The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Well?

A. In any event, it is confirmed that we are concerned here
with the shooting of Dutchmen who, as this man says, had
been condemned to death for having participated in some sort
of sabotage or other matter. They were, under the Fuehrer
decree, to be shot anyhow. That is the first and most
important point. The question is whether the figure of 200
was mentioned; and the question further is whether I
demanded that number. I still maintain what I have already
said in reply to the testimony of former collaborators; but
I also maintain my own declaration to the effect that I
never would have had the opportunity to give an order like
that to Dr. Schongart He was not my subordinate in such
things. At any rate I did state that we must act harshly in
this case. That is quite right. The figure of 200 - I even
believe it was 230 - first came to my knowledge later. The
announcement which he mentions here is signed by Dr.

Q. You did not say "severe measures"; you said "increased
measures of reprisal". It is not quite the same thing.

A. I did not understand the question.

Q. I repeat. You did not say "severe measures", but
"increased measures of reprisal".

A. The severe measures which were to be taken would, of
course, serve to intimidate. But we were not concerned with
reprisals; that is, the shooting of people who otherwise had
no reason to be shot.

Q. But it seems to me that this document is extremely clear.
It deals with "measures of reprisal" following the
assassination attempt against Rauter.

A. Which were to be carried through in such a way that
Dutchmen were executed who would have been executed in any
event; for he confirms here that they had been condemned to

Q. Will you kindly repeat the explanation. I did not get the

A. Here we were concerned with the shooting of men who would
have been shot in any event, for it says specifically here
in the next paragraph that they had already been sentenced
to death.

THE PRESIDENT: (interposing) I already wrote it down five
minutes ago. You have said it already.

He has said it already. The document speaks for itself, M.

M. DEBENEST: Very well, Mr. President.


Q. You stated yesterday as well that no hostage had been
shot at the hostage camp of Michelgestell.

A. That is unknown to me.

Q. Nevertheless, you stated that yesterday.

A. (No response).

Q. Or are you still claiming that none had been shot at that

THE PRESIDENT: Will the defendant answer, please? Do not
just nod your head. It does not come through the sound

THE WITNESS: I wanted to say only that I know of no case.
Perhaps on one occasion such a case did occur, but I do not

                                                  [Page 139]


Q. Will you kindly repeat that?

A. I wanted to say only that I do not recall any such case.

Q. Nevertheless, you are not denying that some may have been

A. There might have been reasons which necessitated such a
shooting. But I do not recall a single case.

THE PRESIDENT: We are getting two voices on the one line


Q. The hostages who were executed in this manner, were they
all people who had been sentenced to death?

A. I do not know because I do not know whether anyone was
shot at all.

Q. In the case of the execution of hostages at Rotterdam,
was not one of the hostages arrested the day before the
execution, and shot the very next day?

A. I am not informed on that point. I can see from this
document that we are talking about hostages from
Michelgestell. I do not recall that hostages were taken from
this camp. But in this case, it may have been possible, for
that was an actual hostage case.

Q. No. I am not asking you whether hostages were taken from
the camp of Michelgestell. I am asking you, in the case of
the execution of the hostages of Rotterdam whether one was
not arrested on the eve before the execution, and shot the
next day?

A. I do not know.

Q. I will give you the name. Maybe that will help you
remember the case Baron Schimmelpfennig.

A. As far as I recall Baron Schimmelpfennig came from
Seeland. But I do not know any more than that.

Q. You do not know under what conditions he was arrested,
and why?

A. No; I know only that a Baron Schimmelpfennig was among
those five hostages who were shot.

Q. You therefore do admit that numerous executions followed
the setting up of the summary justice courts in the
Netherlands by you?

A. No. That is certainly not the case. For these shootings,
from the middle of 1944 onward, cannot be traced to my
directives and my summary justice courts, but rather to a
direct decree of the Fuehrer.

Q. You therefore claim that there was not a single case of
execution as a result of your order of 1st May, 1943?

A. The executions did not come about on the basis of summary
courts which I had provided for in this decree but against
violations of this decree. It is possible that the Higher SS
and Police Leader used this decree as the basis for his

Q. But you are still contending that you had no power over
this chief of police?

A. I did not have the power to give him orders, but we
certainly worked together in a close understanding.

Q. He therefore consulted you about the reprisal measures?

A. No. How do you mean?

Q. Were the reprisal measures which were taken or which were
announced by him carried out with your agreement?

A. The reprisal measures and his announcements were made in
his domain. In many cases, I myself did not learn of these
announcements at all or frequently not until afterwards.
There was no directive which I gave for these measures. I
again and again refer to the fact that this resulted from
the Fuehrer decree given by Himmler to the police.

Q. Very well. Were you in favour of these measures of

A. I took for granted that action had to be taken against
members of the resistance movement who committed sabotage
and other acts. There were no other means for taking steps
except arrest by the police, passing of judgement on the
part of the Higher SS and Police Leader, and shooting on the
part of the police.

                                                  [Page 140]

I could not oppose these measures. You might interpret that
as agreement, if you want to. I would have preferred it if
courts had given the judgement.

Q. Yes, certainly.

I am going to have you shown Document F-860, a letter which
I am submitting as Exhibit RF 1529. This is a letter written
by you dated 30th November, 1942 and addressed to Dr.
Lammers. I will pass over the first part.

