunal will find at the end of document F-655 which is in one of the Document Books submitted by the French Delegation, Kramer's terrible reflection. Before being Commandant of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Kramer commanded the Natzwiller camp in Alsace, where he himself asphyxiated eighty persons by gas, the proof of which has been given. To the question: "What would you have done if all of them had not been dead?", he answered: "I should have tried again to asphyxiate them by injecting a second dose of gas into the room. I felt no emotion at all while accomplishing these acts, for I had received the order to execute the eighty internees in the way I explained to you. After all I have been trained that way." What a terrible charge against the system! Before being assassin by order, this man had been a bookkeeper at Augsburg. How many peaceful accountants trained in that way are left in the Germany of today? And now "the innocent blood cries for vengeance."
You know the crime! You know why and by what means it was perpetrated! The heinous crime without precedent is that of the National Socialist "State-Party", but the defendants in their capacity of chiefs of the National Socialist Party and the great State officials, have all accepted major responsibilities in the conception and perpetration of this crime. Their participation in the crime of the "State-Party" is their personal error which is covered by no immunity whatsoever! And the proof of it has been given for all time.
They must be punished; you are also aware of the dangers to which the world is exposed by their crime, the miseries, the misfortunes it spread among mankind.
You must hit hard, without pity! Let your verdict be just, that
is sufficient! To be sure, there are shades in their guilt. Does it follow that the penalties themselves must be carried, if even the least guilty as we think deserves the death-penalty? morrow, whence this international trial will be closed and these principal war criminals sentenced, we shall go back to our own countries where, before our own Tribunals we shall perhaps have to prosecute those who merely executed the orders of the National Socialist State, those who were only executioners.
But how could we then demand the death-penalty for another Kramer, for another Hess, for the camp commandants who have on their conscience millions of human creatures by order, if today we hesitate to claim the supreme penalty against those who were the instruments of the criminal State, the State which issued the orders.
Moreover the fate of these men lies entirely with your conscience! This is beyond our competence, our task is finished. Now, it is for you in the silence of your deliberations to listen to the innocent blood crying for justice.
CLOSING ARGUMENT FOR UNION OF SOVIET
LT. GEN. R. A. RUDENKO, CHIEF PROSECUTOR
My Lord, your Honors:
We are summing up the results of the legal proceedings against the major German war criminals.
During nine months, all the aspects of the case and all the evidence, presented to the Tribunal by the Prosecution and by the Defense, have been subjected to the most meticulous and detailed examination. Not a single point of the deeds with which the defendants have been accused, has been left without verification, not a single significant circumstance has been overlooked during the investigation of the present case.
For the first time in the history of mankind, criminals against humanity are being held responsible for their crimes before an International Criminal Tribunal; for the first time, nations are trying those who had inundated vast expanses of the earth with blood, who had annihilated millions of innocent people, destroyed cultural treasures, who had made a system of massacres, tortures, extermination of aged people, women and children, who had made a wild claim to the mastery of the world and hurled it into an abyss of unheard-of calamities.
Indeed, this trial is the first of its kind in the history of justice. A Tribunal sits in judgment, a Tribunal created by the peaceloving and freedom-loving countries, who represent the will of and who defend the interests of the whole progress-loving mankind, for mankind does not wish the recurrence of calamities, which will not permit a gang of criminals to carry out with impunity their preparations for the enslavement of nations and the extermination of peoples, prior to putting their heinous plans into effect.
Mankind calls the criminals to account; and on the behalf of mankind we, the prosecutors, accuse at this trial. And how pitiful are the efforts to dispute the right of mankind to judge the enemies of mankind, how vain the attempts to deprive nations of the right to punish those who made the enslavement and the extermination of peoples their aim, and who for many years strove to realize this criminal aim by criminal methods.
The present trial is being conducted in such a manner that the defendants who are accused of the most heinous crimes, are given all the possibilities for a defense, all the necessary legal guarantees. In their own country, the defendants who stood at the head of the Government, destroyed all legal forms of justice, and discarded all the principles of legal proceedings accepted by civilized mankind. They themselves are being tried by the International Court in accordance with all legal guarantees and they are assured of all their defense rights.
We are now summing up the results of the legal proceedings, we are drawing conclusions from the evidence examined before the Court; we are considering all the data upon which the accusation is based.
We ask: Were the charges put against the defendants proved before the Court; has their guilt been established? To this question, there is only one answer: the legal proceedings fully confirmed the charges.
We incriminate the defendants only of those facts which have been fully established and proved to the Court beyond all doubt, whilst all the monstrous crimes have indeed been proved, crimes which were prepared over a period of many years by a band of wild criminals, who seized power in Germany, and who perpetrated these crimes during many years, having no regard for the principles of law or the most elementary standards of human morality.
These crimes have been proved; the defendants' testimonies and the arguments of the defense have been powerless to contend the charges; they cannot be contended because it is impossible to contend the truth, and truth is the lasting result of this trial, the unfailing issue of our long and stubborn efforts.
All the elements of the charges have been proved. It has been proved that there existed a common plan or conspiracy for the preparation of aggressive wars, in violation of international law, the planned enslavement and the extermination of peoples, in which the defendants took part. There can be no doubt as to the existence of such a plan or conspiracy just as there is no doubt about the leading part played in it by the defendants. This point of the accusation is confirmed by all the data brought in during the legal proceeding, by irrefutable documents, by the testimonies of witnesses and of the defendants themselves.
All the activity of the defendants was directed towards the preparation and the initiation of aggressive wars. All their so-called "ideological work" consisted in the cultivation of beastly instincts, in the instillation of the absurd idea of racial superiority in the conscience of the German people and in the practical realization of
the plans for extermination and enslavement of the peoples of "inferior" races, who were supposed to serve as a fertiliser for the growth of the "master race". Their "ideological work" consisted in calling to murder, to plunder, to the destruction of culture, and the extermination of human beings.
The defendants prepared these crimes long in advance and then committed them, attacking other countries, seizing foreign territories, exterminating people. When was this plan or conspiracy conceived? Of course, it is hardly possible to give an exact date, day and hour, on which the defendants conspired to commit their crimes.
We cannot and shall not establish our conclusions and assertions on guesses and suppositions, but it must be considered as established beyond doubt that from the moment when the Fascists seized power in Germany they started the realization of their aims and utilized this power for the preparation of aggressive war. Indeed, immediately, after their seizure of power the Fascists began to carry out a huge program of rearmament and reconversion of economy for war purposes.
All the activity of the defendants was directed towards the preparation of Germany for war. This rearmament and reconversion of economy for war purposes is an irrefutable fact; it has been proved by documents and admitted by the defendants themselves.
We may ask, what was this war for which the defendants began to prepare immediately after the seizure of power? Could this be a defensive war? But nobody intended attacking Germany; nobody had such an idea, and in my opinion such an idea. could not have even existed. As Germany was not preparing for a defensive war and inasmuch as the very fact that she did prepare for war is established it is evident that she was preparing for a war of aggression. That is the logic of the facts and such are the facts themselves. Germany initiated and waged the war which she had been preparing, and the events of 1937-1939 were that for what she had been preparing in 1933.
Hence we may conclude: The plan or the conspiracy existed at least since 1933, i.e., from the moment when the Fascists seized the power and used it for their own criminal purposes. These are the facts which are confirmed by the words of the defendants themselves uttered at a time when they did not suppose that they ever would be defendants in this dock.
It is enough to mention the addresses of Schacht, Krupp and others in which they describe how the Fascist Government was preparing for war and how all the fields of political and economic life were subordinated to this one purpose.