« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Hitler's orders by hitching honorable soldier-war-prisoners to machines, that made materials for war.92 The greedy Goering sought war prisoner slaves for his air armament industries and suggested new uses for old orders violating recognized codes of warfare, and his aide Milch, thought of the forced use of Russian prisoners of war to man antiaircraft batteries as comedy relief for the oppressive madness of the times.94 Depravity supplanted degradation and death became the declared objective of concentration camp labor establishments under the SS.95 96 Of necessity all of this went on with high Cabinet approval as the impact of this whole terrible program created new problems for Germany.
So the slaves suffered in the midst of the German population as thousands of them were farmed out for better or for worse to householders, to great and to small industries. Until, at last, in the closing hours of the conflict, under pressure of the grim necessities of the war situation and solely to increase the war effort, the Nazi Government itself was forced to issue an order to slacken the violence against those who were in chains. The great significance of this order cannot be overstated. By its own terms, it makes perfectly clear that cruelty to the slaves was a state policy carried out by the German people. It is damning evidence against the whole German nation. It is, in our judgment, one of the most important documents in this case. It is shocking to realize that it came from the Party Chancellory and the Reich Security Main Office-both high state agencies; and it was directed, in writing, to all political leaders down to Ortsgruppenleiters, and to the lowest level of German society by word of mouth.98
The sweep of the crimes committed against the Jewish people is too great for the human mind to completely grasp. Our whole experience in living conditions our mental processes to make it So. We shudder at one bestial murder, we shrink from a few disgusting crimes, but when confronted with mass horror, we find ourselves groping for adequate reaction. We simply cannot comprehend six million murders. In the regular course of life it is good that this is so; but in weighing the evidence in this case it is something of a handicap for all parties except the guilty. Of some facts, however, we do have full knowledge and full understanding. They are all in evidence before this Tribunal. We know that these indicted organizations all share responsibility for the vast crimes committed against the Jewish people. We know that the evil geniuses of the Nazi plan understood how to nurture a nation for hatred. They began easily by having the Leadership Corps write into the Party platform that only a member of the race could be a citizen." Thus they laid the groundwork for
the basic premise upon which Jews were deprived of human rights in Germany. Then the same Leadership Corps began the work of directing a campaign of abuse against the whole Jewish people. Every man's failure, all worry, each disappointment, any fear was resolved in the crucible of Jewish responsibility. Throughout the Reich, Jew-baiting committees were established under the direction of various political leaders.100 And led by Gauleiter Streicher, Party members engaged in open violence against Jews and their property by destroying the synagogue here in Nurnberg.01 Then came the hideous occurrences on the night of November 10, 1938, under the incitement of Party propaganda leader Goebbels and with the open assistance of the Leadership Corps and the SA.102 To add mockery to malefaction, the Nazis set up a supreme party court to investigate these outrages and although it found that instructions for carrying out these pogroms had been telephoned by the Gauleiters to their subordinate leaders, it ruled that in the killing of Jews without orders or contrary to orders: "at heart the men were convinced that they had done a service to their Fuehrer and to their Party." Under the guise of this judicial hypocrisy, none of the participants was so much as expelled from the Party.10
Throughout the years, as this hate movement progressed, all manner of discriminatory legislation was enacted. to restrict the mobility of the Jew, to impoverish him, and to degrade him. Great numbers of these legislative monstrosities, all the creations of the Reich Cabinet, are in evidence in this record.104 With quickened pace the Nazis moved to new cruelties and from a mixed-up policy which demanded the departure of the Jew and called for his detention in German concentration camps, they approached the depths of shame in a Reich Cabinet proposal for the sterilization of even half-Jews. In a cold setting of sadism and sin, the Reich Cabinet reviewed the manner in which halfJews were to be treated and then recommendations of the Cabinet were submitted to Hitler for final action.105 The SA men were among the first to apply direct force and brutality against the Jewish people in Germany. The witness Severing has told the Tribunal from the witness stand that during the years after 1921 the SA engaged in organized terror against the Jews." These street ruffians, having nearly completed their orgies against ordinary political opponents, now found new uses for their clubs and whips and new outlets for their perverse propensities. Any Jew was fair game and it was open season the year round for Jewhunting. They smashed into private homes and abused the terrified Jewish inhabitants without any pretense of cause or provocation.107 And they interlaced their physical violence with their constant tirade of slanderous anti-Jewish propaganda.108
The oppression, persecution, discrimination and brutality at the hands of the Leadership Corps, the Reich Cabinet and the SA were only the beginnings of the dreadful fate that the Nazis prepared for the Jews. In this fashion, the way was paved for the sinister activities of the Gestapo when it came into play. Now these secret policemen moved in with their wraith-like methods. Trembling Jews were hauled from their beds in the middle of the night and dispatched without semblance of accusation to concentration camps,109 and often their family members awoke to find them missing. Thousands of Jewish people so disappeared never to be seen or heard of again and all over Europe today surviving family remnants with aching hearts are seeking clues or indications of the fate that befell them. Sad to relate, the only answer to most of the searching is to be found in the records of this Tribunal, in the captured documents of the SS, the SD and the Gestapo, and in the death books of the gas chambers, the mass graves and the crematoria.
