Source: Nazi Conspiracy and Aggresion. Vol. II. USGPO, Washington, 1946,pp.173-237

[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 SS appears on pages 237-248.  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

The Schutzstaffeln (SS)

The Nuremberg Charges

Part V

Part I
Part II
Part I11
Part IV

D. Criminal Aims and Activities of the SS (part 3)

Functions and Activities with Respect to Jewish Persecution
Functions and activities with respect to preparing for and waging aggressive war
Functions and activities with respect to commission of war crimes

Anti partisan Operations
Execution of Civilians
Murder of Prisoners of War

Functions and Activities with Respect to Germanization of Conquered Lands

Elimination and Deportation of Conquered People
Resettlement of Conquered Territories by Germans

E. Defendant's Membership in the SS

F. Conclusion

(5) Functions and Activities with respect to Jewish Persecution.

Through its activities with respect to concentration camps the SS performed part of its mission to safeguard the security of the Nazi regime., But another specialized aspect of that mission must not be forgotten. Himmler had defined that task as the prevention of a "Jewish Bolshevist revolution of subhumans." In plain words this meant participation in the Nazi program of Jewish persecution and extermination. That program involved every branch and component of the SS.

The racial philosophy of the SS made that organization a natural agency for the execution of all types of antisemitic measures. The SS position on the Jewish question was publicly stated in the SS newspaper "Das Schwarze Korps," in the issue of 8 August 1940, by its editor, Gunter d'Alquen (2688-PS) ."Das Schwarze Korps" was the official propaganda agency of the SS which every SS man was required to read and to induce others to read. This was the SS position on the Jews:

"Just as the Jewish question will be solved for Germany only when the last Jew has been deported, so the rest of Europe should realize that the German peace which awaits it must be a peace without Jews." (2668-PS)

The attempted "solution" of the Jewish question through pogroms and "spontaneous" demonstrations occurred following the murder of von Rath in November 1938. In these demonstrations all branches of the SS were called on to play a part. The teletype message from SS Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich, Chief of the Security Police and SD, issued on 10 November 1938 concerning "Meas-ures against Jews tonight," .provided:

"** * * The direction of the measures of the Security Police concerning the demonstrations against Jews is vested with the organs of the State Police-inasmuch as the inspectors of the Security Police are not issuing their own orders. In order to carry out the measures of the Security Police, officials of the Criminal Police, as well as members of the SD, of the Verfuegungstruppe and the Allgemeine SS may be used." (3051-PS)

With the outbreak of the war and the march of Nazi armies over the Continent, the SS participated in "solving" the Jewish question in all the countries of Europe. The solution was nothing short of extermination. To a large degree these wholesale murders were disguised under the name of "antipartisan" or "antiguerilla" actions, and as such included as victims not merely Jews but Soviets, Poles, and other Eastern peoples. One example of an action confined essentially to Jews was the mass annihila-tion of Jews in gas vans (501-PS). Those vans were operated by the Security Police and SD under the direction of RSHA. An-other example is found in the report entitled "Solution of the Jew-ish Question in Galicia," prepared by SS Gruppenfuehrer and Lt. General of the Police Katzman and rendered to SS Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Police Krueger (L-18). The "solution," which consisted in evacuation and extermination of all the Jews in Galicia and confiscation of their property, was carried out under the energetic direction of the SS and Police Leaders, with the assistance of SS police units, as the report proudly boasts. Three additional items in that report dealing specifically with the SS should be noted. The first is the text under a photograph in the original report:

"Great was the joy of the SS men when the Reichsfuehrer SS in person in 1942 visited some camps along the Rollbahn." (L-18)

The second is a balance sheet, showing the income from forced Jewish labor and expenditures therefrom. Item 3 on the balance sheet reads as follows:

"3. Amount paid over to the SS cashier:

a. Camps  6,876,251,00 Zl
b. W& R Factories  6,556,513,69
Total  Zl 13,432,764,69 Zl
Further payments to the SS-cashier are effected every month (L-18)

The third is the last two paragraphs of the report:

"Despite the extraordinary burden heaped upon every single SS Police Officer during these actions, mood and spirit of the men were extraordinarily good and praiseworthy to the last day.
"Only thanks to the sense of duty of every single leader and man have we succeeded to get rid of this PLAGUE in so short a time." (L-18)

