We conclude the offering of this document by reading from page 9 of the English, which is page 5 of the German, the letterhead, "The President of the Hanseatic Court of Appeal, Hamburg, 1 June 1942. To: The State Secretary Dr. Schlegelberger, Reich Ministry of Justice. Registered."
"Following up my report of 11 May 1942," which by the way was the report we just read, "on the situation, I beg to inform that I have, in the meantime, taken the same steps in Bremen which I had taken in Hamburg as a consequence to the Fuehrer's speech. The Authorities at Bremen (the governing Lord Mayor, the Kreisleiter, the President of the Police, the leader of the Secret State Police and the leader of the SD Area) have made the same arrangements with me as did the Hamburg authorities. Signed: Rothenberger, Dr."
The prosecution offers at this time as Exhibit No. 76, Document NG 389.
THE PRESIDENT: The document will be received in evidence. We will take the morning recess at this time for fifteen minutes.
(A recess was taken.)
THE MARSHAL: The Tribunal is again in session.
DR. GRUBE: (Attorney for Defendant Laurz) May it please the Tribunal, I should like to add to the motion made before by Dr. Schilf.
There was no decision as far as that suggestion was concerned. The defense, however, is greatly interested to know what the probative value of individual documents is. In order to recognize the probative value, we have to know what the purpose--what the probative purpose of that document would be. In Ordnance 7, the last sentence, it is expressly stated: The Tribunal has to give opportunity to the opposite part to discuss the probative value; to that extent in the opinion of the Tribunal it is necessary for the findings. If we take advantage of that privilege, and if we should be permitted to do so, we have to know what the probative purpose of the prosecution is with each individual document. Primarily I should like to present that objection because the defense in the previous trial, when documents were submitted, has had the experience that in case of individual documents on the part of the prosecution frequently the objection was made that the document was not relevant, and for reasons of these objections, several documents of the defense have been rejected. I am afraid that this objection might be made to us sooner or later again. And, therefore, I should like to know if in submitting these documents the requirements--whether it is on the part of the defense or the prosecution--it should not be necessary to state whether these documents should have probative value or what kind of probative value they are expected to have.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Grube, please read that portion of Ordinance 7 which relates to probative value; I don't have the document before me.
DR. GRUBE: The sentence in Article 7 of Ordinance 7 states: The Tribunal has to give opportunity to the opposite party; that is the defense or prosecution; to dispute the probative value of any eventual evidence to that extent as it is necessary in the opinion of the Tribunal for the trial.
If I may summarize it, I am of the opinion that the probative value of the documents can only be recognized, if when offered, we know what purpose it will be used and for that reason I am of the opinion that the prosecution should be obliged to state what the purpose of submission of each individual document is.
THE PRESIDENT: It would seem to me, speaking personally, that it is to the advantage of the defense counsel not to permit the prosecution to characterize or to draw inferences from it. The inferences drawn by the prosecution might not be at all the inferences that the Court would draw, or that defense counsel would consent to; and it would result that we might have lengthy arguments upon each exhibit, which ought to be avoided if possible.
DR. GRUBE: Certainly I have no objection under the condition that if the prosecution does not state the purpose, under the condition that we when we submit our documents should not either be held to state what the purpose of submission of individual documents is; because only under that condition, in my opinion, it can be avoided that when documents are submitted by the defense, individual documents documents could be rejected for lack of relevancy.
JUDGE BRAND: I suppose that counsel for both parties realize that statements as to what is to be proven may sometimes be of aid to the Court, but that the Court will not be limited by the ideas of either the prosecution or the defense as to what is of probative value. If a matter is of no probative value whatsoever, and an objection is made on that ground, the exhibit of either the prosecution or the defense may be rejected, but the Court surely cannot be expected in each individual case of an offer cf evidence to announce then what may be the view of the Court as to the value of the document. That will be determined in our final opinion. In other words, even though a document might not be described as being probative to a particular issue, if nevertheless, the Court finds it is of probative value, we will consider it.
