The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-20/tgmwc-20-192.01

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-20/tgmwc-20-192.01
Last-Modified: 2000/11/03

                                                  [Page 152]



DR. GAWLIK (counsel for SD): Mr. President, may I be
permitted to put three questions to the witness Best?

THE PRESIDENT: What special reason is there why you want to
put questions to him?

DR. GAWLIK: I wanted to put these questions to Dr. Spengler,
a witness who has been granted me but who has not arrived,
and for that reason I would like to put the three questions
to Dr. Best instead.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, for that special reason we will permit
you to put the questions but it is not to be regarded as a
general rule.




Q. I should like to show you a copy of the decree of 77th
November, 1938. I should like to refer to Page 4 of the
German Trial Brief, dealing with the Gestapo and SD. In this
decree it says:

  "The Security Service of the Reichsfuehrer SS, as
  information service for Party and State, has to fulfil
  important tasks, particularly for the support of the
  Security Police."

Now, I should like to ask you, did you participate in the
making of this decree?

A. Yes.

Q. Does this decree correctly represent the actual
relationship between the Security Police and the SD?

A. In those years there were experiments constantly going on
with the SD so that the scope of the tasks set up for the SD
changed frequently. At that time, when the decree mentioned
was issued, the chief of both the Security Police and the
SD, Heydrich, was interested in having the SD gain an
insight into the activity of the offices and agencies of the
State. The exact wording of this decree was chosen in order
to justify that aim sufficiently. In truth the scope of
tasks to be put to the SD, whose model was to be the great
foreign Intelligence Service, especially the British
Intelligence Service, developed in such a manner that the SD
was not to be an auxiliary branch of the police but rather a
purely political information organ of the State leadership,
for the latter's own control of its political activities.

DR. GAWLIK: I have no further questions, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the prosecution want to cross-examine?



Q. Dr. Best, you realize that you are one of two witnesses
who have been called, out of possibly hundreds, to represent
the Gestapo before this Tribunal? Do you not?

                                                  [Page 153]

A. Yes.

Q. And you realize that your credibility is very important,
do you not?

A. Yes.

Q. You understand as a jurist of long standing the
significance of the oath that you have taken?

A. Yes.

Q. You stated yesterday, I believe, that your publication,
the German Police, was a purely private book and had no
official status? Is that correct?

A. I said that it was my purely private work which
originated without any contact with my superiors and without
their knowledge. My chiefs - at that time Heydrich and
Himmler - only knew of this work when the completed book was
put before them.

Q. The question is whether this book of yours was or was not
an official publication in any respect. Was it or was it

A. No, it was not an official publication.

Q. I ask that the witness be shown the Ministerial-Blatt of
1941, Page 119.

Now, you will notice that published in the Ministerial-Blatt
for 1941 is a circular of the Reich Ministry of the Interior
referring to your book and you will note that it states that
"the book is for offices and officials of police, State,
Party, and municipal administrations. This book represents a
reference work which can also serve as an award for worthy
officials. It is recommended that this book be acquired
especially also by the libraries", and then the distribution
is to various supreme Reich authorities. You see that there,
do you not, Dr. Best?

A. Yes, indeed, and I can say the following in that
connection: This recommendation was published some time
after the appearance of the book, without moreover my having
prior knowledge of it, and it is not to be considered more
valuable than any recommendation of other books which had
already been published and which subsequently were
recognized as good and usable. I should like to emphasize
again that before the publication of this book I had not
talked in any way with my superiors, nor with the agency
which later published this recommendation.

Q. Now I want to invite your attention to your book, Dr.
Best, and particularly Page 86 of it.

You testified yesterday concerning the development of the
Gestapo from the pre-existing political police. You say in
your book as follows:

  "In order to build up an independent and powerful
  political police force, the like of which had not
  hitherto existed in Germany, regular officials of the
  former police force, on the one hand, and members of the
  SS on the other hand, were brought in. With the
  uncompromising fighting spirit of the SS the new
  organizations took up the struggle against enemies of the
  State for the safeguarding of the National Socialist
  leadership and order."