One final example of SS participation in Jewish extermination is the report by SS Brigadefuehrer and Major General of the Police, Stroop, of the destruction of the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw during April and May 1943 (1061-PS). Two sections of that report dealing with the constitution of the participating forces should be noted. A table of the units used indicates the average number of officers and men from each unit employed per day. It will be observed that among the units involved were the staff of the SS and Police Leader, two battalions of the Waffen SS, two battalions of the 22d SS Police Regiment and members of the Security Police. The part played by the Waffen SS particularly came in for high praise from the writer of the report. Tribute is paid to the tough-ness of the men of the Waffen SS, Police, and Wehrmacht. In the next paragraph the writer says:

"Considering that the greater part of the men of the Waffen SS had been trained for only three or four weeks before being assigned to this action, high credit should be given for the pluck, courage and devotion to duty which they showed." (1061-PS)

The selection methods and ideological education of Waffen SS men furnished such good grounding that a few weeks of practice was all that was required to turn them into excellent exterminators. Himmler's proud boast of the part that the SS played in the extermination of the Jews occurs in his Posen Speech:

"Most of you must know what it means when 100 corpses are lying side by side, or 500 or 1,000. To have stuck it out and at the same time-apart from the exceptions caused by human weakness-to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard.
'This is a page of glory in our history which has never been written and is never to be written * * *." (1919-PS)

(6) Functions and activities with respect to preparing for and waging aggressive war.

From the very beginning the SS made prime contributions to the conspirators' aggressive aims. First, it served as one of the para-military organizations under which the conspirators disguised their building up of an Army in violation of the Versailles Treaty. Second, through affiliated SS organizations in other countries and through some of the departments in its own Supreme Command, it fostered Fifth Column movements outside Germany and prepared the way for aggression. Third, through its militarized units, it participated in the aggressive actions which were eventually carried out.

(a) The SS as a para-military organization.

The para-military character of the General SS is apparent from the military character of its structure, the military discipline required of its mem-bers, and the steps it took to enlist in its ranks young men of mili-tary age. In addition to this volunteer Army the SS created, as early as 1933, fully armed professional soldiers who complied with the requirement for compulsory military service by performing duties in the SS. These were the SS Vorfuegungstruppe and the Death Head Units.

(b) The SS as a fifth column agency.

While building up the SS as a military force within Germany, the conspirators also utilized it in other countries to lay the groundwork for aggression. During the seizure of Austria, the SS Standarte 89 was directly involved in the murder of Chancellor Dolfuss, and a memorial placque was erected in Vienna as a tribute to the SS men who participated in that murder (L-273; 2968-PS). Subsequently, on the night of 11 March 1938, the SS with the SA marched into Vienna and occupied all government buildings and important posts in the city. (See the report of Gauleiter Rainer to Reich Commissioner Buerckel (812-PS); and the record of the telephone conversations be-tween Goering and Dambrowski (2949-PS) ).

The same pattern was repeated in Czechoslovakia. Henlein's Free Corps played in that country the part of fifth column which the SS had played in Austria and was rewarded, in September 1938, by being placed under the jurisdiction of the Reichsfuehrer SS (388-PS, Items 37, 38). Moreover, a Most Secret OKW order of 28 September 1938, reveals that the SS had its own armed units, four battalions of Totenkopf Verbaende, actually operating in Czechoslovakian territory before the Munich Pact was signed (388-PS Item 36).

But SS preparations for aggression were not confined to military forces. One of the departments of the SS Supreme Command, the Volkdeutsche Mittelstelle, was a center for fifth column activity. At the secret meeting between Ribbentrop and Henlein in March 1938, at which the line to be followed by the Sudeten German Party was determined, the Volkdeutsche Mittelstelle was represented by Professor Haushofer and SS Obergruppenfuehrer Lorenz (2788-PS) . And when the Foreign Office in August 1938 awarded further subsidies to Henlein's Sudeten Party, the memorandum of that recommendation (3059-PS) contained the sig-nificant footnote:

"Volkdeutsche Mittlestelle will be informed." (3059-PS)

(c) SS participation in aggressive war.

