Russia’s Plans for Germany
Punish German war criminals ... Destroy German war industries ... Make Germans rebuild what they smashed —That’s what Russia wants
RAYMOND ARTHUR DAVIES
MOSCOW (By Cable) — Neumarkt,
Silesia, was a typical dull Teutonic town. Before the war its population was about 6,000. When the Russians occupied it during their Berlin offensive, only 2,000 remained. The rest fled westward.
Different from many other towns, Neumarkt scarcely suffered during the battle for Silesia. Few buildings show signs of fighting.
The streets are clean and passable. Life goes on.
If you visit Neumarkt now, to look around, the chances are that your guide will be genial Nikolai Constantino vich Taranenko, Soviet military commandant.
He is proud of the job he has done; of the order he has been keeping in his German bailiwick. As likely as not he will enquire,
“Now, what would you like to see?” And if you are like this correspondent, you will reply, “Please show us how Germans live under the Soviet occupation.”
Taranenko is obliging. He will take you down the main street, past the old church filled—so you will be told—with museum rarities stolen by the Germans, and now being packed for their return to their rightful owners in Lwow, past almost empty stores, past the town hall, as far as a large grey stone structure.
“We are here,” Taranenko will say, as he has said to others who have come before you. “This is our clothing shop. Would you like to see it?”
You will assent, of course. At the door you will be met by Red Army Captain Shevchenko, who is always glad to show visitors around.
You enter a large workroom occupying nearly the whole first floor. All about sewing machines hum, each run by a German Frau. There are more than 40 machines here, and Frauen of all ages, who present an aspect of enforced acceptance of the situation. It is clear that this is not what they would like to do. They are making Red Army blouses.
This is not the only factory working in Neumarkt. Other enterprises launched by the Red Army, in a similar way and with similar labor, include a dairy, a bakery, sausage works, and an alcohol distillery.
But how did the Russians get all these Germans to work? Taranenko laughs when you ask him this. “Oh, they have come to me themselves,” he explains.
“Themselves?” his visitors exclaim. “Really now!” “No, I am quite serious,” Taranenko insists. “When the food ran low, Germans came to me and asked their new Herr Kommandant for more. The Herr Kommandant, that’s me—and I said ‘work for it.’ And they do. It has been that simple.” And now Neumarkt factories are run not by Russian and other slaves but by Germans themselves, who work not only to satisfy their own needs but also Russian.
Their Slaves Have Gone
TVTEUMARKT is no exception. In every town and 1 1 city occupied by the Red Army, Germans have been put to work to take care of their own immediate requirements and to supply the Red Army as well. In Neumarkt, in Berlin, in Königsberg, in Dresden— everywhere—Germans clean the streets, repair houses, run factories. Many of them for long have relied upon Russian, French and Polish slave labor. Now the time has come for them to work.
Excellent examples may be found in Gleiwitz. Here tenä of thousands of German coal miners and steelworkers worked before the war. These men were pumped out by the war machine. Slaves were driven into the mines and mills. And now the slaves have gone. There are none left in the Origen Mine, formerly owned by the Hermann Goering Geselschaft. Of 4,000 employees in this mine, 2,000 were Russian and Polish slaves. Now, under th« Russians, the mine is again working full force. It is the Gleiwitz Germans who work here, many of them themselves slaveholders only recently—lawyers, bureaucrats, business people, petty Nazi party leaders, even society ladies.
Neumarkt and Gleiwitz—a thousand Neumarkts and Gleiwitzes—set perhaps the pattern for the working out of the Soviet’s plans for Germany. These plans exist. They are well worked out. They are mentioned constantly in the Soviet press. They are widely discussed by the Soviet public.
Just recently the whole Soviet attitude toward Germany became the subject of a brief, but under Russian conditions, sensational, newspaper debate between Russia’s celebrated publicist, Ilya Ehrenburg, and just as celebrated G.E.E. Alexandrov, who is head of the Press Department of the Central Committee, Communist Party.
