"The Einsatzgruppen Case"


Case No. 9

Nazi Doctrine of Superior and Inferior Races

As this trial deals with the crime of genocide, it is essential to investigate the basic tenets and the development of the Nazi doctrine which inspired the crimes we shall prove. It is conceded that the Nazis neither invented nor monopolized this idea of superior peoples, but the consequences they wrought gave it a new and terrible meaning. The Nazi conception has little in common with that arrogance and pretention which has frequently accompanied the mingling of different peoples. The master race dogma as the Nazis understood and practiced it was nothing less than the most all-encompassing and terrible racial persecution of all time. It was one of the most important points of the "unalterable program of the Nazi party" and the only one which was consistently advanced from the very beginning of Nazi rule in Germany to the bitter end. It was, as Gottfried Feder, the official commentator of the Nazi program, called it "the emotion foundation of the Nazi movement". The Jews were only one of the peoples marked for extermination in the Nazi program. The motivation of the crime of genocide, as it was carried out by Hitler and his legions in all of the occupied and dominated countries, stemmed from the Nazi ideology of "blood and race". In this theory of the predominance of the alleged Nordic race over all others and in the mystic belief that Nordic blood was the only creative power in the world, the Einsatzgruppen had their ideological basis. In this primitive theory, derived in part from Nietzsche's teaching of the Germanic superman, the Nazis found the justification for Germany's domination of the world. As Rosenberg put it in mystic fog:

"A new faith is arising today; the myth of the blood, the faith, to defend with the blood the divine essence of man. The faith, embodied in clearest knowledge that the Nordic blood represents that mysterium which has replaced and overcome the old sacraments."

In his speech, concluding the Reichsparteitag in Nuernberg, on 3 September 1933, Hitler professed a similar creed, but gave it a more practical expression:

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"But long ago man has proceeded in the same way with his fellowman. The higher race - at first higher in the sense of possessing a greater gift for organization - subjects to itself a lower race and thus constitutes a relationship which now ernbraces races of unequal value. Thus there results the subjection of a number of people under the will often of only a few persons, a subjection based simply on the right of the stronger, a right as we see it in nature can be regarded as the sole conceivable right because founded on reason."

This theory led the Nazis to consider many of the other nations and races, particularly the Slavs of Eastern Europe, as inferior, and Jews and gypsies as sub-human. From this thesis to the conclusion that inferior people should be decimated, and sub-humans exterminated like vermin, is but an easy step. The International Military Tribunal found in its judgment -

"The evidence shows that at any rate in the East, the mass murders and cruelties were not committed solely for the purpose of stamping out opposition or resistance to the German occupying forces. In Poland and the Soviet Union these crimes were part of a plan to get rid of whole native populations by expulsion and annihilation, in order that their territory could be used for colonization by Germans. Hitler had written in 'Mein Kampf'on these lines, and the plan was clearly stated by Himmler in July 1942, when he wrote: 'It is not our task to Germanize the East in the old sense, that is to teach the people there the German language and the German law, but to see to it that only people of purely Germanic blood live in the East.'" *

In August 1942 the policy for the eastern territories as laid down by Bormann was summarized by a subordinate of Rosenberg as follows:

"The Slavs are to work for us. Insofar as we do not need them, they may die. Therefore, compulsory vaccination and Germanic health services are superfluous. The fertility of the Slavs is undesirable."


"In Poland the intelligentsia had been marked down for extermination as early as September 1939, and in May 1940 the defendant Frank wrote in his diary of 'taking advantage of the focussing of world interest on the Western Front, by wholesale liquidation of thousands of Poles, first leading representatives of the Polish intelligentsia.' "

This aim was openly admitted by the highest SS dignitaries.

* Trial of the Major War Criminals, vol. 1, P. 287, Nuremberg, 1947.

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Himmler gave vivid expression to this viewpoint in a meeting of SS major generals at Poznan, in October 1943.

