4000bce - 399
400 - 1399
1400 - 1499
1500 - 1599
1600 - 1699
1700 - 1799
1800 - 1899
1900 - 1999
M. FAURE: If it please the Tribunal, M. Gerthoffer will now present the brief concerning the pillage of works of art.
M. CHARLES GERTHOFFER (Assistant Prosecutor for the French Republic): The Economic Section of the French Delegation had prepared a report on the pillage of works of art in the occupied countries of western Europe.
We had thought, at the session of 22 January last, of waiving the presentation of this statement in order to expedite the proceedings, while holding ourselves at the disposal of the Tribunal should they consider the presentation necessary. However, since then-on 31 January-the American Prosecutor was good enough to inform us that the Defendant Rosenberg intended to maintain that the artistic treasures were collected only in order to be "protected."
We consider, from the documents which we are holding at the disposal of the Court, that this cannot be a question of protection only but that this was genuine spoliation; and I am at the Tribunal's disposal to prove this, in a statement which I shall make as brief as possible, while offering in evidence the documents which we had already collected. If the Tribunal wish, I can make this very brief statement. In any case, I am at the disposal of the Tribunal.
Mr. President, Gentlemen, the pillage of works of art has a cultural significance to which I shall not refer again since it was the subject of a statement presented by Colonel Storey on 18 December 1945. I shall simply regard the subject from the economic point of view in order to complete the report on the general spoliation of the western European countries.
As the Tribunal will realize, the leaders of the Reich primarily and systematically seized works of art belonging to private individuals, mostly under the pretext that these individuals were Jews, thus procuring for themselves very valuable means of exchange. In Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, and France picture galleries, public as well as private collections, ancient furniture, china, and jewelry were stolen.
It was not a question of individual looting, of pillaging by soldiers, such as is encountered in all wars and of which we still find examples; this campaign of plunder was carried out in a systematic
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and disciplined manner. The methods introduced varied in character. Personal judgment and personal initiative could be exercised only insofar as they contributed to the execution of plans already elaborated by the National Socialist leaders before the month of June 1940.
The official organization for pillaging was primarily Minister Rosenberg's Einsatzstab for the occupied territories of western Europe and the Netherlands. If this organization was not the sole agent, it was the most important one. Colonel Storey has already drawn the attention of the Tribunal to this criminal behavior.
The urge to seize works of art, as well as material wealth, underlies the policy of National Socialist expansion. The behavior in Poland of the Defendant Frank has already given sufficient proof of this. The idea of protecting this valuable booty arose at the time of the invasion of western Europe. From the very beginning, in their haste and their desire to seize as much as they could, several parallel authorities would carry out the confiscations, firstly by the military authorities, either indirectly, as in Holland through the special services of the Devisenschutzkommando or directly as in France through the Department for the Protection of Works of Art. Further, the same mission was entrusted simultaneously to the civil authorities, whether represented by the German Embassy in Paris or, in Holland, the Office for Enemy Property under the auspices of the Reich Commissioner. This plurality of control, moreover, did not end with the establishment of the Rosenberg Staff.
This is the first phase in the pillage of works of art. According to official correspondence, as well as to the statements of Otto Abetz, the initiative may be attributed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, beginning with the Defendant Ribbentrop. The first phase lasted from the entrance of the Germans into the countries of western Europe until October 1940.
The second phase opened with the arrival of Einsatzstab Rosenberg which appeared on the scene under the aegis of the Defendant Goering. From now on this Einsatzstab must be considered primarily responsible for the organized pillage.
Towards July 1942 a third phase opens in the history of the Staff Rosenberg. The person primarily responsible is the Defendant Alfred Rosenberg. The activities of this staff did not cease in Europe until the liberation. One part of the archives of the Rosenberg services fell into the hands of the French armies; another part, which had been sent to Fussen, was seized by the American Army which also picked up the archives of the Defendant Rosenberg: This is the origin of the PS documents submitted to the Tribunal.
The seizure of works of art began with the entrance of the German troops into Holland, Belgium, and France. In Paris, as
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from the month of June, there was an Embassy service directed by Dr. Von Kunsberg and Dr. Dirksen similar to a specialized service of the Military Governor directed by Count Wolff Metternich. This order of seizure, in defiance of the Hague Convention, applied to public as well as to private property. The Defendant Keitel, on 30 June 1940, issued an order to the Governor of Paris, General Von Bockelberg. I submit a copy of this order as Document Number RF-1301. Here it is:
"The Fuehrer, on receiving the report of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs, has issued an order to safeguard for the time being, in addition to objects of art belonging to the French State, also such works of art and antiquities which constitute private property. Especially Jewish private property is to be taken in custody by the occupational power against removal or concealment, after having been labelled with the names of their present French owners. There is no intention of expropriation but certainly of a transfer into our custody to serve as a pawn in the peace negotiations:"
Identical measures were soon taken in Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Exhibit Number RF-1302, which is a document discovered by the Army of the United States and which was registered under Document Number 137-PS, a copy of which I submit, was drawn up by Defendant Keitel on 5 July 1940:
"Reichsleiter Rosenberg. has suggested the following to the Fuehrer:
"1. State libraries and archives to be searched for documents of value to Germany.
"2. The chancelleries and high authorities of the Church, as well as the Masonic lodges, to be searched for proofs of political activities directed against us and the proofs in question to be seized.
"The Fuehrer has ordered that this suggestion be carried out and that the Gestapo, assisted by the archivists of Reichsleiter Rosenberg, be placed in charge of the search. The Chief of the Security Police, SS Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich, has been informed. He is to contact the military commander competent to deal with the execution of these orders.
"These measures to be executed in all regions of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France which are occupied by us.
"It is requested that subordinate offices be informed.
"The Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces, (signed) Keitel."
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I submit under Exhibit Number RF-1303 a copy of Document Number 139-PS, drawn up for Holland and expressed in approximately the same terms, and under Exhibit Number RF-1304 I submit a copy of Document Number 140-PS which is an analogous order for Belgium.