For a long time Ehrenburg, in his articles, tended to lump all Germans into one brutalized mass—hopeless, equally punishable. Of necessity the logic of this argument would have led to the conclusion that all Germans should be exterminated; to the old concept, so popular among us at home, that the only good Germans are dead Germans. Alexandrov, in defending the official line of the Communist Party as stated by Stalin, took objection to Ehrenburg’s articles, and in a polemic, published under the title, “Comrade Ehrenburg Simplifies,” attacked him. “It is not difficult to say,” he wrote, “that Ehrenburg’s position does not correspond with the facts. Some Germans in every way support the Fascist and Hitlerite system. Others have become disillusioned in the war, having lost hope of victory, and have cooled to the bestial and idioticplans of the ex-Fiihrer.” This was written in the month of April, before the German collapse.
Alexandrov explained the policies of the Red Army in occupying Germany: “The Red Army, in carrying out its great mission of liberation, fights for the liquidation of the Hitlerite Army and of the Hitlerite Government. But it never has aimed, and does not aim at the extermination of the German people. From this it is clear that the lives of Germans who fight against Hitler, or who remain loyal to Allied troops, are in no danger. Certainly there will be no mercy toward those who carry on, and will continue to carry on, the struggle against the Red Army and the Allied forces.”
To cinch his argument Alexandrov cited Stalin: “History demonstrates that Hitlers come and go, but the German people and the German State remain.”
Disillusionment in Germany
ISPATCHES from Germany during the weeks preceding and following capitulation further substantiated this approach. Writing from Berlin the famous Soviet criminal investigator and publicist, E. L. Sheinin, and the Brothers Tur jointly reported that “fear, that for years had been injected into the conscience of the average German by the devilish syringes of Hitlerite propaganda, now begins to evaporate in the fresh air of truth brought by our forces. This is not just a literary phrase. Many Germans, in effect, present the appearance of having been poisoned. Erich Stumm, a Doctor of Mathe-
matical Sciences, encountered in a bread line in Charlottenburg, said, ‘1 have become accustomed to operating with large numbers. But 1 am lost before the number of crimes committed by Nazism.’ ”
In taking Frankfurt on the Oder, the Russians found this handwritten bill: “Soldiers, why should we spill our blood and remain in this house when all is gone to pot? The Russians have already come up to Berlin, and the Americans are on the Elbe. We have been driven into a bottleneck, and will die here if we don’t have enough brains to surrender. Our squad decided to do exactly that. If you are not idiots you will follow us.” The letter was signed by a sergeant.
fwU) In Berlin, even before the last shot was
fired, and before endless columns of German prisoners began their weary shuffle toward the East, Paul Fischer, rank-and-file Nazi, came to the Soviet Commander. “I only collected membership fees,” mumbled Fischer, “but this man Lemke, he’s local Führer. He executed prisoners. I know where he lives. I can bring him here myself.” Another Berliner, Willy Westfall, a decorator, laughed crazily as he pointed to the wreckage of the city: “Hitler gave us this. He promised us the world, but all he gave was this mess.”
Old Emil Muller, a Berlin bus driver, whispered to a Russian soldier, “Lies, lies—many years of lies.” And another old man, Karl Wentzel, approached the Red Army men with raised fist—the “rot/ronf” salute. He had just been liberated from prison as an anti-Nazi.
But all this doesn’t mean at all that the Russians intend to let the German people and the German State forget their guilt and escape without paying for damages caused by them. No, Russia obviously wants to disarm Germany, militarüy and economically, so that never again can she threaten the peace, not only of the Soviet Union, but of all the Slav countries and the European world. One of the basic guarantees for this is to introduce a differentiation between the Germans and in every way attempt to make some Germans at least understand the enormous crimes their country has committed against the world.
When the Russians speak of disarming Germany, they have in mind some simple rather than complicated measures. First of all they mean to disarm all German armed forces, and place even German police forces under Allied control. They mean to destroy, politically and physically, the whole wasp nest of German militarism with the German General Staff. They mean to arrest, try, and convict, and on conviction hang its members for the death and destruction which they loosed upon the world. They mean to confiscate and destroy or remove all documentation, plans and maps, of the German staff which might be useful for the next war. They mean to remove from positions of military power all individuals who in the past had anything to do with the leadership of the German General Staff and the Fascist Army.
