Volume 19, Fall 2006
Nuremberg Trials 60th Anniversary |
Indictments of Individuals
Hermann Goering (1893-1946):
President of the Reichstag; Commander of the SA (Storm Troopers); Reichsmarshall and Luftwaffe Chief; Director of the “Four Year Plan” - responsible for the creation of the Gestapo, the confiscation of Jewish property, and for the removal of Jews from the economic and political life of the community. Göring looted art treasures and arranged for slave labor. He ordered Reinhard Heydrich to “carry out all necessary preparations with regard to The Jewish question” - the first important document regarding the “final solution,” the murder of the European Jews.
Albert Speer (1905-1981):
Hitler’s favorite architect, later Reichminister of Armaments and Munitions (1942-1945). As architect Speer was given the task of drawing up plans for a Reich Berlin and for creating a permanent installation at Nuremberg for party conventions. As inspector general of construction of the Reich capital, his department was responsible for the eviction of the Berlin Jews in 1939 and further evictions during the deportations of 1941. These empty apartments were given to non-Jews. As Reichminister of Armaments and Munitions, 1943, Speer estimated the number of slave laborers needed and then allocated these slave laborers to armaments and munitions plants, raising production in these plants.
Joachim von Ribbentrop (1893-1946):
Hitler’s Foreign Minister from 1938-1945. Von Ribbentrop drafted the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 and helped plan the aggressive war against Czechoslovakia and Poland. His diplomatic efforts in Hungary hastened the deportation of the Hungarian Jews to concentration camp, in 1943, telling Horthy, the regent of Hungary, “The Jews must either be exterminated or taken to concentration camps. There is no other possibility.”
Konstantin von Neurath (1873-1956):
Foreign Minister (1932-1938) and Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia (1939-1941). As “protector”of Bohemia and Moravia, von Neurath abolished political parties and trade unions and oversaw the passing of anti-Jewish measures. He was aware of the war crimes committed under his authority.
Wilhelm Frick (1877-1946):
Reichminister of the Interior. Frick administered laws that abolished opposition parties and suppressed trade unions. Frick enacted and praised the Nuremberg race laws, stating that he wanted to protect the purity of German blood. He was aware of the Euthanasia Program but did nothing to stop the murders of the handicapped, called useless eaters. He was replaced by Himmler in 1943 and was then appointed governor of Bohemia and Moravia.
Reichsbank President and pre-war Minister of Economics. Although an early supporter of Hitler, he was never a member of the Nazi Party.Under Hitler, Schacht reinvigorated the German economy and helped reestablish Germany as a military power.In 1937, Schacht resigned as minister of economics when Hitler began planning for aggressive war, and in 1939, he was dismissed as Reichsbank president. Although Schacht was an anti-Semite and favored legal restrictions on the Jews, he abhorred violence against the Jews and protested Kristallnacht (November 9 and 10, 1938), calling this pogrom, a crime that ought to make the face of every decent German flush with shame. He negotiated with Jewish organizations about a proposal to facilitate emigration; however, no agreement was reached. Because of his association with one of the plotters of a failed assassination attempt on Hitler in July 1944, Schacht was arrested and sent to Dachau concentration camp, where he spent ten months. Schacht was found not guilty; however he was arrested and charged by the German courts.
Walther Funk (1890-1960):
Reichminister of Economics and President of the Reichsbank. Funk was the Nazi party's liaison with German industry, including the chemical company, I.G. Farben, which made large contributions to the party. He signed the Aryanization of Jewish property laws and confiscated Jewish valuables and financial assets, transferring them to the SS. Funk accepted the gold, including gold teeth and jewelry, from the SS, depositing this in the Reichsbank and telling his subordinates not to ask any questions about this gold.
