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M. HENRY DELPECH (Assistant Prosecutor for the French Republic): Mr. President, Your Honors, I had the honor yesterday of beginning to explain before the Tribunal the methods of economic spoliation of Belgium by the Germans in the course of their occupation of the country.
Coming back to what was said in the course of the general considerations on economic pillage and on the behavior of the Germans in Norway and Denmark and in Holland, I have been able to show that in all places the determination to economic domination of National Socialism had manifested itself. The methods were the same everywhere, at least in their broad outlines. Therefore in immediate response to the wish expressed yesterday by the Tribunal and to fulfill the mission entrusted to the French Prosecution by the Belgian Government to plead its case before your high jurisdiction, I shall confine myself to the main outlines of the development, and I shall take the liberty of referring to the details of the German seizure of Belgian production, to the text of the report submitted to the Tribunal, and to the numerous documents which are quoted in our document book.
I have had the honor of calling your attention to the existence of the black market in Belgium, its organization by the occupation troops, and their final decision to suppress -this black market. One may, with respect to this, conclude, as has already been indicated in the course of the general observations, that in spite of their claims it was not in order to avoid inflation in Belgium that the German authorities led a campaign against the black market.
The day the Germans decided to suppress the black market, they loudly proclaimed their anxiety to spare the Belgian economy and the Belgian population the very serious consequences of the threatening inflation. In reality, the German authorities intervened against the black market in order to prevent its ever growing extension from reaching the point where it would absorb all the available merchandise and completely strangle the official market. In a word, the survival of the official market with its lower prices was finally much more profitable for the army of occupation.
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I now come, gentlemen, to Page 46 of my presentation, to the third Chapter-purchases which were regular in appearance, which had only one aim, namely the subjugation of Belgian productive power.
Carrying out their program of domination of the countries of Western Europe as it had been established since before 1939, the Germans, from the moment they entered Belgium in May 1940, took all the measures which seemed to them appropriate to assure the subjugation of Belgian production.
No sector of Belgian economy was to be spared. If the pillage seems more noticeable in the economic sphere, that is only because of the very marked industrial character of Belgian economy. Agriculture and transport were not to escape the German hold, and I propose to discuss first the levies in kind in industry.
Belgian industry was the first to be attacked. Thus, the military commander in Belgium, in agreement with the various offices of the Reich for raw materials and with the Office of the Four Year Plan and the Ministry of Economics, drew up a program the purpose of which was to convert almost the whole of Belgian production to the bellicose ends of the Reich. Already on the 13th of September 1940 he was able to make known to the higher authorities a series of plans for iron, coal, textiles, and copper. I submit Exhibit Number RF-162 (Document Number ECH-2) in support of this statement.
Also a report by Lieutenant Colonel, Dr. Hedler, entitled "Change in Economic Direction," states that from 14 September 1940 the Army Ordnance Branch sent to its subordinate formations the following instructions, to be found in the document book under Exhibit Number RF-163 (Document Number ECH-84). I read the last paragraph of Page 41 of the German text:
"I attach the greatest importance to the proposition that the factories in the occupied western territories, Holland, Belgium, and France, be utilized as much as possible to ease the strain on the German armament production and to increase the war potential. Enterprises located in Denmark are also to be employed to an increasing extent for subcontracts. In doing so the operational directives of the regulation of the Reich Marshal as well as the regulations concerning the economy of raw materials in the occupied territories are to be strictly observed."
All these arrangements quickly enabled the Germans to control and to direct Belgium's whole production and distribution for the German war effort.
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The decree of 27 May 1940, VOBEL Number 2, submitted as Document Number RF-164, established commodity control offices whose task was-and I quote from the third paragraph:
"... to issue, in compliance with Army Group directives, general regulations or individual orders to enterprises which are producing, dealing with, or using controlled commodities, in order to regulate production and ensure just distribution and rational utilization while keeping to the place of work, as far as possible."
Article 4 of the same text indicated in detail the powers of these commodity control offices, and in particular they were given the right:
"To force enterprises to sell their products to specified purchasers; to forbid or require the utilization of certain raw materials; to subject to their approval every sale or purchase of commodities."
To conceal more effectively their real objective, the Germans gave these commodity control offices independence and the status of a corporation. Thus, there were set up 11 commodity control offices which embraced the whole economy except coal, the direction of which was left under the Belgian Office of Coal. Exhibit Number RF-165 (Document Number ECH-3), gives proof of this.
The execution of the regulations was ensured by a series of texts promulgated by the Belgian authorities in Brussels. They issued in particular a decree dated 3 September 1940, by virtue of which Belgian organizations took over again the offices which the Germans gave up.
These offices were to experience various vicissitudes. Although originating from the Belgian Ministry of Economics, they were closely controlled by the German military command. In this way, the seizure of Belgian production was completed by the appointment of "Commissioners of Enterprises," under the ordinance of 29 April 1941, submitted as Document Number RF-166. Article 2 of this text defines the powers of the commissioners:
"The duty of the Commissioner is to set or keep in motion the enterprise under his charge, to ensure the systematic fulfillment of orders, and to take all measures which increase the output."
The decline of the commodity control offices began with an ordinance dated 6 August 1942, establishing the principle providing for the prohibition of manufacturing certain products or for ordering the use of certain raw materials. This ordinance is to be found in the document book under Document Number RF-167. Supervision of the commodity control offices was soon organized by the
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appointment to each of them of a German Commissioner, selected by the competent Reichsstelle.
From the last months of 1943 on, the "Rustungsobmann" Office of the Armament and War Production Ministry (Speer), acquired the habit of passing its orders direct, without having recourse to the channel of the commodity control offices.
Even before this date measures had been taken to prevent any initiative that was not in accord with the German war aims. Further and even before the above ordinance of 6 August 1942, the ordinance of 30 March 1942 should be mentioned, which made the establishment or extension of commercial enterprises subject to previous authorization by the military commissioner.
In the-report of the military administration in Belgium that has already been cited, the chief of the administrative staff, Raeder, specifies in Exhibit Number RF-169 (Document Number ECH-335) that for the period of January to March 1943 alone, out of 2,000 iron works, 400 were closed down for working irrationally or being useless to the war aims. The closing of these factories seems to have been caused less by the concern for a rational production than by the cunning desire to obtain cheaply valuable tools and machines.
In this connection, it is appropriate to point to the establishment of a Machine Pool Office. The above quoted report of the military administration in Belgium, in the 11th section, Pages 56 and following, is particularly significant in this respect. Here is an extract from the German text, the last lines of the last paragraph of Page 56, in the French translation, the last lines . . .
THE PRESIDENT (Lord Justice Sir Geoffrey Lawrence): That passage you read about the Defendant Raeder, was that from Document 169 or 170?
M. DELPECH: Mr. President, I spoke yesterday of the chief of the administration section, Raeder. He was section chief in Brussels. He has no connection with the defendant here.
THE PRESIDENT: I see, very well.
M. DELPECH: Exhibit Number RF-171 (Document Number ECH-10), second paragraph of the French text. The paragraph concerns the Machine Pool transactions:
"Proof may be seen by a brief glance at the pool operations dealt with and actually carried out. Altogether 567 demands have been dealt with, to a total value of 4.6 million Reichsmark."
Raeder then gave a number of figures. I shall pass over these and I come to the end of the first paragraph, Page 57 in the German text:
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"The legal basis for the requisition of these machines was the Hague Convention of 1907, Articles 52 and 53. The formulation of the Hague Convention which provides for requisitions only for the benefit and the needs of the occupying power, applied to the circumstances of the year 1907, that is, to a time when war actions were confined within narrowly restricted areas and practically the military front alone was involved in war operations. In view of such space restrictions for war, it was evident that the provisions of the Hague Convention, stipulating that requisitions be made solely for the needs of the occupying power, were sufficient for the conduct of operations. Modern war, however, which by its expansion to total war is no longer bound by space but has developed into a general struggle of peoples and economies, requires that while the regulations of the Hague Convention should be maintained, there should be a sensible interpretation of its principles adapted to the demands of modern warfare." I pass to the end of this quotation: "Whenever, in requisitioning, reference was made to the ordinance of the military commander of 6 August 1942, this was done in order to give the Belgian population the necessary interpretation of the meaning of the principle of the requisition regulations of the Hague Convention." Such an interpretation may leave jurists wondering, who have not been trained in the school of National Socialism. It cannot in any case justify the pillage of industry and the subjugation of Belgian production. These few considerations show how subtle and varied were the methods employed by the Germans to attain their aims in the economic sphere. In the same way as the preceding statements on clearing operations and the utilization of occupation costs, they make it possible to specify the methods employed for exacting heavy levies from the Belgian economy. Whereas in certain spheres, as in agriculture and transport, it has been possible to assess the extent of economic pillage with a certain exactitude, there are, however, numerous industrial sectors where assessments cannot yet be made. It is true that a considerable part of the industrial losses correspond to the clearing" operations, particularly through requisition of stocks. It will therefore be necessary to confine ourselves to the directives of the policy practiced by the Germans. We may examine briefly the way in which economic spoliation took place in three sectors: industry, agriculture, and transport.
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First the industrial sector: The clearing statistics, in the first place, give particulars of the total burdens imposed upon the various industrial branches. The report of the military administration in Belgium, to which I shall refer constantly, gives the following details, briefly summarized: From the very beginning of the occupation the Germans demanded an inventory of supplies on which they were to impose considerable levies, notably textiles and non-ferrous metals. I shall confine myself to some brief remarks on textiles and nonferrous metals. The example of the textiles industry is particularly revealing: On the eve of the invasion, the Belgian textile industry, with its 165,000 workers, was the second largest industry in Belgium after the metal industry. Under the pretext of avoiding the exhaustion of the very important supplies then still available, an ordinance of 27 July 1940 prohibited the textile industry to work at more than 30 percent of its 1938 capacity. For the period from May to December 1940 alone requisitions were not less than 1,000 million Belgian francs. They particularly affected nearly half of the wool stock available in the country on May 10, 1940, and nearly one-third of the stock of raw cotton. On the other hand, the forced closing down of factories constituted for the Germans an excellent excuse for taking away, on the pretext of hiring, unused equipment, unless it was requisitioned at a cheap price. The ordinance of 7 September 1942, which is to be found in the document book under Document Number RF-174, laid down the manner in which factories were to be closed in execution of the right accorded to the occupation authorities; and it also gave the right to dissolve certain business and industrial groups and to order their liquidation. Consolidation of enterprises was the pretext given. In the month of January 1944, 65 percent of the textile factories had been stopped. I shall not go into the details of these operations and I shall pass on to Page 58. The report of the German military administration quoted above gives particularly significant figures as to production. Of a total output of the wool industry of 72,000 tons for the entire period May 1940 to the end of June 1944, representing a value of about 397 million Reichsmark, the distribution of the deliveries between the German and Belgian markets is the following: The German market, 64,700 tons, 314 million Reichsmark; the Belgian market, 7,700 tons, 83 million Reichsmark. The whole spoliation of the textile industry is contained in these figures. Belgian consumption obviously 4ad to suffer a great deal from the German policy of direction of the textile market. The same report of the military administration furnishes details, stating that
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in 1938 the needs in textile products amounted in Belgium to a monthly average of twelve kilos. The respective figures for the occupation years are the following: 1940 to 1941-2.1 kilos per head, 1941 to 1942-1.4, 1942 to 1943-1.4, 1943 to 1944-0.7. The diminution of Belgian consumption under the Germans is contained in these two figures; twelve kilos per head in 1938; 0.7 kilo at the end of the occupation. - On the other side, the Belgian Government gives the following details on the pillage of this produce. Compulsory deliveries to Germany during the occupation amounted to: Cotton yam, about 40 percent of the production; linen, 75 percent; rayon, 15 percent. Finally, out of the textile stocks remaining in Belgium a great percentage was still taken away by the Germans through purchases on the Belgian markets, purchases of finished or manufactured products. The equivalent of these forced deliveries can generally be found in the clearing statistics, unless it is placed under misrepresented occupation costs. I have finished with textiles. As to the non-ferrous metal industry, Belgium was in 1939 the largest producer in Europe of non- ferrous metals, of copper, lead, zinc, and tin. The statistics included in the report of the military command, which are to be found in Exhibit Number RF-173 (Document Number ECH-11), will furnish the evidence for the Tribunal. On the 18th of February 1941, in connection with the Four Year Plan, the Reich Office for Metals and the Supreme Command of the Army worked out a "metal" plan which provided for Belgian consumption; the carrying out of German orders; exports to the Reich. These various measures did not satisfy the occupying authorities so they ran a certain number of salvage campaigns which were called "special actions" (Sonderaktionen) in accordance with the method they applied in all the countries of Western Europe. I shall not go into the details of these actions which are described on Page 63 and following of the report; the salvage campaigns for bells, for printing lead, for lead and copper-from information given by the Belgian Government, Document Number RF-146, Page 65 of the report. In other fields, but without admitting it, the Germans pursued a policy intended to eliminate or to restrict Belgian competition, so that in case of a German victory the economic branches concerned would have had to restrict themselves to the Belgian market, which would then have remained wide open to German business. These attempts at immediate or future suppression of competition were clearly evident in the case of foundries, glass works, textile
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industries, construction works, car assembling, construction of material for narrow-gauge railroads, the leather industry, and especially shoe-manufacturing, for which reconstruction of destroyed factories was systematically prohibited. But in addition, in the textile industry as well as in numerous sectors, especially in the iron-smelting industry, the weakening of the economy cannot be measured only by the scale of the compulsory deliveries but in relation to the policy practiced by the occupying power. Belgian industry, especially coal and iron, suffered considerable losses as a result of directives imposed to finance the war needs at a cheaper rate. I shall pass over the question of prices of coal. The control of the coal industry was assured by the appointment of a plenipotentiary for coal and by centralization of all sales in the hands of a single organism, the "single seller," under Belgian direction but with a German commissioner. I am referring to the Belgian coal office, one seller to a single purchaser, "Rheinisch Westhilisches Koblensyndikat," which ordered deliveries to be made to the Reich, to Alsace-Lorraine and Luxembourg. According to the same German report, Page 67, in spite of the rise in the price of coal agreed to on 20 August 1940, 1 January 1941, and I January 1943, the coal industry showed considerable losses in the course of the occupation years. In February 1943, the coal office having agreed to an increase of the sales price, the price per ton for the Belgian coal was higher than on the German home market. The German commissioner for the mining industry forced the Belgian industry to pay the difference in rate when exporting to the Reich by means of premiums. From the figures indicated in Exhibits Numbers RF-176 (Document Number ECH-35) and 178 (Document Numbers ECH-26 and 27), the Tribunal may gather information as to the financial losses caused by exploitation. The report of the military administration gives in its eleventh section details regarding the iron-smelting industry: It suffered as greatly as had the coal industry during the occupation. In the Thomas smelting works in particular, the losses resulted from the increase in the cost price and from price fluctuations in respect to certain elements pertaining to the manufacture. In this one sector, according to the memorandum of the Belgian Government, the respective losses may be assessed at 3,000 million Belgian francs. Still, according to the same report, out of a total production of 1,400,000 tons, 1,300,000 tons of various products were exported to Germany not including the metal delivered to Belgian factories working exclusively for Germany.
