Source: Nazi Conspiracy and Aggresion. Vol. II. USGPO, Washington, 1946,pp.593-616

[Note: The characters in brackets, eg, (2233-N-PS) refer to the official document numbers included in the series Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression.  A list of legal references and documents relating to Alfred Rosenberg is on pages 616-624.  For information on the referencing of Internet sources see Chapter 4 of S D Stein Learning, Teaching and Researching on the Internet. Addison Wesley Longman 1999-published Nov.1998]

Error Submission Form

Individual Responsibility of Defendants

Alfred Rosenberg

Political Career
Role as Ideologist
Activities Abroad in Preparation for Waging of Aggressive War
Role in Conspiracy to Commit War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in Occupied Eastern Territories


The political career of Alfred Rosenberg embraced the entire history of National Socialism and permeated nearly every phase of the conspiracy, In order to obtain a full conception of his influence upon and participation in the conspiracy, it is necessary to review his political history and to consider each of his political activities in their relation to the thread of the conspiracy, which stretches from the inception of the party in 1919 to the defeat of Germany in 1945.

It is interesting to note that for Rosenberg the 30th of November 1918 marked the

"Beginning of political activities with a lecture about the 'Jewish Problem' ".(2886-PS)

An official German pamphlet entitled, "Dates in the History of the NSDAP", discloses that Rosenberg was a member of the German Labor Party (afterwards the National Socialist German Workers Party) in January 1919, and that Hitler joined forces with Rosenberg and his colleagues in October of the same year (3557-PS) . Thus, Rosenberg was a member of the National Socialist movement even before Hitler himself.

An extract from "Das Deutsch Fuehrer Lexikon", 1934/ 35 (3530-PS) completes the biographical data on Rosenberg:

"From 1921 until the present, editor of the Voelkische Beobachter; editor of the 'N. S. Monatshefte'; 1930, Reichstag deputy and representative of the foreign policy of the movement: since April 1933, leader of the foreign political office of the NSDAP; then designated as Reichsleiter; January 1934, deputized by the Fuehrer for the spiritual and philosophical education of the NSDAP, the German labor front and all related organizations" (3530-PS) .

In July 1941 Rosenberg was appointed Reichsminister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. (2886-PS)


Rosenberg was the official National Socialist ideologist. Through the ideological tenets which he expounded he exerted an influence upon the unification of German thought, a unification which was an essential part of the conspirator's program for seizure of power and preparation for aggressive war.

Rosenberg wrote extensively on, and actively participated in, virtually every aspect of the National Socialist program. His first publication was the "Nature, Basic Principles, and Aims of the NSDAP", which appeared in 1922. Rosenberg spoke of this book in the following terms:

"During this time (that is, during the early phase of the party) a short thesis was written, which nevertheless is significant in the history of the NSDAP. It was always being asked what points of program the NSDAP had and how they each were to be interpreted. Therefore, I wrote the principal program and aims of the NSDAP, and this writing made the first permanent connection between Munich and local organizations being organized and friends within the Reich." (3054-PS)

Thus, the original draftsman of and spokesman for the party program was Rosenberg.

Without attempting to survey the entire ideological program advanced by Rosenberg in his various writings and speeches, certain of his statements may be considered as indicating the nature and scope of the ideological program which he championed. There was not a single basic tenet of the Nazi philosophy which was not given authoritative expression by Rosenberg.

(1) The theory of racism. Rosenberg wrote the "Myth of the Twentieth Century", published in 1930. At page 479 of this work (3553-PS), Rosenberg expressed the following views on the race question:

"The essence of the contemporary world revolution lies in the awakening of the racial types, not in Europe alone but on the whole planet. This awakening is the organic counter movement against the last chaotic remnants of liberal economic imperialism, whose object of exploitation out of desperation has fallen into the snare of Bolshevik Marxism, in order to complete what democracy had begun, the extirpation of the racial and national consciousness." (3553-PS)

(2) "Lebensraum". Rosenberg expounded the "Lebensraum" idea, which was utilized as the dynamic impulse behind Germany's waging of aggressive war. In his journal, the "National Socialist Monatshefte" for May 1932, he wrote :

"The understanding that the German nation, if it is not to perish in the truest sense of the word, needs ground and soil for itself and its future generations, and the second sober perception that this soil can no more be conquered in Africa, but in Europe and first of all in the East-these organically determine the German foreign policy for centuries." (2777-PS)

(3) Persecution of Christian Churches. Rosenberg expressed his theory as to the place of religion in the National Socialist State in the "Myth of the Twentieth Century", additional excerpts from which are cited in (2891-PS):

"We now realize that the central supreme values of the Roman and the Protestant Churches, being a negative Christianity, do not respond to our soul, that they hinder the organic powers of the peoples determined by their Nordic race, that they must give way to them, that they will have to be remodeled to conform to a Germanic Christendom. Therein lies the meaning of the present religious search." (2891-PS)

In the place of traditional Christianity, Rosenberg sought to implant the neo-pagan myth of the blood. At page 114 in the "Myth of the Twentieth Century" (2891-PS) he stated:

"Today, a new faith is awakening-the Myth of the Blood, the belief that the divine being of mankind generally is to be defended with the blood. The faith embodied by the fullest realization, that the Nordic blood constitutes that mystery which has supplanted and overwhelmed the old sacraments."

