The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The third component to be mentioned is the "Waffen S.S." -- the combat arm
of the S.S. -- created, trained and finally utilised for purposes of
aggressive war. The reason underlying the creation of this combat branch
was described in our Document 2640-PS, the Organisation Book of the Nazi
Party for 1943. It appears on Page 427A of the original Page 5, paragraph 7
of the translation:

     "The Armed S.S. originated out of the thought: to create for the
     Fuehrer a selected long-service troop for the fulfilment of special
     missions. It should make it possible for members of the General S.S.,
     as well as for volunteers who fulfil the special requirements of the
     S.S., to fight in the battle for the evolution of the National
     Socialist idea, with weapon in hand, in unified groups, partly within
     the framework of the Army."

The term "Waffen S.S." did not come into use until after the beginning of
the war. Up to that time there were two branches of the S.S. composed of
full-time, professional, well-trained soldiers -- the so-called "S.S.
Verfuegungstruppe " -- translatable perhaps as S.S. Emergency Troops --

                                                                 [Page 134]

and the " S.S. Totenkopf Verbaende " --The, Death Head Units. After the
beginning of the war, the units of the S.S. Verfuegungstruppe were brought
up to division strength, and new divisions were added to them. Parts of the
S.S. Death Head Units were formed into a division -- the " S.S. Totenkopf
Division." All these divisions then came to be known collectively as the
Waffen S.S."

Let me now trace that development. I quote again from the Organisation Book
of the Nazi Party for 1943, our Document 2640-PS, Page 427B of the
original, Page 5, last paragraph of the translation:

     "The origin of the Waffen S.S. goes back to the decree Of 17th March,
     1933, establishing the ' Stabswache' with the original strength Of 120
     men. Out of this small group developed the later-named ' S.S.
     Verfuegungstruppe' (S.S. Emergency Force), and the 'Leibstandarte S.S.
     Adolf Hitler.' In the course of the war these groups grew into
THE PRESIDENT: Major Farr, is it necessary to go into this degree of detail
about the Organisation of the S.S.?

MAJOR FARR: Sir, it seemed to me that it is highly important to know
exactly what is the organisation with which we are dealing. There has been,
I understand, a suggestion made to the Court that certain portions of this
organisation are not criminal. It is contended by some that the part they
played was a perfectly innocuous one, and it seems to me that before we can
determine whether the organisation as a whole is criminal, whether any
portion of it is severable, then we must know what the organisation is.

THE PRESIDENT: Would it not be possible to leave that question to evidence
in rebuttal, if the defendants are setting up that any particular branch of
the S.S. is not criminal?

MAJOR FARR: If we adequately lay the basis for our case now, it may not be
necessary for us to make any rebuttal. We may satisfy the defendants that
there is nothing in the contention that any portion of the S.S. is a lawful
portion. The point I am particularly trying to make now is: there has been
a good deal of contention that the " Waffen S.S. " is severable ; that
whatever may be said, for example, about the S.D. or the Death Head Units,
the " Waffen S.S." is something different-the " Waffen S.S. " is part of
the Army. I think it is important to establish at the outset that the
"Waffen S.S." is as much a part of the S.S., as integral a part of the
whole Organisation, as any of the other branches. I propose, therefore, to
show the development of the " Waffen S.S.," growing out of the S.S.
Emergency Troop, and to call to the attention of the Tribunal evidence
showing how the " Waffen S.S." is an integral part of the S.S. as a whole.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you must take your own course.

MAJOR FARR: The "S.S. Verfuegungstruppe" were described in a top secret
Hitler order, dated the 17th August, 1938. It is our Document No. 647-PS. I
offer it in evidence as Exhibit USA 443. That document will be found in
Volume I of the document book. I quote from Section II of that order, which
appears on Page 2 of the translation, at the top of the page, and also on
Page 2 of the original.

     "II. The Armed Units of the S.S.
             A. (The S.S. Verfuegungstruppe)
                i. The S.S. Verfuegungstruppe is neither a part.of the Wehr
          macht nor a part of the Police. It is a standing armed unit
          exclusively at my disposal. As such and as a unit of the
                                                                 [Page 135]
          N.S.D.A.P. its members are to be selected by the Reichsfuehrer
          S.S. according to the philosophical and political standards which
          I have ordered for the N.S.D.A.P. and for the Schutzstaffe. Its
          members are to be trained and its ranks filled with volunteers
          from those who are liable to serve in the army having finished
          their duties in the compulsory labour service. The service period
          for volunteers is 4 years. It may be prolonged for S.S.
          Unterfuehrer. Such regulations are in force for S.S. leaders. The
          regular compulsory military service (para. 8 of the law relating
          to military service) is fulfilled by service of the same amount
          of time in the S.S. Verfuegungstruppe."