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According to information furnished by the Belgian Government, the Germans removed in bulk and transported to Germany material of very great value. The total industrial spoliation is estimated by the Belgian Government at a sum of 2,000 million Belgian francs, at the 1940 rate, of course. These removals constitute a real material loss; and from the fragmentary indications given to the Tribunal, this sum of 2,000 million Belgian francs is the figure which I ask the Tribunal to note. In view of the information available at present it is not easy to estimate the extent of the levies made on industry; it is even more difficult to evaluate it in the agricultural sphere, which I shall briefly present. Apart from the admissible needs of the occupation troops, the German authorities made an effort to obtain a supplement to the food levies in Belgium for the purpose of increasing the food of the Reich and other territories occupied by its troops. After having employed direct methods of levying, the Germans used the services of unscrupulous agents whose job it was to purchase at any price on the illicit markets; and the black market in this field assumed such proportions that the occupying authorities were frequently alarmed and in 1943 had to suppress it. Apart from the damage to livestock and' to the woods and forests, which play an important part in Belgium, the damage resulting from abnormal cutting in the forests brought about an excess in deforestation reaching a figure of 2 million tons; the damage to capital caused by this premature cutting can be estimated at about 200 million Belgian francs. The military operations proper caused damage to an extent of 100 million Belgian francs; and according to the memorandum of the Belgian Government, the total damage caused to forestry reaches a figure of 460 million Belgian francs. Taking into account the damage caused by abnormal cutting in the forests and by the establishment of airfields, the Belgian Government estimates at approximately 1,000 million Belgian francs the losses suffered by its agriculture during the occupation. It must be noted, without going further into this subject, that these are net losses in capital, constituting a veritable exhaustion of substance and a consequent reduction and real consumption of the nation's resources. With this I have concluded my presentation concerning agriculture, and I pass on to transport. The conduct of war led the Germans to utilize to the utmost the railroad network and the canal and river system of Belgium. The result was that the railroads and river fleet are included in those branches of Belgian economy which suffered most from the occupation and the hostilities which took place on Belgian soil. German
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traffic was simultaneously a traffic of personnel as demanded by military operations and a traffic of merchandise, coal, minerals, pit- props, foodstuffs, not to speak of the considerable quantities of construction material required for the fortification of the coast of the North Sea.
Railroads: The report of the Belgian Government shows that the damages suffered by the railroads consisted of losses in capital as well as of losses in revenue. Losses in capital resulted first and principally from requisitions and removals, to which the Germans proceeded in a wholesale fashion from the moment of their entry into Belgium. Thus in particular they immediately drained the stock of locomotives under the pretext of recovering German locomotives surrendered to Belgium after the war of 1914-1918 as a means of reparation. In addition to seizures of locomotives, the Belgian National Railroad Company was subjected to numerous requisitions of material, sometimes under the form of rental; these requisitions are estimated at 4,500 million francs at the 1940 value. Against the losses in capital, losses in revenue (Page 77) resulted principally from the free transportation service required by the Wehrmacht, also from the price policy pursued by the occupying power. These levies and these exceptional costs could be borne by the organizations concerned only by making large drains on the treasury. Regarding automobiles, I shall say hardly anything (Page 79). The losses amount to about 3,000 million Belgian francs, out of which individuals received as compensation for requisition approximately 1,000 million (at the 1938 value). We come now to river transport: The carrying out of the plan for the economic spoliation of Belgium presented the occupying power with serious transportation problems, to which I have already called attention. In this sphere the German military administration imposed upon Belgian river shipping very heavy burdens. According to the report of the Belgian Government, the losses suffered by the Belgian river fleet took three forms: Requisitions and removals by the Germans; partial or total damage through military operations; excessive deterioration of material. These three forms of damage amount to 500 million francs, of which only 100 million are represented in clearing. Damage to waterways (Page 81), rivers, streams, and canals, can be evaluated at between 1,500 million to 2,000 million francs, at the 1940 value, especially with respect to requisitions and removals of public or private harbor installations.
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Fishing boats were requisitioned for marking the river Scheldt and then disappeared without leaving any trace. Others suffered damage through requisitions or hire for military maneuvers.
Before closing this chapter concerned with levies in kind, the question of removal of industrial material may be briefly mentioned (Page 82).
It has already been pointed out that the policy of production and reorganization as pursued by the military administration had as a result the closing of numerous enterprises, thus enabling the Germans to seize a great number of machines under the pretext that they were out of use.
There are no branches of industry which were not despoiled in this way. The metal industry seems now to be one of those that suffered most. Though we do not wish to try the patience of the Tribunal, it seems particularly pertinent to draw its attention briefly to the actual technique used in the organization of the levies, details which were decided upon even before the entry of German troops into the territories of Western Europe, organization putting into play military formations, organization emanating from the economy bureau of the General Staff of the Army and hence from the Defendant Keitel as Chief of the OKW.
The existence of these military detachments, veritable pillaging detachments, is proved by various German documents. Under the name of economic detachments, "Wirtschaftstrupps," or special commandos, these pillaging crews carried out nefarious and illegal activities in all the countries of Western Europe.
The secret instructions for the "economic detachment J," stationed at Antwerp, are found in the file under Document Number RF- 183. They constitute a very important, irrefutable document on the German intention to pillage and an additional proof of the contempt of the National Socialist leaders for the rules of international law.
These instructions date from the last days of May 1940. 1 should like to read a few excerpts of these instructions to the Tribunal (Document Number RF-183, Page 1).
"The economic detachments are formed by the office for economic armament of the High Command of the Wehrmacht. They are placed at the disposal of the High Command of the Army for employment in the countries to be occupied."
I shall skip to the bottom of Page 1 of the German document.
"It is their task to gain information quickly and completely in their districts of the scarce and rationed goods (raw materials, semi- finished products, mineral oil, et cetera) and machines of most vital importance for the purposes of national defense and to make a correct return of these stocks.
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"In the case of machines, the requisition will be effected by means of a label, in the case of scarce and rationed goods, both by labelling and by guarding.
"Furthermore, the economic detachments have the duty of preparing and, upon order of the Army Group, of carrying out the removal of scarce and rationed goods, mineral oils, and the most important machines. These tasks are the exclusive responsibility of the economic detachments.
"The economic detachments are to commence their activities in newly occupied territories as early as the battle situation permits."
Machines and raw materials having thus been found and identified, the new organizations went into action to dismantle and put to use these machines and raw materials in Germany.
The above quoted document RF-183 gives precise and very curious information on the formation and the strength of detachment "J" at Antwerp. The eight officers are all reserve officers, engineers, wholesale dealers, directors of mines, importers of raw materials, engineering consultants. Their names and their professions are mentioned in the document. These men are therefore all specialists in commerce and industry. The choice of these technicians cannot be attributed to mere chance.
According to the above instructions and more especially the instructions found under date of 10 May 1940, coming from General Hannecken (Exhibit Number RF-184), Document Number ECH-33, once the machines and the stocks have been identified, the offices set to work, the Roges on one hand, and the compensation bureaus on the other hand, to whose activities attention has already been called in connection with the pillage of Holland and of the Belgian non-ferrous metal industry.
Another document, which is likewise presented as Exhibit Number RF-184 (Document Number ECH-33), shows that the very composition of the economic detachments emanates from the High Command. Quoting from Page 6:
"The economic detachments already mentioned in Section I, which are composed of experts for the branches of industry found in the respective areas, shall gain information and secure stocks of raw materials and special machinery for the production of ammunition and war equipment which are at present important."
THE PRESIDENT: Is that quotation set out in your dossier? M. DELPECH: The quotation is on Page 84, bis.
THE PRESIDENT: Would this be a convenient time to break off?
[A recess was taken.]
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M. DELPECH: Besides the economic detachments to which I have just drawn the attention of the Tribunal, detailed to remove and redistribute machinery either to factories working in the country on behalf of the occupying power or to factories in Germany, these operations were directed by the Machine Pool Office.
Such offices were set up in all the occupied territories of Western Europe during the last months of 1942, upon the order of the Minister for Armaments and War Production, for example, the Defendant Speer, and the Office of the Four Year Plan, for example, the Defendant Goering.
The Machine Pool Office for Belgium and Northern France was set up upon the decision of the Chief of the Military Economic Section in Brussels under date of 18 February 1943. Its activity has already been outlined to the Tribunal in connection with the spoliation of non-ferrous metal industries. Its activity did not stop there; it is found in all branches of industry. The Exhibit Number RF-185 (Document ECH-29) can give us figures on its activity. This activity continued to the very last days of the occupation. Requisitions of machinery and instruments were not limited to industry; Documents Numbers ECH-16 and ECH-15 (Exhibits Numbers RF-193 and 194) show the extent of the requisitioning of scientific instruments.
I have finished with the levies on industrial material.
I shall present briefly in the fourth chapter the question of services, first of all:
1. The billeting of troops. By an ordinance dated 17 December 1940, Page 88, the Germans imposed the costs of billeting their troops upon Belgium. Having done this, the occupation authorities justified themselves by a rather liberal interpretation of Article 52 of the Hague Convention, according to the provisions of which the occupying power may require levies in kind and in services.
The Wetter report (Document Number RF-186) wrongly contends that the Convention does not specify by whom the settlement should be made; Article 49 gives the right to make the occupied country defray the expenses.
