International Military Tribunal
The Accused Organizations
- The Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party
- Gestapo and SD
- The SS
- The SA
- The Reich Cabinet
- General Staff and High Command
Article 9 of the Charter provides:
" At the trial of any individual member of any group or organisation the Tribunal may declare (in connection with any act of which the individual may be convicted) that the group or organisation of which the individual was a member was a criminal organisation.
" After receipt of the Indictment the Tribunal shall give such notice as it thinks fit that the prosecution intends to ask the Tribunal to make such declaration and any member of the organisation will be entitled to apply to the Tribunal for leave to be heard by the Tribunal upon the question of the criminal character of the organisation. The Tribunal shall have power to allow or reject the application. If the application is allowed, the Tribunal may direct in what manner the applicants shall be represented and heard."
Article 10 of the Charter makes clear that the declaration of criminality against an accused organisation is final, and cannot be challenged in any subsequent criminal proceeding against a member of that organisation Article 10 is as follows:
" In cases where a group or organisation is declared criminal by the Tribunal, the competent national authority of any Signatory shall have the right to bring individuals to trial for membership therein before national, military or occupation courts. In any such case the criminal nature of the group or organisation is considered proved and shall not be questioned."
The effect of the declaration of criminality by the Tribunal is well illustrated by Law Number 10 of the Control Council of Germany passed on the 20th day of December, 1945, which provides:" Each of the following acts is recognised as a crime:
" (d) Membership in categories of a criminal group or organisation declared criminal by the International Military Tribunal.
" (3) Any person found guilty of any of the crimes above mentioned may upon conviction be punished as shall be determined by the Tribunal to be just. Such punishment may consist of one or more of the following
(b) Imprisonment for life or a term of years, with or without hard labour.
(c) Fine, and imprisonment with or without hard labour, in lieu thereof."
In effect, therefore, a member of an organisation which the Tribunal has declared to be criminal may be subsequently convicted of the crime of membership and be punished for that crime by death. This is not to assume that international or military courts which will try these individuals will not exercise appropriate standards of justice. This is a far-reaching and novel procedure. Its application, unless properly safeguarded, may produce great injustice.
Article 9, it should be noted, uses the words " The Tribunal may declare" so that the Tribunal is vested with discretion as to whether it will declare any organisation criminal. This discretion is a judicial one and does not permit arbitrary action, but should be exercised in accordance with well settled legal principles one of the most important of which is that criminal guilt is personal, and that mass punishments should be avoided. If satisfied of the criminal guilt of any organisation or group this Tribunal should not hesitate to declare it to be criminal because the theory of "group criminality" is new, or because it might be unjustly applied by some subsequent tribunals. On the other hand, the Tribunal should make such declaration of criminality so far as possible in a manner to insure that innocent persons will not be punished.
A criminal organisation is analogous to a criminal conspiracy in that the essence of both is cooperation for criminal purposes. There must be a group bound together and organised for a common purpose. The group must be formed or used in connection with the commission of crimes denounced by the Charter. Since the declaration with respect to the organisations and groups will, as has been pointed out, fix the criminality of its members, that definition should exclude persons who had no knowledge of the criminal purposes or acts of the organisation and those who were drafted by the State for membership, unless they were personally implicated in the commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the Charter as members of the organisation. Membership alone is not enough to come within the scope of these declarations.
Since declarations of criminality which the Tribunal makes will be used by other courts in the trial of persons on account of their membership in the organisations found to be criminal, the Tribunal feels it appropriate to make the following recommendations:
1. That so far as possible throughout the four zones of occupation in Germany the classifications, sanctions and penalties be standardised. Uniformity of treatment so far as practical should be a basic principle. This does not, of course, mean that discretion in sentencing should not be vested in the court; but the discretion should be within fixed limits appropriate to the nature of the crime.
2. Law No. 10, to which reference has already been made, leaves punishment entirely in the discretion of the trial court even to the extent of inflicting the death penalty.
The De-Nazification Law of 5th March, 1946, however, passed for Bavaria, Greater-Hesse and Wuerttemberg-Baden, provides definite sentences for punishment in each type of offence. The Tribunal recommends that in no case should punishment imposed under Law No. 10 upon any members of an organisation or group declared by the Tribunal to be criminal exceed the punishment fixed by the De-Nazification Law. No person should be punished under both laws.
3. The Tribunal recommends to the Control Council that Law No. 10 be amended to proscribe limitations on the punishment which may be imposed for membership in a criminal group or organisation so that such punishment shall not exceed the punishment prescribed by the De-Nazifiction Law.
The Indictment asks that the Tribunal declare to be criminal the following organisations: The
Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party; The Gestapo; The S.D.; The S.S.; The S.A.; The Reich Cabinet, and The General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces.
(A) The Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party
Structure and Component Parts:
The Indictment has named the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party as a group or organisation which should be declared criminal. The Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party consisted, in effect, of the official organisation of the Nazi Party, with Hitler as Fuehrer at its head. The actual work of running the Leadership Corps was carried out by the Chief of the Party Chancellery (Hess, succeeded by Bormann) assisted by the Party Reich Directorate, or Reichsleitung, which was composed of the Reichleiters, the heads of the functional organisations of the Party, as well as of the heads of the various main departments and offices which were attached to the Party Reich Directorate. Under the Chief of the Party Chancellery were the Gauleiters, with territorial jurisdiction over the main administrative regions of the Party, the Gaus. The Gauleiters were assisted by a Party Gau Directorate or Gauleitung, similar in composition and in function to the Party Reich Directorate. Under the Gauleiters in the Party hierarchy were the Kreisleiters with territorial jurisdiction over a Kreis, usually consisting of a single county, and assisted by a Party of Kreis Directorate, or Kreisleitung. The Kreisleiters were the lowest members of the Party hierarchy who were full time paid employees. Directly under the Kreisleiters were the Ortsgruppenleiters, then the Zellenleiters and then the Blockleiters. Directives and instructions were received from the Party Reich Directorate. The Gauleiters had the function of interpreting such orders and issuing them to lower formations. The Kreisleiters had a certain discretion in interpreting orders, but the Ortsgruppenleiters had not, but acted under definite instructions. Instructions were only issued in writing down as far as the Ortsgruppenleiters. The Block and Zellenleiters usually received instructions orally. Membership in the Leadership Corps at all levels was voluntary.
