The German Foreign Office & the holocaust

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The German Foreign Office & the holocaust

Post by David Thompson » 28 Oct 2004 21:25

This text, containing findings of fact by the American military tribunal in the "Ministries Case," generally describes the participation of the Reich Foreign Office in the holocaust. The portions of the judgment against each individual defendant contain additional details. This section is taken from "XV: Judgment: (B) Judgment: Count Five - War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity; Atrocities and Offenses Committed Against Civilian Populations: Persecution of the Jews", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 14: United States of America v. Ernst von Weizsaecker, et al. (Case 11: 'Ministries Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1952. pp. 470-472.

I'll be posting more texts on this subject in the future.
Persecution of the Jews

No chapters in the history of the world are more black and bloodstained than those which portray the fate of the Jews of Germany and of all Europe which came within the sphere of German domination. The story of all dictators is a selection of some nation, some class, some ideology upon whose shoulders all the woes, alleged and real, may be lodged. Invariably those selected are less able to combat the propaganda of hate. Promises of better conditions are never alone sufficient to arouse the masses to the necessary emotional pitch which will make them the willing subjects of the dictator's will. Not only must they become receptive to such ideas and themselves feel the flames of hate toward someone or some class, but the propaganda and incitement must ever blow the flames higher, whiter, and hotter.

It makes little difference whether the subject of mass hate be a political party, race, religion, class, or another nation. The technique is the same, the results are identical, and the hate thus engendered inevitably brings on resistance and in the end ruin upon those who start and participate in it.

Hitler made the Jewish persecution one of the primary subjects of his policy to gain and retain power. As the years went by the more intensely did he and his adherents throw fuel upon the fire. It was never permitted to die down. It infected the high and the low; it made itself felt in the minds and hearts of men who should and did know better. It would, of course, be a mistake to say that every German became a convert to this doctrine. The record is clear that many did not, but unfortunately they were comparatively few and their voices were not heard or heeded. Some who knew better and who were not swept away by propaganda were alive to the possibilities of increasing their own fortunes and enhancing their position by taking advantage of this horrible persecution and calmly and callously gave lip service to these pogroms and sought to enrich themselves from the misfortunes of its victims.

The persecution of Jews went on steadily from step to step and finally to death in foul form. The Jews of Germany were first deprived of the rights of citizenship. They were then deprived of the right to teach, to practice professions, to obtain education, to engage in business enterprises; they were forbidden to marry except among themselves and those of their own religion; they were subject to arrest and confinement in concentration camps, to beatings, mutilation, and torture; their property was confiscated; they were herded into ghettos; they were forced to emigrate and to buy leave to do so; they were deported to the East, where they were worked to exhaustion and death; they became slave laborers; and finally over six million were murdered.

As country after country fell under German occupation or control, or was forced to do the will of the Third Reich, its Jewish citizens became subject to the same measures of horror. It is a record of shame and degradation to every German and to the German nation. These crimes were planned by Germans, ordered by Germans, committed by Germans under a government which the German people willingly chose and which, to a large degree, they enthusiastically supported -at least as long as it was crowned with success.

The property of which the Third Reich robbed the Jews was used, and was planned to be used, for the purpose of rearmament and aggression. When the rearmament program and the other financial measures had practically bankrupted the Third Reich, the start of a disastrous inflation was in sight, and Goering at a conference stated:
"Physical tasks. The assignment is to raise the level of armament from a current index of 100 to one of 300.

"This goal is confronted by almost insuperable obstacles because already now there is a scarcity of labor, because factory capacity is fully utilized, because the tasks of last summer exhausted our reserves of foreign currency, and because the financial situation of the Reich is serious and even now shows a deficit. In spite of this, the problem must be solved.

"Finances. Very critical situation of the Reich Exchequer. Relief initially through the billion (milliarde) imposed on Jewry, and through profits accruing to the Reich in the Aryanization of Jewish enterprises."

A mad race ensued in which people of every class of German society joined; farmers, bankers, big and little businessmen eagerly sought to pick up Jewish property at a fraction of its value. The German people looked on with general complacence upon all of these measures which finally ended in the deportation of the victims and their being herded into the camps of death. There is no excuse or justification for any man who took a conscious or consenting part in the measures which constituted these abominable and atrocious crimes, and it is immaterial whether they originated or executed them, or merely implemented them, justified them to the world, or gave aid and comfort to their perpetrators.

The very immensity of this mass murder staggers the imagination and tends to blunt a realization of its horror. But we can gain some idea of it from the fact that from the one camp of Auschwitz over 33 tons of gold from the teeth of the victims and rings from their fingers were sent to the Reich Bank.

Foreign Office Knowledge of the Fate of the Jews in the East

With typical German thoroughness, not only was the campaign of murder and extermination of Jews in Poland and Russia carried on, but detailed reports were made of these horrible measures. The Foreign Office regularly received reports of the Einsatzgruppen operations in the occupied territories. Many of these were initialed by von Weizsaecker and Woermann. They revealed the clearing of entire areas of the Jewish population by mass murder, and the bloody butchery of the helpless and innocent; the shooting of hostages in numbers wholly disproportionate to the alleged offenses against German armed forces; the murder of captured Russian officials and a reign of terrorism carried on with calculated ferocity; all told in the crisp unimaginative language of military reports.

All this is described in detail in the judgment rendered in Case 9 [United States vs. Otto Ohlendorf, et al., Einsatzgruppen case, volume IV, this series.], and it is unnecessary to repeat it again. It suffices to say that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were murdered without reason or excuse, without trial or opportunity to establish their innocence, and beyond question the Jewish population was the particular object of these murder campaigns.

The prosecution, however, does not contend that the defendants implemented or initiated the crimes committed by the Einsatzgruppen but that they had knowledge of them and they made no objections to their commission. Here the Foreign Office had no jurisdiction or power to intervene. They were in the most part carried on in an area which was still under the jurisdiction of the Wehrmacht. How a decent man could continue to hold office under a regime which carried out planned and wholesale barbarities of this kind is difficult to understand, but there is no evidence of participation on the part of the defendants Woermann and von Weizsaecker.

What is of importance in this case, however, is that the facts disclosed by the records of these crimes disposes of the claim of ignorance of final solution and of the purpose of the deportation of the Jews to the East. Knowing as they did what happened to the Jews when they came under the control of the SS, Gestapo, and police, we find ourselves unable to believe that these defendants had any idea that these deportations ended in anything but the death of these deportees through exhaustion from overwork, starvation, or mistreatment, and by mass murder. The defendants are not men of only ordinary intelligence and understanding. They are educated and trained to official life and experienced in the evaluation of policy, and the motives and acts of parties, officialdom, and of nations, and wholly accustomed to read between the lines of restrained or apparently innocuous language, and from it extract the meaning lying behind the words.

The defendant von Weizsaecker's statement that he thought Auschwitz was merely a camp where laborers were interned, we believe, tells only part of what he knew and what he had good reason to believe. He had access to what was publicly broadcast by the outside world of what was going on there. He was kept informed by his contacts with the Wehrmacht, and the opposition, and with the office of Admiral Canaris, and he knew what happened to the Jews of Poland, of the Baltic states, and of the occupied territories of Russia. Unless he thought that ravening wolves had overnight become meek lambs, he must have realized what the end would be.

It is possible, but we think unlikely, that he was not informed of the exquisite techniques of murder developed in this camp, but that he knew the deported were marked for slave labor and death we have no doubt. This is clearly indicated by the testimony of his own son, Karl von Weizsaecker, and by the testimony of a number of other of his own witnesses, and particularly among those of his Foreign Office associates who, with him, claim that they were members of the underground movement against the Hitler regime. We may mention von Schlabrendorf, Bruns, von Etzdorf, and von Bargen.

Karl von Weizsaecker testified as follows (Tr. pp. 10028-10030):
"Q. During the war did you also talk to your father about the deportation of Jews and other atrocities?

"A. Yes, partly we talked about it generally and partly we discussed specific cases.

"Q. Did you and your father know then that the Jews were being killed?

"A. Of course, one knew that. The big difficulty was that it was known that such things were happening but that one did not know where and how it happened.

* * *

"Q. Did your father never consider helping the Jews by open contradiction, that is, by protesting publicly against Hitler's anti-Semitic policy?

"A. Well, we discussed that, too, and I can tell you exactly what my father's opinion was on that point. He said, 'If one did that, one would become a martyr, but one would certainly not help the Jews by doing it.'"

An example of what happened to the Jews is graphically portrayed in the testimony of Jeanette Wolfe. Her husband was sent to Buchenwald, never again to be heard of. Of her children, the son was shot in the concentration camp Stutthof; her third daughter was sent to Ravensbrueck and vanished; her second daughter has survived, but with shattered health; her adopted daughter, a mere child, was one of a shipment of 2000 children who in 1943 were loaded in open trucks in weather 40 below zero, never again to be heard of. In Auschwitz her brother, his wife, one daughter, two sons-in-law, and their three children, nine cousins, one uncle, and one aunt, were exterminated. Mrs. Wolfe's husband was first sent to a concentration camp after the Crystal Week pogrom in 1938, and she herself, with 1350 other Jews from the Dortmund area, was deported to the East in the beginning of 1942, and with Jews from Latvia, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Byelo-Russia, was sent to a concentration camp at Riga. The food there was barely sufficient to maintain life, but not enough to enable the victims to work. If the sufferers became too weak for labor, they were sent away in "Ascension" squads, together with the old and the children. The men were worked to death in the stone quarries; the women were shorn of their hair, which was clipped from their heads and shipped away to be made, allegedly, into ropes.

The witness, Philipp Auerbach, a Jewish-German chemist, fled from Germany to Belgium in 1934, but when that country was overrun, fled to France. On its fall he was captured and sent by the Gestapo to Berlin, thence to various concentration camps, and finally in 1943 to Auschwitz. He testified that it was common knowledge that those who were transported there would be sent to the "ovens." This was known as early as 1941 in Berlin. He did not become a victim because of his chemical knowledge, but was branded with the number 188869 and put to work in the camp combatting vermin and delousing the buildings in the camp. This camp was used largely for foreign Jews, and the Hungarians commenced to arrive toward the end of 1943 and early 1944; of over 50000 Jews deported from Greece, less than 100 survived; transports came from France, Belgium, Holland, and other countries wherever, to use his own language, the "German boot" was planted; on arrival the question was asked, "Which of you cannot work?"; those who said they could not were immediately thrown like cattle into trucks and hauled away to the gas chambers; that an SS Oberfuehrer took little children and dashed their brains out against the walls of the station. The victims' clothes were sent to the VoMi; the gold fillings in the teeth of the dead were extracted and sent to the Reich Bank; over 33 tons of gold teeth and rings in 4 years; those fit for work were employed as long as they lasted in the Buna works of the I. G. Farben and in the armament works. The workers left the camp at 5:00 in the morning and returned at 6:00 in the evening carrying their dead, who had died of exhaustion or been shot; once every 4 weeks there was a selection among the workers on a purely arbitrary basis and the selectees exterminated; that on arrival at the camp all Jews were compelled to disrobe and, as they passed the guards, were directed to go to the right or to the left; left meant to the ovens, and right meant to the slave-labor camps.

It is unnecessary to go further into detail. It suffices to say that nearly 6 million European Jews were thus exterminated.

We have stated that the Foreign Office played an important part in these horrors. Through it the arrangements were made whereby the Vichy government of France and the governments of Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Rumania, and Croatia consented to the deportation of Jews in those territories. Consent was not necessary in occupied France, the Low Countries, Poland, the Baltic states, Denmark, and the occupied Russian territories. There the Jews were merely seized and sent to their deaths. But even here the Foreign Office played an essential part. Among its duties was to ignore, or attempt to quiet, or give evasive and often false answers to the protests or inquiries of other powers. All those who implemented, aided, assisted, or consciously participated in these things bear part of the responsibility for the criminal program.
Last edited by David Thompson on 28 Oct 2004 23:37, edited 1 time in total.

David Thompson
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Post by David Thompson » 28 Oct 2004 22:46

Here's part 1 (of what I think will be 3-4 parts) of the findings of fact on the Foreign Office defendants, taken from the Judgment: Count Five - War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity; Atrocities and Offenses Committed Against Civilian Populations: Von Weizsaecker, Woermann, and Steengracht von Moyland, in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 14: United States of America v. Ernst von Weizsaecker, et al. (Case 11: 'Ministries Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1952. p. 475-520.
The defendant Ernst von Weizsaecker, after service in the German Navy, entered the Foreign Office in 1920, and was thereafter transferred to the Consulate at Basel, Switzerland, and thereafter to the German Legation at Copenhagen where he served until 1927 when he was transferred to Berlin as Senior Legation Councillor, and remained there until the summer of 1931. He was then appointed Minister to Norway and remained there until the summer of 1933 when he was appointed Minister to Switzerland, which post he held until the spring of 1937. From May 1937 until March 1938 he was director of the Political Division of the Foreign Office, and in April 1938 was appointed State Secretary, which post he held until approximately 1 May 1943 when he was appointed Ambassador to the Vatican, where he served until the collapse.

The defendant Ernst Woermann entered the Foreign Office in 1919, served as Secretary of Legation at the German Embassy in Paris from 1920 to 1923, was Councillor of Legation at Vienna from 1925 to 1929, was called back to the Foreign Office as Councillor of Legation First Class, and served as head of the International Law Division of the Legal Department until 1936 when he became head of the European section in the Political Department. He served there until he was appointed Councillor of Embassy - Minister First Class - in London where he served until 1938 when von Ribbentrop appointed him Ministerial Director with the title of Under Secretary of State and head of the Political Department. He served in that capacity until 1943 when he was named Ambassador in Nanking, China.

The defendant Gustav Adolf Steengracht von Moyland in 1936 was appointed Agricultural Attache with the German Embassy in London under von Ribbentrop who was then Ambassador. In September 1938 he was transferred to Berlin and appointed Legation Secretary and promoted to Legation Councillor in April 1939. In the middle of May 1940 von Ribbentrop entrusted him with the technical direction of his local headquarters, and he thus became a member of the Foreign Minister's personal staff. In 1941 he became von Ribbentrop's chief adjutant and served in that capacity until May 1943 when he was appointed State Secretary.

We now proceed to analyze the evidence in this case to determine what part, if any at all, the defendants von Weizsaecker, Woermann, and Steengracht von Moyland had in this program.

That the Foreign Office had an interest in this program of liquidating the Jews of Europe is conclusively shown by the documentary evidence. That von Ribbentrop, Luther (Under Secretary of State in charge of Department Deutschland), Abetz (German Ambassador to Paris), Rademacher (of Luther's department), and Wagner (of Inland II of the Foreign Office), as well as diverse German diplomatic representatives, particularly in the satellite states, were deeply involved, is likewise clear. This is particularly true with respect to Luther and Rademacher.

