The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Of course, it is self-evident that these "uprisings" were
managed by the government and the Nazi Party. If we were in
doubt, we could resort to Streicher's memorandum of 14th
April, 1939, which says, "The anti-Jewish action of
November, 1938, did not arise spontaneously from the
people.. Part of the party formation has been charged with
the execution of the anti-Jewish action." (406-PS) Jews as a
whole were fined a billion Reichsmarks. They were excluded
from all businesses, and claims against insurance companies
for their burned properties were confiscated, all by the
decree of the defendant Goering. (Reichsgesetzblatt, 1938,
Part 1, pp. 1579-1582.)

Synagogues were the objects of a special vengeance. On 10th
November, 1938, the following order was given:

  "By order of the Group Commander, all Jewish Synagogues
  in the area of Brigade 50 have to be blown up or set
  afire. .The operation will be carried out in civilian
  clothing.. Execution of the order will be reported..(1721-
  PS.) Some 40 teletype messages, from police headquarters,
  which will be introduced to you, will tell the fury with
  which all Jews were pursued in Germany on those awful
  November nights. The S.S. troops were turned loose and
  the Gestapo supervised. Jewish-owned property was
  destroyed. The Gestapo ordered twenty to thirty thousand
  "well-to-do Jews" to be arrested. Concentration camps
  were to receive them and the order provided healthy Jews,
  fit for labour, were to be taken (3051-PS).

As the German frontiers were expanded by war, so the
campaign against the Jews expanded. The Nazi plan never was
limited to in Germany; always it contemplated extinguishing
the Jew in Europe and often in the world. In the West, the
Jews were killed and their property, taken over. But the
campaign achieved its zenith of savagery in the East. The
Eastern Jew has suffered as no people ever suffered. Their
sufferings were carefully reported to the Nazi authorities
to show faithful adherence to the Nazi design. I shall refer
only to enough of the evidence of these to show the extent
of the Nazi design for killing Jews.

If I should recite these horrors in words of my own, you
would think me intemperate and unreliable. Fortunately, we
need not take the word of any witness but the Germans
themselves. I invite you now to look at a few of the vast
number of captured German orders and reports that will be
offered in evidence, to see what a Nazi invasion meant. We
will present such evidence as the report of "Einsatzgruppe
(Action Group) A" of 15th October, 1941, which boasts that
in overrunning the Baltic States, "Native Anti-Semitic
forces were induced to start pogroms against the Jews during
the first hours after occupation." The report continues:-

   "From the beginning it was to be expected that the
   Jewish problem in the East could not be solved by
   pogroms alone. In accordance with the basic orders
   received, however, the cleansing activities of the
   Security Police
                                                   [Page 66]
   had to aim at a complete annihilation of the Jews.
   Special detachments reinforced by selected units - in
   Lithuania partisan detachments, in Latvia units of the
   Latvian auxiliary police - therefore performed extensive
   executions both in the towns and in rural areas. The
   actions of the execution detachments were performed
   "The sum total of the Jews liquidated in Lithuania,
   according to the report, amounts to 71,105. During the
   pogroms in Kowno 3,800 Jews were eliminated, in the
   smaller towns about 1,200 Jews."
   " In Latvia, up to now a total of 30,000 Jews was
   executed. Five hundred were eliminated by pogroms in
   Riga." (L-180.)

This is a captured report from the Commissioner of Sluzk on
20th October, 1941, which describes the scene in more
detail. It says:-

