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is punishment for aiding crimes, although the precise perpetrators may never be found or identified. We know that the Gestapo and SS, as organizations, were given principal responsibility for the extermination of the Jewish people in Europe—but beyond a few isolated instances, we can never establish which members of the Gestapo or SS actually carried out the murders. Any member guilty of direct participation in such crimes can be tried on the charge of having committed specific crimes in addition to the general charge of membership in a criminal organization. Therefore, it is wholly immaterial that one or more members of the organizations were themselves allegedly innocent of specific wrongdoing. The purpose of this proceeding is not to reach instances of individual criminal conduct, even in subsequent trials and, therefore, such considerations are irrelevant here.
Another question raised by the Tribunal is the period of time during which the groups or organizations named in the Indictment are claimed by the Prosecution to have been criminal. The Prosecution believes that each organization should be declared criminal during the period referred to in the Indictment. We do not contend that the Tribunal is without power to condition its declaration so as to cover a lesser period of time than that set forth in the Indictment. The Prosecution feels, however, that there is in the record at this time adequate evidence to support the charge of criminality with respect to each of the named organizations during the full period of time set forth in the Indictment.
Another question raised by the Tribunal is whether any classes of persons included within the accused groups or organizations should be excluded from the declaration of criminality. It is, of course, necessary that the Tribunal relate its declaration to some identifiable group or organization. The Tribunal, however, is not expected or required to be bound by formalities of organization. In framing the Charter, the use was deliberately avoided of terms or concepts which would involve this trial in legal technicalities about “juristic persons" or "entities.” Systems of jurisprudence are not uniform in the refinements of these fictions. The concept of the Charter, therefore, is a nontechnical one. "Group" or "organization” should be given no artificial or sophistical meaning. The word “group” was used in the Charter as a broader term, implying a looser and less formal structure or relationship than is implied in the “organization." The terms mean in the context of the Charter what they mean in the ordinary speech of people. The test to identify a group or organization is, we submit, a natural and common-sense one.
It is important to bear in mind that while the Tribunal no doubt has power to make its own definition of the groups it will declare criminal, the precise composition and membership of groups and organizations is not an issue for trial here. There is no Charter requirement and no practical need for the Tribunal to define a group or organization with such particularity that its precise composition or membership is thereby determined. The creation of a mechanism for later trial of such issues was a recognition that the declaration of this Tribunal is not decisive of such questions and is likely to be so general as to comprehend persons who on more detailed inquiry will prove to be outside of it. An effort by this Tribunal to try questions of exculpation of individuals, few or many, would unduly protract the trial, transgress the limitation of the Charter, and quite likely do some mischief by attempting to adjudicate precise boundaries on evidence which is not directed to that purpose.
The prosecution stands upon the language of the Indictment and contends that each group or organization should be declared criminal as an entity and that no inquiry should be entered upon and no evidence entertained as to the exculpation of any class or classes of persons within such descriptions. Practical reasons of conserving the Tribunal's time combine with practical considerations for the defendants. A single trial held in one city to deal with questions of excluding thousands of defendants living all over Germany could not be expected to do justice to each member unless it was expected to endure indefinitely. Provision for later, local trial of individual relationships protects the rights of members better than can possibly be done in proceedings before this Tribunal.
With respect to the Gestapo, the United States consents to exclude persons employed in purely clerical, stenographic, janiitorial or similar unofficial routine tasks. As to the Nazi Leadership Corps we abide by the position taken at the time of submission of the evidence, that the following should be included: the Fuehrer, the Reichsleitung (i. e., the Reichsleiters, main departments and officeholders), the Gauleiters and their staff officers, the Kreisleiters and their staff officers, the Ortsgruppenleiters, the Zellenleiters, and the Blockleiters, but not members of the staff of the last three officials. As regards the SA, it is considered advisable that the Declaration expressly exclude (1) wearers of the SA Sports Badge; (2) SA controlled Home Guard Units
(SA Wehrmannschaften) which were not strictly part of the SA; (3) The Marchabteilungen of the N.S.K.O.V. (National Socialist League for Disabled Veterans); and (4) the SA Reserve, so as to include only the active part of the organization, and that members who were never in any part of that organization other than the Reserve should be excluded.
The Prosecution does not feel that there is evidence of the severability of any class or classes of persons within the organizations accused which would justify any further concessions and feels that no other part of the named groups should be excluded. In this connection, we would again stress the principles of conspiracy. The fact that a section of an organization itself committed no criminal act, or may have been occupied in technical or administrative functions, does not relieve that section of criminal responsibility if its activities contributed to the accomplishment of the criminal enterprise.