Franz von Papen (1879-1969):
Reich Chancellor prior to Hitler, Vice-Chancellor under Hitler, Ambassador to Austria and Turkey. As leader of the HerrendKlub (Club of Nobles), von Papen was opposed to the democratic Weimar Republic, hoping for a state governed by an elite, aristocratic class. Von Papen appealed to Cardinal Pacelli, later Pope Puis XII, to support Hitler. On July 20, 1933, von Papen and Pacelli signed a concordat that gave freedom of worship to Roman Catholics in exchange for the church's separating religion from politics, thus diminishing the power of the church and the Catholic labor unions. However, despite his support of Hitler, in 1934, von Papen criticized the Nazi restriction on individual liberties. As ambassador to Austria (1934-1938), von Papen paved the way for the Anschluss (annexation by Germany). As ambassador to Turkey (1939-1944), he tried to persuade the Turks to enter the war on Germany's side, as they had done in World War I. They refused so von Papen persuaded them to remain neutral.
Wilhelm Keitel (1882-1946):
Leader of the OKW (Armed Forces High Command). He planned attacks on Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belgium, Holland, and other countries. Keitel authorized orders for the execution of hostages and of prisoners of war and civilians, including the Kommissarbefehl (Commissar Order) and the Nacht-und-Nebel-Erlass (Night and Fog Decree, also known as the Keitel Order). The Commissar Order, June 6, 1941, decreed that captured Communist commissars in the Red Army should be murdered to prevent the spread of their political theory. The Night and Fog Decree, issued by Hitler on December 7, 1941, ordered that suspected members of resistance activities were to be arrested at night and tried secretly. These crimes were punishable by death, and the courts must complete the judicial proceedings, including the execution in eight days; thousands of defendants were sentenced to death. The right of pardon did not apply to Jews or Communists. The remaining twenty-four thousand prisoners were eventually transferred to the Gestapo and to concentration camps, from where they made death marches under brutal winter conditions. Both these decrees were violations of international conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war and civilians in occupied territories.
Alfred Jodl (1890-1946):
Chief of the Armed Forces High Command Operational Forces. Jodl directed that criminals be executed contrary to international law. On May 7, 1945, Jodl signed the unconditional surrender of German troops at Rheims, France.
Admiral Erich Raeder:
Commander in chief of the German navy. Raeder called for the attack by submarines on neutral ships in violation of international law. Raeder did oppose the invasion of the Soviet Union but attacked Soviet submarines six days before the invasion Operation Barbarossa. Raeder was on the list of major war criminals at the insistence of the Soviet Union.
Admiral Karl Doenitz:
Commanded the German navy. Doenitz succeeded Hitler as fŸhrer. He issued the Laconia Order to the German submarine fleet, forbidding the rescue of survivors of enemy ships.
Chief of Slave Labor Recruitment. Sauckel's job was to supply the laborers needed in the armaments and munitions factories. Millions of laborers were seized in the occupied territories and sent to labor in these German industries. Sauckel directed that the slave laborers were to be worked as hard as possible with as little expenditure as possible. As a result many Jews, as well as non-Jews, died of malnutrition, deplorable conditions, and overwork.
Hans Fritzsche (1900-1953):
Leader of the Radio Division of Goebbels’s Propaganda Ministry. Fritzsche, a popular radio broadcaster, extolled the Nazis.Fritzsche was turned over for trial by the Soviets. Fritsche was found not guilty and released. He was re-arrested, tried by the German courts for a number of crimes, and sentenced to nine years hard labor.
Julius Streicher (1885-1946):
Nazi party leader and editor of the antisemitic newspaper, Der Strürmer; General in the SA. Streicher incited hatred of the Jews through Nazi propaganda, in particular through Der Strürmer. He organized the anti-Jewish boycott of 1933, advocated the Nuremberg Laws (1935), was involved in the Aryanization of Jewish factories and enterprises, and called for the destruction of the Jewish race.
