19 Dec. 45

Afternoon Session

MAJOR WARREN F. FARR (Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States): May it please the Tribunal, the next organization to to dealt with is the SS. The document books in this case are lettered "Z." For convenience in handling the book because of the bulk of documents, we have divided them into two volumes. I shall in referring to a document number refer to the volume in which that document appears.

About a week or 10 days ago there appeared in a newspaper circulated in Nuremberg, an account of a visit by that paper's correspondent to a camp in which SS prisoners of war were confined. The thing which particularly struck the correspondent was the one question asked by the SS prisoners. Why are we charged as war criminals? What have we done except our normal duty?

The evidence now to be presented to the Tribunal will, we expect, answer that question. It will show that just as the Nazi Party was the very heart — the core — of the conspiracy, so the SS was the very essence of Nazism. For the SS was the elite group of the Party, composed of the most thorough-going adherents of the Nazi cause, pledged to blind devotion to Nazi principles, and prepared to carry them out without any question and — at any cost — a group in which every ordinary value has been so subverted that its members can ask, "What is there unlawful about the things we have done?"

During the past weeks the Tribunal has heard evidence of the conspirators' criminal program for aggressive war, for concentration camps, for the extermination of the Jews, for enslavement of foreign labor and illegal use of prisoners of war, for deportation and Germanization of inhabitants of conquered territories. Through all this evidence the name of the SS ran like a thread. Again and again that organization and its components were referred to. It is my purpose to show why it performed a responsible role in every one of these criminal activities, why it was — and, indeed, had to be — a criminal organization.

The creation and development of such an organization was, indeed, essential for the execution of the conspirators' plans. Their sweeping program and the measures they were prepared to use, and did use, could be fully accomplished neither through the machinery of the Government nor of the Party. Things had to be done for which no agency of Government and no political party, even the Nazi Party, would openly take full responsibility. A specialized type of apparatus was needed, an apparatus which was to some extent connected with the Government and given official support but which, at the same time, could maintain a quasi-independent