Source:Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume I. USGPO, Washington, 1946/pp.978-1008

[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 the persecution of the Jews appears on pages 1008-1022.  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]

The Persecution of the Jews

The Nuremberg Charges

Part II

Part I
Part III

 

Forced Labor
Extermination

Starvation
Annihilation (Part 1)

C. Forced Labor.

The Jews, having been registered and confined within the ghettos, now furnished a reservoir for slave labor. The difference between slave labor and "labor duty" was this: the latter group were entitled to reasonable compensation, stated working hours, medical care and attention, and other social security measures, while the former were granted none of these advantages, being in fact, on a level below that of slaves.

Rosenberg set up within his organization for the Occupied Eastern Territories a department which, among other things, was to seek a solution for the Jewish problem by means of forced labor. His plans, contained in a memorandum entitled "General 'Organizations and Tasks of our Office for the General Handling of Problems in the Eastern Territory," and dated 29 April 1941, read as follows:

"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.)." (1024-PS)

Thereafter Rosenberg issued instructions that Jewish forced labor should be utilized for every manual labor task:

"The standing rule for the Jewish labor employment is the complete and unyielding use of Jewish manpower regardless of age i n the reconstruction of the occupied eastern territories."

* * * * * * *

"Violations against German measures, especially against the forced labor regulations, are to be punished by death to the Jews." (212-PS)

From the ghettos Jewish labor was selected and sent to a con-centration area. Here the usable Jews were screened from those considered worthless. For example, a contingent of 45,000 Jews could be expected to yield 10,000 to 15,000 usable laborers. This estimate is based on an RSHA telegram to Himmler, marked "Urgent" and "Secret", and dated 16 December 1942.

"In the total of 45,000 are included physically handicapped and others (old Jews and children). In making a distribu-tion for this purpose, at least 10,000 to 15,000 laborers will be available, when the Jews arriving at Auschwitz are assigned." (1472-PS)

The report from Lieutenant General of Police, Katzmann, to General of the Police East, Krueger, clearly outlines the nature of the Jewish forced labor:

"The best remedy consisted of the formation, by the SS and Police Leader, of forced labor camps. The best opportunity for labor was offered by the necessity to complete the 'Dg. 4' road which was extremely important and necessary for the whole of the southern part of the front, and which was in a catastrophically bad condition. On October 15th 1941, the establishment of camps along the road was commenced, and despite considerable difficulties there existed, after a few weeks only, seven camps containing 4,000 Jews."

* * * * * * *

"Soon more camps followed these first ones, so that after a very short time the completion of fifteen camps of this kind could be reported to the Superior Leader o f SS and Police. In the course of. time about 20,000 Jewish laborers passed through these camps. Despite the hardly imaginable diffi-culties occurring at this work I can report today that about 160 kilometers of the road are completed."

* * * * * * *

"At the same time all other Jews fit for work were registered and distributed for useful work by the labor agencies * * * When the Jews were marked by the Star of David, as well as when they were registered by the labor agencies, the first symptoms appeared in their attempts to dodge the order of the authorities. The measures which were introduced thereupon led to thousands of arrests. It became more and more apparent that the civil administration was not in a position to solve the Jewish problem in an approximately satisfactory manner. Then, for instance, the municipal ad-ministration at Lwow had no success in their attempts to house the Jews within a closed district which would be in-habited only by Jews. This question, too, was solved quickly by the SS and Police Leaders through subordinate officials. This measure became the more urgent as in the winter, 1941, big centers of spotted fever were noted in many parts of the town."

* * * * * * *

"During this removal of the Jews into a certain quarter of the town several sluices were erected at which all the work-shy and asocial Jewish rabble were caught during the screen-ing and treated in a special way. Owing to the peculiar fact that almost 90% of artisans working in Galicia were Jews, the task to be solved could be fulfilled only step by step, since an immediate evacuation would not have served the interest of War Economy."