Even more than that. The Russians maintain that
the German General Staff
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Russia’s Plans For Germany
Continued from page 11
would have been incapable of military adventures had it not been supported by, and, in fact, used by the criminal ring of financial and industrial firebrands of war: people like Schleicher, industrialist Hugo Stinnes, millionaires Thyssen and Fogler, armament king Krupp von Bolen, and others, all of whom financed the German General Staff activities in preparing the present holocaust, and grew fat on war profits. These men, say the Russians, must be apprehended and placed on trial, and if convicted must be hanged as a warning to such as may try to emulate them. The Russians maintain that unless the German General Staff is completely liquidated, with all its supporting groupings, then preparation for a third world war will begin at once.
Russian plans for the disarming of Germany go probably farther than military disarmament. Just as important, they say, is to disarm Germany economically, so that her industries may not he used for preparing war. What does this mean in effect?
Recently the well-known Soviet economist, I. Feontiev, answered this query in these words: “German industry, and, above all, cartelized heavy industry, is not only the militaryeconomic base of German aggression but also one of the most important
sources from winch such aggression springs. One must not forget that as Germany under the Kaiser, so Hitler’s Third Reich, in effect, served as a façade for the domination of industrial magnates, banking kings and Junker landowners. The Hitlerite bandits are valuable running dogs for the German plutocrats. To erase German imperialism from the face of the earth, it is not enough to destroy the German Army, confiscate her armament, liquidate Hitlerism, punish war criminals and destroy all traces of Fascist cannibalism and madness. It also requires the liquidation or the placing under control of all German industry which might be utilized for war production.”
The same thought is elaborated still further by economist, S. H. Lif: “Economic disarmament of Germany can only be effective when she will be deprived not only of industry producing armaments today but also of those industries which may be utilized for armament in case of the appearance of new technical inventions.” This clearly has reference to the development of new and even more terrible gas and atomic disintegration weapons. Lif warns: “Experience in disarming
Germany after the first world war demonstrates also that her economic disarmament can he effective only if she is also deprived of all secret possibilities to re-establish her military economic might.”
The deductions are clear. The Russians propose the removal from Germany of all basic war industries, in proverbial lock, stock and barrel fashion, to countries that have had their own industries destroyed or
damaged by Germany. They propose Allied control over all subsidiary industries of possible eventual war significance. They propose an ironclad control over all of Germany’s basicproduction capacities until such time as Germany can be relied upon to re-enter the family of decent, law-abiding nations.
So much for disarmament. Now we come to the second point in Russia’s program for Germany—settlement for damages and reparations. What are these damages? The exact figure is not yet known. But at the recent session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, which I attended, a number of addresses gave some figures and some indications.
Deputy I. I. Kuznetzov of Leningrad said: “Apartment blocks and
large structures numbering 4,577 were completely destroyed during the siege, and 14,000 buildings were damaged. All industries in Leningrad Province that fell into German hands were completely destroyed. Sixteen cities and 2,032 villages were wholly or partially destroyed. More than 250,000 people were driven away into slavery.”
Deputy N. Y. Natalevich of White Russia reported as follows: “In Minsk the Germans blew up 80% of all dwellings, 23 of the largest factories, four hotels, the waterworks and drainage system. Such cities as Gomel, Vitebsk, Polotsk, Orsha, Zhlobin, Krichev, Klimovichi, and Rogachev were turned into piles of rubble. About 315,000 peasants’ homes were burned. In Lelchin County, Polessye Province, of 7,500 houses only 32 remain. Only a few machine tools remained of tens of thousands. The area under the cultivation of gram decreased by 40%, under potatoes by 50%, and flax was reduced to one eighth; 70% of the horses, 77% of the cattle, 92% of the pigs, 83% of the sheep were lost. More than 800,000 people were tortured to death, killed and burned alive.”