At the same time, by a decree of 15 July 1940 in execution o Keitel's orders, a decree for the protection of works. of art was issued in the occupied territories. This decree appeared in the German Official Bulletin VOBIF Number 3, Page 49 and following I submit a copy of this decree under Document Number RF-130 and I request the permission of the Tribunal to quote the two following paragraphs:
First paragraph, Section 1:
"Moveable works of art will not be taken from the place where they are at present or modified in any way whatsoever without the written authorization of a commander of the military administration."
"Moveable works of art whose value exceeds 100,000 francs must be declared by their owners or custodians in writing prior to 15 August 1940, to the competent field command or some other authority indicated by the latter."
If the Tribunal will kindly recall the explanation which I ha' the honor of presenting 2 weeks ago, it will remember that the Germans had, at the same time, issued similar decrees for freezing or immobilizing private property, currency, and other wealth.
In this decree, intended to be known by the population of the occupied territories, the question of safekeeping and confiscation had not yet arisen; the decree merely dealt with immobilization an' declaration-preparatory measures, these, to future spoliation, and an indication of bad faith to be remembered.
Beginning with that period, seizures of the most famous French-Jewish art collections were carried out; seizures made under sue! conditions that they provoked numerous protests which were sub. misted to the Armistice Commission at Wiesbaden. I submit in the document book, as Document Number' RF-1306, a letter of the French Secretary for Finance of 18 December 1941 containing one of these protests. So as not to waste the time of the Tribunal I shall not quote the document but shall merely offer it in evidence.
No dividing line was drawn between the activities or powers of civil authorities and those of military authorities. There were conflicts and rivalries but as from March.1941 Staff Rosenberg occupier the foreground; and it is possible to say that from 1940 to 1944 ii
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enjoyed a monopoly in the confiscation of works of art in Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland, and France. Staff Rosenberg originated in the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Party. Hence the first function, in theory, of Staff Rosenberg, consisted in gathering political material which could and might be exploited in the struggle against Jewry and Free Masonry by the Hohe Schule. This is the Advance School, whose purpose Hitler defined in his order of 29 January 1940 to be found in the American documentation under Number 136-PS, a copy of which I submit in evidence as Exhibit Number RF-1308. The document is very brief and I shall read it to the Tribunal:
"The Hohe Schule is some day to become the center for National Socialist doctrinal research and education. It will be established after the war. However, in order to expedite the preparatory work already initiated, I order that Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg continue this preparatory work, especially in the field of research and the establishment of a library. The offices of the Party and the State organizations are required to support his work in every way.
"Berlin 29 January 1940, (signed) Adolf Hitler."
Entrusted with the finding and seizing of Jewish collections which had been left "ownerless" in the occupied territories, Staff Rosenberg did not content itself with looting private houses; its activities also applied to the seizure of many trusts, especially of those deposited in strong boxes in banks. This is evident from the passage of the document that I submit as Document Number RF-1307 from which, the Tribunal permitting, I shall read a passage. This is on Page 2 of the translation and is also to be found in the brief:
"On 26 September 1941 M. Braumuller, acting on Rosenberg's behalf, removed two cases filled with objects of art, which are listed and deposited with the agency of the Societe Generate at Arcachon under the name of the depositor, M. Philippe de Rothschild, who has not yet regained his French nationality."
As a matter of fact, the field of activity of Staff Rosenberg was not confined to the pillage of Jewish or Masonic property. It rapidly absorbed all it could of the artistic heritage of the occupied countries, a heritage which Staff Rosenberg appropriated by invariably illegal means without distinguishing between private property and public property.
This action of Staff Rosenberg was inspired by the orders of the Defendant Goering himself. It is thus that I submit as Exhibit Number RF-1309, a document, discovered by the Army of the United States and filed under Document Number 141-PS, which consists of
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an order of the Defendant Goering, Paris, dated 5 November 1941 and which extends the activities of Staff Rosenberg. Here is to' order:
"To carry out the present measures for safeguarding Jewish property taken over by the Chief of the Military Administration in Paris and by Einsatzstab Rosenberg, the following procedure will be observed in connection with the art treasures deposited at the Louvre:
"1. Those art objects regarding which the Fuehrer has reserved to himself the right of further disposal,
"2. those art objects which could serve to complete the collection of the Reich Marshal,
"3. those art objects and libraries which appear suitable for equipping the Hohe Schule within Reichsleiter Rosenberg's sphere of duty."
THE PRESIDENT: I think this document has already been read M. Gerthoffer. I think this document was read by Colonel Storey
M. GERTHOFFER: I shall omit the quotation, Mr. President.
I now come to an order, issued by the Defendant Keitel, o 17 September 1940, a copy of which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-1310, filed in the American documents as Document Number 138-PS. Here is the principal passage:
"Implementing the order of the Fuehrer transmitted to Reichsleiter Rosenberg and made known to you at the time, to the effect that the premises of Masonic lodges, together with libraries and archives in the occupied countries, must be searched for material of value to Germany and that this material must be safeguarded by, the Gestapo, the Fuehrer has made the following decision:
"Reichsleiter Rosenberg, or his representative Reichshauptstellenleiter Ebert, has received from the Fuehrer, personally, unequivocal instructions concerning the right of confiscation. He is authorized to transport to Germany such objects which appear to him of value and to place them here in security. You are requested to inform the competent military commanders or offices."
The activities of Staff Rosenberg were multiple. Thus, for instance, on 18 December 1941, Rosenberg suggested to Hitler the seizure of Jewish furniture in the occupied territories of the West to serve for the establishments of Party organizations in the region of the East.
Here is a copy of the document which was discovered by the Army of the United States, which bears the Document Number
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001-PS, a copy of which I include in the document book under Exhibit Number RF-1311.
"Everywhere in the East the administration found terrible housing conditions, and the possibilities of getting supplies are so limited that it is practically impossible to obtain anything. That is why I request the Fuehrer to concede that the furniture belonging to Jews who have fled, or those who are leaving Paris or any of the occupied territories of the West, be confiscated in order to supplement, as far as possible, the furniture for the establishments of the eastern administration."
I have reached the bottom of Page 15.