* * * * * * *

"* * * Cases were discovered where Jews, in order to acquire any certificate of labor, not only renounced all wages, but even paid money themselves. Moreover, the organizing of Jews for the benefit of their employers grew to such catastrophical extent that it was deemed necessary to interfere in the most energetic manner for the benefit of the German name. Since the administration was not in a position and. showed itself too weak to master this chaos, the SS and Police Leader simply took over the entire disposition of labor for Jews. The Jewish labor. agencies, which were manned by hundreds of Jews, were dissolved. All certificates of labor given by firms or administrative offices were declared invalid, and the cards given to the Jews by the labor agencies were revalidated by the police offices by stamping them. In the course of this action, again, thousands of Jews were caught who were in possession of forged certificates or who had obtained, sur-reptitiously, certificates of labor by all kinds of pretexts. These Jews also were exposed to special treatment." (L-18)

D. Extermination.

(At this point a strip of motion picture footage taken, presumably, by a member of the SS, and captured by the United States military forces in an SS barracks near Augsburg, Germany, was shown to the tribunal. The film depicts what is believed to be the extermination of a ghetto by Gestapo agents, assisted by military units.

The following scenes are representative :

Scene 2: A naked girl running across the courtyard.
Scene 3: An older woman being pushed past the camera, and a man in SS uniform standing at the right of the scene.
Scene 5: A man with a skull cap and a woman are manhandled.
Scene 14: A half-naked woman runs through the crowd.
Scene 15: Another half-naked woman runs out of the house.
Scene 16: Two men drag an old man out.
Scene 18: A man in German military uniform, with his back to the camera, watches.
Scene 24: A general shot of the street, showing fallen bodies and naked women running.
Scene 32: A shot of the street, showing five fallen bodies.
Scene 37: A man with a bleeding head is hit again.
Scene 39: A soldier in German military uniform, with a rifle, stands by as a crowd centers on a man coming out of the house.
Scene 44: A soldier with a rifle, in German military uniform, walks past a woman clinging to a torn blouse.
Scene 45: A woman is dragged by her hair across the street.)

The means of accomplishing the extermination of the Jews are discussed in the diary of Hans Frank, then Governor General of Occupied Poland (2233-D-PS). In a cabinet session on Tuesday, 16 December 1941 in the Government Building at Cracow, Frank made a closing address, as follows:

"As far as the Jews are concerned, I want to tell you quite frankly that they must be done away with in one way or an-other. The Fuehrer said once: Should united Jewry again succeed in provoking a world-war, the blood of not only the nations which have been forced into the war by them, will be shed, but the Jew will have found his end in Europe'. I know that many of the measures carried out against the Jews in the Reich at present are being criticized. It is being tried intentionally, as is obvious from the reports on the morale, to talk about cruelty, harshness, etc. Before I continue, I want to beg you to agree with me on the following formula: We will principally have pity on the German people only, and nobody else in the whole world. The others, too, had no pity on us. As an old National-Socialist, I must say: This war would only be a partial success if the whole lot of Jewry would survive it, while we would have shed our best blood in order to save Europe. My attitude towards the Jews will, there-fore, be based only on the expectation that they must disappear. They must be done away with. I have entered negoti-ations to have them deported to the East. A great discussion concerning that question will take place in Berlin in January, to which I am going to delegate the State Secretary Dr. Buehler. That discussion is to take place in the Reich Security Main Office with SS-Lt. General Heydrich. A great Jewish migration will begin, in any case.

"But what should be done with the Jews? Do you think they will be settled down in the 'Ostland', in villages? This is what we were told in Berlin : Why all this bother? We can do nothing with them either in the 'Ostland' nor in the 'Reich-kommissariat'. So liquidate them yourself.

"Gentlemen, I must ask you to rid yourself of all feeling of pity. We must annihilate the Jews, wherever we find them and wherever it is possible, in order to maintain there the structure of the Reich as a whole. This will, naturally, be achieved by other methods than those pointed out by Bureau Chief Dr. Hummel. Nor can the judges of the Special Courts be made responsible for it, because of the limitations of the framework of the legal procedure. Such outdated views can-not be applied to such gigantic and unique events., We must find at any rate a way which leads to the goal, and my thoughts are working in that direction.

"The Jews represent for u s also extraordinarily malignant gluttons. We have now approximately 2,500,000 of them in the General Government, perhaps with the Jewish mixtures and everything that goes with it, 3,500,000 Jews. We cannot shoot or poison those 3,500,000 Jews, but we shall neverthe-less be able to take measures) which will lead, somehow, to their annihilation, and this in connection with the gigantic measures to be determined in discussions from the Reich. The General Government must become free of Jews, the same as the Reich. Where and how this is to be achieved is a mat-ter for the offices which we must appoint and create here. Their activities will be brought to your attention in due course." (2233-D-PS)

This was not the planning and scheming of an irresponsible in-dividual, but the expression by the Governor General of Occupied Poland, of the official policy of the German State.

