| At night from 8 to 9 May 1945, in the buildings of the
military engineers' school in Karlshorst (a suburb of Berlin) was
the act of the unconditional surrender of the Nazi Germany. The Second
World War, the bloodiest and the most devastating one in the human
history, was over. The capital of Germany was taken, its armed forces
were beaten, and the leader of the fascist régime, Adolf Hitler,
committed suicide. It was the same Hitler, who once instilled the
Nazis with the idea of the world domination, and arrogantly assured
that there would be no repeat of November 1918. The war can last as long as it wants.
Germany will never capitulate.
Six years of the bloodiest war, the mankind ever saw, dissipated that
design. The human civilization has been saved at a price of the utmost
effort and sacrifices of the anti-fascist coalition - USSR, USA, Great
Britain and many other countries. Hitler failed to conquer the world,
but before his ultimate downfall terrible crimes had been committed,
without a parallel in thereto human history.
Those crimes were planned and executed in cold blood as a part of
military conquests. Already before the occupation of Czechoslovakia
hitlerite generals from the Wehrmacht
and SS discussed deployment of so-called "special groups" (Einsatzgruppen), whose task was not
only killing their political opponents, but also mass extermination of
the Jews, Slavs, and anybody else deemed unworthy living in the "new
world order", with the further Germanization of the conquered country.
Then came the turn of Poland, Balkans, and finally the Soviet Union.
plan of invasion of the USSR, codenamed Barbaroßa, utilized earlier
experiences and put the planned total extermination in the plane of the
official state policy.
Long before the invasion of the Soviet Union, Hitler was telling to one
of his aides, Hermann Rauschning:
We are obliged to
depopulate, as part of our mission of preserving the German
population. We shall have to develop a technique of depopulation. If
you ask me what I mean by depopulation, I mean the removal of entire
racial units. And that is what I intend to carry out - that, roughly,
is my task. Nature is cruel: therefore, we, too, must be cruel. If I
can send the flower of the German nation into the hell of war without
the smallest pity for the spilling of precious German blood, then
surely I have the right to remove millions of an inferior race that
breeds like vermin. [Rauschning
In name of that cannibalistic principle there were created such means
of mass-murder like poison gases Zyklon-A
and Zyklon-B, specialized
gassing vans (Gaswagen)
constructed for exhaust poisoning, machines for utilization of human
bones and skin, and technologies of making fertilizers and soap of the
human bodies. There were also companies, which specialized in their
development and production, as well as in construction of gas chambers
and body-burning ovens for the concentration camps.
Every aggressive war is a heavy crime against peace and humanity. But
the history of human conflicts has not known another example of such a
concentration of monstrous crimes, and such dimensions of the criminal
activity, the Nazism had committed during the Second World War. And yet
we must remember, that to Hitler and his fellows the war was just the
initial stage to even bigger crimes against the conquered nations.
During the Second World War, in concentration camps and on sites of
mass extermination, during so-called "special actions", forced labour,
criminal pseudo-scientific experiments, and in many other hideous ways
at least twelve million people were put to death. In the years to
their victory the Nazis planned extermination of further thirty
Those criminal plans translated into calculations, instructions and
But against the will of the maniacs in the imperial chancelleries, the
war ended in the total destruction of the hitlerite state and military
machine. And there came the time to make justice.
The creation of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) was the duty
that the victorious powers owed to the public opinion, which would
never reconcile with the idea of letting the criminals go unpunished.
Already in October 1943, in the Joint Four-Nation Declaration, the
leaders of the anti-fascist coalition warned the culprits of the
numerous atrocities that they would be brought back to the scene of their crimes
and judged on the spot by the peoples whom they have outraged. Let
those who have hitherto not imbrued their hands with innocent blood
beware lest they join the ranks of the guilty, for most assuredly the
three Allied powers will pursue them to the uttermost ends of the earth
and will deliver them to their accusors in order that justice may be
Simultaneously, the declaration stated that it was without prejudice to
the case of German criminals, whose offenses had no particular
geographical localization, and who would be punished by a joint
of the Allied governments.
The demand to create a special international military tribunal for the
trial of major leaders of the criminal Nazi régime was also included
into the note of the Soviet government of 14 October 1942 Of the responsibility of the hitlerite
aggressors and their accomplices for crimes committed in the occupied
countries of Europe. In name of the nations under the German
occupation the Soviet government pointed out that
it is obliged to regard the
stern punishment of (...) the criminal Hitlerite clique as its
duty to the countless widows, orphans, relatives and friends of all
those innocent people who have been brutally tortured and killed by
order of the criminals named.
