The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 265]

HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SIXTH DAY

FRIDAY, 28th JUNE, 1946

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, the defendant Fritzsche, towards
the end of yesterday morning's session, testified as to how
he tried to aid persecuted persons, in so far as he could,
with the very small means which were at his disposal. In
order to conclude this subject, and with the approval of the
prosecution, I submit Fritzsche Exhibit 6, an affidavit of
Count Westarp, which is to be found in my Document Book 2 on
Pages 23 to 25, dated 15th June, 1946. I beg the Tribunal to
take judicial notice of the contents of this document.

Furthermore, as another piece of evidence, I should like to
offer another affidavit made by a Frau Kruger, Berlin, which
is to be Fritzsche Exhibit 8. This affidavit has not yet
been included in my document book. However, the original was
made by Frau Kruger in German as well as in English and both
copies have been affirmed and sworn to. I should like to
refer to the contents of this affidavit, especially to the
last two paragraphs. From the last paragraph but one we can
see that apart from individual cases Frau Kruger has a
general knowledge of the defendant's activities and the last
paragraph is quite interesting. It deals with the sort of
life led by the defendant.

Apart from that, I also refer here to the entire contents of
this affidavit and I ask the High Tribunal to take judicial
notice of it.

Finally, in this connection, I should like to refer to an
affidavit made by Dr. Scharping which has been frequently
quoted, Fritzsche Exhibit 2, which is to be found in the
document book, Fritzsche Exhibit 2, Pages 6 to 15. I refer
particularly to the bottom of Page 13, and the top of Page
14.

BY DR. FRITZ:

Q. Herr Fritzsche, I should like to put two more general
questions to you on this topic. During the last period of
the war, didn't you try to find out something about the
final fate of the Jews?

A. Yes. I made the most of an opportunity to which I will
briefly refer later on. I asked a colleague of
Obergruppenfuehrer Gluecks, in Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen,
about the Jews. Briefly summarised, his answer was as
follows: The Jews were under the special protection of the
Reichsfuehrer SS, who wished to make a political deal with
them. He looked upon them in the light of hostages, and he
did not wish a single hair of their heads to be harmed.

Q. Some of the prosecution's witnesses have asserted during
this trial that the German public knew about these murders.
Now I just want to ask you, as a journalist who worked in
the National Socialist State, what was, as far as you know,
the attitude of the broad mass of the German people to the
Jews? Did the people know about the murder of the Jews?
Please be brief.

A. Leaving out all those matters which have already been
mentioned in this trial, I should like to pass only a few
remarks which, to me, seem important. I shall omit the
period shortly after the First World War, which has already
been described, during which certain anti-Semitic feelings
were current in Germany. I should only like to state that in
1933, at the time of the Jewish boycott, which was organized
by the NSDAP, the sympathies of the German people clearly
turned again in favour of the Jews. For a number of years
the Party tried hard to prevent the public from buying in
Jewish stores. Finally, they even had to resort

                                                  [Page 266]

to threats. A profound and decisive factor in this
development was the promulgating of the Nuremberg Laws. As a
result of these (Nuremberg Laws) the fight against the Jews
was taken for the first time out of the sphere of pure
agitation, that is the kind of agitation from which one
could remain aloof, and formed part of a State policy.

At that time a deep feeling of fear ran through the German
people, for now there were dissensions which spread even to
individual families. At that time many human tragedies
resulted, tragedies which were obvious to many, probably to
everyone, and there was only one justification for these
racial laws; there was only one excuse for them and one
explanation. That was the assertion and the hope: Well, now
that the separation of the two peoples is being carried out,
although painfully, at last an end will be made to the wild
and unbridled agitation, and through this separation, there
will be tranquillity where formerly only unrest reigned.

When the Jews were forced to wear the emblem of a star, and
when, for instance, in Berlin they were prohibited from
occupying seats in trams, the German people openly took up
the cause of the Jews, and it happened again and again that
Jews were ostentatiously offered seats.

In this connection I heard several declarations by Dr.
Goebbels, who was extremely bitter about this undesired
effect of this marking of the Jews.

I, as a journalist who worked during that period, am firmly
convinced that the German people were unaware of the mass
murders of the Jews, and it was always asserted that these
were rumours; and reports which reached the German people
from outside were officially denied again and again. As
these documents are not in my possession I cannot quote from
memory individual cases of denial, but one case I do
remember with particular clearness. That was the moment when
the Russians, after they had recaptured Kharkov, started
legal proceedings, in the course of which killing by gas was
mentioned for the first time.

