Document Analyst's Report

During April I began work on the IMT prosecution's case against the individual defendants (the third major phase of the prosecution), including the opening statement, then briefs and documents on Goering, Ribbentrop, Keitel, and Jodl. This amounted to 160 documents and 655 pages of material. We also passed the 2000 mark in the number of IMT documents analyzed.

Making it personal: When the prosecutor (Ralph Albrecht) opened the argument on the lead defendants, he concentrated on Goering (who was in fact the formal lead defendant). The prosecutor had seen that Goering was trying to project his oversize personality in the trial, perhaps more to secure his reputation than to win his case, and Albrecht reacted in kind. Goering, he told the court, "was possessed of substantial appearance, an ingratiating manner, a certain affability," but this only served to disguise his "core of steel, his vindictiveness, his cruelty, his lust for self-adornment, self-glorification and power."

Have and have not: When the prosecution made an argument about a particular issue, organization, or person, the argument or brief was normally accompanied by a document book of evidence (not all of which was offered or accepted as exhibits). For the "lead defendant" argument against Goering, we had a folder with a slip of paper inside indicating that it was the matching document book. When I examined the documents, however, it became clear that this was a second copy of the document book on the building-up of the regime in the 1930s. The absence of the Goering document book is disappointing since, given that Goering had a finger in every criminal pie, it would have been interesting material. On the other hand, the overlapping coverage of subjects in the trial sometimes fills some of these gaps. While the material on the takeover of Czechoslovakia is incomplete, the large document book on Ribbentrop, the foreign minister, provides copies of many of the evidence documents on that subject.

The war's menu: When Hitler conferred with Hungarian leaders in 1938 about his plan to occupy Czechoslovakia, he did not ask them to assist but he did offer a reminder about what might be gained: "Whoever wanted to join in the meal would have to participate in the cooking as well."

Grevin eyes: In August 1939, Italy's foreign minister, Count Ciano, tried to learn what Germany was going to do about Poland, and on August 11 Ribbentrop finally told him that Germany had decided to "start the fireworks":
"Well, Ribbentrop," I asked him while we were walking in the garden, "What do you want? The Corridor or Danzig?" "Not any longer"-and he fixed on me those cold Musee Grevin eyes of his-"We want war."
Since the Musee Grevin was a French waxworks museum, the phrase was not a compliment.

A celebratory plan: In July 1944 an international anti-Jewish congress was scheduled to meet in Poland. In addition to presentations from various delegates about current and future efforts, a special event was planned: a performance by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Germany's leading musician, Wilhelm Furtwaengler. (The congress was cancelled in the aftermath of the Normandy invasion.)

Matt Seccombe, 2 May 2019