The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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But this was not in accordance with the order issued in a
circular of 28th December, 1942, by the WVHA, according to
which the doctors of the camps were to take all measures to
ensure lower death rates and to maintain working capacity as
high as possible, by the control of food and working
conditions and by suggesting practical ameliorations which
should not remain merely theoretical. Neither was this in
accordance with the fact testified to by witnesses over and
over again, that foreign and German commissions inspecting
the camps and even SS

                                                  [Page 120]

Fuehrers themselves gained a very good impression of the
administration and the prisoners.

I have been and am still of the opinion that for me as
lawyer and defence counsel the fact could not be sufficient
that the tremendous number of victims was not to be disputed
and that the whole world said that they had been murdered
and ill-treated by the SS system. In this decisive. question
which is produced by the mass effect of a mutually
conditioned formation of opinions, in other words,  a
typical case of mass suggestion of public opinion, there can
be no "legally notorious facts," there can be only clear
facts which must be established without prejudice and bias.
This is important for the following questions: Who were the
authors of each of these crimes which became the enormous
number of anonymous concentration camp atrocities? Did they
do it on their personal initiative or on order? Do they
belong to a typical criminal group, and if so, to which one,
in order to discover a collective guilt? In what
relationship are they to the organization of the SS, that
is, to the tens and hundreds of thousands of members who had
not been active in the concentration camps and who insist
that they knew nothing of these crimes?

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will recess.

(A short recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, you have now been speaking for
two hours and twenty-eight minutes, so that, strictly
speaking, you have got twenty-two minutes more.

DR. PELCKMANN: I had just put the questions which seemed
important me for the clarification of the connection between
the SS and the crimes committed in concentration camps. I
hoped that these questions, the elucidation of which might
contribute to the quicker sentencing of all the criminals,
would have been answered by the Allied Courts which had been
sitting in concentration camp trials since last year.

That is the reason why, your Honours, I made an application
to place at my disposal the records of all these trials for
consideration. From them I might have discovered many facts
which have come to my and the public's knowledge only during
these last weeks.

I have nevertheless left nothing undone to discover the
truth. My application, aiming at placing at my disposal the
concentration camps' administrative files of the WVHA, was
handed in at a rather late date and I did not follow it up.
I did not need to follow it up because I succeeded at last
at the beginning of July in finding a witness whose
testimony is, I believe, decisive in many respects for the
discovery of the truth, that is for the historical and, in
this trial, relevant truth. This witness is Dr. Morgen.

We are indebted to this witness for the discovery of three
primary facts. First, the last and profoundest reason for
the killings in the concentration camps was the outlawry of
the detainees, the omnipotence of the police (Gestapo) and
the weakness of justice.

Secondly, the ordering of and execution of mass
exterminations of Jews in special so-called extermination
camps were ordered by Hitler directly. Knowledge and
execution of these orders were confined to a few initiated.

Thirdly, an absolute sphere of secrecy together with a
diabolic means of deception was destined to keep knowledge
of the happenings in the concentration and extermination
camps from the public and the prosecuting authorities.

I shall never forget my first meeting with this witness, Dr.
Morgen. The entire being and soul of this gigantic man,
leaning over in his chair, seemed eager to communicate what
he had known for about two years, what he had viewed and
experienced for months while living with detainees and
personnel in these places of horror.

                                                  [Page 121]

I leave out the next few sentences.

With flagging hope Dr. Morgen made his report for the third
time, with which, as before, he wanted to help find the
guilty, protect the innocent, and to show the German people
and the world the final guilt of the criminal leadership for
the most horrible murders in world history. In this he
succeeded.

I leave out the next paragraph in which I describe the
beginning of the concentration camp system and the
participation of the SS.

But soon the establishment and guarding of concentration
camps were legalized. From 1933, 1934, on, they were
financed from the budget of the individual German States
leader. As head of the Political Police of all Lander,
except Prussia, Himmler, in 1934, uniformly regulated the
guard and administrative conditions. By taking over a part
of the previous guard personnel, SA and SS men, he created
the Death's Head formations and supplemented them with
volunteers from all sections of the population without
consideration of membership in the Party and the SS. They
were then intended exclusively for guarding concentration
camps and comprised, in the year 1936, 400 men from the
Kommandantur and 3,600 men for guard duties. They guarded
about 10,000 to 12,000 prisoners in five concentration camps
all over Germany. I ask you to compare the then unusually
large membership of the General SS with these figures.

In 1936 the concentration camps and their guard personnel
were taken over into the Reich budget and separated
according to Kommandantur and guard personnel. At the
beginning of the war the Kommandantur personnel consisted of
600 men; the guard personnel amounted to about 7,400 men.
There were only six concentration camps in all Germany,
containing 21,300 prisoners, and as yet no work or
subsidiary camps existed. At that time there were about
240,000 members of the General SS. The Waffen SS did not yet
exist at that time.