Rosenberg's attitudes on religion were accepted as the only philosophy compatible with National Socialism. In 1940 Bormann, in writing to Rosenberg, made this statement:

"The churches cannot be conquered by a compromise between National Socialism and Christian teachings, but only through a new ideology whose coming you yourself have announced in your writings." (098-PS)

Rosenberg actively participated in the program for elimination of church influence. Bormann frequently wrote Rosenberg in this regard, furnishing him information as to proposed action to be instituted against the churches and, where necessary, requesting that action be taken by Rosenberg's department. See 070-PS dealing with the abolition of religious services in the schools; 072-PS dealing with the confiscation of religious property ; 064-PS dealing with the inadequacy of anti-religious material circulated to the soldiers ; 089-PS dealing with the curtailment of the publication of Protestant periodicals; and 122-PS dealing with the closing of theological faculties.

(4) Persecution of the Jews. Rosenberg was particularly zealous in his pursuit of the "Jewish Question". On 28 March on the occasion of the opening of the Institute for the Exploration of the Jewish Question, he set the keynote for its activities and indicated the direction which the exploration was to take. He spoke in part as follows:

"For Germany the Jewish Question is only then solved when the Last Jew has left the Greater German space. "Since Germany with its blood and its nationalism has now broken for always this Jewish dictatorship for all Europe and has seen to it that Europe as a whole will become free from the Jewish parasitism once more, we may, I believe, also say for all Europeans: For Europe the Jewish question is only then solved when the last Jew has left the European continent." (2889-PS)

Rosenberg had called an Anti-Jewish Congress in June 1944, but the Congress was cancelled due to military events. (1752-B')

Rosenberg did not overlook any opportunity to put these anti-Semitic beliefs into practice. He recommended for instance that instead of executing 100 Frenchmen as retaliation for attempts on lives of members of the Wehrmacht, there be executed 100 Jewish bankers, lawyers, etc. (001-PS) . The recommendation was made with the avowed purpose of awakening the anti-Jewish sentiment.

(5) Abolition of Versailles Treaty. In the realm of foreign policy, in addition to demanding "Lebensraum," Rosenberg called for elimination of the Treaty of Versailles, and cast aside any thought of revision of that treaty. In his book, "Nature, Principles and Aims of the NSDAP", Rosenberg wrote:

"The National Socialists reject the popular phrase of the 'Revision of the Peace of Versailles' as such a revision might perhaps bring a few numerical reductions in the so-called 'obligations, ' but the entire German people would still be, just as before, the slave of other nations." * * * * * * *
" 'We demand equality for the German people with other nations, the cancellation of the peace treaties of Versailles and St. Germain.' " (2433-PS)

(6) Foreign Nazi Penetration. Rosenberg conceived of the spread of National Socialism throughout the world and, as will be subsequently shown, took an active part in promoting the infection of other nations with his creed. In the "Nature, Principles and Aims of the NSDAP", he stated:

"But National Socialism still believes that its principles and ideology though in individually different suitable ways of fight according to racial-national conditions--will be directives far beyond the borders of Germany for the inevitable fights for power in other countries of Europe and America. There too a decision of ideas must take place, and the racial-nationalistic fight against the ever similar loan-capitalistic and Marxist internationalism must be taken up. National Socialism believes that once the great world battle is concluded, after the defeat of the present epoch, there will be a time when the swastika will be woven into the different banners of the Germanic peoples as the Aryan symbol of rejuvenation." (2433-PS)

Thus, Rosenberg gave authoritative expression to the basic tenets upon which National Socialism was founded, and through the exploitation of which the conspiracy was crystallized in action.

(7) Ideological training and education. Rosenberg's value to the conspiratorial program found official recognition in his appointment in 1934 as the Fuehrer's Delegate for the Entire Spiritual and Philosophical Education and Supervision of the NSDAP. His activities in this capacity were many and varied. The National Socialist Year Book for the year 1938, at page 180, describes as follows the functions of Rosenberg's office as the Fuehrer's delegate :

"The sphere of activity of the Fuehrer's Commissioner for all spiritual and ideological instruction and education of the movement, its organization, including the 'Strength through Joy', extends to the detailed execution of all the educational work of the Party and of the affiliated bodies. The office, set up by Reichsleiter Rosenberg, has the task of preparing the ideological educational material, of carrying out the teaching programme, and is responsible for the education of those teachers suited to this educational and instructional work." (353l-PS)

As the Fuehrer's delegate, Rosenberg thus supervised all ideological education and training in the Party.

It was Rosenberg's belief that upon the performance of his new functions as ideological delegate depended the future of National Socialism. An excerpt from an article by Rosenberg appearing on. page 9 of the March 1934 issue of "The Educational Letter" states:

"The focus of all our educationalwork from now on is the service for this ideology, and itdepends on the result of these efforts, whether National Socialism will be buried with our fighting ancestors or whether, as we believe, it really represents the beginning of a new era." (3532-PS)

In his capacity as the Fuehrer's Delegate for Spiritual and Ideological Training, Rosenberg assisted in the preparation of the curriculum for the Adolf Hitler schools. These schools selected the most suitable candidates from the Hitler Jugend and trained them for leadership within the Party. They were the elite schools of National Socialism. An excerpt from "Documents of German Politics" reads as follows:

"Voelkischer Beobachter, 19 January 1937.-' As stated by Dr. Ley, Reichsorganisationsleiter, on 23 November 1937 at Ordensburg Sonthofen, these Adolf Hitler Schools, as the first step of the principle of selecting a special elite, form an important branch in the educational system of the National Socialist training of future leaders [Fuehrernuchwuchs] ' "Voelkischer Beobachter dated 24 November 1937.-* * * The curriculum has been laid down by Reichsleiter Rosenberg, together with the Reichsorganisationsleiter and the Reich Youth Leader." (3529-PS)