DR. GRUBE: As I said before, personally I am of the opinion as far as the evidence is concerned, it is not necessary to state its value, but I should like to avoid the one thing--that when the documents are submitted by the defense that then in each individual case possibly the question might come up what the purpose or probative value of the document might be, and with that reason individual documents might be rejected--that is documents of the defense.
THE PRESIDENT: It is the view, and therefore the ruling of the Tribunal, that when any document is offered, if defense counsel are of the opinion that it has no probative value they will then be permitted to made their objection: and if it should appear from the arguments that the document has no probative value we will reject it at the time. But we will first have to have an objection that it has no probative value, otherwise we will receive the document, and we will pass upon the value, on the probative value, in our final judgment. And may I further assure defense counsel that whatever rule applies to the prosecution will apply to the defense, and if they are not required to make a statement of what they claim--if the prosecution is not required to make a statement of what is claimed from the document at the time it is introduced, the defense counsel will have the same right when they come to their defense.
DR. GRUBE: Thank you.
DR. HAENSEL: (For Defendant Guenther Joel) May I ask the Tribunal for some information.
In the proceedings of the IMT it was of great importance whether evidence was cumulative or whether it was not. It is, of course, difficult to judge whether a document falls under the term of cumulative or not, if one does not know for what purpose it is submitted. The term cumulative evidence and the exclusion of cumulative evidence is quite unknown to us as far as German law is concerned. Therefore, for us in the IMT trials it was of great difficulty that we were not used to the fact that a fact could only be stated and proved, or should be stated and proved once.
If this high Tribunal proceeds in the same manner as it is happening now, then I believe that we cannot adjust ourselves to it easily. How ever, we would have to call your attention to the fact that any objections against the documents which we would submit with the reason of it being cumulative evidence would also have to be dealt with in the same sense.
THE PRESIDENT: We have no question at this time relative to cumulative evidence. We do not know--at least I do not know--what the ruling of the IMT was on the subject of cumulative evidence, but certainly there can be no objection to cumulative evidence until it reaches the point of unnecessary cumulation and, therefore, taking too much time. No such question has yet appeared in this case, and when it does appear we will take proper care of it.
"Chief Reich Attorney Lautz, telephone call on 22 May, back from official travel.
"To the Ministerial Director Schaefer.
"I ask you to submit as soon as possible a draft on the retroactive effect of the more severe National Socialist regulations for treason cases upon the earlier period. You can perhaps discuss the cause with the Chief Reich Attorney on the telephone. 18 May 1942."
Handwritten notes on the margin are translated as saying "urgent".
"Herr Rietzsch: Please discuss this with me." Initial "Sch".
"Note: Chief Prosecutor Lautz, who could be reached only after his return from a journey, states that one case had been discovered where a German subject from the Memelland had betrayed to Lithuania important state secrets on the organization of the supporting operation set up by the Reich for the Memelland. In view of the extent and importance of the state secrets which were revealed, the betrayal was deserving of death. The disclosure of further severe cases of treason from the time prior to the seizure of power is to be expected." Signed "Rietzsch".
The prosecution wishes to interject at this point that throughout this document and others where names or initials occur that are either unfamiliar to the Court or concerning which no evidence has yet been offered to indicate who these parties were, will, it is submitted, be clarified in the near future by evidence now in preparation which will be offered to show: 1, the official capacity of these signatories, and 2, their connection with the subject matter in the documents. We merely wish to make that observation at this time.
Continuing with Document 412 on page 82 of the English and 87 of the German:
"By order of Secretary of State Dr. Freisler: The Reich Minister of Justice, Berlin, 27 May 1942. Official-in-charge: Ministerial Councillor Rietzsch.
To..." And then a list of addressees is set out, including the OKW, the Luftwaffe, Goering as Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery, the Chief of the Party Chancellery, and the Foreign Office. Those are set out as addressees. Title: "Draft of a Bill to Supplement the Regulations against Treason."
