The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. For the purposes of discipline and promotion, the Waffen
SS came under Himmler, did it not?

A. Only in juridical matters. The appointing authority for
military courts was the divisional commander, but sentences
beyond a fixed maximum were subject to Himmler's

Q. Listen to what the Leader of the SS, Himmler, says about
the unity of his own organization, this armed SS. This is
when he was addressing the officers of the Leibstandarte of
Adolf Hitler:

  "This armed SS will live only if our entire SS is alive,
  if the entire corps is actually an order which lives
  according to these laws and realizes that one part cannot
  exist without the other. You are not imaginable without
  the general SS; and the latter is not imaginable without
  you. The police is not imaginable without the SS, nor are
  we imaginable without this executive branch of the State
  which is in our hands."

That is an extract from 1918-PS.

Then he said again in 1943:

  "It must so come about that this SS organization with all
  its branches, the general SS, which is the common basis
  of all of them, the Waffen SS, and the regular uniformed
  police, the Sipo, with the whole economic administration,
  schooling, ideological training, the whole question of
  kindred, is under the Tenth Reichsfuehrer SS one bloc,
  one body, one organization."

That is from Document 1919-PS.

Is not that a true picture of the SS?

A. He does not say it was so, he says it must be so, and it
should be so, because he knew that unity did not exist.

Q. Then finally I want to put to you Hitler's ideas about
the Waffen SS, Document D-665, Exhibit GB 280, which I
referred to this morning.

                                                  [Page 322]

THE PRESIDENT: You did not give us the number for that
document which
you said took place in 1943.

MR. ELWYN JONES: That is the famous 1919-PS, my Lord,
Exhibit USA 170.

Q. These are Hitler's ideas on the Waffen SS. He says that
the Greater German Reich in its final form would not include
within its structures anything but national entities who are
from the very beginning well disposed towards the Reich. "It
is therefore necessary to maintain outside the corps of the
Reich a State military police capable of representing and
imposing the authority of the Reich within the country in
any situation."

Then he goes on, "Having returned home in the ranks of the
Army, having proved themselves in the field, the units of
the Waffen SS who possessed the authority to execute their
tasks as State police - " That again is a picture of the
unity of the SS by the leader of the Nazi State. Are you
saying that he is wrong and that you were right in this

A. No, those are his ideas for the future, ideas which had
not yet been realised, but which he intended to have
realised after the war.

MR. ELWYN JONES: I have no further questions.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I would like to put only a
very few questions to this witness, as supplement to the
detailed cross-examination which was conducted by my British
colleague. I am submitting to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR
520 -

THE PRESIDENT: Have you fresh matters to go into, or fresh
documents to put in?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I have a few fresh documents which I would
like to submit, and in connection therewith I have a few
questions to put to the witness, only three or four

I am submitting to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 52o a
summarised statement of the Yugoslav State Commission, which
deals especially with the actions of the SS Division "Prinz
Eugen." Mr. Elwyn Jones has already quoted documents
referring to this division. This is a summarised document.



Q. I would like the witness to pay attention to Pages 3, 4
and 5 of the document, a list of the persons annihilated
during one single action; these are not only the names of
single persons but the names of the families which were
killed by this division. Now I would like the witness to
follow me while I read two paragraphs from this voluminous
document. I quote Page 5 of the Russian text:

  "After the murder had been carried out, these SS groups
  went in the direction of the villages of Srijane, Bisko,
  Gornji, Delac and Putisic in order to continue their mass
  murder and arson - "

THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell us which page it is in the

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Page 6, my Lord, Page 6. It is the fourth
paragraph from the bottom, from the last paragraph. May I
continue? .



Q. "After the termination of the massacre, these SS troops
proceeded in the direction of the villages Srijane, Bisko,
Gornji, Delac and Putisic in order to continue their mass
murder and arson. All the cattle they found in the burnt-
down villages were taken with them.