Rosenberg exercised further influence in the education of Party members through the establishment of community schools for all organizations of the Party. The following statement is taken from the 1934 edition of "Das Dritte Reich:

"We support the request of the Fuehrer's Commissioner for the supervision of the whole spiritual and ideological training and instruction of the NSDAP, Party member Alfred Rosenberg, to organize community schools of all organizations of the NSDAP twice a year, in order to show by this common effort the ideological and political unity of the NSDAP and the steadfastness of the National Socialist will." (3528-PS)

Rosenberg's program was endorsed by Schirach as well as by Himmler, Ley, and others. Virtually every phase of National Socialist training came under Rosenberg's influence, and unified ideological concepts were in. culcated in every echelon of the party due to his influence. The 1936 edition of "Das Dritte Reich", under the heading "Education in the Ordensburg" states:

"Those Party members, selected for training in leadership in accordance with such points of view (who must have completed their labor service and their military service satisfactorily) are to be taught in the Ordensburgen by the best teachers in history and science of race, philosophy and culture, economics and specialized training, etc. To determine the ideological direction of this education, to choose suitable teachers and to train them, is one of the tasks of the Senior School of the Party [Hohe Schule der Partei] which is to be established in the near future and will be placed under the direction of the Reich Leader Party member Alfred Rosenberg in his capacity as Delegate of the Fuehrer for the Supervision of the Entire Spiritual and Ideological Teaching and Education of the NSDAP." (3552-PS)

(8) Plunder of art treasures. In his capacity as the Fuehrer's delegate, Rosenberg established the Institute for the Exploration of the Jewish Question, in Frankfort on Main. (This institute, commonly known as the "Hohe Schule", has been referred to in the discussion of the Plunder of Art Treasures in Chapter XIV.) Into its library there flowed books, documents, and manuscripts which were looted from virtually every country of occupied Europe. As Ideological Delegate Rosenberg conducted the fabulous art looting activities of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg, activities which extended to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, the Occupied Eastern Territories, Hungary, and Greece. The extent of the plunder is indicated in document 1015B-PS which contains a detailed account of the seizure of over 21,000 valuable objects of art, and in document L-l 88 in which the looting of the contents of over 71,000 Jewish homes is described.

The importance of Rosenberg's activities as official ideologist of the Nazi party was not overlooked. The Hart biography of Rosenberg, entitled, "The Man and His Work" (3559-PS), states that Rosenberg won the German National prize in 193'7. The creation of this prize was the Nazis' petulant reply to the award of the Nobel prize to Carlin Assietsky, an inmate, of a German concentration camp. The citation which accompanied the award to Rosenberg read as follows:

"Alfred Rosenberg has helped with his publications to lay the scientific and intuitive foundation and to strengthen the philosophy of the National Socialist in the most excellent way. His indefatigable struggle to keep National Socialist philosophy clean was especially meritorious, Only future times will be able to fully estimate the depth of the influence of this man on the philosophical foundation of the National Socialist and beyond that, gratified that the Reich. The National Socialist movement, the entire German people, will be deeply Fuehrer has distinguished Alfred Rosenberg as one of his oldest and most faithful fighting comrades by awarding him the German National Prize." (3559-PS)

The contribution which Rosenberg's book, "The Myth of the Twentieth Century," made to Nazi ideological propaganda was appraised in the November 1942 edition of the official National Socialist book review publication, "Bucher Kunde", as follows:

"Next to the Fuehrer's book it has contributed to a unique extent to the rise and the spiritual and physical development of this people. Twelve years after Alfred Rosenberg's 'Mythus' first appeared, a million copies of the book have been published and circulated." * * *
"It must therefore be stated that the phrases coined by Alfred Rosenberg have passed into the consciousness of the whole people, and it is just today that they are proving pillars of an ideological building whose completion is the purpose of the fight being waged not least today." (3554-PS)

The significance of ideological training in promoting the aims of the conspiracy is emphasized in a brief statement which Hitler made to his supreme commanders on 23 November 1939. On that occasion, Hitler said:

"The building up of our armed forces was only possible in connection with the ideological education of the German people by the Party."(789-PS)

The contribution which Rosenberg made through formulation and dissemination of National Socialist ideology was fundamental to the conspiracy. As aspostle of neo-paganism, exponent of the drive for "Lebensraum," glorifier of the myth of nordic superiority, and as one of the oldest and most energetic Nazi proponents of anti-Semitism, he contributed materially to unification of the German people behind the swastika. He provided the impetus and philosophy of National Socialism.