M. DEBENEST: I am sorry. I forgot to tell the Tribunal that
the originals are not here; they are just photostatic
copies. But I have in my possession an affidavit which I
shall submit to the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: It is all right, M. Debenest. You need not
bother to give us an affidavit. We have the photostatic

Q. I will pass over the first two pages of the French copy,
and will pass on to the second paragraph. Second subject -
you write here:

  "The working out of the Special Police Law
  (Polizeistandrecht) was effected in accordance with the
  views expressed in a letter of the Reichsfuehrer SS. I
  believe that I have conformed with all the wishes which
  are contained in it, only I would not like to appoint the
  Supreme Head of the SS and of the Police as a court
  administrator, for, from the point of view of the Dutch,
  this would mean a curtailment of the authority of the
  Reich Commissioner, particularly because of the fact that
  the Reich Commissioner in the Fuehrer decree is
  designated as the guardian of the interests of the Reich.
  But in the decree I have assigned to the Higher SS and
  Police Leader all the powers which a court administrator
  needs. I believe that this Special Police Law may be a
  useful instrument and to a certain extent an example for
  all further regulations."

You did, therefore, have authority over the head of the

A. I had the authority over the Polizeistandgericht (Special
Police Court), but not over the Higher SS and Police Leader.
I remained the highest court administrator, even in the
Police Court in exceptional circumstances. All the same I
could not give executive orders to the Police. Anyway, this
Police Law existed in the Netherlands for two weeks at the

Q. It is nevertheless certain that we here find special
Tribunals and that you entrusted them to the head of the

A. Yes, that is correct, but only within the scope of Police
Tribunals in the case of emergency, and what the police
courts did at that time was my responsibility.

That was a result of the general strike in May 1943.

Q. Well, we quite agree then. You did entrust these
emergency Tribunals to the police.

Very well, I will now have you shown Document 3430-PS. This
document is a collection of all the speeches which you made
during the occupation of the Netherlands. Will you please
take -

THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, is that the only reference you
are making to Document 860?


THE PRESIDENT: I ask you, is that the only reference you are
going to make to this document?

M. DEBENEST: Yes, Mr. President, I am only concerned with
the second part. The first part concerns the police.

THE PRESIDENT: Do not you think it is imposing a very heavy
burden on the translation department. There are eighteen
pages of it.

M. DEBENEST: Mr. President, I quite agree with you. I
intended to use this document for the police organisation,
which is in the first part. But, I did not think it was
necessary to do so at this moment because I wished to save

                                                  [Page 141]

THE PRESIDENT: I only mean this, if you are only going to
use a small part of the document, it does not seem necessary
to make the translation department, who have a very great
deal of work to do, translate eighteen pages of it.

Here is another one - 803 F, which has got many more than
eighteen pages in it, and of which very little use has been
made. But go on.

M. DEBENEST: I know, Mr. President. I did not use more of it
because the Tribunal considered that it dealt with details
which it did not consider important. That is the only

THE PRESIDENT: You have passages on each of these eighteen
pages? I am very much surprised.

M. DEBENEST: Certainly not, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Go on, anyway.


Q. Very well, we will now pass to another subject.

When you arrived in Holland, did not that country possess
extremely important stocks of food stuffs and of raw

A. Yes, a great many supplies were on hand. An extraordinary

Q. Were not important requisitions made during the first
years of the occupation?

A. I did not quite follow that.

Q. Were not important requisitions made during the first
years of the occupation?

A. Yes, in accordance with a decree within the scope of the
Four-Year Plan, all supplies were requisitioned and a six
months' reserve supply was set up in the Netherlands with
the obligation on the part of the Reich to supply all
further needs as required.

Q. You therefore claim that these stocks were to be reserved
for the Dutch population?

A. Certainly.

Q. Certainly? Very well. Will you take the document which I
have shown to you this morning, 997-PS, Pages 9 and 10.

A. Will you please give me the number of the document?

Q. 997-PS.

A. Have I the document before me?

Q. Page 12 of the French text and Page 11 of the German. You

  "The stocks of raw materials have been collected and with
  the agreement of the General Field Marshal have been
  distributed in such manner that a quota sufficient to
  keep the Dutch economy running for six months will be
  left behind. Raw material quotas and food rationing,
  etc., will be dealt with in the same way as in the Reich.
  Considerable stocks of raw materials have been guaranteed
  for the Reich, such as, for example, 70,000 tons of
  industrial fats, representing about one half of the
  amount which the Reich still needs."

A. I believe that coincides with the description I have just
given you.

Q. But I thought you said that the stocks were at the
disposal of the Dutch people and not for the Reich?

A. No, that is an error in transmission. I said that the
supplies were confiscated and enough left there for only six
months and that future needs would be supplied by the Reich
in the same proportion as the Reich was supplied. But
primarily these stocks were confiscated for the Reich.

Q. Very well, the translation did not come through. You
received numerous complaints about these requests, did you

A. Yes.

Q. And what measures did you take?

A. The attention of the gentlemen who were with me, that is
the General Secretary Hirschfeld and the other secretaries,
was called to the fact that this was

                                                  [Page 142]

a strict directive in the framework of the Four-Year Plan.
In some cases, I may have transmitted the complaint to the
Agencies of the Four-Year Plan, if the stocks were taken
away in what seemed to me too large amounts.

Q. In addition to these requests, were there not mass
purchases made by the Reich?

A. I do not understand you. What was that?

Q. In addition to these requests  -

A. Yes, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Shall we adjourn now? Will you be much
longer, M. Debenest?

M. DEBENEST: Mr. President, everything will depend upon the
length of the answers which the defendant will make, but I
think that in half an hour or three-quarters of an hour at
the most I shall be finished.

THE PRESIDENT. Very well, then we will adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 1000 hours, 12th June, 1946.)

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