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Count Helmuth James von Moltke’s Memo to Hans Wilbrandt and Alexander Rüstow on Conditions in Germany and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (July 9, 1943)

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Sentences passed upon Catholic Priests.

Among the many recent cases of prosecution of Catholic priests, a particularly interesting case is that of the Dean of St. Hedwig's Church, Berlin. Because of the solicitude and protection he extended to Jews and other victims of political persecution, the Dean was tried some weeks ago before a law court. In his defence, he stood up vigorously for all he did, and is said to have impressed some of his judges deeply by his dauntless courage. His sentence was deportation to "Litznannstadt" (Lods, Poland). After the verdict, the Dean declared solemnly that this sentence made him very happy and that it was particularly suited to him, because it was not only his wish but his supreme vocation to extend comfort, edification, and hope to the terribly afflicted inmates of the Litzmannstadt concentration camps.

The Allied Attitude towards the Austrians.

Some considerable astonishment is expressed by informants at the fact that the Austrians are set apart from the Germans when the question of the German people's share in the guilt for what has occurred, and is daily occurring in its name, is under discussion by the Allies. For the sake of truth, it should be admitted that cruelties and inhuman atrocities have been perpetrated in Austria such as could hardly have occurred even in Germany. The population of Austria is reported to have taken part in excesses from which the German people have kept aloof. These facts stand out the more clearly when it is confirmed that Sudeten Germans and Austrians are given preference for the job of concentration camp guard, because they are known as particularly cruel. There has evolved a sort of classification by nationalities of guard personnel in descending order of frightfulness, according to which the Sudeten Germans top the list, the Austrians are second, the Bavarians third, with the rest of Germany following far behind. The classification is reported to be generally confirmed by the inmates of concentration camps and ghettos.

The Situation in the Occupied Territories.

The situation in Greece, Yugoslavia, and Croatia is causing particular anxiety. Increasing partisan activity is anticipated as the opening of a second front draws nearer, and new measures for the rigorous suppression of irregulars have accordingly been taken last month. German casualties in Croatia owing to partisan activity from the occupation of the country to the end of June amounted to 27,000 officers and men. In Greece the dislocations of the transport system, particularly those caused by blown-up bridges and railroad sections, are reported to have repeatedly caused grave difficulties.

Respecting the "inner front" in France, it is stated that the intimidation caused by the terrorist measures enforced there so far is keeping the will of the French population to resist from expressing itself in more pronounced action. For the case of an invasion of the European continent and a closing-in of the fronts around the inner defensive ring of Greater Germany, it is planned by some accounts to exterminate ruthlessly, by Gestapo and SS measures, entire sections of the population, which might at such a junction engage in anti-German activity.

Source: Count Helmuth James von Moltke’s Memo to Hans Wilbrandt and Alexander Rüstow on Conditions in Germany and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, July 9, 1943, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD, Record Group 226, Entry 137, Box 23, Folder 160, Envelope 3a, part 2.

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