On 28th February, 1946, the Prosecution excluded from the declaration all members of the staffs of the Ortsgruppenleiters and all assistants of the Zellenleiters and Blockleiters. The declaration sought against the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party thus includes the Fuehrer, the Reichsleitung the Gauleiters and their staff officers, the Kreisleiters and their staff officers, the Ortsgruppenleiters, the Zellenleiters and the Blockleiters, a group estimated to contain at least 600,000 people.
Aims and Activities:
The primary purposes of the Leadership Corps from its beginning was to assist the Nazis in obtaining and, after 30th January, 1933, in retaining, control of the German State. The machinery of the Leadership Corps was used for the widespread dissemination of Nazi propaganda and to keep a detailed check on the political attitudes of the German people. In this activity the lower Political Leaders played a particularly important role. The Blockleiters were instructed by the Party Manual to report to the Ortsgruppenleiters, all persons circulating damaging rumours or criticism of the regime. The Ortsgruppenleiters, on the basis of information supplied them by the Blockleiters and Zellenleiters, kept a card index of the people within their Ortsgruppe which recorded the factors which would be used in forming a judgment as to their political reliability. The Leadership Corps was particularly active during plebiscites. All members of the Leadership Corps were active in getting out the vote and insuring the highest possible proportion of "yes" votes. Ortsgruppenleiters and Political Leaders of higher ranks often collaborated with the Gestapo and SD in taking steps to determine those who refused to vote or who voted " no ", and in taking steps against them which went as far as arrest and detention in a concentration camp.
These steps, which relate merely to the consolidation of control of the Nazi Party, are not criminal under the view of the conspiracy to wage aggressive war which has previously been set forth, But the Leadership Corps was also used for similar steps in Austria and those parts of Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Poland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Yugoslavia which were incorporated into the Reich and within the Gaus of the Nazi Party In those territories the machinery of the Leadership Corps was used for their Germanisation through the elimination of local customs and the detection and arrest of persons who opposed German occupation. This was criminal under Article 6 (b) of the Charter in those areas governed by the Hague Rules of Land Warfare and criminal under Article 6 (c) of the Charter as to the remainder.
The Leadership Corps played its part in the persecution of the Jews. It was involved in the economic and political discrimination against the Jews, which was put into effect shortly after the Nazis came into power. The Gestapo and SD were instructed to co-ordinate with the Gauleiters and Kreisleiters the measures taken in the pogroms of the 9th and 10th November in the year 1938. The Leadership Corps was also used to prevent German public opinion from reacting against the measures taken against the Jews in the East. On the 9th October, 1942, a confidential information bulletin was sent to all Gauleiters and Kreisleiters entitled "Preparatory Measures for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe. Rumours concerning the Conditions of the Jews in the East." This bulletin stated that rumours were being started by returning soldiers concerning the conditions of Jews in the East which some Germans might not understand, and outlined in detail the official explanation to be given. This bulletin contained no explicit statement that the Jews were being exterminated, but it did indicate they were going to labour camps, and spoke of their complete segregation and elimination and the necessity of ruthless severity. Thus, even at its face value, it indicated the utilisation of the machinery of the Leadership Corps to keep German public opinion from rebelling at a programme which was stated to involve condemning the Jews of Europe to a lifetime of slavery. This information continued to be available to the Leadership Corps. The August, 1944, edition of " Die Lage ", a publication which was circulated among the Political Leaders, described the deportation of 430,000 Jews from Hungary.
The Leadership Corps played an important part in the administration of the Slave Labour Programme. A Sauckel decree dated 6th April 1942, appointed the Gauleiters as Plenipotentiary for Labour Mobilisation for their Gaus with authority to co-ordinate all agencies dealing with labour questions in their Gaus, with specific authority over the employment of foreign workers, including their conditions of work, feeding and housing. Under this authority the Gauleiters assumed control over the allocation of labour in their Gaus, including the forced labourers from foreign countries. In carrying out this task the Gauleiters used many Party offices within their Gaus, including subordinate Political Leaders. For example, Sauckel's decree of the 8th September, 1942, relating to the allocation for household labour of 400,000 women labourers brought in from the East, established a procedure under which applications filed for such workers should be passed on by the Kreisleiters, whose judgment was final.
Under Sauckel's directive the Leadership Corps was directly concerned with the treatment given foreign workers, and the Gauleiters were specifically instructed to prevent "politically inept factory heads " from giving too much consideration to the care of Eastern workers. The type of question which was considered in their treatment included reports by the Kreisleiters on pregnancies among the female slave labourers, which would result in an abortion if the child's parentage would not meet the racial standards laid down by the SS and usually detention in a concentration camp for the female slave labourer. The evidence has established that under the supervision of the Leadership Corps, the industrial workers were housed in camps under atrocious sanitary conditions, worked long hours and were inadequately fed. Under similar supervision, the agricultural workers, who were somewhat better treated were prohibited transportation, entertainment and religious worship, and were worked without any time limit on their working hours and under regulations which gave the employer the right to inflict corporal punishment. The Political Leaders, at least down to the Ortsgruppenleiters, were responsible for this supervision. On the 5th May, 1943. a memorandum of Bormann instructing that mistreatment of slave labourers cease was distributed down to the Ortsgruppenleiters. Similarly on the 10th November, 1944, a Speer circular transmitted a Himmler directive which provided that, all members of the Nazi Party, in accordance with instructions from the Kreisleiter, would be warned by the Ortsgruppenleiters of their duty to keep foreign workers under careful observation.
The Leadership Corps was directly concerned with the treatment of prisoners of war. On 5th November, 1941, Bormann transmitted a directive down to the level of Kreisleiter instructing them to insure compliance by the Army with the recent directives of the Department of the Interior ordering that dead Russian prisoners of war should be buried wrapped in tar paper in a remote place without any ceremony or any decorations of their graves. On 25th November, 1943, Bormann sent a circular instructing the Gauleiters to report any lenient treatment of prisoners of war. On 13th September, 1944, Bormann sent a directive down to the level of Kreisleiter ordering that liaison be established between the Kreisleiters and the guards of the prisoners of war in order " to better assimilate the commitment of the prisoners of war to the political and economic demands". On 17th October, 1944, an OKW directive instructed the officer in charge of the prisoners of war to confer with the Kreisleiters on questions of the productivity of labour. The use of prisoners of war, particularly those from the East, was accompanied by a widespread violation of the rules of land warfare. This evidence establishes that the Leadership Corps down to the level of Kreisleiter was a participant in this illegal treatment.