By this time the Nazis were astride much of Central Europe. Wallowing in their early bloody successes and puffed up with premature confidence in their ability to dominate the continent, they dropped all sham about the Jew in Germany and laid bare his ultimate doom. The Jew was to be wiped from the face of Europe-not by migration, not by mass movement, but by annihilation. It was Goering who ordered Heydrich as chief of the security police and SD to work out a "complete solution" of the Jewish problem in the areas occupied by the Reich.110 And it was Heydrich, as chief of the Security Police and SD and acting upon Goering's order, who instructed the Gestapo to murder all Jews who could not be used for slave labor. Gestapo men, under the leadership of Eichmann, went into the occupied territories and, with the assistance of local officers of the Security Police and SD, succeeded in herding virtually all of the Jews of Europe into concentration camps and annihilation centers.111 With unabated fury the Nazis plunged from Goering's "complete solution" to Himmler's "final solution." This was the last responsibility and who but Himmler as head of the SS could fulfill this unholy mission. In his foul hands and those of his SS was placed the assignment for the complete destruction of the Jew. He warmed to his task. His SS men, having been tested and proved in the Warsaw Ghetto112 and in the clearing of the Jews from Galicia,113. were ready for the refinements of the extermination plants. And with Hitler's order to Himmler, SS exterminator Hoess opened the largest murder mart in history.114 Two thousand human beings at a time perished in his modern slaughterhouse. All over German-occupied Europe SS plants of the Hoess-Auschwitz design gassed living Jews with dispatch and destroyed their remains
in ovens streamlined for mass operation. Thus the SS made it possible for Himmler to declare in his speech at Posen :115
"Only the SS was equal to the task of exterminating the Jewish people. Others talked about it but had too many reservations *** To have completed such a mission is an unwritten page of honor in the history of the SS."
At the close of the war in Europe, an incredulous world recoiled from the fact of this crime-a crime that can never be completely understood, completely explained, or properly requited. Slowly mankind moved to its sad and sober acceptance. But this was not the end, for the Nazis, through propaganda conduits, had piped their racial and religious poison into most of Europe and to a large part of the world. To restore the moral health of Central Europe is not enough, seepage from Nazi sewers of slander has polluted many of man's Pierian springs and the virus of hate and bigotry and intolerance has fouled the waters. It will take generations of mental and moral sanitation to stamp out this Nazi plague. Thus the crime lives after the criminals-these defendants and these organizations.
The transition from mistreatment of political opponents, of racial and religious groups to the abuse and the killing of prisoners of war in violation of the rules of warfare was not difficult for the members of the indicted organizations. These offenses were the result of the aggressive war aims for which the Reich Cabinet had a direct responsibility.116 The history of mistreatment of honorable soldiers who had surrendered is too well-known to this Tribunal to require detailed discussion here. Yet it is worthwhile to recall to mind that Reichleiters Goebbels and Bormann, speaking for the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party, were those who instituted the policy of lynching allied airmen by the German populace.117 This savage policy was carried out by the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party,118 while, at the same time, military units of the SS wantonly executed prisoners of war on every battlefield.119 To the Gestapo and the SD was given the first responsibility for carrying out the barbaric Hitler order of October 18, 1942, and its subsequent amendments calling for the summary execution of allied commandos and paratroopers.120 Nor should it be forgotten that throughout the war the Gestapo screened prisoner-of-war camps for Jews and those of the Communist political faith who were then deliberately murdered.121 It was the same Gestapo who sent recaptured officer prisoners of war to the notorious Mauthausen concentration camp for execution by SS guards under the Bullet decree.122
The Nazis always knew that the Christian church was an insurmountable obstacle to their evil intentions, but, with charac
teristic cunning, they first moved against it under the disguise of necessary emergency legislation, which was enacted by the Reich Cabinet and which laid the groundwork for the later enabling legislation placing all manner of restrictions on usual church activities. This was the first and the decisive step, and once it had been taken, the fate of the Christian church was sealed; only time and the turn of events remained for its fulfillment. In the entire Reich Cabinet of that time, made up almost exclusively of men who pretended to wear the badge of Christianity, only one (Baron Eltz von Rubenach) stood up for the faith.123 So clear was the intention of the Cabinet decrees, that he had no hesitancy in asserting that Nazism and Christianity could never be reconciled. But for one Eltz von Rubenach, there were many who were willing to play the Nazi game. For a mass of political pottage, they denied their faith and handed to the political leadership its first weapon for use against the clergy. From these first steps, much of the hitherto unexplained moral decadence of the times undoubtedly stems. From these beginnings came the speedily declining influence of the Church. The Nazis wanted it that way. In their political philosophy there was no place for Caesar and for God. Schirach and Rosenberg as Reichleiters and members of the Leadership Corps, together with countless associates, hammered away at all spiritual forces-never by a frontal attack, but always from the flank, while the hounds of the Leadership Corps carried out systematic slandering of the clergy and constant undermining of sacred religious practices.124 Soon the anti-clerical campaign was expanded to the confiscation of church properties, and in the later years broke out into open suppression of religious education and even of simple spiritual activities.125 There can be no doubt as to the real attitude toward the Christian church for it clearly appears in the organized espionage system instituted against the clergy by the Gestapo and the SD. For this shabby task, members of these two organizations were carefully schooled in a deceitful course of conduct rigged to establish a record, as a later basis, for the complete abolition of the Christian church in Germany when the war was over. Lying, falsification, and entrapment were fundamental methods for the building up of this fabricated evidence.126 The Gestapo, not content with breaking up church organizations and prohibiting church groups from social gatherings,127 or with its task of preparing false testimony, made wholesale arrests of clergymen, placed them in protective custody, and finally lodged them in concentration camps.128 From a program of such basic evil, it was not to be expected that the SS would remain aloof. Although heavily occupied with wrong-doing all over Europe, it found time to confiscate church properties and monasteries on its own re