In my explanation of the question of the organizations which
I submit as an appendix, I have proven that the "Totenkopf
Units" (Death's Head Units) created in 1934 as special
troops of the State, were not paid by the Party but by the
Reich, and that they had in common with the General SS only
a part of their name, "SS," and the chief, Himmler. (This
follows in particular from Hitler's Secret Edict of 17th
August, 1938, and from Document SS 84.)

Of importance seems to me the following change after the
beginning of the war, when the wave of destruction begins to
mount slowly in the concentration camps.

Six thousand five hundred men of guard personnel were sent
to the front with a newly formed division. Thus they were
eliminated entirely from the concentration camp system.
During the course of the entire war there were employed
about 30,000 men in the concentration camp system, as can be
seen from the testimony of Brill and from Affidavit No. 68
(Kaindl). These included new arrivals and departures. They
comprised about 1,500 men of the original cadre of the
Totenkopf Units and 4,500 men originally from the General
SS.

These 4,500 men were a part of 36,000 members of the General
SS who had been called up until 1940 upon the emergency
service decree, and who had become members of the Waffen SS.
The remaining 24,000 men of the concentration camp personnel
- that is, eighty per cent - originally had no nominal
connection with the SS. These were 7,000 persons of German
descent or extraction who had been called up, 10,000 German
nationals who had volunteered to go to the front in the
Waffen SS and 7,000 soldiers subordinate either to the Army
or the Air Force. Many of the volunteers came from the SA,
the Reichskriegerbund, the Party and other organizations.
All, with the exception of the original personnel of 1,500
men, had been assigned the task of guarding the
concentration camps against their will upon the order of
Himmler, and without their having any connection with the
Kommando Amt of the Waffen SS. Only in the course of the war
were these guarding and administrative units of Himmler's
nominally taken over into the Waffen-SS, Himmler thus
transgressing his powers. This

                                                  [Page 122]

was done in order to prevent the personnel of the
concentration camps continually having to be freed from
military service, that is to say, for reasons which were
practically to eliminate the regulations of military
supervision. After the unequivocal evidence given by the
witnesses Reinecke, Juettner, Ruoff, Brill and many others,
there can be no more doubt that the State police tasks of
the concentration camp system did not change for all that,
and that in particular the concentration camp system did not
become a concern of the Waffen SS. Indeed, the entire
concentration camp system, even after the formal transfer of
the guard personnel into the Waffen SS, was not directed and
administered by the leading agencies of these organizations,
but by a special office, the well-known Amtsgruppe D in the
chief office of the Economic Administration, WVHA (witness
Stein, Affidavits Fanslau SS 41, 100, Frank No. 99).

I beg you to take official notice of the following three
pages, which deal in detail with the limited activity of the
Amtsgruppe D.

Also, the actual statements made by Morgen about the
extermination camps and particularly the extermination camps
of Wirth and Hoess. I continue on Page 66.

All these extermination installations can be traced back to
special orders of Hitler, of the Chancellery of the Fuehrer,
and were outside the framework of the normal concentration
camp system. For that reason, they did not have the normal
chain of command and organizational form. Wirth was Criminal
Commissar without being an SS member. Hoess received
extermination orders, apart from Himmler, only from Eichmann
personally, without being allowed to inform his immediate
superior, Gluecke, the inspector of concentration camps, of
them. So Hoess testified on 15th April.

Now what follows from all these terrible events - from
concentration camp atrocities through the Einsatzgruppen to
mass gassings - as to the charge against the SS?

The prosecution says that all the crimes charged have been
committed to such a great extent and in such vast
proportions that they and the criminal aims and methods must
have been known to every member.

The prosecution thus says that knowledge of the criminal
nature of these tasks is a preliminary condition for the
judgment, and the decision of the Court of 13th March, 1946,
is in agreement.

The assertion of the prosecution is based upon the following
arguments:

Before, and particularly during the war, the Press and the
wireless, statements of official personalities and all
manner of publications in the Allied countries widely
informed the public of these States about the atrocities
committed in the concentration camps and other crimes. Under
these circumstances, it would seem obvious to conclude that
if in these countries such crimes were almost universally
known, this must have been even more the case in Germany and
particularly in the SS. The collective affidavits which have
been submitted and which are in some cases extensively
proven show that the majority of SS members deny any such
knowledge. But in addition the defence has countered the
charge with a comprehensive statement: The crimes committed
within the limits of the German sphere of power were carried
out under a minutely planned system of secrecy so that the
mass of SS members not only did not know anything about
them, but, indeed could not possibly have known about them.
Whereas the charge of the prosecution can only be made
credible by the legally very doubtful use of deductions, the
argument of the defence is proven by the facts, and facts
which, gentlemen of the Tribunal, have, in my opinion, been
furnished by the defence.

