The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/11/03

Q. Upon whose directive was the harbour district of
Marseilles demolished?

                                                  [Page 169]

A. That was a directive by the Reichsfuehrer, sent directly
to the Higher SS and Police Leaders who, especially in
France, had worked out a close connection with him by-
passing the Gestapo. In Berlin we heard about this order
only later on.

Q. Did Himmler frequently issue such directives without
first telling the police about it?

A. While I was in Berlin that happened rather frequently. He
did it on the basis of reports which he received from some
other office or as a spontaneous reaction to some act of
sabotage or an attempted assassination.

Q. Do you know of any cases of excessive methods during
interrogations in the Western occupied territories?

A. In the main, we knew officially at the time only about
the Norwegian White Book which caused an investigation in
Oslo; and then the basis of our reports to the Reichsfuehrer
was to obtain the recall of Terboven.

Q. What do you know about the deportation of French
ministers and generals to Germany?

A. This particular deportation was ordered by the
Reichsfuehrer evidently after deliberation with only the
Higher SS and Police Leaders in France. The Secret State
Police office (Gestapo), however, did not know anything
beforehand and was confronted with the order that Prime
Minister Reynaud and Minister Mandel were to be put into
prison cells. The Gestapo office, after much correspondence,
succeeded in getting a different kind of quarters for the
French statesmen and an understanding that there would be
better quarters from the beginning for those people who were
later transferred to Germany.

Q. Did you know that one of the French generals at
Koenigstein was to be executed upon the orders of Panzinger
in November, 1944?

A. No.

Q. And that the general was to be taken away from
Koenigstein in a car and then shot when allegedly trying to

I put before you the documents which have just been
presented by the American Prosecution, 4048-PS to 4052-PS,
and I want you to state your opinion as to what you know
about this.

DR. MERKEL: I only have an English copy, but the witness
understands English very well.

THE PRESIDENT: Is it in your document book?

DR. MERKEL: No, Mr. President, it is not in the document
book and I could not put it in because these documents have
just been presented by the American prosecution during the
session. The numbers are 4048 to 4052-PS. They have just
been presented during the cross-examination of Dr. Best.


Q. Witness, I believe it is not necessary for you to read
all the documents now. I only want you shortly to refer to
these documents and answer my question, that is, if you know
anything at all about this incident?

A. The dates of the documents are January, 1945 and
December, 1944. At both those times I was in Denmark and I
was not in the Secret State Police office.

Q. Generally, was the deportation of foreign workers to
Germany carried out by the Gestapo?

A. No. I recall that even the arrests of escaped workers in
the Western occupied territories were not carried out by the
Gestapo. I remember particularly that in 1940 Reich
Commissioner Seyss-Inquart stressed specifically that such
things should not be done.

Q. Was the so-called "Nacht und Nebel" decree of the OKW
brought before you in order to make it known to the State
Police offices and commanders?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you agree with that decree?

                                                  [Page 170]

A. The "Nacht und Nebel" decree had been issued by the OKW
in conjunction with the Reich Ministry of Justice. The
Gestapo office had nothing to do with the drafting of it.
There were, to begin with, great difficulties in the way of
technical and police administration, because the act which
had been committed abroad had to be clarified in Germany. If
only for these reasons we rejected it as being difficult to
carry out.

Furthermore, its effect proved to be negative, for the
relatives did not know anything about the person arrested,
and this was in contradiction to our fundamental tendencies.
The difficulties arose immediately when the first people
were arrested and transferred to the State Police offices,
which had to clarify the proceedings. They showed that
innocent people too were brought to Germany. We then
succeeded in spite of the terms of this decree, in getting
these people returned to their native country.

Q. Were the so-called "Kugel" decree, the commando order,
and the "N.N. decree" applied in Denmark while you were

A. No.

Q. What do you know about the application of these decrees
in the other. Western occupied territories?

A. All these were decrees which were issued after I left
Berlin and therefore I cannot say anything about them.

Q. Do you know whether the Gestapo in the Western occupied
territories had special groups in the prisoner-of-war camps
so as to select and execute those men who were racially or
politically undesirable?

A. I cannot say anything about that because the decree was
not known to me before the surrender.

Q. Did the decrees mentioned have the character of State
Police decrees?

A. These decrees did not originate as the work of
professional police, but they were ordered from above. The
normal State Police officials therefore could not expect
that such decrees would ever be issued, and besides, owing
to the regulations on secrecy, the contents of these decrees
were really not known to the great majority of State Police

DR. MERKEL: I have no further questions to put to the

THE PRESIDENT: Does the prosecution wish to cross-examine?



Q. Dr. Hoffmann, you were a member of the Nazi Party, were
you not?

A. Yes.

Q. Since when?

A. Since 1st December, 1932.

Q. And when you became a candidate for Government service,
and in particular the police, you indicated too that you
were a member of the Party, did you not?

A. I beg your pardon; I did not quite understand the

Q. When you became a candidate for Government service, and
in particular the police, you indicated that you were a
member of the Nazi Party, did you not?

A. Yes, of course.

Q. You said a short while ago that there was no connection
between the Gestapo and the Nazi Party, did you not?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Is it correct, though, that police officials were
subjected to political screening?

A. I did not quite understand the sense of the question, I
am sorry, I did not quite understand the question.

Q. "Political screening" is a special term which you
probably know; in German it is called "Politische

                                                  [Page 171]

A. Yes.

Q. It is true, is it not, that important officials of the
police, before being appointed, were subjected to this
political screening by the Party?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know the circular of the Party Chancellery
according to which the authorities of the National Socialist
Party were not obliged to consult the USC cards, when it was
a question of appointing new police officials, or of giving

A. Each official who entered was examined regarding his
political attitude, and each one who was promoted was
screened again.