"1. The trial of the emigrated Jew Leo Israel Sklarek before the People's Court has proved anew that in severe cases of preparation of treason (Par. 92 Reich Penal Code) there is a need of instituting the death penalty which so far is not provided for in Par. 92 of the Reich Penal Code. When deliberating on the draft of the Penal Code, the Fuehrer during a cabinet session had personally emphasized the necessity of threatening even with the death penalty in cases of preparation of treason. I therefore propose to supplement Par. 92 of the Reich Penal Code accordingly.
"2. Inquiries that could be opened on the grounds of discoveries in the occupied Eastern towns have disclosed a case of treason in time prior to the seizure of power when a German subject had betrayed important military secrets. The act of treason of that German subject deserves death but cannot be punished with the death penalty according to the hitherto valid regulations since a retroactive effect of the law altering regulations of the Penal Code dated April 24, 1934, Reich Law Journal I, Page 341, which reformed in its time the regulations against treason, is not provided for as yet. The disclosure of further severe cases of treason may be expected. It is therefore recommended that in the individual case the chiefs of sections concerned by authorized to order the retroactive effect of the regulations against treason in order to arrive at the imperative severe punishment in particularly serious cases of more remote date.
"Enclosed please find the draft of a bill containing the regulations discussed above, with the request for approval."
There follow a number of initials which we will connect up at a later date.
On page 84 of the English book and on page 89-90 of the German follows the draft of the propose law mentioned in the foregoing correspondence. This draft is entitled, "Law for supplementing the regulations against treason".
"The Reich Cabinet has enacted the following law which is herewith proclaimed:
"Article I "Paragraph 1 "Paragraph 92 of the Reich Penal Code is supplemented by the following concluding paragraph:
"In particularly serious cases the death penalty has to be passed.
"Paragraph 2 "The regulation of Paragraph 1 is also valid in case of criminal acts which were committed prior to the effective date of this law."
Then follows an article describing what Reich ministries will be responsible for this law. The final article, Article 3, proposes that this law is also valid in the annexed Eastern territories.
JUDGE BRAND: May I ask you a question?
MR. WOOLEYHAN: Yes, Your Honor.
JUDGE BRAND: I don't understand your language, whether you intend to say that this was a proposed law or that it was a law which had been enacted by the Reich Cabinet. What is your position about it?
MR. WOOLEYHAN: If the Court please, it appears from the original document which we will offer as an exhibit that the law which I have just read is a blank draft sent to the Fuehrer for approval. This draft was specifically referred to on Page 83 of the English Document Book, wherein the covering letter states, as I have formerly said, "Enclosed please find the draft of a bill."
JUDGE BRAND: I understand that, but you are not claiming that this bill was ever enacted into law at this time?
MR. WOOLEYHAN: That is the following portion of the document which I have not yet read, wherein it appears what happened to the bill.
Reading now from page 85 of the English, pages 91 and 92 of the German, rather than read this page of endorsements, the prosecution offers to describe it as being a series of indications of approval by various Reich ministries to the submitted draft. On this page the Foreign Office and Department 3 of the Reich Ministry of Justice both approve the draft. On page 86 of the English and on pages 93 and 94 of the German the additional departments of the Army, OKW, the Luftwaffe, and the Ministry of Interior likewise endorse the draft with approval. Skipping to page 89 of the English, which is 96 of the German, I read the following letter:
Letterhead, "The Reich Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, 23 November 1942. To the Reich Minister of Justice." Stamped received by the Reich Ministry of Justice on 25 November 1942, Department III; handwritten marginal notation that the Minister of Justice was informed. "Subject: Law for supplementing the decrees on high treason."
"None of the Reich ministers objected to the motion communicated to the members of the Reich Cabinet by circular letter, reference number Rk 674 Bg. The Fuehrer approved it. Accordingly it is enacted:
"The draft of the law for supplementing the decrees on high treason as proposed by the Reich Minister of Justice has been accepted.
"I hereby send you the law signed by the Fuehrer with the request to take the necessary steps for the publication of the law in the Reich Legal Gazette. (Signed) Dr. Lammers."
To correct the record, if the Court please, on this last letter that the prosecution read, a faulty mimeograph led to stating that the date was 23 November 1943. We wish to correct that and state that it was 1942.