Alfred Rosenberg (1893-1946):
The official Nazi philosopher and Reichminister of the German-occupied eastern territories. Antisemitic and anti-Bolshevik, Rosenberg, early on wrote The Track of the Jews through the Ages and Immorality in the Talmud (1919). His theories of a Judeo-Bolshevik-Masonic conspiracy enthralled Hitler. In fact, Speer disseminated the forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion that reinforced his conspiracy theories. His major text, The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930), promoted Nazi racial philosophy and denounced Judaism and Christianity. He helped plan the attack on Norway. He developed the Germanization, exploitation, and murder of opposition to the Nazis. After the fall of Paris, he seized furniture and art treasures from Jewish homes, sending them to Germany. He set the number of laborers that were to be sent to the Reich and segregated the Jews in ghettos, which facilitated their deportation and murder.
Baldur von Schirach:
Leader of the Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend). In 1931 von Schirach was appointed Reich Youth Leader. He worked to combine the various youth organizations, and by 1935, the Hitlerjugend had enrolled 60% of the young of Germany. Von Schirach indoctrinated German youth with Nazi propaganda, brainwashing these young men and women through films such as Hitlerjugend Quex, about a boy named Rex, a member of the Hitler youth who dies for his country. They were also taught to hate the Jews and when they matured, they helped to carry out the final solution. In addition to his leadership of the Hitler Youth, Von Schirach participated in the deportation of the Vienna Jews.
Hans Frank (1900-1946):
Legal defender of the Nazi party and Hitler's personal lawyer; Civilian Governor-General of occupied Poland from 1939-1945 called the Butcher of Krakow." Frank implemented Nazi racist politics in Eastern Europe. At times Frank exploited the ghetto workers for his own interest; at other times he encouraged the starvation and murder of these same workers. Frank also vacillated between supporting and opposing the Poles under his government; he either repressed them or supported their participation in the new government.
Arthur Seyss-Inquart (1892-1946):
Reich Commissioner of Ostmark (Austria) and Reich Commisssioner of the Occupied Netherlands. On May 19, 1940, Hitler sent Seyss-Inquart to win over the Dutch people, but when this failed, in late 1940 and early 1941, he began to take drastic measures against Jews and opponents of occupation. Seyss-Inquart actively pursued Hitler's final solution, deporting Jews and confiscating their property. Over 90, 000 Dutch were either shot as hostages or died of starvation. During the Nazi occupation, 56% of Dutch Jews died.
Ernst Kaltenbrunner (1903-1946):
Under-Secretary of State for public security for the Ostmark (Austria) and chief of RSHA (Reich Security Main Office). Kaltenbrunner was one of those responsible for the Austrian Office of Jewish emigration. He endorsed the Euthanasia Program, the Einsatzgruppen, the deportation of “unfit” Jews from Theresienstadt in 1943, and the deportation of Bulgarian Jews in 1943. He initiated Aktion Reinhard (code name for the destruction of the more than two million Jews living in the districts of Warsaw, Lublin, Radom, Kraków, and Lvov) and implemented the “final solution” from 1942-1945, establishing Belzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka. He ordered the prisoners in Dachau and other concentration camps murdered just days before their liberation.
Rudolf Hess (1894-1987):
Hitler's aide, Deputy, and Nazi Party Leader. He signed decrees persecuting Jews and participated in the aggression against Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. Jackson called Hess, the engineer tending to the Party machinery because of Hess's function as party leader, maintaining the organization.
Martin Bormann (1900-1945?):
Nazi Party Secretary, responsible for all financial and administrative affairs, Reichminister, and Hitler's secretary. Bormann actively participated in the euthanasia program, the war against the churches, and the looting of art objects from occupied territory. He ordered the deportations of Jews to the eastern death camps, encoding these deportations as labor deportations. After Hitler's death, Bormann escaped, and on October 29, 1945 was indicted in absentia. On October 1, 1946 he was sentenced to death in absentia. Bormann was officially declared dead in 1972 on the basis of the testing of a skeleton found in West Berlin.
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