CORRECTED COPY Official transcript of Military Tribunal III in the matter of the United States of America against Josef Altstetter, et al, defendants, sitting at Nurnberg, Germany, on 17 February 1947, 0930 hours, Justice Carrington T. Marshal presiding.
THE MARSHAL: Persons in the Court Room will please find their seats.
The Honorable, the Judges of Military Tribunal III.
Military Tribunal III is now in session. God save the United States of America and this honorable Tribunal.
There will be order in the courtroom.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will now proceed with the arraignment of the defendants in Case No. 3 pending before this Tribunal.
Let the Secretary-General call the names of the defendants.
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: Josef Altstotter, Wilhelm Von Ammon, Paul Barnickel, Hermann Cuhorst, Karl Engert, Guentler Joel, Herbert Klemm, Ernst Lautz, Wolfgang Mettgenberg, Guenther Nobelung, Rudolf Oeschey, Hans Petersen, Oswald Rothaug, Curt Rothenberger, Franz Schlegelberger and Karl Westphal.
MR. LA FOLLETTE: May it please your Honor, all the defendants are present. At this time I wish to advise the members of this Tribunal that subsequent to the filing of the indictment in this case the defendant therein named Karl Westphal died and he died while in the custody of the Marshal which may be confirmed by the Tribunal.
THE PRESIDENT: It will be so entered in the record.
Counsel for the prosecution will proceed with the arraignments of the defendants.
MR. LA FOLLETTE: May it please your Honor, Military Tribunal III, Case Number 3 THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA against Josef Altstotter, Wilhelm Von Ammon, Paul Barnickel, Hermann Cuhorst, Karl Engert, Guenther Joel, Herbert Klemm, Ernst Lautz, Wolfgang Mettgenberg, Guenther Hebelung, Rudolf Oeschey, Hans Petersen, Oswald Rothaug, Curt Rothenberger, Franz Schlegelberger, Defendants.
The United States of America, by the undersigned Telford Taylor, Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, duly appointed to represent said Government in the prosecution of war criminals, charges that the defendants herein participated in a Common Design or Conspiracy to commit and did commit War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, as defined in Control Council Law No. 10, duly enacted by the Allied Control Council on 20 December 1945. These crimes included murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, plunder of private property, and other inhumane acts, as set forth in Counts One, Two, and Three of this Indictment. Certain defendants are further charged with membership in Criminal Organizations, as set forth in Count Four of this Indictment.
The persons accused as guilty of these crimes and accordingly named as defendants in this cause are:
JOSEF ALTSTÖTTER - Chief (Ministerialdirektor) of the Civil Law and Procedure Division (Abteilung VI) of the Reich Ministry of Justice; and Oberfuehrer in the SS.
WILHELM VON AMMON -- Ministerial Counsellor (Ministerialrat) of the Criminal Legislation and administration Division (Abteilung IV) of the Reich Ministry of Justice and coordinator of proceedings against foreigners for offenses against Reich occupational forces abroad.
PAUL BARNICKEL - Senior Public Prosecutor (Reichsanwalt) of the People's Court (Volksgerichtshof); Sturmfuehrer of the SA.
HERMANN CUHORST -- Chief Justice (Senatspräsident) of the Special Court (Sondergericht) in Stuttgart; Chief Justice of the First Criminal Senate of the District Court (Landgericht) in Stuttgart; member of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party at Gau executive level; sponsoring member (Foordorndes Mitglied) of the SS.
KARL ENGERT -- Chief (Ministerialdirektor) of the Penal Administration Division (Abteilung V) and of the secret Prison Inmate Transfer Division (Abteilung XV) of the Reich Ministry of Justice; Oberfuehrer in the SS; Vice president of the people's Court (Volksgerichtshof); Ortsgruppenleiter in the NSDAP Leadership Corps.
GUENTHER JOEL - Legal Advisor (Referant) to the Reich Minister of Justice concerning criminal prosecutions; Chief Public Prosecutor (Generalstaatsanwalt) of Westphalia at Hamm; Obersturmbannfuehrer in the SS; Untersturmbannfuehrer in the SD.
HERBERT KLEMM -- State Secretary (Staatsekretär) of the Reich Ministry of Justice; Director (Ministerialdirektor) of the Legal Education and Training Division (Abteilung II) in the Ministry of Justice; Deputy Director of the National Socialist Lawyers League (Rechtswährerbund); Obergruppenfuehrcr in the SA.
ERNST LAUTZ -- Chief Public Prosecutor (Oberreichsanwalt) of the People's Court.
WOLFGANG METTGENBERG -- Representative of the Chief (Ministerialdirigent) of the Criminal Legislation and Administration Division (Abteilung IV) of the Reich Ministry of Justice, particularly supervising criminal offenses against German occupational forces in occupied territories.
GUENTHER NEBELUNG -- Chief Justice of the Fourth Senate of the People's Court; Sturmfuehrer in the SA; Ortsgruppenleiter in the NSDAP Leadership Corps.