Moreover, the Germans concealed their intentions. This is evident from the letter, dated 28 February 1942, addressed to the German Armistice Commission by the German Military Commander in France, of which I offer a photograph as Document Number RF-1312, Page 16. Here are a few extracts from this letter:
"Taking into consideration the special mission entrusted to Staff Rosenberg for seizing art objects of Jewish ownership, protests by the French Government against the activities of Staff Rosenberg have always been forwarded by us to the OKH while the reply was sent to the French Government that the protest has been forwarded to the office in charge in Berlin for investigation and decision."
on, in the same letter, we read:
"The mission of Staff Rosenberg must, as in the past, be kept secret from the French authorities."
A letter addressed to the Section Chief of the Military Administration in Paris of 7 April 1942, which I offer in evidence as Document Number RF-1313, contains the same directives. Here is the passage:
"Furniture belonging to Jews of English or American nationality will not be confiscated for the time being but only the furniture of Jews who are nationals of the Reich or of a country partially or totally occupied by the Reich or of Jews who are stateless. The confiscated objects become the property of the Reich. No receipt will be given. The right of third parties, especially those of lessors or of owners of store houses, is to be considered as cancelled."
Further on in the same instructions, Page 17 of the brief:
"6. The operations must be carried out as discreetly as possible. As to general questions, inquiries by the local French authorities concerning the operations must be answered verbally to the effect that these are punitive measures ordered
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by a higher authority. Further arguments are to be avoided. Individual complaints are to be forwarded to the Einsatzstab." And further on:
"Discussions by the press concerning the utilization of vacant Jewish premises are undesirable for the time being."
I turn to Page 19 in the brief to quote a very short passage of a letter dated 18 June 1942, signed by Rosenberg and addressed to the Defendant Goering. I offer in evidence a copy of this letter as Document Number RF-1314. Here is the passage which I shad read to the Tribunal. Page 20 of the brief, Page 2 of the document book:
"Some time ago I explicitly approved the instructions given by the Chief of my Einsatzstab, Stabsfuehrer Party member Utikal, that Party member Dr. Lobse of the Bildende Kunst Office be put at your disposal for any purpose you may desire."
I now come to a few explanations, Gentlemen, on the seizure operations, Page 22 of my written report: ,,
"Since the first confiscations were made by the military authorities, the Devisenschutzkommando, and the German Embassy, Staff Rosenberg did not appear on the scene until the time when the great collective seizures had already been completed.
"The greater part of the Rothschild, Kahn, Weil-Picard, and Wildenstein collections had been confiscated and they represented three-quarters of the total booty of Staff Rosenberg."
As far as the methods which were used to seize these works of art are concerned, I submit to the Tribunal a document which is
letter of the Secretary of French Finance, dated 25 October 1941 I offer it in evidence as Document Number RF-1315; and so as no' to waste the Tribunal's time I shall merely deposit this document since it is quite probable that my colleague will allude to it in his turn. Page 24 of the written report...
THE PRESIDENT: How do you prove that the greater part of the Rothschild, Kahn, Weil-Picard,` and Wildenstein collections was confiscated in the middle of November 1940? What is the evidence of it?
M. GERTHOFFER: General information furnished by the Fine Arts Department.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you put in a report of a government committee which states that?
M. GERTHOFFER: No, Mr. President, I have not got the report in my dossier. I did not believe it was necessary to present it in
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evidence, because I thought that it was admitted that nearly all the Rothschild collections were seized at this time.
Am; PRESIDENT: I do not think we can take judicial notice of it in the absence of some government report and simply upon the statement.
M. GERTHOFFER: I think the question is not of great interest.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Tribunal cannot take any notice of statements which are not supported by evidence; therefore we shall disregard that statement. We must have the evidence first.
M. GERTHOFFER: I consider that the question is not of interest, since the Tribunal will soon see the enormous quantities of works of art which were removed by the Germans and I thought it would be useless to mention the individual owners by name.
THE PRESIDENT: I see that in the Document Number 1015-PS, which is in your second document book, the facts are stated. I do not know whether you are going to make use of that Exhibit Number RF-1323.
M. GERTHOFFER: Number RF-1323 (Document Number 1015PS(b)) is the report of Dr. Scholz on the activities of Staff Rosenberg. This report contains details of quantities of works of art which were seized. I will quote this document later on.
THE PRESIDENT: And it includes the dates October 1940 to July 1944, and includes the Rothschild collection. I do not know whether it refers also to the other collections which are mentioned in your expose.
M. GERTHOFFER: I shall cite this document a little later on. The report in question was also quoted on 18 December by Colonel Storey.
THE PRESIDENT: I intervened only for the purpose of saying that we cannot take any notice of statements of facts unless there is some evidence to support them.
M. GERTHOFFER: After the seizures had been effected (Page 44 of the expose) the Germans carried out the work of listing, cataloging, and preparing for the presentation of the objects confiscated. This was a very great task indeed, rendered excessively long and complicated by lack of order and method. Objects of art were brought to the museum of the Jeu de Paume and to the Louvre; they arrived mostly in one sole lot and from extremely varied sources, hence the impossibility of drawing up an inventory of the objects seized. The vast quantity of material was classified as "Unknown" insofar as its origin was concerned. Nevertheless, in a report of Staff Rosenberg of 15 April 1943, discovered by the army
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of the United States and registered under Document Number 172-PS, a copy of which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-1316, we find the following passage:
"By this detailed study of the material confiscated, an absolutely reliable basis has been afforded for a final and summary account of the entire operation of seizure. The preliminary studies were made in such a way that after formulation of the final report the latter has to be considered, in every respect, as an incontestable document of a historically significant seizure Of works of art unique in its kind."
I come to Page 26 of my brief., Certain of these works of art were considered by the Germans as degenerate, and their admittance into National Socialist territory was forbidden. Theoretically speaking they should have been destroyed; but within the scope of total war economy these pictures, although condemned, were none the less of commercial value and as a means of barter their value was both definite and high. So these pictures, carefully selected from among the great public collections and from private collections, were confiscated; and as already provided for in Section 5 of the decree of 5 November 1940, placed on the French and German art markets. In addition to these condemned pictures, others were set aside as being of lesser interest in the official collections. They formed the object of numerous fraudulent transactions.