The Soviet Government considers it essential to hand over without delay
to the courts of the special international tribunal, and to punish
according to all the severity of the criminal code, any of the leaders
of Fascist Germany who in the course of the war have fallen into the
hands of States fighting against Hitlerite Germany.
Also in October 1942 the president of the United States of America,
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, expressed the will of the American people to
punish Nazi rulers of Germany. He stated unequivocally that the clique of leaders and their cruel
accomplices must be mentioned by name, arrested and tried according to
the criminal code.
Therefore, the establishment of the International Military Tribunal in
Nuremberg truly met the predicaments of the peoples to dispense just
punishment to the Nazi war criminals, and their leaders' official
statements in that matter, made already during the war.
That trial, which was conducted in full agreement with German and
international legal procedures, including defendants' right to defence,
questioning witnesses and examining the evidence, not only allowed to
make thorough and objective cases against indicted individuals, but
was of tremendous importance to the exposure of the criminal nature of
the fascism itself.
The fear of justice made some of the criminals to commit suicide. This
is how ended up Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Josef Göbbels and
Ley. But most of their active and willing accomplices had to answer for
their deeds. They were brought in the court, put on trial, and received
a well-deserved punishment.
Hermann Wilhelm Göring
commander-in-chief of the German air force, commissioner for the Four
Years Plan, one of Hitler's closest aides (since 1922), founder and
leader of Nazi storm troops (SA), chief organizer of the arson in the
buildings of the German parliament and Nazi take-over.
Rudolf Hess -
Hitler's deputy for the Nazi party (NSDAP), minister without portfolio,
member of the secret council of ministers, and a member of the
ministers' council for defence.
Nazi commissioner for the foreign affairs, ambassador in Great Britain,
and foreign minister.
Robert Ley - one of
the closest leadership of the Nazi party, chief of the Nazi
Wilhelm Keitel -
Field-Marshal, chief of staff of the German armed forces (OKW).
- SS-Obergruppenführer, chief
of the imperial security office (RSHA), chief of security police, and
one of Himmler's closest aides.
Alfred Rosenberg -
Hitler's deputy for "spiritual and ideological" education of the Nazi
party, minister for the occupied eastern territories.
Hans Frank - Reichsleiter, Nazi commissioner for
justice, president of the German Academy of Laws, minister of justice,
and governor general of Poland.
Wilhelm Frick -
minister of internal affairs, and protector of Bohemia and Moravia.
Julius Streicher -
one of the founders of the Nazi party, Gauleiter
of Franconia (1925-1940), publisher of the anti-Semitic newspaper Der Stürmer, ideologist of
anti-Semitism, and organizer of anti-Jewish riots.
Walther Funk -
deputy minister of propaganda, minister of economics, president of the
Imperial Bank, general commissioner for war economics, member of the
ministers' council for defence, and a member of the central planning
Hjalmar Schacht -
Hitler's adviser for economics and finances.
Gustav Krupp von Bohlen
und Halbach - a major industrial tycoon, co-owner and executive
officer of the Krupp works, and chief organizer of Germany's armaments.
Karl Dönitz - Großadmiral, commander-in-chief of
the submarine forces, commander-in-chief of the German navy, and
Hitler's successor as the head of state.
Erich Raeder - Großadmiral, commander-in-chief of
the German navy (1935-1943), and the chief inspector of the navy.
Baldur von Schirach
- founder and leader of the Nazi youth organization (Hitlerjugend), Gauleiter and governor of Vienna.
commissioner for the labour force.
Alfred Jodl -
Colonel-General, chief of the operations division of the general staff
of the German armed forces.
Franz von Papen -
spy and saboteur, chief of the espionage network in the United States
America, co-conspirator in the Nazi take-over, and ambassador in
Austria and Turkey.
- one of the closest Nazi leadership, governor of Austria, deputy
governor of Poland, and commissioner for the occupied Netherlands.
Albert Speer - one
of the closest Nazi leadership, minister of armaments and munitions,
a member of the central planning committee.
Konstantin von Neurath
- minister without portfolio, chairman of the
secret council of ministers, member of the ministers' council for
defence, and protector of Bohemia and Moravia.
