On December 19, 1945, Warren Farr began his presentation on the Case against the SS before the Tribunal at Nuremberg. Major Farr, Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States, began with a brief background of the organization, “When Nazi Party activity was again resumed in 1925, the SA remained outlawed. To fill its place and to play the part of Hitler’s own personal police, small mobile groups known as protective squadrons (Schutzstaffeln) were created. This was the origin of the SS in 1925. With the reinstatement of the SA in 1926, the SS for the next few years ceased to play a major role. But it continued to exist as an organization within the SA, under its own leader, however, the Reichsfuehrer SS.” [http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/12-19-45.asp#ss accessed 12/17/2015] Having begun, the real purpose of the Schutzstaffeln (SS) emerged.
On the 6th of January 1929 Adolf Hitler appointed his tested comrade of long standing, Heinrich Himmler, as Reichsfuehrer SS. Heinrich Himmler assumed charge therewith of the entire Schutzstaffel totalling at that time 280 men with the express and particular order of the Fuehrer to form this organization into an elite troop of the Party, a troop dependable in every circumstance. “With this day the real history of the SS begins as it stands before us today in all its deeper essential features, firmly anchored in the National Socialist movement. For the SS and its Reichsfuehrer, Heinrich Himmler, its first SS man, have both become inseparable in the course of these battle-filled years.” Carrying out Hitler’s directive, Himmler proceeded to build up out of this small force of men an elite organization-to use D’Alquen’s words-composed of “the best physically . . . the most dependable, and the most faithful . . . men” in the Nazi movement. I read another passage from D’Alquen at Page 12 of the original, Page 6 of the translation, Paragraph 5: “When the day of seizure of power had finally come, there were 52,000 SS men, who in this spirit bore the revolution in the van, marched into the new state which they began helping to form everywhere, in their stations and positions, in profession and in service, and in all their essential tasks.” The conspirators now had the machinery of government in their hands. The initial function of the SS-that of acting as private army and personal police force-was thus completed.
Farr’s presentation continued throughout the day, illustrating the form, function,
purpose and activities of the SS and their role within the Nazi organization. His presentation continued on the following day when he introduced the documentation outlining the
shift of control of concentration camps to WVHA in 1942, which was coincident with the shift in the basic purpose of the camps, which heretofore has been concerned with custody of individuals for political and security reasons. Now the basic purpose of the camps was to furnish manpower, and I now want to point out to the Court the agencies of the SS which were involved in that manpower drive. The Tribunal has already received evidence of an order which was issued in 1942, shortly after the transfer to WVHA of concentration camp control, directing Security Police to furnish at once 35,000 prisoners qualified for work in the camps. That order is our Document 1063-PS, and was received in evidence as Exhibit Number USA-219. [http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/12-20-45.asp accessed 12/17/2015]
A portion of the film footage of Farr’s December 20th presentation is available online (Day 24 12/20/1945).
Only one more Case was to be presented before the Tribunal recessed for the observance of Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
–Owen Doremus and Betsy Pittman
[Owen Doremus, a junior at Edwin O. Smith High School, is supporting this blog series with research and writing as part of an independent study.]
The majority of the letters from Tom Dodd to his wife Grace have been published and can be found in Letters from Nuremberg, My father’s narrative of a quest for justice. Senator Christopher J. Dodd with Lary Bloom. New York: Crown Publishing, 2007.
Images available in Thomas J. Dodd Papers.