Rosenberg also actively contributed toward the preparation for aggressive war through the international activities of the APA (The Foreign Policy Office of the NSDAP) . Rosenberg became a Reichsleiter, the highest level of rank in the Leadership Corps, and was made chief of the Foreign Political Office of the NSDAP in April 1933 (3530-PS). The Organizational Manual of the NSDAP (2319-PS) describes the functions of the APA as including the influencing of public opinion abroad so as to convince foreign nations that Nazi Germany desires peace. The following excerpt indicates the far-flung activities of the APA:

"* * * II. 1. The APA is divided into three main offices
"A. Office for Foreign Referats with the Main Offices
a. England and Far East
b. Near East
c. South East
d. North
e. Old Orient
f. Controls, personnel questions, etc.
"B. Office of the German Academic Exchange Service.
"C. Office of Foreign Commerce.
"2. Moreover, there is in the APA a main office for the press service and an educational office." (2319-PS)

The Press activities of the APA, designed to influence world opinion in such a manner as to conceal the conspirators' true purposes and thus facilitate the preparation for waging aggressive war, were conducted on an ambitious scale. "A Short Report on the Activities of the APA of the NSDAP" describes the press activities as follows:

"* * * The Press: The Press Division of the APA is comprised of persons who together master all the languages that are in use. Daily they examine approximately 300 newspapers and deliver to the Fuehrer, the deputy Fuehrer, and all other interested offices the condensations of the important trends of the entire world press. I know that these press reports are highly praised by all who constantly follow them. The Press Division furthermore conducts an exact archives on the attitudes of the most important papers of the world and an exact archives on the most important journalists of the world. Many embarrassments during conferences in Germany could have been avoided had one consulted these archives (case of Leumas, Nurnberg, 1934; case of Dorothy Thompson ; and others). Further, the Press Division was able to arrange a host of interviews as well as conducting a great number of friendly foreign journalists to the various official representatives of Germany." (003-PS)

The nature and extent of the activities of the APA are amply disclosed in a "Report on the Activities of the Foreign Affairs Bureau of the Party from 1933 to 1943," signed by Rosenberg (007-PS). This report contains a recital of widespread activities in foreign countries. These activities range from the promotion of economic penetration, to fomentation of anti-Semitism; from cultural and political infiltration to the instigation of treason. Activities were carried on throughout the world and extended to such widely separated points as the Middle East and Brazil. (007-PS)

(1) Activities in Hungary, Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg. Much of the APA's achievements were brought about through the subtle exploitation of personal relationship. Activities in Hungary proceeded as follows:

"* * * The first foreign state visit after the seizure of power took place through the mediation of the Foreign Affairs Bureau. Julius Gombos, who in former years had himself pursued anti-Semitic and racial tendencies, had reached the Hungarian Premier's chair. The Bureau maintained a personal connection with him." (007-PS)

The APA endeavored to strengthen the War Economy by shifting the source of food imports to the Balkans:

"Motivated by reasons of War Economy, the Bureau advocated the transfer of raw material purchases from overseas to the areas accessible by overland traffic routes, i. e., primarily in the Balkans, naturally insofar as practicable. At first little heed was paid to the Bureau in these endeavors, but it later secured the active support especially of the Food Estate [Naeurstand] . Through its cooperation, e. g., on the subject of fruit and vegetable imports, a very substantial shift in the source of imports was attained, particularly through the currently initiated cooperation with Croatian and Hungarian cooperatives as well as with commercial associations all over the Balkans." (007-PS)

Activities in Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg were confined to "observation of existing conditions" and "to the establishment of relations, especially of a commercial nature." (007-PS)

(2) Activities in Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In Iran the APA achieved a high degree of economic penetration, in addition to promoting cultural relations:

"The Bureau's initative in developing, with the help of commercial circles, entirely new methods for the economic penetration of Iran found expression, in an extraordinarily favorable way, in reciprocal trade relations.
"Naturally in Germany, too, this initiative at first encountered a completely negative attitude and resistance on the part of the competent state authorities, an attitude that had first to be overcome.
"In the course of a few years the volume of trade with Iran was multiplied five-fold, and in 1939 Iran's trade turnover with Germany had attained first place. Even Soviet Russia, the competitor who had been biggest and most dreaded previously, had been eliminated from the running. Concurrently with activation of commercial relations, the Bureau had also intensified cultural relations and had, in conjunction with growing commercial influence and in closest collaboration with the Iranian Government, created a series of cultural institutions headed and directed by Germans." (007-PS)

Rosenberg further reports on APA activities in other parts of the world:

"Afghanistan's neutral position today is largely due to the Bureau's activity." * * *
"The Arab question, too, became part of the work of the Bureau. In spite of England's tutelage of Iraq the Bureau established a series of connections to a number of leading personalities of the Arab world, smoothing the way for strong bonds to Germany. In this connection, the growing influence of the Reich in Iran and Afghanistan did not fail to have repercussions in Arabia." (007-PS)

In view of the numerous "personal connections" maintained by the Bureau in many different countries, it is not difficult to surmise what Rosenberg meant when he stated at the conclusion of his report:

"The Bureau has carried out the initiating of all politically feasible projects. With the outbreak of war it [the APA] was entitled to consider its task as terminated. The exploitation of the many personal connections in many lands can be resumed under a different guise. " (Signed) Rosenberg" (007-PS)

(3) Activities in Rumania. Annex Two of the report deals with activities in Rumania. Here the APA's intrigue was more insidious, its interference in the internal affairs of a foreign nation more pronounced. After describing the failure of what Rosenberg terms a "basically sound anti-Semitic tendency", due to dynastic squabbles and party fights, Rosenberg describes the APA's influence in the unification of conflicting elements:

