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Nuremberg Trial Judgements: Alfred Rosenberg

Rosenberg is indicted on all four counts. He joined the Nazi Party in 1919, participated in the Munich Putsch of 9th November, 1923, and tried to keep the illegal Nazi Party together while Hitler was in jail. Recognised as the Party's ideologist, he developed and spread Nazi doctrines in the newspapers "Voelkischer Beobachter" and "N S Monatshefte," which he edited, and in the numerous books he wrote. His book, " Myth of the Twentieth Century," had a circulation of over a million copies.

In 1930, Rosenberg was elected to the Reichstag and the became the Party's representative for Foreign Affairs. In April, 1933, he was made Reichsleiter and head of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the NSDAP (The APA). Hitler, in January, 1934, appointed Rosenberg his Deputy for the Supervision of the Entire Spiritual and Ideological Training of the NSDAP. In January, 1940, he was designated to set up the "Hohe Schule," the Centre of National Socialistic Ideological and Educational Research, and he organised the “Einsatzstab Rosenberg” in connection with this task. He was appointed Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories on 17th July, 1941.

Crimes Against Peace

As head of the APA, Rosenberg was in charge of an organisation whose agents were active in Nazi intrigue in all parts of the world. His own reports, for example, claim that the APA was largely responsible for Roumania's joining the Axis. As head of the APA, he played an important role in the preparation and planning of the attack on Norway.

Rosenberg, together with Raeder, was one of the originators of the plan for attacking Norway. Rosenberg had become interested in Norway as early as June, 1939, when he conferred with Quisling. Quisling had pointed out the importance of the Norwegian Coast in the event of a conflict between Germany and Great Britain, and stated his fears that Great Britain might he able to obtain Norwegian assistance. As a result of this conference Rosenberg arranged for Quisling to collaborate closely with the National Socialists and to receive political assistance by the Nazis.

When the war broke out Quisling began to express fear of British intervention in Norway. Rosenberg supported this view, and transmitted to Raeder a plan to use Quisling for a coup in Norway. Rosenberg was instrumental in arranging the conferences in December, 1939, between Hitler and Quisling which led to the preparation of the attack on Norway, and at which Hitler promised Quisling financial assistance. After these conferences Hitler assigned to Rosenberg the political exploitation of Norway. Two weeks after Norway was occupied, Hitler told Rosenberg that he had based his decision to attack Norway " on the continuous warnings of Quisling as reported to him by Reichsleiter Rosenberg."

Rosenberg bears a major responsibility for the formulation and execution of occupation policies in the Occupied Eastern Territories. He was informed by Hitler on 2nd April, 1941, of the coming attack against the Soviet Union, and he agreed to help in the capacity of a " Political Adviser." On 20th April, 1941, he was appointed Commissioner for the Central Control of Questions connected with the East European Region. In preparing the plans for the occupation, he had numerous conferences with Keitel, Raeder, Goering, Funk, Ribbentrop, and other high Reich authorities. In April and May, 1941, he prepared several drafts of instructions concerning the setting up of the administration in the Occupied Eastern Territories. On 20th June, 1941, two days before the attack on the U.S.S.R., he made a speech to his assistants about the problems and policies of occupation. Rosenberg attended Hitler's conference of 16th July, 1941, in the course of which policies of administration and occupation were discussed. On 17th July, 1941, Hitler appointed Rosenberg Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, and publicly charged him with responsibility for civil administration.

War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity

Rosenberg is responsible for a system of organised plunder of both public and private property throughout the invaded countries of Europe. Acting under Hitler's orders of January, 1940, to set up the " Hohe Schule," he organised and directed the " Einsatzstab Rosenberg," which plundered museums and libraries, confiscated art treasures and collections and pillaged private houses. His own reports show the extent of the confiscations. In "Action-M" (Moebel), instituted in December, 1941, at Rosenberg's suggestion, 69,619 Jewish homes were plundered in the West, 38,000 of them in Paris alone, and it took 26,984 railroad cars to transport the confiscated furnishings to Germany. As of 14th July, 1944, more than 21,903 art objects, including famous paintings and museum pieces, had been seized by the Einsatzstab in the West.

With his appointment as Reich Minister for Occupied Eastern Territories on 17th July, 1941, Rosenberg became the supreme authority for those areas. He helped to formulate the policies of Germanisation, exploitation, forced labour, extermination of Jews and opponents of Nazi rule, and he set up the administration which carried them out. He took part in the conference of 16th July, 1941, in which Hitler stated that they were faced with the task of "cutting up the giant cake according to our needs, in order to be able: first, to dominate it, second, to administer it, and third, to exploit it," and he indicated that ruthless action was contemplated Rosenberg accepted his appointment on the following day.

Rosenberg had knowledge of the brutal treatment and terror to which the Eastern people were subjected. He directed that the Hague Rules of Land Warfare were not applicable in the Occupied Eastern Territories. He had knowledge of and took an active part in stripping the Eastern Territories of raw materials and foodstuffs, which were all sent to Germany. He stated that feeding the German people was first on the list of claims on the East, and that the Soviet people would suffer thereby. His directives provided for the segregation of Jews, ultimately in Ghettos. His subordinates engaged in mass killings of Jews, and his civil administrators in the East considered that cleansing the Eastern Occupied Territories of Jews was necessary. In December, 1941, Rosenberg made the suggestion to Hitler that in a case of shooting 100 hostages, Jews only be used. Rosenberg had knowledge of the deportation of labourers from the East, of the methods of " recruiting" and the transportation horrors, and of the treatment Eastern labourers received in the Reich. He gave his civil administrators quotas of labourers to be sent to the Reich, which had to be met by whatever means necessary. His signature of approval appears on the order of 14th June, 1944, for the " Heu Aktion," the apprehension of 40,000 to 50,000 youths, aged 10-14, for shipment to the Reich.

Upon occasion Rosenberg objected to the excesses and atrocities committed by his subordinates, notably in the case of Koch, but these excesses continued and he stayed in office until the end.


The Tribunal finds that Rosenberg is guilty on all four counts.

Sources: The Avalon Project