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sponsibility,129 and had Catholic priests by the hundreds cruelly murdered in the Dachau concentration camp.130
So some Christians and numberless Jews were united in a community of suffering. And thus in a strange arrangement of circumstances, the Nazis who tried to destroy both, may have founded the beginnings of an understanding that can grow best because it has survived the worst.
The concentration camp was the master weapon in the Nazi arsenal of tyranny. To the SA belongs the disgrace of having first established and maintained such camps to which it sent persons whom it had illegally arrested. Even SA meeting places were used for the confinement of potential opponents who were beaten and abused by SA men.181 SA members served as guards of the state concentration camps during the first months of the Nazi regime, and there applied the technique of brutality which they had acquired in operating their own illegal camps.132 Although the legal basis for protective custody was the extorted decree of the Reich President for the protection of the State in 1933 which suspended clauses of the Weimar constitution guaranteeing civil liberties to the German people, the Reich Cabinet soon obliged with ready legislation which made more expeditious the internment of political enemies and other undesirables under the concentration camp system. So interested in the establish
. ment of these camps were members of the Reich Cabinet that Frick, Rosenberg, and Funk, while serving in that body, inspected the camps.133 And the Reich Cabinet budget set aside 125 million Reichsmarks for the SS and for the management and maintenance of the concentration camps.184 In order to achieve domination of the German people, the concentration camp system was placed at the disposal of the Leadership Corps, and it made use of these camps as a dumping ground for thousands of Jews who were apprehended under Leadership Corps auspices during the pogroms of November 1938.185 As shown by the affidavit of the defense witness Karl Weiss, Gauleiters frequently put pressure upon the Gestapo to commit political enemies to concentration camps or to prevent their release in proper time.186
The cooperating military men had a direct interest in the concentration camp system; Soviet prisoners of war were sent to concentration camps to be employed in the armament industries of the Reich,137 and officers of the OKW worked out with the Gestapo the plans for sending returned Soviet prisoners of war to the concentration camp Mauthausen where they were put to death for honorable attempts to escape from their captors.188
But the two organizations which were most directly concerned with and implicated in the concentration camp system were the Gestapo and the SS. In the early days the concentration camps were under the political direction of the Gestapo which issued orders for punishment to be inflicted upon the inmates. The decree of 1936 declared that the Gestapo should administer the concentration camps,139 but it was the SS which furnished guards from the Death's Head Battalions and ultimately became re. sponsible for all internal administration of the camps. The Gestapo remained the sole authority in the Nazi State empowered to commit political prisoners to concentration camps, although the SD joined the Gestapo in committing Poles who did not qualify for Germanization.140 The Gestapo sent thousands upon thousands of persons to concentration camps for slave labor and shipped millions of persons to annihilation centers for extermination.
The atrocities committed by the SS within the concentration camps are in themselves adequate to convict the SS as a criminal organization. The witness Hoess testified that toward the end of the war approximately 35,000 members of the Waffen SS were employed as guards in concentration camps.141 In his never-tobe-forgotten confession in this courtroom he said that in Auschwitz alone during the time he was commandant the SS exterminated two and one half million men, women, and children by gassing and burning, and that another half million died from starvation and disease, and among those killed were 20,000 Soviet prisoners of war.142 When the SS did not murder bedridden patients they drafted them for labor which they could perform in their beds.143 It ordered women prisoners to be beaten by other prisoners, 144 and, in its unrestrained savagery killed, maimed, and tortured inmates of concentration camps by carrying out what were called medical experiments, but which were in fact sojourns in sadism.
The concentration camp system was the heart of the Nazi scheme for tyranny. Conditions in these camps were cruel, because the Nazis required the force of fear to perpetuate their hold over the common people. Behind every Nazi law and decree stood the spector of concentration camp confinement. The agencies which created, maintained, directed and utilized these camps were the organizations named in the Indictment.
In addition to the crimes of waging aggressive war, persecution of the Jews, forced labor, persecution of the churches, and concentration camps, which have been considered, the indicted organizations participated in many other crimes in aid of the conspiracy. The Leadership Corps was active in destroying the free trade union movement, and the SA took the initial direct action against the trade unionists. The art treasures of Europe were seized and despoiled by the Einsatzstab Rosenberg of the Leadership Corps in conjunction with the Gestapo' and the SD. The SS carried out the vicious Germanization program under which citizens of occupied territories were driven from their homes and lands to make way for racial Germans. The Gestapo and officers of the OKW conceived and carried out the hellish “Night and Fog" decree, by which hapless civilians of occupied countries disappeared into the Reich never to be heard of again. Thus, in a crime of which only the Nazis were capable, the awful anguish of relative and friend was added to wanton murder.