"What was lacking was the guiding leadership of a political personality. After manifold groping trials the Bureau believed to have found such a personality-the former Minister and poet, Octavian Goga. It was not difficult to convince this poet, pervaded by instinctive inspiration, that a Greater Romania, though it had to be created in opposition to Vienna, could be maintained only together with Berlin. Nor was it difficult to create in him the desire to link the fate of Rumania with the future of the National-Socialist German Reich in good time. By bringing continuing influence to bear, the Bureau succeeded in inducing Octavian Goga as well as Professor Cuza to amalgamate the parties under their leadership on an Anti-Semitic basis. Thus they could carry on with united strength the struggle for Rumania's renascence internally, and her Anschluss with Germany externally. Through the Bureau's initiative both parties, which had heretofore been known by distinct names, were merged as the National-Christian Party, under Goga's leadership and with Cuza as Honorary President." (007-PS, Annex II)

Rosenberg's man, Goga, was supported by two "splinter parties" which had not joined the anti-Semitic trend of these two parties. Rosenberg has this to say:

"Through intermediaries, the Bureau maintained constant contact with both tendencies, just as it constantly consulted with Goga, through Staff Director [Stabsleiter] Schickendanz, about tactics to be followed." (007-PS Annex II)

Goga was appointed Prime Minister by the King in December 1937. The influence of Rosenberg's ideology had achieved a major triumph, for he states:

"Thus a second government on racial and anti-Semitic foundations had appeared in Europe, in a country in which such an event had been considered completely impossible." (007- PS, Annex II)

Rosenberg's intrigues made a significant contribution to Nazi preparations for aggressive war, and the benefit to Germany's position in the Balkans was great. Rosenberg reports that upon Goga's resignation he left a personal heir in Marshal Antonescu, who was appointed by Goga as Minister of War against the wishes of the King. Of Antonescu Rosenberg says:

"After Goga's resignation, Antonescu still remained in the king's cabinet at Goga's wish. He also maintained continued relations with the Iron Guard. Thereby the possibility of eliminating the king was at hand-and was exploited. Antonescu today appears in practice as executor of the heritage bequested to him by Goga, who had led him from political insignificance into the political arena. Thereby a change to Germany's liking had become possible in Rumania. "( Signed) Rosenberg." (OO7-PS)

It will be recalled that on 5 September 1940 Antonescu became President of the Rumanian Council of Ministers and immediately suspended the Rumanian constitution. King Carol abdicated on the following day, and Rumania existed as a German satellite throughout the war. Rosenberg's aims had been achieved.

The substantial contribution which Rosenberg had thus made to Germany's strategic plans for aggressive war is evident from a brief review of the military action which followed in the wake of his political maneuvers. Shortly after King Carol's abdication Antonescu "invited" German troops to "protect" the Rumanian oil fields. When Hungary subscribed to the Axis pact a few weeks later, Germany acquired a continuous land bridge to the Black Sea, through Austria, Hungary, and Rumania. When Bulgaria subscribed to the Pact in March 1941, a German thrust southward through Yugoslavia and Greece became feasible, for with Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria secure, the entire German eastern flank was safe from attack. A month later, Yugoslavia and Greece were invaded. Only when they were overcome was Germany free to attack the Soviet Union. Seven weeks after the fall of Crete, Germany launched her war on the U. S. S. R. Thus, Rosenberg's intrigue in Rumania provided a vital link in the chain of the German strategy of aggression.

(4) Relations with Quisling in Norway. Rosenberg also played a leading role in the development of fifth-column activities in Norway. He fostered the development of close relations between Germany and Quisling, procured financial backing for Quisling's activities, and brought him into contact with Raeder and Hitler. Rosenberg kept the Reich informed as to internal developments in Norway through his contacts with Hagelin, Quisling's deputy, and took an active part in the development of plans for a Quisling coup in Norway. The record is clear that Rosenberg provided the inspiration and the means for the betrayal of Norway by Quisling and Hagelin-treason for which the Norwegian Government has tried, condemned, and executed them. (007-PS; C-64; C-65; C-66; OO4-PS; 957-PS)


Rosenberg participated in the conspiracy to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity in the areas of the Occupied East which he administered for over three years. This area included the Baltic States, White Ruthenia and the Ukraine, and the Eastern portion of Poland.

(The mass murder and mistreatment of the Eastern peoples, and the spoliation of their territories is discussed in Chapter X on Forced Labor, Chapter XIII on Germanization and Spoliation, Chapter XI on Concentration Camps, Chapter XII on Persecution of the Jews, Section 5 of Chapter XV on the SS, and Section 6 of Chapter XV on the Gestapo and SD.) Rosenberg bears personal responsibility for these crimes.

Rosenberg may contend that some of these crimes were committed against his wishes. There is, indeed, some evidence that he protested on occasion, not out of humanitarian reasons, but on the ground of political expediency. Rosenberg may also attempt to place the blame for these crimes on other agencies and other defendants. The documents prove, however, that he himself formulated the harsh policies in the execution of which the crimes were committed; that the crimes were committed for the most part by persons and agencies within his jurisdiction and control ; that the other agencies which participated in the commission of these crimes were invited by him to cooperate in the administration of the East, although the brutal methods customarily employed by them were common knowledge; and that his Ministry lent full cooperation to their activities despite the criminal methods that were employed.

(1) Activities as "Commissioner for the Central Control of Questions Connected with the East European Region." Rosenberg was actively participating in the affairs of the East as early as 20 April 1941, two months prior to the German attack upon the Soviet Union. On that date he was designated by Hitler as 'Commissioner for the Central Control of Questions connected with the East European Region" (865-PS). The initial preparations undertaken by Rosenberg for fulfillment of his new task indicate the extent to which he cooperated in promoting the military plans for aggression. They also show that he understood his task as requiring the assistance of a multitude of Reich agencies and that he invited their cooperation.