Therefore Belgium had to meet expenses to the amount of 5,900 million francs for billeting costs, equipment, and furniture. The payments of the Belgian treasury for billeting is estimated in the report of the Belgian Military Administration at 5,423 million francs.
It is evident that under the pretext of billeting costs, other expenses were entered to the detriment of the Belgian economy, as in other occupied countries-the purchases of furniture which was to be sent to Germany.
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2. Transport and Communications.
To assure transport and communications, the Belgian treasury had to advance a total of 8,000 million francs. As already pointed out to the Tribunal, the seizure by the occupation authorities covered even the river fleet to the extent that the transport plan restricted the use of rail to the operation troops.
According to Article 53 of the Hague Convention, the occupying army has the right to seize means of transport and communications provided that it returns them and pays indemnity. That army, however, does not possess the right to make the occupied country pay the costs of transport put at the army's disposal. That is, however, what Germany did in Belgium.
The deportation of labor to Germany and forced labor in Belgium have already been explained to the Tribunal. It therefore seems unnecessary to stress this point (Page 91). At the most, we should recall certain consequences unfavorable to the Belgian economy. The measures concerning the deportation of labor caused an economic disorganization and weakening without precedent.
Secondly, the departure of workers and particularly of skilled workers inadequately replaced by unskilled labor-women, adolescents and pensioners-brought about a decrease in production at the same time as an increase in the cost price, which contributed to complicating the problem of the financial equilibrium of industrial enterprises.
Third observation: The requisition of labor was the cause of political and social discontent owing to the dispersion of families and the inequalities which appeared in the requisition of workers.
Fourth and last observation: The workers were required for spheres of work which were not necessarily their own, which resulted in a loss of their professional skill. Personnel were divided and unclassed. The closing of artisan workshops brought about changes more or less felt in certain branches of production. The losses thus suffered cannot be measured in terms of money, but they are none the less important to be submitted to your jurisdiction.
I have finished with this subject and will turn to a last chapter, Chapter V, the acquisition of Belgian investments in foreign industrial enterprises.
Since 1940 according to their general policy in all occupied countries of Western Europe, the Germans concerned themselves with acquiring shares in Belgian financial enterprises abroad. The official German point of view emerges clearly from a letter dated 29 July 1941, from the Minister of Finance to the Military Commander in Belgium. I have submitted it under Number 187, in the document book (Document Number RF-187).
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This conception of the right to acquire shares is certainly very far from the. idea as laid down by the Hague Convention in respect to the right of requisition. It clearly shows the German leaders' determination for enrichment at the expense- of Belgium.
Thus, the Germans, since May 1940, sought to obtain influence in Belgian holding companies. Not being able to violate directly international laws, particularly Article 46 of the Hague Convention, they strove to influence the members of the executive boards through persuasion rather than by force.
In the course of a conference held on 3 May 1940 at the Reich Ministry of Economics, dealing with Belgian and Dutch capital which it would still be possible to acquire, it was decided that the Military Commander in Belgium should take all necessary measures to prevent, on the one hand, the destruction, transfer, sale, and illegal holding of all bonds and stocks of these countries and, on the other hand, to induce Belgian capitalists to hand over their foreign securities to the Germans. The minutes of this conference are found in the document book under Number RF-187 above.
To prevent the flight of any capital, an ordinance of 17 June 1940 was promulgated, subjecting to authorization the sending abroad of any securities and any acquisitions or disposal of foreign securities.
From 2 August 1940 the German leaders and the Defendant Goering himself took a definite stand on this point. In the course of the general remarks on economic plundering secret directives issued in this respect by the Defendant Goering. were read to you. It is the document submitted under Number RF-105 (Page 97).
In spite of the German assurances and in spite of the wish of the occupying power to preserve the appearance of regularity, the German desire to absorb certain shares met with serious resistance. The occupation authorities several times had to resort to compulsion to conclude sales, in spite of the rights which they had reserved for themselves in the above cited decree of 27 August 1940. This was particularly the case with regard to the shares held by the Belgian Metal Trust in the electrical enterprises of Eastern Silesia and, still more clearly, the case regarding the shares of the Austrian Metal Company, which at that time were wanted by the Hermann Goering Works.
The Belgian ill-will increased as the German determination to pillage became more evident. In this report of I December 1942, Exhibit Number RF-191 (Document Number ECR-132), the German Commissioner with the National Bank very clearly denounces this resistance on the part of the Belgian market. Almost all acquisitions which could be realized by the Germans were settled by means of clearing (Page 98).
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The balance of clearing capital credited to Belgium, to the amount of 1,000 million Belgian francs on 31 August 1944, represents a forced loan imposed upon Belgium without any legal or logical relation to occupation costs, unless it is the Germans' will to hegemony.
Such a practice, contrary to the principles of international law and to the rules of criminal law of civilized nations, falls under Article 6(b) of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal and constitutes an act of pillage of public or private property such as is envisaged in the above mentioned text.
Closely allied to the acquisition of shares and 'always within the framework of legality, the levies made by the German authorities on foreign, enemy, and Jewish property, should be pointed out to the Tribunal.
As to foreign property seized by the Germans, it must be mentioned that this measure was applied to French capital in Belgium in spite of numerous protests by the French Government. As to Jewish property, for the years 1943 and 1944, the figures are presented in Document Number ECH-35 (Exhibit Number RF-192).
With this I conclude the presentation of the economic spoliation of Belgium (Page 100).
The damage caused to Belgian economy in its principal branches have just been submitted to the Tribunal. The statistical data have been taken either from German reports or from official reports of the Belgian Government. The available estimates and figures are not yet sufficiently exact to fix the costs of war, the occupation and economic spoliation of Belgium; some losses and damages cannot be expressed in money. Among them, first of all, we must mention the privations resulting from the German commandeering of a large part of food supplies and from the particular situation of billeting and clothing. This purely material aspect of the question should not cause us to overlook the consequences of the occupation upon the public health (Page 103). For lack of statistical data, it is difficult to show precisely the final state of public health resulting from the particular circumstances.
One fact, however, must be remembered: The considerable increase in the number of persons who were eligible for special invalid diets. This number rose from 2,000 a month in 1941 to more than 25,000 a month in 1944. It had, therefore, increased more than tenfold, in spite of the rationing measures which became more and more severe.
This increase in nutritional aid given to sick persons deserves the attention of the Tribunal, less for itself and for its statistical interest, than because it is the indication of the increase of disease
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in Belgium. This increase is itself the result of the undernourishment of the population during the four years of occupation.
This deplorable state of affairs, however, had not escaped the attention of the occupation authorities, as appears from the letter of the Military Commander in Belgium already quoted which is found in the document book under Document Number RF-187:
"Regarding the food situation in Belgium, neither the minimum for existence for the civilian population is secured nor the minimum amount necessary for feeding heavy laborers who are employed solely in the interest of the German war economy."
I shall not dwell on this. This undernourishment of the Belgian population has been the inevitable and the most serious result of the huge levies made by the occupation authorities who willfully disregarded the elementary requirements of an occupied country in order to pursue only the war aims of the Reich.
The lowering of the average standard of health and the rise in the death rate in Belgium from 1940 to 1945 may therefore be rightly considered the direct result of the spoliations committed by the Germans in Belgium in transgression of international law.
I have concluded the presentation on Belgium.
I would like to make a few brief remarks on the economic pillaging of Luxembourg (Page 106).
Supplementing the presentation on Belgium it is fitting to present to the Tribunal some details on the conduct of the Germans in Luxembourg. The Government of the Grand Duchy has submitted a general summary of its accusations which has been lodged with the Tribunal as Document Number UK-77 and in which an extract covering the crimes against property, the economic section, is in the document book under the Number RF-194.
The Germans, shortly after their entry into the Grand Duchy, proceeded to annex it in fact. This attitude, similar enough to that adopted towards the inhabitants of the Departments of Moselle, Bas-Rhin, and Haut-Rhin, calls for some remarks.
As was their wont, one of the first measures they put into effect was the exchange of the Luxembourg money at the rate of 10 Luxembourg francs to 1 mark. This was the subject of the ordinance of 26 August 1940, to be found in the document book under Number 195 (Document Number RF-195). This rate of exchange did not correspond to the respective purchasing power of the two currencies. It constituted a considerable levy on the wealth of the inhabitants and especially assured the Germans of a complete seizure of the monies. It thus procured for them the means for seizing a considerable part of the reserves of raw materials and
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manufactured goods of the country. The purchases were paid for in depreciated marks on the basis of controlled prices imposed by the Germans.
Finally, by the Ordinance of 29 January 1941, the Reichsmark was introduced as the only legal tender (ordinance submitted as Document Number RF-196). The Luxembourg francs and the Reichskreditkasse notes were taken out of circulation, as well as Belgian francs, up to then considered as currency of the Franco-Luxembourg monetary union. All of these became foreign currency, as from 5 February 1941.
I should like to draw the attention of the Tribunal to the fact that of all the countries occupied by Germany, Luxembourg is, like Alsace and Lorraine, one of the few countries which was totally deprived of its national currency.
Moreover, to procure for the Reich the financial means necessary for the prosecution of the war, the ordinance of 27 August 1940 (Document Number RF-197) prescribed compulsory delivery of gold and foreign currency. Moreover, the same ordinance stipulated that foreign shares and bonds had to be offered for sale to the Reichsbank at rates and under conditions fixed by the occupying power.
As has already been pointed out, the Germans seized industrial stocks. In this respect, the report dated 21 May 1940, on the economic situation in Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg, contains information on the stocks found in the country:
1,600 million tons of iron ore; 125,000 tons of manganese; 10,000 tons of crude iron; 10,000 tons of ferro-manganese; 36,000 tons of plated products and finished products, and I could continue this enumeration. The German seizure spread from stocks to the management of the industrial production.
According to the memorandum presented by the Reparations Commission of the Luxembourg Government, Document Number RP-198, the total economic damages amount to 5,800 million Luxembourg francs at the 1933 value. This figure can be analyzed as follows:
Industry and commerce, 1,900 million; Railroads, 200 million; Roads and Highways, 100 million; Agriculture, 1,600 million; Damage to property in general, 1,900 million.
From the same official source, the total loss in capital represents about 33 percent of the national wealth of Luxembourg, before the war estimated at approximately 5,000 million Luxembourg francs.
The effect on the financial and monetary situation of the country was a loss exceeding 6,000 million Luxembourg francs. In these damages the increase in circulation of money and the amount of is
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forced investments in Germany-more than 4,800 million Luxembourg francs-as well as an additional charge imposed upon the taxpayers of the Grand Duchy following the introduction of the German fiscal system figure particularly. To these burdens must be added the skimming of profits, fines, and the allegedly voluntary gifts of every kind imposed upon Luxembourg.
Similar to what was done in other countries, the Ordinance of 21 February 1941 (Document Number RF-199, Exhibit Number RP-199 of the document book concerning Luxembourg) provided that no German managers could be appointed in large enterprises, particularly in smelting works, who-and this is the text of the ordinance "would not be prepared to favor the interests of Germanism in every circumstance."
The task of these commissioners was to insure for the Reich, within the scope of the Four Year Plan, the direction and control of exploitation in the exclusive interest of the German war effort. Thus, on 2 August 1940, the "Reichskommissar" for the administration of enemy property appointed to the largest metal company in Luxembourg, the United Steel Works of Burbach-Eich- Dudelange (Arbed), three German commissioners who ensured the complete control of the company. Neither did other large companies escape this domination as can be seen from the documents submitted to the Tribunal under Number 200 (Document Number RF-200).
The spoliation of Luxembourg and foreign interests in the insurance field, one of the most important branches of Luxembourg's activities, was complete. With the exception of three Swiss com
panies and a German company, all transactions were prohibited to the Luxembourg companies, whose assets were transferred to German insurance companies-in an official way as regards the national companies, and secretly as regards the foreign companies.
The insurance companies of Luxembourg were deprived of the premiums from fire insurance by the introduction of compulsory fire insurance, for which the German companies were given the monopoly.
Introducing in Luxembourg their racial policy, the National Socialists seized and confiscated an Jewish property in the Grand Duchy to the profit of the "Verwaltung fur die Judenvermogen "(Administration of Jewish Property).