"The entire series of these crimes, which were committed in
March, 1944, in the district of Split, stands out
distinctly, because it is the climax of a brutal

                                                  [Page 323]

cynicism, which till now was unknown in the history of
criminality: The criminals locked women and children in
stables filled with hay and straw, delivered speeches to
them and thereafter burned them alive." I am asking you,
witness, are not these crimes against humanity in sharp
contradiction to your description of the SS?

A. Of both these paragraphs I can only say that they are
concerned with the Balkans. More than that, I do not know. I
do not know which units are meant here. I cannot comment on
the document at all.

Q. I want to submit to you another document, a statement by
one of your old acquaintances. I think you will remember the
name August Schmidthuber. Do you remember the name of this

A. Yes, I know that name.

Q. Maybe you will recall that he commanded a battalion of
the division "Das Reich" in the period when you were the
commander of that division.

A. He was in the division before I commanded it, and that is
why I remember him, but for a long time he served in the

Q. I would like to quote only one sentence from the
statement of this major general of the Waffen SS; you will
be shown this passage at once. I submitted the original to
the Tribunal. Please listen to this paragraph, Page 3 of the
Russian text:

  "An officer responsible for the entries in the war diary
  told me that the commander of my first battalion,
  Kasserer, had a large number of citizens locked up in a
  church in Krivaya Reka - I emphasize 'in a church' - and
  then ordered the church to be blown up. I do not know how
  many persons perished." Do you consider this action as a
  very serious crime against humanity or not?

A. This appears to be hearsay, it is not the testimony of an

Q. No, this is the statement of the division commander, who
speaks about an official report of an officer responsible
for the entries in the war diary. [NB. "Officer responsible
for the entries in the war diary" was translated as "war
correspondent."]  It is a statement of a general of the
Waffen SS, a first-hand statement and not hearsay.

A. This is a statement of a war correspondent who is
apparently quoting a battalion commander. But I cannot
comment on this, because I was not there, and this division
was never under my command.

Q. Perhaps you can comment on the following document. I
would like to show you USSR 513. Did I understand you
correctly yesterday when you asserted that the SS troops did
not murder hostages?

A. Yes, and moreover, I said that to my knowledge the
divisions which were under my command did not even take
Q. I will read three sentences of a proclamation of
Sturmbannfuehrer Breimaier, who was commanding a battalion
of the "Prinz Eugen" division. Please follow me:

  "On the 3rd of November, 1943, around 20.00 hours, a
  German soldier on the Valika Street in Sinj was ambushed
  and killed. Since, despite all efforts, the culprit has
  not been found and the population has not supported us in
  this matter, 24 civilian persons will be shot and one
  hanged. The sentence will be carried out on 5th November,
  1943, at 5.30 hours.
  Signed, Breimaier, SS Sturmbannfuehrer and Battalion

I omit what follows, it is of no importance. Is this not a
typical example of hostage shooting carried out by the
Waffen SS?

A. I am hearing the name Breimaier for the first time. I do
not know whether these people were summarily tried
beforehand. If this account here is correct, then he was not
entitled to give this order.

Q. Very well. Perhaps I will succeed in convincing you by
photographic evidence. Will you show the witness photograph
No. 7 showing two decapitations?

                                                  [Page 324]

With the permission of the Tribunal I will read a very brief
extract from the statement of the State Commission of
Yugoslavia. The original which we have certified will be
submitted to the Tribunal. It is now being submitted to the
witness. Will you listen under what conditions these persons
were beheaded?

  "On 9th June, 1944, and on the following days the Waffen
  SS from Trieste committed atrocities and crimes against
  the Slovene population in the Slovene coastal area, as we
  have already stated above.''

I omit the next two sentences, which are cumulative.