When at last the time came to strike, the SS was ready. In the words of the National Socialist Yearbook for 1940 (2164-PS):

"When the march into the liberated provinces of the Sudeten-land began on that memorable October 1, 1938, Verfuegungstruppe as well as the Death Head Units were along with those in the lead. * * *"
"The 15th of March 1939 brought a similar utilization of the SS when it served to establish order in collapsing Czechoslo-vakia. This action ended with the founding of the protectorate Bohemia-Moravia.
"Only a week later, on the 29th of March 1939, Memel also returned to the Reich upon basis of an agreement with Lithuania. Again it was the SS, here above all the Eastern Prussian SS, which played a prominent part in the liberation of this province." (2164-PS)

In the final act which set off the war, the attack on Poland in September 1939, the SS acted as stage manager. In his affidavit (Affidavit A), Maj. Gen. Erwin Lahousen describes the simulated attack on the radio station Gleiwitz by Germans dressed in Polish uniforms, as one of the most mysterious actions which took place in the Abwehr office:

"This was an incident which had been deliberately engineered and directed by the SD and it was executed by prisoners from Concentration Camps dressed up in Polish uniforms, and using Polish weapons and equipment. Those prisoners were later murdered by the SD in order to eliminate any possibility of their giving testimony of the incident." (Affidavit A)

The war erupted and the Waffen SS again took its place in the van of the attacking forces.

(7) Functions and activities with respect to commission of war crimes.

During the war great use was made of the peculiar qualities possessed by the SS-qualities not only of its combat force, but of its other components as well-in executing tasks embracing the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

(a) "Antipartisan" operations.

A directive issued by Keitel on 13 March 1941, making preparations 3 months in advance for the attack on Russia, provided that in the area of operations the Reichsfuehrer SS was entrusted with special tasks for the preparation of the political administration-tasks which would result from the struggle about to commence between two opposing political systems. (447-PS)

One of the steps taken by the Reichsfuehrer SS to carry out those "special tasks" was the formation and use of so-called "antipartisan" units. They were discussed by Himmler in his Posen speech:

"In the meantime I have also set up the Chief of the antipartisan units. Our comrade SS Obergruppenfuehrer von dem Bach is Chief of the antipartisan units. I considered it necessary for the Reidhsfuehrer SS to be in authoritative command in all these battles, for I am convinced that we are best in position to take action against this enemy struggle, which is decidedly a political one. Except where units which had been supplied and which we had formed for this purpose were taken from us to fill in gaps at the front, we have been very successful.
"It is notable that by setting up this department, we have gained for the SS in turn, a division, a corps, an army, and the next step-which is the High Command of an army or area of a group-if you wish to call it that." (1919-PS)

What the SS did with its division, corps, and army, out of which the antipartisan units were formed, is illustrated in the "Activity and Situation Report No. 6 of the Task Forces of the Security Police and SD in the U. S. S. R.," covering the period from 1 to 31 October 1941 (R-102). The report shows that so-called "anti-partisan" activity was actually nothing but a name for extermina-tion of Jews and persons believed politically undesirable. The report is a carefully organized and detailed description of such extermination. Section I describes the stations of the various Task Forces involved, and section II their activities. The latter section is divided into parts, each dealing with a different geo-graphical region-the Baltic area, White Ruthenia, and the Ukraine. Under each area the report of activities is classified under three headings : (a) Partisan activity and counteraction ; (b) arrests and executions of communists and officials; and (c) Jews. The following units were involved (R-l02):

"The present stations are

"Task Force A : since 7 October 1941 Krasnowardeisk.
"Task Force B : continues in Smolensk.
"Task Force C: since 27 September 1941 in Kiew.
"Task Force D: since 27 September 1941 in Nikolajew.

"The Action and Special Commandos (Einsatz und Sonder Commandos) which are attached to the Task Force continue on the march with the advancing troops into the sectors which have been assigned to them." (R-102)

The section headed "Baltic area" and subsection labeled "Jews" read as follows (R-102):

"Spontaneous demonstrations against Jewry followed by pogroms on the part of the population against the remaining Jews have not been recorded on account of the lack of adequate indoctrination.
"However, the Estonian Protective Corps (Selbtschutz), formed at the time of the entry of the Wehrmacht, immediately started a comprehensive arrest action of all Jews. This action was under the direction of the task force of the Security Police and the SD." * * *
"The male Jews over 16 were executed with the exception of doctors and the elders. At the present time this action is still in progress. After completion. of this action there will remain only 500 Jewesses and children in the Eastern Territory." (R-102)

In the section headed "White Ruthenia," the subsection labeled "Partisan activity and counteraction," the following appear:

"In Wultschina 8 juveniles were arrested as partisans and shot. They were inmates of a children's home. They had collected weapons which they hid in the woods. Upon search the following were found: 3 heavy machine guns, 15 rifles, several thousand rounds of ammunition, several hand grenades, and several packages of poison gas, Ebrit.