Hans Fritzsche -
of Göbbels' closest aides, chief of the home press division of the
ministry of propaganda, and the chief of the radio division.
Martin Bormann -
chief of the Nazi party chancellery, and Hitler's secretary and
adviser. He was tried and sentenced in
Moreover, states, which established the International Military
Tribunal, filed indictments against criminal organizations, as to the
Nazi storm troops (SA), security squads (SS), secret police (Gestapo), security service (SD),
Nazi party leadership, Imperial Cabinet, General Staff, and the supreme
command of the German armed forces. Hearings in those cases had exposed
the complex and all-embracing mechanism the Nazis exploited to
perpetrate their deeds. It was the first case in the human history,
when a gang of criminals kidnapped a whole country, and made the state
an accessory to their crimes.
Barely six months elapsed between the official conclusion of the Second
World War and the opening of the International Military Tribunal.
During those six months there were established the statute and
procedures of the IMT, collected and sorted basic evidence, formulated
the indictment, and works of a huge inter-Allied administration was
Despite of a relatively short time left for investigation, the amount
of evidence for prosecution proved huge. The tribunal examined more
than 2000 original documents, interrogated about 200 witnesses in the
court and hundreds more in subpoena, and admitted 300 thousand written
affidavits. A substantial part of the exhibits was retrieved from
German state and military archives, captured by the Allied armies, or
discovered in various secret hidings.
Dozens of lawyers, representing the USSR, USA, United Kingdom and
France, were selected for their outstanding professional merits.
Although they came from different legal systems, and had different
political views, during the whole trial, with few exceptions, they
worked together well, and were concordant in their quest for truth,
full and true picture of the hitlerite crimes, and just punishment to
This unanimity among the lawyers from the countries of the
anti-fascist coalition came from the very nature of the acts
perpetrated by the criminals brought to the International Military
Tribunal, scale, unheard-of cruelty, and inhuman cynicism of their
crimes. Truly said Robert Jackson, the Chief United States Prosecutor,
and an outstanding American lawyer, in his opening statement:
Our proof will be
disgusting and you will say I have robbed you of your sleep. But these
are the things which have turned the stomach of the world and set every
civilized hand against Nazi Germany.
Germany became one vast torture chamber. Cries of its victims were
heard round the world and brought shudders to civilized people
everywhere. I am one who received during this war most atrocity tales
with suspicion and scepticism. But the proof here will be so
overwhelming that I venture to predict not one word I have spoken will
be denied. These defendants will only deny personal responsibility or
Jackson's words came true. While during the first hearings of the
tribunal the defendants were eagerly trying to deny their
responsibility, later during the trial they were literally overwhelmed
by the evidence. It was impossible to deny those well-documented proofs
or testimonies of victims and eye-witnesses. And it is worth
remembering those criminals nowadays. The history of their crimes and
the disgraceful end goes far beyond their biographies.
The wounds of the war were not healed yet, while the chief prosecutor
for the United States said in his opening address:
What makes this inquest
significant is that these
prisoners represent sinister influences that will lurk in the world
long after their bodies have returned to dust. We will show them to be
living symbols of racial hatreds, of terrorism and violence, and of the
arrogance and cruelty of power. They are symbols of fierce nationalisms
and of militarism, of intrigue and war-making which have embroiled
Europe generation after generation, crushing its manhood, destroying
its homes, and impoverishing its life. They have so identified
themselves with the philosophies they conceived and with the forces
they directed that any tenderness to them is a victory and an
encouragement to all the evils which are attached to their names.
Civilization can afford no compromise with the social forces which
would gain renewed strength if we deal ambiguously or indecisively with
the men in whom those forces now precariously survive.
Nowadays we witness efforts to wrap in silence the principles of
Nuremberg tribunal, approved and confirmed as the principles of the
international criminal law by the General Assembly of the United
Nations Organization. In the Federal Republic of Germany there wee
attempts to declare a general amnesty to all Nazi criminals. Dozens of
thousands of Nazi criminals never faced justice in West Germany. Quite
contrary, many of them occupied high posts in the state administration,
police, justice system, and NATO structures.
What's more, at least 10,000 Nazi criminals had found refuge in the
United States of America in 1948-1952 under the cover of special CIA
operations Paperclip and Sunshine.