Also in regard to the Umsiedlungspolitik (resettlement policy), 1,500 families (that is 7,000 Luxembourg persons) were deported. The Germans took possession of their property. A German trust company, set up in the German Office for Colonization and Germanization, was charged with the administration of this property, and, in fact, set about to, liquidate it. Important assets were thus confiscated and transferred to the Reich.
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Germans from the Tyrol were, as has already been pointed out, installed in the buildings, and industrial, commercial, and artisan enterprises of the deportees.
That is to say, Your Honors, that the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was the victim of economic pillage as systematically organized as that in Belgium.
THE PRESIDENT: M. Delpech, the Tribunal is grateful to you for the way in which you have performed the task which they asked you to perform last night, a task which is not altogether easy, of shortening the address which you had intended to make. As far as they are able to judge, no essential parts of your address have been omitted. It is of great importance that the Trial should be conducted, as the Charter indicates, in an expeditious way, and it was for this reason that the Tribunal asked you, if you could, to shorten your address.
M. DELPECH: I thank you, Your Honor, for your kindness.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, M. Gerthoffer.
M. CHARLES GERTHOFFER (Assistant Prosecutor for the French Republic): Mr. President, Your Honors, I come to the sixth section of this presentation, which deals with the economic pillage of France.
When the Germans invaded France, they found there considerable wealth. They set about with ingenuity to seize it and also to subjugate the national production.
When they failed to attain their ends by mere requisitions, they resorted to devious methods, using simultaneously ruse and violence, striving to cloak their criminal actions with legality.
To accomplish this, they misused the conventions of the armistice. These, in fact, did not contain any economic clauses and did not include any secret provisions but consisted only of regulations, which were published. Nevertheless, the Germans utilized two clauses to promote their undertakings. I submit to the Tribunal as Document Number RF-203 a copy of the Armistice Conventions, and I cite Article 18, which reads as follows:
"The maintenance costs of German occupation troops in French territory will be charged to the French Government."
This clause was not contrary to the regulations of the Hague Conventions, but Germany imposed payment of enormous sums, far exceeding those necessary for the requirements of an occupation army. Thus she was enabled to dispose, without furnishing any compensation, of nearly all the money which, in fact, was cleverly transformed into an instrument of pillage.
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Article 17 of the Armistice Convention reads as follows:
"The French Government undertakes to prevent any transfer of economic securities or stocks from the territory to be occupied by the German troops into the non-occupied area or into a foreign country. Those securities and stocks in the occupied territory can be disposed of only in agreement with the Reich Government, it being understood that the German Government will take into account what is vitally necessary for the population of the non-occupied territories."
Apparently the purpose of this clause was to prevent things of any kind which might be utilized against Germany from being sent to England or to any of the colonies. But the occupying power took advantage of this to get control of production and the distribution of raw materials throughout France, since the non-occupied zone could not live -without the products of the occupied zone and vice versa.
This intention of the Germans is proved particularly by Document Number 1741-PS which was discovered by the American army, and which I now submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit Number RF-204.
I do not want to trouble the Tribunal by reading this long document, I shall give only a short summary.
It is a secret report, dated 5 July 1940 addressed to the President of the Council ...
THE PRESIDENT: M. Gerthoffer, as this is not a document of which we can take judicial notice, I think you must read anything that you -wish to put in evidence.
M. GERTHOFFER: I shall read a passage of the document to the Tribunal.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
M. GERTHOFFER: "Article 17 grants Germany the right to seize the securities and economic reserves in occupied territory, and any arrangements of the French Government are subject to approval by Germany.
"In compliance with the request of the French Government, Germany has agreed that when. considering applications of the French Government regarding the disposal of securities and reserves in the occupied zone, she will also take into consideration the needs of the inhabitants of the non-occupied zone."
I shall cite only this passage in order to shorten my explanatory remarks, and I now come to the following document, which is in the nature of a reply to the German official who drew up this
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report, a document which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-205 (Document Number EC-409) and which is a document found by the American army. Here is the reply to the document from which I just quoted one passage:
"The elimination of the demarcation line is now out of the question, and if the revival of the economic life of France is thereby paralyzed, that is quite immaterial to us. The French have lost the war and must pay for the damages. Upon my objection that France would then soon become a center of unrest, I was answered that either shots would settle that or the occupation of the still free zone.
"For all concessions we make, the French must pay dearly in deliveries from the unoccupied zone or the colonies. We must strive to stop non-coordination. in the economic field in France."
Finally, another document captured by the U.S. Army which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-206 (Document Number EC-325), signed by Dr. Gramsch, gives us the following information:
"In the course of the negotiations regarding relaxation of the restrictions of the demarcation line, it has been suggested that the French Government seize the gold and foreign currency in the whole of France."
Further in this document:
"The foreign currency reserves of occupied France would strengthen our war potential. This measure could, moreover, be used in negotiations with the French Government as a means of pressure in order to make if show a more conciliatory attitude in other respects."
A study of these documents shows the German, intent, in disregard of all legal principles, to get all the wealth and economy of France under their control.
Through force the Germans succeeded, after one year of occupation, in putting all or nearly all the French economy under their domination. This is evident from an article, published by Dr. Michel, director of the Economic Office, attached to the Military Government in France which appeared in the Berliner Borsen Zeitung, of 10 April 1942. 1 submit it as Document Number RF-207, and shall read one passage from it:
"The task of the competent offices of the German military administration should be regarded as directing 'Economic Direction,' that is issuing directives and at the same time seeing that these directives are really followed."
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Further, on Page 12 of the statement, Dr. Michel writes:
"Now that the direction of raw materials and the placing of orders has been organized and is functioning efficiently, rigorous restrictions on consumption not important to war economy are a matter of prime consideration in France. The restrictions imposed upon the French population in respect of food, clothing, footwear, and fuel, have been for some time more severe than in the Reich."
After having shown you, Mr. President and members of the Tribunal, in this brief introduction concerning the economic spoliation of France, the consequences of German domination upon this country, I give you an account of the methods employed to arrive at such a result. This will be the purpose of the four following chapters: German seizure of means of payment; clandestine purchases of the black market; outwardly legal acquisitions; finally, impressment of labor.
1. German seizure of means of payment.
This seizure was the result of paying occupation costs, the one-way clearing system, and outright seizures and levies of gold, bank notes, foreign currency, and the imposition of collective fines (Page 15).
Indemnity for the maintenance of occupation troops:
I shall not recapitulate the legal principles of the matter, but shall merely confine myself to a few explanatory remarks, so that you may realize the pressure which was brought to bear on the leaders in order to obtain the payment of considerable sums.
As I have had the honor of pointing out to you, in the Armistice Conventions the principle of the maintenance of occupation troops is succinctly *Worded, with no stipulation as to the amount and the method of collection. The Germans took advantage of this to distort and amplify this commitment of France, which became nothing more than a pretext for the imposition of exorbitant tribute.
At the first sessions of the Armistice Commission, the discussions bore on this point, while the French pointed out that they could only be forced to pay a contractual indemnity representing the cost of maintaining an army strictly necessary for the occupation of the territory. The German General Mieth had to recognize the just foundation of this claim and declared that troops which were to fight against England would not be maintained at expense to France.
This is evident from an extract of the minutes of the Armistice Commission, which I submit as Document Number RF-208. But later this General Mieth apparently was overruled by his superiors, since in the course of a subsequent session, 16 July 1940, without expressly going back on his word, he declared in this respect that
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he could not give any reply, that this question would no longer be discussed, and that, in short, everything necessary would be done to enable the French Government to draw up its budget. This appears from an extract of the minutes of the Armistice Commission which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-209.
On 8 August 1940 Hemmen, Chief of the German Economic Delegation, at Wiesbaden, forwarded a memorandum to General Huntziger, President of the French Delegation, in which he stated: "As at present it is impossible to assess the exact costs of occupation, daily installments of at least 20 million Reichsmark are required until further notice, at a rate of exchange of I mark to 20 French francs.
"That is to say, 400 million French francs daily. In this amount the costs for billeting troops were not included, but were to be paid separately."
This is found in Document 210 (Document Number RF-210), which I submit to the Tribunal and which bears the signature of Hemmen. These exorbitant requirements provoked the reply of 12 August 1940, in which it was emphasized that the amount of the daily payment did not permit the supposition that it had been fixed in consideration of the normal forces of an occupation army and the normal cost of the maintenance of this army, that, moreover, such forces as corresponded to the notified figure would be out of proportion to anything that military precedent and the necessity of the moment might reasonably justify. This is the content of a note of 12 August, submitted as Document Number RF-211.
On 15 August 1940 the German delegation took notice of the fact that the French Government was ready to pay some accounts, but in a categorical manner refused to discuss either the amount of payment or the distinction between occupation and operation troops. This is found in Document Number RF-212, which I submit to the Tribunal.
On 18 August the French delegation took note of the memorandum of 15 August and made the following reply (Document Number RF-213):
". . that France is to pay the costs for the maintenance of operation troops is a demand incontestably beyond the spirit and the provisions of the Armistice Convention.
cc... that the required costs are converted into francs at a rate considerably in excess of the purchasing power of the mark and franc respectively; furthermore, that the purchases of the German Army in France are a means of control over the life in this country and that they will, moreover, as the German Government admits, partly be replaced by deliveries in kind."
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The memorandum terminates as follows:
"In these circumstances the onerous tribute required of the French Government appears arbitrary and exceeds to a considerable extent what might legitimately be expected to be demanded.
"The French Government, always anxious to fulfill the clauses of the Armistice Convention, can only appeal to the Reich Government in the hope that it will take into account the arguments presented above."
THE PRESIDENT: The Court will adjourn now.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
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M. GERTHOFFER: This morning I had the honor of presenting to the Tribunal the fact that the Germans demanded of France an indemnity of 400 million francs a day for the maintenance of their army of occupation. I indicated that the French leaders of that time, without failing to recognize the principle of their obligations, protested against the sum demanded.
At the moment of their arrival in France the Germans had issued, as in the other occupied countries, Reichskreditkasse notes and requisition vouchers over which the bank of issue had no control and which was legal tender only in France. This issue represented a danger, for the circulation of this currency was liable to increase at the mere will of the occupying power.
At the same time, by a decree of 17 May 1940, published in the VOBIF of 17 May 1940, Number 7, which appears as Document Number 214 in the document book (Exhibit Number RF-214), the occupying power fixed the rate of the Reichsmark at 20 French francs per mark, whereas the real parity was approximately 1 mark for 10 French francs.
The French delegation, having become concerned over the increasing circulation of the Reichskreditkasse notes and over the increased volume of German purchases, as well as over the rate of exchange of the mark, was informed by the German delegation, on 14 August 1940, of its refusal to withdraw these notes from circulation in France. This is to be found in a letter of 14 August, which I submit as Document Number RF-215.
The occupying power thus unjustifiably created a means of pressure upon the French Government of that time to make it yield to its demands concerning the amount of the occupation costs, as well as concerning the forced rate of the mark and the clearing agreements, which will be the subject of a later chapter.
General Huntziger, President of the French delegation, addressed several dramatic appeals to the German deleg
ation in which he asked that France should not be hurled over the precipice, as shown by a teletype report addressed by Hemmen on 18 August 1940, to his Minister of Foreign Affairs, a report discovered by the United States Army, bearing the Document Number 1741-PS(5), which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit Number RF-216. Here is the interesting passage of this report:
"These large payments would enable Germany to buy up the whole of France, including its industries and foreign investments, which would mean the ruin of France."
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In a letter and a note of 20 August, the German delegation summoned the French delegation to make partial payments, specifying that no distinction would be made between the German troops in France, that the strength of the German occupation would have to be determined by the necessities of the conduct of war. In addition, the fixing of the rate of the mark would be inoperative as far as the payments were concerned, since they would constitute only payments on account. I submit the note of the 20th of August of the German Government as Document Number RF-217.
The next day, 21 August 1940, General Huntziger, in the course of an interview with Hemmen, made a last vain attempt to obtain a reduction in the German demands. According to the minutes of this interview (Document Number RF-218), Germany was already considering close economic collaboration between herself and France through the creation of commissioners of exchange control and of foreign trade. At the same time Hemmen pledged elimination of the demarcation line between the two zones. But he refused to discuss the question of the amount of the occupation costs.