Q. You were a member of the SS, were you not?

A. Under the assimilation decree I became a member of the SS
in November, 1939, after the outbreak of war.

Q. You had to send in an application, did you not?

A. We were directed by the office to make a formal

Q. And this application was similarly subjected to a
political screening, was it not?

A. I assume so.

Q. And when you were in Dusseldorf, as delegate of the Chief
of the Gestapo services, you had under your orders some
Frontier Police offices?

A. Yes.

Q. Is it correct that these offices had exactly the same
functions as the branch offices of the Gestapo?

A. No, not at first, they had only the duties of frontier
police. In my time, the political tasks of the police were
the business of the Landrat.

Q. You are speaking of what period?

A. I am speaking of the period of 1939 to 1940 - until
September, 1940.

Q. I remind you of a circular of the Ministry of the
Interior for Prussia and the Reich, of 8th May, 1937,
published in the bulletin of 1937 of the Ministry of the
Interior for the Reich and Prussia, Page 754; which
stipulates in its third article that the police tasks at the
frontier of the Reich are taken over by the frontier office
and posts.

A. Yes, that is correct. You must distinguish between the
inner political tasks and counter-intelligence work. Counter-
intelligence, of course, was handled by the Frontier Police,
but not tasks of inner political nature, because most of the
officials of the Frontier Police did not have the necessary
training to make criminal investigations independently.

Q. The same paragraph continues that the frontier offices of
the police are considered as being Gestapo offices and are
assimilated to the "Aussendienststellen."

A. I cannot understand the word. Oh, yes -
"Aussendientstelle". The Frontier Police were subordinated
to the State Police office, Department III, which dealt with
counter-intelligence tasks. As the purpose of counter-
intelligence work is to counter aggression coming from
abroad, it goes without saying that the Frontier Police had
the most urgent task of all police units along the frontier.
I have explained that the Frontier Police essentially were
not entrusted with the inner political tasks of the police.

Q. You said to us just now that people were sent to
concentration camps at the request of the local Gestapo
services. Is that true?

A. If an individual was to be sent to a concentration camp,
the State Police office in Berlin had to make a request to
the Gestapo office. It was only if the Gestapo office or,
later on, the Chief of the Security Police, decided for
protective custody that the individual could be sent to the
concentration camp, because internments were obtained
through the usual channels of police administration.

Q. So it is a fact, witness, that internments in
concentration camps were made on the initiative of the local
offices of the Gestapo?

                                                  [Page 172]

A. On the demand of the local office of the State Police.

Q. And the local Gestapo services, when making such a
request, at the same time arrested the individual?

A. Yes.

Q. Did frontier posts also have the right to make requests
for internment in concentration camps?

A. The Frontier Police had only the duty of intervening at
the frontier. They did not take any decisions independently.
If the Frontier Police arrested a person, all they did was
to hand him over with a report to the State Police office,
which continued to investigate the matter. The officials of
the Frontier Police were mostly beginners who were not yet
able to carry out any criminal investigations. The Frontier
Police office was not an independent office that could make
such requests. The duties of the Frontier Police were in no
way different from those before 1933.

Q. I would like to show you, witness, a document which
nevertheless dates from 1944 and which comes from the
Dusseldorf Gestapo office. That is 1063-PS. Is it a fact
that this letter was also sent to the frontier offices to
inform them that there was no reason to send arrested
Eastern workers to Buchenwald concentration camp?

A. Excuse me; I did not quite understand the question
because I was reading.

Q. Is it correct that this letter addressed to the frontier
offices informs them -

A. That can be seen from the contents. It is clear, of
course, that a State Police office also sends its principal
directives to the frontier, for the contents of this letter
deal with the treatment of individuals who had been caught
and that, of course, happened at the frontier. The letter
also states that a police office, having picked up such an
individual, has to pass on all information when they hand
over the case to the State Police office, that is the
principal office.

Q. It is correct, is it, that this document indicates that
requests for transfer to concentration camps which would
come from frontier offices have to pass via Dusseldorf?

A. Yes, of course. To my knowledge, the Frontier Police
office could not have any direct connection with the

Q. So it is also correct that the frontier office could
itself file requests for internment in concentration camps?

A. Only to the State Police office at Dusseldorf. But I must
add that the document is dated 1944, and that since 1940 I
was no longer engaged in State Police work in Germany; and I
cannot say whether there were any changes in the directives
given for the Frontier Police offices during my absence.
This document does not give any cause to suppose there were,
because I assume that the same decree was also sent to the

THE PRESIDENT: In general, the Tribunal thinks that there is
no use cross-examining the witness about documents which are
not his own documents and about which he knows nothing. You
can put the documents in.


Q. Do you know the institution of the Secret Field Police?

A. In the country there was only the gendarmerie, and in the
smaller towns, the so-called Communal Criminal Police.

Q. I believe there is a mistranslation here. I mean the
"Geheime Feldpolizei."

A. That institution is known to me, yes. I did not
understand the question at first.

Q. Is it correct that most of the members of Field Police
came from the police?

A. The units of the Secret Field Police (Geheime
Feldpolizei) were composed of a few police officials, but
mostly of soldiers who had been detailed for that purpose.
In the groups, of the Secret Field Police which were
transferred to

                                                  [Page 173]

Denmark, I estimate that within one unit there were about
ten to fifteen per cent. of police officials, and the
remainder were soldiers who had been detailed for that duty,
and who previously had never had anything to do with the

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