Rosenberg's notion of the means to be taken against the Jews is expressed in a secret "Document Memorandum for the Fuehrer -Concerning : Jewish Possessions in France," dated 18 December 1941. Rosenberg urges plundering and death:

"* * * In compliance with the order of the Fuehrer for protection of Jewish cultural possessions, a great number of Jewish dwellings remained unguarded. Consequently, many furnishings have disappeared because a guard could, natu-rally, not be posted. In the whole East the administration has found terrible conditions of living quarters, and the chances of procurement are so limited that it is not practical to procure any more. Therefore, I beg the Fuehrer to permit the seizure of all Jewish home furnishings of Jews in Paris, who have fled or will leave shortly, and that of Jews living in all parts of the occupied West, to relieve the shortage of fur-nishings in the administration in the East.

"2. A great number of leading Jews were, after a short ex-amination in Paris, again released. The attempts on the lives of members of the armed forces have not stopped; on the contrary they continue. This reveals an unmistakable plan to disrupt the German-French cooperation, to force Germany to retaliate, and, with this, evoke a new defense on the part of the French against Germany. I suggest to the Fuehrer that, instead of executing 100 Frenchmen, we substitute 100 Jewish bankers, lawyers, etc. It is the Jews in London and New York who incite the French communists to commit acts of violence, and it seems only fair that the. members of this race should pay for this. It is not the little Jews, but the leading Jews in France, who should be held responsible. That would tend to awaken the Anti-Jewish sentiment. "
      (Signed) A. Rosenberg." (00l-PS)

(1) Starvation.

Chief among the methods utilized for the annihilation of the Jewish people was starvation. Policies were designed and adopted to deprive the Jews of the most elemental necessities of life. Hans Frank, then Governor General of Poland, wrote in his diary that hunger rations were introduced in the Warsaw Ghetto (2233-E-PS). Referring to the new food regu-lations of August 1942, he noted that by these food regula-tions more than one million Jews were virtually condemned to death.

"That we sentence 1,200,000 Jews to die of hunger should be noted only marginally. It is a matter of course that should the Jews not starve to death it would we hope result in a speeding up of the anti-Jewish measures." (2233-E-PS)

In pursuance of the deliberate policy of Jewish starvation, Jews were prohibited from pursuing agricultural activities in order to cut them off from access to sources of food. A document entitled "Provisional Directives on the Treatment of Jews", issued by the Reichscommissar for the Ostland, provided :

"Jews must be cleaned out from the countryside. The Jews are to be removed from all trades, especially from trade with agricultural products and other foodstuffs." (1138-PS)

Jews were also excluded from the purchase of basic food, such as wheat products, meat, eggs, and milk. A decree dated 18 September 1942, from the Ministry of Agriculture, provided:

"Jews will no longer receive the following foods, beginning with the 42nd distribution period (19 October 1942) : meat, meat products, eggs, wheat products (cake, white bread, wheat rolls, wheat flour, etc.) whole milk, fresh skimmed milk, as well as such food distributed not on food ration cards issued uniformly throughout the Reich but on local supply certificates or by special announcement of the nutrition office on extra, coupons of the food cards. Jewish children and young people over ten years of age will receive the bread ration of the normal consumer." (1347-PS)

The sick, the old, and pregnant mothers were excluded from the special food concessions allotted to non-Jews. Seizure by the State Police of food shipments to Jews from abroad was authorized, and Jewish ration cards were distinctly marked with the word "Jew" in color across the face of the cards, so that the storekeepers could readily identify and discriminate against Jewish purchasers.

According to page 110 of an official document of the Czechoslovakian government published in 1943 and entitled "Czechoslovakia Fights Back," Jewish food purchases were confined to certain areas, to certain days, and to certain hours. As might be expected, the period permitted for the purchases occurred during the time when food stocks were likely to be exhausted. (1689-PS)

By Special Order No. 44 for the Eastern Occupied Territories, dated 4 November 1941, Jews were limited to rations as low as only one-half of the lowest basic category of other people, and the Ministry of Agriculture was empowered to exclude Jews entirely or partially from obtaining food thus exposing the Jewish community to death by starvation. A bulletin issued by the Polish Ministry of Information, dated 15 December 1942, concludes that upon the basis of the nature of the separate rationing and the amount of food available to Jews in the Warsaw and Cracow ghettos, the system was designed to bring about starvation:

"In regard to food supplies they are brought under a completely separate system, which is obviously aimed at depriving them of the most elemental necessities of life." (L-165)

(2) Annihilation.

