Goering and 10 other Hitler chiefs must hang in 15 days

October 01 1946
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NUREMBERG, Oct. 1, 1946 (UP) -- Herman Goering, Joachim Von Ribbentrop and 10 other Nazi arch-conspirators were condemned today to hang within 15 days for their World War II crimes.

Martin Bormann, Hitler's deputy fuehrer, who was among the 12 sentenced to die, has been missing since the Nazi surrender. He was tried in absentia.

Seven other top Nazis were given sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment and three-Franz, Von Paten, Hjalmar Schacht and Hans Fritzsche-were acquitted despite a Russian dissent.

Defense attorneys announced appeals for clemency to the Allied Control Council for Germany, but there appeared no chance whatever of any of the condemned escaping.

In addition to Goering and Ribbentrop, those condemned to hang were Julius Streicher, Field Marshal Wilhelm von Keitel, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Fritz Sauckel, Col. Gen. Alfred Jodl, Arthur Seyss-Inquart and Bormann, who is believed dead.

Rudolph Hess, Grand Adm. Erich Raeder and Walther Funk were sentenced to life imprisonment. Baldur von Schirach, the Nazi youth leader, and Albert Speer, munitions maker, were sentenced to 20 years. Constantin von Neurath, former Foreign Minister, was given 15 years. Grand-Adm. Karl Doenitz, commander-in-chief of the German navy, was sentenced to 10 years.

Von Papen, Schacht and Fritzsche were acquitted on all charges and freed. They were given documents permitting them to live as free men anywhere in Germany, provided they are not rearrested for trial under the de-Nazification laws.

Soviet Judge Iola T. Nikichenkos, Russian member of the tribunal, dissent from three acquittals and also the life imprisonment sentence for Hess and the acquittal of the German high command as a group. He wanted Hess sentenced to death and the high command convicted.

Defense attorneys announced also that appeals will be filed for seven defendants given prison terms as well as for those sentenced to hang.

The Allied Control Council, which assumed jurisdiction over the defendants as soon as the sentences were imposed, announced in Berlin that the criminals will be permitted four days-until Saturday night-to file their clemency appeals with the secretariat of the military tribunal.

It was learned reliably that if the appeals are refused, the 11 men to be hanged will be executed at Nuremberg Prison on Oct. 16, the last of the 15 days of grace allotted by the tribunal.

A spokesman for the control council said a special session probably will be called early next week to consider the appeals.

All four members of the council must pass on the appeals and approve any reduction in the sentences. It appeared most probable that the appeals would be rejected.

Although acquitted, Von Papen, Schacht and Fritzche presumably fall under the de-Nazification laws and must go through the German-run Spruchkammer courts in the American zone. These courts may impose a maximum penalty of 10 years at reconstruction labor and may also confiscate property and deprive Nazis of civil liberties.

The four-power prosecution staff expressed disappointment after hearing the judgments, but were gratified that their efforts had proven that "aggressive warfare is a crime for which individual statesmen may be punished."

The final act of the 361-day trial took only 42 minutes. Each defendant was brought in separately at about two-minute intervals and heard his sentence pronounced in about 30 seconds.

Goering, one of the six defendants found guilty on all four counts of a common plan or conspiracy to wage war, crimes against the peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity, flushed and jerked off his headphones when he heard his doom.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Geoffrey Lawrence condemned him the strongest language, asserting "His guilt is unique in its enormity.

"The record discloses no excuse for this man," Lawrence said. "He was a leading war aggressor, both as a political and a military leader. He was the director of the slave labor program and creator of the oppressive program against the Jews and other races.

"All these crimes he frankly admitted. He was the active authority in the spoliation of conquered territory, the moving force in aggressive war, second only to Hitler. He developed the Gestapo and created the first concentration camps."

When Hess appeared in the dock, he refused to put on his earphones and showed no interest in the proceedings. He squirmed and grimaced restlessly and looked around the room.