JUDGE BRAND: At the top of Page 89?
MR. WOOLEYHAN: That is at the top of Page 89, yes, your Honor. That is corroborated by the reference lower in the page to 1942. The prosecution offers at this time as Exhibit No. 77, Document NG-412.
THE PRESIDENT: The document will be received in evidence.
MR. WOOLEYHAN: At this time, the prosecution proposes to read the last half of document NG-395, which was introduced in part yesterday as Exhibit No. 74. We propose to read the last half and introduce it as an exhibit now. The portion which we wish to read is on Page 70 of the English Book, 71 of the German. Letterhead: "The President of the Court of Appeal."
THE PRESIDENT: Is that Book C?
MR. WOOLEYHAN: Yes, that is Book 1-C, Your Honor, Page 70, reading from the last half of NG-395.
The President of the Court of Appeal Hamm (Westphalia), 7 July 1942 To the Reich Minister of Justice Berlin Subject:
General situation 1. The Fuehrer's speech at the meeting of the Reichstag of 26 April 1942 had, as far as the administration of justice is concerned, caused alarm among the judges of my district.
Uncertainty in the administration of justice was threatening, since the Fuehrer's reproaches - except in the Oldenburg case, particulars of which were, however, not given either -, were held in general terms and the question on what reasons the Fuehrer based his reproaches could not be answered."
Skipping about 15 lines:
"the sentences passed by the courts of this district had always been severe, except for some cases, and this standard should be kept up in future."
Skipping to the next paragraph:
"Among the population, the Fuehrer's critical remarks about the administration of justice have given rise to spitefulness as well as to sympathy for the profession of the judges."
Omitting one sentence: "Above all, it is painful for the judges that the number of persons is increasing who do not believe that the judges pass unbiased sentences. In my opinion, endeavors must be made to restore the confidence of the people in the unprejudiced administration of justice. At any rate all things have to be avoided which could further that impression. I have asked the Attorney General to take measures to prevent the sentences demanded by the prosecution from leaking out previously. It is quite natural that if it becomes known before the trial that the prosecutor will demand the death sentence with the approval of the Ministry of Justice, it will easily be believed that the judges are prejudiced.
According to my observations, information about the sentence the prosecutor will propose with the approval of the Reich Ministry of Justice is disturbing to the judges, even if mentioned only in the course of conversation, which is understandable on account of the authority of the Ministry of Justice and the position of the judges. Even old, experienced judges find their unprejudiced state of mind upset. But according to my observations, the judges are absolutely ready to accept general directives and to follow them in the administration of justice. Therefore I think it highly desirable that the directives which are issued at the conferences of the Presidents of the Courts of Appeal in the Reich Ministry of Justice as well as those given some days ago at the meeting of the attorneys general in the Reich Ministry of Justice should be submitted in writing to the presidents of the Courts of Appeal for the information of the judges. I think this will greatly assist the administration of justice.
2. The number of death sentences passed within the area of this Court of Appeal shows the following development:
There were in 1940 27 death sentences in 1941 52 " " in 1942 (1st 6 months ) 45 " " The increase is due to war conditions and to the extension of the sphere of the death sentence by the law of 4 September 1941.
Of the death sentences passed this year 6 were passed for offenses against war economy, 10 for sexual offenses, 8 for crimes of violence, and 20 for theft.
On an average, 5 to 6 weeks elapse between the pronouncing of the sentence and the execution.
3. Since last May, police officials have appeared frequently in the criminal courts to report to their superior office. The President of the District Court at Dortmund has reported the following cases to me:"
Now here follow eight cases of police attendance at criminal trials of which we will read but one or two illustrative examples. On page 72 of the English and on Pages 73 and 74 of the German, sub-paragraph 2.
2.) At the end of May, a trial was held before the criminal court against another criminal who was condemned to death. An official of the criminal police was summoned as a witness. Before the opening of the trial this official submitted to the court a letter from the Reich Criminal Police Office, in which the local police authorities were requested to communicate the result of the trial, especially whether the demand for the death penalty, which was to be expected, had been complied with and, should another punishment be awarded, to make known the mitigating circumstances mentioned in the explanation of the Court's findings. Unfortunately the president failed to take note of the exact contents of the letter.
