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In commenting on the above law, one of the leading Nazi conspirators, Martin Bormann, stated :
“Although it must absolutely be prevented that martyrs are
Secret State Police." (2639-PS) On 24 April 1934 the Nazi conspirators passed a law imposing the death penalty for “any treasonable act.” Included in the law was a declaration to the effect that the creating or organizing of a political party, or continuing of an existing one was a treasonable act. (2548-PS)
(2) By their interpretation and changes of the penal law, the Nazi conspirators enlarged their terroristic methods. After the enactment of these new political crimes, the Nazi conspirators introduced into the penal law the theory of punishment by analogy. This enabled them legally to punish any act injurious to their political interests even if no existing statute forbade it. The culpability of the act and the punishment was determined by the law most closely relating to or covering the act which was in force at the time. (1962-PS) In interpreting this law, Dr. Guertner, Reich Minister of Justice, stated:
“National Socialism substitutes for the idea of formal wrong, the idea of factual wrong. * Even without the threat of punishment, every violation of the goals toward which the community is striving is a wrong per se.
result, the law ceases to be an exclusive source for the de
termination of right or wrong." (2549-PS) Referring to the penal code of Nazi Germany, the defendant Frank stated in 1935:
“The National Socialist State is a totalitarian State, it makes no concessions to criminals, it does not negotiate with
them; it stamps them out.” (2552-PS) The Nazi conspirators also revised the criminal law so that the State could, within one year after a decree in a criminal case had become final, apply for a new trial, and the application would be decided by members of a Special Penal Chamber appointed by Hitler personally. Thus, if a defendant should be acquitted in a lower court, the Nazi conspirators could rectify the situation by another trial. (2550-PS)
In direct contrast to the severity of the criminal law as it affected the general population of Germany, the Nazi conspirators adopted and endorsed a large body of unwritten laws exempting the police from criminal liability for illegal acts done under higher authority. This principle was described by Dr. Werner Best, outstanding Nazi lawyer, in the following terms:
"The police never act in a lawless or illegal manner as long as they act according to the rules laid down by their superiors up to the highest governing body. According to its nature, the police must only deal with what the Government wants to know is being dealt with. What the Government wants to know is being dealt with by the police is the essence of the police law and is that which guides and restricts the actions of the police. As long as the police carry out the will of the Government, it is acting legally.” (1852-PS)
C. The Nazi conspirators created a vast system of espionage into the daily lives of all parts of the population.
(1) They destroyed the privacy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications. They enacted a law in February of 1933 providing that violations of privacy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications were permissible beyond legal limitations. (1390-PS) Dr. Hans Anschuetz, the present District Court Director (Landgerichtsdirektor) at Heidelberg, Germany, recently stated :
“Subsequently, the system of spying upon and supervising the political opinions of each citizen which permeated the entire people and private life of Germany, was, of course, also extended to judges." (2967-PS)
(2) They used the Secret State Police (Gestapo) and the Security Service (SD) for the purpose of maintaining close surveillance over the daily activities of all people in Germany. The Gestapo had as its primary preventive activity the thorough observation of all enemies of the State, in the territory of the Reich. (1956-PS) The SD was an intelligence organization which operated out of various regional offices. It consisted of many hundreds of professional SD members who were assisted by thousands of honorary members and informers. These people were placed in all fields of business, education, State and Party administration, and frequently performed their duties secretly in their own organization. This information service reported on the activities of the people. (2614-PS)
D. Without judicial process, the Nazi conspirators imprisoned, held in protective custody and sent to concentration camps opponents and suspected opponents.
They authorized the Gestapo to arrest and detain without recourse to any legal proceeding. Officially, this power was described as follows:
“The Secret State Police takes the necessary police preven-
time.” (1956-PS) The Nazi conspirators issued their own orders for the taking of people into protective custody and these orders set forth no further details concerning the reasons therefor, except a statement such as “Suspicion of activities inimical toward the State.” (2499-PS) The defendant Frank stated:
"To the world we are blamed again and again because of the concentration camps. We are asked, 'Why do you arrest without a warrant of arrest? I say, put yourselves into the position of our nation. Don't forget that the very great and still untouched world of Bolshevism cannot forget that we have made final victory for them impossible in Europe, right here on German soil.” (2533-PS)
The defendant Goering said in 1934:
“Against the enemies of the State, we must proceed ruthlessly. It cannot be forgotten that at the moment of our rise to power, according to the official election figures of March 1933, six million people still confess their sympathy for Communism and eight million for Marxism.
Therefore, the concentration camps have been created, where we have first confined thousands of Communists and Social Democrat functionaries.
*" (2344-PS) U. S. Ambassador George S. Messersmith, former Counsel General in Berlin, Germany, 1930-34, and Raymond H. Geist, former American Counsel and First Secretary of the Embassy in Berlin, Germany, 1929-1939, have recently stated:
“Independent of individual criminal acts committed by high functionaries of the German government or the Nazi Party, such as the murders ordered by Hitler, Himmler and Goering, all high functionaries of the German government and of the Nazi Party
are guilty in the highest degree of complicity in and furtherance of the cardinal crimes of oppression against the German people, persecution and destruction of the Jews and all of their political opponents."
(2386-PS) Commenting further on the Nazi conspirators' use of concentration camps to destroy political opposition, Raymond H. Geist stated:
“The German people were well acquainted with the goings on in concentration camps and it was well known that the fate of anyone too actively opposed to any part of the Nazi program was liable to be one of great suffering. Indeed, before the Hitler regime was many months old, almost every family in Germany had had first hand accounts of the brutalities inflicted in the concentration camps from someone either in the relationship or in the circle of friends who had served a sentence there; consequently the fear of such camps was a very effective brake on any possible opposition."
(1759-PS) The Nazi conspirators confined, under the guise of, “protective custody" Reichstag members, Social Democrats, Communists, and other opponents or suspected opponents. (2544-PS; L-73; L-83; 1430-PS.)
E. The Nazi conspirators created and utilized special agencies for carrying out their system of terror.
(See Chapter XV, Sections 5 and 6, on the Gestapo, SS, and SD)
F. The Nazi conspirators permitted organizations and individwals to carry out this system of terror without restraint of law.
(1) Acts of the Gestapo were not subject to review by the courts. In 1935 the Prussian Supreme Court of Administration held that the orders of the Gestapo were not subject to judicial review; and that the accused person could appeal only to the next higher authority within the State Police itself. (2347-PS)
In 1936 a law was passed concerning The Gestapo in Prussia which provided that orders in matters of the Gestapo were not subject to review of the Administrative Courts. (2107-PS) On the same subject, the following article appeared in the official German Lawyer's Journal, 1935.
"Once again the court had to decide on the question of whether political measures could be subjected to the review of the ordinary courts.
The case in question concerned the official performance of his duty by an official of the NSDAP.
The principle of the importance and the mission of the Party and its 'Sovereign Functionaires' cannot be overlooked. Therefore, the plaintiff should have been denied the right to be in court." (2491-PS)
(2) Where no definite law protected terroristic acts of Nazi conspirators and their accomplices, proceedings against them were in the first instance suppressed or thereafter their acts were pardoned. In 1935, proceedings against an employee of the Gestapo accused of torturing, beating, and killing of inmates of a concentration camp were suppressed (787-PS; 788-PS). In June 1935 twenty-three SA members and policemen convicted of the beating and murder of inmates of the Hohnstein concentration camp were pardoned (786-PS). The prosecutor was forced to resign from the SA. (784-PS)