The tribunal said "It may be true that Hess acts in an abnormal manner, suffers loss of memory and has mentally deteriorated during the trial, but there is nothing to show he does not realize the nature of the charges against him or is incapable of defending himself."

"Hitler's closest confidant," was the tribunal's judgment of Hess. "An active supporter of the preparations for war...an informed and willing participant in German aggression against Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland."

Von Ribbentrop, 53, Hitler's Foreign Minister, too, was found guilty on all four counts.

"Responsible for war crimes against humanity," the verdict said. "Signed the law incorporating Austria into the German Reich...participated in aggressive plans against Czechoslovakia...said that Jews must either be exterminated or taken to concentration camps...the tribunal does not consider his explanation to be true."

The plea of Von Keitel, chief of the German high command, that he had been just a military man was rejected and the court found him guilty on all four counts. It specified that he planned aggressions against Austria, Czechoslovakia, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Russia, and added:

"Issued the directive that paratroopers were to be turned over to the Gestapo...directed military authorities to co-operate in looting...ordered 50 to 100 Communists put to death for one German soldier...passed on the directive ordering the shooting of Soviet commissars...there is nothing in mitigation."

Of Kaltenbrunner, the tribunal said:

"Played a leading part in the extermination of the Jews...approximately 6,000,000 were murdered...he instructed police not to interfere with attacks on Allied flyers who had bailed out."

Rosenberg, Minister for the occupied eastern territories: "Bears a major responsibility for the formulation and execution of occupation policies in occupied eastern territories...is responsible for the extermination of the Jews."

Frank, administrator for occupied Polish territory, was sentenced to death for the murder of 3,000,000 Jews in Poland and for the policy that he expressed by stating: "Poles will become slaves of the greater German world empire."

Frick, Nazi protector of Bohemia and Moravia (Czechoslovakia) was condemned to death because "he had knowledge that insane, sick and aged people, 'useless eaters,' were being systematically put to death but did nothing to stop it."

Streicher, the infamous Jew-baiter, was not chewing gum when he entered court. He was found innocent of aggressive war, but the death sentence was imposed for his part in the mass extermination of Jews.

Sauckel, slave labor leader, gulped when Lawrence doomed him.

"There is no doubt that Sauckel had over-all responsibility for the slave labor program," the verdict said, "he was aware of the ruthless methods of deportation of slave labor of more than 5,000,000 human beings, many of them under terrible conditions of cruelty and suffering."

Jodl, army Chief of Staff, was found to have been "the actual planner of the war" and of the German attacks on Czechoslovakia, Norway, Greece, Yugoslavia and Russia.

"He ordered the evacuation of all persons in Norway and the burning of their houses. There is nothing in mitigation...participation in such crimes has never been required of any soldier."

"Ruthless in applying terrorism," the verdict said of Seyss-Inquart, former Chancellor of Austria and Reich commissioner for the Netherlands. Seyss-Inquart gripped the bench and swayed at the words, "Death by hanging."

Bormann's sentence was read to an empty dock. His verdict: "Responsible for the lynching of Allied airmen..."

In sentencing 30-year-old Baldur von Schirach, leader of the Hitler Youth, to 20 years, the tribunal said, "It does not appear that he participated in planning wars of aggression."

Speer, Minister of Armaments, sentenced to 20 years, was credited with opposing Hitler's scorched earth policy "by deliberately sabotaging it."

Von Neurath, 73-year-old former Foreign Minister, sentenced to 15 years, was found to have mitigated his crimes by intervening with the security police to obtain the release of many Czechs.

The comparatively light sentence of 10 years imposed on Doenitz was in consideration that he was "a line officer performing strictly tactical duties... British naval prisoners were treated strictly according to the Geneva convention...a mitigating circumstance."

The court asserted Russia dissenting, that there was nothing to prove that Schacht, Von Papen and Fritzsche, a radio propagandist, were guilty of any of the four counts under the indictment.

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