Full Text of Cruel Nazi Decree Against Jews and Poles Beheaded in Washington
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Full Text of Cruel Nazi Decree Against Jews and Poles Beheaded in Washington

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The full text of the special Nazi decree governing Poles and Jews, which provides the death penalty for a wide range of minor offenses, was made public here today by the Polish Embassy.

The decree, issued by the Council of the Ministers for the Defense of the Reich on December 16th, is considered the most cruel, arbitrary law ever issued by any government, even under war-time conditions. The full text reads:

“I — 1. Poles and Jews in the annexed eastern territories are obliged to behave in accordance with German law and with the orders given to them by the German authorities. They are obliged to avoid everything which might prejudice the sovereignty of the German Reich and the authority of the German nation.

“2. Their punishment is death if they commit any violence against a German citizen on account of his belonging to the German nation.

“3. Their punishment is death or imprisonment in less grave cases, if by spiteful or provocative behavior they demonstrate a mentality hostile to Germany–and especially if they make anti-German statements or tear down or damage proclamations of German authorities or public institutions or if by their general attitude they disparage or prejudice the authority and the welfare of the German Reich or the German people.


“4. Their punishment is death, or imprisonment in less grave cases:

“A) If they commit any violence against a member of the German army or its auxiliaries, of the German police including its auxiliary staff, of the Reich labor service, of German officialdom or public service or of any member of the National Socialist (Nazi) party.

“B) If they deliberately damage establishments of German authorities or public institutions, or any object contributing to the work of these authorities or to the public welfare.

“C) If they encourage or provoke disobedience to any ordinance or regulation issued by German authorities.

“D) If they conspire to commit an act punishable under Paragraph 2 or 3 or the first three clauses of Paragraph 4, enter into serious deliberation on the subject, offer to commit such an action or accept an offer of this kind or if they have reliable information about an action or an intention of this nature at a time when the danger can still be averted, and fail to inform in time the authorities or the threatened person.

“E) If they are found in illicit possession of firearms, hand grenades, bayonets, explosives, ammunition or any other weapon of war, or if they have reliable information that a Pole or a Jew is in illicit possession of such objects and have failed to make immediate representation to the authorities.


“II — Poles and Jews are also punished when they violate German penal laws or when they commit an act punishable under the basic principle of a German penal law in accordance with the special political exigencies prevailing in the incorporated eastern territories.

“III — 1. Penalties imposed on Poles and Jews are imprisonment, fines and confiscation of property. ‘Imprisonment’ means confinement in a prison camp from three months to 10 years. In grave cases severe prison camp confinement from two to 15 years is imposed.

“2. Capital punishment is invoked whenever it is provided by the law. Even in cases where the law does not provide for it, capital punishment is to be imposed when the criminal action committee indicates especially base character or when it is particularly grave for other reasons. In these case capital punishment is also permissible against juvenile offenders; in serious cases, less than 16 years old.

“3. The minimum term of sentence provided by a German penal law or a penalty decreed as compulsory may not be reduced with exception of cases where the criminal deed was directed exclusively against the offender’s own nation.

“Any fine which cannot be collected will be replaced by imprisonment for one week to one year.”

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