Annihilation within the ghettos is illustrated and glorified in the report of Major General of the Police Stroop, entitled "The Warsaw Ghetto is No More." (1061-PS)

This report bound in leather profusely illustrated, typed on heavy bond paper, and almost 75 pages in length, is the almost unbelievable recital of a proud accomplishment by Stroop, who signed the report with a bold hand. Stroop in his report first pays tribute to the bravery and heroism of the German forces who participated in the ruthless actions against a defenseless group of Jews numbering, to be exact 56,065-including infants and women. His report relates day-by-day progress in the accom-plishment of his mission-to destroy and to obliterate the Warsaw Ghettto. According to this report, the ghetto, which was estab-lished in Warsaw in November 1940,. was inhabited by about 400,000 Jews ; and prior to the action for the destruction of this Ghetto, some 316,000 had already been deported. These are some of the boastful and vivid accounts of the scenes within the Warsaw Ghetto:

"The resistance put up by the Jews and bandits could be broken only by relentlessly using-all our forces and energy by day and night. On 23 April 1943 the Reichsfuehrer SS issued through the Higher SS and Police Fuehrer East at Cracow his order to complete the combing out of the Warsaw Ghetto with the greatest severity and relentless tenacity. I therefore decided to destroy the entire Jewish residential area by setting every block on fire, including the blocks of residential buildings near the armament works. One concern after the other was systematically evacuated and sub-sequently destroyed by fire. The Jews then emerged from their hiding places and. dugouts in almost every case. Not infrequently, the Jews stayed in the burning buildings until, because of the heat and the fear of being burned alive, they preferred to jump down from the upper stories after having thrown mattresses and other upholstered articles into the street from the burning buildings. With their bones broken, they still tried to crawl across the street into blocks of buildings which had not yet been set on fire or were only partially in flames. Often the Jews changed their hiding places during the night, by moving into the ruins of burntout buildings, taking refuge there until they were found by our patrols. Their stay in the sewers also ceased to be pleasant after the first week. Frequently from the street, we could hear loud voices coming through the sewer shafts. Then the men of the Waffen SS, the Police or the Wehrmacht Engineers courageously climbed down from the shafts to bring out the Jews and not infrequently they then stumbled over Jews already dead, or were shot at. It was always necessary to use smoke candles to drive out the Jews. Thus one day we opened 183 sewer entrance holes, and at a fixed time lowered smoke candles into them, with the result that the bandits fled from what they believed to be gas in the center of the former Ghetto, where they could then be pulled out of the sewer holes there. A great number of Jews who could not be counted were exterminated by blowing up sewers and dugouts.

"The longer the resistance lasted the tougher the men of the Waffen SS, Police, and Wehrmacht became. They fulfilled their duty indefatigably in faithful comradeship, and stood together as models and examples of soldiers. Their duty hours often lasted from early morning until late at night. At night search patrols with rags wound round their feet remained at the heels of the Jews and gave them no respite. Not infrequently they caught and killed Jews who used the night hours for supplementing their stores from abandoned dugouts and for contacting neighboring groups or exchanging news with them.

"Considering that the greater part of the men of the Waffen SS had only been trained for three to four weeks before being assigned to this action, high credit should be given to the pluck, courage and devotion to duty which they showed. It must be stated that the Wehrmacht Engineers, too, executed the blowing up of dugouts, sewers and concrete buildings with indefatigability and great devotion to duty. Officers and men of the police, a large part of whom had already been at the front, again excelled by their dashing spirit.

"Only through the continuous and untiring work of all involved did we succeed in catching a total of 66,066 Jews whose extermination can be proved. To this should be added the number of Jews who lost their lives in explosions or fires, but whose number could not be ascertained." (1061-PS)

At the beginning of his report Stroop lists the losses of German troops :

"For the Fuehrer and their country the following fell in the battle for the destruction of Jews and bandits in the former ghetto of Warsaw * * *" [Fifteen names are thereafter listed].

"Furthermore, the Polish police sergeant Julian Zielinski, born 13 November 1891, 8th Commissariat, fell on 19 April 1943 while fulfilling his duty. They gave their utmost, their life. We shall never forget them.