It is insisted, on behalf of von Weizsaecker, that although Luther was normally subordinated to the State Secretary and in many activities should have been subordinated or at least have obtained the approval of the Under Secretary of State in charge of the Political Division, he was in fact a creature of von Ribbentrop's, and acted under his direct instructions, bypassing his nominal superiors in many important matters; and these defendants were, in many instances, kept in ignorance of the proposed action and either never learned of them or only after they had been completed. Von Ribbentrop and Luther are dead, and Rademacher was not called as a witness, either by the defense or the prosecution, which is quite understandable as his position was such that he could not testify without incriminating himself, and if called by the defense his natural tendency to avoid responsibility and cast it upon others - a tendency which the Tribunal has noted in many instances of this case - may well have impelled the defense to refrain from calling him.

The Tribunal is compelled, therefore, to unravel this tangled skein without the testimony of some of the principal actors. We are not unmindful of the temptation to a defendant to evade responsibility, place it on others, and deny his own knowledge and participation. There has been a notable reluctance to testify about, and a lack of memory on the part of the defendants, with regard to matters which we find difficult to believe could have left no impression on their minds or memories, and an insistence that they could not testify unless the prosecution faced them with documents concerning the matter in question. Such a disposition deprives their testimony of much of its weight and we are therefore obliged to approach with caution denials of knowledge of matters which, in the ordinary course of business, should and would have come to their attention.

In October 1938 and November 1938 the British and American Ambassadors approached the defendants von Weizsaecker and Woermann, asking that Rublee, the American Chairman of the International Relief Committee, be permitted to travel to Berlin to confer on plans for the emigration of refugees from Germany. Von Weizsaecker was directed by von Ribbentrop on 21 October 1938 not to answer the British inquiries; but he had already informed the British Embassy on 18 October 1938 that in his opinion the plan was futile; that it was by no means clear which countries were prepared to accept the Jews and the committee's efforts had proved to be sterile, and his belief that it was its intention to prove its worth by entering into discussions with Germany which would result in the establishment of the fact that Germany, for obvious reasons, was unwilling to provide Jews with foreign currency, and thus the ultimate object would be reached, namely, to prove that it was again the German obstinacy which was responsible for the misery of the Jews; that merely for the act of making Germany the scapegoat he was unable to recommend Rublee's plan, but that he would pass the memorandum on to the competent office. In this memorandum he states that his answer to the American Ambassador was more placatory, but of the same tenor.

As stated, he was directed by von Ribbentrop to make no reply to the British memorandum. The British and Americans from time to time attempted to renew the matter, but von Weizsaecker and Woermann put them off with vague promises. The defendants claim that finally through their exclusive efforts, Rublee was permitted to visit Berlin and engaged in various conferences.

There can be no question whatsoever that here neither von Weizsaecker nor Woermann was in a position to control the matter. Their superior had given express orders as to the nature of the conversation they might conduct with the foreign representatives in question. They derived their powers only from and through him, and they merely repeated his decision. They did not execute or implement a policy of wrongdoing.

Wannsee Conference and the Part Played by the Foreign Office

The mass deportation of Jews to the East which resulted in the extermination of many millions of them found its expression in the celebrated Wannsee conference of 20 January 1942. The Foreign Office played an important part in these negotiations and in the actions thereafter taken to implement and assist the program. Von Weizsaecker or Woermann neither originated it, gave it enthusiastic support, nor in their hearts approved of it. The question is whether they knew of the program and whether in any substantial manner they aided, abetted, or implemented it. That both von Ribbentrop and Luther did, there can be no possible question.

On 18 December 1941 a memorandum was prepared by Luther's department "Deutschland" in preparation for a conference with Heydrich to set up the wishes and ideas of the Foreign Office concerning the "total solution" of the Jewish question in Europe. The document does not show on its face that it was submitted to von Weizsaecker or Woermann, and ordinarily this would indicate that it was not.

But on 4 December 1941 Luther prepared a memorandum which was submitted to von Weizsaecker and initialed by him regarding a proposal or suggestion made by Foreign Minister Popof of Bulgaria, on or about 26 November 1941, regarding Bulgaria's attitude toward deportation of Bulgarian Jews, in which he suggested that the opportunity rendered by the war must be utilized to settle finally the Jewish question in Europe, and that the most practicable method would be that all European states introduce German legislation on Jews and agree that Jews, regardless of their nationality, should be subject to the measures taken by the country of residence, while their property would be at the "disposal" of the final solution; that a halfway consistent enactment of the German laws for Jews in European countries would break the back of all elements hostile to Germany, and particularly in Hungary; that whether the political situation, in view of the inner resistance of Hungary, Italy, and Spain, was already ripe for such a solution could not be judged from the viewpoint of Department Deutschland, and suggested that an agreement be reached between European powers allied by the Anti-Comintern Pact that Jews of the nationality of these countries are to fall under Jewish measures of the country of their residence, and that Jews of Norway, Luxembourg, Serbian, and Russian nationality, including those of the former Baltic states would automatically fall under the settlement.

Von Weizsaecker considered the matter very urgent and according to his own testimony likewise submitted it to the legal division for opinion.

On 23 December 1941 Albrecht of the legal division (which was indubitably subordinate to von Weizsaecker) submitted a memorandum which bears the legend, "submitted to the State Secretary," and which refers to some of the issues raised by the Luther memorandum just mentioned. It is to be remembered that the Wannsee conference took place on 20 January 1942. The legal opinion expressed two possibilities:

(1) That the states which pursued Jewish policies similar to those of Germany agree on new bilateral treaties not to use the rights ensuing from the existing trade and residence treaties for the benefit of their Jewish citizens.

(2) That the states in question also arrange a collective treaty, providing that their Jewish citizens in the territory of the other parties should be subject to their legislation on Jews without regard to existing regulations and treaties, but concluded that the suggestion of Department Deutschland to propose a collective treaty between the signatories of the Anti-Comintern Pact might meet with the obstacle that Italy, Spain, and Hungary would not agree at that time to be tied down by such an approach to the Jewish question, and therefore that the collective treaty must, for the time being, be confined to the smaller circle of such state as Slovakia, Rumania, Bulgaria, and possibly Croatia.

The opinion emphasizes the fact that a collective treaty confining these states would not be an easy matter to accomplish, largely because of difficulties which had arisen primarily from economic conditions, and because the extent of the assets of Jewish citizens of the individual potential parties to the collective treaty existing in the territories of other treaty partners was bound to be quite different, and the potential partners would fear to suffer loss by denouncing protection of the assets of their Jewish citizens because it might not be balanced by the assets of Jewish citizens residing in their own territories. Because of these difficulties the legal department thought that the question could be better solved by bilateral treaties. It is to be observed that this solution of bilateral treaties of agreement was the one which was actually employed.

The defendant von Weizsaecker suggests that the legal department, presumably at his insistence, sought to delay these deportations. If so, it was not only inept but its opinion is couched in language which is hardly reconcilable to the objectives sought. When one who seeks to kill a project gives one solution which it states is presently impractical, and recommends another solution having the same end and that solution is the one accepted, it is difficult to see how such a technique is one of sabotage or delay. It is true that the opinion warns against German action or that of satellite countries against Jews who are citizens of countries not parties to the agreement; nevertheless the only effect of this warning was to avoid foreign political difficulties which were patently inherent.

It is not without interest to note Luther's draft of the ideas and wishes of the Foreign Office, dated 8 December 1941. They are:

(1) Deportation to the East of all Jews residing in the Reich, including those living in Croatia, Slovakia, and Rumania.

(2) Deportation of all German Jews living in occupied territories who had lost their citizenship and were then stateless in accordance with the Reich Citizenship Law.

(3) Deportation of all Serbian Jews.

(4) Deportation of the Jews handed over to Germany by the Hungarian Government.

(5) A declaration to the Rumanian, Slovakian, Croatian, Bulgarian, and Hungarian Governments of German readiness to deport to the East Jews living in those countries.

(6) Influencing the Bulgarian and Hungarian Governments to issue laws similar to the Nuernberg Laws.

(7) To exert influence on the remaining European governments to issue laws concerning Jews, and,

(8) The execution of these measures as hitherto in "voluntary cooperation" with the Gestapo.

This program was adopted and the puppet and satellite states, in some instances reluctantly, entered into bilateral agreement permitting Germany to deport their Jewish citizens to the East. The Foreign Office exerted its influence and pressure to achieve these agreements.

On 20 January 1942 the Wannsee Conference on the final solution of the Jewish problem was held and, in addition to Heydrich, the defendant Stuckart, representing the Ministry of Interior, Luther, representing the Foreign Office, and Kritzinger, representing the Reich Chancellery, were present. There also were representatives of the Government General, the Reich Ministry of Justice, Commissioner of the Four Year Plan, and the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories. Heydrich addressed the meeting, reported his appointment by Goering to serve as "Commissioner for the Preparation of the Final Solution of the European Jewish Problem," and stated that the problem of the conference was to clear up the fundamental problems; that the primary responsibility for the administrative handling of the final solution rested in Himmler, the Security Police and the SD, regardless of geographic boundaries. He reviewed the previous steps taken against the Jews and said that the early program had emigration for its object, notwithstanding certain inherent disadvantages such as financial difficulties, lack of shipping space, emigration taxes, limitations of emigration, and the like; that, nevertheless, over 360000 Jews had thus been eliminated from Germany, and 147000 from Austria, and 30000 from the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia; that the financing of this emigration was accomplished by requiring Jews or Jewish political organizations to meet the bill and to provide, from abroad, the necessary foreign exchange, and that the "gifts" from foreign Jews up to 30 October 1941 amounted to approximately $9.5 million, but the war had put a stop to this and that the emigration program was to be replaced by the evacuation of the Jews to the East in accordance with Hitler's authorization; that these actions were to be regarded only as a temporary substitute; that in the final solution of the European Jewish problem, approximately 11 million Jews were involved, of whom only 131800 were in original Reich territory, 43700 in Austria, and 74200 in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia; that under the proper direction the Jews should now be brought to the East in the course of the final solution to be used as labor, and that in utilizing them in big gangs and with separation of the sexes; that a great part would fall out through natural diminution and the remainder finally able to survive must be given treatment accordingly because if permitted to go free they would be a germ cell of new Jewish development; that it was proposed that the Foreign Office should confer with competent specialists of the Security Police and SD in handling the final solution in the European areas occupied and influenced by Germany; that in Slovakia and Croatia the problem was no longer difficult, and Rumania had likewise appointed a commissioner for Jewish affairs, but, in Hungary it would be necessary, in the near future, to force upon that government acceptance of an adviser on Jewish problems. He discussed the question with regard to Italy and France.

Luther said there would be some difficulties in the northern countries and suggested that the evacuation there be postponed for the time being, but that the Foreign Office saw no difficulties for the southeast and west of Europe.

The conference then proceeded to discuss the treatment of Mischlings, that is, persons who were of mixed blood. A first degree Mischling was one who had two Jewish grandparents. A second degree Mischling was one having only one Jewish grandparent. A first degree Mischling was considered a Jew subject to all of the measures enacted by the Third Reich if he belonged to a Jewish religious community then or after the enactment of the Nuernberg Laws, or if he was married to a Jewish person at the time or after the enactment of the laws, or if he was the offspring of a marriage of a Jew after the enactment of those laws, or if he was an offspring of a Jew and born out of wedlock after 31 July 1936. Heydrich stated that a first degree Mischling was to be treated as a Jew, so far as the final solution was concerned, unless he was married to a person of German blood and had issue, or had been excepted, or was accepted by the highest authorities of Party and State. Nevertheless, these first degree Mischlings were to be sterilized (which sterilizations would take place on a voluntary basis) in order to prevent offspring.

A second degree Mischling was to be treated as a person of German blood unless he was a bastard of parents both Mischlings, or if his appearance was unfavorable, that is, looked like a Jew, or if he had a bad police and political record showing that he felt and conducted himself like a Jew.

Hoffmann of the SS expressed the opinion that extensive use must be made of sterilization, since the Mischling, when confronted with the choice of evacuation or sterilization, would prefer the latter.

The defendant Stuckart stated that the practical execution discussed for settling mixed marriages and the Mischling problem would entail an endless administrative task and recommended that compulsory sterilization be undertaken.

Buehler of the Government General welcomed the initiation of the final solution for his district because the transport problem played no important part and the Jews had to be removed, and of approximately two and one-half million Jews there the majority were unfit for work.

A second conference on the final solution was held on 6 March 1942. This was attended by Rademacher of Department Deutschland of the Foreign Office, and Feldscher of the Ministry of the Interior, and Boley of the Reich Chancellery. Also present were representatives of the Goebbels' Ministry, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry for the Eastern Territories, the Party Chancellery, the Government General, Commissioner for the Four Year Plan, and the Race and Settlement Main Office (RUSHA).

Much of the meeting was taken up with the question of sterilization and the dissolution of mixed marriages. Stuckart's representative, Feldscher, stated that Stuckart's recommendation for sterilization was intended only for first degree Mischlings. It was agreed that sterilization by law expressly or explicitly was untenable, and it was proposed to make legal provisions "to regulate the living conditions of Mischlings, but doubt was expressed as to whether this would suffice as a legal basis."

It was further agreed that even if sterilizations were practicable -- which, by reason of the expense, the shortage of doctors and hospital beds seemed impossible - to permit these sterilized Mischlings to remain in the Reich was to raise constant administrative problems and that compulsory sterilizations would not solve the Mischling problem nor bring about administrative relief but rather increase the difficulties, and that should Hitler, nevertheless, for political reasons, consider general compulsory sterilization suitable, first degree Mischlings, even after sterilizations, must be brought in one place in a special city similar to the present treatment of the old Jews today (Theresienstadt).

Following this conference, Rademacher, on 11 June 1942, submitted a resume of the results of the conference of 20 January 1942 and that of 6 March 1942 to the defendant von Weizsaecker via Luther, Gaus, and Woermann, evidently transmitting also the letter of Schlegelberger, acting Minister of Justice, who concurred in Stuckart's idea with regard to sterilizations and was against the deportation of half-Jews, and a copy of Stuckart's letter of 16 March 1942 in which he pointed out both political and social objections to deporting half-Jews and again referred to the suggestion he made that Mischlings of the first degree not already sterile be sterilized.

