Requiring the allegedly guilty party to produce proof
of his innocence was going a bit too far. That was up to the prosecution. So we
had to show that the deportation order Achenbach said he had suggested to
Berlin as a bluff was not only planned but carried out. |
For three days
we researched this point, poring over hundreds of file cards and documents,
harassed by the time factor and by necessity. The selection of the hostages to
be shot in reprisal for the murders would be made by Abetz and his political
counselor Achenbach according to embassy policy established on December 7,
1941. They thought that, in the interest of the German people, they should
avoid any mention of the general French repugnance to collaboration. Abetz,
therefore, advised taking hostages from among Jews and communists, or at least
from among those he called such.
...Even then, when it could not be clearly
shown that they were French, it was considered wise not to produce such
evidence but, considering political interests, to defend the argument that only
Jews and agents in the pay of the British and the Russians were involved. In
accordance with the above, it would also be helpful not to mention publicly any
executions of Frenchmen or hostages, but only reprisals against Jews and agents
of the Anglo Saxon and Soviet secret services.
Any procedures against
the material well being of the French people as a whole do not seem advisable.
But heavy fines levied on Jews will have an excellent effect on the opinions of
the upper levels of the plutocracy, especially if part of the money so derived
is given to French charities.
When the military command
informed him that Der Führer had approved the suggested measures, Abetz
telephoned that he was very happy his recommendations had been accepted, and
said: "These measures coincide with the principles I enunciated in Chapter IV
of my report of December 7." Among those measures was the execution of fifty
eight Jewish and communist hostages.
Thereafter the embassy was to edit
the text of all communiqués dealing with bloody reprisals, and to wire
Berlin about all shootings. I came across a twelve page report from Achenbach,
dated March 17, 1943, in which were listed dozens of names of people who had
been shot, some of which I copied:
Housepainter Jean Lecoq, railway worker
Felix Bouffay, metal worker Raymond Pottier, undertaker Pierre Vastel,
coppersmith Raymond Losserand, interior decorator René Appère,