Similar figures were given by other delegates.
It is clear that Germany can never repay the full extent of damages she caused, and certainly can never give back the millions of lives she destroyed.
Russian Losses Tremendous
The Russians estimate their municipal, national and private property losses are immeasurably greater than all those of all other countries put together. The former French Minister of Aviation, Pierre Cot, recently estimated, in the magazine Fraternité, that the material losses caused by the Germans to occupied areas in Russia i can not be less than 250 billion gold rubles, equivalent to as many Canadian dollars.
In addition damages were caused indirectly by the deviation to war purposes of peacetime industries which might have produced goods for the peaceful and progressive development of the land; by losses to the productive capacity of whole industries which could not operate because Germany seized the sources of raw material, and by the fact that owing to fuel and raw material shortages some industries could only operate partially. All of this, when estimated together, rises into astronomical sums.
“Reparation by Germany in kind for the damage caused by her, in line with decisions of the Crimea Conference leaders of the three Allied powers,” recently said the authoritative Soviet magazine Bolshevik, “has a tremendous principle, meaning: The former economic might of Germany must be destroyed, her military potential liquidated. The national wealth of Germany and the labor of her population will 1 serve as sources of reparations for war
damages caused by the Fascist aggressors to the peace-loving nations.”
There is no doubt of the experience after world war one, which confirms that Germany will never be able to compensate in cash for damages. She has no gold. Her treasury is empty. How then can Germany pay? The Russians have an answer. First of all, they propose that the Allies shall ensure return from Germany of all goods and machinery products stolen from the invaded countries. This applies as much to movable as to immovable property. Thus, for example, 700 thousand pigs were taken away from western Poland alone in 1940. Germany must be made to return this number of pigs from her farms. If she can’t return them at once she can do so over the period of the next few years. During the same year Germany stole 754 thousand pigs from Denmark. These, too, can be returned. Machinery taken from French, Dutch, Jugoslav, Czech and Russian plants can be recognized and removed forthwith. In fact Russian engineers are searching all German plants for such machinery belonging to Soviet industries and arranging for their immediate return to the rightful owner. But this will satisfy only a small portion of the claim.
Germany to “Work It Out’’
Obviously German mines and manufacturing industries can provide further sources for repayment of damage done. The Ruhr and other mining areas can, with their valuable raw materials, repay France, the Low Countries and Russia for much of the damage. The Allied Control Commission can supervise activities of these regions. And the Russians remark that as long as the Germans are occupied in repaying what their country had stolen they won’t have time to re-establish their war industries.
But with all that, more must be exacted from defeated Germany. This “more,” the Russians say, is labor. Roosevelt, too, was in favor of this. They fully endorse the British decision to use German labor for the rebuilding of London. What the Germans destroyed they must rebuild, Russians declare.
The famous Russian expert on reparations and punishment of war criminals, Academician I. Trainin, recently wrote, in the magazine War and the Working Class, the following: “Damages caused by Hitlerite Germany in the war from 1939 to 1945 are immeasurably greater than those caused by Germany in the war of 1914-18. Germany will have to compensate for this damage, mainly in kind. Reparations must also be expressed in the form of a supply of German labor power for the Allies for the reconstruction of material values destroyed by the Germans. In this the following must be kept in mind: Destruction was carried out by the German troops in a planned manner and systematically. It wasn’t called for as a military requirement. The destruction was carried out in just as planned and systematical fashion as the cold-blooded extermination of millions of peaceful citizens and war prisoners in the Hitlerite death camps. Labor reparations, therefore, are not only reasonable but without doubt also the just form of repayment for damages— those who wrecked must now rebuild. “Finally, one must not forget that among the problems to be solved by the victor nations tremendous significance is attached to the liquidation of Germany’s war potential. Utilization of German labor, on reconstruction work in the countries they have ruined, naturally will facilitate the effective
economic disarmament of Germany.”
In stating this Russians are not calling for slave labor. They propose that Germany shall furnish labor, shall maintain it, shall recompense it. And while working to rebuild what they wrecked, the Germans will receive important doses of much needed education.
