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.