E. Further Steps Before This Tribunal.
Over 45,000 persons have joined in communications to this Tribunal asking to be heard in connection with the accusations against organizations. The volume of these applications has caused apprehension as to further proceedings. No doubt there are difficulties yet to be overcome, but my study indicates that the difficulties are greatly exaggerated.
The Tribunal is vested with wide discretion. as to whether it will entertain an application to be heard. The Prosecution would be anxious, of course, to have every application granted that is necessary, not only to do justice but to avoid the appearance of doing anything less than justice. And we do not consider that expediting this trial is so important as affording a fair opportunity to present all really pertinent facts.
Analysis of the conditions which have brought about this flood of applications indicates that their significance is not proportionate to their numbers. The Tribunal sent out 200,000 printed notices of the right to appear before it and defend. They were sent to Allied prisoner of war and internment camps. The notice was published in all German language papers and was repeatedly broadcast over the radio. The 45,000 persons who responded with applications to be heard came principally from about 15 prisoner of war and internment camps in British or United States control. Those received included an approximate 12,000 from Dachau, 10,000 from Langwasser, 7,500 from Auer
bach, 4,000 from Staumuehle, 2,500 from Garmisch, and several hundred from each of the others.
We undertook investigation of these applications from Auerbach camp as probably typical of all. The camp is for prisoners of war, predominantly SS members, and its prisoners number 16,964 enlisted men and 923 officers. The notice of the International Tribunal was posted in each barracks and was read to all inmates. The applications to the Tribunal were forwarded without censorship. Applications to defend were made by 7,509 SS members.
Investigation indicates that these were filed in direct response to the notice and that no action was directed or inspired from any other source within the camp. All who were interrogated professed no knowledge of any SS crimes or of SS criminal purpose, but expressed interest only in their individual fate. Our investigators report no indication that the SS members had additional evidence or information to submit on the general question of the criminality of the SS as an organization. They seemed to think it necessary to make the application to this Tribunal in order to protect themselves.
Examination of the applications made to the Tribunal indicates that most members do not profess to have evidence on the general issue triable here. They assert that the writer has neither committed, witnessed, nor known of the crimes charged against the organization. On a proper definition of the issues such an application is insufficient on its face.
A careful examination of the Tribunal's notice to which these applications respond will indicate that the notice contains no word which would inform a member, particularly if a layman, of the narrowness of the issues here, or of the later opportunity of each member, if and when prosecuted, to present personal defenses. On the other hand, I think the notice creates the impression that every member may be convicted and punished by this Tribunal and that his only chance to be heard is here.
In view of these facts we suggest consideration of the following program for completion of this trial as to organizations.
1. That the Tribunal formulate and express in an order the scope of the issues and the limitations on the issues to be heard by it.
2. That a notice adequately informing members as to the limitation on issues and the opportunity for later, individual trial, be sent to all applicants and published as was the original notice.
3. That a panel of masters be appointed as authorized in
Article 17(e) of the Charter to examine applications and report those insufficient on their own statements, and to go to the camps and supervise the taking of any relevant evidence. Defense counsel and prosecution representatives should of course attend and be heard before the masters. The masters should reduce any evidence to deposition form and report the whole to the Tribunal to be introduced as a part of its record.
4. The representative principle may also be employed to simplify this task. Members of particular organizations in particular camps might well be invited to choose one or more to represent them in presenting evidence.
It may not be untimely to remind the Tribunal and defense counsel that the prosecution has omitted from evidence many relevant documents which show repetition of crimes by these organizations in order to save time by avoiding cumulative evidence. It is not too much to expect that cumulative evidence of a negative character will likewise be limited.
Some concern has been expressed as to the number of persons who might be affected by the declarations of criminality we have asked. Some people seem more susceptible to the shock of a million punishments than to the shock of 5 million murders. At most the number of punishments will never catch up with the number of crimes. However, it is impossible to state even with approximate accuracy the number of persons who might be affected. Figures from German sources seriously exaggerate the number, because they do not take account of heavy casualties in the latter part of the war, and make no allowances for duplication of membership, which was large. For example, the evidence is to the effect that 75 percent of the Gestapo men also were members of the SS. We know that the United States forces have in detention a roughly estimated 130,000 persons who appear to be members of accused organizations. I have no figures from other Allied forces. But how many of these actually would be prosecuted, instead of being dealt with under the denazification program, no one can foretell. Whatever the number, of one thing we may be sure: it is so large that a thorough inquiry by this Tribunal, into each case, would prolong its session beyond endurance. All questions as to whether individuals or sub-groups of accused organizations should be excepted from the Declaration of Criminality, should be left for local courts, located near the home of the accused and near sources of evidence. These courts can work in one or at most in two languages, instead of four, and can hear evidence which both parties direct to the specific issues.