We now come to the traffic in works of art. We are not, in this case, dealing with secret and unlawful operations, the personal acts of such-and-such a member of the Rosenberg Service; we are dealing with official operations. Two kinds of operations were currently carried out by the Einsatzstab, that is, exchanges and sales.
Exchanges. On this subject we have, by way of an example, the evidence of M. Gustav Rochlitz, received by the examining judge, M. Frapie, in Paris on 6 January 1946. I submit the evidence as Document Number RF-1317 and shall read a passage to the Tribunal.
"During the years 1941 and 1942 I exchanged various old pictures for 80 modern ones, delivered by Lohse, who always told me that these exchanges were carried out on Goering's order, and that the pictures received had been intended for Goering. I have since learned that all the pictures given in exchange are contained in the Goering collection. I delivered in exchange about 35 pictures, possibly more."
These facts are confirmed by the Defendant Rosenberg himself in the last lines of his report of 15 April 1943, filed under Document Number 172-PS already quoted, of which I have entered a copy under Exhibit Number RF-1316. Here is an interesting passage of the report. °
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"By order of the Reich Marshal a certain number of these works of modern and degenerate French art were favorably bartered with French art dealers for pictures of a recognized artistic value. In this way, 87 works of old Italian, Dutch, and German masters of high and recognized value were acquired on very favorable conditions."
Numerous works of art, books, and especially pictures, were sold by representatives of Staff Rosenberg. Some were sold in France, others in Germany or Switzerland. The fact that this was a calculated procedure is evident if we consider that the value of these pictures, confiscated under the legally fallacious pretext of keeping them in safe custody, could be realized if they were sold on neutral markets and paid for in foreign currency.
I now consider that I should give you some brief explanations of the justifications offered by the Germans concerning their confiscations. Primarily these justifications are mere quibbles relating to the nature of the seizures. The seizures were only temporary and preservative measures for the safekeeping of the art treasures. Count Metternich, Chief of the Department for the Protection of Works of Art in France from July 1940 to 1942, made this point quite clear in a report, a copy of which has been discovered in France and which I submit as Document Number RF-1318. Here are some brief excerpts from this report, at the bottom of Page 29 of the expose:
"Shortly after arriving in France, I realized that various departments which did not belong to the Military Administration were interested in removable objects of art."
And further on, in the same paragraph:
"It has been said that there was no intention of expropriation but that these objects were to be considered as pawns to be used in future peace negotiations. No detailed instructions were given as to how the operations should be carried out; and in particular, no interpretation was given of the term 'custody'."
The vague expression "in custody" has been subjected to every variety of interpretation. According to some the seizure was only a temporary measure, although the question of definite appropriation nevertheless remained unclarified. For the Defendant Rosenberg the solution was simple; he expresses it in a letter, previously quoted, of 18 June 1942 addressed to Goering, which I have just submitted under Document Number RF-1314. This is the relevant passage:
"I therefore believe you will be in agreement with me on this point, namely, that art objects of Jewish ownership taken into custody should be considered as seized for the benefit of
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the NSDAP. With regard to material for research work, the Fuehrer has already decided that these objects, now in the custody of the Einsatzstab, shall become the property of the Hohe Schule. It would be only just and fair that the great art treasures now in custody should one day become the property of the NSDAP. Needless to say, the decision of this question rests with the Fuehrer. However, since the NSDAP has financed a war of 20 years, standing against Jewry, such a decision would appear permissible."
And we are justified in saying that these confiscations are now no longer measures of preservation or requisition, but a species of booty which perforce must fall into the hands of a German people triumphing over the Jewish race whom they have outlawed.
In a report justifying their action, demanded by the Army Commander and drawn up on the order of the Defendant Rosenberg by the Chief of the Einsatzstab, Utikal, in November 1941, the latter went so far as to state-I submit this report as Documents RF-1319, RF-1320, and RF-1321; and I quote a brief passage from the attached supplement Number RF-1321, Page 31:
"The German measures of reprisal against the Jews are likewise justified by international law. It is a recognized principle of international law that, in war, reprisals may be taken by resorting to the same procedures and the same concepts as primarily used by the enemy. Since time immemorial the Jews have, in their Jewish laws codified in the Talmud and the Schulchan Aruch, applied the principle that all non-Jews are to be considered as so much cattle, as outlaws; and the property of non-Jews should be dealt with as a thing which has been abandoned, that is to say, as derelict property."
Thus, Gentlemen, the confiscations of the Einsatzstab were sheltered by this strange interpretation of law. It seems useless to discuss the value of this argument before the Tribunal. The Belgian, Dutch, and French authorities made frequent protests, based on the most elementary principles of international law, but always met with refusals.
It would at any rate be suitable to define the extent of these seizures. It is difficult to give a total estimate, although Rosenberg, himself, on several occasions made an estimate of his booty, especially in a letter to the Treasurer of the Party, Schwarz, 14 November 1940, a document discovered by the Army of the United States and bearing the Document Number 1736-PS, a copy of which I offer in evidence as Exhibit Number RF-1322. At that date Rosenberg already considered that the booty amounted to 500,000,000 Reichsmark.
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The documents of the Einsatzstab are sufficiently numerous and precise to allow us to establish certain quantitative data. First, the seizures by the General Staff for Art Treasures. The fundamental document is a report of Dr. Scholz, dated 14 July 1944, which we have just mentioned. This is Document Number 1015-PS, which was presented in part to the Court by Colonel Storey and which I offer in evidence as Exhibit Number RF-1323. From this report I shall extract only some very brief indications concerning the quantities of art objects carried off.
According to this report, 21,903 objects taken from 203 private collections, were removed, notably from the Rothschild, Alphons Kahn, David Well, Levy de Benzion, and the Seligmann brothers collections. According to the same report there were "all told, 29 transports, 137 trucks, and 4,174 cases."
I shall not quote any further from this report, because I think that my colleague, also entrusted with making the charges, will allude to it.
THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off?
[A recess was taken.]