  ".The first lieutenant explained that the police
  battalion had received the assignment to effect the
  liquidation of all Jews here in the town of Sluzk, within
  two days ... Then I requested him to postpone the action
  one day. However, he rejected this with the remark that
  he had to carry out this action everywhere and in all
  towns and that only two days were allotted for Sluzk.
  Within these two days the town of Sluzk had to be cleared
  of Jews by all means ... All Jews without exception were
  taken out of the factories and shops and deported in
  spite of our agreement. It is true that part of the Jews
  was moved by way of the ghetto, where many of them were
  processed and still segregated by me, but a large part
  was loaded directly on trucks and liquidated without
  further delay outside of the town.. For the rest, as
  regards the execution of the action, I must point out to
  my deepest regret that the latter bordered already on
  sadism. The town itself offered a picture of horror
  during the action. With indescribable brutality on the
  part of the German police officers and particularly the
  Lithuanian partisans, the Jewish people, but also among
  them White Ruthenians, were taken out of their dwellings
  and herded together. Everywhere in the town shots were to
  be heard and in different streets the corpses of shot
  Jews accumulated. The White Ruthenians were in greatest
  distress to free themselves from the encirclement.
  Regardless of the fact that the Jewish people, among whom
  were also tradesmen, were mistreated in a terribly
  barbarous way in the face of the White Ruthenian people,
  the White Ruthenians themselves were also worked over
  with rubber clubs and rifle butts. There was no question
  of an action against the Jews anymore. It rather looked
  like a revolution..."(1104-PS.)

There are reports which merely tabulate the numbers
slaughtered. Another example is an account of the work of
Einsatzgruppen of Sipo and S.D. in the East which relates
that "in Estonia, all Jews were arrested immediately upon
the arrival of the Wehrmacht."

Jewish men and women above the age of sixteen and capable of
work were drafted for forced labour. Jews were subjected to
all sorts of restrictions and all Jewish property was

All Jewish males above the age of sixteen were executed,
with the exception of doctors and elders. Only 500 of an
original 4,500 Jews remained.

37,180 persons have been liquidated by the Sipo and S.D. in
White Ruthenia during October.

In one town, 337 Jewish women were executed for
demonstrating a "provocative attitude." In another, 380 Jews
were shot for spreading vicious propaganda.

And so the report continues, listing town after town, where
hundreds upon hundreds of Jews were murdered.

In Vitebsk 3,000 Jews were liquidated because of the danger
of epidemics.

In Kiev, 33,771 Jews were executed On 29th/30th September in
retaliation for some fires which were set off there.

                                                   [Page 67]

In Zhitomir, 3,145 Jews "had to be shot" because, judging
from experience they had to be considered as the carriers of
Bolshevik propaganda.

In Kherson, 410 Jews were executed in reprisal against acts
of sabotage.

In the territory east of the Djnepr, the Jewish problem was
"solved" by the liquidation Of 4,891 Jews and by putting the
remainder into labour battalions of up to 1,000 persons. (R-

Other accounts tell not of the slaughter so much as of the
depths of degradation to which the tormentors stooped. For
example, we will show the report made to defendant Rosenberg
about the Army and the S.S. in the area under Rosenberg's
jurisdiction, which recited the following:-

  " Details in the presence of S.S. man, a Jewish dentist
  has to break all gold teeth and fillings out of mouth of
  German and Russian Jews before they are executed."

Men, women and children are locked into barns and burned

Peasants, women and children, are shot on the pretext that
they are suspected of belonging to bands. (R-135.)

We of the Western world heard of gas wagons in which Jews
and political opponents were asphyxiated. We could not
believe it. But here we have the report of 16th May, I942,
from the German S.S. Officer Becker, to his supervisor in
Berlin, which tells this story;-

   "Gas vans in C group can be driven to execution spot,
   which is generally stationed ten to fifteen kilometres
   from main road, only in dry weather. Since those to be
   executed become frantic if conducted to this place, such
   vans become immobilised in wet weather.
   Gas vans in D group were camouflaged as cabin trailers,
   but vehicles well known to authorities and civilian
   population which calls them 'Death Vans.'
   The writer of the letter, Becker, ordered all men to
   keep as far away as possible during gassing. Unloading
   van after the gassing has 'atrocious spiritual and
   physical effect' on men and they should be ordered not
   to participate in such work." (501-PS.)