Let us start with the concentration camps. I describe on the
next few pages, which I ask the Tribunal to read, the matter
of secrecy and all the regulations and circumstances which
made it impossible for any of this information to get out of
the camps.

                                                  [Page 123]

I continue on Page 68.

The greatest secrecy prevailed in these camps. Not only the
official execution of death sentences of courts, but also
the execution instructions of the RSHA, which began only at
the beginning of the war, and certainly the murders
resulting from the lust for power of the Kommandants, were
not undertaken publicly. Dr. Morgen describes this in detail
in his affidavit, No. SS 66. In his examination he described
all the clever methods to disguise murders as natural deaths
and thus to deceive the civil courts and, from 1940 on, the
SS courts.

I continue on Page 69, about the middle of the page.

Since the use in 1934 of the Death's Head Units as camp
personnel, the General SS and later the Waffen SS no longer
had anything to do with concentration camp affairs and
certainly not with the Kommandantur personnel in personnel
or legal questions. The Amts Group D of the WVHA, with their
small group of thirty thousand men of the above-mentioned
nominal Waffen SS, had become an independent and separate
unit with their own telephone and teletype system and their
own couriers to the concentration camps. Only the Gestapo
had a channel into the concentration camp, into the so-
called political department, which was subordinate to it and
usually run by a criminal investigation secretary. Here also
there was no connection with the rest of the SS.

As regards secrecy, an important factor was, as Kaindl
explains in Affidavit SS 68, that the staffs of the
Kommandanturen were made up of the same personnel, until the
middle of 1942, as had existed at the beginning of the war.
Thus, too, knowledge of the conditions and events could not
be spread before 1942. From a psychological point of view
one must consider that these persons responsible for orders
issued or received had not the slightest reason to talk
about their sinister acts.

Because of the lack of time I have to pass over the next few
pages, and ask the Tribunal to read them. They deal in
detail with the counter-propaganda which had intentionally
been started by Germans and present comprehensive proof in
the way of affidavits and statements before the Commission.
The same applies to the mass extermination camps, Auschwitz,
Monowitz, Treblinka, and so on.

I continue on Page 73, on the bottom of the page.

No proof has been furnished that the mass of the SS knew
anything of the activity of the Einsatz Commandos.

To refute the question of whether knowledge existed of the
biological experiments in the concentration camps I shall
point only to what I consider a most peculiar fact - that
extensive testimony was taken on the question whether the
witness Goering had known of them. I could state that those
experiments were carried on only in a few camps, that, as
proven by various affidavits, they were carried out only
after the prisoners had voluntarily agreed to them; but I am
not going to do so because I am not willing to defend them
at all, and I do not wish to create such an impression. It
is enough to refer to the argument about the knowledge or
ignorance of Goering in this matter, and to the question as
to what evidence has been taken in favour of the unknown SS
man. I do not doubt at all that the witness Sievers, Manager
of Ahnenerbe is chargeable with guilt, because of his
knowledge and carrying out of these criminal experiments;
but not so his co-workers, since those experiments
constituted about one per cent of its total research
programme.

I finally would like to quote in regard to the knowledge of
those crimes an article which I found in the Berliner
Blatter, issue No. 1, of 1946. In an article by Oskar Goetz,
entitled "The Jew in the Third Reich," I quote:

  "We, for instance, in camp Theresienstadt, considered the
  happenings in Auschwitz, the other crimes in the death
  camps of Mauthausen, Maidanek, Ravensbrueck, and
  Buchenwald only as rumours, yes, as only immeasurably
  exaggerated rumours. The things that actually happened in
  Auschwitz, for example, did not authentically come to our
  attention in Theresienstadt before

                                                  [Page 124]

  the spring of 1945, when a few survivors returned from
  Auschwitz after the camp was dissolved. In the interest
  of a just evaluation of his contemporaries one must be
  factual, and should desire to be so. No guilty one should
  go free, but no innocent one should be burdened with
  guilt."

I continue the last paragraph on Page 74:

  "If now one reached the conclusion that apart from a
  certain definable or more or less definable group of
  culprits - witness Dr. Morgen mentioned, certain circles
  of culprits within the concentration camp system - the
  great mass of the SS had no knowledge of the crimes, but
  like the rest of the Germans knew of the deportations,
  that could be considered criminal under Article 60 of the
  Charter only if it were in connection with a war of
  aggression. I have already mentioned that the bulk of the
  SS were not aware that they waged a war of aggression."


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