"b. Arrests and executions of communists, officials, and criminals.

"A further large part of the activity of the Security Police was devoted to the combatting of Communists and criminals. A special Commando in the period covered by this report executed 63 officials, NKVD agents and agitators.(R-102)

The preceding subsection ends with the following statement:

"The liquidations for the period covered by this report have reached a total of 37,180 persons." (R-102)

And under the section headed "Ukraine," the subsection "Jews," this statement occurs:

In Shitomir 3,145 Jews had to be shot,. because from expe-rience they have to be regarded as bearers of Bolshevik propa-ganda and saboteurs." (R-1 02)

The foregoing report deals with the activities of four Task Forces-A, B, C, and D. The more detailed report of Task Force A up to 16 October 1941 shows great variety of SS components in such a task force:

"This description of the over-all situation showed and shows that the members of the Stapo [The Secret State Police], Kripo and SD [Security Service] who are attached to the Action-Group, are active mainly in Lithouania, Latvia, Esthonia, White-Ruthenia and to a smaller part in front of Leningrad. It shows further that the forces of the uniformed police and the Armed SS are active mainly in front of Leningrad, in order to take measures against the returning population and under their own officers. This is so much easier because the Action detachments in Lithouania, Latvia and Esthonia have at their disposal native police units, as described in encl. 1, and because so far 150 Latvian reinforcements have been sent to White-Ruthenia.
"The distribution of the leaders of Security Police and SD during the individual phases can be gathered from encl. 2, the advance and the activities of the Action-Group and the Action-detachments from encl. 3. It should be mentioned that the leaders of the Armed-SS and of the uniformed police who are reserves have declared their wish to stay on with the Security Police and the SD." (L-180)

Inclosure 1a to this report shows the constitution of the Force:

Total Strength of Action Group A (L-180)

Number Percent
Total 990
Waffen-SS 340 34.4
Motor Bicycle-Riders 172 17.4
Administration 18 1.8
Security Service [SD] 35 3.5
Criminal Police [Kripo] 41 4.1
State Police [Gestapo] 89 9.0
Auxilliary Force 87 8.8
Order Police 133 13.4
Female Employees 13 1.3
Interpreters 51 5.1
Teleprinter-Operators 3 0.3
Wireless-Operators 8 0.8

Another report on the antipartisan activity, from the General Commissar for White Ruthenia to the Reich Minister for Occupied Eastern Territories, 5 June 1943, deals with the results of the police operation "Cottbus":

"* * * SS Brigadefuehrer, Major General of Police von Gottberg, reports that the operation 'Cottbus' had the follow-ing result during the period mentioned:

Enemy dead  4,500
Dead suspected of belonging to bands 5,0000
Germandead59" * * *
"The figures mentioned above indicate that again a heavy destruction of the population must be expected. If only 492 rifles are taken from 4,500 enemy dead, this discrepancy shows that among these enemy dead were numerous peasants from the country. The battalion Dirlewanger especially has a reputation for destroying many human lives. Among the 5,000 people suspected of belonging to bands, there were numerous women and children.
"By order of the Chief of Band-Combatting, SS Obergruppenfuehrer von dem Bach, units of the armed forces have also participated in the operation * * *" (R-135)

SS Obergruppenfuehrer vom dem Bach was referred to by Himmler as "our comrade" when he placed him in charge of antipartisan activity.

(b) Execution of civilians.