"What happens to a Russian, to a Czech does not interest me in the slightest. What the nations can offer in the way of good blood of our type, we will take, if necessary by kidnaping their children and raising them here with us. Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only so far as as we need them as slaves for our Kultur; otherwise, it is of no interest to me. Whether 10,000 Russian females fall down from exhaustion while digging an antitank ditch interests me only insofar as the antitank ditch for Germany is finished. We shall never be rough and heartless when it is not necessary, that is clear. We Germans who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude towards animals will also assume a decent attitude towards these human animals. But it is a crime against our own blood to worry about them and give them ideals, thus causing our sons and grandsons to have a more difficult time with them. When somebody comes to me and says, 'I cannot dig the antitank ditch with women and children, it is inhuman, for it would kill them', then I have to say, 'You are a murderer of your own blood because, if the antitank ditch is not dug, German soldiers will die, and they are the sons of German mothers. They are our own blood. That is what I want to instill into this SS and what I believe have instilled into them as one of the most sacred laws of the future. Our concern, our duty is our people and our blood. It is for them that we must provide and plan, work and fight, nothing else. We can be indifferent to everything else. I wish the SS to adopt this attitude to the problem of all foreign non- Germanic peoples, especially Russians. All else is vain, fraud against our own nation and an obstacle to the early winning of the war." (1919-PS *)

Hans Frank, the Governor General of occupied Poland, addressed a cabinet session in the government building at Krakow on 16 December 1941 and advocated the following solution of the Jewish problem:

"Gentlemen, I must ask you to rid yourself of all feeling of pity. We must annihilate the Jews, wherever we find them and wherever it is possible, in order to maintain there the structure of the Reich as a whole."

The same Hans Frank summarized in his diary of 1944 the Nazi policy as follows: "The Jews are a race which has to be eliminated. Wherever we catch one it is his end." And earlier, speak-

* Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, vol IV, p. 669, U. S. Government Mnting Office, Washington. 1946.

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ing of his function as Governor General of Poland, he confided to his diary this sentiment: "Of course, I cannot eliminate all lice and Jews in only a year's time."

When von dem Bach-Zelewski, who testified before the International Military Tribunal, (1) was asked how the defendant Ohlendorf could admit the murder of 90,000 people, he replied -

"I am of the opinion that when, for years, for decades, the doctrine is preached that the Slav race is an inferior race, and Jews not even human, then such an outcome is inevitable."

No one could have defined better the ideology which prompted Nazi Germany to embark on the program of extermination. The prophecy of Hitler, made in his speech to the German Reichstag on 30 January 1939, that the result of war would be the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe, came very near fulfillment. It is estimated that, of the 9,600,000 Jews who lived in Nazi dominated countries, 6,000,000 have perished in the gas chambers of the concentration camps or were murdered by the Einsatzgruppen. As the International Military Tribunal found in its judgment -

"Adolf Eichmann, who had been put in charge of this program by Hitler, has estimated that the policy pursued resulted in the killing of 6 million Jews, of which 4 million were killed in the extermination institutions." (2)

The unholy trinity, the SS, the Gestapo, and the SD, accomplished this work with hideous and ruthless efficiency. It was Himmler who boasted proudly in his speech to the highest SS leaders, in 1943,

"Only the SS was equal to the task of exterminating the Jewish people. Others talked about it but had too many reservations * * *. To have completed such a mission is an unwritten page of honor in the history of the SS."

At least one of the chief advocates of the master race theory, Hans Frank, has publicly regretted his advocacy -

"We have fought against Jewry, we have fought against it for years, and we have allowed ourselves to make utterances - and my own diary has become a witness against me in this connection - utterances which are terrible* * *. A thousand years will pass, and this guilt of Germany will still not be erased."

(1) Trial of the Major War Criminals, vol. IV, p. 494, Nuremberg, 1947

(2) Trial of the Major War Criminals, vol. I, pp. 252 - 253, Nuremberg, 1947

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Trials of War Criminals Before the Nurenberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10, Volume IV, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 32 - 35

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Electric Zen
Ken Lewis
September 7, 1998
Rev. 1.0