In a note of 26 August 1940, the French Government indicated that it considered itself obliged to yield under pressure and protested against the German demands; this note ended with the following passage:
"The French nation fears neither work nor suffering, but it must be allowed to live. This is why the French Government would be unable in the future to continue along the road to which it is committed if experience showed that the extent of the demands of the government of the Reich is incompatible with this right to live." (Document Number RF-219.)
The Germans had the incontestable intention of utilizing the sums demanded as occupation costs, not only for the maintenance, the equipment, and the armament of their troops in France, or for operations based in France, but also for other purposes. This is shown in particular in a teletype from the Supreme Command of the Army, dated 2 September 1940, discovered by the United States Army, which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-220 (Document Number EC-204). There is a passage from this teletype message which I shall read to the Tribunal (Page 22):
"To the extent to which the incoming amounts in francs are not required for the troops in France, the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces reserves for itself the right to' make further use of the money. In particular, the allocation of the money to any offices not belonging to the Armed Forces must be authorized by the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, in order to insure definitely that, first, the entire
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amount of francs required by the Armed Forces shall be covered and that thereafter any possible surplus shall remain at the disposal of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces for purposes important to the Four Year Plan."
From another teletype message, which was seized in the same manner and which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-221 (Document Number EC-201), I read the following:
"It is clear that there was no agreement at all with the French as to what should be understood by 'costs for maintenance of occupation troops' in France. If we are in agreement among ourselves that at the present moment we must, for practical reasons, avoid interminable discussions with the French, on the other hand there must be no doubt that we have the right to interpret the term 'maintenance' in the broadest possible sense."
Further on in the same teletype, Page 24, Paragraph 2, there is the following:
"In any case, the concessions demanded by the French on the question of specifying the amount of occupation costs and of the utilization of the francs thus delivered must be rejected."
And finally the following paragraph:
"The utilization of sums paid in francs.
"Concerning the use of the francs paid which are not really required for the costs of the maintenance of the occupation troops in France, there can, of course, be no discussion with French authorities."
The French then attempted, in vain, to obtain a reduction in the occupation costs and also a modification in the rate of the mark, but the Germans refused all discussion.
At the beginning of the year 1941, negotiations were resumed. In view of the intransigence of the Germans, the French Government suspended payments in the month of May 1941. Then, at the insistence of the occupying powers, they resumed it, but paid only 300 million francs a day. This is found in the document submitted as Document Number RF-222.
On the 15 December 1942, after the invasion of the entire French territory, Germany demanded that the daily payment of 300 million francs be raised to 500 million a day.
The sums paid for the occupation troops increased to a total of 631,866 million francs, or at the imposed rate, 31,593,300,000 marks. This amount is not only to be gathered from the information given by the French administration, but can also be verified by German documents, in particular by the report of Hemmen.
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Hempen, Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, had been designated President of the German economic delegation of the Armistice Commission, and he was acting, in fact, under the direct orders of his Minister, Von Ribbentrop, as a veritable dictator in economic questions. His chief assistant in Paris was Dr. Michel, of whom we have already spoken.
While maintaining his functions as chief of the economic delegation of the Armistice Commission of Wiesbaden, the same Hemmen was to be appointed by a decision of Hitler, under date of 19 December 1942, Reich Government delegate for economic questions, attached to the French Government. This is verified in the document submitted as Exhibit Number RF-223 (Document Number 1763-PS).
Hemmen periodically sent secret economic reports to his minister. These documents were discovered by the United States Army. They are of a fundamental importance in this part of the Trial, since, as you will see, they contain Germany's admission of economic pillage.
These voluminous reports are submitted as Exhibits Numbers RF-224, 225, 226, 227, 228, and 229 (Documents Numbers 1986- PS, 1987-PS, 1988-PS, 1989-PS, 1990-PS, 1991-PS) of the French documentation. It is not possible for me, in view of their length, to read them in their entirety to the Tribunal. I shall confine myself to giving a few brief extracts therefrom in the course of my presentation. To show their importance, here is the translation of the last volume of the Hemmen reports. In this last report, printed in Salzburg on 15 December 1944, on Page 26, Hemmen recognizes that France has paid by way of indemnity for the maintenance of occupation troops 31,693,300,000 marks, that is
THE PRESIDENT: M. Gerthoffer, these documents are in German, are they not?
M. GERTHOFFER: Yes, Mr. President, they are in German. I have only been able to have the last one translated into French. Because of their length it has not been possible for me to have all the translations made, but it is from the last volume, which is translated into French, that I will make certain very brief quotations by way of proof.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, well then are you confining yourself to the last document, and to certain passages in the last document?
M. GERTHOFFER: I shall limit myself to this.
THE PRESIDENT: And then, as these are not documents of which we can take judicial notice, only the parts which you read will be regarded as part of the Record, and be treated as in evidence.
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M. GERTHOFFER: This enormous sum imposed was much greater than Germany was entitled to demand. In spite of the enormous sums which the Germans may have spent in France during the first two years, they were not able to use a sum less than half of that for which they were credited.
This is shown in the Hemmen report, where on Page 27 (Page 59 of the French translation) he gives a summary of the French payments made as occupational indemnity, and the German expenses in millions of marks corresponding to these expenses. This summary is very short. I shall read it to the Tribunal. It will constitute a German proof in support of my presentation.
| French payment |
in millions of marks
| German expenditure|
in millions of marks
This makes from 1940 to 1944 a total amount of 31,593,300,000 marks paid by the French and 31,317 million marks of German expenditure.
The figures contained in this table unquestionably constitute the German admission of the exorbitance of the indemnity for the maintenance of occupation troops, for Germany was not able to utilize the credit at its disposal. Most of it served to finance expenses relative to armament, operation troops, and feeding of Germany. This is shown by Document Number EC-232, which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-230.
According to the calculation of the "Institut de Conjoncture," the maximum sum of the indemnity which could be exacted was 74,531,800,000 francs, taking as a basis the average daily costs of upkeep per troop unit during the Allied occupation of the Rhineland in 1919, namely the sum of seventeen francs or twenty-one francs with billeting, which was at that time provided by the German Government. According to the report on the average cost of living (coefficient 3.14) the sum of 21 francs should correspond to 66 francs at the 1939 value when applying the coefficient of depreciation of the franc during the occupation, that is 2.10 percent, or a daily average cost of 139 francs per day. Granting that the real costs of the occupation army were half of those calculated by Hemmen, that is to say, 27,032,279,120 marks, this sum is still lower than the 74,531,800,000 calculated by the Institut de Conjoncture.
Even accepting the calculation most favorable to the accused, one can estimate that the indemnity imposed without justification
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amounted to 631,866 million less 74,531,800,000, that is, 557,334,200,000 francs.
In his final report, Page 10, and Page 22 of the French translation, Hemmen writes:
". . during the 4 years which have elapsed since conclusion of the Armistice, there has been paid for occupation costs and billeting 34,000 million Reichsmark, or 680,000 million francs. France thus contributed approximately 40 percent of the total cost of occupation and war contributions raised in all the occupied and Allied countries. This represents a charge of 830 Reichsmark, or 16,600 francs, per head of the population."
In the second part of this chapter we shall examine briefly the question of clearing. The Tribunal is acquainted with the functioning of clearing, and I shall not revert to this. I shall indicate under what conditions the French Government at the time was made to sign agreements which were imposed upon it.
Parallel to the discussions relative to the indemnity for the maintenance of occupation troops, discussions were entered into concerning a Clearing Agreement.
On the 24 July 1940 the German Delegation announced that it would shortly submit a project. On 8 August 1940 Hemmen submitted to the French Delegation a project of a Franco-German arrangement for payment by compensation. This project, which I submit as Document Number RF-231(bis) of the French documentation, shows arbitrary provisions, which could not be voluntarily accepted.
It provided for financial transfers from France to Germany without any equivalent in financial transfers from Germany to France. It fixed the rate of exchange at 20 francs for 1 Reichsmark by a unilateral and purely arbitrary decision, whereas the rate on the Berlin Exchange was approximately 17.65 and the real parity of the two currencies, taking into account their respective purchasing power on both markets, was approximately ten francs for one Reichsmark.
I pass to Page 34. The French Delegation of the Armistice Commission submitted unsuccessfully a counter project, on 20 August 1940, and attempted to obtain a modification of the most unfavorable clauses. I submit this project as Document Number RF-232.
On 29 August 1940, the French delegation at the Armistice Commission brought up in detail the question of the parity of the franc and the Reichsmark. It called attention to the fact that the prohibition of the financial transfers from Germany to France would create gross inequality, whereas the transfers in the other direction
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were organized, and this meant the French Government giving its agreement to a veritable expropriation of French creditors. An extract from this report is submitted as Document Number RF-233.
In a letter of 31 August, General Huntziger again took up in vain the argument concerning the Franc-Reichsmark rate of exchange. I submit this letter as Document Number RF-234.
On 6 September 1940 the French delegation made a new attempt to obtain a modification of the most unfavorable clauses in the draft of the Clearing Agreement, but it encountered an absolute refusal. The German delegation meant to impose under the cloak of a bilateral agreement a project elaborated by it alone.
I quote a passage from the minutes of the Armistice Delegation (Document Number RF-235). Herr Schone, the German delegate, stated: "I cannot reopen the discussion on this question. I can make no concession."
Concerning the Franc-Reichsmark rate of exchange, on 4 October 1940 Hemmen notified the French delegation that the rate of 20 francs must be considered as definite and according to his own words "this is no longer to be discussed." He added that if the French for their part refused to conclude the payment agreement, that is to say, the arbitrary contract imposed by Germany, he would advise the Fuehrer of this and that all facilities with regard to the demarcation line would be stopped. I submit 'as Document Number RF-236 this passage of the minutes.
Finally, in the course of the negotiations which followed on 10 October 1940, the French delegation attempted for the last time to obtain an alleviation of the drastic conditions which were imposed upon it, but the Germans remained intransigent and Hemmen declared in particular ...
THE PRESIDENT: M. Gerthoffer, do these negotiations lead up to a conclusion, because if they do, would it not be sufficient for your purpose to give us the conclusion without giving all the negotiations which lead up to it?
M. GERTHOFFER: Mr. President, I am just finishing the statement with the last quotation, in which the Tribunal will see what pressure, what threats, were made upon the French, who were then in contact with the Germans. I shall have concluded the discussion on clearing with this quotation, if the Tribunal will allow it, it will be a short one and it will then be finished:
"You are attempting to make the rate of the mark fictitious. I beg you to warn your government that we shall break off negotiations. I have in fact foreseen that you would be unable to prevent prices from rising, but export prices are
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rising systematically. We shall find other means of achieving our aims. We shall get the bauxite ourselves!" (Document Number RF-237.)
This is the end of the quotation.
Perhaps the Tribunal will allow me a very brief comment. At the Armistice Commission all kinds of economic questions were discussed; and the French delegates resisted, for Germany wanted to seize immediately the bauxite beds which were in the unoccupied zone. This last sentence is the threat: if you do not accept our Clearing Agreement, we shall seize the bauxite. That is to say, we shall occupy by force of arms the free zone.
The so-called compensation agreement worked only to Germany's advantage. The results of the agreement are the following:
At the moment of liberation the total transfer from France to Germany amounted to 221,114 million francs, while the total transfer from Germany to France amounted to 50,474 million francs. The difference-that is, 170,640 million francs credit balance on the French account-represents the means of payment which Germany improperly obtained through the functioning of the clearing which she had imposed.
I now come to the third part of this chapter, which will be very brief. This is the seizure of goods and collective fines.
Besides the transactions which were outwardly legal, the Germans proceeded to make seizures and impose collective fines in violation of the principles of international law.
First , a contribution of 1,000 pillion francs was imposed upon the French Jews on 17 December 1941 without any pretext. This is shown in the documents submitted as Document Number RF-239 and cannot be contested.
Secondly, a certain number of collective fines were imposed. The amount actually known to the Finance Ministry amounts to 412,636,550 francs.
Thirdly, the Germans proceeded to make immediate seizure of gold. Even Hemmen admits in his last secret report, on Pages 33 and 34, Page 72 of the French translation, that on 24 September 1940 the Germans seized 257 kilograms of gold from the port of Bayonne, which represents at the 1939 rate 12,336,000 francs; and in July 1940 they seized a certain number of silver coins amounting to 55 millions.