On 21 August 1942 Luther reported to von Ribbentrop giving a review of the anti-Jewish measures and the proposals for final solution. It stated that Hitler intended to evacuate all Jews from Europe and that this intention was known to him as early as August 1940. It continued with the detailed statement of the steps which had been taken in other countries, such as France, Netherlands, and Belgium, the protests made by foreign powers, including the United States, with regard to the measures in France; it mentioned the Wannsee Conference of 20 January 1942 and stated "State Secretary von Weizsaecker had been informed on the conference," but that von Ribbentrop had not because Heydrich had intended to call a later conference which was never held because of his appointment as Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia and his later death; that Heydrich had agreed that in all questions concerning questions outside Germany the Foreign Office must be first consulted. It recited the inquiries made of Slovakia, Croatia, and Rumania with regard to their Jewish nationals living in Germany, and that this was done upon agreement with von Weizsaecker, the State Secretary, and Woermann, the Under Secretary of State; before the instructions were dispatched to the German Embassies in those countries. It related the consent given by Rumania, Croatia, and Slovakia, and that the RSHA had been informed that Jewish nationals of those countries could be deported, and that the director of the political division and other divisions in the Foreign Office had cosigned the dispatches; that the Legation at Pressburg had been instructed by the State Secretary von Weizsaecker and Woermann, the Under Secretary of State, to ask the Slovak Government to make 20000 young, strong, Slovak Jews from Slovakia available for deportation to the East and the favorable results from this request which followed; that thereafter Himmler proposed that the rest of the Slovakian Jews be deported to the East and Slovakia freed of them, and the German Legation was provided with proper instructions, the draft of which was signed by von Weizsaecker and after dispatch was submitted to the von Ribbentrop bureau and to Woermann; that difficulties had arisen because the Slovakian Episcopacy had raised objections, but that Minister President Tuka desired the removals continued and asked for support through diplomatic pressure from the Reich; and the Ambassador had been instructed to state to President Tiso that the exclusion of the 35000 Jews was a surprise to Germany, and more so since the cooperation of Slovakia up to that time in the Jewish problem had been highly appreciated by Germany; that this instruction had been cosigned by Woermann and von Weizsaecker.

Luther reviews the situation in Croatia and the difficulties had with the Italians over the removal of Croatian Jews in their military area and that von Weizsaecker had ordered the matter held up until inquiry could be made of the Embassy in Rome.

He discusses the suggestion made by Popoff of Bulgaria to von Ribbentrop for the evacuation of Bulgarian Jews and other Jews in Bulgaria, and the fact that von Weizsaecker had asked for the opinion of the legal division with respect to this matter; that the German Legation in Sofia had been instructed that if the question of deportation came from the Bulgarian side as to whether Germany was ready to deport Bulgarian Jews to the East, that it should be answered in the affirmative but as to the time it should be answered evasively; that this was cosigned by von Weizsaecker and Woermann; that the Legation had exchanged notes with the Bulgarian Government and ordered it to be prepared to sign an agreement as to the evacuation. He reviewed the situation in Hungary and stated that the status of Hungarian legislation at that time did not promise a sufficient success. He related the steps which had been taken in Rumania and the difficulties which had arisen there.

Throughout this document he refers to telegrams and communications originating in his department, and we have carefully checked these references to ascertain as far as possible their accuracy. Both Woermann and von Weizsaecker strenuously assert that they never saw this report and that the statements therein contained regarding their cooperation therewith are not true.

In rebuttal the prosecution offered [NG-2586, Prosecution] Exhibit 3601, which is a copy of the report, and has various markings in brown pencil which, according to previous evidence, was the color prescribed by von Ribbentrop to be used by von Weizsaecker. When faced with this the defendant filed a sur-rebuttal affidavit that this rule did not prevent these various colors being used for other purposes by other people, and he had come across many documents underlined or marked in colors including brown which did not originate with the official to whom the color had been assigned, and states that to the best of his recollection Luther did not bring this exhibit to his attention. His statement regarding the brown pencil is contradicted by the affidavit of Hans Schroeder.

We believe that the defendant is in error in his statement that he never saw this document, and we have been able to trace out many of the documents to which he refers in this exhibit. It is admitted that it was prepared by Luther for the purpose of justifying his activities to
von Ribbentrop, and it is unlikely that a document prepared with such evident care would be submitted, and that references would be made to conferences and agreements with specified persons unless it was substantially accurate. The hazards of making such statements if not true would be such as to make even as reckless a person as Luther hesitate.

Woermann insists that Document 169 [Woermann Exhibit 113], demonstrates that he had no knowledge of the Wannsee Conference. It discloses that on 10 February 1942 Rademacher informed Biefeld of the Political Division that the Madagascar Plan had been abandoned, and that Hitler planned to deport the Jews to the East, whereupon Woermann inquired into the source from which the statement was derived.

On 24 February 1942 Rademacher wrote Luther, his chief, requesting him to inform Woermann of the conference had with Heydrich. These documents establish that up to 24 February 1942 Woermann had not known, or at least seen, the minutes of the Wannsee Conference, and it is also clear that he was to be informed of it by Luther, and in view of what he himself terms the "importance of the decision," it is highly unlikely that if Luther did not voluntarily give full details he would have taken the necessary steps to ascertain precisely what had taken place. The question involved an entire change of policy and involved foreign political problems of first importance. Woermann had the right to know precisely what was involved and to examine the minutes, and there can be no doubt that von Weizsaecker would have given the necessary order that they be produced had Luther refused to do so. Unless we are to believe that an Under Secretary of State was unable to fulfill intelligently the functions of his office, we must assume that his request for information was complied with and that he actually obtained it. Both von Weizsaecker and Woermann were advised and knew of the slaughter of the Jews by the Einsatzgruppen in Poland, the Baltic states, and in the East, and we do not believe that they thought these Jews had been killed in action in connection with the fighting there, or that several hundred thousand Jews thus murdered were killed by reason of either military operation or because of participation in partisan fighting. No man of even ordinary intelligence could have thought so.

On 7 March 1942 Rademacher wrote a memorandum on the conference of 6 March 1942 which, as he states, was to clarify the general directives of the Wannsee Conference of 20 January 1942 in which he describes that the proposal to sterilize the 70000 first degree Mischlings had been found impracticable because of war conditions, and therefore, it had been suggested to postpone this action until after the war, and in the meantime to assemble these unfortunate people in a single city either in Germany or the Government General, and also that a simplified procedure for the deportation of German Mischlings had been agreed upon. This was submitted to Woermann.

Klingenfuss of the Foreign Office submitted a memorandum of the conference of 27 October 1942 which he had attended, wherein it is said that in view of the experience and knowledge gained in the field of sterilizations and the development of a simpler form and shorter procedure, it is agreed upon that first degree Mischlings should be sterilized on a "voluntary basis" as a prerequisite to their remaining in the Reich: that they wold have the choice of deportation, a severe measure in comparison with sterilization, and for this reason sterilization was to be considered a gracious favor.

On 31 May 1938 von Weizsaecker wrote the Ministry of Economics. The prosecution insists that von Weizsaecker took part in an attempt to subject Jews of foreign nationality to the effects of the Registration and Utilization Decree of 26 April 1938 and those supplementary thereto. We think the contrary is true. He wrote the Ministry of Economics regarding protests made and to be apprehended from a number of foreign nations, saying (NG-3802, Pros. Ex. 1757):
"In the meantime further inquiries here of foreign representatives have confirmed us in the opinion that indiscriminatory implementation of the decree and its provisions in the case of foreign nationals would have serious political consequences disproportionate to any advantages gained, especially if Jewish property subject to compulsory registration should be used for the German economy in accordance with article 7 of the decree in question. The anti-German propaganda campaign abroad which has been caused by the decree would increase in vehemence and any sequestration of property belonging to Jews living abroad would bring grist to the mill of those responsible for the campaign.

"Diplomatic relations might become strained, export might suffer even more, countermeasures against German property abroad might perhaps be taken in consequence. Above all, the possibility would have to be reckoned with that Britain, America, and France particularly, in view of the trade and settlement agreements concluded with those countries, will not submit without voicing their objections to the treatment of their nationals of Jewish race in accordance with German laws contrary to those agreements.

"I can see no reason why foreign Jews should be exempted completely from the provisions of the decree dated 26 April 1938, especially since the decree stipulates in principle that foreign Jews, too, should be subject to registration. I should, however, like to make the following suggestions designed to mitigate the effect of the probable repercussions abroad:

* * *

"With regard to the use to be made later of property liable to registration belonging to foreign nationals, I suggest that no use be made in principle of property belonging to foreigners living abroad or in Germany."
This is not the language of a man who supported or implemented a measure with which, by the way, he had no part in drafting or enacting. It clearly evidences not only disapproval but is a carefully worded attack designed to point out the dangers in it and his suggestion, or even an insistence, that in the field for which the Foreign Office was competent it should not be applied.

It is to be noted, however, that its recommendations are really limited to those foreign Jewish nationals of countries which were likely to object, which we will discuss later

On 12 November 1938 Goering called a conference to which von Weizsaecker was invited, but which Woermann attended in his place. Exhibit 1441 [Document 1816-PS, prosecution exhibit] constitutes the minutes of this conference. It arises out of the Crystal Week riots in which Jewish stores were smashed and looted, synagogues burned, and Jews beaten, murdered, or thrown into concentration camps. These riots were organized by the Party. The conference disclosed that there was an intention to rob the Jews of their property rights and there is even mention here of the "final solution" in the event of war with foreign powers.

There can be no question that Woermann fully understood what had been done and what was proposed and that he informed von Weizsaecker about it. Nevertheless, so far as his part in the conference is concerned, it is likewise clear that he insisted that any action against Jews of foreign nations was a matter about which the Foreign Office must be consulted, and this, notwithstanding Goering's reluctance. Neither his position nor that of von Weizsaecker was of such a character that it could influence or control Goering or the other cabinet officials who were present. It is true that he reported to von Ribbentrop by telephone the results of the meeting and that he had thus announced the position of the Foreign Office, and also that
"our starting point is that foreign nations are only to be taken into consideration if the prevailing interests of the Reich compel us to do so."

Assuredly this is not a stand which discloses any decent moral concepts or any sympathy for the persecuted, but so far as his acts or advice are concerned, he spoke in behalf of those Jews over which his ministry had jurisdiction.

On 25 January 1939 Wiehl of the Foreign Office prepared a memorandum which was sent to all foreign missions and consulates. It states that the purpose of the 1938 legislation was to ascertain the influence of Jewry through an accurate survey of the number of Jewish enterprises, the amount of Jewish property, and to prevent Jews from increasing their property within the German economy, and to confiscate property in Jewish hands; that the setting up of registers and the threat of public characterization of them as Jews had as an aim to cause the Jews to dispose of their enterprises in a speedy way; that by April 1938 the registrations showed that 135750 Jews of German nationality owned property valued at 7 billion RM; 9,567 foreign Jews owned property valued at 415 million RM; and 2269 stateless Jews owned property valued at 73.5 million RM, and by these measures the expansion of the economic life of the Jews was prevented and their elimination from economic life initiated.

He then described the second group of measures instigated by the decree of 12 November 1938 which increased the number of activities forbidden to Jews. As to foreign Jews, his report recited that the Ministry of Economics on 30 December 1938 had directed Reich agencies to refrain provisionally from foreclosures of retail business's and craftsmen's workshops if owned by Jewish foreign nationals, but that an inventory of these businesses should be ordered and when carried out the Ministry of Economics would give further orders as to how the cases were to be dealt with; that all German stateless Jews were required to deposit their securities and forbidden to sell them without approval of the German Ministry of Economics; that Jewish sellers instead of receiving the payments fixed in the selling agreement would be ordered to receive Reich debentures, and that German economic life would be completely dejudafied in the year 1939.

The report concludes with the statement that the protests of foreign countries with respect to the Jewish nationals had not been met by a general assurance that their nationals would not be subjected to discriminatory treatment, but nevertheless, promises had been made that individual cases would be examined in the light of existing treaties.

On 25 January 1939 Schumberg of the Foreign Office, a defense witness, prepared a monograph entitled "The Jewish Question as a Factor in German Foreign Policy in 1938." This was distributed to all German diplomatic and consular representatives and discussed, among other things, the typical hysteria of Nazi Germany toward the Jews. It states that the influence of Jewry on Austrian economy had become so great under the Schuschnigg regime that immediate measures had to be taken to exclude the Jews from the economy and utilize Jewish property in the interest of the community; that the reprisal acts adopted because of the von Rath murder so accelerated this process that Jewish shops, with the exception of foreign businesses, had disappeared from the streets completely, and that limitations of the Jewish wholesale and manufacturing trades and of houses and real estate in the hands of the Jews would reach a point where, in a conceivable time, there would no longer be any talk of Jewish property in Germany; that Germany was interested in the dispersal of Jewry; the calculation that as a consequence boycott groups and anti-German centers would be formed all over the world disregards the fact already apparent that the influx of Jews in all parts of the world invokes the opposition of the native population and thereby forms the best propaganda for the German Jewish policy; that there is a visible increase in anti-Semitism and that it must be the task of the German foreign policy to increase this wave; that expectations have been confirmed that the criticism of anti-Jewish measures would only be temporary and would swing over the other way the moment the population learned of the Jewish danger, and that therefore the poorer and more burdensome the Jewish immigrant is to the country absorbing him, the stronger the country will react; that the object of this action should be the future international solution of the Jewish question dictated not by false compassion for the united religious Jewish minority, but by the full consciousness of all people of the danger which it represents to the racial composition of the nations. It further suggests the advisability and necessity of increasing this anti-Semitic feeling throughout the world.

On 31 January 1939 Hitler spoke to the Reichstag, the defendants Woermann, Meissner, Schwerin von Krosigk, Keppler, and Dietrich being present. Hitler there said (2360-PS, Pros. Ex. 3906):
"I believe that this problem will be solved - the sooner the better - for Europe cannot rest again before the Jewish problem has been eliminated.

"If international finance Jewry in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the peoples of Europe into another world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevization of the world and a victory for world Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe."

Those are not idle words nor, in view of the brutal tactics which he had already adopted against opponents both real and fancied, could any of his listeners or readers have any reason to deem them to be mere rhetorical froth. He made similar public announcements during the subsequent years.

On 30 October 1940 the Foreign Office received a memorandum relating to the forced evacuation of the Jews from Baden and the Saar, 7400 in number, to southern France. The victims were given only one-half to two hours' notice. They were allowed to take personal belongings up to 50 kilograms in weight, and money varying from 10 to 100 RM per person. Old people in homes for the aged were included, even where it was necessary to have them carried to the trains in stretchers. It was the intention then to have them shipped to Madagascar. Woermann received a copy of these reports, as did von Weizsaecker.

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Post by David Thompson » 28 Oct 2004 23:00

Part 2:
The French objected and informed Germany that they could not receive these refugees because of lack of food and accommodations. The Armistice Commission further reported that the German authorities in Lorraine had given the French-speaking inhabitants the choice of departing for unoccupied France or being transferred to Poland, and these people had been falsely informed that this was in compliance with an agreement between the Vichy and German governments. The Foreign Office was also advised of General von Stuelpnagel's request for directions as to what answer should be given the French.

On 21 November 1940 Rademacher of Department Deutschland of the Foreign Office wrote his chief, Luther, that in his opinion Abetz, the German Ambassador to the Vichy government, should be instructed to tell the French to settle the matter quietly and not mention it again in Wiesbaden (site of the Armistice Commission), and that the German commission should tell the French that the matter would be settled in Paris.

On 22 November 1940 von Ribbentrop's office gave instructions via von Weizsaecker and Woermann that the note of the French should be treated in a dilatory manner, and saying further, "these persons are not to be readmitted under any circumstances." Luther on 25 November 1940 asked Kramarz, of Political Division I, to instruct Hencke to inform General von Stuelpnagel of von Ribbentrop's decision, and that the operation was carried out with the approval of Hitler.