The machinery of the Leadership Corps was also utilised in attempts made to deprive Allied airmen of the protection to which they were entitled under the Geneva Convention. On 13th March, 1940, a directive of Hess transmitted instructions through the Leadership Corps down to the BIockleiter for the guidance of the civilian population in case of the landing of enemy planes or parachutists, which stated that enemy parachutists were to be immediately arrested or " made harmless ". On 30th May, 1944, Bormann sent a circular letter to all Gau and Kreisleiters "reporting instances of lynchings of Allied low level fliers in which no police action was taken. It was requested that Ortsgruppenleiters be informed orally of the contents of this letter. This letter accompanied a propaganda drive which had been instituted by Goebbels to induce such lynchings, and clearly amounted to instructions to induce such lynchings or at least to violate the Geneva Convention by withdrawing any police protection. Some lynchings were carried out pursuant to this programme, but it does not appear that they were carried out throughout all of Germany. Nevertheless, the existence of this circular letter shows that the heads of the Leadership Corps were utilising it for a purpose which was patently illegal and which involved the use of the machinery of the Leadership Corps at least through the Ortsgruppenleiter.
The Leadership Corps was used for purposes which were criminal under ,the Charter and involved the Germanisation of incorporated territory, the persecution of the Jews, the administration of the slave labour programme, and the mistreatment of prisoners of war. The defendants Bormann and Sauckel, who were members of this organisation, were among those who used it for these purposes. The Gauleiters, the Kreisleiters, and the Ortsgruppenleiters participated, to one degree or another, in these criminal programmes. The Reichsleitung as the staff organisation of the Party is also responsible for these criminal programmes as well as the heads of the various staff organisations of the Gauleiters and Kreisleiters. The decision of the Tribunal on these staff organisations includes only the Amtsleiters who were heads of offices on the staffs of the Reichsleitung, Gauleitung and Kreisleitung. With respect to other staff officers and party organisations attached to the Leadership Corps other than the Amtsleiters referred to above, the Tribunal will follow the suggestion of the Prosecution in excluding them from the declaration.
The Tribunal declares to be criminal within the meaning of the Charter the group composed of those members of the Leadership Corps holding the positions enumerated in the preceding paragraph who became or remained members of the organisation with knowledge that it was being used for the commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the Charter, or who were personally implicated as members of the organisation in the commission of such crimes. The basis of this finding is the participation of the organisation in war crimes and crimes against humanity connected with the war, the group declared criminal cannot include therefore, persons who had ceased to hold the positions enumerated in the preceding paragraph prior to 1st September, 1939.
(B) Gestapo and SD
Structure and Component Parts:
The Prosecution has named Die Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) and Die Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsfuehrer SS (SD) as groups or organisations which should be declared criminal. The Prosecution presented the cases against the Gestapo and SD together, stating that this was necessary because of the close working relationship between them. The Tribunal permitted the SD to present its defence separately because of a claim of conflicting interests, but after examining the evidence has decided to consider the case of the Gestapo and SD together.
The Gestapo and the SD were first linked together on 26th June, 1936, by the appointment of Heydrich, who was the Chief of the SD, to the position of Chief of the Security Police, which was defined to include both the Gestapo and the Criminal Police. Prior to that time the SD had been the intelligence agency, first of the SS, and, after 4th June, 1934, of the entire Nazi Party. The Gestapo had been composed of the various political police forces of the several German Federal states which had been unified under the personal leadership of Himmler, with the assistance of Goering. Himmler had been appointed Chief of the German Police in the Ministry of the Interior on 17th June, 1936, and in his capacity as Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police issued his decree of 26th June, 1936, which placed both the Criminal Police, or Kripo, and the Gestapo in the Security Police, and placed both the Security Police and the SD under the command of Heydrich.
This consolidation under the leadership of Heydrich of the Security Police, a State organisation, and the SD, a Party organisation, was formalised by the decree of 27th September, 1939, which united the various state and Party offices which were under Heydrich as Chief of the Security Police and SD into one administrative unit, the Reichs Security Head Office (RSHA) which was at the same time both one of the principal offices (Hauptamter) of the SS under Himmler as Reichsfuehrer SS and an office in the Ministry of the Interior under Himmler as Chief of the German Police. The internal structure of the RSHA shows the manner in which it consolidated the offices of the Security Police with those of the SD. The RSHA was divided into seven offices (Amter), two of which (Amt I and Amt II) dealt with administrative matters. The Security Police were represented by Amt IV, the head office of the Gestapo, and by Amt V, the head office of the Criminal Police. The SD were represented by Amt III, the head office for SD activities inside Germany, by Amt VI, the head office for SD activities outside of Germany, and by Amt VII, the office for ideological research. Shortly after the creation of the RSHA, in November, 1939, the Security Police was " coordinated " with the SS by taking all officials of the Gestapo and Criminal Police into the SS at ranks equivalent to their positions.
The creation of the RSHA represented the formalisation, at the top level, of the relationship under which the SD served as the intelligence agency for the Security Police. A similar coordination existed in the local offices. Within Germany and areas which were incorporated within the Reich for the purpose of civil administration, local offices of the Gestapo, Criminal Police and SD were formally separate. They were subject to coordination by Inspectors of the Security Police and SD on the staffs of the local Higher SS and Police Leaders, however, and one of the principal functions of the local SD units was to serve as the intelligence agency for the local Gestapo units. In the occupied territories the formal relationship between local units of the Gestapo, Criminal Police and SD was slightly closer. They were organised into local units of the Security Police and SD and were under the control of both the RSHA and of the Higher SS and Police Leader who was appointed by Himmler to serve on the staff of the occupying authority. The offices of the Security Police and SD in occupied territory were composed of departments corresponding to the various Amts of the RSHA. In occupied territories which were still considered to be operational military areas or where German control had not been formally established, the organisation of the Security Police and SD was only slightly changed. Members of the Gestapo, Kripo and SD were joined together into military type organisations known as Einsatz Kommandos and Einsatzgruppen in which the key positions were held by members of the Gestapo, Kripo, and SD and in which members of the Order Police, the Waffen SS and even the Wehrmacht were used as auxiliaries. These organisations were under the over-all control of the RSHA, but in front line areas were under the operational control of the appropriate Army Commander.