I ran to Dr. Goebbels with these reports and asked him just
what was going on here. He stated he would have the matter
investigated and would discuss it with both Himmler and
Hitler. The next day he sent me notice of denial. This
denial was not made public, and the reason stated was that
in German legal proceedings, it is necessary to state in a
much plainer manner matters that need clarification.

However, Dr. Goebbels explicitly informed me that the gas
vans mentioned in the Russian legal proceedings were a pure
figment of the imagination and that there was no actual
proof to support it.

It was not without reason that the people who operated these
vans were put under the ban of strictest secrecy. If the
German people had learned of these mass murders, they would
certainly no longer have supported Hitler. They would
probably have sacrificed five millions for a victory, but
never would the German people have wished to bring about
victory by the murder of five million people.

I should like to state further that this murder decree of
Hitler's seems to me the end of every race theory, every
race philosophy, every kind of race propaganda, for after
this catastrophe, any further advocacy of race theory would
be equivalent to approval in theory of further murder. An
ideology in the name of which five million people were
murdered is one which cannot continue to exist.

Q. Now I shall turn to a different topic. You are accused by
the prosecution of having incited atrocities, and of having
by your propaganda influenced every phase of the conspiracy,
including abnormal and inhuman treatment arid behaviour. In
this connection, I shall therefore have to ask you about the
whole question of concentration camps.

Did you know that the concentration camps existed?

A. Yes, the fact of their creation was announced publicly, I
believe in 1933, and the concentration camps were mentioned
later in official communiques.

Q. What, in your opinion at that time, was the purpose of
these camps?

A. As far as I can recollect, the people to be taken to
these camps were those who could not be restrained from
taking an active part against the new State.

                                                  [Page 267]

It was stated that the reason for these camps being
established was the abnormal internal political situation
prevailing at that time; a weak Central Party and two strong
extreme parties, one of which had now assumed power. Steps
were taken to put matters on a proper legal basis. Only
later was it mentioned that habitual criminals were to be
brought to the concentration camps to prevent them from
reverting to crime.

Q. Did you know anything about the number of concentration
camps which were established over the period in question?

A. Before the war, I had heard about three camps. During the
war, I suspected there were five or six, and the chart of a
large number of camps which was exhibited here was quite a
surprise to me.

Q. Did you know anything about the number of prisoners in
these camps?

A. Nothing definite. At the beginning of the war, foreign
reports mentioned millions of prisoners. At that time,
together with a few journalists, I asked Obergruppenfuehrer
Heydrich to arrange an interview with members of the local
and foreign Press in order to discuss the matter. He did so.
As far as I can recollect, he did not give any definite
figures, but rather he compared them with the number of
inmates in prisons and penitentiaries in former days. This
comparison did not seem to be unfavourable. That was in the
winter of 1940 or 1941.

Q. Did you not have any doubts as to the accuracy of those
figures?

A. Not at that time.

Q. Did you know anything about the conditions in the
concentration camps? Did you speak to anyone who had ever
been in a concentration camp?

A. Yes. Even as early as 1933 or 1934 I spoke to a
journalist who had been interned for a few weeks in the
Oranienburg concentration camp, which was the old
Oranienburg camp. He informed me that he himself had not
been tortured but that he had seen and heard how others had
been beaten and how their fingers had deliberately been
squeezed in a door.

Q. Did you just accept these reports and do nothing about
them?

A. On the contrary. I made quite a row. This journalist - I
believe his name was Stolzenberg, as far as I remember - did
not wish to have his name mentioned. I wrote three letters,
one to Dr. Goebbels, and he informed me that he would look
into the matter. I wrote a letter to Frick as Minister of
the Interior, and one to Goring as Prussian Minister
President.

Senior officials from both these offices rang me up and told
me that an investigation was being carried out. Shortly
afterwards, I heard that this old camp Oranienburg had been
dissolved, that the commandant had been sentenced to death.
This report was given to me by a Herr von Luetzow, who was
Press reporter for Diehls or Diehl who at that time was
chief of the State Police.

Q. After this first successful protest against ill-
treatment, did you receive any further reports about
atrocities in concentration camps?