On the same date, by von Weizsaecker's order, Woermann prepared a memorandum for von Ribbentrop's use in a conference which the latter expected to hold with Laval of the Vichy government. It dealt with a number of suggestions, including the transfer of the two French departments from the command of the military commander in Brussels to the military commander in France, objections to the transfer of the site of the Vichy government from Vichy to Versailles or Paris, and the matter of the deportation of the Jews from Baden and the Saar to southern France. With regard to this latter question, Woermann says (NG-1337, Pros. Ex. 3655):
"Since the return of the Jews to Baden cannot take place, this question also should not be discussed. In any case, Mr. Laval should be informed that further transports of this nature are not to be expected, in which case, however, the Reich Leader SS is first to be consulted."
Von Weizsaecker's explanation is that when he heard of the transportation of these Jews to France he first had the feeling that they might have a more lenient fate than they would have received in Germany, and then the reports came in about abuses they suffered in camps in the Pyrenees; that when he first heard about the transport to the East he thought they would be better off there than in the Pyrenees, because if they were used for labor they would be treated decently, but it finally turned out that the Jews would have been better off in France anyhow, and that with the modest means of Foreign Office influence within the scope of diplomatic possibilities, he was not absolutely able to determine where the lesser evil was and where he could best intervene.

Woermann's defense is that these measures were taken without his knowledge and the decision that these unfortunate people would not be permitted to return to Germany had already been decided by his superiors.

It is clear from the evidence that this brutal action was initiated by the local Gauleiter, not only without the knowledge of the Foreign Office, but without the knowledge of the Ministry of the Interior. No criminality therefore can be charged against the defendants von Weizsaecker and Woermann so far as the initiation of this deportation is concerned. The decision to refuse the French demand that they be returned was von Ribbentrop's.

Having neither originated nor implemented this crime, they should be and are acquitted with respect to it.

The defendant von Weizsaecker has referred to [NG-4893, Prosecution] Exhibit 1688 as evidencing his efforts to sabotage, or at least minimize, the effect of the anti-Jewish measures proposed in France. This correspondence started in August 1940 by a communication from Abetz, German Ambassador to the Vichy government, in which he requested approval to certain proposed anti-Jewish measures, which were (NG-4893, Pros Ex. 1688):

(1) A ban on the re-immigration of Jews into the occupied territory;

(2) Registration of all Jews in the occupied portions of France;

(3) Marking Jewish places of business; and,

(4) Appointing of trustees for Jewish enterprises.

He ends with the statement,
"These measures can be explained by reason of the fact that they lie within the interest of security for the occupying force and are to be executed by the French authorities."

Luther asked the SS for an opinion and Heydrich expressed no objection other than that the measures should be carried out by the Security Police in conjunction with the French. Luther then wrote Abetz and expressed the doubt as to whether or not the opposite of the desired effect might not result unless ideological preparations first took place, and that it would be desirable that the intended measures be first carried out by the Vichy government, which would then have to bear the responsibility in the event of failure.

On 9 October 1940 Schleier of the Embassy reported that the military commander in France had issued the necessary regulation which applied to all Jews of whatever nationality, but that the field offices had been directed to exempt American Jews, and that a number of foreign nations had inquired as to the effect upon their nationals. Schleier asked for immediate instructions and especially as to how foreign Jews in the diplomatic and consular offices were to be treated. On 12 December 1940 Rademacher in a memorandum stated that inquiry had been made of Abetz as to whether all these measures would affect foreign Jewish diplomatic representatives and that the latter had replied that if Jews belong to the diplomatic corps they were exempt, but if they were employees of diplomatic representatives the contrary was true, and that State Secretary von Weizsaecker, at a conference in the Foreign Office directors' office, was in agreement with this ruling, particularly since the diplomatic representatives concerned were accredited to France and not to the German Reich.

Almost immediately thereafter (19 December 1940) von Ribbentrop made a decision that the American notes of protest against measures affecting Jews of American nationality, if again submitted, should be answered by stating that the measures were adopted for reasons of security, and disapprove the German field commander's instructions to exempt American Jews from the application of the ordinances, and stated (NG-4983, Pros. Ex. 1688):
"It would be a mistake to reject the protests of friendly nations, such as Spain and Hungary, and to show weakness, on the other hand, toward America."

It is somewhat difficult to understand von Weizsaecker's claim that in this instance he had adopted an attitude favoring the Jews.

What then did von Weizsaecker's concurrence in Abetz's suggestion actually amount to? Without question, unless Germany in 1940 desired or intended to run the risk of a final break of relations with the United States, it was bound to accord to American diplomatic representatives the immunity to which, under international law, they were entitled. At that time, at least, this would have been catastrophic from the German political standpoint. Von Weizsaecker's position is merely a concurrence in the obvious. But it is to be noted that he did not either recognize or recommend that it should be extended to Jewish employees of American diplomatic representatives. It is a decision which was, at best, exceedingly doubtful. He concurred in limiting diplomatic immunity to Jewish members of the diplomatic corps. In addition, he offered as justification a pure sophistry, namely, that these diplomats were accredited to France and not to Germany.

It has never been claimed by the defense that Germany had annexed France or any part of it, other than Alsace-Lorraine. It merely had military possession of part of the country; the Reich had never suggested that the presence of foreign diplomats in occupied France was improper, nor had it asked for their recall. The German Embassy received and answered inquiries made by these diplomats with respect to the treatment of their own Jewish nationals. If these documents prove anything, then it was the fact that at the time the defendant von Weizsaecker was not attempting to help or mitigate the conditions of the Jews, so far as foreign nationals were concerned, but he was engaged in aggravating their lot. Had his intentions then been those which he now claims, and had he felt that any appeal to von Ribbentrop on humanitarian grounds was useless, the way was open to him to have used the very avenue of approach to which he complains he was so often compelled, namely, to call attention to the fact that the proposed action was contrary to the Hague Convention, that it was extremely doubtful whether Germany had the right to abrogate the usual immunities to which the employees of diplomatic representatives were entitled, and also to point out the foreign political repercussions which would arise if they were not exempted from the proposed measures. He did nothing.

As early as 27 April 1937 the defendant von Weizsaecker laid down rules for the future handling of the Palestine question (NG-4075, Pros. Ex. 2109):
"1. A splitting-up of world Jewry is to be preferred to the establishment of a state in Palestine.

"2. If German foreign policy should become actively concerned with this question, direct pressure on the British mandatory power would, at least for the present, seem inadvisable.

"These rules, however, did not prevent the Foreign Office from informing the domestic German agencies of its attitude, so that in measures of domestic policy for Jewish emigration, consideration should be given to the fact that Jewish emigration to Palestine should not be encouraged at all costs, but rather that their emigration to any other place in the world is to be preferred * * *."

and that,
"* * * German authorities stationed abroad are to be given instructions concerning the attitude to be adopted by them toward the Palestine question."

With respect to Luther's alleged independence of action, the defendant von Weizsaecker testified that at the end of August 1942 von Ribbentrop ordered Luther that in the event of further steps concerning the deportation of Jews and similar matters, it should be brought to the attention of State Secretary von Weizsaecker; that up to that time the rule had not been enforced. He further says that in this dreadful and tragic Jewish question he had to let many things "pass through my hands upon instruction from higher agencies that were objectionable to me. I admit that."

On 11 August 1942 Luther prepared a memorandum which was distributed to von Weizsaecker, Woermann, and von Erdmannsdorff relative to the discussions he had had with the Hungarian Minister regarding the treatment of Hungarian Jews in France, and the Ministers protest against this action.

On 6 October 1942 Luther again reported a conference with the Hungarian Minister about Hungarian Jews in the territories occupied by German troops, Hungarian Jews in the Reich, and the evacuation of all Jews from Hungary itself. This was sent to von Ribbentrop via von Weizsaecker and was distributed to and initialed by Woermann.

On 14 October 1942 von Weizsaecker himself received the Hungarian Minister and discussed the Jewish problem with him and reminded him of von Ribbentrop's comment that the recent air raids on Budapest were evidence that the Jews there contributed to spreading panic and that the German Minister at Budapest would have carried out his instructions regarding the Jewish problem before the Hungarian Minister arrived there. A copy of this went to Woermann and at the bottom appears a note to make sure that the German Minister called on the Hungarian Foreign Minister as per his instructions prior to Sztojay's arrival.

On 9 March 1942 Eichmann of the SS wrote the Foreign Office that it was intended to deport to Auschwitz 1000 French and stateless Jews who had been arrested in France in 1941, asking if there was any objection.

On 11 March 1942 the SS again wrote the Foreign Office that it was desired to include 5000 more Jews from France. On the same day Luther wired the German Embassy in Paris, forwarding the request and asking for comment, and Paris replied, "No objection."

On 20 March 1942 Rademacher, by order, informed the SS that the Foreign Office had no objections to these 6000 Jews being deported. This was initialed by Woermann and von Weizsaecker, and contains the latter's comment, "to be selected by the police."

There remains no shadow of doubt that both Woermann and von Weizsaecker were informed of this nefarious plan and that it received their official approval. There is nothing in the record to show that they questioned its propriety, objected to or protested against it, or availed themselves of the opportunity to suggest to von Ribbentrop that even from the viewpoint of German foreign policy its execution would be a catastrophic mistake in that it would not only alienate public sentiment in France, but would arouse a wave of horror and resentment throughout the world. Neither claims that there was any legal justification for this deportation or suggests it was other than a flagrant violation of international law and of the provisions of the Hague Convention.

Woermann's excuse is that he was not able to do anything and that his cosignature meant that he saw no valid political reason which could be urged against it and that the reason that the Foreign Office communication was signed by the State Secretary and by two other state secretaries, including himself, was that it was an important matter. However, his own witness, Lehmann, an old civil servant in the Foreign Office, called as an expert on Foreign Office practice, does not bear him out. He testified, somewhat reluctantly, that when a Foreign Office official initialed a draft he thereby outwardly approved it, even though he may have had mental reservations as to its propriety.

The defendant Woermann knew that there were cogent reasons of a political nature why the measure should be disapproved; he knew that it was in violation of every principle of international law and in direct contradiction of the Hague Convention.

Von Weizsaecker asserts that this occurred at a time of repeated attempted attacks on members of the Wehrmacht and Hitler had ordered frequent shootings of hostages in France; that these Jews were already interned and were in danger, and one could very easily come to the conclusion that the deportations to the East might involve less danger to them than remaining where they were; that the name Auschwitz did not mean anything to anybody at that time. He does not state that this was, in fact, his reason for not objecting, but that it was probably his reason. He further asserts that the Foreign Office did not instigate or execute these measures and its point of view or opinion could not prevent them. The latter contention, however, is hardly tenable, in view of the fact that Eichmann of the SS made specific inquiries as to whether the Foreign Office had objections.

While we are ready and anxious to accord to every defendant the benefit of any reasonable doubt to which he may be entitled, it is difficult to find any such doubt here, even though we assume that neither defendant, at that time, had knowledge that Auschwitz was a death camp. Nevertheless they knew and were well informed of the fate of any Jew who came into the tender hands of the SS and Gestapo; they knew what had been the fate of the Jews of Poland, the Baltic states, and Russia; they knew what had been the horrible fate of German Jews.

While admitting that many things passed over his desk and received his initials of approval as to which he harbored mental reservations and objections, he states he remained in office for two reasons: first, that he might thereby continue to be at least a cohesive factor in the underground opposition to Hitler by occupying an important listening post, maintaining members of the opposition in strategic positions, distributing information between opposition groups in the Wehrmacht, the various governmental departments, and in civil life; and second, that he might be in a position to initiate or aid in attempts to negotiate peace. We believe him, but this, while it may and should be considered in mitigation cannot constitute a defense to charges of war crimes or crimes against humanity. One cannot give consent to or implement the commission of murder because by so doing he hopes eventually to be able to rid society of the chief murderer. The first is a crime of imminent actuality while the second is but a future hope.

When the SS inquired whether the Foreign Office had any objections, it was the defendant's duty to point them out. That is the function of a political department and a state secretary of a foreign office. It is not performed by saying or doing nothing. Even the defendant's witness, von Schlabrendorff, himself an active leader in the resistance movement, and a participant in the plot of 20 July 1944, testified that being a member of that movement did not justify one in becoming a party to the program of the murder of Jews. As to these and like instances, we find the defendants von Weizsaecker and Woermann guilty.

On 28 August 1942 a conference was held in the office of the RSHA at which were outlined the plans for the immediate evacuation of Jews from occupied and foreign countries to Auschwitz, in which it was said that only stateless Jews could be deported for the time being, in view of foreign protests, and that with regard to the foreign Jews, negotiations were still in progress with the Foreign Office and had not yet been concluded; that under no circumstances was it desirable to repatriate foreign Jews to their country, and the request of Switzerland for the return of Swiss Jews could not be granted.

It was not criminal for the defendants von Weizsaecker or Woermann to have been present at or to have received minutes of this meeting. But on 24 September 1942 Luther wrote von Weizsaecker that von Ribbentrop had given instructions to hurry as much as possible the evacuation of Jews from the various countries of Europe and that orders had been given to contact the governments of Bulgaria, Hungary, and Denmark with the object of starting the evacuation from those countries; that with respect to Italy, von Ribbentrop had reserved this for himself and it would be discussed either between Hitler and Mussolini or between von Ribbentrop and Ciano.

Luther stated (NG-1517, Pros. Ex. 1457):
"All steps taken by us will be submitted to you at the time for your approval."
A copy of this communication went to Woermann.

On 20 October 1942 von Weizsaecker wrote to von Ribbentrop, with copy to Woermann and to Luther, that he had asked the Hungarian Minister, on his return from Hungary, to report on what the people of Budapest thought of the German proposals concerning the treatment of Jews. He also reported on the same date the result of a conversation which he had had with the Hungarian Minister in which he stated (NG-5728, Pros. Ex. 3766):
"The way Hungary treated the Jewish problem has, so far, not been in accordance with our principles."
On 6 October 1942 Luther reported to von Ribbentrop, through von Weizsaecker (it was initialed by him), regarding a conference which he had had with the Hungarian Minister, in which he had informed Sztojay that Hungary was either to take back its Jews or permit Germany to deport them to the East; that the latter had, in an attempt to avoid the matter, inquired whether Italy had agreed to like measures and was assured that it had; that Luther then brought up the matter of a settlement of the Jewish problem in Hungary which the Hungarian Minister attempted to avoid by the same technique. It was this memorandum which led to von Weizsaecker's conference heretofore mentioned.

The actual deportation of Hungarian Jews did not commence until the late spring of 1944 and von Weizsaecker took his post as Ambassador to the Vatican in May 1943, so he had no further connection with the Hungarian-Jewish question. While there can be no doubt that his conference with the Hungarian Minister in fall of 1942 was designed to implement Jewish persecution and deportation, it was abortive and the Hungarians could not be induced or compelled to adopt the German anti-Jewish campaign until in 1944; the German troops marched in; Veesenmayer took up his duties as German Minister and Plenipotentiary, overthrew the Kallay Cabinet, put in German puppets who cooperated in the concentration of and deportation of the Jews.