RUDOLF OESCHEY -- Judge (Landgerichtsrat) of the Special. Court in Nurnberg and successor to the defendant Rothaug as Chief Justice (Landgerichtsdirektor) of the same court; member of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party at Gau Executive level (Gauhauptstellenleiter); an executive (Kommissarisckerleiter) of the National Socialist Lawyers League.
HANS PETERSEN -- Lay Judge of the First Senate of the People's Court; Lay Judge of the Special Senate (Besonderer Senat) of the People's Court; Lieutenant General (Obergruppenfuehrer) in the SA.
OSWALD ROTHAUG -- Senior Public Prosecutor (Reichsanwalt) of the People's Court; formerly Chief Justice of the Special Court in Nurnberg; member of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party at Gau executive level.
CURT ROTHENBERGER -- State Secretary (Staatsekretär) of the Reich Ministry of Justice; deputy president of the Academy of German Law (Akademie des Deutschen Rechts); Gaufuehrer of the National Socialist Lawyers League.
FRANZ SCHLEGELBEIGER -- State Secretary; Acting Reich Minister of Justice.
COUNT ONE -- THE COMMON DESIGN AND CONSPIRACY
Between January 1933 and April 1945 all of the defendants herein, acting pursuant to a common design, unlawfully, willfully and knowingly, did conspire and agree to other and with each other and with diverse other persons, to commit War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, as defined in Control Council Law No. 10, Article II.
Throughout the period covered by this Indictment all of the defendants herein, acting in concert with each other and with others, unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly were principals in, accessories to, ordered, abetted, took a consenting part in, and were connected with plans and enterprises involving the commission of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity.
All of the defendants herein, acting in concert with each other and with others, unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly participated as leaders, organizers, instigators, and accomplices in the formulation and executing of the said common design, conspiracy, plans, and enterprises to commit, and which involved the commission of, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, and accordingly are individually responsible for their own acts and for all acts performed by any person or persons in execution of the said common design, conspiracy, plans, and enterprises.
The said common design, conspiracy, plans, and enterprises embraced the commission of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, as set forth in Counts Two and Three of this Indictment, in that the defendants unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly encouraged, aided, abetted, and participated in the commission of atrocities and offenses against persons and property, including plunder of private property, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, unlawful imprisonment, torture, persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds, and ill-treatment of, and other inhumane acts against thousands of persons, including German civilians, nationals of other countries, and prisoners of war.
It was a part of the said common design, conspiracy, Plans, and enterprises to enact, issue, enforce, and give effect to certain purported statutes, decrees, and orders, which were criminal both in inception and execution, and to work with the Gestapo, SS, SD, SIPO, and RSHA for criminal purposes, in the course of which the defendants, by distortion and denial of judicial and penal process, committed the murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, and other inhumane acts, more fully described in Counts Two and Three of this Indictment.
The said common design, conspiracy, plans, and enterprises embraced the assumption by the Reich Ministry of Justice of total control of the Administration of Justice, including preparation of legislation concerning all branches of law, and control of the courts and prisons. The supreme administration of justice in all German states was transferred to the Reich Ministry of Justice in 1934. Thereupon, certain extraordinary courts of predominately political nature, with wide and arbitrary criminal jurisdiction, were superimposed upon the existing ordinary court system. The People's Court (Volksgerichtshof) became the court of original and final jurisdiction in cases of "high treason" and, "treason". This court itself had jurisdiction over the investigation and prosecution of all cases before it, and there was no appeal from its decision. The court's territorial jurisdiction was extended not only to all annexed countries of the Reich but also to the "protectorate" (Bohemia and Moravia) in 1939. Beginning in 1933 Special Courts (Sondergerichhe) also were imposed upon the ordinary court system under the Reich Ministry of Justice. These Special Courts were of a character which had been outlawed until the NSDAP seizure of power. Jurisdiction of these Special Courts extended to all "political" cases, as well as to all acts deemed inimical to either the Party, the government, or continued prosecution of the war. At least one Special Court was attached to every Court of Appeal (Oberlandesgericht); public prosecutors could arbitrarily refer thereto any case from the local courts (Amtsgerichte) or from the criminal division of the district courts (Lendgerichte). Despite guaranties in the Weimar Constitution and the German Judicature Act, that no one may be deprived of his competent judge, and pro hibitions against irregular tribunals, these courts were imposed upon Germany, as well as upon the "Protectorate" and the occupied countries.
