The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/germany/nuremberg/rosenberg.001

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history
Subject: Holocaust Almanac - Roseberg's Testimony (Nuremberg)
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Old Frog's Almanac, Vancouver Island, CANADA

Archive/File: holocaust/germany/nuremberg rosenberg.001
Last-Modified: 1994/06/02

"Rosenberg was a master of euphemism, a bureaucratic pedant, whose seemingly
endless sentences snaked about, intertwined, and stuck to each other like
overboiled spaghetti; even Thoma [his attorney] had difficulty deciphering
his answers. By his rationalization, sophistry, and halfhearted attempts at
justification of Nazi barbarism, he created, in his own fashion, as negative
an impression as Kaltenbrunner.

`In regard to the extermination of one hundred and seventy thousand
civilians, I cannot take any position as to what transpired in the police
camps on grounds of police security,' he asserted. `I would like to point
out, however, that according to official statements of the indigenous
administration, in the first place more than forty thousand Estonians in
Estonia and more than forty thousand Latvians in Latvia were deported to the
interior of Soviet Russia after the Red Army occupied these countries.' He
had never heard of more than two concentration camps, Oranienburg and
Dachau, Rosenberg claimed, and Himmler had cheerfully invited him to inspect
the latter: `Why don't you come to Dachau and take a look at things for
yourself? We have a swimming pool there, we have sanitary installations --
irreproachable; no objections can be raised.' He had not, however, accepted,
Rosenberg said. `I desisted for reasons of good taste; I simply did not want
to look at people who had been deprived of their liberty.'

Actions against the Jews had been justified by international law, according
to Rosenberg: `It is a recognized principle of international law that, in
war, reprisals may be taken by resorting to the same procedures and the same
concepts as primarily used by the enemy. Since time immemorial the Jews
have, in their Jewish laws codified in the Talmud, applied the principle
that all non-Jews are to be considered as so much cattle, as outlaws; and
the property of non-Jews should be dealt with as a thing which has been
abandoned, that is to say, as derelict property.'

It was, perhaps, fitting if specious that Rosenberg should cite the
religious conflicts of medieval times in his attempt to justify the Nazi
policies. On December 18, 1941, he had addressed himself to Hitler: `I beg
the Fu"hrer to permit the seizure of all Jewish home furnishings of Jews in
Paris who have fled or will leave shortly and those of Jews living in all
parts of the occupied West to relieve the shortage of furnishings in the
administration in the East.'

The possessions of the Jews sent to concentration camps had been, in fact,
employed for the benefit of German families who had been bombed out: `I
received a mission from the Fu"hrer and while I was well aware that it was
something quite exceptional and against the law, Rosenberg had related
during one of his interrogations, `yest the situation in Germany was so
terrible --'

`In other words you didn't concern yourself with its legal aspects; is that
it?' Colonel Hinkel had asked.

`I admit that in this case.'

He had thought it better to retaliate specifically against the Jews than
against the French in general for acts of resistance. `I suggest to the
Fu"hrer,' he had written, `that, instead of executing one hundred Frenchmen,
we shoot in their place one hundred Jewish bankers, lawyers, etc. It is the
Jews in London and New York who incite the French Communists to commit acts
of violence, and it seems only fair that the members of this race should pay
for this. It is not the little Jews but the leading Jews in France who
should be held responsible.'

In court, Rosenberg attributed his recommendation to an error of judgement.
Dodd, cross-examining him, tried to pin him down:

`You said your thought that was what? A little bad judgement, or not quite
just, or something of the kind? Is that right?'

`I stated that it was humanly unjust.'

`It was murder, isn't that what it was, a plan for murder? Yes or no?'

`No. But I consider the shooting of hostages, which was publicly made known
by the Armed Forces, as an obviously generally accepted fact under the
exceptional conditions of war.'

Rosenberg repeatedly complained about the translation back and forth between
German and Russian. Regarding the Ausrottung of the Jews, he quibbled over
the semantics: `We are speaking here of extermination of Jewry; there is
also still a difference between `Jewry' and `the Jews.''

`I asked you if it was not a fact that at that time and later on Jews were
being exterminated in the Occupied Eastern Territories which were under
your ministry?' Dodd persisted. `Will you answer that yes or no?'


`I think you will agree that in the Ukraine your man Koch was doing all
kinds of terrible things, and now I don't understand that you dispute that
Lohse and Kube were helping to eliminate or liquidate the Jews, and that
Bra"utigam, an important member of your staff, and that Leibbrandt, another
important member of your staff, were informed of the program. So that five
people at least under your administration were engaged in this kind of
conduct, and not small people at that.'

When Rosenberg started to reply tangentially, Lawrence intervened: `Will you
answer the question first? Do you agree that these five people were engaged
in exterminating Jews?'

`Yes. They knew about a certain number of liquidations of Jews. That I
admit, and they have told me so, or if they did not, I have heard it from
other sources.'

Rosenberg had planned the pillage and exploitation of Russia, he had
projected that millions upon millions of people would die as a result, he
had been informed early of the brutal slaughter of all kinds of men under
the Commissar Order, and even when he had objected to the insensate
barbarism because it was bad politics he had not had the spine to take

`I did not see in Adolf Hitler a tyrant,' Rosenberg told the court, `but
like many millions of National Socialists I trusted him personally on the
strength of the experience of a fourteen-year-long struggle. I served Adolf
Hitler loyally, and what the party may have done during those years, that
was supported by me too.'

In a conversation with Fritzsche he was even more emphatic: `No matter how
often I go over everything in my mind, I still cannot believe that there was
a single flaw in that man's character.' (Conot, Robert E. Judgement at 
Nuremberg. New York: Harper & Row, 1983, 377-379)

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