A. No. I received no further reports about ill-treatment. On
the contrary, I frequently made individual inquiries of
members of the Gestapo or of the Press section of the
Reichsfuehrer SS. All the individuals whom I asked declared
the following: Beastliness (Schweineri) in the concentration
camps had occurred only in 1933 or at the beginning of 1934
at the time these camps were guarded by members of the SA
who had no profession, that is to say by those members of
the SA who had the whole day at their disposal; and some of
them were far from being the best type. In this connection I
was told further that on the 30th of June a purge had taken
place, resulting in the removal of those Gauleiter and those
SA leaders who had abused their power. They declared finally
that the concentration camps now were being guarded by SS
guards who were professional guards, professional
administrators, and officials expert in dealing with
criminal matters, and prison control officials. I was told
that this would be a guarantee against abuses.

Q. Did you inquire about certain individuals who were in
concentration camps?

                                                  [Page 268]

A. Of course, I inquired about well-known personalities such
as Father Niemoeller or Schuschnigg, also about Leipkin,
Hess's private secretary, who had been arrested, and in each
case I received information which was reassuring.

Q. They, of course, may have been exceptions because they
were well known and were prominent people. Did you not try
to speak to other people in concentration camps?

A. Yes. In April, 1942, I met a former official of the
Communist Party, whose name was Reintgen. We had been
soldiers together for six months and therefore he reported
quite frankly to me, without keeping anything back.

He said that he had been ill-treated in 1933, having been
lashed on his back, but not afterwards. This information
fully coincided with my observations.

Q. Did you yourself visit concentration camps?

A. No, I have never been inside the compound of a
concentration camp. However, during the winter of 1944-1945
I was frequently in the administrative building near the
Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen camp. Apart from that, I spoke to
prisoners as often as I was able to do so, when I happened
to see them either on the march or at work.

Q. With whom did you speak at Oranienburg?

A. With a colleague of Obergruppenfuehrer Gluecks and twice
also with him. These people told me that the foreign reports
regarding cruel treatment were false. They said that the
treatment was not only humane but extraordinarily good as,
after all, the prisoners were valuable labourers. I spoke at
some length about the working hours, for at that time a
rather silly decree had been issued in connection with
working longer hours everywhere. The attitude taken by
Gluecks was very reasonable, and it was to the effect that
longer working hours would not necessarily result in more
work being produced. Therefore the working hours of eight to
ten hours a day remained as before. He did not mention
anything about extermination through overwork. That is
something I heard about for the first time in Court.

Q. And how about your question which you put to the
prisoners direct?

A. Well, first of all, there was always a guard present and
quite naturally the prisoners were suspicious, but
eventually I always received positive replies to positive
questions. Briefly, the gist of these replies was always the
same: that they had been unjustly arrested. Their food was
really better than in prison and I frequently heard this
phrase - "Well, anyway we are not soldiers here." The
weapons carried by the guards were only rifles or revolvers,
I did not see any truncheons.

Q. Did you not become more and more suspicious about these
concentration camps, after listening to foreign radio
reports?

A. Not for a long time, for the reasons which I gave
yesterday. Reports from English members of Parliament
regarding the Buchenwald case were first mentioned in April,
1945. But this case is so very recent that for brevity's
sake I do not need to describe particulars of the incidents
that occurred in the Ministry of Propaganda.

Q. How can you explain the fact that crimes and ill-
treatment of the worst kind undoubtedly took place in
concentration camps?

A. I am on the horns of a frightful dilemma, as I only heard
the first reliable reports about these things since I have
been in prison. Only a part of these terrible conditions
which were found to exist can be explained through the
stoppage of traffic and communications at the end of the
war. The rest is more than enough. Obviously, the decree for
the secret murder of masses of people had brutalised to a
terrible extent those people who were entrusted with the
execution of this decree.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not know whether this
explanation is of any value to us as evidence. We have
already heard all about this matter. He had given us his
explanation as to why he says he did not know.

                                                  [Page 269]

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, I have but two more questions I
should like to put to the defendant.

BY DR. FRITZ:

Q. Herr Fritzsche, it has been said here in Court that
conditions in concentration camps were generally known to
the German people. As a journalist, will you give us your
opinion and the reasons on which it is based.

THE PRESIDENT: Has he not given us that already?

DR. FRITZ: No, I beg your pardon, Mr. President. He gave his
opinion when it was a question of the ill-treatment and
destruction of Jews, but on the topic of the extermination
of Jews, I asked him -

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you are asking him what his opinion as
a journalist was. I do not see that that is of any
importance to us.

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, I should be grateful if you would
allow me to put the question, as this is my last question
but one. I expect an answer from the defendant, an answer
which would assist the Tribunal in arriving at a judgement.

THE PRESIDENT: On what matter do you want his opinion as a journalist?

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