The activities so far dealt with were joint activities in which the Gestapo, Order Police, the SD, Waffen SS, and SS Police Regiments were all involved. But these units were, of course, also used individually to carry out tasks of such a nature-tasks for which any component of the SS was well trained. A letter from the Chief of the Command Office of the Waffen SS to the Reichsfuehrer SS, 14 October 1941, contains an intermediate report on civilian state of emergency:

"* * * I deliver the following report regarding the commitment of the Waffen SS in the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia during the civilian state of emergency:
"In the mutual changes, all Battalions of the Waffen SS in the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia will be brought forth for shootings, and relatively for the supervision at hangings. "Up until now there occurred:
"in Prague: 99shootings 21 hangings
"in Bruenn: 64 shootings 17 hangings
"Total: 191 executions( including 16 Jews)
"A complete report regarding other measures and on the conduct of the officers, noncoms and men will be made following the termination of the civilian state of emergency." (1972-PS)

(c) Murder of prisoners of war.

It is not surprising that units of the Waffen SS, a branch which had thus been employed for extermination actions and the execution of civilians, also violated the laws of warfare when carrying on ordinary combat activities. Proof of these violations is contained in a supplementary report of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force Court of Inquiry concerning the shooting of allied prisoners of war by the 12th SS Panzer Division (Hitler Jugend) in Normandy, France, on 7-21 June 1944 (2997-PS). The Court of Inquiry concluded that there occurred in Normandy, between 7 and 1'7 June 1944, seven cases of violations of the law of war, involving the shooting of 64 unarmed allied prisoners of war in uniform, many of whom had been previously wounded, and none of whom had resisted or endeavored to escape ; that the perpetrators were members of the 12th SS Panzer Division, the so-called Hitler Jugend Division ; that enlisted men of the 15th Company of the 25th Panzer Grenadier Regiment of that Division were given secret orders to the effect that SS troops should take no prisoners and that prisoners were to be executed after having been interrogated ; that similar orders were given to men of the 3d Battalion of the 26th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment and to the 12th SS Engineer-ing and Reconnaissance Battalions; and that the conclusion was irresistible that it was understood throughout the Division that a policy of denying quarter or executing prisoners after interrogation was openly approved. (2997-PS)

Other combatants met a similar fate at the hands of other components of the SS. (The execution of allied fliers, of commandos, and paratroopers, and of escaped prisoners of war who were turned over to the SD to be destroyed, is discussed in Section 6 on the Gestapo.)

Combatants who were taken prisoner of war encountered the SS in another form.( Section 6 on the Gestapo discusses the selection, by SS groups stationed in prisoner of war camps, of prisoners for what the Nazis euphemistically called "special treatment.") Finally, the entire control of prisoners of war was turned over to the Reichsfuehrer SS, pursuant to the circular letter from the Nazi Party Chancellery placing Himmler in charge of all prisoner of war camps. (058-PS)

(8) Functions and activities with respect to Germanization of conquered lands.

The final phase of the conspiracy in which the SS played a leading role comprehended the colonization of con-quered territories, the destruction of their national existence, and the permanent extension of the German frontier. These objectives were carried out through the forcible evacuation and resettlement of inhabitants of conquered regions, confiscation of their properties, "denationalization" and "reeducation" of persons of German blood, and the colonization of conquered territories by Germans. (See Chapter X on the Slave Labor Program and Chapter XIII on Germanization and Spoliation.)

The SS was the logical agency to formulate and carry out the execution of this program. The numerous statements made by Himmler as to SS training for its role as the aristocracy in the "new Europe" leave that beyond doubt. Himmler immediately proceeded to put these theories into practice upon his appointment on '7 October 1939 as Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Folkdom. (686-PS)

To make and carry out plans for the program of evacuation and resettlement, a new department of the SS Supreme Command, the Staff Headquarters of the Reich Commissioner for the Consolida-tion of German Folkdom, was created. The functions of this office are thus described in the Organizations Book of the NSDAP for 1943:

"The Main Office of the Staff of the Reichs Commissar for the Consolidation of German Nationality is entrusted with the whole settlement and constructive planning and with its execution in the Reich and all those territories within the authority of the Reich, including all administrative and economic questions in connection with settlement, especially the deploy-ment of manpower for this purpose" (2640-PS)

The colonization program had two principal objectives: the first phase was the destruction of the conquered peoples, by ex-terminating them, deporting them, and confiscating their property ; the second phase was the bringing back of racial Germans to settle in the newly acquired land and to live from the wealth of those who had been eliminated.