I shall not dwell on this subject longer than to quote one
more sickening document which evidences the planned and
systematic character of these Jewish persecutions. I hold a
report written with Teutonic thoroughness as to detail,
illustrated with photographs to authenticate its almost
incredible text, and beautifully bound in leather with the
loving care bestowed to a proud work. It is the original
report of the S.S. Brigade General Stroop in charge of the
destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, and its title page carries
the inscription, "The Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw no longer
exists." It is characteristic that one of the captions
explains that the photograph concerned shows the driving out
of Jewish "bandits"; those whom the photograph shows being
driven out are almost entirely women and little children. It
contains a day-by-day account of the killings mainly carried
out by the S.S. Organisation, too long to relate, but let me
quote General Stroop's summary:

   "The resistance put up by the Jews and bandits could
   only be suppressed by energetic actions of our troops
   day and night. The Reichsfuehrer S.S. ordered therefore
   on 23rd April, 1943, the cleaning out of the ghetto with
   utter ruthlessness and merciless tenacity. I, therefore,
   decided to destroy and burn down the entire ghetto
   without regard to the armament factories. These
   factories were systematically dismantled and then
   burned. Jews usually left their hideouts, but frequently
   remained in the burning buildings and jumped out of the
   windows only when the heat became unbearable. They then
   tried to crawl with broken bones across the street into
   buildings which were not afire. Sometimes they changed
   their hideouts during the night into the ruins of burned
   buildings. Life in the sewers was not pleasant after the
   first week. Many times we could hear
                                                   [Page 68]
   loud voices in them. S.S. men or policemen climbed
   bravely through the manholes to capture these Jews.
   Sometimes they stumbled over Jewish corpses; sometimes
   they were shot at. Tear gas bombs were thrown into the
   manholes and the Jews driven out of the sewers and
   captured. Countless numbers of Jews were liquidated in
   sewers and bunkers through blasting. The longer the
   resistance continued the tougher became the members of
   the Waffen S.S., Police and Wehrmacht, who always
   discharged their duties in an exemplary manner.
   Frequently Jews who tried to replenish. their food
   supplies during the night or to communicate with
   neighbouring groups were exterminated." (1061-PS)

"This action eliminated," says the S.S. commander, "a proved
total of 56,065. To that we have to add the number killed
through blasting, fire, etc., which cannot be counted."

We charge that all atrocities against Jews were the
manifestation and culmination of the Nazi plan to which
every defendant here was a party. I know very well that some
of these men did take steps to spare some particular Jew for
some personal reason from the horrors that awaited the
unrescued Jew. Some protested that particular atrocities
were excessive, and discredited the general policy. While a
few defendants may show efforts to make specific exceptions
to the policy of Jewish extermination, I have found no
instance in which any defendant opposed the policy itself or
sought to revoke or even modify it.

Determination to destroy the Jews was a binding force which
at all times cemented the elements of this conspiracy. On
many internal policies there were differences among the
defendants. But there is not one of them who has not echoed
the rallying cry of Naziism: DEUTSCIILAND ERWACHE-JUDA
VERRECKE (Germany Awake-Jewry Perish!)

I come to the discussion of terrorism and to preparation for
the war.

How a Government treats its own inhabitants generally is
thought to be no concern of other Governments or of
international society. Certainly few oppressions or
cruelties would warrant the intervention of foreign powers.
But the German mistreatment of Germans is now known to pass
in magnitude and savagery any limits of what is tolerated by
modern civilisation. Other nations, by silence, would take a
consenting part in such crimes. These Nazi persecutions,
moreover, take character as international crimes because of
the purpose for which they were undertaken.

The purpose, as we have seen, of getting rid of the
influence of free labour, the churches and the Jews was to
clear their obstruction to the precipitation of aggressive
war. If aggressive warfare in violation of treaty obligation
is a matter of international cognisance, the preparations
for it must also be of concern to the international
community. Terrorism was the chief instrument for securing
the cohesion of the German people in war purposes. Moreover,
these cruelties in Germany served as atrocity practice to
discipline the membership of the criminal organisation to
follow the pattern later in occupied countries.