Eng. Werner von Braun and Gen. Walther Dornberger, responsible for
extermination of 20,000 inmates of the concentration camps Dora and
Nordhausen, worked in the American aerospatial programmes - Dornberger
at Bell Aircraft Corporation
Braun at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Many
years at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) worked SS-Sturmbannführer Emil Augsburg,
responsible for deportations of thousands of Poles
to the concentration camp Auschwitz, as well as SS-Hauptsturmführer Guido Zimmer
and SS-Standartenführer Eugen
Dollmann, responsible for mass murders of Italian Jews.
Maj.-Gen. Walther Schreiber, who used to experiment on humans with
typhus and gas gangrene, and Maj.-Gen. Kurt Blohme, who used to stage
experiments with plague vaccine, became American experts for biological
warfare. At different times for the American special services worked SS-Hauptsturmführer Alois Brunner
and Gestapo Captain Klaus
Barbie, both guilty of war crimes committed in France; Dr. Wilhelm
Höttl, the executioner of Hungarian Jews, Nazi spy General Reinhard
Gehlen, and the notorious Nazi criminal, SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf
Eichmann. And a former Nazi Josef Luns was at some time the secretary
general of the NATO.
Hungarian Laszlo Pasztor, responsible for deportation of Hungarian Jews
to Auschwitz, in 1972 was appointed the chairman of the National
Republican Heritage Groups Council. He used his office to promote other
fascists, like Nicolas Nazarenko, a former SS officer responsible for
war crimes in Romania, Radi Slavoff, another SS officer with the
history of war crimes in Yugoslavia, Florian Galdau, member of the
Romanian Iron Guard, or
Walter Melianovich, an SS executioner from Byelorussia. They all were
closely tied with the Bush family: Pasztor was a close associate of
George Bush; Slavoff was the leader of the organization Bulgarians for Bush, Galdau - Romanians for Bush, Melianovich - Ukrainians for Bush. In 1978 they
blocked in so-called Coalition for
Peace Through Strength, to support Ronald Reagan's presidential
In the memory of the witnesses to the Nuremberg trial forever remained
the interrogation of the former commandant of the concentration camp
Rudolf Höß. When asked about extermination of children in the gas
chambers, he confirmed the fact, and stated without remorse: Children of tender years were invariably
exterminated since by reason of their youth they were unable to work.
(...) Very frequently women would
hide their children under the clothes but of course when we found them
we would send the children in to be exterminated. Höß admitted
that at the time, when he was the camp commandant (between May 1940 and
December 1943), in the gas chambers of Auschwitz were exterminated at
least 2.5 million people, and at least half a million succumbed to
starvation and diseases. The data of the Chief Commission for the
Investigation of Hitlerite Crimes in
Poland show, that the estimated total number of the people exterminated
in Auschwitz exceeds 4.5 million.
In its judgement the International Military Tribunal had stated that
the Nazi concentration camps became
organized and systematic murder, where millions of people
were destroyed. Those murders were perpetrated with incredible
blasphemous mockery of the victims. Often living people would become
objects of merciless experiments, including such as high
altitude experiments in pressure chambers, experiments to
determine how long human beings could survive in freezing
water, experiments with poison bullets, experiments with
contagious diseases, and experiments dealing with
sterilization of men and women by X-rays and other methods.
It is necessary to bring to the light these examples from the materials
of the Nuremberg Tribunal in view of persistent attempts to consign
them to oblivion. The German system of justice alone is in possession
of the data on 5,000 former Auschwitz guards, who had found asylum in
the United States. None of them was ever punished. Quite contrary,
there have been attempts to apply to them, and to many more thousands
of their accomplices, the principles of statutory limitations.
In Germany itself those attempts were masked under hypocritical
assurances that the federal government was committed to punish Nazi
crimes and restore the trampled law. Yet, the deceit did not succeed.
The German public opinion took it as a blatant challenge to the moral
principles. The reaction was swift, resolute and unanimous. In the
struggle against the blasphemous project to extend statutory
limitations of the Article 67 of the German Penal Code of 1871 to the
Nazi crimes against humanity had united honest people of all walks of
life, regardless of their professions, social status, and political or
religious beliefs. Under the pressure of the public opinion, many
prominent German lawyers went public with denunciation of the policy
of the federal Ministry of Justice.