On Page 73 of the English, 75 of the German, one last example, sub-paragraph 4.
4.) As the Chief Public Prosecutor has already reported to the Reich Ministry of Justice, the Secret State Police did not recently commit two civilian workers from the Ukraine, who had shot a forest-keeper in the Dortmund district court area, to the court for prosecution, although the court had issued a warrant for arrest and the special court was prepared for an immediate conviction. They were hanged later on by the Secret State Police. Furthermore it was reported to me by the Local Court at Haltern that on June 19, 1942, a Polish laborer was hanged in his own district by the Police because he was said to have had sexual intercourse with a German woman. I enclose a copy of the report dated 29 June 1942. If the rumors are true, that the Fuehrer transferred capital legislation to the Police to this extent, it would be desirable to inform the judges and public prosecutors of this arrangement through official channels, as the Police are generally attributed with unauthorized and unlawful activity. Publications in the daily newspapers give the impression that these were executions of sentences which had been legally imposed."
THE PRESIDENT: Seventy-eight.
MR. WOOLEYHAN: Seventy-eight.
MR. WOOLEYHAN: That is 74, Your Honor, because when it was introduced yesterday it had that number.
THE PRESIDENT: You're taking the old number?
MR. WOOLEYHAN: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: The document will be received in evidence.
MR. WOOLEYHAN: The prosecution offers as Exhibit No. 78, Document NG-631 on Page 59 of the English Book, Page 58 of the German. Before the prosecution reads this document, a case arises apropos to what was discussed this morning in regard to translations. There is a word in this document which the prosecution contends is a mistranslation. We have had expert advice to the effect that the word "follower" in the second line of the main paragraph should be translated "vassal." In the original document, the word referring to that is "lehensmann." The prosecution contends that the correct translation of "lehensmann" is in English "vassal". Is there any objection on the part of the defense to that translation?
DR. WANDSCHNEIDER (for the defendant Rothenberger): As Defense Counsel, I am principally of the opinion, and should like to clarify this once more, that a tremendous amount of misunderstanding may come from an inadequate or wrong translation and has come, in the presentation of the documents, and that the Defense when submitting their documents will correct and supplement the translations because it is naturally impossible in the course of this proceeding, which deals more with the normal presentation of evidence, that it is impossible to follow up all of these individual cases.
If however, the Prosecutor puts the question as to whether the word "lehensmann" in German is identical with the term "vassel," and if he puts this question, then as Counsel for the defendant Rothenberger, I would like to state the following: The term "lehensmann" is an old term of the law of the middle ages in Germany and it describes solely the relation by a character of lehensmann to his master, lehensheer. The term "vassel" in modern language has a definitely inferior meaning in that it includes a certain motive of servitude. It introduces that idea, which in the term of lehensmann did not exist in any way. I should like to state that in order to explain the difference of these terms at this moment.
MR: WOOLEYHAN: We assume that it is agreed between the Defense and the Prosecution as to the correct translation of that term. However, if the Court has any suggestions or recommendations to make as to a more expeditious manner of disposing of the translation question in the future, and there will be many, we will welcome such a suggestion or recommendation, probably outside of the Court. We could arrange it between the Defense and the Prosecution as to the correct translation.
THE PRESIDENT: It appears, at this time, it is not so much of a question of the translation of a German word, but it is the definition of the word "vassel".
MR. WOOLEYHAN: It has turned out to be an argument of the interpretation rather than the translation.
THE PRESIDENT: The Defense Counsel, of course, will be heard when the Defense puts their own interpretation upon any translation. They will have that opportunity at the proper time.
MR. WOOLEYHAN: Reading now from page 59 of the English text, page 58 of the German:
"The Reich Minister of Justice, Berlin W 8, 12 October 1942.
"To the High Reich Justice Authorities.
"Re: Designation of the Judge.