(a) Elimination and deportation of conquered people.

The extermination actions contributed in part to clearing the conquered territories of persons deemed dangerous to the Nazi plan, But not every undesirable could be liquidated. Moreover, manpower was needed for the Nazi war effort. Mass deportation thus accomplished the twin purpose of providing labor and of freeing the land for German colonists. The participation of SS agencies in deporting persons from the conquered territories to meet the increased demands of the Nazi war machine for manpower has already been shown. The evacuation and resettlement program, however, required the use of additional SS agencies to deport persons occupying the desired living space. For this purpose immigration centers were set up under the direction of RSHA, as is stated in the National Socialist Yearbook for 1941:

"For some time now the Reichsfuehrer-SS has had at his disposal an office under the management of SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Lorenz, the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle. This office has the task of dealing with National German questions and the raising of required support.
"In addition to the VM the Immigration Center Offices with the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service of the S'S (under the management of SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Dr. Sandberger) and the Settlement Staff of the Reich-Commissioner were created, which, in cooperation with the NSV [National Socialist Welfare Organization] and the Reich Railroad Agency, took charge of the Migration of National Germans." (2163-PS)

Further evidence is contained in the affidavit of Otto Hoffman, SS Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Waffen SS and Police, who was chief in the Main Office for Race and Settlement in the SS Supreme Command until 1943. This affidavit, taken at Freising, Germany, on 4 August 1945 reads as follows:

"* * * 2. The executive power, in other words the carry-ing out of all, so-called resettlement actions, that is to say, sending away of Polish and Jewish settlers and those of non-German blood from a territory in Poland destined for German-ization, was in the hands of the Chief of the RSHA (Heydrich and later Kaltenbrunner, since the end of 1942). The Chief of the RSHA also supervised and issued orders to the so-called immigration center (EWZ) which classified the Ger-mans, living abroad who returned to Germany and directed them to the individual farms, already freed. The latter was done in agreement with the chief office of the Reichsfuehrer SS." (L-69)

Other SS agencies also were included. The report, dated 22 May 1940, relating to confiscation of Polish agricultural enterprises and deportation of the Polish owners to Germany, shows that the following SS agencies were involved in this action:

"Means of transportation to the railroad can be provided * (1)-by the enterprise of the East German Corporation of Agricultural Development, (2) -by the SS NC0 School in Lublinitz and the concentration camp of Auschwitz.
"These two latter places will also detail the necessary SS men for the day of the confiscation, etc."(1352-PS)

The extent to which departments of the Supreme Command of the SS were concerned with the evacuation program is shown by the minutes of a meeting on 4 August 1942 dealing with the treatment of deported Alsatians (R-114). The minutes list those present at the meeting as follows:

"Present : "SS.-' Hauptsturmfuehrer' Dr. Stier*
SS-' Hauptsturmfuehrer' Petri*
'RR' Hoffmann*
Dr. Scherler*
SS.-' Untersturmfuehrer' Foerster*
(*=Staff Headquarters)
SS.-' Obersturmfuehrer' Dr. Hinrichs, Chief of Estate Office and Settlement Staff, Strasbourg [Leiter des Boden-amtes und Ansiedlungsstabes Strasburg]
SS.-' Sturmbannfuehrer' Bruckner, Intermediate Office for Racial Germans (Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle)
SS.-' Hauptsturmfuehrer' Hummisch, Main Office Reich Security [Reichssicherheitshauptamt]
SS.-' Untersturmfuehrer' Dr. Sieder, Main office for race and settling [Rus-Hauptamt]
Dr. Labes, D. U. T." (R-114)

The minutes read in part as follows:

"1. State of deportation in Alsace.
"The starting point of the conference was a report on the deportation effected so far and further plans for resettlement in Alsace." * * *


"The representatives of the SS Main Offices present were united in this opinion:
"II. 1. The Gauleiter's plans for evacuation can be approved in principle, since they confine themselves in fact to a class of persons, whose presence in the Reich would be insupport-able for racial and political reasons." (R-114)

(b) Resettlement of conquered territories by Germans.