The third point on Russia’s program is the punishment of criminals responsible for the crimes against peaceful civilians, for the burning and the ruin of cities, for the horrors of death camps, for the extermination of war prisoners.
The Russians propose the arrest of all those responsible, quick trial for them in the places where the crimes were committed, and immediate hanging for those convicted. They propose that the Allies deal jointly with such prisoners as Goering and others whose crimes were against all the Allies and all peoples. They castigate and condemn those who temporize with German criminals. At the same time the Russians have stated, in their appeals to the German population, and in Austria, that while they declare dissolved the Nazi party and all Nazi organizations, they do not propose to persecute rank-and-file Nazi members who adopt “a loyal attitude toward the Soviet and Allied troops.” In Berlin the Russians are registering all Nazi party, Gestapo and SS members, and propose to deal with each case strictly on its own merits. ;
“What About the German Mind?’’
What about the basic problem of changing the brutalized German mind? The Russians feel that the terrible impact of German collapse and the refusal of the Allies to deal with many Fascist German groupings has already begun to make many Germans think.
The prohibition of the Nazi party, execution of Nazi criminals convicted of crimes, elimination and destruction of the supply of Nazi literature, the supply of democratic propaganda and literature to the German schools, the support of all and any German forces which honestly and loyally collaborate with the Allies—in other words destruction of Fascism—will, according to the Russians, intensify the progress and rise in Germany of decent constructive elements. The main thing, the Russians insist, is that the Allies should remain united with respect to Germany, so that the Fascist groupings may not try to play one Ally against another in their mad effort to escape responsibility and to rearm.
If the Nazis burned democratic books not so long ago, when they tried to return the world to the Middle Ages, then, the Russians say, now the Alliés must cleanse all Germany, all German schools, all German libraries, of Fascist filth and anti-Semitic mouthings, of anti-Soviet and anti-Allied material. This done, first steps will
have been taken to change the German mind at the root. This mind already is rocking today under the influence of defeat. This process must be speeded up, and the development of sincere German understanding of the enormity of their sins against mankind must be encouraged in every way. But, the Russians warn, any effort to favor any group formerly allied with the Fascist, or neutral toward the Fascists, will inevitably strengthen Fascist survival and eventually harm the cause of Allied unity and peaceful reconstruction of the world.
Although German defeat is so complete as to leave doubts as to whether Germany can ever rise again as a militarist aggressive power, the Russians propose to take no chances. They propose to deal swiftly and decisively with Fascism, and they urge all the Allies to do the same. Such are, according to my contention, their plans.
Finally, the Russians urge—they demand—that all the Allies make a common front in preventing the escape of German criminals to neutral countries; to Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and such countries as Argentina. They propose that funds sent abroad by German firms and German Fascist leaders, or transferred in the form of patents or tlvrough subterfuges, be confiscated and added to the Allied fund for reparation. If this is all done, I think the Russians believe the German problem will be on the way to solution, if not forever, then for a long period of time..
What the Russians think of the future of the Nazi party is illustrated by a wave of public approval for the decisions of the Austrian Provisional Government in this respect. In Austria the Provisional Government, formed after the liberation of Vienna from the Germans, recently decided to pull up the Nazi party, roots and all. According to the law adopted immediately on the eve of German capitualtion, the Nazi party military formations, organizations and establishments are dissolved. All party property is transferred to the Austrian state. All who continue membership in the Nazi party, and work for it, can be punished by death or, in exceptional circumstances, by 10 or 20 years’ imprisonment. All individuals who belonged to the Nazi party from July, 1933, to April 27, 1945, must register. All who belonged to the Nazi party from July, 1933, to March, 1938, when Austria was occupied by the Germans, are declared guilty of treason. All such persons automatically will be punished by five or 10 years’ imprisonment. All such persons who substantially contributed to the finances of the Nazi party are to be called to account before the courts. There is no doubt that even more severe measures are in store for Germany’s Nazi party, and in this case they will be effected by the Allied Control or Occupation Commission.