In no respect can the criminal activities of these organizations be better illustrated than in the murderous work of the Einsatz Groups of the Security Police and the SD, which were first organized by the SD in September of 1938 in anticipation of the invasion of Czechoslovakia.145 With their leaders drawn from the SD and the Gestapo and staffed by members of the Waffen SS, they coordinated slaughter and pillage with military maneuvers, and reports of their activities were forwarded to the political leaders through the Reich Defense Commissioners. Even the SA participated in these jackal anti-partisan expeditions in the East. 146
When the German armies broke into Czechoslovakia and Poland, into Denmark and Norway, the Einsatz bandits followed for the purpose of striking down resistance, terrorizing the population, and exterminating racial groups. So well did these terror specialists do their work, that four new units were set up before the attack on the Soviet Union, one of them headed by the infamous Chief of the SD, Ohlendorf, who testified in this courtroom, to the incredible brutality of his accomplishments, and to the shocking details of the operation carried out in coordination with branches of the military. His testimony will be remembered for its cold account of callous murder, enslavement and plunder, and most of all for the horrible program of destroying men, women, and children of the Jewish race.147 Mankind will not soon forget his sickening story of the mobile murder of women and little children in gas vans, nor of the evil-hardened killers whose stomachs turned at the awful sight when they unlatched the doors of the death cars at gravesides.148 These were the men who sat at the edge of anti-tank ditches, cigarette in mouth, calmly shooting their naked victims in the back of the neck with their machine pistols.149 These were the men who, according to their own corpse accountants, murdered some two million men, women and children.150 These were the men of the SD.
It is a strange feature of this trial that counsel for the respective organizations have not sought to deny these crimes but only to shift responsibility for their commission. The military defendants blame the Political Leaders for initiating wars of aggression; the Gestapo blames the soldiers for the murder of escaped prisoners of war; the SA blames the Gestapo for concentration camp murders; the Gestapo blames the Leadership Corps for anti-Jewish pogroms; the SS blames the Cabinet for the concentration camp system; and the Cabinet blames the SS for exterminations in the East. The fact is that all of these organizations united in carrying out the criminal program of Nazi Germany. As they complemented each other it is unnecessary to define as a matter of precise proof the borders of their own deviltry. When the Reich Cabinet promulgated the decree for "Securing the unity of the Party and State," it insolubly bound these organizations for good and for bad. When the membership of these organizations swore an unconscionable oath of obedience to Hitler, they united themselves for all time with him, his work, and his guilt.
IV. The Criminal Aims and Methods of Each of the Organizations were
Known or should have been known to the Membership. All members of the Reich Cabinet had full knowledge of the functions and activities of the Cabinet. They carried out their work together. They met as a body. They considered proposed measures as a group, and they acted as a Cabinet. Sometimes they met as the Reich Cabinet, sometimes they met as the Reich Defense Council. But in every case they jointly considered proposed legislation and enacted the laws which gave the rubber stamp of legality to the machinations on the top conspirators. From the budgetary matters of the Reich alone, if from no other source, the members of the Cabinet, each year of the Nazi regime, were of necessity informed to a very extensive degree on all matters that were going on in Germany. They knew about the concentration camp system because they voted the money for maintenance of concentration camps,161 and because their ministers inspected concentration camps.152 They knew about the plans for aggressive war because they laid the legislative groundwork for the war economy. They knew about the forced labor of prisoners of war in armament industries because they planned it even in advance of war. They prepared the political blueprints for the entire program of aggression and of aggrandizement. Planning requires consultation, and consultation imparts knowledge.
Any member of the SA who could read had full knowledge of the aims and objectives of the SA. The weekly periodical, the SA Mann, and the monthly periodical, the SA Leader, stated time and again the purposes, objectives, tasks and methods of the SA.168 The duties and activities of the SA in fighting in the streets, abusing political opponents, and in chastising Jews are stated in every issue of these publications. The para-military nature of the organization was self-evident. The SA participated in election proceedings,154 in the plan to set fire to the Reichstag,155 in anti-Jewish pogroms and boycott activities.156 Its activities were widespread and well-known and its criminality was open and notorious. Much of this infamy was commonly known throughout the world. It is stretching reason and experience too far to believe that SA members in Germany knew less than nonmembers abroad.
The Political Leaders dealt in, information and in propaganda. They were the agents of the ideology and the political detectives who checked on the reactions of the people. Knowledge for them was a two-way circuit. They knew the plan and its operations and they learned of its effects. A typical example is found in the order to lynch Allied airmen. This order had to be passed throughout the Leadership Corps in order to reach the lower echelons who were to carry out the lynchings. They saw to it that the order was carried out and they made reports on its effectiveness. There were no secrets in any Nazi cell or block unknown to them. The turn of a radio dial—the facial expression of disapproval—the inviolate secrets between cleric and suppliant ---the ancient trust between father and son—even the sacred confidences of marriage-were their stock in trade. Knowledge was their business.
Every member of the SS took an oath of obedience unto death to Hitler and every member of the SS was indoctrinated in the full meanings of Hitlerian ideology. In 1936, Himmler, in describing the SS as an anti-Bolshevistic Fighting Organization openly stated: “We shall take care that never again in Germany, the heart of Europe, will the Jewish-Bolshevistic revolution of sub-humans be able to be kindled either from within or through emissaries from without."157 Can it be ubted that SS men understood the meaning of these words ? Or of Himmler's confession: "I know that there are some people in Germany who become sick when they see these black coats. We understand the reason for this and do not expect that we shall be loved by too many."158 The sickness which overcame people when they saw the black coats was the malady of fear-fear of the brutal methods of the SS, the murders they committed on the streets, and the beatings they inflicted in the concentration camps. It was known to everyone that black-coated SS men carried out the murders of June 30, 1934.159 Von Mannstein testified that soldiers so feared the evil SS that they were afraid to report SS mass killings in the East.160 The knowledge that is necessary to bind the SS organization is the knowledge that a member of the Death's Head Battalion had of atrocities committed in the concentration camp, that a member