Nevertheless, ideologists of revanchism are still trying to libel the
Nuremberg Trial, consign to oblivion and put in doubt Nazi atrocities,
and portray the work of the International Military Tribunal and its
verdict as a revenge of the winners on the conquered. Mendacious
argumentation of the Göbbels propaganda nowadays has become the
official doctrine of German and American media, trying to chastise
hitlerite executioners and murderers. That policy falls on fertile
ground of poor education and popularity of pseudo-historical writings
in the style a certain Viktor Suvorov. Therefore, it is very important
that present-day generations of people, born and brought up after the
war, know the truth about the atrocities, perpetrated by the hitlerite
criminals, and the just punishment they had got.
The Nuremberg Tribunal had judged the hitlerite aggression, and passed
the severe verdict to the major Nazi criminals. It also deemed criminal
those institutions and organizations, which the Nazis had created to
exercise their criminal policy. In this plane it is regretful, that the
German General Staff and Supreme Command were exonerated of indictment
of being criminal organizations. But at least this concern was
elaborated in the Dissenting Opinion of the Soviet judge. Yet even
regardless of the dissenting opinions among the judges in such
important issues, the International Tribunal had stated in its
They have been responsible
in large measure for the miseries and
suffering that have fallen on millions of men, women and children. They
have been a disgrace to the honourable profession of arms. Without
their military guidance the aggressive ambitions of Hitler and his
fellow Nazis would have been academic and sterile. Although they were
not a group falling within the words of the Charter they were certainly
a ruthless military caste. The contemporary German militarism
flourished briefly with its recent ally, National Socialism, as well as
or better than it had in the generations of the past.
Many of these men have made a mockery of the soldier's oath of
obedience to military orders. When it suits their defence they say they
had to obey; when confronted with Hitler's brutal crimes, which are
shown to have been within their general knowledge, they say they
disobeyed. The truth is they actively participated in all these crimes,
or sat silent and acquiescent, witnessing the commission of crimes on a
scale larger and more shocking than the world has ever had the
misfortune to know.
One must not forget this conclusion of the Nuremberg tribunal nowadays,
when many others, who disgraced the honourable profession of arms,
occupied high posts in the Bundeswehr,
Pentagon and NATO.
Hitlerism was born out of the dreams of revenge for the world
domination. It was able to came to power, consolidate and commit
numerous atrocities thanks to the encouragement and direct support from
international industrial and financial monopolies. Just like any form
of fascism, it was a brutal, terrorist dictatorship of the extreme
right political forces. German industrialists and financial tycoons -
Gustav Krupp von Bolhen und Halbach, Albert Vögler, Paul Warburg, Kurt
von Schröder, Georg von Schnitzler, et.
al. stood invisibly behind the backs of the Nazi criminals.
untouchable industrial and financial czars put the whole of the
industrial potential of German at the disposal of the hitlerite
aggression. They had their share in the most hideous crimes that
hitlerites had perpetrated: slaying tens of thousands of humans in
villainous experiments, bringing millions of enslaved people to
complete physical and emotional exhaustion, and their consecutive
extermination in gas chambers, generously supplied with poisonous
materials by omnipotent monopolies like I. G. Farbenindustrie.
Hitlerism was born out of the criminal deeds of emissaries of the
German and international monopolistic capital in the Nazi government,
like Hjalmar Schacht. The International Military Tribunal by majority
of votes - three against one - acquitted Schacht on the grounds of his
"opposition" to the hitlerite régime. At the time of the collapse of
the hitlerism, in view of inevitable retribution for perpetrated
crimes, many of those, who brought hitlerism to power, started claiming
their "opposition" stance. Some, like Schacht, Speer and the
conspirators in Hitler's headquarters, did it earlier; others - like
Göring or Himmler - did it later. But the truth is
that before the final agony took place, individuals like Schacht et al. faithfully served their Führer and his régime. Schacht for
his services was decorated with so-called Order of Blood (Blutorden) - the golden NDSAP badge
awarded for exceptional merits to the Nazi régime.
He also had been honoured by an official, monumental NSDAP biographic
publication, which not without reason mentioned that he had helped the
Nazi party more then if he would have as its official member.
The trial of the major Nazi criminals has for ever remained the
fearsome warning to all war-mongers. It also had a great influence on
the development of the international law, establishing the
International Criminal Court, and became the model for later
trials on war crimes and crimes against humanity.