It can thus be seen that from a functional point of view both the Gestapo and the SD were important and closely related groups within the organisation of the Security Police and the SD. The Security Police and SD was under a single command, that of Heydrich and later Kaltenbrunner, as Chief of the Security Police and SD; it had a single headquarters, the RSHA; it had its own command channels and worked as one organisation both in Germany, in occupied territories and in the areas immediately behind the front lines. During the period with which the Tribunal is primarily concerned, applicants for positions in the Security Police and SD received training in all its components, the Gestapo, Criminal Police and SD. Some confusion has been caused by the fact that part of the organisation was technically a formation of the Nazi Party while another part of the organisation was an office in the Government, but this is of no particular significance in view of the law of 1st December, 1933, declaring the unity of the Nazi Party and the German State.
The Security Police and SD was a voluntary organisation. It is true that many civil servants and administrative officials were transferred into the Security Police. The claim that this transfer was compulsory amounts to nothing more than the claim that they had to accept the transfer or resign their positions, with a possibility of having incurred official disfavour. During the war a member of the Security Police and SD did not have a free choice of assignments within that organisation and the refusal to accept a particular position, especially when serving in occupied territory, might have led to serious punishment. The fact remains, however, that all members of the Security Police and SD joined the organisation voluntarily under no other sanction than the desire to retain their positions as officials.
The organisation of the Security Police and SD also included three special units which must be dealt with separately. The first of these was the Frontier Police or Grenzpolizei which came under the control of the Gestapo in 1937. Their duties consisted in the control of passage over the borders of Germany. They arrested persons who crossed the borders illegally. It is also clear from the evidence presented that they received directives from the Gestapo to transfer foreign workers whom they apprehended to concentration camps. They could also request the local office of the Gestapo for permission to commit persons arrested to concentration camps. The Tribunal is of the opinion that the Frontier Police must be included in the charge of criminality against the Gestapo.
The border and customs protection of Zollgrenzschutz became part of the Gestapo in the summer of 1944. The functions of this organisation were similar to the Frontier Police in enforcing border regulations with particular respect to the prevention of smuggling. It does not appear, however, that their transfer was complete but that about half of their personnel of 54,000 remained under the Reich Finance Administration or the Order Police. A few days before the end of the war the whole organisation was transferred back to the Reich Finance Administration. The transfer of the organisation to the Gestapo was so late and it participated so little in the overall activities of the organisation that the Tribunal does not feel that it should be dealt with in considering the criminality of the Gestapo.
The third organisation was the so-called Secret Field Police which was originally under the Army but which in 1942 was transferred by military order to the Security Police. The Secret Field Police was concerned with security matters within the Army in occupied territory, and also with the prevention of attacks by civilians on military installations or units, and committed war crimes and crimes against humanity on a wide scale. It has not been proved, however, that it was a part of the Gestapo and the Tribunal does not consider it as coming within the charge of criminality contained in the Indictment, except such members as may have been transferred to Amt IV of the RSHA or were members of organisations declared criminal by this Judgment.
Criminal Activity: Originally, one of the primary functions of the Gestapo was the prevention of any political opposition to the Nazi regime a function which it performed with the assistance of the SD. The principle weapon used in performing this function was the concentration camp. The Gestapo did not have administrative control over the concentration camps, but, acting through the RSHA, was responsible for the detention of political prisoners in those camps. Gestapo officials were usually responsible for the interrogation of political prisoners at the camps.
The Gestapo and the SD also dealt with charges of treason and with questions relating to the Press, the Churches and the Jews. As the Nazi programme of anti-Semitic persecution increased in intensity the role played by these groups became increasingly important. In the early morning of 10th November, 1938, Heydrich sent a telegram to all offices of the Gestapo and SD giving instructions for the organisation of the pogroms of that date and instructing them to arrest as many Jews as the prisons could hold " especially rich ones," but to be careful that those arrested were healthy and not too old. By 11th November, 1938, 20,000 Jews had been arrested and many were sent to concentration camps. On 24th January, 1939, Heydrich, the Chief of the Security Police and SD, was charged with furthering the emigration and evacuation of Jews from Germany, and on 31st July, 1941, with bringing about a complete solution of the Jewish problem in German dominated Europe. A special section of the Gestapo office of the RSHA under Standartenfuehrer Eichmann was set up with responsibility for Jewish matters which employed its own agents to investigate the Jewish problem in occupied territory.
Local offices of the Gestapo were used first to supervise the emigration of Jews and later to deport them to the East both from Germany and from the territories occupied during the war. Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and SD operating behind the lines of the Eastern Front engaged in the wholesale massacre of Jews. A special detachment from Gestapo headquarters in the RSHA was used to arrange for the deportation of Jews from Axis satellites to Germany for the " final solution."
Local offices of the Security Police and SD played an important role in the German administration of occupied territories. The nature of their participation is shown by measures taken in the summer of 1938 in preparation for the attack on Czechoslovakia which was then in contemplation. Einsatzgruppen of the Gestapo and SD were organised to follow the Army into Czechoslovakia to provide for the security of political life in the occupied territories. Plans were made for the infiltration of SD men into the area in advance, and for the building up of a system of files to indicate what inhabitants should be placed under surveillance, deprived of passports or liquidated. These plans were considerably altered due to the cancellation of the attack on Czechoslovakia, but in the military operations which actually occurred, particularly in the war against U.S.S.R., Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and SD went into operation, and combined brutal measures for the pacification of the civilian population with the wholesale slaughter of Jews. Heydrich gave orders to fabricate incidents on the Polish-German frontier in 1939 which would give Hitler sufficient provocation to attack Poland. Both Gestapo and SD personnel were involved in these operations.
The local units of the Security Police and SD continued their work in the occupied territories after they had ceased to be an area of operations. The Security Police and SD engaged in widespread arrests of the civilian population of these occupied countries, imprisoned many of them under inhumane conditions, subjected them to brutal third degree methods, and sent many of them to concentration camps. Local units of the Security Police and SD were also involved in the shooting of hostages, the imprisonment of relatives, the execution of persons charged as terrorists and saboteurs without a trial, and the enforcement of the " Nacht und Nebel " decrees under which persons charged with a type of offence believed to endanger the security of the occupying forces were either executed within a week or secretly removed to Germany without being permitted to communicate with their family and friends.