Shortly after his appointment by Hitler, Rosenberg conducted a series of conferences with representatives of various Reich agencies (1039-PS). Cooperation of the following agencies in the administration of the Eastern Territories was contemplated and solicited by Rosenberg:

Ministry of Economy
Commissioner for the Four Year Plan
Ministry of the Interior
Reich Youth Leadership
German Labor Front
Ministry of Labor
The SS
and the SA-( as well as several others). (1039-PS)

These arrangements, it should be noted, were made by Rosenberg in his capacity as Commissioner on Eastern Questions-before the attack on the Soviet Union, before Rosenberg was appointed Minister of the Occupied East, and before there was any Occupied Eastern Territory for Germany to administer.

(a) "Solution" of the Jewish Problem. Emphasis must be placed on Rosenberg's basic attitudes regarding his new task, and the directives he knew he would be expected to follow. On 29 April 1941 he stated:

"A general treatment is required for the Jewish problem for which a temporary solution will have to be determined (forced labor for the Jews, creation of Ghettos, etc.)" (1 024-PS)

On 8 May 1941, instructions were prepared for all Reich Commissars in the Occupied Eastern Territories (1030-PS). The last paragraph of these instructions reads as follows:

"From the point of view of cultural policy, the German Reich is in a position to promote and direct national culture and science in many fields. It will be necessary that in some territories an uprooting and resettlement of various racial stocks [ Voelkerschaften] will have to be effected." (1030-PS)

In his "Instructions for a Reich Commissar in the Baltic Countries and White Russia" (officially referred to together as the "Ostland"), Rosenberg directs that the Ostland be transformed into a part of the Greater German Reich by Germanizing racially possible elements, colonizing Germanic races, and banishing undesirable elements. (1029-PS)

In a speech delivered by Rosenberg on 20 June 1941 he stated that the job of feeding Germans was the top of Germany's claim on the East; that there was no obligation to feed also the Russian peoples; that this was a harsh necessity bare of any feeling; that a very extensive evacuation would be necessary; and that the future would hold many hard years in store for the Russians.(1058-PS)

On 22 June 1941 the German armies invaded the U. S. S. R.

(b) Deportation of Prisoners of War for Labor in the Reich. On 4 July 1941 a representative of the Rosenberg Bureau attended a conference on the subject of mobilization of labor and utilization of Soviet prisoners of war. A memorandum of this conference (1199-PS) states that among the participants were representatives of the Commissioner for the Four-Year Plan, of the Reich Labor Ministry, of the Reich Food Ministry, and of the Rosenberg Bureau. The conference proceeded as follows:

"After an introduction by Lt. Col. Dr. Krull, Lt. Col. Breyer of the P. W. department explained that actually there was in effect a prohibition by the Fuehrer against bringing Russian P. W.' s into the Reich for mobilization of labor [Arbeitseinsatx] ; but that one might count on this prohibition being relaxed a little." * * *
"The chairman summarized the results of the discussion as indicating that all the interested bureaus unqualifiedly advocated and supported the demand for utilization of P. W. 's because of manpower needs [Arbeitseinatz] in the Reich. The War Economy and Armament office will approach the Commissioner for the Four-Year Plan with a request for relaxation of the restrictive regulations and express to the Chief of Operational Staff of the Armed Forces its point of view, accordingly." (1199-PS)

(c) Germanization. On 16 July 1941, the day before Rosenberg's appointment as Minister of the Occupied East, he attended a conference at the Fuehrer's Headquarters. At that time Hitler stated that

"The Crimea has to be evacuated by all foreigners and to be settled by Germans alone." (L-221)

Hitler further stated that Germany's objectives in the East were three-fold, first, to dominate it; second, to administer it; third, to exploit it. (L-221)

Thus, the character of the administration contemplated for the Occupied East was well established before Rosenberg took office as Minister of the Occupied East. He knew of these plans and was in accord with them. Persecution of the Jews, forced labor of prisoners of war, Germanization and exploitation were basic points of policy at the time he assumed office.

(2) Activities as Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. O n 17 July 1941 Hitler appointed Rosenberg as Reichminister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, territories which included nearly all the area seized by Germany from the U. S. S. R. (1997-PS)

(a) Rosenberg's complete control over, knowledge of, and responsibility for all non-military German activities and policies in the occupied Eastern Territories. The organizational structure and chain of responsibility within the Ministry for the Occupied East emphasizes Rosenberg's responsibility.

A treatise entitled "The Organization of the Administration of the Occupied Eastern Territories" (1056-PS) is undated and unsigned, but further information regarding it may be obtained by reference to document EC-347, Goering's "Green Folder." Part II, subsection of EC-347 is entitled,

"Excerpts from the Directives of the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories for the Civilian Administration. (Brown Folder, Pt. I, pp. 25-30) ." (EC-347)

The two paragraphs which follow are identical to two paragraphs found in document 1056-PS. Thus, 1056-PS is identified as being a reproduction of Part I of the Brown Folder which was mentioned in the "Green Folder," and was issued by the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories.