Von Weizsaecker's connection with these deportations is so slight and insignificant that we acquit him with respect thereto.

Holland and Belgium

That both von Weizsaecker and Woermann had knowledge of the deportation and subsequent death of Dutch Jews deported to the Reich is beyond doubt. Nor do we find that either took any action or made any objection to the uselessly cruel procedure. Sweden as the Protecting Power for Holland called attention to the fact that of 600 Dutch Jews deported from Amsterdam to Mauthausen, 400 had died, and it appeared from the list that deaths occurred on specific days; that the prisoners in question were nearly all younger men; that the Swedish Legation had repeatedly applied to the Foreign Office for permission to visit Dutch Jews in the camps which applications had been refused.

Luther, in writing to the RSHA, recommended that when deaths occurred it should never appear that they occurred on fixed days. It is significant that Woermann, in reporting to von Weizsaecker and von Ribbentrop regarding the report given to him by Minister Bene at the Hague, stated (NG-2805, Pros. Ex. 1677):
"As to results of the slaying of a WA man by an unidentified Jewish assassin, 400 Jews * * * have been brought from the Netherlands to Germany to 'work here'." (The single quotation is by Woermann.)

On 22 June 1942 Eichmann of the SS wrote Rademacher of the Foreign Office that provisions had been made to run daily trains, with a capacity of 1000 persons each, starting in the middle of July 1942, in order to deport to Auschwitz 40000 Jews from occupied French territory, 400000 from the Netherlands, and 10000 from Belgium. This was to include able-bodied Jews not living in mixed marriages or not citizens of the British Empire, the United States, Mexico, the enemy states of Central South America, or of neutral and allied states. He requested that note be made of the proposals asking if there were any objections against the matter on the part of the Foreign Office.

On 28 June 1942 Luther wired the Embassy in Paris, the Foreign Office representative at Brussels and Bene, transmitting the Eichmann message and requesting an early reply. This was submitted to von Weizsaecker and Woermann and section POL II before dispatch.

On 2 July 1942 Abetz replied that there was no objection providing the measure was carried out in such a manner as to add to the anti-Semitic sentiment, but that it should be first applied to foreign Jews and to French Jews only if there were not sufficient foreign Jews to fill the quota. On 10 July 1942 Luther wired Abetz it was not possible to give priority in deportation to foreign Jews; that further orders relating to expulsion of foreign Jews were pending; that the evacuation proposed was to be carried out without delay.

On or about 13 July 1942 Bene at the Hague reported that the first two trains, each containing 1080 Jews, had left, and that the RSHA had suggested that the deported Jews should be deprived of Dutch nationality in order to avoid intervention by Sweden, the Protective Power; that as a result of a conference held that day, the Reich Commissioner was prepared to issue a decree depriving Dutch Jews of Dutch nationality on the ground that all Jews are enemies of Germany and if no objections were raised by the Foreign Office this deprivation of Dutch nationality would then apply to all Jews of Dutch nationality; and not only to those who had been deported, and asked for the Foreign Office's opinion.

On 20 July 1942 Rademacher submitted a memorandum to von Weizsaecker and Woermann with the request for instructions, suggesting that Bene's proposal seemed too far-reaching, but the D-III of Department Deutschland considered it desirable that Dutch legislation concerning Jews be adjusted to that of the Reich so that immediately all Dutch Jews resident abroad, or who had transferred their residence abroad, would lose their nationality as had German Jews under the same circumstances through the Citizenship Law of 25 November 1941.

On 29 July 1942 Luther submitted to von Weizsaecker and Woermann a draft of a letter to Eichmann that the Foreign Office had no objection in principle to the deportation but in view of the psychological effect, requested that first stateless Jews be deported, thus including a large
number of foreign Jews who had emigrated to the West, of whom there were nearly 25000 in the Netherlands, and that for the same reasons Brussels would first select only Polish, Czech, Russian, and other Jews, but that Jews of Hungarian and Rumanian nationalities could be deported, but their property must be secured in each case.

D-III prepared a second memorandum concerning Bene's proposal that all Dutch Jews be deprived of Dutch nationality, stating that it was irrelevant whether Jews had left the country voluntarily or by deportation, and that where Jews were deported to eastern territories not incorporated into the Reich, the Protective Power was as little competent as to those areas and territories as it was in the Netherlands; that frequently it could not be determined whether residence outside the country was due to voluntary emigration or deportation, and on principle no information whatsoever would be given to the outside world by the police regarding persons who had been deported to eastern territories, and thus, visits to the camps, etc., were absolutely prohibited; that the deportations from the Netherlands were proceeding without incident; and the Christian Jews were being interned temporarily in Holland itself.

Von Weizsaecker submitted this memorandum to the legal division for opinion, which was rendered on 31 July 1942 and called attention to the fact that Sweden was still recognized as the Protective Power for the Netherlands because if her functions were withdrawn, the Dutch authorities in Dutch colonies would cease to recognize Switzerland as Protective Power for Germans residing in those places. He pointed out that Sweden's authority related to the German Reich and the occupied territories, and no to Holland directly, and therefore the Foreign Office had repeatedly suggested that, in case internment measures were taken against Dutch citizens, they should be undertaken in Holland in order to prevent the Swedish delegation from requesting permission to visit the internees; that if Jews were deported from Holland it could be assumed that international Jewish circles would endeavor to persuade Sweden to intervene on behalf of these Jews, and Germany could not reject such attempts on the ground that the Jews had been deprived of Dutch citizenship by German authority; therefore the regulations suggested by Bene would not achieve their purpose.

The opinion called attention to the fact that after several hundred Dutch Jews had been taken to Mauthausen the police had turned down Sweden's request to inspect the camp but had currently forwarded death certificates to the relatives of those Jews in the Netherlands from which it could be seen that "gradually" all had died; that if the deportation of Dutch Jews was to be carried out, it would be necessary to determine whether the police should continue to furnish interested parties with material from which they could authentically determine the result of the measures taken; that as long as Jewish internees were present in Mauthausen, the Swedish delegation made renewed requests to visit the camp whenever further death certificates arrived, and if the deportation of Dutch Jews was unavoidable, it would be expedient if the police would not allow any information to leak out with regard to the whereabouts or, in possible cases, death; and it would be presumably possible to turn down Sweden's request to visit the camp, but in that event it would be impossible to avoid the risk that Germans in Dutch colonies might experience worse treatment because of the measures taken against Dutch Jews.

Von Weizsaecker referred this matter, on 1 August 1942 to Department Deutschland for final opinion, and on 10 August 1942 it reported to von Weizsaecker and Woermann that it adhered to the proposals which had been made on 20 July 1942, whereupon von Weizsaecker recommended that Bene be asked if the matter was still of importance and that the reasons stated by him at the time were not sufficient for the measures planned, and therefore they could be foregone altogether if no new motives were available.

It may well be, and we think it likely, that von Weizsaecker's request for the legality of the operation was designed to hamper and, if possible, to prevent these deportation measures, at least so far as Jews of Dutch nationality were concerned. It is significant, however, that no suggestion is made as to the illegality or impropriety of the deportation of foreign Jews living in Holland, and that the opinion of the legal department suggests the means whereby, if deportations were carried out, Sweden as the Protective Power would be unable to exercise its functions. No explanation is offered by the defendants von Weizsaecker or Woermann as to why these offensive suggestions were not eliminated from the legal division's opinion.

Nevertheless, the opinion served to prevent the proposed decree from being enacted, so we therefore hold that neither von Weizsaecker nor Woermann can be held criminally liable with respect to this incident.

On 17 December 1942 the Swedish Minister endeavored to open a conversation with von Weizsaecker on the matter of Sweden's willingness to accept Norwegian Jews, and was informed by him that he would not enter into any official discussion on the subject, and if the Swedish Minister was commissioned by his government to transmit this information, von Weizsaecker would predict failure from the outset.

Technically Sweden had no legal right to intervene, and undoubtedly von Weizsaecker's prediction of failure in the event it did so was accurate. Here he owed no official duty to do other than he did. We must, therefore, exonerate him with respect thereto.

David Thompson
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Post by David Thompson » 28 Oct 2004 23:30

Part 3 (final):

On 15 September 1941 Rademacher reported to von Weizsaecker with request for directions, the request of the Swedish Legation in France, acting as Germany's Protecting Power, for the issuance of passports, police certificates, birth, marriage, and death certificates, and other identification papers for German Jews interned in unoccupied France so that the individuals involved could emigrate abroad. Rademacher states that in agreement with the Ministry of the Interior and the Chief of the Security Police, it was determined that the emigration was undesirable as it would thereby decrease the already small chance, in view of foreign immigration quotas, to get passage abroad for Reich Jews; that Department Deutschland intended to request the Swedish Legation, as representative to Germany, to refrain from accepting more applications of German Jews living in unoccupied France.

On 19 September 1941 he reported that in accordance with directions he had consulted Albrecht concerning this matter, who proposed that no decision be taken at the time, but that it be treated dilatorily and then resubmitted in 4 weeks, because in the meantime it was likely that German Consulates would be installed in the whole of France, in which case Sweden's functions as the Protective Power would become ineffectual.

All this occurred before the adoption of a definite program of deportation of Jews to the East, and the Reich was still toying with the idea of forcing all Reich Jews to emigrate. The discrimination here is only between Jews of German nationality residing in Germany and Jews of German nationality residing in France. We find no criminality in this transaction.

On 30 October 1941 Schleier of the Embassy in Paris requested directions from the Foreign Office regarding the disposition to be made of foreign Jews who had been arrested by the military commanders in France in connection with alleged participation in Communist and de Gaullist plots for the assassination of Wehrmacht members. He states that foreign consulates had requested the Embassy to assist in having their Jewish nationals so arrested, freed.

Von Weizsaecker, on 1 November 1941, answered, stating that there were no objections against the arrest of Jews of European nationality and no diplomatic complications were expected, but the arrest of Jews of American nationality created a dangerous situation and it must be expected with certainty that the North American governments, as well as those of the Spanish-American states, would make these arrests the object of diplomatic intervention, and if Germany refused to release Jews of American nationality, it was to be expected that the governments affected would take retaliatory measures against Reich citizens, and thereby Germany could get the worst of it; that it was intended to instruct the Embassy in Paris to request the military commander and the chief of the SD to release American Jews, provided they were not liable to criminal prosecution.

Von Ribbentrop approved this suggestion. Von Weizsaecker further stated that it should be considered as a matter of precaution, and it might be well to expel all Jews who were American citizens from occupied territories in order to eliminate friction. To this von Ribbentrop said, "No." It was, of course, as much a breach of international law to arrest Jews of European nationality as it was those of American nationality, and the reasons which von Weizsaecker gave for exempting American Jews from unlawful arrest are not based on any high moral plane. However, we are interested in what he advised, and not the reasons he gave, and we do not overlook the fact that he was not addressing his recommendations to a man who had any conception of international or other morals. We do not believe in this instance von Weizsaecker was subject to any criticism. He probably went as far as he thought was practicable.

On 19 May 1942 Woermann, on orders from von Weizsaecker to settle with Department Deutschland the question of whether American and British Jews in France should be exempted from anti-Jewish measures which were being taken there, reported that he had come to the conclusion that they should not be given any preferential treatment, and called attention to the fact that Bene had reported that in Holland all foreign Jews had been exempted; that he thought it expedient that a uniform policy should be followed in all occupied countries. He recommended that Abetz be requested to give his opinion as to the possibility of inducing the French Government to issue a simultaneous, adequate decree for both unoccupied and occupied France. It is quite apparent from this document that Woermann was making no attempt to accord to British and American Jews the rights to which they were entitled under international law.


On 24 July 1942 Luther prepared notes for a report on the deportation of Jews. This was submitted to von Weizsaecker, who initialed it. Luther states that Ambassador Abetz had expressed disappointment that all foreign Jews had not been evacuated from France, and that if this could not be done at once, at least the Italians should be induced to call their Jews back from France, or at least agree to their evacuation to the East. Luther suggested that the Italian Government be approached on the subject.

On 27 November 1942 von Weizsaecker and Woermann cosigned with Luther a telegram sent to the Embassy at Rome directing that the suggestion be made to the Italian Government that, if it could not consent to the application to its own Jews in France of the measures proposed, it withdraw them from that country by the end of that year. The instruction was carried out and the matter was taken up on several occasions with the Italian Government.

Luther had complained that the attitude of the Italians toward the Jewish question was entirely unsatisfactory, and that it interfered abroad on behalf of Italian Jews; that a clear solution of this problem must be had because it was impossible that, in Germany and areas controlled by it, the Italian attitude should be followed or permitted, and suggested a strong note be sent to Italy on the subject.

Thereafter von Ribbentrop instructed the German Ambassador in Rome to inform Foreign Minister Ciano that as a special favor Italian Jews could remain in German-controlled territories only until 31 March 1943, after which Germany reserved the right of free action against all Jews in Reich-occupied territories, and Italian Jews could not be excepted

Luther ordered the Paris Embassy to instruct the military Commander in France that in negotiating with the Italian commander to state that cooperation was absolutely necessary, and that Germany was surprised to learn from the Vichy government that the Italian Armistice Commission had made protests against the order. Both von Weizsaecker and Woermann saw and initialed these instructions before they were dispatched.

In February 1943 the Foreign Office instructed its Ambassador at Rome to endeavor to persuade the Italian Government not to recognize as full-fledged Italian citizens those Jews who had obtained citizenship after a certain deadline; that the Italians should revoke citizenship granted to Jews who were not residing in territories under Italian sovereignty at the time of Italy's entrance into the war. This was submitted to and initialed by Woermann before dispatch. It is quite apparent from the documents that Italy, while free with promises, failed to fulfill them.

While it is clear that both von Weizsaecker and Woermann participated in this matter, the record does not disclose that their efforts ever reached fruition, or that the crime was consummated. Under these circumstances they must be and are exonerated.


In October 1941 Rademacher requested von Weizsaecker to decide whether Slovakian and Croatian Jews could be included in the deportations to the East, and stated that, in his opinion, no objections would be raised because the Slovakian and Croatian states had themselves taken measures of extremely severe nature against Jews, but it was suggested that, as a matter of diplomatic courtesy, the governments in question should be informed and strong suggestions made that they recall their Jewish nationals from Germany or that they permit Germany to deport them to the East.

Von Weizsaecker and Woermann initialed this, and the Legations in Pressburg, Agram, and Bucharest were so advised. It is clear that von Weizsaecker at least must have approved Rademacher's suggestion. However, there could be no crime in giving those countries an opportunity to repatriate their Jews and a failure to have done so would have been criminal. Here, therefore, von Weizsaecker and Woermann did precisely what should have been done, namely, left some opening for these Jews to escape deportation to the East.