Offices of the Security Police and SD were involved in the administration of the Slave Labour Programme. In some occupied territories they helped local labour authorities to meet the quotas imposed by Sauckel. Gestapo Offices inside of Germany were given surveillance over slave labourers and responsibility for apprehending those who were absent from their place of work. The Gestapo also had charge of the so-called work training camps. Although both German and foreign workers could be committed to these camps, they played a significant role in forcing foreign labourers to work for the German war effort. In the latter stages of the war as the SS embarked on a slave labour programme of its own, the Gestapo was used o arrest workers for the purpose of insuring an adequate supply in the concentration camps.
The local offices of the Security Police and SD were also involved in the commission of war crimes involving the mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war. Soviet prisoners of war in prisoner of war camps in Germany were screened by Einsatz Kommandos acting under the directions of the local Gestapo offices. Commissars, Jews, members of the intelligentsia, " fanatical Communists " and even those who were considered incurably sick were classified as " intolerable," and exterminated. The local offices of the Security Police and SD were involved in the enforcement of the " Bullet " decree, put into effect on 4th March, 1944, under which certain categories of prisoners of war, who were recaptured, were not treated as prisoners of war but taken to Mauthausen in secret and shot. Members of the Security Police and the SD were charged with the enforcement of the decree for the shooting of parachutists and commandos.
The Gestapo and SD were used for purposes which were criminal under the Charter involving the persecution and extermination of the Jews, brutalities and killings in concentration camps, excesses in the administration of occupied territories, the administration of the slave labour programme and the mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war. The defendant Kaltenbrunner, who was a member of this organisation, was among those who used it for these purposes. In dealing with the Gestapo the Tribunal includes all executive and administrative officials of Amt IV of the RSHA or concerned with Gestapo administration in other departments of the RSHA and all local Gestapo officials serving both inside and outside of Germany, including the members of the Frontier Police, but not including the members of the Border and Customs Protection or the Secret Field Police, except such members as have been specified above. At the suggestion of the Prosecution the Tribunal does not include persons employed by the Gestapo for purely clerical, stenographic, janitorial or similar unofficial routine tasks. In dealing with the SD the Tribunal includes Amts III, VI and VII of the RSHA and all other members of the SD, including all local representatives and agents, honorary or otherwise, whether they were technically members of the SS or not.
The Tribunal declares to be criminal within the meaning of the Charter the group composed of those members of the Gestapo and SD holding the positions enumerated in the preceding paragraph who became or remained members of the organisation with knowledge that it was being used for the commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the Charter, or who were personally implicated as members of the organisation in the commission of such crimes. The basis for this finding is the participation of the organisation in war crimes and crimes against humanity connected with the war; this group declared criminal cannot include, therefore, persons who had ceased to hold the positions enumerated in the preceding paragraph prior to 1st September, 1939.
(C) The SS
Structure and Component Parts:
The Prosecution has named Die Schutzstaffeln Der Nationalsocialistischen Deutschen Arbeiterpartei (commonly known as the SS) as an organisation which should be declared criminal. The portion of the Indictment dealing with the SS also includes the Die Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsfuehrer-SS (commonly known as the SD). This latter organisation, which was originally an intelligence branch of the SS, later became an important part of the organisation of Security Police and SD and is dealt with in the Tribunal's Judgment on the Gestapo.
The SS was originally established by Hitler in 1925 as an elite section of the SA for political purposes under the pretext of protecting speakers at public meetings of the Nazi Party. After the Nazis had obtained power the SS was used to maintain order and control audiences at mass demonstrations and was given the additional duty of " internal security " by a decree of the Fuehrer. The SS played an important role at the time of the Roehm purge of 30th June, 1934, and, as a reward for its services, was made an independent unit of the Nazi Party shortly thereafter.
In 1929, when Himmler was first appointed as Reichs Fuehrer the SS consisted of 980 men who were regarded as especially trustworthy. In 1933, it was composed of 52,000 men drawn from all walks of life. The original formation of the SS was the Allgemeine SS, which by 1939 had grown to a corps of 240,000 men, organised on military lines into divisions and regiments. During the war its strength declined to well under 40,000.
The SS originally contained two other formations, the SS Verfuegungstruppe, a force consisting of SS members who volunteered for four years armed service in lieu of compulsory service with the Army, and the SS Totenkopf Verbaende, special troops employed to guard concentration camps, which came under the control of the SS in 1934. The SS Verfuegungstruppe was organised as an armed unit to be employed with the Army in the event of mobilisation. In the summer of 1939, the Verfuegungstruppe was equipped as a motorised division to form the nucleus of the forces which came to be known in 1940 as the Waffen SS. In that year the Waffen SS comprised 100,000 men, 56,000 coming from the Verfuegungsiruppe and the rest from the Allgemeine SS and the Totenkopf Verbaende. At the end of the war it is estimated to have consisted of about 580,000 men and 40 divisions. The Waffen SS was under the tactical command of the Army, but was equipped and supplied through the administrative branches of the SS and under SS disciplinary control.
The SS Central Organisation had 12 main offices. The most important of these were the RSHA, which has already been discussed, the WVHA or Economic Administration Main Office which administered concentration camps along with its other duties, a Race and Settlement Office together with auxiliary offices for repatriation of racial Germans (Volksdeutschemittelstelle). The SS Central Organisation also had a legal office and the SS possessed its own legal system; and its personnel were under the jurisdiction of special courts. Also attached to the SS main offices was a research foundation known as the Experiments Ahnenerbe. The scientists attached to this organisation are stated to have been mainly honorary members of the SS. During the war an institute for military scientific research became attached to the Ahnenerbe which conducted extensive experiments involving the use of living human beings. An employee of this institute was a certain Dr. Rascher, who conducted these experiments with the full knowledge of the Ahnenerbe, which was subsidised and under the patronage of the Reichsfuehrer SS who was a trustee of the foundation.
Beginning in 1933 there was a gradual but thorough amalgamation of the police and SS. In 1936 Himmler, the Reichs Fuehrer SS, became Chief of the German Police with authority over the regular uniformed police as well as the Security Police. Himmler established a system under which Higher SS and Police Leaders, appointed for each Wehrkreis, served as his personal representatives in coordinating the activities of the Order Police, Security Police and SD and Allgemeine SS within their jurisdictions. In 1939 the SS and police systems were coordinated by taking into the SS all officials of the Security and Order Police, at SS ranks equivalent to their rank in the police.