Still following the secret report of Hemmen, for the period between I January to 30 June 1942 Germany had seized in France 221,730 kilograms of gold belonging to the Belgian National Bank, which represents at the 1939 rate the sum of 9,500 million francs.
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It is not possible for me to present in detail the conditions under which the Belgian gold was delivered to the Germans. This question in itself would involve me in an explanation which would take up several sessions. The fact is undeniable since it is admitted by Hemmen. I shall simply indicate that as early as the month of September 1940, in violation of international law, Hemmen had insisted on the delivery of this gold, which had, in May 1940, been entrusted by the National Bank of Belgium to the Bank of France. Moreover, these facts are part of the accusations made against the ex-ministers of the Vichy Government before the High Court of Justice in Paris.
The results of this procedure were long, and frequent discussions took place at the Armistice Commission, and an agreement was concluded on 29 October 1940, but was in fact not carried out because of difficulties raised by the French and Belgians.
According to the former Assistant Director of the Bank of France, the German pressure became stronger and stronger. Laval, who was then determined to pay any price for the authorization to go to Berlin, where he boasted that he would be able to achieve a large scale liberation of prisoners, the reduction of the occupation costs, as well as the elimination of the demarcation line, yielded to the German demands.
Thus, this gold was delivered to the Reichsbank and was requisitioned by order of the Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan. The documents relative to this question are submitted as Document Number RF-240.
I shall simply add that after the liberation the Provisional Government of the French Republic transferred to the National Bank of Belgium a quantity of gold equal to that which the Belgian Bank had entrusted to the Bank of France in the month of May 1940.
To conclude the gold question I shall indicate to the Tribunal that Germany was unable to obtain the gold reserve of the Bank of France, for it had been put in safekeeping in good time. Finally, still according to the last secret report of Hemmen, Pages 29 and 49 of the French translation, at the moment of their retreat the Germans seized without any right the sum of 6,899 million francs from branches of the Bank of France in Nancy, Belfort, and Epinal. Document 1741-PS (24). (Exhibit Number RF-241.)
I note for the Record that during the occupation the Germans seized great quantities of gold which they arranged to be bought from private citizens by intermediaries. I cannot give figures for this. I simply touch on the question for the Record.
If we summarize the question of the means of payment which Germany unduly requisitioned in France, we shall reach-still
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taking the calculation most favorable to the defendants and taking the maximum amount for the cost of maintaining occupation troops- a minimum total of 745,833,392,550 francs, in round figures 750,000 million francs.
I now come to Page 50, that is to say the use which the Germans made of these considerable sums; and first of all, the black market organized by the occupying power. Here again I don't want to take advantage of your kind attention. I have had the honor of presenting to you the mechanism of the black market in all the occupied countries. I have indicated how it arose, how the Germans utilized it, how, under the orders of the Defendant Goering it was organized and exploited. I do not wish to revert to this, and I shall pass over the whole section of my written expose which was devoted to the black market in France.
I come to Page 69 of my written expose Chapter 3: Ostensibly legal acquisitions.
Under the pressure of the Germans, the Vichy Government had to consent to reserve for them a very high quota of products of all kinds. In exchange the Germans undertook to furnish raw materials, the quantities of which were determined by them alone., But these raw materials, when they were delivered, which was not always the case, were for the most part absorbed by the industry which was forced to supply them with finished products. In fact, there was no compensation, since the occupiers got back in the form of finished products the raw materials delivered and did not in reality give anything in return.
In the report of the Economic Control which has already been quoted, submitted as Document Number RF-107, the following example may be noted which I shall read to the Tribunal:
"An agreement permitted the purchase in the free zone of 5,000 trucks destined for the German G.B.K., whereby the Reich furnished five tons of steel per vehicle or a total of 25,000 tons of steel destined for French industry. In view of the usual destination of the products of our metal industry at that time, this was obviously a one-sided bargain, indeed if our information is exact, the deliveries of steel to be made in return were not even fulfilled, and they were partly used for the defense of the Mediterranean coast, rails, antitank defenses, et cetera."
It is appropriate to call attention to the fact that a considerable part of the levies in kind were the object of no regulation whatever, either because the Germans remained debtors in these transactions, or that they considered without justification that these levies constituted war booty.
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In regard to this there are no documents available; however, the United States Army has discovered a secret report of one called Kraney, the representative of Roges, an organization which was charged with collecting both war booty and purchases on the black market. It appears from this report that in September 1944, the Roges had resold to Germany for 10,858,499 marks, or 217,169,980 francs, objects seized in the southern zone as war booty. I submit this document as Exhibit Number RF-244.
As a result of the means of payment exacted by Germany and of requisitions regulated by her, or not, France was literally despoiled. Enormous quantities of articles of all kinds were removed by the occupiers. According to information given. by the French statistical services, preliminary estimates of the minimum of these levies have been made. These estimates do not include damages resulting from military operations, but solely the German spoliations, computed in cases of doubt ' at a minimum figure. They win be summarized in the eight following sections.
1. Levies of agricultural produce.
I submit as Document Number RF-245, the report of the Ministry of Agriculture and a statistical table drawn up by the Institut de Conjoncture, summarizing the official German levies which included neither individual purchases nor black market purchases which were both considerable. It is not possible for me to read to the Tribunal a table as long as this; I shall confine myself to giving a brief resume of this statistical table.
Here are some of the chief agricultural products which were seized and their estimate in thousands of francs (I am indicating the totals in round figures): Cereals, 8,900,000 tons, estimate 22 million francs; meat, 900,000 tons, estimate 30 million; fish, 51,000 tons, estimate 1 million; wines, liquors, 13,413,000 hectoliters, estimate 18,500,000; colonial products, 47,000 tons, estimate 805,900; horses and mules, 690,000 head; wood, 36 million cubic meters; sugar, 11,600,000 tons.
I shall pass over the details, The Germans settled through clearing and by means of -occupation costs 113,620,376,000 francs; the balance, that is 13,000 million, was not settled in any way.
Naturally, these estimates do not include considerable damage caused to forests as a result of abnormal cutting and the reduction of areas under cultivation. There is no mention, either, of the reduction in livestock and damage caused by soil exhaustion. This is a brief summary of the percentage of official German levies on agriculture in relation to the total French production: Wheat, 13 percent; oats, 75 percent; hay and straw, 80 percent; meat, 21 percent; poultry, 35 percent; eggs, 60 percent; butter, 20 percent; preserved fish, 30 percent; champagne, 56 percent; wood for
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industrial uses, 50 percent; forest fuels, 50 percent; alcohol, 25 percent. These percentages, I repeat, do not include quantities of produce which the Germans bought up either by individual purchases or on the black market.
I have had the privilege of presenting to you the fact that these operations were of a considerable scope and amounted for France approximately to several hundred thousand millions of francs. The quantities of agricultural produce thus taken from French consumers are incalculable. I shall simply indicate that wines, champagne, liquors, meat, poultry, eggs, butter were the object of a very considerable clandestine traffic to the benefit of the Germans and that the French population, except for certain privileged persons, was almost entirely deprived of these products.
In Section 2 of this chapter I shall discuss the important question concerning levies of raw materials.
THE PRESIDENT: That would be a good time for us to adjourn. for ten minutes.
[A recess was taken.]
M. GERTHOFFER: The summary of the levies in raw materials from the statistical point of view is contained in charts which I shall not take the time to read to the Tribunal. I shall submit them as Document Number RP-246 and point out that the total amount of these supplies reaches the sum of 83,804,145,000 francs.
On Pages 77 to 80 of my written statement I had thought it necessary to make a summary of these charts, but I consider it is not possible to read even the summary because the figures are too numerous.
According to information provided by the French administration, of that sum the Germans settled, by way of occupation costs and clearing, only 59,254,639,000 francs, leaving the difference of 19,506,109,000 francs charged to the French Treasury.
The percentage of the German levies in relation to the whole French production can be summarized in a chart which I have given in my brief and I ask the Tribunal for permission to read it: "The percentage of levies of raw materials in relation to French production: Coal, 29 percent; electric power, 22 percent; petroleum and motor fuel, 80 percent; iron ore, 74 percent; steel products, crude and half finished, 51 percent; copper, 75 percent; lead, 43 percent; zinc, 38 percent; tin, 67 percent; nickel, 64 percent; mercury, 50 percent; platinum, 76 percent; bauxite, 40 percent; aluminum, 75 percent;. magnesium, 100 percent; sulphur carbonate, 80 percent; industrial soap, 67 percent; vegetable oil, 40 percent; carbosol,
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100 percent; rubber, 38 percent; paper and cardboard, 16 percent; wool, 59 percent; cotton, 53 percent; flax, 65 percent; leather, 67 percent; cement, 55 percent; lime, 20 percent; acetone, 21 percent."
This enumeration permits us to consider that officially about three quarters of the raw materials were seized by the occupying power, but these statistics must be qualified in two ways: A large part of the quota of raw materials theoretically left to the French economy was in fact reserved for priority industries, that is to say, those industries whose production was reserved for the occupying power. Secondly, these requisitions and percentages include only the figures of official deliveries; but we have seen that the Germans acquired considerable quantities of raw materials from the black market, especially precious metals: gold, platinum, silver, radium, or rare metals, such as mercury, nickel, tin and copper.
In fact, one can say in general that the raw materials which were left for the needs of the population were insignificant.
Now, I come to Section 3: Levies of manufactured goods and products of the mining industry.
As I had the honor to point out to you in my general remarks, the Germans, using divers means of pressure, succeeded in utilizing directly or indirectly the greater part of the French industrial production. I shall not go over these facts again and I shall immediately pass to a summary of the products which were delivered. I submit as Document Number RF-248 a chart which contains statistical data, according to industries, of levies by the occupying power of manufactured goods during the course of the occupation.
I do not want to tax the patience of the Tribunal by reading this; I shall simply cite the summary of this chart, which is as follows: Orders for products finished and invoiced from 25 June 1940 until the liberation-Mechanical and electrical industries, 59,455 million; chemical industry, 11,744 million; textiles and leather, 15,802 million; building and construction material, 56,256 million; mines (coal, aluminum, and phosphates), 4,160 million; iron industry, 4,474 million; motor fuel, 568. million; naval construction, 6,104 million; aeronautical construction, -23,620 million; miscellaneous industries, 2,457 million; making a total of 184,640 million.
These statistics should be commented upon as follows:
1) The information which is contained here does not include the production of the very industrialized departments of Nord and of Pas de Calais, attached to the German administration of Brussels, nor does it include the manufactures of the Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin, and Moselle departments, actually incorporated into the Reich.
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2) out of the total sum of 184,640 million francs worth of supplies, the information which we have to date does not as yet permit us to fix the amount regulated by the Germans by way of either occupation costs or clearing, or the balance which was not made the subject of any settlement.
3) If, on the basis of contracts, one made an estimate of the industrial production levied by Germany in the departments of Nord and Pas de Calais, one would obtain a figure for those two departments of 18,500 million, which would bring the approximate total up to more than 200,000 million francs.
The extent of the German levies on manufactured products is summarized in the following chart which I submit to the Tribunal, and which I have summarized on Page 87 of my written statement. I shall take the liberty of reading it once more to the Tribunal. It will show the proportion of the manufactured goods which the French population was deprived of: Automobile construction, 70 percent; electrical and radio construction, 45 percent; industrial precision parts, 100 percent; heavy castings, 100 percent; foundries, 46 percent; chemical industries, 34 percent; rubber industry, 60 percent; paint and varnish, 60 percent; perfume, 33 percent; wool industry, 28 percent; cotton weaving, 15 percent; flax and cotton weaving, 12 percent; industrial hides, 20 percent; buildings and public works, 75 percent; wood work and furniture, 50 percent; lime and cement, 68 percent; naval construction, 79 percent; aeronautic construction, 90 percent.
The scrutiny of this chart leads to the following remarks:
The proportion of entirely finished products is very large, for instance: automobiles, 70 percent; precision instruments, 100 percent; heavy castings, 100 percent; whereas, the proportion of the products in the process of manufacture is not as great, for example: foundry, 46 percent; chemical industry, 34 percent; et cetera.
This state of affairs results 'from the fact that the Germans directed the products in the process of manufacture-in theory reserved for the French population-into finishing industries which had priority, that is to say, whose production was reserved for them.
