Nuremberg (Apr. 2)
Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim Ribbentrop broke down today under the cross examination of French prosecutor Edgar Faure at the International Military Tribunal and admitted participating in anti-Jewish persecutions.
He supported the Nazi persecution and elimination of Jews as a measure to limit sabotage and espionage, Ribbentrop said, insisting that personally, he was not anti-Semitic. He evidenced anger when confronted by documentary proof that he had rebuked Mussolini for the latter’s lenient policy toward the Jews of southern France. He admitted the charge, however. The French prosecutor’s documents proved that the complaint had been made to Mussolini four months before his overthrow by the Italian people.
Ribbentrop also admitted that he acted as an anti-Semitic envoy to foreign governments and that he knew of Hitler’s plan to deport the remnants of Europe’s Jews to Northern Africa and the island of Madagascar. The British prosecutor, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, forced an admission from the Nazi diplomat that he owned homes located in the heart of concentration camps, and thus was aware of the existence of these death centers. Ribbentrop conceded that he and other officials of his Foreign Office had been closely associated with Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler, and said that all German officials participated in the Government’s anti-Semitic policy.
Rudolf Hoess, “butcher” commandant of the Oswiecim death camp, is included among the 1,500 Nazi war criminals whom Poland is demanding for trial in her courts. Hoess is now in the custody of the British authorities.