M. GERTHOFFER: Staff Rosenberg was not only interested in paintings and objects of art, but in books as well. Thus it appears, in a document discovered by the United States Army and registered under Document Number 171-PS, of which I submit a copy as Exhibit Number RF-1324, that 550,000 volumes were seized in France.
Holland also provided a heavy contribution in books. Libraries rich in early prints, books, and manuscripts were pillaged. It appears from Document Number 176-PS, discovered by the United States Army, a copy of which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-1325, that the value of the books amounted to about thirty or forty million Reichsmark.
It must also be noted, as proved by Documents 178-PS and 1,1-PS, which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-1326, that archives of the Rothschild Bank were taken away in the month of February 1941.
Staff Rosenberg likewise pillaged furniture. This is quite evident from a note addressed by the Defendant Rosenberg to the Fuehrer, dated 3 October 1942, submitted under Document Number RF-1327. I read the following passage:
"For carrying out action 'M' the Dienststelle Westen was created in Paris with special branches (Einsatzleitungen) in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. This service has to
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date sent about 40,000 tons of furniture to the Reich, utilizing all available transport, ship, and railroa
d facilities. Since it was recognized that the needs of bombed-out people of the Reich should be given preference over the needs of those in the East, the Reich Ministry has placed a considerable part of this furniture (over 19,500 tons) at the disposal of bombed-out people in the Reich...."
A copy of a Rosenberg report, dated 4 November 1943, Document Number 1737-PS(b), a copy of which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-1328, tells us:
"52,828 Jewish lodgings were seized and sealed in favor of the bombed-out victims. Including special orders, furniture has been removed from 47,569 dwellings for shipment to the bombed cities."
Document Number L-188, found by the American 7th Army, is a report issued by the offices of the Defendant Rosenberg, Item 8 of which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-1329, shows that over 69,619 Jewish lodgings were looted, that the furniture occupied over 1 million cubic meters, and that it took 26,984 freight cars, that is, 674 trains, to remove it.
In the same file there is a document which I submit, Document Number RF-1330, which indicates that in Paris alone 38,000 Jewish lodgings were emptied of their contents.
Document Number 1772-PS, already submitted under Exhibit Number RF-1325, indicates that in Holland, from March 1942 to July 1943 inclusive, 22,623 lodgings were emptied of their contents and that it took 586 barges and 178 freight cars to move this furniture. These few figures undeniably suffice to support the accusation of economic pillage levied against Staff Rosenberg on behalf of the western European countries.
As has already been stated, although the material elements of the breach of the law remain unaltered, there can be no comparison between the pillaging typical of the history of this or that conqueror and practiced throughout the centuries, and the pillaging as understood by the defendants.
What prevents any comparison between the past pillaging and the looting practiced by Staff Rosenberg or the National Socialist chiefs, is the difference in purpose, however difficult and delicate a matter it may be to analyze it. The looting in the past of works of art may primarily be traced to the vanity of the conqueror, in which his egoism, his taste, and his love of glory played the determining part in the pillaging. It is of course possible to identify the same feeling as underlying the criminal activities of one or the other of the defendants. But-and here we find the fundamental
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difference-the National Socialist leaders, when estimating the value of this and that painting or of this or that work of art, wittingly took into account both the standard of aesthetic wealth, that is the value of the object to the individual, and the standard of material wealth, that is its exchange value, an exchange value in which it is a matter of retaining a pledge, if not to facilitate, at least to bring pressure to bear when negotiating future peace treaties, as is evident from the documents submitted to the Tribunal.
Whatsoever the pretexts or excuses submitted by the National Socialist leaders when seizing the artistic heritage of western Europe, whether by theft, by so-called preservative confiscations, or by direct purchase from the owners or the markets for the sale of objects of art, the criminal intention is always the same.
The German motive was undeniably the establishment of a reserve of securities, if not for the satisfaction of the individual desire, then for the satisfaction of a collective need in conformity with the myth of the "Greater Germany."
This reserve of securities would have a triple advantage: A cultural advantage, that is, the advantage of the Hohe Schule. Secondly, an economic advantage, a basis for financial speculation and a reserve of securities easily negotiable in the markets of the world; above all, a reserve of fixed value entirely unaffected by the fluctuations in the cost of raw materials and unaffected either by the lowering or the manipulation of the currency. And, lastly, reserves of securities of political importance in the hands of those negotiating the peace treaties.
The Defense will perhaps object that exchanges and purchases on free markets cannot be held against the defendants, because they are in the nature of contracts, and there were agreements, and because equivalents existed. But the facts presented to the Tribunal render it possible to declare that these operations have merely an appearance of regularity, if we remember the conditions under which the contracts were drawn up, that the operations were made under duress, or if we consider the rights over the equivalents supplied, equivalents of exchange represented by stolen objects or works of art, by sales paid for in national currencies coming from contributions of a more or less regular nature, and especially by occupational indemnities or clearing operations.
Most of these particulars, from the point of view of the general principles of criminal law, are doubly tainted: On the one hand they were paid in stolen currency, since the work of art forming the object of the sale could never legitimately have become the heritage of the purchaser. On the other hand, fraud and deceit tainted a considerable share of the negotiations, as proved by numerous statements, such as the extract from the minutes of M. Rochlitz's statement
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of 8 January 1946, which I have just read to the Tribunal under Document Number RF-1317 and which the Tribunal will allow me to recall to its notice by a brief reading of a few more passages. Rochlitz, picture dealer in Paris, states:
"Lohse came to see me in February 1941. He told me that he was looking for pictures for different highly placed persons, chiefly for Goering. I showed to him a painting by Wennix of which I was the owner and a "Portrait of a Man," by Titian, of which two-thirds belonged to Birchentski and one-third to me. Lohse bought them. Then 8 or 10 days later he offered me some paintings in exchange, instead of money. Incidentally he considered that I had sold the paintings at too high a price. The price was about 2,000,000. He added that Goering had seen the paintings, that he did not want to pay for them at the price agreed, but that he had given an order to exchange them for modern paintings brought from Germany. He showed me a certain number of paintings and offered me 11 of them in exchange for the 2 paintings. He prevented me from looking at the backs of the paintings."