The SS not only destroyed, or deported conquered peoples and confiscated their property, but it also repopulated the conquered regions with so-called racial Germans. 'Thousands upon thousands of these Germans wer e transported from all parts of Europe to join the greater Reich. Not all Germans were deemed reliable colonists, however. Those who were not, were returned to Germany proper for "re-Germanization" and "reeducation" along Nazi lines. A typical instance of the fate of such Germans is found in the decree of the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Folkdom of 16 February 1942, dealing with the treatment to be accorded so-called "Polonized" Germans (R-112). By the terms of that decree two other SS functionaries were charged with the responsibility for the re-Germanization program, the Higher SS and Police Leaders and the Gestapo. Paragraph III of the decree provides:

"III. The Higher SS and Police Fuehrer will further the re-Germanization actions with every means at their disposal and continuously take stock of their success. In case they find that obstacles are put in the way of a re-Germanization action, they will report on their findings to the competent State Police (Superior) Office for appropriate measures. ' Where it proves to be impossible to attain re-Germanization even by forcible measures taken by the State Police, they will apply for a revocation of the naturalization through the Reich Fuehrer SS, Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood and give notice to the competent State Police (Superior) Office." (R-112)

Paragraph IV of the decree provides:

"IV. In the course of fulfilling their duties imposed on them by this Decree the competent State Police (Superior) Offices will take in particular the following measures :" * * *
"4. They will assist the Higher SS and Police Fuehrer in their task of re-Germanization, particularly in removing obstacles by forcible measures whenever there is opposition to re-Ger-manization. Before ordering forcible measures by the State Police they will give the Counsellor of the person in question an opportunity to state his opinion.
"5.. They will take into protective custody all persons, with regard to whom the Higher SS and Police Fuehrer has applied for revocation of their naturalization and will order their im-prisonment in a Concentration Camp." (R-112)

In the final stage of the process, the resettlement of the conquered lands by racially and politically desirable Germans, still other SS agencies participated. The National Socialist Yearbook for 1941 states that:

"Numerous SS-leaders and SS-men helped with untiring effort in bringing about this systematic migration of peoples, which has no parallel in history.
"There were many authoritative and administrative diffi-culties which, however, were immediately overcome due to the unbureaucratic working procedure. This was especially guaranteed above all by the employment of SS leaders.
"The procedure called 'Durchschleusung' (literally, 'passing through the lock') takes 3 to 4 hours as a rule. The resettler is passed through 8 to 9 offices, following each other in organic order : registration office, card-index office, certificate and photo-office, property office, and biological hereditary and sanitary test office. The latter was entrusted to doctors and medical personnel of the SS and of the Armed Forces. The SS-Corps Areas [Oberabschnitte] Alpenland, North-West, Baltic Sea, Fulda-Werra, South and South East, the SS-Main Office [SS-Hauptamt] , the NPEA (National Political Educa-tion Institution) Vienna, and the S& Cavalry-School in Hamburg provided most of the SS-Officer and SS-Non-Corns who worked at this job of resettlement." * * *
"The settlement, establishment and care of the newly won peasantry in the liberated Eastern territory will be one of the most cherished tasks of the SS in the whole future." (2163-PS)

E. Defendant's Membership in the SS.

In the course of its development from a group of strong armed bodyguards, some 200 in number, to a complex organization participating in every field of Nazi endeavor, the SS found room for its members in high places. Persons in high places moreover, found for themselves a position in the SS. Of the defendants charged in the indictment at least 7 were high ranking officers in the SS. They are the defendants Ribbentrop, Hess, Kaltenbrunner, Bormann, Sauckel, Neurath, and Seyss-Inquart. The vital part that Kalten-brunner played in the SS, the SD, and the entire Security Police system is discussed in Section 6 on the Gestapo.

With respect to the other six defendants, the facts as to their membership in the SS are to be found in two official publications. The first is the membership list of the SS as of 1 December 1936. On line 2, page 8, of that publication, there appears the name "Hess, Rudolf," followed by the notation, "By authority of the Fuehrer the right to wear the uniform of an SS Obergruppen-fuehrer." In the 1937 edition of the same membership list, line 50, page 10, there appears the name "Bormann, Martin," and in line with his name on the opposite page, under the heading "Grup-penfuehrer," appears the following date "20.4.37." In the same edition, line 56, page 12, is the name "von Neurath, Konstantin" and on the opposite page, under the column headed "Gruppenfuehrer," the date "18.9.37."

