Archive/File: imt/nca/supp-b/nca-sb-02-frank.07-01 Last-Modified: 1997/11/25 Q. What about this decree of October 26th? A. This decree on October 26th mentions the fact that the Jewish forced labor had to work under police supervision. Q. That is all the dealings that you had with the Polish Jews, just that one decree? A. Yes. It must be the only thing. I don't remember anything else. It might be possible that I had another decree. I made another decree concerning the ghetto in Cracow, but I am not sure about it. It might be that even the order for the construction of the ghetto was a part of the police administration, not of mine. Q. Do you remember now any other decrees that you signed dealing with Polish Jews? A. I don't know if you mean by that one of the decrees where the Polish Jews were obliged to have the Star of David on an armband. Q. Do you remember that one? A. I don't remember if I made the decree. Q. You know very well that you signed that decree, don't you? A. Did I sign that? If I did, then it is all right. I don't want you to believe that I want to deny anything I signed. I have been in prison for four months, and you must realize it is very hard for me to concentrate myself. I don't want you to have the impression that I want to deny anything I did. Q. Didn't you on the 23d day of November 1939 issue, above your own signature, a decree calling for the segregation of Jews in the General Government of Poland, and compelling all Polish nationals of the Jewish race, above the age of ten, to wear a white armband with the Star of David? [See document 2672-PS, Vol. V, p. 368.] This decree threatened imprisonment and a heavy fine on all who failed to comply. A. Yes. In my subconscious mind I remember that. Q. What about your conscious mind? [Page 1371] A. During this time, it was a rule in the whole German Reich that the Jews had to wear the yellow star on their breast. I didn't want to have the same thing and thought it would be a good idea to have something else, because I judged it much better than to have this yellow star; so I suggested the white armband with a star, because all the German workers anyhow had some kind of an armband. I thought it was not so discriminating for the Jews to wear an armband, something similar to those of the German workers. It was a rule in the Reich, and I considered it much better than those the Reich had now in order. It was much less discriminating. Besides that, those were all general orders coming from the Reich. Q. where was it intended to concentrate the Jews? A. In the East. Q. Whose intention was that? A. From Hitler and those men, Himmler, and those men around him. Q. Did you ever get any written directives or instructions with reference to that? A. No. Never. Q. then how did you know it was Himmler's plan to do that? A. Somebody told me in Cracow, that all the Jews were to be sent to Theresienstadt and the East. At this time we considered the East as containing all of Russia. Q. Do you remember stating, during that speech, that it had been decided that instead of concentrating all the Jews in Poland, that Poland was to serve merely as a transmission camp and that the Jews actually were to go further East? A. That is a question of the policy concerning the Jews that was only in the hands of Himmler. He was so much in charge of this question that he even was not obliged to make it known to the countries concerned about what kind of action he was about to take. Q. You don't remember then making the statement about which I have just told you? A. I don't want to deny that on some occasions I did mention something about the solution of the Jewish question, because this question at this time had to be brought to its end. Q. Do you mean the solution of sending them East? A. No. We were waiting for a solution from Berlin, to know exactly what we could do about these poor men. Q. What was your suggestion for the solution? A. I never was supposed to make any solution. We worked [Page 1372] quite well together with the Jews. They were distributed through the country, and without the Jews there would never have been any commerce. The Jews in Poland are specialists, like tailors or shoemakers. Without those little Jewish commercial men, it would have been very hard to get along. My government had always the intention to keep those Jews in their places because we needed them in their work. We proved that. We had to shut down the factories after the moment Jews were deported from Poland. Q. Who established the ghettos in Poland? A. The police started with it. They concentrated them together in certain living quarters. Q. What was your connection with that? A. I tried to get a certain law into all of these decrees, and I remember now, that I made a decree about the construction of Jewish living quarters. Q. You established the ghettos, didn't you? A. I only made those decrees lawful. It was not the task of the police to consider the question of sewage, water, and labor and taxes for these ghettos. That was my task. Q. My question is this: Did you or did you not, by decree, legalize the setting up of ghettos? A. I only tried, when these ghettos were erected by the police, to get a legal background and foundation for those things. Q. You did that by issuing a decree, didn't you? A. In the interests of everybody, and especially, in the interests of the Jews. Q. All I am saying is that it was your ultimate responsibility, as Governor General of Poland, to administer these ghettos. Now, you did it by one means or another, but the fact of the matter is that it was your responsibility; isn't that so? A. Originally, these ghettos were erected by the police. I later had two decrees to legalize those facts. Furthermore, I was charged with administration, but we had terrific difficulties with the police who did interfere daily in our administration measures. The idea of my decree was only to protect these Jews, who, without any special decree and law, would have been diminished or eliminated. There was always the talk about the elimination of the Jews, and I tried, by these decrees, to save them. It was entirely wrong. I know that you will always want to put me in a position where I will be accused as the originator of these ghettos, but that is not the truth. They were already erected, and it was only my task to legalize these things. Q. Did you ever visit the ghettos? [Page 1373] A. No. Once I went to the ghetto in Warsaw. Q. What did you find there? What were the conditions? A. The conditions, in the long range, were absolutely impossible. Under any conditions, a change was necessary, and then necessary foodstuffs for these 100,000 poor men. We did what we could, but the land was very poor. The country was poor, and all around was the police. We really had to smuggle in food. I ask you to hear Governor Fischer who was at Warsaw, who is able to give you a detailed report confirming what I just told you. For a certain time, conditions in the ghettos were better. The Jewish inmates in the ghetto made treaties with German industries for deliveries of uniforms and other things.
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