Further on, the same witness states:
"I thought at that time that the paintings came from Germany. I found out shortly after that these paintings and those subsequently exchanged with Lohse were paintings confiscated from Jews. When I saw that these had been confiscated I protested and Lohse answered, 'I am acting under Goering's orders, you have nothing to fear. These confiscations have been anticipated by the Armistice Convention and the exchanges are regular.' As I still protested, he called me an enemy of the people."
Never-and this is the last remark I shall make on the subject-has history furnished an example of wholesale pillaging organized on so completely an administrative basis. The pillaging, together with the Einsatzstab, became a recognized institution in the sphere of culture, just as it became a recognized institution in the "Economic Detachments" of the ROGES, whose activities have been exposed before the Tribunal.
The pillaging of works of art was organized by the highest leaders of the Reich. My colleague of the Prosecution, who has been entrusted with the individual accusations, will return to this matter. I shall content myself with submitting a few more documents and making a few more quotations on this point.
Alfred Rosenberg was the responsible Chief of the Einsatzstab. The orders emanated from him, as is shown in the course of the interrogatory; he was heard by Colonel Hinkel, and I submit a copy
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of the interrogatory of 28 September 1945 as Document Number RF-1332.
The Defendant Goering was the official protector of Staff Rosenberg. He himself wrote to Rosenberg on 21 November 1940, Document Number 1651-PS, a copy of which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-1335, as follows:
"I have promised to support energetically the work of your staff and to make available to them what they could not obtain so far, namely, means of transport and guard personnel. The air force has received the order to render utmost assistance."
There was discovered, in France, a sheet of gilt-edged paper containing, in an unknown writing, instructions issued by Goering in Paris-a date is written in by an unknown handwriting-on 11 February 1941. I submit the original document to the Tribunal, as well as the translation, as Document Number RF-1333:
"All paintings marked 'H' are for the Fuehrer."
THE PRESIDENT: I think this has been read already by the United States. Has this been read already?
M. GERTHOFFER: It has never as yet been read, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Then please proceed.
M. GERTHOFFER: ". . . one case marked 'AH' for me. Everything that is marked 'G'..."
THE PRESIDENT: Is this identified as a captured document?
M. GERTHOFFER: It was seized by the French authorities who transmitted it to us.
THE PRESIDENT: Where is the identification to show this is the document captured by the French authorities?
M. GERTHOFFER: This document was transmitted to me as it is, with a series of other documents, of which I have only produced a certain number. If the Tribunal wish I can let them have a special authentication for this document.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I suppose there is probably a report of the French authorities which sufficiently refers to this document.
M. GERTHOFFER: The document was sent to me with a series of other documents; since they were extremely numerous, we took those that seemed to be the most important in order to present them to the Tribunal, but if the Tribunal wish, I can obtain an affidavit indicating under what conditions the documents were discovered by the French authorities.
THE PRESIDENT: You see, the document hasn't anything on it to indicate that the French Government really found it, nor that
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they have ever seen it; and therefore the Tribunal does not consider that it is properly proved by mere introductions of the document, without anything on the document. Perhaps you can furnish some supplementary proof.
M. GERTHOFFER: I can bring an affidavit to the Tribunal in order to have it authenticated.
THE PRESIDENT: In what way have the other documents been certified?
GERTHOFFER The other documents were certified as a whole in the covering letter. They were not certified individually. This formality can be carried out subsequently.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think we must wait until this is properly identified.
M. GERTHOFFER: I continue with the reading of my report and I would point out to the Tribunal that in all the occupied countries the Defendant Goering employed a whole group of buyers, the best known of whom were Dr. Lobse, who was a member of the Einsatzstab, and Hofer. Hofer and Lohse (Page 52) acted for the defendant most often, however, under their own names. The personal collection of the Defendant Goering flourished considerably. In this regard I submit a document under Number RF-1332 to which my colleague, in charge of personal and individual accusations, will soon refer.
Among the principal leaders of the Reich connected with the Einsatzstab (Page 55) Rosenberg had, as his superior in the hierarchy, Ribbentrop in his capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs (Page 56). It was Von Ribbentrop who was responsible for the Fuehrer's order of 30 June 1940, which I presented a short time ago under Document Number RF-1301, and which I read to the Tribunal.
Ribbentrop's activities are likewise shown in a letter of 1 July 1940, addressed by Ambassador Abetz to the Military Commander of Paris, a copy of which I submit under Document RF-1334 (Page 56). I can read it to the Tribunal, if they wish. It shows Ribbentrop's activities. Here is the letter:
"I beg you to be good enough to have transmitted by radio . . ."
THE PRESIDENT: What does this "COL" at the top of the document mean?
M. GERTHOFFER: It is the seal of the office which seized the letter.
THE PRESIDENT: Does the French Government in any way certify this document? You see, we do not know what that stamp on it may mean.
M. GERTHOFFER: This document was supplied by the General Agency of Studies and Research. It is one of the supplementary services which affixed this seal and registered it under Number 9724.
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THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I see what that is; but it does not of itself show that it is a French document, does it? Is there any French Government report, anything which could be considered to be, within the meaning of the article of the Charter, an official government document or report or an act or a document set up by the government itself? Unless it comes within Article 21, we are not at liberty to consider it as in evidence; unless there is an affidavit which deals with it.`
M. GERTHOFFER: I do not insist on the presentation of this document since the activities of Ribbentrop as Minister for Foreign Affairs proceed from other PS documents which have never been disputed. It is a superfluous piece of evidence. I therefore do not insist on presenting it. It was merely a further piece of evidence, that is all.
THE PRESIDENT: If you find that there is some government report which identifies it, anything which proves that that stamp on it shows that it is a government document within Article 21, then of course, you may renew your application.
M. GERTHOFFER: I think that it is not necessary, Mr. President. There are sufficient other documents. I do not insist. The activities of the Defendant Keitel are also to be borne in mind.