[Prosecution] Exhibit 1715 [NG-3565] and the documents following relate to German efforts to deport all Croatian Jews and recite the difficulties encountered by the unwillingness of the Italians to cooperate. Kasche, German Minister, and the SS proposed to arrest Jews even in territories occupied by Italian troops, but von Weizsaecker insisted on waiting until the German Ambassador in Rome could be heard from. The matter was delayed over a considerable period and the Italians played a double game of agreeing in Rome that their troops would cooperate but, in the field, failing to give such cooperation.

After a long lapse some, but not complete, success was achieved, but we find nothing in the record to indicate that von Weizsaecker or Woermann aided the campaign and, in fact, there are strong indications that tend to show the opposite. This was a matter in which not only Himmler and the SS, but also von Ribbentrop and Hitler, took a direct interest and part. Inasmuch as von Weizsaecker and Woermann did not substantially participate in the matter they should be and are exonerated with respect thereto.


While von Weizsaecker and Woermann were informed of the proposals to shoot all male Serbian Jews and to assemble the women, old people, and children in local concentration camps and the desire of Benzler and the defendant Veesenmayer to make a quick, Draconic disposition of the Serbian Jews, it is certain that von Weizsaecker endeavored to keep clear of this matter. He declared that because of the Hitler order the Foreign Office was competent to deal with the deportation of Serbian Jews to other countries, but that neither Benzler nor the Foreign Office had any competency to take an active part in the manner in which the competent military and internal authorities tackled the Jewish problem within the boundaries of Serbia; that those agencies received their instructions from other sources rather than the Foreign Office, he so advised Benzler.

To this Luther disagreed, calling attention to the fact that he had been authorized by von Ribbentrop to discuss the matter with Heydrich, but by this time it appeared that the military authorities in Serbia had shot the Jews in question, and thus, the matter had been settled; and von Weizsaecker said he was no longer interested in issuing any directions to Benzler. Under these facts neither von Weizsaecker nor Woermann can be held guilty of participation in the crimes in question, and as to them they should be and are exonerated.


The evidence does not disclose that von Weizsaecker or Woermann took any active part in the deportations from Bulgaria other than Luther's report which contains the statement that the Legation at Sofia was instructed by a note signed by von Weizsaecker, Woermann, and von Erdmannsdorff that "if the question is put from the Bulgarian side as to whether Germany is ready to deport Jews from Bulgaria to the East, the question should be answered in the affirmative; but in respect to the time of deportation, it should be answered evasively."

The measures against Bulgaria's Jews actually took place during Steengracht von Moyland's incumbency as State Secretary. While he was informed of the infamous things proposed and done, and while it is evident that Bulgaria's actions were in a measure encouraged by the Legation at Sofia, acting under orders, the record is not sufficiently clear, and it is not likely that Steengracht von Moyland participated in the matter.

Von Ribbentrop's direct intervention in matters of this kind occurred so often that we cannot say with reasonable certainty that the actions of the Legation at Sofia can be charged to Steengracht von Moyland rather than to orders given by von Ribbentrop. There are also indications that the German Minister at Sofia endeavored to divert, or at least delay, the matter by suggesting that everything that could be done had been done and that in due course Bulgaria would take the action desired by the RSHA.

In this respect Steengracht von Moyland should be and is exonerated.


With regard to the measures against Rumanian Jews, it does not appear that, with the exception of a note to Rumania, which von Weizsaecker initialed and approved, giving it an opportunity to repatriate its Jewish nationals or to permit them to be deported to the East, he or Woermann took any part in the Rumanian deportations, although, of course, they were informed of its progress.

Exhibit 1781 [NG-3559, prosecution exhibit], however, clearly establishes that von Weizsaecker and Woermann knew of the murder of Rumanian Jews on arrival in the East.

On 19 August 1942 von Rintelen of von Ribbentrop's office wired the Foreign Office and reported that evacuation transports from Rumania would be started on 10 September 1942, and the Jews would be removed to the Lublin Ghetto where those fit for work would be allocated for that purpose, and the remainder given "special treatment," and that arrangements had been made for the Jews to lose their nationality upon crossing the Rumanian border, that negotiations with the Rumanian Foreign Office had been under way for some time and could be considered entirely favorable. He ends by asking approval to carry out the deportation.

This was a special telegram; and it is our opinion, and we so find that it came to von Weizsaecker's attention as, according to practice, the distribution of such telegrams was determined by his office.

"Special treatment," in the phraseology of the Third Reich, meant death.

On 20 August 1942 Klingenfuss of the Foreign Office wrote Eichmann of the RSHA that following protests from various Rumanian representatives in Germany against the inclusion of Rumanian Jews in the deportations, discussions had been had between the German Legation and the Rumanian Government which resulted in the Rumanian Minister of Foreign Affairs giving assurances that he would inform Rumanian authorities not only in the Protectorate, but generally, that his government would permit the Reich to submit Rumanian Jews to these measures; and consequently the Foreign Office had no doubt that the deportation, which to some extent had been interrupted, would be resumed, and Rumanian Jews in the Reich and in occupied territories would be included in these anti-Jewish measures.

This was submitted before dispatch to the political division and it is a reasonable inference that both Woermann and his chief, von Weizsaecker, were informed of this development.

Atrocities and Offenses Committed Against Civilian Populations: Steengracht von Moyland

Late in 1943 or early in 1944 Steengracht von Moyland organized, at von Ribbentrop's request, an "Office for Anti-Jewish Action Abroad," and in April 1944 a conference of specialists for the Jewish question was held at Krummhuebel, at which Dr. Six, Ambassador Schleier, von Thadden, Ballensiefen of the SS, and many others spoke. At the close of the speeches the following requests were made of the representatives of the missions:

(1) To suppress all propaganda, even if camouflaged as anti-Jewish, liable to slow down or handicap the German executive measures;

(2) To make preparations for a comprehension among a nations of the executive measures against Jewry;

(3) To make repeated reports about the possibility of carrying out more severe measures against Jewry in the various countries by using diplomatic means; and, finally

(4) That as to the details of the state of the executive measures in various countries, which are to be kept secret, it has been decided not to enter them in the minutes of the meeting.

On 25 July 1944 Schleier of the Foreign Office reported that a extensive card index, comprising 40000 names of Jews of a times and all countries, had been made available for the anti-Jewish campaign abroad "so as to serve our purposes," and that these index cards of the most important living Jews of all countries would be available and that the information bureau would shortly be in a position to deal with inquiries as to the original and kinfolk of Jews or persons suspected to be Jews.

Steengracht von Moyland insists that this whole scheme was a wild idea of von Ribbentrop's and that nothing of substance ever rose from it, and explains the card index as being a mechanism to prevent persons who were not Jews from being charged as such. We cannot accept either explanation. The record discloses at the Office for Anti-Jewish Action Abroad embarked upon and conducted these functions. It was organized by and was subordinated to Steengracht von Moyland. His explanation of the Jewish card index is without merit. It did not purport to be a list of all Jews and assuredly it was not a list of non-Jews. It is perfectly clear that its proposed use was to identify Jews and their kinfolk in order to carry out the purposes of the office which he organized.

On 1 June 1944 Steengracht von Moyland received a memorandum regarding the major action of deportation against the Jews of Budapest whose deportation up to that time had been delayed and defeated because of Admiral Horthy's attitude, in which it was said that this would arouse greater attention abroad and cause violent reaction; that Germany's enemies would cry out and talk of manhunts and by the use of atrocity reports try to stir up hatred at home and in neutral countries. It was therefore suggested that these untoward events could be averted by creating external provocations and reasons, such as the discovery of explosives in Jewish homes and synagogues, the unearthing of sabotage organizations, revolutionary plots, attacks on the police, and illegal transactions aimed at undermining the Hungarian monetary system, which could then become the occasion for the great raid.

Steengracht von Moyland requested that Veesenmayer be informed of these situations and his opinion obtained. This was done.

On 6 June 1944 Veesenmayer reported that this important Budapest action had been fixed and the date arranged; that he thought the propagandistic preparatory measures would be futile since it was well known that for weeks already Jewish community houses and synagogues had been under close observation, and that Jewish property had either been confiscated or blocked, and that the Jews were very much restricted in moving about.

That the proposed deportation finally took place is well known. There was nothing in Steengracht von Moyland's action to show disapproval or any attempt to stop, hamper, or mitigate any operation. He consciously participated in the program.

The activities which he displayed in the Krummhuebel anti-Jewish propaganda mission indicate a state of feeling and intention which does not coincide with his present protestations. Although he did not originate the measures, he used his official position to implement them and carry them out, and we find him guilty with respect to the Hungarian deportation program.

On 4 October 1943 Steengracht von Moyland reported on an interview he had had with the Swedish Envoy concerning Sweden's willingness to receive the children of Danish Jews. The Swedish Envoy stated that he had learned from his government that the action against the Jews in Denmark had started and that large scale actions were being carried out in which children were bound to be included, and the Swedish Government was prepared to accept these little children; that this suggestion was made in order to limit, as far as possible, the psychological repercussions to be apprehended in view of the close connections between Sweden and Denmark.

Steengracht von Moyland stated that Sweden was not properly authorized to take care of Danish interests, and the Swedish Envoy replied that they made no such claim but that the step was taken in order to exclude everything which might possibly have a psychological effect on the public. Steengracht von Moyland states that he then sharply criticized the Swedish press and said that he could not imagine what further reactions could be possible in Sweden after the newspapers had taken such an unheard-of tone, an attitude which might force Germany to answer in an unmistakable manner.

Steengracht von Moyland's explanation is that this was the only method available to bring this matter to von Ribbentrop's attention and that his purpose was to inform the Foreign Minister of Swedish public opinion and its possible effect on German-Swedish relations. If this had been the fact, it is difficult to understand why some word or hint would not have been included to the effect that it might be to Germany's interest to accede to Sweden's desires and to improve such relations, even though Sweden was not the Protecting Power. Germany at that time was dependent on Sweden for most important raw materials, and, too, her military position was markedly on the decline.

We find it impossible to accord to this communication the objects which Steengracht von Moyland claims. The communication contains not the slightest semblance of sympathy for or any desire to accede to Sweden's wishes, or a suggestion that sound foreign policy should lead to a serious consideration of it.

Steengracht von Moyland took office on 5 May 1943, and he testifies that von Ribbentrop had told him his tasks included three things:

(1) That he must handle contacts with the diplomats in Berlin;

(2) That he must, in time, discipline the Foreign Office; and,

(3) That he must protect with ruthless energy the competency of the Foreign Office against all agencies.

He says he told von Ribbentrop that he presumed that in political aspects he would have a voice, which von Ribbentrop rejected, saying that that had been the old battle with von Weizsaecker, who always tried to interfere in politics, which were exclusively the concern of Hitler and himself, and that the Foreign Office and Steengracht von Moyland as its State Secretary would simply carry out such orders as might be received.

On 29 April 1943 von Thadden of Inland II prepared a memorandum regarding the deportation of Jews from the Southeast, and particularly in Salonika, which was approved by Steengracht von Moyland on 8 May 1943. The memorandum states that on 29 April 1943 instructions were issued to the German Legations at Rome, Ankara, Madrid, Bern, Budapest, Sofia, and Lisbon to inform the respective governments there of the extension of general measures against the Jews in the Salonika zone, and suggesting that they be recalled by 15 June 1943.

He recites the attempts made by the Italians to prevent these measures being taken against Jews of Italian citizenship, and those who had lost their citizenship, but who were attempting to be repatriated as Italians, and Italy demanded that it be left to Italian authorities to ascertain Italian citizenship; that Inland II considered it inadmissible to comply with the Italian request unless political reasons should necessitate it; that the Finns and Swedes were also trying to help some Jews in their endeavor to leave the German sphere of power by granting them citizenship, and the Swedes had been notified that by the end of March 1943 recently acquired citizenship would no longer be recognized. Therefore, compliance with the Italian request would establish a precedent to which other states might refer.

Inland II therefore proposed that the Italians be informed that the question of whether Jews who were presently in possession of Italian citizenship would, of course, be left to Italian authorities; but that, as a matter of principle and to avoid setting a precedent, those Jews could not be granted exemptions from the general measures against the Jews who at present did not possess Italian citizenship, even in cases where petitions for restoration of citizenship were pending.

Steengracht von Moyland, in defense, states that this is one of the first reports rendered to him and he assumes that at that time he based his action upon the decisions theretofore made, and that it was only subsequently, as he became better informed, that he attempted to take measures to alleviate this and similar situations.

This question is best resolved, however, by examining his subsequent attitude and acts.

The record contains correspondence running from early May 1943 to the end of May 1944. A proposal had been made that Rumania permit the emigration of 70000 Jewish children up to the age of eight, to Palestine, and Marshal Antonescu asserted that he had been informed at the Fuehrer Headquarters that Germany agreed, in principle, to this emigration. Killinger, German Minister at Bucharest, requested a definite decision. Inland II stated that permitting this emigration would be contrary to the policy strictly adhered to, that is, not to permit Jews to emigrate from any state under German control or those of her allies; that the political department considered such emigration objectionable in view of the Arabian policy, and therefore, Inland II suggested that von Ribbentrop instruct Killinger to point out that no fundamental approval had even been given, and that it was merely intended to investigate whether this emigration of Jewish children could be approved.

The matter was also submitted to Eichmann of the RSHA who answered that this emigration of Jewish children must be opposed on principle, but if, in spite of his views, the emigration of 5000 Jews (children) from the occupied Eastern territories was to be permitted, they should be exchanged for Germans interned abroad at the rate of four to one; that Germany did not want 20000 old people, but those capable of reproduction and under 40 years of age, and that these negotiations must be concluded quickly since the time was approaching when, as a result "of our Jewish measures," the emigration of 5000 Jewish children from the eastern territories would be technically impossible.

Eichmann's words "technically impossible" meant but one thing: that the unfortunate little ones shortly would be dead. In the latter part of May 1943 Swiss Minister Feldscher submitted to the head of the legal department, Albrecht, the hope of the British Government that Germany might agree to the emigration of 5000 Jewish people, 85% children and 15% adults, from Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia to Palestine, and inquired about Germany's attitude on the emigration of Jewish children from Germany, Denmark, and the occupied territories of Holland, Belgium, Greece, and Serbia.

Wagner of Inland II stated this was obviously part of the plan reported in the press to allow 30000 to 50000 Jewish children to emigrate to Palestine, "thus saving them from the extermination with which they are allegedly threatened;" he further states that the Bulgarian Government had given approval for humanitarian reasons since refusal seemed impossible, but had informed the German Legation that it intended to comply with the German wish that Jewish emigration be not permitted and would frustrate the Jewish emigration by creating technical difficulties. He further refers to the Rumanian situation and to Himmler's statement that Germany could not agree to the emigration of Jewish children from the German sphere of power and from friendly states unless young, interned Germans be permitted to return to Germany at an exchange figure not yet arrived at, but suggested the ratio of one Jew to four Germans; that the legal department would be pleased if the British inquiry could be used to resume discussions about returning interned Germans from Palestine and Australia, and to arrange for the safe conduct from the neutral territories, such as the Portuguese colonies, Argentina, etc., and perhaps for the return of Ethnic and Reich Germans from Paraguay and Uruguay.