The said common design, conspiracy, plans and enterprises embraced the use of the judicial process as a powerful weapon for the persecution and extermination of all opponents of the Nazi regime regardless of nationality and for the persecution and extermination of "races". The special political tribunals mentioned above visited cruel punishment and death upon political opponents and members of certain "racial" and national groups. The People's Court was presided over by a minority of trusted Nazi lawyers, and a majority of equally trusted laymen appointed by Hitler from the Elite Guard and Party hierarchy. The People's Court in collaboration with the Gestapo became a terror court, notorious for the severity of punishment, secrecy of proceedings, and denial to the accused of all semblance of judicial process. Punishment was meted out by Special Courts to victims under a law which condemned all who offended the "healthy sentiment of the people". Independence of the judiciary was destroyed. Judges were removed from the bench for political and "racial" reasons. Periodic "letters" were sent by the Ministry of Justice to all Reich judges and public prosecutors instructing them as to the results they must accomplish. Both the bench and the bar were continually spied upon by the Gestapo and SD and were directed to keep disposition of their cases politically acceptable. Judges, prosecutors, and, in many cases, defense counsel were reduced in effect to an administrative arm of the Nazi party.
Between September 1939 and April 1945 all of the defendants herein unlawfully, wilfully, and knowingly committed war crimes, as defined by Control Council Law No. 10, in that they were principals in, accessories to, ordered, abetted, took a consenting part in, and were connected with plans and enterprises involving the commission of atrocities and offenses against persons and property, including, but not limited to, plunder of private property, murder, torture, and illegal imprisonment of, and brutalities, atrocities, and other inhumane acts against thousands of reasons.
These crimes included, "but were not limited to the facts set out in paragraphs 9 to 18, inclusive, of this 7 A Indictment, and were committed against civilians of occupied territories and members of the armed forces of nations then at war with the German Reich and who were in the custody of the German Reich in the exercise of belligerent control.
Extraordinary irregular courts, superimposed upon the regular court system, were used by aid of the defendants for the purpose of and in fact creating a reign of terror to suppress political opposition to the Nazi regime. This was accomplished principally through the people's Court (Volkgerichtshof) and various Special Courts (Sondergerichte), which subjected civilians of the occupied countries to criminal abuse of judicial and penal process including repeated trials on the same charges, criminal abuse of discretion, unwarranted imposition of the death penalty, pre-arrangement of sentences between judges and prosecutors, discriminatory trial processes, and other criminal practices, all of which resulted in murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, plunder of private property, and other inhumane acts.
Special Courts subjected Jews of all nationalities, Roles, Ukranians, Russians, and other nationals of the occupied Eastern territories, indiscriminately classed as "gypsies", to discriminatory and special penal laws and trials, and denied then all semblance of judicial process. These persons who had been arbitrarily designated "asocial" by conspiracy and agreement between the Ministry of Justice and the SS were turned over by the Ministry of Justice, both during and after service of prison sentences, to the SS to be worked to death. Many such persons were given a summary travesty of trial before extraordinary courts and after serving the sentences imposed upon them were turned over to the Gestapo for "protective custody" in concentration camps. Jews discharged from prison were turned over to the Gestapo for final detention in Auschwitz, Lublin, and other concentration camps. The above-described proceedings resulted in the murder, torture, and ill-treatment of thousands of such persons. The defendants von Ammon, Engert, Klemm, Schlegelberger, Mettgenberg, Rothenberger are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.
The German criminal laws, through a series of expansions and perversons by Coourt No. 3 the Ministry of Justice, finally embraced passive defeatism petty misdemeanors and trivial private utterances as treasonable for the purpose of extermination Jews or other nationals of the occupied countries.
Indictments, trials and convictions were transparent devices for a system of murderous extermination and death became the routine penalty. Jurisdiction of the German criminal code was estended to the entire world, to cover acts of non-Germans as well as Germans living outside the Reich. Non-German nationals were convicted of and executed for "high treason" allegedly committed against the Reich. The abovedescribed proceedings resulted in the murder, torture, unlawful imprisonment, and ill-treatment of thousands of persons. The defendants Barnickel, Cuhorst, Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Nebelung, Oeschey, Petersen, Rothaug, Rothenberger, Schlegelberger are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.
The Justice Ministry aided and implemented the unlawful annexation and occupation of Czechoslovakia, Poland, and France. Special Courts were created to facilitate the extermination of Roles and Jews and the suppression of political opposition generally by the employment of summary procedures and the enforcement of Draconic penal laws. Sentences were limited to death or transfer to the SS for extermination. The People's Court and Special Courts were projected into these countries, irregular prejudicial regulations and procerdures were invoked without notice (even in violation of the Reich Criminal Code as unlawfully extended to other occupied territories), sentences were pre-arranged, and trial and execution followed service of the indictment within a few hours. The above-described proceedings resulted in the murder, ill-treatment, and unlawful imprisonment of thousands of persons. The defendants Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Schlegelberger, are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.
The Ministry of Justice Participated with the OKW and the Gestapo in the execution of Hitler's decree of "night and fog" (Nacht und Nebel) whereby civilians of occupied territories who had been accused of crimes of resistance against occupying forces were spirited away for secret trial by certain Special Courts of the Justice Ministry within the Reich, in the course of which the victims' whereabouts, trial and subsequent disposition were kept completely secret, thus serving the dual purpose of terrorizing the victims' relatives and associates and barring recourse to any evidence, witnesses, or counsel for defense.