THE PRESIDENT: One moment! You are passing over that document then. Very wed
M. GERTHOFFER: Exhibit Number RF-1336 is composed of a series of orders, of reports of the army and of the Einsatzstab. It was Document Number 1015-PS(k), submitted by the Prosecutor of the United States as Exhibit Number USA-385.
"The directives concerning the co-operation with the Armed Forces will be issued by the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces in agreement with Reichsleiter Rosenberg."
I shall not insist on the responsibility of the Defendant Keitel. My colleague, who is charged with the individual indictments, will lay special stress on the development of this point, and to expedite the proceedings I shall merely mention the following: The Defendant Seyss-Inquart bears a grave responsibility for the pillaging in Holland of works of art and books.
I thus come to the conclusion of my presentation (Page 64). Whatever the markets, whoever the purchasers where the traffic in works of art is concerned, the motive is the same and the methods are the same. It is difficult to conceive that identical acts of pillaging, committed simultaneously in all the occupied countries of western Europe, were not the result of one single will, a ruthless will to dominate in every sphere, which expressed itself in a desire
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to invest the most irregular acquisitions with an appearance of legality. This is proved by the numerous declarations of the defendants, such as have been submitted to the Tribunal. A will to dominate the cultural sphere was expressed by the intention to extend the "action" of confiscation to ever fresh fields. A will to despoil the occupied countries manifested itself right up to the very last hours of the occupation. And this will be my last reading to the Tribunal, Document Number 160-PS, entered in the document book under Exhibit Number RF-1346. Here is the text. It is extremely brief:
"14 August 1944 - Mission.
"The Chiefs of Special Missions (Haupteinsatzfuehrer), Dr. Lobse and Dr. Borchers, of my Einsatzstab for the occupied territories, are charged with the immediate removal, from the Jeu de Paume Museum and the Louvre depot, of works of art taken into safe custody by order of the Fuehrer and still stored in Paris, by all means of transport still available.
"The Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich has recently, by a personal directive of 13 August 1944, placed the two above-named persons at the disposal of the Einsatzstab until the completion of this operation. It is requested that every possible assistance be rendered to these Chiefs of Special Missions."
Whatever the reasons of a juridical nature submitted by the Germans to justify the seizures of Jewish property (Page 65), this property has never lost the character of private property; and it has, for this reason, always remained guaranteed by the clauses of the Hague Convention and especially by Article 46. The seizure of this property cannot, in particular, be explained as a measure of protection rendered necessary by circumstances, since, for France at least, the French Administration of Domains was in a position to take all the measures desired. As for the fate reserved for the seizures by the National Socialist leaders, the documents. produced have sufficiently shown their intentions and their plans.
The Defense will undoubtedly object that important treasures of national works of art from the occupied territories were not taken to Germany. If such an argument were presented, I should answer:
1. For various reasons the occupying authorities did not have the possibility to do so since they barely had time to centralize, to catalog, and to transport the numerous objects of art of which the occupied countries had been dispossessed. 2. It is obvious that the occupational authorities seized by priority the private works of art which are, generally speaking, easily negotiable even in neutral countries, whereas national works of art are, in a certain sense,
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outside the commercial sphere and are in any case difficult to negotiate in foreign countries.
It may perhaps be claimed that, a great number of works of art having been recovered, the accusation of removing them no longer applies.
You will consider, Gentlemen, that if many works of art have been recovered by the Allied armies, usually in hiding places, the reprehensible fact held against the defendants nevertheless remains. As a matter of fact these works of art have been recovered against their will and thanks to the victory of the Allied armies. The crime had, therefore, been entirely consummated at the time of their discovery. It is clear from the declaration that it is chiefly works of art belonging to private individuals of Belgian, Dutch, and French nationality, mostly qualified as Jews by the occupying power, which were looted-looted with the obvious intention of gratifying their personal vanity and of obtaining valuable property, viewed from an economic standpoint, contrary to the principles of international law.
These acts of pillage were often accompanied by aggravating circumstances, not the least of which was the constant menace of violence threatening the population of the occupied countries. The looting of works of art, therefore, appears as a form of general economic pillaging and the defendants must answer for this before your high jurisdiction.
THE PRESIDENT: Could you tell me what Document FA-20, 21, and so forth, refers to? There is an inscription which is on these various documents. If you look at DocumentRF-1333 or RF-1334, you will see that on the copies that are before us there is an inscription "International Military Tribunal" and then the "French Delegation, the Public Ministry, Economic Section" and then "LVR, Document FA-21" and 'document FA-20." Now, where is Document FA-21, and where is Document FA-20?
M. GERTHOFFER: It is a serial number referring to the document sent to us. It is 1334 which was rejected by the Tribunal.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but what is Document FA-20 or Document FA-21, what does it mean?
M. GERTEOFFER: FA-20 is the serial number which had been given to this document in the series of documents which we received. It is of no importance.
THE PRESIDENT: You mean that it is only a number given by you or that it is a number given by the Economic Section of the . . .?
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M. GERTHOFFER: It is a number given to it by the Economic
THE PRESIDENT: Well, then if that is so, if it is the number given to this document by the Economic Section, it does identify the document as a document of a public nature.
M. GERTHOFFER: We had likewise given to the document which I quoted a short time ago, a number which was 1333 for Document FA-21.
THE PRESIDENT: Document FA-21, 1333.
M. GERTHOFFER: We likewise gave it a number.
THE PRESIDENT: I see, the Economic Section is merely a section of the French Prosecution.
M. GERTHOFFER Yes, it is a section of the French Prosecution.
THE PRESIDENT: M. Mounier.