The second publication is "Der Grossdeutsche Reichstag" for the Fourth Voting Period, edited by E. Kienast, Ministerial Director of the German Reichstag, an official handbook containing biographical data as to members of the Reichstag. On page 349 the following appears: "von Ribbentrop, Joachim, Reichminister des Auswaertigen, SS Obergruppenfuehrer"; and on page 360 the following : "Sauckel, Fritz, Gauleiter and Reichsstalthalter in Thuringen, SS Obergruppenfuehrer"; and on page 389 the following: "Seyss-Inquart, Arthur, Dr.. Jur., Reichsminister, SS Obergruppenfuehrer."

F. Conclusion.

It is the prosecution's contention that the SS, as defined in Appendix B of the Indictment, was unlawful. Its participation in every phase of the conspiracy alleged in Count One is clear. As an organization founded on the principle that persons of "German blood" were a "master race," it exemplified a, basic Nazi doctrine. It served as one of the means through which the conspirators acquired control of the German government. The operations of the SD, and of the SS Totenkopf Verbaende in concentration camps, were means used by the conspirators to secure their regime and terrorize their opponents as alleged in Count One. All components of the SS were involved from the very beginning in the Nazi program of Jewish extermination. Through the Allgemeine SS as a para-military organization, the SS Verfuegungstruppe and SS Totenkopf Verbaende as profes- sional combat forces, and the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle as a fifth column agency, it participated in preparations for aggressive war, and, through its militarized units,. in the seizure of Austria, the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the attack on Poland, and the waging of aggressive war in the West and in the East, as set forth in Counts One and Two of the Indictment. In the course of such war, all components of the SS had a part in the war crimes and crimes against humanity, set forth in Counts Three and Four,-the murder and ill treatment of civilian populations in occupied terri-tory, the murder and ill treatment of prisoners of war, and the Germanization of occupied territories.

The evidence has shown that the SS was a single enterprise- a unified organization. Some of its functions were, of course, per-formed by one branch or department or office, some by another. No single branch or department participated in every phase of its activity. But every branch and department and office was necessary to the functioning of the whole. The situation is much the same as in the case of the individual defendants at the bar. Not all participated in every act of the conspiracy ; but all per-formed a contributing part in the whole criminal scheme.

The evidence has shown, not only that the SS was an organization of volunteers but that applicants had to meet the strictest standards of selection. It was not easy to become an SS member. That was true of all branches of the SS. During the course of the war, as the demands for manpower increased and the losses of the Waffen SS grew heavier and heavier, there were occasions when men drafted for compulsory military service were assigned to units of the Waffen SS rather than to the Wehrmacht. Those instances were relatively few. Evidence of recruiting standards of the Waffen SS in 1943 has shown that membership in that branch was as essentially voluntary and highly selective as in other branches. The fact that some individuals may have been arbi-trarily assigned to some Waffen SS unit has no bearing on the issue before the tribunal, which is this, whether the SS was or was not an unlawful organization. Doubtless some of the members of the SS, or of other of the organizations alleged to be unlawful, might desire to show that their participation in the organization was small or innocuous, that compelling reasons drove them to apply for membership, that they were not fully conscious of its aims, or that they were mentally irresponsible when they became members. Such facts might or might not be relevant if they were on trial. But in any event this is not the forum to try out such matters.

The question before this Tribunal is simply this, whether the SS was or was not an unlawful organization. The evidence has fully shown what the aims and activities of the SS were. Some of these aims were stated in publications. The activities were so widespread and so notorious, covering so many fields of unlawful endeavor, that the illegality of the organization could not have been concealed. It was a notorious fact, and Himmler himself admitted that in 1936, when he said:

"I know that there are people in Germany now who become sick when they see these black coats. We know the reason and we don't expect to be loved by too many."

It was at all times the exclusive function and purpose of the SS to carry out the common objectives of the conspirators, Its activities in carrying out those functions involved the commission of the crimes defined in Article 6 of the Charter. By reason of its aims and the means used for the accomplishment thereof, the SS should be declared a criminal organization in accordance with Article 9 of the Charter.

SS Nuremberg Charges Part IV

Document compiled by Dr S D Stein
Last update18/01/99
ęS D Stein

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