Until 1940 the SS was an entirely voluntary organisation. After the formation of the Waffen SS in 1940 there was a gradually increasing number of conscripts into the Waffen SS. It appears that about a third of the total number of people joining the Waffen SS were conscripts, that the proportion of conscripts was higher at the end of the war than at the beginning, but that there continued to be a high proportion of volunteers until the end of the war.
SS units were active participants in the steps leading up to aggressive war. The Verfuegungstruppe was used in the occupation of the Sudetenland, of Bohemia and Moravia and of Memel. The Henlein Free Corps was under the jurisdiction of the Reichs Fuehrer SS for operations in the Sudetenland in 1938 and the Volksdeutschemittelstelle financed fifth column activities there.
The SS was even a more general participant in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Through its control over the organisation of the Police, particularly the Security Police and SD, the SS was involved in all the crimes which have been outlined in the section of this Judgment dealing with the Gestapo and SD. Other branches of the SS were equally involved in these criminal programmes. There is evidence that the shooting of unarmed prisoners of war was the general practice in some Waffen SS divisions. On 1st October, 1944, the custody of prisoners of war and interned persons was transferred to Himmler, who in turn transferred prisoner of war affairs to SS Obergruppenfuehrer Berger and to SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl. The Race and Settlement Office of the SS together with the Volksdeutschemiittelstelle were active in carrying out schemes for Germanisation of occupied territories according to the racial principles of the Nazi Party and were involved in the deportation of Jews and other foreign nationals. Units of the Waffen SS and Einsatzgruppen operating directly under the SS main office were used to carry out these plans. These units were also involved in the widespread murder and ill-treatment of the civilian population of occupied territories Under the guise of combating partisan units, units of the SS exterminated Jews and people deemed politically undesirable by the SS, and their reports record the execution of enormous numbers of persons. Waffen SS divisions were responsible for many massacres and atrocities in occupied territories such as the massacres at Oradour and Lidice.
From 1934 onwards the SS was responsible for the guarding and administration of concentration camps. The evidence leaves no doubt that the consistently brutal treatment of the inmates of concentration camps was carried out as a result of the general policy of the SS, which was that the inmates were racial inferiors to be treated only with contempt. There is evidence that where manpower considerations permitted, Himmler wanted to rotate guard battalions so that all members of the SS would be instructed as to the proper attitude to take to inferior races. After 1942 when the concentration camps were placed under the control of the WVHA they were used as a source of slave labour. An agreement made with the Ministry of Justice on 18th September, 1942, provided that anti-social elements who had finished prison sentences were to be delivered to the SS to be worked to death. Steps were continually taken, involving the use of the Security Police and SD and even the Waffen SS, to insure that the SS had an adequate supply of concentration camp labour for its projects.
In connection with the administration of the concentration camps, the SS embarked on a series of experiments on human beings which were performed on prisoners of war or concentration camp inmates. These experiments included freezing to death, and killing by poison bullets. The SS was able to obtain an allocation of Government funds for this kind of research on the grounds that they had access to human material not available to other agencies.
The SS played a particularly significant role in the persecution of the Jews. The SS was directly involved in the demonstrations of 10th November, 1938. The evacuation of the Jews from occupied territories was carried out under the directions of the SS with the assistance of SS Police units. The extermination of the Jews was carried out under the direction of the SS central organisation. It was actually put into effect by SS formations. The Einsatzgruppen engaged in wholesale massacres of the Jews. SS police units were also involved. For example, the massacre of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto was carried out under the directions of the SS Brigadefuehrer and Major General of the Police Stroup. A special group from the SS central organisation arranged for the deportation of Jews from various Axis satellites and their extermination was carried out in the concentration camps run by the WVHA.
It is impossible to single out any one portion of the SS which was not involved in these criminal activities. The Allgemeine SS was an active participant in the persecution of the Jews and was used as a source of concentration camp guards. Units of the Waffen SS were directly involved in the killing of prisoners of war and the atrocities in occupied countries. It supplied personnel for the Einsatzgruppen, and had command over the concentration camp guards after its absorption of the Totenkopf SS, which originally controlled the system. Various SS Police units were also widely used in the atrocities in occupied countries and the extermination of the Jews there. The SS central organisation supervised the activities of these various formations and was responsible for such special projects as the human experiments and " final solution " of the Jewish question.
The Tribunal finds that knowledge of these criminal activities was sufficiently general to justify declaring that the SS was a criminal organisation to the extent hereinafter described. It does appear that an attempt was made to keep secret some phases of its activities, but its criminal programmes were so widespread, and involved slaughter on such a gigantic scale, that its criminal activities must have been widely known. It must be recognised, moreover, that the criminal activities of the SS followed quite logically from the principles on which it was organised. Every effort had been made to make the SS a highly disciplined organisation composed of the elite of National Socialism. Himmler had stated that there were people in Germany " who become sick when they see these black coats " and that he did not expect that " they should be loved by too many ". Himmler also indicated his view that the SS was concerned with perpetuating the elite racial stock with the object of making Europe a Germanic Continent and the SS was instructed that it was designed to assist the Nazi Government in the ultimate domination of Europe and the elimination of all inferior races. This mystic and fanatical belief in the superiority of the Nordic German developed into the studied contempt and even hatred of other races which led to criminal activities of the type outlined above being considered as a matter of course if not a matter of pride. The actions of a soldier in the Waffen SS who in September, 1939, acting entirely on his own initiative, killed fifty Jewish labourers whom he had been guarding, Were described by the statement that as an SS man, he was " particularly sensitive to the sight of Jews ", and had acted quite thoughtlessly in a youthful spit of adventure " and a sentence of three years' imprisonment imposed on him was dropped under an amnesty. Hess wrote with truth that the Waffen SS were more suitable for the specific tasks to be solved in occupied territory owing to their extensive training in questions of race and nationality. Himmler, in a series of speeches made in 1943, indicated his pride in the ability of the SS to carry out these criminal acts. He encouraged his men to be "tough and ruthless" he spoke of shooting " thousands of leading Poles ", and thanked them for their cooperation and lack of squeamishness at the sight of hundreds and thousands of corpses of their victims. He extolled ruthlessness in exterminating the Jewish race and later described this process as " delousing". These speeches show the general attitude prevailing; the SS was consistent with these criminal acts
The SS was utilised for the purposes which were criminal under the Charter involving the persecution and extermination of the Jews, brutalities and killings in concentration camps, excesses in the administration of occupied territories, the administration of the slave labour programme and the mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war. The defendant Kaltenbrunner was a member of the SS implicated in these activities. In dealing with the SS the Tribunal includes all persons who had been officially accepted as members of the SS including the members of the Allgemeine SS, members of the Waffen SS, members of the SS Totenkopf Verbaende and the members of any of the different police forces who were members of the SS. The Tribunal does not include the so-called SS riding units. The Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsfuehrer SS (commonly known as the SD) is dealt with in the Tribunal's Judgment on the Gestapo and SD.
