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containing directives on treatment
Secret memorandum of Keitel con-
Express letter from Sauckel to
Minutes of conference, 23 May
"The Exploitation of Foreign La-
Labor Office Study). (USA 231)... VII *R-103
Letter from Polish Main Commit-
Speer's conference minutes of Cen-
cerning labor supply. (USA 179). VIII *R-129
Letter and enclosure from Pohl to
written in Nurnberg Prison, Octo-
Ley, written in Nurnberg Prison,
The Concentration Camp, used against the people of Germany and allied nationals, was one of the fundamental institutions of the Nazi regime. It was a pillar of the system of terror by which the Nazis consolidated their power over Germany. It was a primary weapon in the battle against the Jews, against the Christian church, against labor, against those who wanted peace, against opposition or non-conformity of any kind. It involved the systematic use of terror to achieve the cohesion within Germany which was necessary for the execution of the conspirators' plans for aggression. It was the final link in a chain of terror and repression which involved the SS and the Gestapo and which resulted in the apprehension of victims and their confinement without trial, often without charges, generally with no indication of the length of their detention.
The SS through its espionage system tracked down the victims; the criminal police and the Gestapo seized them and brought them to the concentration camps; and the concentration camps were administered by the SS. No attempt will be made to present a complete catalogue of individual brutalities. The emphasis will rather be upon the fundamental purposes for which these camps were used, the techniques of terror which were employed, the large number of their victims, and the death and anguish which they caused.
1. THE BEGINNING OF "PROTECTIVE CUSTODY"
The Nazis realized early that without the most drastic repression of actual and potential opposition they could not consolidate their power over the German people. Immediately after Hitler became Chancellor, the conspirators promptly destroyed civil liberties by issuing the Presidential Emergency Decree of 28 February 1933 (1390-PS). It was this decree which was the basis for “Schutzhaft”, that is, “protective custody”—the power of the Gestapo to imprison people without judicial proceedings. This is made clear by a typical order for protective custody:
"Order of Protective Custody. Based on Article 1 of the De-
Goering, in a book entitled "Aufbau Einer Nation” and published in 1934, sought to give the impression that the camps originally were directed at those whom the Nazis considered “Communists" and "Social Democrats". At page 89 of this book he stated :
“We had to deal ruthlessly with these enemies of the State.
and Social Democratic parties.” (2324-PS) In practical operations, the power to order confinement was almost without limit: Frick, in an order which he issued on 25 January 1938, as Minister of Interior, made this clear. Article 1 of this order provided :
“Protective custody can be decreed as a coercive measure of the Secret State Police against persons who endanger the security of the people and the State through their attitude in order to counter all aspirations of enemies of the people
and State.” (1723-PS) This order further provides:
In a summary of all the previously issued decrees on the cooperation between the Party and the Gestapo I refer to the following and ordain: "1. To the Gestapo has been entrusted the mission by the Fuehrer to watch over and to eliminate all enemies of the Party and the National Socialist State as well as all disintegrating forces of all kinds directed against both. The successful solution of this mission forms one of the most essential prerequisite for the unhampered and frictionless work of the Party. The Gestapo, in their extremely difficult task, is to be granted support and assistance in every possible way by the NSDAP." (1723-PS)
A. Persecution of Pacifists.
The conspirators, then, were directing their apparatus of terror against the “enemies of the State”, against “disintegrating forces", and against those people who endangered the State "with their attitudes”. Whom did they consider as belonging in these broad categories? First, they were the men in Germany who wanted peace. In this connection an affidavit by Gerhart H. Segar declares as follows:
2. During the period after World War I up until my commitment to the Leipzig jail and Oranienburg concentration camp in the spring of 1933 following the Nazis' accession to power in January of that year, my business and political affiliations exposed me to the full impact of the Nazi theories and practice of violent regimentation and terroristic tactics. My conflict with the Nazis by virtue of my identification with the peace movement, and as duly elected member of the Reichstag representing a political faith (Social Democratic Party) hostile to National Socialism, clearly demonstrated that, even in the period prior to 1933, the Nazis considered crimes and terrorism a necessary and desirable weapon in overcoming democratic opposition
(e). That the Nazis had already conceived the device of the concentration camp as a means of suppressing and regimenting opposition elements was forcefully brought to my attention during the course of a conversation which I had with Dr. Wilhelm Frick in December 1932. Frick at that time was Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Reichstag of which I was a member. When I gave an emphatic answer to Frick concerning the particular matter discussed, he replied, 'Don't worry, when we are in power we shall put all of you guys into concentration camps.' When the Nazis came into power, Frick was appointed Reichminister of Interior and promptly carried out his threat in collaboration with Goering, as Chief of the Prussian State Po
lice, and Himmler.” (L-83) Thus, even before the Nazis had seized power in Germany they had conceived of the plan to repress any potential opposition by terror.
Frick's statement to Gerhart Segar is completely consistent with an earlier statement which he made on 18 October 1929. Frick at that time declared:
"This fateful struggle will first be taken up with the ballot, but this cannot continue indefinitely, for history has taught us that in a battle, blood must be shed, and iron broken. The ballot is the beginning of this fateful struggle. We are determined to promulgate by force that which we preach. Just as Mussolini exterminated the Marxists in Italy, so must we also succeed in accomplishing the same through dictatorship
and terror." (2513-PS) There are many additional cases of the use of the concentration camp against the men who wanted peace. There was, for ex
ample, a group called the “Bibel Forscher" (Bible Research Workers), most of whom were Jehovah's Witnesses. Since they were pacifists, the conspirators provided not only for their prosecution in the regular courts, but also for confining them in concentration camps after they had served the judicial sentences. An order by the Secret State Police, Berlin, dated 5 August 1937, provided :
"The Reichsminister of Justice had informed me that he does not share the opinion voiced by subordinate departments on various occasions, according to which, the arrest of the Bibelforschers after they have served a sentence, is supposed to jeopardize the authority of the law courts. He is fully aware of the necessity for measures by the State Police after the sentence has been served. He asks, however, not to bring the Bibelforschers into protective custody under circumstances detrimental to the respect of the law courts
"2. If information regarding the impending release of a Bibelforscher from arrest is received from the authorities carrying out the sentence, my decision regarding the ordering of measures by the State Police, will be asked for in accordance with my circular decree dated 22.4.37, so that transfer to a concentration camp can take place immediately after the sentence has been served. Should a transfer into a concentration camp immediately after the serving of the sentence not be possible, Bibelforschers will be detained in police prisons." (D-84)
B. Persecution of Trade Union Members.
Labor unions, traditionally opposed to wars of aggression, also felt the full force of Nazi terror. The concentration camp was an important weapon in the campaign against the trade unions. Goering made it plain, for instance, that members of the Social Democratic Party were to be confined in concentration camps (2324-PS). Labor leaders were largely members of that party and soon learned the meaning of "protective custody".
In this connection, an order that one Joseph Simon should be placed in protective custody, is pertinent (2330-PS). The "reasons” given were as follows:
“Simon was for many years a member of the Socialist Party and temporarily a member of the Union Socialiste Populaire. From 1907 to 1918 he was Landtag deputy of the Socialist Party; from 1908 to 1930 Social Democratic City Counsellor (Stadtrat) in Nurnberg. In view of the decisive role which