  "On that day Hitler's criminals captured two soldiers of
  the Yugoslav Liberation Army and the Slovene Partisan
  battalions. They brought them to Razorie, where they
  mutilated their faces with bayonets, put out their eyes
  and then asked them if now they could see their comrade
  Tito. Thereupon they called the peasants together and
  beheaded the two victims before Sedej's house. They then
  placed the heads on a table. Later, after a battle, the
  photographs were removed from a fallen German. From this
  it can be seen that they confirm the above described
  incident, namely the crime of bloodthirsty German
  executioners in Razorie."

Do you not consider these acts as a typical example of
crimes against humanity?

A. If they were perpetrated by men of the Waffen SS, they
are crimes, but that is not proved here, and moreover, the
deeds of only one of thirty-five divisions in the Balkans
would then be generalised as typical of the whole corps of
the Waffen SS.

Q. Then I will show you an original German document which is
Exhibit USSR 133, and which is a letter of information from
the German High Command to the Italian High Command. I will
quote only two sentences. You stated yesterday that the
Waffen SS did not kill prisoners. Did I understand you

A. Yes.

Q. I will then ask you to listen to two sentences quoted
from a German document. First, at the beginning of the page:

  "The western group of the SS Division is near Ripac in
  front of barricades; which are being removed."

I omit two sentences, and continue:

  "As a result of the successful engagement, twenty-three
  dead and thirty-four wounded and more than 100 enemy dead
  have been counted."

Please pay attention to the following words:

  "Forty-seven captured soldiers have been shot, 363
  provisionally apprehended."

Do you not think that when a letter of information, sent
from one command to another, officially states that
prisoners were shot, this is a very cruel example of what
became a custom of the Waffen SS troops?

A. This is a statement of a first lieutenant on crimes which
an SS detachment is supposed to have committed; but no
details are mentioned of the unit to which it belonged. I
cannot comment on this.

Q. I believe that the number of forty-seven soldiers shot is
concrete evidence. Are you of a different opinion?

A. I have no proof that men of the Waffen SS did this.

Q. Then please answer a few other questions. Do you know
where in the territory of the USSR the third SS Tank Corps
was engaged?

A. The third tank corps? The third? Is that a corps, a
Panzer corps? I believe it was used in the southern sector.

Q. No, it was engaged in Estonia. Do you know General

A. Yes, the commanding general was General Steiner.

Q. Do you know where the "Totenkopf" division was engaged?

A. Yes, we discussed that today.

                                                  [Page 325]

Q. It was engaged at Demiansk, Pavlovsk and other districts
of the Novgorod region, is that not right?

A. Did you say Demiansk? Did I hear that correctly?

Q. Yes.

A. Yes, one division was there.

Q. That division was commanded by Major-General Eicke, is
that not right?

A. Eicke? Eicke, yes, indeed.

Q. Do you know where the "Adolf Hitler" division was

A. Do you mean at the time when the "Totenkopf" division was
at Demiansk? I believe it was also in the southern sector at
Demiansk - I believe that was in 1942, or 1941.

Q. This division was commanded by General Simon, is that not

A. Simon was the successor of Eicke, yes. That is the same

Q. All right. Then will you tell me when did
Obergruppenfuehrer Dietrich command this division? . Was
that later?

A. No, he was in command until the summer of 1943.

Q. Do you know where the 134th SS Division was engaged?

A. We did not have such high numbers.

Q. And the 97th SS Division, " Golden Lily "?

A. That did not exist, either. We had at the most thirty-
five to forty divisions.

Q. But the "Golden Lily" was an SS division. Is that right?

A. I hear that name for the first time. What is the name?

Q. "Golden Lily."

A. No, that is entirely new to me.

Q. And the storm brigade "Langemarck," did you ever hear of
that name or not?

A. There was a battalion "Langemarck," which must also have
been a part of the third Germanic Tank Corps.

Q. Do you know Sturmbannfuehrer Sehling?

A. I did not catch the name.

Q. Sehling.

A. No. No, I do not know him.

Q. And do you know Lt.-General Lueneberg?

A. Lingeberg, yes.

Q. No, Lueneberg.

A. Oh, yes, he was the Commander of the SS Police Division.

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