Tribunal declares to be criminal within the meaning of the Charter the group composed of those persons who had been officially accepted as members of the SS as enumerated in the preceding paragraph who became or remained members of the organisation with knowledge that it was being used for the commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the Charter or who were personally implicated as members of the organisation in the commission of such crimes, excluding, however, those who were drafted into membership by the State in such a way as to give them no choice in the matter, and who had committed no such crimes. The basis of this finding is the participation of the organisation in war crimes and crimes against humanity connected with the war; this group declared criminal cannot include, therefore, persons who had ceased to belong to the organisations enumerated in the preceding paragraph prior to 1st September, 1939.
Structure and Component Parts:
The prosecution has named Die Sturmabteilungen der Nationalsozialistischen Deutschen Arbeiterpartei (commonly known as the SA) as an organisation which should be declared criminal. The SA was founded in 1921 for political purposes. It was organised on military lines. Its members wore their own uniforms and had their own discipline and regulations.
After the Nazis had obtained power the SA greatly increased in membership due to the incorporation within it of certain veterans' organisations. In April, 1933, the Stahlheim, an organisation of one and a half million members, was transferred into the SA, with the exception of its members over 45 years of age and some others, pursuant to an agreement between their leader Seldte and Hitler. Another veterans' organisation, the so-called Kyffhauserbund, was transferred in the same manner, together with a number of rural riding organisations.
Until 1933, there is no question but that membership in the SA was voluntary. After 1933 civil servants were under certain political and economic pressure to join the SA. Members of the Stahlheim, the Kyffhauserbund and the rural riding associations were transferred into the SA without their knowledge but the Tribunal is not satisfied that the members in general endeavoured to protest against this transfer or that there was any evidence, except in isolated cases, of the consequences of refusal. The Tribunal therefore finds that membership in the SA was generally voluntary.
By the end of 1933 the SA was composed of four and a half million men. As a result of changes made after 1934, in 1939 the SA numbered one and a half million men.
In the early days of the Nazi movement the storm troopers of the SA acted as the " strong arm of the Party ". They took part in the beer hall feuds and were used for street fighting in battles against political opponents. The SA was also used to disseminate Nazi ideology and propaganda and placed particular emphasis on anti-Semitic propaganda, the doctrine of " Lebensraum ", the revision of the Versailles Treaty and the return of Germany's colonies.
After the Nazi advent to power, and particularly after the elections of 5th March, 1933, the SA layed an important role in establishing a Nazi reign of terror over Germany. The SA was involved in outbreaks of violence against the Jews and was used to arrest political opponents and to guard concentration camps, where they subjected their prisoners to brutal mistreatment.
On 30th June and 1st and 2nd July, 1934, a purge of SA leaders occurred. The pretext which was iven for this purge, which involved the killing of Roehm, the Chief of Staff of the SA, and many other SA leaders, was the existence of a plot against Hitler. This purge resulted in a great reduction in the influence and power of the SA. After 1934, it rapidly declined in political significance.
After 1934 the SA engaged in certain forms of military or pare-military training. The SA continued to engage in the dissemination of Nazi propaganda. Isolated units of the SA were even involved in the steps leading up to aggressive war and in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
SA units were among the first in the occupation of Austria in March, 1938. The SA supplied many of the men and a large part of the equipment which composed the Sudeten Free Corps of Henlein, although it appears that the corps was under the jurisdiction of SS during its operation in Czechoslovakia.
After the occupation of Poland, the SA group Sudeten was used for transporting prisoners of war. Units of the SA were employed in the guarding of prisoners in Danzig, Posen, Silesia and the Baltic states.
Some SA units were used to blow up synagogues in the Jewish pogrom of the 10th and 11th of November, 1938. Groups of the SA were concerned in the ill treatment of Jews in the Ghettos of Vilna and Kaunas.
Up until the purge beginning on 30th June, 1934, the SA was a group composed in large part of ruffians and bullies who participated in the Nazi outrages of that period. It has not been shown, however, that these atrocities were part of a specific plan to wage aggressive war, and the Tribunal therefore cannot hold that these activities were criminal under the Charter. After the purge, the SA was reduced to the status of a group of unimportant Nazi hangers-on. Although in specific instances some units of the SA were used for the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity, it cannot be said that its members generally participated in or even knew of the criminal acts. For these reasons the Tribunal does not declare the SA to be a criminal organisation within the meaning of Article 9 of the Charter.
(E) The Reich Cabinet
The prosecution has named as a criminal organisation the Reich Cabinet (Die Reichsregierung) onsisting of members of the ordinary cabinet after 30th January, 1933, members of the Council of Ministers for the defence of the Reich and members of the Secret Cabinet Council. The Tribunal is of opinion that no declaration of criminality should be made with respect to the Reich Cabinet for two reasons: (1) because it is not shown that after 1931 it ever really acted as a group or organisation, (2) because the group of persons here charged is so small that members could be conveniently tried in proper cases without resort to a declaration that the Cabinet of which they were members was criminal.
As to the first reason for our decision, it is to be observed that from the time that it can be said that a conspiracy to make aggressive war existed the Reich Cabinet did not constitute a governing body, but was merely an aggregation of administrative officers subject to the absolute control of Hitler. Not a single meeting of the Reich Cabinet was held after 1937, but laws were promulgated in the name of one or more of the cabinet members. The Secret Cabinet Council never met at all. A number of the cabinet members were undoubtedly involved in the conspiracy to make aggressive war; but they were involved as individuals, and there is no evidence that the cabinet as a group or organisation took any part in these crimes. It will be remembered that when Hitler disclosed his aims of criminal aggression at the Hoszbach Conference, the disclosure was not made before the cabinet and that the cabinet was not consulted with regard to it, but, on the contrary, that it was made secretly to a small group upon whom Hitler would necessarily rely in carrying on the war. Likewise no cabinet order authorised the invasion of Poland. On the contrary, the defendant Schacht testifies that he sought to stop the invasion by a plea to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army that Hitler's order was in violation of the Constitution because not authorised by the cabinet.