Through the police formations that are before you accused as
criminal organisations, the Nazi Party leaders, aided at
some point in their basic and notorious purpose by each of
the individual defendants, instituted a reign of terror.
These espionage and police organisations were utilised to
hunt down every form of opposition and to penalise every
nonconformity. These organisations early founded and
administered concentration camps - Buchenwald in 1933,
Dachau in 1934. But these notorious names were not alone.
Concentration camps came to dot the German map and to number
scores. At first they met with resistance from some Germans.
We have a captured letter from Minister of Justice Gurtner
to Hitler which is revealing. A Gestapo official had been
prosecuted for crimes committed in a camp at Hohenstein, and
the Nazi Governor of Saxony had promptly asked that the
proceeding be quashed. The Minister of Justice in June of
1935 protested because, as he said, "In this camp unusually
grave mistreatments of prisoners has occurred at least since
Summer 1939. The

                                                   [Page 69]

prisoners not only were beaten with whips, without cause,
similarly as in the Concentration Camp Bredow near Stettin
until they lost consciousness, but they were also tortured
in other manners, e.g., with the help of a dripping
apparatus constructed exclusively for this purpose, under
which prisoners had to stand until they were suffering from
serious purulent wounds of the scalp." (787-PS)

I shall not take time to detail the ghastly proceedings in
these concentration camps. Beatings, starvings, tortures,
and killings were routine - so routine that the tormentors
became blase and careless. We have a report of discovery
that in Plotzensee one night, 186 persons were executed
while there were orders for only 150. Another report
describes how the family of one victim received two urns of
ashes by mistake. Inmates were compelled to execute each
other. In 1942, they were paid five Reichsmarks per
execution, but on 27th June, 1942, S.S. General Glucke
ordered commandants  of all concentration camps to reduce
this honorarium to three cigarettes. In 1943, the Reichs
leader of the S.S. and Chief of German Police ordered the
corporal punishment on Russian women to be applied by Polish
women and vice versa, but the price was not frozen. "As a
reward, a few cigarettes" was authorised. Under the Nazis,
human life had been progressively devalued, until it finally
became worth less than a handful of tobacco - Ersatz
tobacco. There were, however, some traces of the milk of
human kindness. On 11th August,1942, an order went from
Himmler to the commandants of fourteen concentration camps
that "only German prisoners are allowed to beat other German
prisoners." (2189-PS).

Mystery and suspense was added to cruelty in order to spread
torture from the inmate to his family and friends. Men and
women disappeared from their homes or business or from the
streets, and no word came of them. The omission of notice
was not due to overworked staff; it was due to policy. The
Chief of the S.D. and Sipo reported that, in accordance with
orders from the Fuehrer, anxiety should be created in the
minds of the family of the arrested person. (668-PS.)
Deportations and secret arrests were labelled, with a Nazi
wit which seems a little ghoulish, "Nacht und Nebel" (Night
and Fog). (L,90, 833-PS.)

One of the many orders for these actions, gave this
   "The decree carries a basic innovation. The Fuehrer and
   Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces commands that
   crimes of the specified sort by civilians of the
   occupied territories are to be punished by the pertinent
   courts martial in the occupied territories only when (a)
   the sentence calls for the death penalty; and (b) the
   sentence is pronounced within eight days of arrest. Only
   when both conditions are met does the Fuehrer and
   Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces hope for the
   desired deterrent effect from the conduct of punitive
   proceedings in the occupied territories. In other cases
   in the future, the accused are to be secretly brought to
   Germany, and the further conduct of the trial carried on
   here. The deterrent effect of these measures lies (a) in
   allowing the disappearance of the accused without a
   trace; (b) therein that no information whatsoever may be
   given about their whereabouts and their fate." (833-PS.)

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