Wagner proceeds to state that Inland II is of the opinion that the emigration of Jewish children is out of the question and, in view of Germany's Arabian policy, approval of their transfer to Palestine could not be given; and suggests that a counter-inquiry be propounded to the British as to whether its government would allow interned Germans to return under safe conduct in return for exchange of Jewish children; and if exchange negotiations occurred Germany would, at least formally, express the wish that the emigrating Jewish children be sent not to Palestine but elsewhere; that the British inquiries be answered by all of the Tripartite states in the same manner.

Von Thadden on 1 June 1943 prepared a note for an oral report on Killinger's wire that representatives of the International Red Cross had asked Antonescu whether the Rumanian Government would support the emigration of Jews from Transnistria on Red Cross ships; that Antonescu disapproved of the concentration of Jews there and absolutely wanted to get rid of them, but replied that it would be a new situation for him if the emigration would not be in Rumanian ships but those supplied by the Red Cross.

Inland II suggested that Killinger be asked to urge Rumania to prevent the emigration even if the Red Cross supplied the necessary space and that the willingness of Germany to take the unwanted Jews of Rumanian hands and put them to work in the East should be expressed.

On 27 June 1943 Sonnleithner of von Ribbentrop's office forwarded to Inland II, via Steengracht von Moyland, von Ribbentrop's request that the question of emigration of Jewish children to Argentina, together with other pending questions of emigration of Jews from Germany's sphere of power, be investigated and that suggestions be made to von Ribbentrop about the further handling of the matter.

On 25 June 1943 von Thadden prepared a memorandum which was signed by Wagner and contained a proposal, worthy of Machiavelli, whereby the emigration be prevented by imposing impossible conditions, viz, that England agree to take the Jews into England instead of Palestine, and such willingness should be evidenced by a resolution of the House of Commons; that it was to be expected that the British would not accept the demands, in which case the responsibility should lie on her shoulders, and if, contrary to expectations, she should comply, this suggestion should be made available for propagandistic uses and would give Germany an opportunity to suggest that Jews be exchanged for interned Germans.

Inland II prepared a proposed answer to the Swiss Legation carrying out this idea and asked for comment. The political department approved Wagner's suggestion regarding the propagandistic value of the proposed reply to the Swiss Legation, but one of its divisions suggested that the phrase "in accordance with democratic, parliamentary practice" contained in the reply be omitted, as its presence would betray Germany's purpose to utilize the matter for propaganda.

Minister Ruehle of the Press and Propaganda Section of the Foreign Office offered the comment that the matter must be treated very carefully so that the propaganda offices of Germany's enemies would not be given any opportunity of making the German proposal look like a brutal attempt to blackmail or a cynical maneuver by which it was attempting to obtain indemnification for further measures against Jews under German rule, and that it must be taken into consideration that many anti-Semites abroad are having considerable misgivings about harsh treatment of the Jews; and whether it would not be wise to refrain from insisting that the Jews be taken into England, but only that they should not be transferred to Palestine or any other Arabian territory; and finally, that a more favorable impression would be given abroad if the demand for a resolution by the House of Commons was abandoned in favor of a guarantee by the British Government.

On 10 July 1943 Albrecht of the legal division pointed out that the British should be obliged not only to grant these Jews an entrance permit into England, but grant them permanent residence, and that it would not do to demand the passage of a resolution by the House of Commons because the British Government would point out that the Home Department, and not the House of Commons, was authorized to deal with the matter, as it would then appear that Germany, in order to make the plan fail, had made the request knowing it could not be complied with according to English law, and thus the propagandistic effect which the Germans desired to achieve would be jeopardized.

On 21 July 1943 von Thadden prepared a note which was signed by Wagner and went to von Ribbentrop via Steengracht von Moyland, in which the entire situation was reviewed and the views of the various divisions of the Foreign Office noted, and the technique of handling the matter prescribed. There is also the statement that "although one must count on the British Government's refusing to comply with the German demands, the Reich Leader SS should be requested to state what barter objects might, under given circumstances, be required should they be evacuated to the eastern territories for the time being.

On 12 October 1943 Wagner submitted another memorandum regarding a renewed French inquiry concerning Germany's attitude regarding the Argentine suggestions to take over 1000 Jewish children, comments on the situation in Rumania and Bulgaria, and requested the Foreign Minister's opinion with regard to the previous memorandum. This was submitted via Steengracht von Moyland and initialed by him.

On 28 October 1943 Wagner submitted a further memorandum which included a proposed answer to Minister Feldscher, which was the result of a discussion with Steengracht von Moyland, and, finally, von Ribbentrop determined that Feldscher should be given an oral reply and not a written one; that, although the British had not made clear what it was prepared to offer in return, the Reich was not averse to entering into negotiations, but it could not "lend itself" to permit the noble and gallant Arabs to be pushed out of Palestine and, as a condition
precedent to negotiations, the British must agree to take the Jews into Great Britain and guarantee them permanent residence there.

Steengracht von Moyland took an active part in the efforts to block these plans. He wired the Legation at Bucharest to inform Marshal Antonescu that the emigration of Jews to Palestine would greatly displease the friendly Arabs; that it was expedient for the Rumanian Government to conform to the attitude of the Reich on the question of the emigration of Jews, and asked that the permission which had been granted by the Rumanian Government be rescinded.

On 29 March 1944 von Thadden reports on Feldscher's answer, which was that the children were to be taken to England but that an exchange was out of the question since the British Government was of the opinion that Germans could only be exchanged against subjects of the British Empire. He commented that the British had only declared their readiness to accept these children without making any statements concerning the length of their stay; therefore, it must be assumed that England desired only a temporary acceptance and intended to send them to Palestine later, and it must be concluded that Britain had rejected the German offer and that Feldscher should be informed orally, among other things, that Germany considers the Jews as asocial elements and since the British are interested in these asocial elements, the Reich government could imagine a third offer in the following manner: an exchange of Jews against persons not of German nationality but in whom Germany is interested, such as Irish nationalists, Indians, Arabs, and Egyptians who were arrested in the British sphere of influence.

On 2 May 1944 Feldscher again approached the head of the legal department concerning the emigration of 5000 Jewish children and stated that the British Government wants to receive these Jewish children within the British Empire, outside of Palestine and the Near East. Von Thadden comments that the German Government must decide whether they are ready to give up these children under any circumstances without any compensation; that Germany had demanded a reception in England, in order, should the matter be settled in a positive way, to promote anti-Semitism in England as a result of the immigration of the Jews, and the RSHA had given confidential information that the only place where 5000 Jewish children considered for emigration can still be found is the ghetto of Litzmannstadt, but that this ghetto would soon be liquidated under Himmler's direction. This memorandum went to von Ribbentrop via Steengracht von Moyland.

How any one reading this correspondence and having taken part in these conferences, and particularly being aware of the passages here just referred to, could have had any doubt that the Jews, as a race, were being exterminated, is beyond our comprehension.

Finally on 27 May 1944 von Ribbentrop ordered that at present nothing further be done in the Feldscher matter.

It would be difficult to conceive of more flagrant bad faith than that which was carried out in these negotiations. Here at least is one occasion where von Ribbentrop, as Foreign Minister, asked for advice of his Foreign Office; here was the opportunity for the Foreign Office and its State Secretary to give good advice instead of bad; to point out how the improvement in German foreign relations and its rehabilitation in the eyes of the world would be possible by at least permitting children to be saved from extermination. But every step which the Foreign Office took, every recommendation that it made, was directed to block efforts made by leading countries of the world, neutral as well as enemy states, to permit little children to come unto them and to defeat the efforts of the Good Samaritans and turn their offers into Nazi propaganda.

Steengracht von Moyland was a party to this; he must bear the responsibility. He should be and is held guilty under count five.

Danish Jews

On 1 October 1943 Best, Minister and Plenipotentiary to Denmark, telegraphed the Foreign Office, for immediate transmittal to von Ribbentrop, that the Danish Jews would evacuated and would be arrested on the nights of 1 October 1943 and 2 October 1943 and sent to Germany. Upon receipt, this telegram was delivered to and initialed by Steengracht von Moyland. He had therefore been informed of the project.

His defense takes two courses: first, that Best, in addition to being Minister to Copenhagen, was also Reich Plenipotentiary, and in that latter capacity he was not subject to the Foreign Office and his actions against the Jews were in his capacity as Reich Plenipotentiary; and, secondly, that Best himself opposed and endeavored to prevent the deportation from taking place.

Plenipotentiary powers, when attached to those holding diplomatic positions, are not unusual. They indicate that the diplomatic representative has direct power to bind his government and that his decisions do not require approval by his department before becoming effective.

The record does not disclose, other than by the claims of the defendants involved, that Best had split official powers and divided loyalties and responsibilities. He was not a Reich commissioner, that is, one who was the responsible governing head of the territory, such, for instance, as Rosenberg in the East or Frank in the Government General, and he had neither tactical nor operational command over the Wehrmacht, but he was theoretically the highest political voice in occupied Denmark.

Whether to strengthen his own position or cloak himself against attacks made on his policy, it was he who suggested and planned and executed the deportation of the Danish Jews. He kept the Foreign Office and Steengracht von Moyland advised, and there is no objective proof that his superior, Steengracht von Moyland, disapproved or objected to the planned evacuation, notwithstanding the fact that the foreign political policy so involved was unquestionably one as to which valid and readily available objections, which might well have been apprehended and understood by Hitler, Himmler, and von Ribbentrop, clearly existed. That Best's heart was not in his work is evidenced by the fact that with his knowledge, and at least tacit consent, warnings were given by German officials to Danish governmental circles, and also to the Jews, and thus the vast majority of them escaped deportation.

Steengracht von Moyland's fault, if any, arises from the fact that it does not appear that he took any steps to prevent what was obviously a flagrant and unsupportable violation of international law. However, we are not prepared to say, in a situation as opaque as this, that he gave any affirmative support to the program, and it may be the fact that Best was acting on orders from Hitler and Himmler which Steengracht von Moyland could not overcome. This is not so unreasonable as to be rejected.

Under these circumstances, he must be given the benefit of the doubt and as to this charge we find that his guilt is not proven beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore he must be and is exonerated.


In July 1943 the defendant Veesenmayer was authorized, on his next trip to Pressburg [Bratislava], to discuss with Tiso Germany's interest in the final solution for the remaining Slovakian Jews. While Steengracht von Moyland saw this document and was directed by von Ribbentrop to inform Minister Ludin about Veesenmayer's proposed trip, it does not appear that he did anything more than transmit von Ribbentrop's message to the German Minister. He did not originate, implement, execute, or otherwise further the deportation of Slovakian Jews and should be and is exonerated with respect to this incident.


Steengracht von Moyland had nothing to do with Veesenmayer's appointment as Minister and Reich Plenipotentiary to Hungary, nor with his early assignment to make investigations and report on the political situation there. Of course, he knew what Veesenmayer's mission was and he knew of the terrible mass deportations which took place, but Veesenmayer was acting partly under von Ribbentrop's orders and, except insofar as Steengracht von Moyland took an affirmative part in the matter, he should not be held responsible.

There is, however, at least one instance where this occurred. On 29 June 1944 Veesenmayer requested instructions as to proposals made by the Swedish, Swiss, and American Governments that certain groups of Jews be permitted to emigrate. The first, covering 400 Jews, was the
Swedish request to permit their emigration either to Sweden or Palestine. There was a Swiss request involving 10000 children plus 10% adults to act as escorts, and three other requests involving smaller numbers. The American War Refugee Board requested that Jewish children under 10 years of age be permitted to emigrate to Palestine. Hungary desired to accept the American proposal. Inland II recommended that Veesenmayer request the Hungarian Government to reply to the Swiss and Americans that the emigration to Palestine could not be agreed to, since Palestine was in Arabian territory and Hungary could not be a party to pushing the Arabs from their own homes. It was further suggested that such a reply would delay the matter for 2 or 3 weeks, and by that time the Jewish action - that is the completion of the deportations from Hungary would have been finished and intervention would thus be useless.

Steengracht von Moyland saw and initialed this, yet apparently made no effort to combat this cruel and unnecessary measure. The excuse, given from time to time, of Germany's fear of displeasing the Arabs, was not made in good faith, but was a mere blind behind which the campaign of deportation, slave labor, and murder could be carried on. Swiss and
Swedish proposals were made in August 1943, and again Inland II of the Foreign Office made the same recommendation which was submitted to Steengracht von Moyland, and then through him transmitted to von Ribbentrop.

Inland II was subordinated to Steengracht von Moyland. When, without comment or objection, he transmitted this to von Ribbentrop he thereby adopted these recommendations. He is responsible, therefore, for its actions which implemented the deportation and extermination of the Hungarian Jews. As to this matter, he must be and is found guilty.

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Post by xcalibur » 30 Oct 2004 01:04

DT, Thanks most sincerely for posting these.

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Post by David Thompson » 30 Oct 2004 01:09

xcalibur -- You're welcome. I've got quite a few more documents, but it will take me a little time to proof and post them. I'll post them here, so they're all in one place.

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Post by David Thompson » 30 Oct 2004 04:43

Letter from Heydrich to Hofmann, Chief of Race and Resettlement Main Office, 29 November 1941 concerning a forthcoming conference at Wannsee to discuss the 'Final Solution' of the Jewish Question in Europe and noting that officials invited include Stuckart, Luther of Foreign Office, and Kritzinger of the Reich Chancellery, in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 13: United States of America v. Ernst von Weizsaecker, et al. (Case 11: 'Ministries Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1952. pp. 192-193.
Partial Translation of Document 709-PS, Prosecution Exhibit 2506.

Berlin SW 11
29 November 1941
Prinz Albrecht Str. 8
Telephone: Local 120040, Long Distance 126421

Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service (SD),
IVB 4-3076/41
Secret (1180).
Request to mention in answer above marking and date.
[Handwritten] To the Files [Initial] H 1/24/1939. (Confidential).

To SS Gruppenfuehrer Hofmann [Otto Hofmann, at this time Chief of the SS Race and Settlement Main Office, was a defendant in the RuSHA case, Volumes IV and V, this series.], Race and Settlement Main Office, Berlin.

Dear Hofmann:

On the 31 July 1941 the Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich commissioned me to make all necessary preparations in organizational, factual, and material respect for the total solution [Gesamtloesung] of the Jewish question in Europe with the participation of all interested central agencies and to present to him a master plan as soon as possible. A photostatic copy of this commission is included in this letter. [Goering's letter of 7/31/1941, commissioning Heydrich with this task, is reproduced earlier in this section as Document NG-2586-E, Prosecution Exhibit 1448.] Considering the extraordinary importance which has to be conceded to these questions and in the interest of the achievement of the same viewpoint by the central agencies concerned with the remaining work connected with this final solution [Endloesung], I suggest to make these problems the subject of a combined conversation, especially since Jews are being evacuated in continuous transports from the Reich territory, including the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia, to the East ever since 15 October 1941.