Finally, through their purchases on the black market, the Germans procured an enormous quantity of textiles, machine tools, leather, perfumes, and so forth. The French population was almost completely deprived of textiles, in particular, during the occupation. That is also the case as regards leather.
Now, I reach Section 4: the removal of industrial tools.
I shall not impose on your time. This question has already been treated as far as the other occupied countries are concerned. I would merely point out that in France it was the subject of
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statistical estimates which I submit to you as Document Number RF-251. These statistical estimates show that the value of the material which was removed from the various French factories, either private or public enterprise, exceeds the sum of 9,000 minion francs.
It was observed that for many of the machines which were removed, the Germans merely indicated the inventory values after reduction for depreciation and not the replacement value of the machines.
I now come to Section 5: Securities and Foreign Investments. In Document EC-57, which I submitted as Exhibit Number RF-105 at the beginning of my presentation, I had indicated that the Defendant Goering himself had informed you of the aims of the German economic policy and he ventured to say that the extension of German influence over foreign enterprises was one of the purposes of German economic policy.
These directives were to be expressed much more precisely in the document of the 12th of August 1940, which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-252 (Document Number EC-40), from which I shall read a short extract:
"Since"-as the document says-"the principal economic enterprises are in the form of stock companies, it is first of all indispensable to secure the ownership of securities in France."
Further on it says:
"The exerting of influence by way of ordinances ......
Then the document indicates all the means to be employed to achieve this, in particular this passage concerning international law:
"According to Article 46 of the Hague Convention concerning
Land Warfare, private property cannot be confiscated. There fore the confiscation of securities is to be avoided in so far as it does not concern state owned property. According to Article 42 and following of the Hague Convention concerning Land Warfare, the authority exercising power in the occupied enemy territory must restrict itself in principle to utilizing measures which are necessary to re-establish or maintain public order and public life. According to international law it is forbidden in principle to eliminate the still existing boards of companies and to replace them by 'commissioners! Such a measure would, from the point of view of inter national law, probably not be considered as efficacious. Consequently, we must strive to force the various functionaries of such companies to work for German economy, but not to dismiss those persons..."
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"If these functionaries refuse to be guided by us, we must remove them from their posts and replace them by persons we can use."
We will briefly consider the three categories of seizure of financial investments, which were the purpose of German spoliation during the occupation, and first of all the seizure of financial investments in companies whose interests were abroad.
On the 14th of August 1940 an ordinance was published in VOBIF, Page 67 (Document Number RF-253), forbidding any negotiations regarding credits or foreign securities. But mere freezing of securities did not satisfy the occupying power; it was necessary for them to become outwardly the owners of the securities in order to be able, if necessary, to negotiate them in neutral countries.
They had agents who purchased foreign securities from private citizens who needed money, but above all, they put pressure on the Vichy Government in order to obtain the handing over of the principal French investments in foreign countries. That is why, in particular, after long discussions in the course of which the German pressure was very great, considerable surrenders of securities were made to the Germans.
It is not possible for me to submit to the Tribunal the numerous documents concerning the surrender of these securities:
minutes, correspondence, valuations. There would be without exaggeration, several cubic meters of them. I shall merely quote several passages as examples.
Concerning the Bor Mines Company, the copper mines in Yugoslavia of which the greater part of the capital was in French hands, the Germans appointed, on 26 July 1940, an administrative commissioner for the branches of the company situated in Yugoslavia. .9
This is found in Document Number RP-254 which I submit to the Tribunal. The administrative commissioner was Herr Neuhausen, the German Consul General for Yugoslavia and Bulgaria.
In the course of the discussions of the Armistice Commission Hemmen declared (extract from the minutes of 27 September 1940 at 10:30, which I submit to the Tribunal as Document Number RP-255):
"Germany wishes to acquire the shares of the company without consideration for the juridical objections made by the French.- Germany obeys, in fact, the imperative consideration of the economic order. She suspects that the Bor Mines are still delivering copper to England and she has definitely decided to take possession of these mines."
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Faced with the refusal of the French delegates, Hemmen declared at the meeting of 4 October 1940 (1 submit to the Tribunal an extract from the minutes of this meeting as Document Number RF-256):
"I should regret to have to transmit such a reply to my government. See if the French Government cannot reconsider its attitude. If not, our relations will become very difficult. My government is anxious to bring this matter to a close. If you refuse, the consequences will be extremely grave." M. de Boisanger, the French Delegate, replied:
"I will therefore put that question once more." And Hemmen replied:
"I shall expect your reply by tomorrow. If it does not come, I shall transmit the negative reply which you have just given."
Then, in the course of the meeting on 9 January 1941, Hemmen stated-I submit again an extract from the minutes, Document Number RF-257:
"At first I was entrusted with this affair at Wiesbaden. Then it was taken over by Consul General Neuhausen on behalf of a very high-ranking personage (Marshal Goering, and it was handled directly in Paris by M. Laval and M. Abetz."
As far as French investments in petroleum companies in Romania are concerned, the pressure was no less. In the course of the meeting of 10 October 1940, of the Armistice Commission, the same Hemmen stated (I submit as Document Number RF-258, an extract from the minutes of the meeting):
"Moreover we shall be satisfied with the majority of the shares. We will leave in your hands anything which we do not need for this purpose. Can you accept on this point in principle? The matter is urgent, as for the Bor Mines. We want all."
On the 22 November 1940, Hemmen stated again (I submit this extract of the minutes of the Armistice Commission meeting as Document Number RF-259):
"We are still at war and we must exert immediate influence over petroleum production in Romania. Therefore we cannot wait for the peace treaty."
When the French delegates asked that the surrender should at least be made in exchange for a material compensation, Hemmen replied in the course of the same meeting:
"Impossible. The sums which you are to receive from us will be taken out of the occupation costs. This will save you from using the printing. This kind of participation will be made
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general on the German side when the new collaboration policy has once been defined."
We might present indefinitely quotations of this kind, and many even much more serious from the point of view of violation of the provisions of the Hague Convention.
All these surrenders, apparently agreed to by the French, were accepted only under German pressure. Scrutiny of the contracts agreed upon shows great losses to those who handed over their property and enormous profits for those who acquired it, without the latter having furnished any real compensation.
The Germans thus obtained French shares in the Romanian petroleum companies, in the enterprises of Central Europe, Norway, and the Balkans, and especially those of the Bor Mines Company which I mentioned. These surrenders paid by francs coming from occupation costs, rose to a little more than two thousand million francs. The others were paid by the floating of French loans abroad, notably in Holland, and through clearing.
Having given you a brief summary of the seizure of French business investments abroad, I shall also examine rapidly the German seizure of registered capitals of French industrial companies.
Shortly after the Armistice, in conformity with the directives of the Defendant Goering, a great number of French industries were the object of proposals on the part of German groups anxious to acquire all or part of the assets of these companies.
This operation was facilitated by the fact that the Germans, as I have had the honor of pointing out to you, were in reality in control of industry and had taken over the direction of production, particularly by the system of "Paten Firmen." Long discussions took place between the occupying power and the French Ministry of Finance, whose officials strove, sometimes without success, to limit to 30 percent the maximum of German shares. It is not possible for me to enter into details of the seizure of these shares. I shall point out, however, that the Finance Minister handed to us a list of the most important ones, which are reproduced in a chart appended to the French Document Book under Document RF-260 (Exhibit Number RF-260).
The result was that the seizure of shares, fictitiously paid through clearing, reached the sum of 307,436,000 francs; through occupation costs accounts, 160 millions; through foreign stocks a sum which we have not been able to determine; and finally, through various or unknown means, 28,718,000 francs.
We shall conclude the paragraph of this fifth section by quoting part of the Hemmen report relative to these questions (Page 63 of the original and 142 of the French translation). Here is what Hemmen writes, in Salzburg in January 1944, concerning this subject:
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"The fifth report upon the activity of the delegation is devoted to the difficulty of future seizures of shares in France, in the face of the very challenging attitude of the French Government concerning the surrender of valuable domestic and foreign securities. This resistance increased during the period covered by the report to such an extent that the French Government was no longer disposed to give any approval to the transfer of shares even if economic compensation were offered."
Further on, Page 63 in the third paragraph:
"During the 4 years of the occupation of France the Armistice Delegation transferred stocks representing altogether about 121 million Reichsmark from French to German ownership, among them shares in enterprises important for the war in other countries, in Germany, and in France. Details of this are found in the earlier reports of the activities of the delegation. For about half of these transfers, economic compensation was given on the German side by delivery of French holdings of foreign shares acquired in Holland and in Belgium, while the remaining amount was paid by way of clearing or occupation costs. The use of French foreign investments as a means of payment resulted in a difference, between the German purchasing price and the French rate, of about 7 million Reichsmark which went to the Reich."
There is reason to emphasize that the profit derived by Germany merely from the financial point of view is not 7 million Reichsmark, or 140 million francs according to Hemmen, but much greater. In fact, Germany paid principally for these acquisitions with the occupation indemnity, clearing, and French loans issued in Holland or in Belgium, the appropriation of which by Germany amounted to spoliation of these countries and could not constitute a real compensation for France.
These surrenders of holdings, carried out under the cloak of legality, moved the United Nations in their declarations made in London on 5 January 1943 to lay down the principle that such surrenders should be declared null and void, even when carried out with the apparent consent of those who made them.
I submit as Document Number RF-261, the solemn statement signed in London on 5 January 1943, which was published in the French Journal Officiel on 15 August 1944, at the time of the liberation. I might add that all these surrenders are the subject of indictments before the French Courts of high treason against Frenchmen who surrendered their holdings to the Germans, even though undeniable pressure was brought to bear upon them.
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I shall conclude this chapter with one last observation The German seizure of real estate in France. It is still difficult to give at this time a precise account of this subject, for these operations were made most often through an intermediary with an assumed name. The most striking is that of a certain Skolnikoff, who during the occupation was able to invest nearly 2,000 million francs in the purchase of real estate.
This individual of indeterminate nationality, who lived in poverty before the war, enriched himself in a scandalous fashion, thanks to his connection with the Gestapo and his operations on the black market with the occupying power. But whatever may have been the profits he derived from his dishonest activities, he could not personally have acquired real estate to the value of almost 2,000 million in France.
I submit, as Document Number RF-262, a copy of a police report concerning this individual. It is not possible for me to read this to the Tribunal in its entirety, but this report contains the list of the buildings and real estate companies acquired by this individual. These are -without question choice buildings of great value. It is evident that Skolnikoff, an agent for the Gestapo, was an assumed name for German personalities whose identity has not been discovered up to the present,
Now I shall take up Section 6; the requisition of transport and communication material.
A report from the French administration gives us statistics which are reproduced in very complete charts, which I shall not read to the Tribunal. I shall merely point out that most of the locomotives and rolling stock in good shape were removed, and that the total sum of the requisitions of transport material reaches the sum of 193,450 million francs.
I shall now deal with requisitions in the departments of HautRhin, Bas-Rhin, and Moselle. From the beginning of the invasion the Germans incorporated these departments into the Reich. This question will be presented by the French Prosecution when they discuss the question of Germanization. From the point of view of economic spoliation it must be stressed that the Germans sought to derive a maximum from these three departments. If they paid in marks for a certain number of products, they made no settlement whatever for the principal products, especially coal, iron, crude oil, potash, industrial material, furniture, and agricultural machinery.
The information relating to this is given by the French administration in a chart which I shall summarize briefly and which I submit as Document Number RF-264. The value of requisitions made in the three French departments of the east-requisitions not paid for by the Germans-reaches the sum of 27,315 million francs.
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To conclude the question of the departments in the east, I should like to point out to the Tribunal that my colleague, who will discuss the question of Germanization, will show how the firm, Hermann Goering, Werke, in which the Defendant Goering, had considerable interests, appropriated equipment from mines of the large French company called the "Petits-Fils de Francois der Wendel et Cie." (See Document RF-1300.)
I now come to the Section 8, concerning miscellaneous levies.
1) Spoliations in Tunisia. The Germans went into Tunisia on 10 November 1942 and were driven out by the Allied Armies in May 1943. During this period they indulged in numerous acts of spoliation.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you think that it is necessary to go into details of the seizures in this part of the country if they are of the same sort as those in other parts of the country?