I want to quote a further short passage from that decree which will be
found on Page 3 of the translation, in the middle of the page, and on Page
4 of the original order:

     III. Orders in Case of Mobilisation
          A. The employment of the S.S. Verfuegungstruppe in case of
          mobilisation is a double one.
               I. By the Supreme Commander of the Army within the wartime
               army. In that case it comes completely under military laws
               and regulations, but remains a unit of the N.S.D.A.P.
               2. In case of necessity, in the interior according to my
               orders, in that case it is under the Reichsfuehrer S.S. and
               Chief of the German Police.
               In case of mobilisation, I myself will make the decision
               about the time, strength and manner of the incorporation of
               the S.S. Verfuegungstruppe into the war-time army; these
               things will depend on the inner-political situation at that

Immediately after the issuance of this decree, and the Court will recall it
was issued in August of 1938, this militarised force was employed with the
Army for aggressive purposes-the taking over of the Sudetenland. Following
this action, feverish preparation to motorise the force and to organise new
units such as anti-tank, machine gun and reconnaissance battalions were
undertaken pursuant to further directives of the Fuehrer. By September,
1939, the force was fully motorised, its units had been increased to
division strength and it was prepared for combat. These steps are described
in the Nationalist Socialist Yearbook for the years 1940 and 1941. I offer
in evidence Pages 365 to 371 of the 1940 Yearbook. It is our Document
2164-PS. It will be Exhibit USA 255. I offer Pages 191 to 193 of the 1941
Yearbook -- which is our Document 2163-PS -- as Exhibit USA 444. Since the
Yearbook is an official publication of the Nazi Party, edited by
Reichsleiter Robert Ley and published by the Nazi Party publishing company,
I assume that the Court will take judicial notice of the contents of these

After the launching of the Polish invasion and as the war progressed, still
further divisions were added. The Organisation Book of the Nazi Party for
1943 -- our Document 2640-PS -- lists some eight divisions and two infantry
brigades as existing at the end of 1942. I refer to Page 427b of the
original, Page 5, last paragraph of the translation. This was no longer

                                                                 [Page 136]

an emergency force. it was an S.S.  army and hence came to be designated as
the Waffen S.S. Himmler referred to this spectacular development of this
S.S. combat branch in his speech at Posen on 4th October, 1943, to S.S.
Gruppenfuehrers. That speech has already been introduced in evidence at an
earlier stage in the case, as Exhibit USA 170- It is our Document 1919-PS.

I shall quote from that speech, Page 5 1 of the original, Page z of the
translation, second paragraph, headed "The S.S. in War-Time."

     "Now I come to our own development, to that of the S.S. in the past
     months. Looking back on the whole war, this development was fantastic.
     It took place at an absolutely terrific speed. Let us look back a
     little to 1939. At that time we were a few regiments, guard units,
     8,ooo to 9,000 strong-that is, not even a division, all in all 2,5P000
     to 28,ooo men at the outside. True, we were armed, but we really only
     got our artillery regiment as our heavy arm two months before the war

I continue, quoting from the same speech a passage found on Page 8 of the
English translation and on Page 103 of the original. The passage in the
translation appears at about the middle of the page.

     "In the hard battles of this year, the Waffen S.S. has been welded
     together in the bitterest hours from the most varied divisions and
     sections, and from these it formed: body-guard units (Leibstandarte),
     military S.S. (Verfuegungstruppe), Death Head Units, and then the
     Germanic S.S."

Although tactically under the command of the Wehrmacht while in the field,
it remained as much a part of the S.S. as any other branch of the
organisation. Throughout the war it was recruited, trained, administered
and supplied by the main offices of the S.S. Supreme Command. Ideologically
and racially, its members were selected in conformity with S.S. standards.