I therefore invite you to such a conference, followed by luncheon on 12/9 December 1941, 1200 hours, at the office of the International Criminal Police Commission, Berlin, Am Grossen [handwritten] Kleinen [crossed out] Wannsee No. 16 [crossed out] 56/58 [handwritten].

[Handwritten in margin] According to conversation with SS Major Guenther on 4 December 1941 street was changed.

I have sent similar letters to Governor General Dr. Frank, [Hans Frank. Governor General of the Government General in Poland, was a defendant in the IMT trial.], Gauleiter Dr. Meyer, State Secretaries Stuckart, Dr. Schlegelberger, [Franz Schlegelberger. at this time Acting Reich Minister of Justice. was a defendant in the Justice case. Volume III. this series.], Gutterer, and Neumann, as well as to Reichsamtsleiter Dr. Leibrandt, Under State Secretary Luther, SS Major General Greifelt, [Ulrich Greifelt. Chief of the Main Staff Office of the Reich Commissioner for the strengthening of Germanism, was a defendant in the RuSHA case, Volumes IV and V, this series.], SS Senior Colonel Klopfer, and Ministerial Director Kritzinger.

Heil Hitler!
[Signed] Heydrich.

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Post by David Thompson » 30 Oct 2004 04:47

Letter From Heydrich to Hofmann, Chief of Race and resettlement Main Office, 8 January 1942, postponing the date of the Wannsee Conference to 20 January 1942", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 13: United States of America v. Ernst von Weizsaecker, et al. (Case 11: 'Ministries Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1952. p. 194.
Partial Translation of Document 709-PS, Prosecution Exhibit 2506.

Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service (SD), Prague,
8 January 1942.

C.d.S B. NO. 18/42,
[Initial] H 13 January 1942.
[Handwritten] Submit on 19 January 1942.

To SS Major General Hofmann, Race and Settlement Main Office, Berlin, Hedemannstr.

Dear Hofmann!

Unfortunately, at the last minute, I had to call off the conference, scheduled for 9 December 1941, about the questions of final solution of the Jewish problem because of events which suddenly became known and of the engrossment with them of some of the invited gentlemen.

Since the questions needing settlement do not allow further postponement, I therefore again invite you to a conference followed by luncheon on 20 January 1942 at 1200 hours, Berlin, Am Grossen Wannsee 56-58.

The group of invited gentlemen, mentioned in my last letter of invitation, remains unchanged.

Heil Hitler!
[Signed] Heydrich.

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Post by David Thompson » 30 Oct 2004 05:01

3 Memoranda from the files of the Foreign Office, 1-8 December 1941, concerning a proposal for the uniform treatment of all Jews of European nationality: Memorandum from Siegfried to Luther, 1 December 1941, Concerning Preparation of a Memorandum on Desires Advanced by the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Popoff", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 13: United States of America v. Ernst von Weizsaecker, et al. (Case 11: 'Ministries Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1952. pp. 195.
Translation of Document NG-4667, Prosecution Exhibit 1449.
[Stamp] Office of the State Secretary
[Handwritten] "Very urgent!"

[Stamp] Foreign Office D III 660g
Received: 4 December 1941
Reply: copies.
Berlin, 1 December 1941:

In reference to the memorandum State Secretary No. 791 of 30 November 1941, Ambassador von Rintelen informed me that the Reich Foreign Minister requests a memorandum on paragraph (5) of the desires which the Bulgarian Foreign Minister [Popoff] has advanced.

Herewith respectfully submitted to Under State Secretary Luther.

[Signed] Siegfried.

[Handwritten marginal note] Party member Rademacher as per telephone call.
[Illegible initial] 3 December 1941.
[Stamp] Secret, Under State Secretary Luther, File D III 660 g.

Department Germany welcomes the suggestion of the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Popoff to have all European countries treat the Jews of European nationality in conformity.

Inasmuch as according to the 11th decree of the Reich Citizen Law all Jews of German nationality who reside abroad are deprived of their citizenship, by law these Jews are stateless and fall, as a matter of course, under the legislation for Jews effective in the individual countries.

In Germany Jews of foreign nationality were on principle treated like Jews of German nationality with the exception of legal financial matter whereby reprisal measures abroad were to be avoided.

Jews of enemy nationality are treated in accordance with regulations covering enemies.

Special consideration was generally only granted Jews of American citizenship because these States have the possibility of taking reprisals against Reich Germans and therefore hold an advantage over us.

[Handwritten note] Immediately to Dir. Legal Division. [Initial] W [Weizsaecker]. Through the State Secretary von Weizsaecker [illegible initial] to be submitted to the Reich Foreign Minister. [Handwritten] German-Bulgarian Commerce and Shipping Treaty of 24 June 1932.

Of the European states only Hungary, Italy, and Spain have raised objections in the recent past. Even in a common European settlement these states can be expected to resist. This is due to the influence of Jewry and Catholic opinion.

The opportunity rendered by this war must be utilized to finally eliminate the Jewish question in Europe. The most practical preparation for this would be to make all European states introduce the German legislation on Jews and to agree that all Jews regardless of their nationality are subject to the measures taken by the country of residence, while Jewish property should be put at the disposal of the final solution [waehrend das Vermoegen der Juden fuer die Endloesung zur Verfuegung gestellt werden sollte]. A halfway consistent enactment of the German laws on Jews in European countries would break the back of all elements still hostile to Germany, particularly in Hungary.

Whether the foreign political situation, in view of the inner resistance of Hungary, Italy, and Spain, is already ripe for such a solution cannot be judged alone from the viewpoint of Department Germany. It is therefore suggested to reach an agreement among the European powers allied by the Anti-Comintern Pact to the effect that Jews of the nationality of these countries are to fall under the Jewish measures of the country of residence.

The Jews of Norwegian, Polish, Luxembourg, Greek, Serbian, and Soviet Russian nationality, inclusive of the former Baltic States, will automatically fall under this settlement.

Herewith, through State Secretary von Weizsaecker, submitted to the Reich Foreign Minster with the request for instructions. Berlin,
4 December 1941.

[Signed] Luther, [Initials] KL [Klingenfuss]
4 December 1941.
[Handwritten]: (1) Meeting did not take place. (2) Submit in two weeks.
[Initial] R [Rademacher] 9 December 1941.

Ref.: Legation Councillor Rademacher, File D III 660 g, [Stamp]
23 December 1941, Resubmitted on:

The enclosed draft [The draft mentioned was not a part of the exhibit introduced in evidence.] for a memorandum for the Reich Foreign Minister is resubmitted to Under State Secretary Luther.

Inasmuch as the State Secretary considers this matter as very urgent and has twice already asked about it in the conference of directors it will have to be submitted now.

The file was attached by section D III; why and when they were detached on their way to you I was not able to determine. Berlin, 12/8/1941.

[Signed] Rademacher.

[The following is in purple pencil across all the document in Luther's handwriting:]

"Report sent of together with previous correspondence on 9 December 1941. Marx. Immediate [illegible] Party member Rademacher: Please inform the State Secretary at once and tell him that a meeting is taking place today concerning the matter handed to him in [illegible]'s office."

[Signed] Luther, 9 December 1941.

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Post by David Thompson » 30 Oct 2004 05:08

Memorandum Entitled 'Desires and Ideas of the Foreign Office in connection with the intended Total Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe,' prepared by Referat D III of the Department Germany, and submitted to Luther on 8 December 1941 in preparation for the Wannsee Conference", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 13: United States of America v. Ernst von Weizsaecker, et al. (Case 11: 'Ministries Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1952.
Translation of Document NG-2586-F, Prosecution Exhibit 1450.

Referat D III
[Stamp] Secret
[Handwritten] to D III, 709g.

The enclosed memorandum is submitted to Under State Secretary Luther as preparation [als Vorbereitung] for tomorrow's conference with SS Lieutenant General Heydrich. Berlin, 8 December 1941 [The Wannsee Conference was originally scheduled for 9 December 1941. (See Doc. 709-PS Pros. Ex. 2506, reproduced above in this section.)]


1. For the time being postponed.

2. After one month.

[Initial] R [Rademacher]
22 December 1941

Desires and Ideas of the Foreign Office in Connection With the Intended Total Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe:

1. Deportation to the East of all Jews residing in the German Reich, inclusive of those who live in Croatia, Slovakia, and Rumania.

2. Deportation of all Jews living in the territories occupied by us who were formerly German citizens but lost their citizenship and are now stateless in accordance with the latest supplementary decree to the Reich Citizenship Law. [Reference is made to the 11th decree to the Reich Citizenship Law 25 November 1941, reproduced earlier in this section as Document NG-2499, Prosecution Exhibit 1536.]

3. Deportation of all Serbian Jews.

4. Deportation of the Jews handed over to us by the Hungarian Government.

5. To declare our readiness to the Rumanian, Slovakian, Croatian, Bulgarian, and Hungarian Governments, to deport to the East the Jews living in these countries.

6. To influence the Bulgarian and Hungarian Governments to issue laws concerning Jews similar to the Nuernberg Laws.

7. To exert influence on the rest of the European governments to issue laws concerning Jews.

8. Execution of these measures as hitherto in friendly cooperation with the Gestapo.

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Post by David Thompson » 30 Oct 2004 05:16

Foreign Office memoranda and notes concerning Einsatzgruppen Reports, 8-23 December 1941, with Luther's basic memorandum of 10 December 1941, for submission to von Ribbentrop through von Weizsaecker: Memorandum from the Office of von Ribbentrop, 8 December 1941, requesting the preparation of a short memorandum concerning the Einsatzgruppen Reports, in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 13: United States of America v. Ernst von Weizsaecker, et al. (Case 11: 'Ministries Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1952. pp. 199-200
Partial Translation of Document No-2657, Prosecution Exhibit 1737.
[Handwritten] To D II 211 G Rs, Office of the Reich Foreign Minister.
First respectfully submitted to Department Germany II, [Illegible initial].

The Office of the Reich Foreign Minister intends to submit the Activity and Situation Reports of Security Service in Russia to the Reich Foreign Minister and requests that a corresponding short memorandum be prepared.

Berlin, 8 December 1941
Dr. Bruns [Illegible initial]

Partial Translation of Document No-2657, Prosecution Exhibit 1737.

[Document No-2656, Prosecution Exhibit 1736, reproduced in part earlier in this section.]

[Stamp] Top Secret.
D II 211 g. Rs.

--Sr--Berlin, 10 December 1941.


SS Lieutenant General Heydrich submits, with his enclosed letter of 25 November 1941 of this month to the Reich Foreign Minister, the Activity and Situation Report No. 6 of the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD in the Soviet Union, which gives a survey of the period from 1-31 October 1941.

The Chief of the Security Police and the SD maintained the following four Einsatzgruppen in the occupied areas of the USSR: A. in Krasnogvardeisk; B. in Smolensk; C. in Kiev; D. in Nikolaev.

[Handwritten note] Has been reported to the Reich Foreign Minister [illegible initial]

Subordinate to these Einsatzgruppen are "Einsatz--and Special-Kommandos," which advance together with the army. As far as the partisans and countermeasures against them are concerned, the situation has calmed in the area of Einsatzgruppe A (Ostland) and C and D (Ukraine). In White Ruthenia, on the other hand, partisan activity, which is now mainly engaged in acts of sabotage, has increased. Einsatzgruppe A succeeded in obtaining comprehensive knowledge of the political and military situation in Leningrad through Russian deserters, prisoner-of-war interrogations, as well as civilian informants...

[Marginal note] To be submitted to the Reich Foreign Minister [illegible initial] via the State Secretary [initial] W [Weizsaecker].

[Stamp] Top Secret,
[Distribution] [Illegible handwriting]. To D II 211
Top Secret:

1. To be submitted for information to:
Under Secretary of State Political Division [initial] W [Woermann];
Dirigent Political Division [initial] E [Erdmannsdorf];
Section I Political Division [illegible initial];
Section V Political Division [illegible initial];
Economics Division [illegible initial];
Division Deutschland Section III [illegible initial];
Information Division [illegible initial] especially see p. 19 [illegible initial];
Press Division; Broadcasting Division [illegible initial].

2. To be resubmitted to Referat [initial] F. Berlin, 23 December 1941,
[Signed] Pausch, [Illegible initial].

[Handwritten note] Returned from Information Div. without changes through exchange [Illegible initial].

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Re: The German Foreign Office & the holocaust

Post by Urmel » 24 Sep 2008 22:09

Here is a German article with some interesting pictures about the meeting in Krummhübel: ... turedEntry

Picture 6 is of particular interest, it shows the frontpage of a German-language New York newspaper from 3 JUly 42with the headline about a conspiracy of silence, and the subtitle that over 1 million Jews had died.

The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

michael mills
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Re: The German Foreign Office & the holocaust

Post by michael mills » 26 Sep 2008 00:22

SS Lieutenant General Heydrich submits, with his enclosed letter of 25 November 1941 of this month to the Reich Foreign Minister, the Activity and Situation Report No. 6 of the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD in the Soviet Union, which gives a survey of the period from 1-31 October 1941.

The Chief of the Security Police and the SD maintained the following four Einsatzgruppen in the occupied areas of the USSR: A. in Krasnogvardeisk; B. in Smolensk; C. in Kiev; D. in Nikolaev.

[Handwritten note] Has been reported to the Reich Foreign Minister [illegible initial]

Subordinate to these Einsatzgruppen are "Einsatz--and Special-Kommandos," which advance together with the army. As far as the partisans and countermeasures against them are concerned, the situation has calmed in the area of Einsatzgruppe A (Ostland) and C and D (Ukraine). In White Ruthenia, on the other hand, partisan activity, which is now mainly engaged in acts of sabotage, has increased. Einsatzgruppe A succeeded in obtaining comprehensive knowledge of the political and military situation in Leningrad through Russian deserters, prisoner-of-war interrogations, as well as civilian informants...

[Marginal note] To be submitted to the Reich Foreign Minister [illegible initial] via the State Secretary [initial] W [Weizsaecker].
The above seems a very precise snapshot of the German Government's view of the official tasks of the Einsatzgruppen, which were to:

1. suppress any partisan activity or other activity by the local population that constituted a threat to the security of the German administration in the occupied areas; and

2. collect intelligence on the political and military situation in the area still under the control of the Soviet enemy.

How those tasks morphed into a large-scale liquidation of parts of the Soviet civilian population, particularly of the Jewish minority, remains a mystery. Perhaps the observed eagerness of some non-Russian population elements, such as Lithuanians and Ukrainians, to take revenge on their Jewish neighbours played a role.

Anyway, it seems that by December 1941 Soviet Jews as a whole were being equated to partisans, and being wiped out as such; so much is suggested by a cryptic note in Himmler's service diary about a meeting with Hitler early in December.

David Thompson
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Re: The German Foreign Office & the holocaust

Post by David Thompson » 26 Sep 2008 01:00

For a little more detail on the activities of the Einsatzgruppen and their hirelings, which are off-topic here, see this thread:
Comprehensive Report of Combat Group A up to 10/15/1941

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