The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1998/04/09



Since when have you known Kaltenbrunner?

A. May I address a request to the Tribunal? May I sit down?

Q. Yes.

THE WITNESS: I saw Kaltenbrunner for the first time on a
trip from Berlin to Himmler's headquarters at the time when
Kaltenbrunner was to be appointed Chief of the Sipo and S.D.
Previously to that I simply knew the fact of his existence.


Q. Did you come into personal contact with Kaltenbrunner
through private or official conversations after he had
become Chief of the R.S.H.A.?

A. Yes, of course.

Q.  Do you know his attitude, as for example, on the Jewish

A. I am not familiar with any  particular attitude of

                                                  [Page 262]

Q.  How about the question of the Church?

A. The question of the church -- he deplored the anti-church
course taken by Germany. We agreed that an understanding
should be reached with the Church.

Q.  Do you know what his thoughts were on the liquidation of
civilian prisoners, parachute troops, and so on?

A. No.

Q.  Do you know that Kaltenbrunner made special efforts to
make use of the S.D., in order to supply the Fuehrerstab
with the criticism it otherwise lacked?

A. Yes, that was the duty of the S.D. and he also gave this
task his official support.

Q. A little bit more slowly.

A. It was the duty of the S.D. even before Kaltenbrunner
came and he supported  and officially approved the direction
of this work.

Q.  Do you know, either directly or indirectly, that
Kaltenbrunner had no authority to give executive orders, for
example, that he had no authority to put people into
concentration camps or to take them from concentration
camps, that all these things were handled exclusively by
Himmler and Mueller?

A. I believe this question is too general for me to be able
to answer correctly. The question will have to be broken
down, I believe.

If you ask the question whether Kaltenbrunner could bring
about executive actions, I must answer in the affirmative.
If you then name Himmler and Mueller to the exclusion of
Kaltenbrunner, then I must point out that according to the
organisation of the R.S.H.A. Mueller was a subordinate of
Kaltenbrunner, and consequently orders from Himmler to
Mueller were also orders to Kaltenbrunner and Mueller was
obliged to inform Kaltenbrunner of them.

On the other hand, it is certain that, particularly in
regard to the concentration camps, the final decision
regarding entry into or departure from was determined by
Himmler. I can say that I know absolutely that -- I refer to
the expression that often came up, namely,  "to the last
washerwoman" -- Himmler reserved the final decision for
himself. As to whether Kaltenbrunner had no authority at all
in this regard, I can make no statement.

Q.  Have you personally seen the original orders and
original signatures of Kaltenbrunner's that ordered the
liquidation of sabotage troops and so on?

A. No.

Q.  Do you know, either directly or indirectly, that after
Heydrich's death a change, which to be sure was not a formal
change, took place and that another milder course was taken
by Kaltenbrunner?

A. I could not answer that question concretely.

Q.  I withdraw the question. Here is another question.
Did Kaltenbrunner know that you were an Einsatz Leader in
the East?

A. Yes.

Q.  Who gave you this command?

A. Heydrich gave it to me.

Q.  Heydrich gave it to you? That was before this time?

A. Yes, of course.

DR. KAUFFMANN:  I have no further questions at this time.

                                                  [Page 263]


Q. Witness Ohlendorf, can you answer up to what date the
Einsatzgruppe under your command was operating?

A. The staff of the Einsatzgruppe went to the Caucasus and
was then led back. As far as I can remember, a Combat
Command (Kampfkommando) was formed out of it under the name
"Bierkamp" which was used in fighting the Partisans. Then
the Einsatzgruppe was entirely disbanded, Bierkamp went into
the Government General and took a large number of his men
with him.

Q. What was your occupation after Bierkamp left?

A. I think I can say that the Einsatzgruppe ceased to exist
after the retreat from the Caucasus. It took over tasks
similar in the Wehrmacht under the immediate command of the
Commander of the Ukraine and particularly under the command
of the Higher S.S. and Police Leaders.

Q. In other words, you merely entered a different circle of
activity, under a different leadership, and that is all
there was to it. Such functions as were performed by the
Einsatzgruppe in the past continued to be carried out in the
new circle?

A. No, it actually became a Combat Unit.

Q. What does that mean? Against whom were the military
activities directed?

A. Within the scope of the operations which were directed
against the Partisan movement.

Q. Or can you say more particularly what this group was
actually doing?

A. After the retreat?

Q. When you say that the function of this group had changed
when it conducted operations against the Partisans.

A. I have no concrete experiences myself. It was probably
used, I believe,  for reconnaissance against the Partisans
and also was actually used as a military fighting unit.

Q. But did it carry out any executions?

A. I cannot make any definite statement about that as
regards this period of time, for it now entered into
territories in which that sort of activity no longer came
into question.

Q. In your testimony you said that the Einsatz Group had the
object of annihilation of the Jews and the commissars; is
that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And in what category did you consider the children? For
what reason were the children massacred?

A. The order was that the Jewish population should be
liquidated in its entirety.

Q. Including the children?

A. Yes.

Q. Were all the Jewish children murdered?

A. Yes.

Q. But the children of those whom you considered as
belonging to the category of commissars, were they also

A. I am do not know that the families of Soviet commissars
were ever inquired after.

                                                  [Page 264]

Q.  Were you sending anywhere the reports of those
executions which the group carried out?

A. The reports on the executions were regularly submitted to
the R.S.H.A..

Q.  No; did you personally send any reports with reference
to the annihilation of thousands of people effected by you?
You, personally, did you submit any report?

A. Yes, the reports came from the Einsatzkommandos who
carried out the actions, to the Einsatzgruppe, and the
Einsatzgruppe informed the R.S.H.A.

Q.  Where to?

A. They went to the Chief of the Sipo personally.

Q.  Personally.

A. Yes, personally.

Q.  What was the name of this police officer? Can you give
his name?

A. At the time, Heydrich.

Q.  After Heydrich?

A. I did not mention any time, but that was the standing

Q.  I am asking of you whether you continued to submit
reports after Heydrich left or not?

A. After Heydrich's death I was no longer in the Einsatz,
but the order, of course, continued in effect.

Q.  Have you any information whether the reports were
continued after Heydrich left or were discontinued?

A. Yes, they were continued.

Q.  Was the order concerning the annihilation of the Soviet
people in conformity with the policy of the German
Government or the Nazi Party or was it against it?

Do you understand the question?

A. Yes. One must distinguish. The order for the liquidation
came from the Fuehrer of the Reich and it was to be carried
out by the Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler.

Q.  But was it in conformity with the policy which was
conducted by the Nazi Party and the German Government, or
was it contrary to it?

A. Politics expresses itself in activity, in so far it was
thus a policy that was determined by the Fuehrer. If you ask
whether this activity was in conformity with the idea of
National Socialism, then I should deny that.

Q.  I am talking about the practice.


Q. I understood you to say that objects of value were taken
from the Jewish victims by the Jewish Council of Elders.

A. Yes.

Q. Did the Jewish Council of Elders settle who were to be

A. No.

Q. How did they know who was to be killed?

A. The Jewish Council of Elders determined who were Jews and
registered them individually.

Q. And when they registered them did they take their
valuables from them?

A. That was done in various ways. As far as I remember, the
Council of Elders was given the order to collect valuables
at the same time.

                                                  [Page 265]

Q. So that the Jewish Council of Elders would not know
whether or not they were to be killed?

A. That is true.

THE PRESIDENT:  We will adjourn now until five minutes past

(A recess was taken until 1405 hours.)

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