The directives issued by the Rosenberg Ministry itself (1056- PS) prove the extent of Rosenberg's authority: he was the Supreme civilian authority in the Eastern Territories. There was a continuous chain of command from Rosenberg down to regional administrative officials, extending even to the local prison warden (1056-PS). The relationship which existed between the Rosenberg Ministry and other German agencies varied from full control by Rosenberg, to close cooperation with them made mandatory by his directives and by Hitler's orders. Finally, the various subdivisions of the Ministry were required to submit period-reports of the situation within their jurisdiction-so that the numerous reports of brutality which Rosenberg received were submitted to him pursuant to his orders. (1056-PS)

The treatise on the organization of Rosenberg's ministry states as follows:

"The newly occupied Eastern Territories are subordinated to the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. By directions of the Fuehrer he establishes a civil administration there upon withdrawal of the military administration. He heads and supervises the entire administration of this area and represents the sovereignty of the Reich in the occupied Eastern Territories." * * *
"To the Reich Ministry is assigned a deputy of the Reich Leader SS and Chief of the German Police in the Reich Ministry of the Interior." (1056-PS)

The responsibility of the Reich Commissars is described as follows :

"In the Reich Commissariats, Reich Commissars are responsible for the entire civil administration under the supreme authority of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories. According to the instructions of the Reich Minister for the 'Occupied Eastern Territories the Reich Commissar, as a functionary of the Reich, heads and supervises, within his precincts, the entire civil administration. Within the scope of these instructions he acts on his own responsibility.
"Subordinate offices of the Reich Commissar are:
"General Commissariats,
"Main Commissariats,
"District Commissariats." (1056-PS)

The SS was placed under Rosenberg's jurisdiction and control:

"The Higher SS-and Police Leader is directly subordinated to the Reich 'Commissar. However, the Chief of Staff has the general right to secure information from him also. His official title is:
'The Reich Commissar for the Eastern Territory
The Higher SS-and Police Leader. '
"Great stress is to be placed on close cooperation between him, the Chief of Staff, and the other Main Department Heads of the office of the Reich Commissar, particularly with the one for Policies." (l056-PS)

The scope of Rosenberg's control over the SS in the Occupied Eastern Territories is revealed in a decree signed by Rosenberg, dated 17 July 1941, and found in the Verordnungsblatt of the Reich Minister for the Occupied East, 1942 #2, pages 7 and 8. This decree provides for the creation of summary courtsmartial to punish crimes committed by non-Germans in the East, as determined by the Reich Commissar. The courts are to be presided over by a police officer or an SS leader, who have authority to order the death sentence and confiscation of property, and whose decisions are not subject to appeal. The General Commissar is given the right to reject a summary Courts' decision. Thus, the determination of the SS is subordinated to the authority of Rosenberg's Ministry.

The position of the General Commissar is defined as follows in the organizational treatise:

"The General Commissar forms the administrative office of intermediate appeal. Within his jurisdiction he heads the administration according to the general directives of the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories and the prescriptions of the Reich Commissar." * * *
"The SS-and Police Leader assigned to the General Commissar is directly subordinated to him; however, the Chief of Staff has the general right of requiring information from him." (1056-PS)

Regional Commissars are described as follows:

"The Regional Commissar heads the entire administration of the lower administrative office in the Circuit District [Kreisgebiet] in accordance with the instructions of the General Commissar and the superior offices * * * The leader of the police unit assigned to him is directly subordinated to him." (1 056-PS)

Main Commissars are described in these terms:

"Upon recommendation by the Reich Commissar the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories appoints Main Commissars for Main Districts formed by the consolidation of several Circuit Districts." (1056-PS)

The order of superiority in the service among these various officials is stated as follows:

"The Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories is the service superior of the Reich Commissar and the officials and the employees subordinate to them. The Reich Commissar is the superior of all officials and employees of his office and of the offices subordinate to him. The General Commissar is the superior of the officials and employees of his office and of the officials and employees of the offices of the Main and Regional Commissars. The Main Commissar and the Regional Commissar are the superior of the officials and employees of their offices." (1056-PS)

Thus, there is a continuous chain of command and of accountability from the Reich Minister, Rosenberg, down through each subdivision of the Ministry.

Furthermore, Rosenberg had authority to legislate for the entire area, and the jurisdiction of his Ministry was exclusive, aside from that of the military. The organizational treatise states :

"The Reich Commissars, General Commissars, Main Commissars and Regional Commissars (City Commissars) are-aside from the military agencies-the only Reich authorities [Reichsbehoerden] in the Occupied Eastern Territories. Other Reich authorities may not be established alongside them. They handle all questions of administration of the area which is subordinate to their sovereignty and all affairs which concern the organization and activity of the administration including those of the Police in the supervision of the native [landeseigenen] agencies and organizations, and of the population.
"The Reich Minister governs the occupied Eastern Territories by order of the Fuehrer. He can make the law for all the territories." (1056-PS)

The following passage shows that the economic exploitation of the territory was undertaken in fullest cooperation with the Commissioner of the Four-Year Plan:

"The Fuehrer has entrusted Reich Marshal Hermann Goering, as Commissioner for the Four Year Plan, with the supervision of the tasks of the war economy in the Occupied Eastern Territories. The economic inspectorates and economic commands are active there as his representatives [Organe] [see Green Folio], These economic inspectorates and economic commands will be substantially absorbed in the agencies of the civil administration after the establishment of the civil administration." (1056-PS)

Careful provision was made for channeling to Rosenberg complete and accurate information as to the situation throughout the territory governed by him:

"The Reich and General Commissars will determine the periods at which the subordinate agencies are to report regularly about the general situation without prejudice to the duty to provide individual reports and special delivery reports (at first, at short intervals which can be later lengthened). At first the Reich Commissars will give the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories a comprehensive report on the situation in brief form twice a month, on the first and fifteenth of each month. The Reich Minister is to be given a report by the Reich Commissar immediately about incidents of an especially important nature. The General Commissars and Regional Commissars must report directly to the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories by the quickest means particularly important incidents, as, for example, widespread unrest, more important acts of sabotage and strikes, great natural catastrophes and the like, and at the same time report them to the next superior agency." (1056-PS)

The Second Section of this organizational treatise, entitled "Working directives for the Civil Administration," contains this statement:

"* * * the Hague Rules of Land Warfare which deal with the administration of a country occupied by a foreign armed power are not valid." (1056-PS ; EC-3 47)

The document continues as follows:

"The handling of cases of sabotage is the concern of the Senior SS-and Police Leader, of the SS-and Police Leader and/ or the police leaders of the lower echelon. Insofar, however, as collective measures against the population of a definite region appear appropriate, the decision about them rests with the competent Commissar on the proposal of the Police Leader. The calling of the population for the tasks of guarding can be ordered by the Regional Commissar.
"The assessment of fines of money or goods, as well as the ordering of the seizure of hostages and the shooting of inhabitants of the territory in which the acts of sabotage have taken place, can only be by the General Commissar, insofar as the Reich Commissar himself does not intervene." * * *
"The District Commissar is responsible for the supervision of all prisons, insofar as the Reich Commissar does not decree otherwise." (1056-PS ; EC-847)

(b) Rosenberg's Use of His Authority and Power for Criminal Purposes. The manner in which Rosenberg's authority and power were wielded is illustrated in other sections of this volume, which show that in the Eastern Territories millions of Jews were exterminated; that millions of slave laborers were pressed into service under indescribable conditions; that the populace was degraded, starved, beaten, and murdered; and that the country was stripped of its resources. However, in order to illustrate the manner in which Rosenberg participated in the criminal activities conducted within his jurisdiction, four examples may be mentioned.

1. Seizure of Jewish Property. The first illustration is contained in the decree signed by Lohse, Reichscommissar for the Ostland, which is published in the Verordnungsbtatt of the Reichscommissar for the Ostland, 1942, No. 38, pages 158 and 159. This decree provides for the seizure of the entire property of the Jewish population in the Ostland, including the claims of Jews against third parties. The seizure was made retroactive to the day of the occupation of the territory by the German troops. This sweeping decree was issued and published by Rosenberg's immediate subordinate, and it must be assumed that Rosenberg knew of it and acquiesced in it. The power to enact such a decree, as previously outlined, arose by virtue of delegation of that power by Rosenberg to the Reichscommissar.

2. Extermination of Jews. The second illustration is the report of the prison warden of Minsk that 516 German and Russian Jews had been killed. The warden called attention to the fact that valuable gold had been lost due to the failure to knock out the tooth-fillings of the victims before they were done away with (R-135).

3. Deportations for Forced Labor. The third illustration is a letter which Rosenberg wrote to Sauckel on 21 December 1942 in the following terms:

"I thank you very much for your report on the execution of the great task given to you, and I am glad to hear that in carrying out your mission you have always found the necessary support, even on the part of the civilian authorities in the occupied Eastern territories. For myself and the officials under my command this collaboration was and is self-evident, especially since both you and I have, with regard to the solution of the labor problem in the East, represented the same viewpoints from the beginning." (018-PS)

As late as 11 July, 1944 the Rosenberg Ministry was actively concerned with the continuation of the forced labor program in spite of the retreat from the East. A letter from Alfred Meyer, Rosenberg's deputy, addressed to Sauckel, dated 11 July 1944 shows that this time it is Rosenberg's Ministry that is urging action:

" 1. * * * The war employment command [Kriegseinsatzkommando] formerly stationed in Minsk must continue under all circumstances the calling in of your white Ruthenian and Russian manpower for military employment in the Reich. In addition, the command has the mission to bring young boys of 10-14 years of age to the Reich." (199-W)

4. Economic Exploitation. The final illustration of Rosenberg's criminal responsibility is contained in a secret letter from Rosenberg to Bormann dated 17 October 1944 (327-PS). It furnishes a graphic account of Rosenberg's activities in the economic exploitation of the Occupied East. The first paragraph reads:

"In order not to delay the liquidation of companies under my supervision, I beg to point out that the companies concerned are not private firms but business enterprises of the Reich, so that also actions with regard to them, just as with regard to government offices, are reserved to the highest authorities of the Reich. I supervise the following companies * * *." (327-PS)

There follows a list of nine companies-a trading company, an agricultural development company, a supply company, a pharmaceutical company, and five banking concerns. The mission of the trading company is stated to be:

"Collection of all agricultural products as well as commercial marketing and transportation thereof. (Delivery to armed forces and the Reich.)" (327-PS)

The letter continues as follows:

"During this period, the Z. O. (Central Trading Corporation) , together with its subsidiaries, has collected:

"Grain  9,200,000 tons
Meat and meat products  622,000 tons
Linseed   950,000 tons
Butter  208,000 tons
Sugar  400,000 tons
Fodder  2,500,000 tons
Potatoes  3,200,000 tons
Seeds 141,000 tons
Other agricultural products  1,200,000 tons
and1,075,000,000 eggs
"The following was required for transportation:
"1,418,000 railroad box cars and 472,000 tons of boat shipping space." (327-PS)

Document compiled by Dr S D Stein
Last update 08/01/99
ęS D Stein

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