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Hitler had regretted that poison gas had not been employed to exterminate the German Jews during the last war, and as early as 1925 Streicher said (M-13, GB 165):
"Let us make a new beginning to-day, so that we can annihilate the Jew."
It may be that he, even before Hitler, Himmler, or the others, had visualized the annihilation of the Jews, but the Nazis were not at first ready to completely defy world opinion and they confined themselves to persecution and to making life in Germany unbearable for Jews. To the never ceasing accompaniment of the Sturmer and the official Nazi Press the campaign of Jew baiting was fostered and encouraged. Rosenberg, von Schirach, Goering, Hess, Funk, Bormann, Frick joined hands with Streicher and Goebbels. The boycott in April 1933 celebrated the Nazi accession to power and provided only a taste of what was to follow. It was accompanied by demonstrations and window smashing— action "mirror" as it has been referred to in this Court. Accounts of typical incidents are given in the affidavit of the witness Geist who describes the events in Berlin on March 6th, 1933 (1759-PS, USA 420):
“Wholesale attacks on the Communists, Jews, and those who were suspected of being either, mobs of SA men roamed the streets, beating up, looting, and even killing persons."
In 1935 followed the infamous Nurnberg Decrees. In 1938 the so-called spontaneous demonstrations ordered throughout Germany resulted in the burning of the synagogues, the throwing of 20,000 Jews into concentration camps with the accompaniment of penalties, of aryanization of property, and the wearing of a yellow star.
The cynicism of these men and the merciless character of their policy towards the Jews appeared at Goering's meeting of 12th November 1938, when they vied with each other in suggesting methods of degrading and persecuting their helpless victims. Neither Hitler nor Himmler, whom to-day they seek to blame, was present, but who, reading record of that meeting, can doubt the end in store for the Jews of Europe? At that meeting Heydrich reported on the events of the 12th November: 101 synagogues destroyed by fire, 76 demolished, and 7,500 stores ruined throughout the Reich. The approximate cost of replacing broken glass alone was estimated at RM 6,000,000 and the damage to one store alone in Berlin at RM 1,700,000. Heydrich also reported 800 cases of looting, the killing of 35 Jews, and estimated the total damage of property, furniture and goods at several hundred million Reichsmarks (1816-PS, USA 261; 3051-PS, USA 240).
You will recall Heydrich's order for the riot, including the arrests of the Jews and their removal to concentration camps. After referring to the fact that demonstrations were to be expected in view of the killing of a German Legation official in Paris that night, he instructs the Police on the prospective burning of synagogues, destruction of business and private apartments of Jews, and in their duty to refrain from hindering the demonstrators.
"The Police has only to supervise compliance with the instructions.”
"In all districts as many Jews, especially rich ones, are to be arrested as can be accommodated in the existing prisons. For the time being only healthy men, not too old, are to be arrested. Upon their arrest, the appropriate concentration camps should be contacted immediately in order to confine
them in these camps as fast as possible.” We now know from the evidence with regard to the seizure of the houses of Jews by Neurath and Rosenberg why the orders were to concentrate upon the richest (1759-PS, USA 420).
These events were neither secret nor hidden. Ministers were writing to each other and discussing them. Long before 1939 they were common knowledge not only to Germany but to the whole world. Every one of these defendants must have heard again and again stories similar to that of Sollman. Almost all of them have sought to gain credit from helping one or two Jews; and you will remember the evidence of a special office in Goering's Ministry to deal with protests, and his witness Koerner who stated with pride that Goering had always intervened on behalf of individuals. Perhaps it afforded them some gratification or eased their conscience in some way occasionally to demonstrate their influence by exempting some unhappy individual who sought their favour from the general horror of the regime which they continued to uphold. But these men participated in a Government which was conducted without any regard for human decency or established law. There is not one of them who, being a member of the Government during that period, has not got the blood of hundreds of his own countrymen on his hands.
Goering and Frick established the concentration camps; the witness Severing and the documents quoted testify to the murders which took place in them at a time when these two were directly responsible. Even Goering could not defend all the murders of the 30 June 1934. He shares with Hess and Frick the responsibility for the Nurnberg Laws. The record of the meeting of the 12 November 1938 and Goering's initials on Heydrich's 744400-4747
order of the 9th November require no comment (1816-PS, USA
As Ambassador in England, Ribbentrop must have been well aware of the fact, if only from the English papers, whilst his delegate Woermann assented to the atrocities reported to the meeting of the 12th November 1938. The previous owner of his country house, Herr von Remiz was placed in a concentration camp, and he expressed his sentiments towards the Jews to M. Donnet, on the 8th December 1938 in the following terms (1816PS, USA 261; L-205, GB 157).
"The German Government had therefore decided to assimilate them (the Jews) with the criminal elements of the population. The property which they had acquired illegally would be taken from them. They would be forced to live in districts frequented by the criminal classes.”
Hess, who set up an office for racial policy in 1933, shares responsibility for the Nurnberg decrees (1814-PS, USA 328).