"The Judge holds a position of a special nature among the Civil Servants; he acts as a vassel of the Fuehrer by authority of a direct order received from him. Through this he can be basically distinguished from all other officials. In future this distinction shall also be expressed in a constitutional provision in that the judge shall no longer be regarded as an official. Considering this future development I request you not to define the judge as an official from now onwards, and also not to refer to judicial officials but instead to refer to them as judges.
"(signed) Dr. Rothenberger. Certified: Kupfer. Ministerial Chancery Chief Secretary" We offer as Prosecution's Exhibit No. 78, Document NG 631.
On page 77 of the English book, page 81 of the German, is found Document NG 316, which will be offered as Prosecution's Exhibit No. 79.
DR. GRUBE (for the defendant Lautz): May I be permitted, before this document is read, to make a motion? I consider this man, Brem, who made the statement as not having desired to do so, and I also consider the statement wrong; therefore, I should like to cross examine Brem.
I therefore, ask, first, to call Brem for cross examination; second, not to read this document until Brem is present.
MR WOOLEYHAN: If the Court pleases, this affidavit of Brem's is offered as the Prosecution's expeditious substitute for direct examination on this subject. If the Defense wishes to call Brem as their witness, we have no objection.
DR. GRUBE: May it please the Tribunal, I do not wish to call Brem as my witness. I should like to cross examine Brem as to the statement which he has made in this affidavit.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal certainly concedes to the Defense the right to cross examine this witness, and in so doing the witness should not be charged to be the witness of the Defense; that is to say, they will not be bound by his answers, but it would be in the interest of an orderly trial for the Defense to call this witness as a part of their Defense with the understanding that they will not be charged bound by what is said as if he were a Defense witness.
DR. SCHILF (for the defendants Klemm and Mettgenberg): This question which has just been discussed gives cause to a further question which is submitted for the decision of the Tribunal.
The Prosecutor has just stated that the record of the witness, the presentation of an affidavit, should serve to replace the cross examination or examination of the witness, and according to the decision of the Tribunal, the Defense still have the right to call the witness, however, not as a witness for the Defense. The question arises now as to whether the Defense may cross examine this witness or whether the examination of this witness is to be considered a direct examination; and, therefore, may I ask that the Tribunal de cide upon this point?
THE PRESIDENT: We thought we had made it clear that in the cross examination of this witness, that it is in the nature of cross examination of the Prosecution's witness. The only point is, we do not want to have the Prosecution's case disturbed or prolonged by calling in, at this time, the witness.
It certainly is the ruling of this Tribunal as it has been the ruling in the International Military Tribunal, that affidavits properly authenticated as competent evidence, and that have probative value will be received; so, the affidavit will not be objectionable on the ground that it is an affidavit, and neither will it be objectionable on the ground that the Defense wants to cross examine the witness; that may come in its proper order.
MR. LA FOLLETTE: As I understand the ruling of the Court, and I think it is what the Defense Counsel has asked: When this witness is called as our witness, and they cross examine him, the cross examination will be limited only to the matters which are contained in the affidavit; in other words, if the cross examination goes beyond the matter contained in the affidavit they would then step onto the ground where the witness becomes their witness?
THE PRESIDENT: That is the ruling of the Court.
MR. WOLLEYHAN: Sworn Statement. I am reading now from page 77 of the English Book, page 81 of the German:
SWORN STATEMENT I, Walter Brem, District Court Justice (retired) declare herewith under oath:
I was Investigator for the People's Court until July 1943 and was for a short the Assistant to the Chief Prosecutor. In 1932 I became District Court Justice. In 1937 I joined the NSDAP, I was in the SA from 1933 on.