I shall read a passage relating to the recruiting standards of the Waffen
S.S. published in the S.S. Manual, "The Soldier Friend," our Document
2825-PS, which appears on Page 7 of the English translation, first
paragraph on Page 36, paragraph 2, of the the original. I quote:

     " Today at last is the longed for day of the entrance examinations
     where the examiners and physicians decide whether or not the candidate
     is ideologically and physically qualified to do service in the Waffen
     Everyone has acquainted himself with the comprehensive Manual for the
     Waffen S. S., of which the principal points are as follows:
     I. Service in the Waffen S.S. counts as military service. Only
     volunteers are accepted."

THE TRIBUNAL: (MR. BIDDLE,) What is the purpose of reading all this
evidence ? What has what you just read got to do with what you are
presenting ?

MAJOR FARR: Sir, I want to prove, as I said a moment ago, one thing first;
that the Waffen S.S. is an integral, component part of the S.S. I want to
establish that it is completely administered and controlled by the Supreme
Command of the S.S. That is one thing.

The second thing I want to prove is this; that service in the Waffen S.S.
is voluntary service, just as membership in the Allgemeine S.S. or Death
Head Units is voluntary service. It is true that there were some instances

                                                                 [Page 137]

towards the close of the war when a few men were conscripted into the
Waffen S.S., but that was the exception and not the rule. In quoting from
the Recruiting Standards of the Waffen S.S., appearing in this booklet
which was published in 1942, and which indicates that at that time service
in the Waffen S.S. was open only to volunteers, I think I am serving the
purpose of proving one of the two points which I think ought to be estab

I want to read, if I may, one further paragraph from that translation. I
shall read the paragraph indicating that service is voluntary. Now I want
to read the third requirement, which shows that service was open only to
persons who could meet the ideological and other standards of the S.S. as a

If the Tribunal is satisfied on the point that service in the Waffen S.S.
is essentially voluntary and that the Waffen S.S. is an integral part of
the S.S., I do not want to impose further by reading further evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: I think the Tribunal is satisfied on both those points, up
to the present time, that it is voluntary and is an integral part of the

MAJOR FARR: If the Court is satisfied on both those points, I shall not
pursue, any further, the introduction of this particular evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: It may, as you say, be possible to show that there were some
members conscripted into it at a later date, but we have not had that
evidence yet.

MAJOR FARR: No, your Honour, you have not.

All I want to show is that it is, normally, voluntary, and that the Waffen
S.S. is an integral part of the whole organisation. If the Court is
completely satisfied on that point I shall proceed no further with the
description of the Waffen S.S.

I shall pass on now, therefore, to a description of the "S.S. Totenkopf
Verbaende", the Death Head Units, which is the fourth component to be

The origin and purpose of the Totenkopf Verbaende were succinctly described
by d'Alquen in his book, "The S.S.", our Document 2284-PS, and I shall read
from Page 10 of the English translation, paragraph 5, a passage that
appears on Page 20 of the original, paragraph 3.

     "The S.S. Death Head Units form one part of the barracked S.S They
     arose from volunteers of the General S.S. who were recruite for the
     guarding of concentration camps in 1933.
     Their mission, apart from the indoctrination of the armed political
     soldier, is to guard enemies of the States who are held in
     concentration camps.
     The S.S. Death Head Units enforce on their members 12 years' service.
     They are composed mainly of men who have already fulfilled their duty
     to serve in the Wehrmacht. This time of service is counted in full."

Since the Death Head Units -- like the "S.S. Verfuegungstruppe" -- were
composed of well-trained professional soldiers, they were also a valuable
nucleus for the Waffen S.S. The secret Hitler order of 17th August, 1938,
Document 647-PS, which has already been introduced in evidence, provided
for the tasks of the "S.S. Totenkopf Verbaende" in the event of
mobilisation. The Toterikopf Verbaende were to be relieved from the duty of
guarding concentration camps and transferred as a skeleton corps to the

                                                                 [Page 138]

Verfuegungstruppe". I quote from that order, a passage found on Page 5 of
the translation, paragraph 4, Page 9 of the original:

     "5. Regulations in case of Mobilisation:--
     The S.S. Totenkopf Verbaende form the skeleton corps for the
     reinforcement of the S.S. Verfuegungstruppe (police reinforcement) and
     will be replaced in the guarding of the concentration camps by members
     of the General S.S. who are over 45 years of age and have had military

If I may point out to the Court, the purpose in offering that bit of
evidence is to show that the foundation was laid for the "Allgemeine S.S.",
the General S.S., to take over the duties of guarding concentration camps
after the war had started. The Totenkopf Verbaende were originally created
for that purpose. When the war came they went into the Waffen S.S. and
their duties were taken over by members of the General S.S.