M. GERTHOFFER: Mr. President, it is similar; there is only one difference, and that concerns the amount. I believe the principle cannot be contested by anyone; therefore I shall go on.
Gentlemen, I shall also pass over the question of compulsory labor. I shall conclude my summary, however, by pointing out to the Tribunal that French economy suffered enormous losses from the deportation of workers, a subject which was discussed by my colleague. We have calculated the losses in working hours and we estimate-and this will be my only remark-that French economy lost 12,550 million working hours through the deportation of workers, a figure which does not include the number of workers who were more or less forced to work for the Germans in enterprises in France.
If you will permit me, gentlemen, I shall conclude this presentation concerning France by giving you a general review of the situation; and I shall refer once more to Hemmen, the economic dictator who actually ruined my country upon the orders of his masters, the defendants. While in the first five reports submitted, despite their apparently technical nature, the author shows the assurance of the victor who can allow himself to do anything, in the last report of 15 December 1944 at Salzburg, the only one I shall refer to, Hemmen sought visibly, while giving his work a technical quality, to plead the case of Germany-that of his Nazi masters and his own case. He only succeeded, however, in bringing forth unwittingly an implacable accusation against the nefarious work with which he was entrusted. Here are some short extracts, gentlemen, of Hemmen's final report.
On Page I of his report, Page 2 of the French text, he implied the co-responsibility of the German leaders, and Goering particularly. He writes as follows:
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"According to the directives formulated on 5 July 1940 by the Reich Marshal and Delegate of the Four Year Plan, concerning the existing legal situation, the Armistice Convention does not give us rights in the economic domain of the unoccupied parts of France, not even when loosely interpreted."
A little farther on he admits blackmail with regard to the demarcation line with these words (Page 3 of the translation):
"The Petain Government manifested from the beginning a strong desire to re-establish rapidly the destroyed economy by means of German support and to find work for the French population in order to avoid the threat of unemployment, but above all to reunite the two French zones, separated by the demarcation line, into a unified economic and administrative territory. They were at the same time willing to bring this territory into line with German economic direction, under French management, thoroughly reorganizing it according to the German model."
Then Hemmen adds:
"In return for considerable relaxations regarding the demarcation line, the Armistice Delegation has come to an agreement with the French Government to introduce into French legislation the German law, relating to foreign currency."
Farther on, concerning pressure, on Page 4, and Page 7 of the translation, Hemmen wrote:
"Thereby the automatic rise of prices aggravated by the unchecked development of the black market was felt all the more strongly, since wages were forcibly fixed."
I pass over the passage in which Hemmen speaks of French resistance. However, I should like to point out to the Tribunal that, on Page 13-Page 29 of the translation-Hemmen tries to show through financial evaluations and most questionable arguments that the cost of the war per head was heavier for the Germans than for the French. He himself destroys with one word the whole system of defense which he had built up by writing at the end of his bold calculations that from autumn 1940 to February 1944 the cost of living increased 166 percent in France, while in Germany it increased only 7 percent. Now, gentlemen, it is, I am quite sure, through the increase in the cost of living that one measures the impoverishment of a country.
Last of all, on Page 4, and this is my last quotation from the Hemmen report, he admits the German crime in these terms:
"Through the removal, for years, of considerable quantities of merchandise of every kind without economic compensation,
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a perceptible decrease in substance had resulted with a corresponding increase in monetary circulation, which had led ever more noticeably to the phenomena of inflation and especially to a devaluation of money and a lowering of the purchasing power."
These material losses, we may say, can be repaired. Through work and saving we can re-establish, in a more or less distant future, the economic situation of the country. That is true, but there is one thing which can never be repaired-the results of privations upon the physical state of the population.
If the other German crimes, such as deportations, murders, massacres, make one shudder with horror, the crime which consisted of deliberately starving whole populations is no less odious.
In the occupied countries, in France particularly, many persons died solely because of undernourishment and because of lack of heat. It was estimated that people require from 3,000 to 3,500 calories a day and heavy laborers about 4,000. From the beginning of the rationing in September 1940 only 1,800 calories per day per person were distributed. Successively the ration decreased to 1,700 calories in 1942, then to 1,500, and finally fell to 1,220 and 900 calories a day for adults and to 1,380 and 1300 for heavy laborers; old persons were given only 850 calories a day. But the true situation was still worse than the ration theoretically allotted through ration cards; in fact, frequently a certain number of coupons were not honored.
The Germans could not fail to recognize the disastrous situation as far as public health was concerned, since they themselves estimated in the course of the war of 1914-1918 that the distribution of 1,700 calories a day was a "regime of slow starvation, leading to death."
What aggravated the situation still more was the quality of the rations which were distributed. Bread was of the poorest quality; milk, when there was any, was skimmed to the point where the fat content amounted to only 3 percent. The small amount of meat given to the population was of bad quality. Fish had disappeared from the market. If we add to that an almost total lack of clothing, shoes, and fuel, and the fact that frequently neither schools nor hospitals were heated, one may easily understand what the physical condition of the population was.
Incurable sicknesses such as tuberculosis developed and will continue to extend their ravages for many years. The growth of children and adolescents is seriously impaired. The future of the race is a cause for the greatest concern. The results of economic spoliation will be felt for an indefinite period.
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THE PRESIDENT: Could you tell me what evidence you have for your figures of calories?
M. GERTHOFFER: I am going to show you this at the end of my presentation. It is a report of a professor at the Medical School of Paris who has been specially commissioned by the Dean of the University to make a report on the results of undernourishment. I will quote it at the end of my statement. I am almost there.
The results of this economic spoliation will be felt for an indefinite length of time. The exhaustion is such that, despite the generous aid brought by the United Nations, the situation of the occupied countries, taken as a whole, is still alarming. In fact, the complete absence of stocks, the insufficiency of the means of production and of transport, the reduction of livestock and the economic disorganization, do not permit the allotting of sufficient rations at this time. This poverty, which strikes all occupied countries, can disappear only gradually over a long period of time, the length of which no one can yet determine.
if in certain rich agricultural regions the producers were able during the occupation to have and still do have a privileged situation from the point of view of food supply, the same is not true in the poorer regions nor in urban districts. If we consider that in France the urban population is somewhat more numerous than the rural population, we can state clearly that the great majority of the French population was subject to and still remains subject to a food regime definitely insufficient.
Professor Guy Laroche, delegated by the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Paris to study the consequences of undernourishment in France as a result of German requisitions, has just sent a report on this question.
I do not wish to prolong my explanation by reading the entire report. I shall ask the Tribunal's permission to quote the conclusion, which I submit as Document Number RF-264(bis). I received the whole report only a few days ago. It is submitted in its entirety, but I have not been able to have 50 copies made of it. Two copies have been made and are being submitted. Here are Dr. Laroche's conclusions:
"We see how great the crime of rationing was, which was imposed by the Germans upon the French during the occupation period from 1940 to 1944. It is difficult to give exact figures for the number of human lives lost due to excessive rationing. We would need general statistics and these we have been unable to establish.
"Nevertheless, without overestimating, we may well believe that, including patients in institutions, the loss of human
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life from 1940 to 1944 reached at least 150,000 persons. We must add a great number of cases which were not fatal, of physical and mental decline often incurable, of retarded development in children, and so forth.
"We think that three conclusions can be drawn from this report, which of course is incomplete:
" 1.) The German occupation authorities deliberately sacrificed the lives of patients in institutions and hospitals.
"2.) From the way everything happened it seemed as if they had wished to organize, in a rational and scientific fashion, the decline of the health of adolescents and adults.
"3.) Suckling babies and young children received a normal ration; it is probable that this privileged position is explained by the fact that the Nazi leaders hoped to spread their doctrine more easily among beings who would not have known any other conditions of life and who would, because of a -planned education, have accepted their doctrine, for they knew they could not expect to convince adolescents and adults except through force."
The report is signed by Professor Guy Laroche.
This report, gentlemen, has attached to it a photograph, which you will find at the end of the document book. I beg to hand it to you. The unfortunate beings that you see in that picture are not the victims of a concentration or reprisal camp. They are simply the patients of an asylum in the outskirts of Paris who fell into this state of physical weakness as a result of undernourishment. If these men had had the diet of the asylum prior to rationing, they would have been as strong as normal people. Unfortunately for them they were reduced to the official rationing and were unable to obtain the slightest supplement.
Do not let adversaries say: "But the German people are just as badly off!"
I should reply that, in the first place, this is not true. The German did not suffer cold for four years; he was not undernourished. On the contrary, he was well fed, warmly clothed, warmly housed, with products stolen from the occupied countries, leaving only the minimum necessary for existence for the peoples of these countries.
Remember, gentlemen, the words of Goering, when he said: "If famine is to reign, it will not reign in Germany."
Secondly I should say to my adversaries if they made such an objection: The Germans and their Nazi leaders wanted the war which they launched, but they had no right to starve other peoples in order to carry out their attempt at world domination. If today they are in a difficult situation, it is the result of their own behavior;
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and they seem to me to have no right to take recourse to the famous sentence: "I did not want that."
I am coming to the end of my statement. If you will permit me, gentlemen, I will conclude in two minutes the whole of this presentation by reminding the Tribunal in a few words what the premeditated crime was, of which the German leaders have been accused, from the economic point of view.
The application of racial and living space theories was bound to engender an economic situation which could not be solved and force the Nazi leaders to war.
In a modern society because of the division of labor, of its concentration, and of its scientific organization, the concept of national capital takes on more and more a primary importance, whatever may be the social principles of its distribution between nationals, or its possession in all or in part by states.
Now, a national capital, public or private, is constituted by the joint effort of the labor and the savings of successive generations.
Saving, or the putting into reserve of the products of labor as a result of deprivations freely consented to, must exist in proportion to the needs of the concentration of the industrial enterprises of the country.
In Germany, a country highly industrialized, this equilibrium did not exist. In fact, the expenditures, private or public, of that country surpassed its means; saving was insufficient. The establishment of a system of obligatory savings was formulated only through the creation of new taxes and has never replaced true savings.
As a result of the war of 1914-1918, after having freed herself of the burden of reparations (and I must point out that two-thirds of the sum remained charged to France as far as this country is concerned), Germany, who had established her gold reserve in 1926, began a policy of foreign loans and spent without counting the cost. Finding it impossible to keep her agreements, she found no more creditors.
After Hitler's accession to power her policy became more definite. She isolated herself in a closed economic system, utilizing all her resources for the preparation of a war which would permit her, or at least that is what she hoped, to take through force the property of her western neighbors and then to turn against the Soviet Union in the hope of exploiting, for her profit, the immense wealth of that great country. It is the application of the theories formulated in Mein Kampf, which had as a corollary the enslavement and then the extermination of the populations of conquered countries.
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In the course of the occupation the invaded nations were systematically pillaged and brutally enslaved; and this would have permitted Germany to obtain her war aims, that is to say, to take the patrimony of the invaded countries and to exterminate their populations gradually, if the valor of the United Nations had not delivered them. Instead of becoming enriched from the looted property, Germany had to sink it into a war which she had provoked, right up to the very moment of her collapse.
Such actions, knowingly perpetrated and executed by the German leaders contrary to international law and particularly contrary to the Hague Convention, as well as the general principles of penal law in force in all civilized nations, constitute War Crimes for which they must answer before your high jurisdiction.
Mr. President, I should like to add that the French Prosecution had intended to present a statement on the pillage of works of art in the occupied countries of western Europe. But this question has already been discussed in two briefs of our American colleagues, briefs which seem to us to establish beyond any question the responsibility of the defendants. In order not to prolong the hearing, the French Prosecution feels that it is its duty to refrain from presenting this question again; but we remain respectfully at the disposal of the Tribunal in case, in the course of the trial, they feel they need further information on this question.
The presentation of the French Prosecution is concluded. I shall give the floor to Captain Sprecher of the American Delegation, who will make a statement on the responsibility of the Defendant Fritzsche.
CAPTAIN DREXEL A. SPRECHER (Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States): May it please the Tribunal, I notice that Dr. Fritz, the defendant's attorney, is not here; and in view of the late hour, it would be agreeable if we hold it over until tomorrow.
THE PRESIDENT: It is 5 o'clock now, so we shall adjourn in any event now.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 23 January 1946 at 1000 hours.]
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