At the meeting of 12 November a full report was given of similar measures against the Jews in Austria and it seems certain that the defendant Kaltenbrunner as a faithful member of the Party was giving full support to the necessary measures (1816-PS, USA 261). The evidence that Seyss-Inquart was playing his part is before the Tribunal (3460-PS, USA 437; 1816-PS, USA 261). Rosenberg was writing "The Myth of the Twentieth Century” and taking his full share in the struggle against the Church and the Anti-Semitic policy of the Government, whilst even Raeder on Heroes' day 1939 was speaking of “the clear and inspiring summons to fight Bolshevism and International Jewry whose race-destroying activities we have sufficiently experienced on our own people” (2349-PS, USA 352; D-653, GB 232).
Frick, as Minister of the Interior, bears a responsibility second to none for the horrors of the concentration camps and for the Gestapo, whilst Frank, as Minister of Justice for Bavaria, was presumably receiving the reports on the murders in Dachau. He was the leading jurist of the Party, a member of the Central Committee which carried out the boycott of the Jews in March 1933 and spoke on the wireless in March 1934 justifying racial legislation and the elimination of hostile political organizations. He also was present at Goering's meeting (2156-PS, USA 263; 2536– PS).
The Tribunal will not require to be reminded of the part played by Streicher. It was in March 1938 that the Sturmer began consistently to advocate extermination, the first article of a series which was to continue throughout the next seven years, beginning
with an article signed by Streicher ending with the words: “We are aproaching wonderful times—a Greater Germany without Jews" (D-802, GB 327).
Funk, as Vice President of the Reich Chamber for Culture from 1933 had participated in the policy for the elimination of the Jews; he was present and assented to the recommendations at Goering's meeting in 1938 at which it will be remembered Goering suggested that it would have been better to kill 200 Jews, whereupon Heydrich mentioned that in fact the number was a mere 35 (3505-PS, USA 653; 1816-PS, USA 261).
Schacht himself admitted that as early as the second half of 1934 and the first half of 1935 he found that he was wrong in thinking that Hitler would bring the "Revolutionary” force of the Nazis into a regulated atmosphere, and that he discovered that Hitler having done nothing to stop the excesses of individual Party members or Party groups, was pursuing a “policy of terror". Nevertheless he remained in office and Schacht accepted the Golden Party Badge in January 1937 when von Elz refused it (EC-500).
Schirach has confirmed his part in insuring that the younger generation of Germany grew up rabid anti-Semites under his teaching. He cannot escape responsibility for training the youth to bully Jews; to persecute the Church; to prepare for war. This perversion of children is perhaps the basest crime of all.
Sauckel, who had joined the Party in 1921, filled the post of Gauleiter of Thuringia. He cannot have been ignorant of the persecution of the Church, of the Trades Unions, of other political parties and of the Jews, throughout this important Gau, and there is every reason to suppose that he gave the fullest support to these policies and thus enhanced his reputation with the Nazis. Papen and Neurath were in a better position to judge these matters than any of the other defendants, since it was their political associates who were being persecuted, whilst, in the case of Papen, some of his own staff were killed and he himself arrested, he was lucky to escape with his life (2974-PS, USA 15).
Neurath's attitude to the Jews is shown by his speech in September 1933 (3893-PS, GB 514):
“The stupid talk about purely internal affairs, as for example the Jewish question, will quickly be silenced if one realizes that the necessary cleaning up of public life must temporarily entail individual cases of personal hardship but that nevertheless it only served to establish all the more firmly the authority of
justice and law in Germany." What prostitution of these great words!
Of the remainder, all were men of intelligence and already held positions of considerable authority. None of them can have been ignorant of what the whole world knew, yet not one of them has suggested that he made any effective protest against this regime of brutality and terror. All of these men continued in their spheres of government and in the highest positions of responsibility. Each in his part—and each a vital part—these men built up the evil thing, the ultimate purpose of which was so well known to them, and instilled the evil doctrines which were essential to the achievement of that purpose. It was Lord Acton—that great European—who, 80 years ago, in expressing his conviction of the sanctity of human life, said
“The greatest crime is homicide. The accomplice is no better than the Assassin; the theorist is the worst."
The Crime Against Peace I shall return if I may, later to the question of conspiracy and to the part these men played in it, but no conclusion upon the conspiracy charge in the first count of this Indictment is really possible until the specific crimes set out in the subsequent counts have been considered. And first of these is the crime against Peace, set out in Count 2. I say first, first in its place in the Indictment. Moralists may argue which is greatest in moral guilt. But this perhaps should be said at the very outset. It is said that there is no such crime as a crime against peace, and those superficial thinkers who, whether in this Court or in armchairs elsewhere, have questioned the validity of these proceedings, have made much of this argument. Of its merits I shall say something presently. But let it be said plainly now, that these defendants are charged also as common murderers. That charge alone merits the imposition of the supreme penalty and the joinder of this crime against peace in the Indictment can add nothing to the penalty which may be imposed on these individuals. Is it, then, a mere work of supererogation to have included this matter in the indictment at all? We think not, for the very reason that mere is at stake here than the fate of these individuals. It is the crime of war which is at once the object and the parent of the other crimes; the crimes against humanity, the war crimes, the common murders. These things occur when men embark on total war as an instrument of policy for aggressive ends.
Moreover, taking this crime, the crime against peace, in isolation, it was responsible for the deaths in battle of ten million men, and for bringing to the very edge of ruin the whole moral and material structure of our civilization. Although it may be that it may add nothing to the penalty which may be imposed