The final component, which was specifically referred to in the Indictment,
is the S.S. Police Regiments. I shall very shortly turn to the steps by
which the S.S. assumed control over the entire Reich Police. Out of the
police, special militarised forces were formed, originally known as S.S.
Police Battalions and later expanded to S.S. Police Regiments.

I quote from Himmler's Posen speech, our Document 1919-PS, Page 3 of the
translation, next to the last paragraph, Page 58 of the original.

     "Now to deal briefly with the tasks of the regular uniformed police
     and the Sipo -- they still cover the same field. I can see that great
     things have been achieved. We have formed roughly 30 police regiments
     from police reservists and former members of the police -- police
     officials, as they used to be called. The average age in our police
     battalions is not lower than that of the security battalions of the
     Armed Forces. Their achievements are beyond all praise. In addition,
     we have formed Police Rifle Regiments by merging the police battalions
     of the 'savage peoples'. Thus, we did not leave these police
     battalions untouched but blended them in the ratio of about 1 to 3."

The results of this blend of militarised S.S. police and "savage peoples"
will be seen in the evidence which I shall later introduce, relating to
extermination actions, conducted by them in the Eastern territories --
exterminations which were so eminently successful and so ruthlessly
conducted that even Himmler could find no words adequate for their eulogy.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now for 10 minutes.

                           (A recess was taken.)

MAJOR FARR: Each of the various components which I have described played
its part in carrying out one or more functions of the S.S. The personnel
composing each differed. Some were part-time volunteers ; others,
professionals, enlisted for different periods of time. But every branch,
every department, every member, was an integral part of the whole organisa
tion. Each performed his assigned role in the manifold tasks for which the
organisation had been created. No better witness to this fact could be
called upon than the Reichsfuehrer S.S., whose every effort was to insure
the complete unity of the organisation. I quote his words, taken from his
Posen speech, our Document igig-PS, Exhibit USA 170- 1 read from Page 104
of the original, fourth line from the top of the page, from the English
translation, Page 8.

                                                           [Page 139]

"It would be an evil day if the main offices, in performing. their tasks
with the best, but mistaken intentions, made themselves independent by each
having a downward chain of command. I really think that the day of my
overthrow would be the end of the S.S. It must be, that this S.S.
organisation with all its branches-the General S.S. which is the common
basis of all of them, the Waffen S.S., the regular uniformed police, the
Sipo, with the whole economic administration, schooling, ideological
training, the whole question of kindred, is, even under the tenth
Reichsfuehrer S.S., one block, one body, one Organisation."

And continuing, about the middle of Page 8 of the translation, and at the
bottom of Page 104 of the original speech:

"The regular uniformed police and Sipo, General S.S. and Waffen S.S. must
now gradually be amalgamated too, just as this is and must be the case
within the Waffen S.S. This applies to matters concerning filling of posts,
recruiting, schooling, economic organisation, and medical services. I am
always doing something towards this end, a bond is constantly being drawn
around these actions of the whole to cause them to grow together. Alas, if
these bonds should ever be loosened-then everything-you may be sure of
this-would sink back into its old insignificance within one generation, and
in a short space of time."

I now turn to the underlying philosophy of the S.S., the principles by
which its members were selected and the obligations imposed upon them. To
understand this organisation, the theories upon which it was based must be
kept clearly in mind. They furnish the key to all its activities. It is
necessary, therefore, to consider them in some detail.

The fundamental principle of selection was what Himmler called that of
Blood and Elite. The S.S. was to be the living embodiment of the Nazi
doctrine of the superiority of Nordic blood-the carrying into effect of the
Nazi conception of a master race. To put it in Himmler's own words, the
S.S. was to be a " National Socialist Soldier Order of Nordic Men ". In
describing to the Wehrmacht the reasons behind his emphasis on'racial
standards of selection and the manner in which they were carried out he
said-and I quote from our Document 1992-A-PS, Page I of the translation,
last paragraph, Page 138, paragraph I of the original:

"Accordingly, only good blood, blood which history has proved to be
leading and creative and the foundation of every State and of all military
activities, only Nordic blood, can be considered. I said to myself that,
should I succeed in selecting from the German people for this organisation
as many people as possible a majority of whom possess this desired blood,
in teaching them military discipline and, in time, the understanding of the
value of blood and the entire ideology which results from it, then it will
be possible actually to create such an elite
organisation as would successfully hold its own in all cases of emergency."