In my work I was mainly concerned with illegal frontier crossings. Such cases had already been investigated by the Gestapo. The report was sent to the Chief Prosecutor of the People's Court and then to me for action. In most cases the accused were arrested while crossing the order illegally and were charged with suspicion of high treason at the People's Court despite insufficient evidence. In the trial brief the prosecutor relied mainly on the Gestapo interrogation, the investigators interrogation and the general condition that is the state of war. In my interrogations I sought to establish the facts and to amass evidence against the accused. My cases concerned mostly attempts to shirk compulsory labor and to escape to a foreign country. The majority of these cases concerned foreign laborers who wanted to look for a job in Switzerland, because of inadequate salaries and insufficient food rations. The prosecution, however, claimed that foreign legions were being established in Switzerland and every foreigner wanted to cross the border illegally to join up with such legions. I was ordered by the Prosecutor of the People's Court to connect the accused somehow with the foreign legions. I have never received a positive answer about those alleged organizations and the whole concept of such legions was known to the foreigners only as a rumor. Therefore proof of any acts of high treason would not be established; however the prosecution based its claim on the assumption that such foreign laborers would behave in a hostile manner against Germany, once given the opportunity. Another popular point of the prosecution was to charge the accused, who had fled from his place of work, with the violation of the penal statute against Poles and Jews, which declared an escape from the place of work during wartime a damage to the interests of the Reich, punishable by death.
The effect of THIERACK's a appointment as Minister of Justice was a considerable intensification of the prosecution of foreigners as well as of the criminal prosecution in general. As former President of the People's Court he had great confidence in it, and the number of death sentences increased considerably from the day he took office. Clemencies which by order of the Fuehrer could be granted only by THIERACK, were a rare occurrence. I myself know only of very few cases. I should like to state here that the penal statute against the Poles was applied to the extreme limit by the bloodthirsty People's Court judges. The decree was much to harsh, and from a strictly human view point the death penalty as an escape from work was untenable.
MR. WOOLEYHAN: I wish to skip to the oath on page 80 of the English, page 85 of the German.
"These statements are the truth and were given voluntarily. I have real them, signed them and declared them under oath.
Nuremberg, the 25 October 1946.
(Signed) Walter Brem Amtsgerichtsrat.
Signed and sworn same day.
(Signed) Henry Einstein, Office of Chief of Counsel."
MR. WOOLEYHAN: The prosecution offers NG-316 as Exhibit No. 79.
THE PRESIDENT: The document will be received in evidence.
MR. WOOLEYHAN: On page 75 of the English book and 78 of the German book, which will be offered as Exhibit No. 80, Document NG-482:
The Reichminister of Justice Berlin, 28 February 1944 (Stamp) Secret.
To the President of the Provincial Supreme Court of Appeal in Hamm in Westphalia Subject.
Penal case against the Belgian national Remi LERNOUT for illegal possession of weapons.
To be communicated to the Advocate General in Hamm in Westphalia"
HR. WOOLEYHAN: We wish to refer to Prosecution Exhibit No. 56 previously introduced as Document NG-915 wherein the defendant Joel was indicated as being the Adjutant-General in Hamm in Westphalia. At this time the phrase "Adjutant" is an unfortunate translation. It should be "Attorney-General".
"The special court in Essen, by court decision of the 7th September 1943 - sentenced the Belgian national Remi LERNOUT to 4 years imprisonment for illegal possession of 2 hunting-rifles and 11 rounds of ammunition. In the reasons for the judgment the court explained that imprisonment can be considered sufficient punishment for the illegal possession of hunting-weapons As I was told by the attorney-general in Hamm, the special court defended its point of view, which is incompatible with any decree ....."
MR. WOOLEYHAN: It's a misprint. It should be "my decree".
".....of the 13th July 1943 addressed to you and the attorney-general, as well as with the attitude of the chief of the Supreme command of the Wehrmacht as stated in my decree by concluding that according to the regulation of the military commander in Belgium and the North of France of the 27th of December 1941 whose opinion it obviously reflects, the possession of huntingweapons is less dangerous for the occupying forces than the possession of army-weapons. The court, moreover, explained that the courts-martial in Belgium when applying the regulation of the 27th December 1941, also judge the illegal possession of hunting-weapons more leniently than the illegal possession of army-weapons. Allegedly the courts-martial, in cases of this kind, always pronounced even much milder sentences than the special court.
The argument of the special court induced me to contact the military commander in Belgium and the North of France.