M.PIERRE MOUNIER (Assistant Prosecutor for the French Republic): Mr. President, your Honors, Gentlemen of the High International Military Tribunal, we have the honor of appearing before your high jurisdiction in order to submit the conclusions of the French Prosecution in connection with the responsibilities individually incurred by the defendants brought before this bar of justice. In pursuance of the allotment of the various tasks incumbent on each of the four nations, resulting both from the Indictment presented in compliance with the Charter of 8 August 1945 and the agreements reached between the four Delegations, the French Prosecution, in its presentation, has particularly applied itself to the study of the war crimes under the third Count of the Indictment, that is, the crimes committed by the defendants in France and in the countries of western Europe during hostilities and during the German occupation. It arises quite naturally that, in the explanations about to follow, the case of some of the defendants will be set aside, although their responsibility will already have been established by the other delegations who are, if I may say so, more interested in the crimes committed by the defendants and which correspond to the first, second, and fourth Counts of the Indictment. The French Prosecution, nevertheless, intends to join in the accusations raised by the other delegations against such of the defendants as concern them directly, especially against the Defendants Von Neurath and Von Ribbentrop. The French Delegation associates itself with the statement presented against them by Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe. The same holds good as far as the Defendants Hess, Kaltenbrunner, Frank, Bormann, Funk, Schacht, Von Papen, Baldur von Schirach, Streicher, Raeder, Doenitz, and Fritzsche are concerned.
On the other hand, Mr. President, your Honors, we should like, in this brief presentation, slightly to deviate from the order of
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priority in which the defendants appear, both in the Indictment and in the dock, so as to elucidate matters. As a matter of fact it would appear desirable, when presenting some of the chiefs of the National Socialist conspiracy, as viewed from the angle of crimes committed in the West, to show how they materialized their philosophical, political, economic, diplomatic, and finally their military conceptions. Consequently, this order will determine the order in which we shall present the case of these defendants.
On the other hand the defendants, in pursuance of the rule adopted by the Tribunal for governing the proceedings which it intends to follow in this Trial, have not yet given their oral explanations before the Court; and the hearing of the majority of the witnesses, or at least of the more important witnesses, has not yet taken place.
That is why the French Prosecution, with the permission of the Tribunal, reserves the right of completing at a later date its statement regarding the defendants taken individually on the one hand, and the groups accused-according to the expression used by my eminent friend, Prosecutor Boissarie-of "international indignity," on the other hand.
Needless to say, the final impeachment would be carried out with the utmost sobriety, since the French Delegation is anxious to avoid, as far as possible, any unnecessary prolongation of the proceedings.
An imposing number of documents has been submitted to the Tribunal. Their reading, presented in the first instance for the information of the Tribunal, then for the information of the Defense, and finally, be it said, for that of universal public opinion, has already taken up a very considerable time. That is why, with the permission of the Tribunal, we shall abstain, as far as possible, from presenting the Tribunal with still more copious documents. Sufficient written evidence has already been furnished by the American, British, and French Prosecutions which, when added to those still to be submitted by the Prosecution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, will assure the Tribunal of the defendants' guilt.
We shall therefore content ourselves, in general, with quoting documents already produced, in order to correlate the facts which we shall bring forward with the evidence already supplied. I should like, however, Mr. President, before approaching the case of the defendants whom I wish to accuse individually, to make a statement of a very general nature. It would be idle to pretend that a certain part of this public opinion-and not the least enlightened part at that-in the Old as well as in the New World, has evinced surprise in seeing this Indictment, which is
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the foundation of the present proceedings, collectively denounce the criminal character of certain organizations of the Reichsregierung, the Leadership Corps of the National Socialist Party, the SS including the SD, the Gestapo, the SA, the General Staff, and the High Command.
In this connection the Tribunal has been good enough to invite the various prosecutions to present written memoranda in order to establish the validity of the imputations contained in the Indictment. But may I be allowed, before a more complete memorandum is handed to your high jurisdiction, to present to the Tribunal a few ideas which appear to me necessary to be recalled., It appears, as a matter of fact, that this concept of a collective responsibility of the various groups goes hand in hand with the concept of conspiracy constituting the other governing ideas of the Indictment. There is no doubt, as far as this idea of a conspiracy is concerned as featured in the Indictment, that one finds, in the first instance, in the acts of the defendants that mystery which generally accompanies any conspiracy, whatever its nature, and that the various documents already supplied to the Tribunal are sufficient to confirm the existence of all the elements which render it possible for me to state that the defendants, their co-authors, and their accomplices had, in fact, conceived and realized the fraudulent agreement which vitas to enable them to make an attempt on the peace of the world by means contrary to the laws of war, to international law, and to international morality.
There is no doubt that the Nazi leaders had invested all their meetings with a guise of secrecy, whether these meetings were regular and administrative in nature or whether they were of a casual or of an informal variety. This fact in itself would be normal if one could isolate it from all the others; but added to all the other elements in the case, it clearly shows the guilty intent of the conspirators, for this absolute secrecy alone could imply the use of the criminal means which we shall have to emphasize.
I shall moreover remind the Tribunal that very often, where the orders transmitted were concerned, very often it happened that certain paragraphs had been erased so that no traces could remain. The Defendant Hermann Goering admitted this in the course of the interrogations. Consequently this fact proves the' intent not only to act in the greatest secrecy, but also the intent of doing away with every trace of what had happened.
If I were permitted to transpose an expression used during the War of 1914-18, an expression applied to the sinking of certain ships of friendly or allied nations, I should say, where this particular paragraph is concerned, that it was a case of "spurlos versenkt," that is, sunk without trace.
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On the other hand, the proof of this fraudulent agreement is evident from the eminently and evidently criminal nature of the decisions taken in these secret councils for incorporation.
THE PRESIDENT: It is just one now, would it be convenient for Counsel to break off at this time ?
M. MOUNIER: I am at the disposal of the court.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
[A recess was taken until 14:00 Hours]
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THE PRESIDENT: M. Mounier, owing to technical difficulties we will not be able to continue the sitting this afternoon because the technical difficulties, we are advised, cannot be remedied for some hours; and under those circumstances, the Tribunal thinks it better to adjourn now. But the Tribunal hopes that you wit be able tomorrow to conclude the case on behalf of the French Prosecution, and that the case against the Defendant Hess will be presented on behalf of the British Prosecution.
M.MOUNIER: I understand, Mr. President, and I shall get in touch with my British colleague as requested by the TribunaL
THE PRESIDENT: Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, do you wish to say anything?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE (Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom): No, My Lord, we are ready to go on with the presentation against the Defendant Hess, and we think that-it should take two and a half hours, approximately.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 7 February 1946 at 1000 hours.]
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