Further on, on Page 5 of the translation-I beg your pardon, on Page 4 of
the translation, first line, Page 140 of the original, bottom paragraph, he
says, referring to the method by which applicants were selected:

"They are very thoroughly examined and checked. Of ioo men we can use on
the average 10 or 15, no more. We ask for the political record of his
parents, brothers and sisters, the record of his ancestry as far back as
1750, and naturally the physical examination and his

                                                                 [Page 140]

record from the Hitler Youth. Further, we ask for a eugenic record showing
that no hereditary disease exists in his parents or in his family."

THE PRESIDENT: (interposing) I do not seem to get the point of this. We
have already been told that the S.S. was a Corps d'Elite, and all this is
showing the details of the choice.

MAJOR FARR: That is correct; it is showing the details of the choice.

THE PRESIDENT: But that has nothing to do with its being a criminal
organisation, has it ?

MAJOR FARR: I think it has, your Honour. I want to make again, if I may,
two points. The very essence of this organisation was that of race. Its
racial standards of selection had two purposes: One, to make it an
organisation which would be an aristocracy not only for Germany, but which
would be in a position to dominate all of Europe. For that purpose, not
only were strict racial standards imposed for selection, but a great drive
was made to perpetuate the S.S. stock, to build up a group of men who would
be in a position to take over Europe when it was conquered.

There was nothing questionable about that aim. Himmler explicitly said time
and time again: " What we are after is to make ourselves the super-class
which will be able to dominate Europe for centuries." That was one of the
fundamental purposes of the S.S., and it was a purpose which was not kept
by Himmler to himself, but a purpose which was explained and publicly
announced again and again.

THE PRESIDENT: You have npt yet shown us where it was announced, have you ?

MAJOR FARR: I have not, Sir, and I am coming to that very shortly, but I
wanted first to show your Honour what the racial basis of selection was.
That is one aspect of the racial selective process.

The second was this: The negative side of the racialism. Not only did
Himmler intend to build up an elite which would be able to take over
Europe, but he indoctrinated that elite with hatred for all " inferior "-to
use his words-races.

Now, I think unless it is clearly understood that that is the basis of the
S.S., we cannot understand the organisation. I am quite prepared, if the
Tribunal desires, not to go further into a discussionof the detail of the
process of selection. I do think it important that I quote to the Tribunal
the publicly announced basis for selection.

With the Tribunal's permission then, I would like to quote one passage from
the Organisation Book for the Nazi Party, which explains the racial basis
on which the S.S. was founded. That is our Document 2640-PS, which has
already been introduced in evidence as Exhibit USA 323- 1 quote from Page
V7 of the German text and from Page i of the translation, fourth paragraph,
entitled "Selection of Members." And I quote this because this is not a
hidden pronouncement. This is what the official Nazi Party publication said
the S. S. was:

"Selection of Members.

For the fulfilment of these missions a homogeneous, firmly welded fighting
force has been created bound by ideological oaths, whose fighters are
selected out of the best Aryan humanity.

The conception of the value of the blood and soil serves as directive for
the selection for the S.S. Every S.S. man must be deeply imbued

                                                               [Page 141]

with the sense and essence of the National Socialist Movement. He will be
ideologically and physically trained so that he can be employed
individually or in groups in the decisive battle for the National Socialist

Only the best and thoroughbred Germans are suited for commitment in this
battle. Therefore it is necessary that an uninterrupted selection is
maintained within the ranks of the S.S., first superficially, then more and
more thoroughly."

Now, I would like to proceed to quote a paragrapb on the same page, three
paragraphs down, with respect to obedience. It appears on Page 418 of the
original, second paragraph. It runs:

"Obedience is unconditionally demanded. It arises from the conviction that
the National Socialist ideology must reign. He who possesses it and
passionately supports it, submits himself voluntarily to the compulsion of
obedience. Therefore, the S.S. man is prepared to carry out blindly every
order which comes from the Fuehrer or is given by one of his superiors,
even if it demands the greatest sacrifice of himself."

There are stated the two fundamental principles of the S.S. (i) Racial
selection; (2) Blind obedience.

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