"The following were wounded * * *" [There follow the names of 60 Waffen SS personnel] "11 watchmen from training camps, probably Lithuanians ; 12 Security Police officers in SS units; 5 men of the Polish Police; and 2 regular army personnel, engineers." (1061-PS)

The story continues in the daily teletype reports, from which the following are excerpts:

"Our setting the block on fire achieved the result in the course of the night that those Jews whom we had not been able to find despite all our search operations left their hideouts under the roofs, in the cellars, and elsewhere, and appeared on the outside of the buildings, trying to escape the flames. Masses of them-entire families-were already aflame and jumped from the windows or endeavored to let themselves down by means of sheets tied together or the like. Steps had been taken so that these Jews as well as the remaining ones were liquidated at once."

* * * * * * *

"When the blocks of buildings mentioned above were destroyed, 120 Jews were caught and numerous Jews were destroyed when they jumped from the attics to the inner courtyards, trying to escape the flames. Many more Jews perished in the flames or were destroyed when the dugouts and sewer entrances were blown up."

* * * * * * *

"Not until the blocks of buildings were well aflame and were about to collapse did a further considerable number of Jews emerge, forced to do so by the flames and the smoke. Time and again the Jews try to escape even through burning buildings. Innumerable Jews whom we saw on the roofs during the conflagration perished in the flames. Others emerged from the upper stories in the last possible moment and were only able to escape death from ,the flames by jumping down. Today we caught a total of 2,283 Jews, of whom 204 were shot, and innumerable Jews were destroyed in dugouts and in the flames."

* * * * * * *

"The Jews testify that they emerge at night to get fresh air, since it is unbearable to stay permanently within the dugouts owing to the long duration of the operation. On the average the raiding parties shoot 30 to 50 Jews each night. From these statements it was to be inferred that a con-siderable number of Jews are still underground in the Ghetto. Today we blew up a concrete building which we had not been-able to destroy by fire. In this operation we' learned that the blowing up of a building is a very lengthy process and takes an enormous amount of explosives. The best and only method for destroying the Jews therefore still remains the setting of fires."

* * * * * * *

"Some depositions speak of three to four thousand Jews who still remain in underground holes, sewers, and dugouts. The undersigned is resolved not to terminate the large-scale operation until the last Jew has been destroyed." (1061-PS)

The teletype message of 15 May 1945 indicates that the opera-tion is in its last stage:

"A special unit once more searched the last block of buildings which was still intact in the Ghetto, and subsequently de-stroyed it. In the evening the chapel, mortuary, and all other buildings in the Jewish cemetery were blown up or destroyed by fire." (106l-PS)

On 24 May 1943 the final figures were compiled by Major General Stroop :

"Of the total of 56,065 caught, about 7,000 were destroyed in the former Ghetto. during large-scale operation. 6,929 Jews were destroyed by transporting them to T. 11 [believed to be Treblinka Camp No. 2]. The sum total of Jews destroyed is therefore 13,929. Beyond the number of 56,065 an estimated number of 5 to 6,000 Jews were destroyed by being blown up or by perishing in the flames." (1061-PS)

It was not always necessary, or perhaps desirable, to place the Jews within Ghettos to effect elimination. In the Baltic States a more direct course of action was followed. According to a report by SS Brigade Fuehrer Stahlecker to Himmler, dated 15 October 1941, entitled "Action Group A," which was found in Himmler's private files, 135,567 persons, nearly all Jews, were murdered in accordance to basic orders directing the complete annihilation of Jews. SS Brigade Fuehrer Stahlecker continues his report:

"* * * To our surprise it was not easy at first to set in motion an extensive pogrom against the Jews. Klimatis, the leader of the partisan unit, mentioned above, who was used for this purpose primarily, succeeded in starting a pogrom on the basis of advice given to him by a small advanced detachment acting in Kowno and in such a way that no German order or German instigation was noticed from the outside. During the first pogrom in the night from 25 to 26 June the Lithuanian partisans did away with more than 1,500 Jews, setting fire to several synagogues or destroying them by other means and burning down a Jewish dwelling district consisting of about 60 houses. During the following nights about 2,300 Jews were made harmless in a similar way. * * *"

* * * * * * *

"It was possible, though, through similar influences on the Latvian auxiliary to set in motion a pogrom against the Jews also in Riga. During this pogrom all synagogues were destroyed and about 400 Jews were killed." (L-180)

Part I
Part III

Document compiled by Dr S D Stein
Last update23/01/99
Stuart.Stein@uwe.ac.uk
ęS D Stein

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