It does appear, however, that various laws authorising acts which were criminal under the Charter were circulated among the members of the Reich Cabinet and issued under its authority signed by the members whose departments were concerned. This does not, however, prove that the Reich Cabinet, after 1937, ever really acted as an organisation.
As to the second reason, it is clear that those members of the Reich Cabinet who have been guilty of crimes should be brought to trial, and a number of them are now on trial before the Tribunal. It is estimated that there are 48 members of the group, that eight of these are dead and 17 are now on trial, leaving only 23 at the most, as to whom the declaration could have any importance. Any others who are, guilty should also be brought to trial; but nothing would be accomplished to expedite or facilitate their trials by declaring the Reich Cabinet to be a criminal organisation. Where an organisation with a large membership is used for such purposes, a declaration obviates the necessity of inquiring as to its criminal character in the later trial of members who are accused of participating through membership in its criminal purposes and thus saves much time and trouble. There is no such advantage in the case of a small group like the Reich Cabinet.
(F) General Staff and High Command
The prosecution has also asked that the General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces be declared a criminal organisation. The Tribunal believes that no declaration of criminality should be made with respect to the General Staff and High Command. The number of persons charged, while larger than that of the Reich Cabinet, is still so small that individual trials of these officers would accomplish the purpose here sought better than a declaration such as is requested. But a more compelling reason is that in the opinion of the Tribunal the General Staff and High Command is neither an " organisation " nor a " group " within the meaning of those terms as used in Article 9 of the Charter.
Some comment on the nature of this alleged group is requisite. According to the Indictment and evidence before the Tribunal, it consists of approximately 130 officers, living and dead, who at any time during the period from February, 1938, when Hitler reorganised the Armed Forces, and May, 1945, when Germany surrendered, held certain positions in the military hierarchy. These men were high-ranking officers in the three armed services: OKH-Army, OKM-Navy, and OKL-Air Force. Above them was the over-all armed forces authority, OKW-High Command of the German Armed Forces with Hitler as the Supreme Commander. The Officers in the OKW, including defendant Keitel as Chief of the High Command were in a sense Hitler's personal staff. In the larger sense they co-ordinated and directed the three services, with particular emphasis on the functions of planning and operations.
The individual officers in this alleged group were, at one time or another, in one of four categories:
(1) Commanders-in-Chief of one of the three services;
(2) Chief of Staff of one of the three services;
(3) "Oberbefehlshabers", the field commanders-in-chief of one of the three services, which of course comprised, by far the largest number of these persons; or
(4) an OKW officer, of which there were three, defendants Keitel and Jodl, and the latter's Deputy Chief, Warlimont.
This is the meaning of the Indictment in its use of the term "General Staff and High Command ".
The Prosecution has here drawn the line. The Prosecution does not indict the next level of the military hierarchy consisting of commanders of army corps, and equivalent ranks in the Navy and Air Force, nor the level below, the division commanders or their equivalent in the other branches. And the staff officers of the four staff commands of OKW, OKH, OKM, and OKL are not included, nor are the trained specialists who were customarily called General Staff officers.
In effect, then, those indicted as members are military leaders of the Reich of the highest rank. No serious effort was made to assert that they composed an " organisation " in the sense of Article 9. The assertion is rather that they were a " group ", which is a wider and more embracing term than " organisation ".
The Tribunal does not so find. According to the evidence, their planning at staff level, the constant conferences between staff officers and field commanders, their operational technique in the field and at headquarters was much the same as that of the armies, navies and air forces of all other countries. The over-all effort of OKW at co-ordination and direction could be matched by a similar, though not identical form of organisation in other military forces, such as the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff.
To derive from this pattern of their activities the existence of an association or group does not, in the opinion of the Tribunal, logically follow. On such a theory the top commanders of every other nation are just such an association rather than what they actually are, an aggregation of military men, a number of individuals who happen at a given period of time to hold the high-ranking military positions.
Much of the evidence and the argument has centred around the question of whether membership in these organisations was or was not voluntary; in this case, it seems to the Tribunal to be quite beside the point. For this alleged criminal organisation has one characteristic, a controlling one, which sharply distinguishes it from the other five indicted. When an individual became a member of the SS for instance, he did so, voluntarily or otherwise, but certainly with the knowledge that he was joining something. In the case of the General Staff and High Command, however, he could not know he was joining a group or organisation, for such organisation did not exist except in the charge of the Indictment. He knew only that he had achieved a certain high rank in one of the three services, and could not be conscious of the fact that he was becoming a member of anything so tangible as a " group," as that word is commonly used. His relations with his brother officers in his own branch of the service and his association with those of the other two branches were, in general, like those of other services all over the world.
The Tribunal therefore does not declare the General Staff and High Command to be a criminal organisation.
Although the Tribunal is of the opinion that the term " group " in Article 9 must mean something more than this collection of military officers, it has heard much evidence as to the participation of these officers in planning and waging aggressive war, and in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. This evidence is, as to many of them, clear and convincing.
They have been responsible in large measure for the miseries and suffering that have fallen on millions of men, women and children. They have been a disgrace to the honourable profession of arms. Without their military guidance the aggressive ambitions of Hitler and his fellow Nazis would have been academic and sterile. Although they were not a group falling within the words of the Charter they were certainly a ruthless military caste. The contemporary German militarism flourished briefly with its recent ally, National Socialism, as well as or better than it had in the generations of the past.
Many of these men have made a mockery of the soldier's oath of obedience to military orders. When it suits their defence they say they had to obey; when confronted with Hitler's brutal crimes, which are shown to have been within their general knowledge, they say they disobeyed. The truth is they actively participated in all these crimes, or sat silent and acquiescent, witnessing the commission of crimes on a scale larger and more shocking than the world has ever had the misfortune to know. This must be said.
Where the facts warrant it, these men should be brought to trial so that those among them who are guilty of these crimes should not escape punishment.
International Criminal Court
Published online by Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights - 27 May 2002