That is the correct statement of how the Gestapo came into
being, is it not, Dr. Best?

A. To that I should like to say that the number of men newly
taken into the SS ... in the political police forces was
very small at first. I said yesterday that a certain number
of employees were newly employed. Then later, from the
candidates who applied for the regular career of the Secret
State Police, further members of the SS were added, so that
the picture given in my book is completely correct, but the
ratio in figures is not mentioned. I can say again today
that the number of the regular officials - those old
officials previously taken over as well as the candidates
from the Protection Police - was greater than the number
taken in from the SS.

Q. All right. You said yesterday that you opposed the use of
torture by the Gestapo in connection with interrogations and
that you called Heydrich to account about that matter, did
you not?

A. Yes, indeed.

                                                  [Page 154]

Q. And you called Heydrich to account, as your superior?

A. Yes.

Q. But you did not prohibit Heydrich from continuing his
practice of using torture in interrogations, did you?

A. I was not in a position to prevent my superior from
carrying out measures he had ordered or planned. In addition
to that, I had nothing to do with the executive side in the
Secret, State Police, for I was an administrative official
and, consequently, had no authority if Heydrich decreed
measures like that or approved of them. I can only say that
in the small branch of the Counter-Intelligence which I
headed as a Commissioner for some time, I prevented the use
of this method.

Q. I want to pass briefly to your experiences in Denmark,
Dr. Best, and by way of preliminary I wish to refresh your
memory as to the testimony which you gave before the
Commission on 8th July, 1946. This appears on Page 2412 of
the English transcript:

  "Question: Have you met Naujocks?
  Answer: Naujocks was in Copenhagen once.
  Question: And what was his task in Denmark?
  Answer: He did not give me any details. I only know that
  he asked me to provide a connection for him with the
  Research Office in Copenhagen.
  Question: Anyway, you have no idea why Naujocks was in
  Copenhagen, have you?
  Answer: I imagine that he was in Denmark on matters
  pertaining to intelligence duties.
  Question: And if he were to state and even to testify
  that he discussed the matter with you, you would say it
  was only a lie?
  Answer: I would say that I could not recall it and that
  in my memory he remains an intelligence service man."

Now, you were asked those questions and you gave those
answers before the Commission, did you not, Dr. Best?

A. Yes.

Q. Yes. And when you gave those answers you knew that you
were telling a deliberate falsehood under oath, did you not,
Dr. Best?

Now, you can answer that question yes or no, and then
explain it if you like.

A. In the meantime - a report from Danish officials -

THE PRESIDENT: One minute. Wait. Answer the question. Do you
or do you not know whether you were telling the truth then?

A. My statement was not correct. In the meantime I had seen
the Naujocks report and then I was able to recollect exactly
that he in a general way had told me about his mission. Even
today I do not recall details, however.


Q. Well, now, just so that you will remember that
interrogation that you had with Dr. Kalki of the Danish
Delegation two days later, on 10th July, 1946, I am going to
ask that you be shown the written statement which you
corrected in your own handwriting and signed with your own
signature. Now, I invite your attention to the first
paragraph, Dr. Best, in which you state as follows:

  "Now that I know that Naujocks has testified as to his
  connection with the terrorist activities in Denmark, I am
  ready to testify further on this subject. If I did not
  testify about this earlier, it was because I did not know
  whether Naujocks had been captured and had confessed
  regarding these things. It was contrary to my feelings to
  drag him into this thing before the facts were known to

You gave that statement, did you not, Dr. Best, and that is
your signature on there?

A. Yes.

                                                  [Page 155]

Q. Now, Dr. Best, you know very well when Naujocks came to
you in January of 1944 that there was planned to be carried
out by the Gestapo terroristic measures against the people
of Denmark, because you attended the conference at Hitler's
headquarters on 30th December, 1943, at which that plan was
worked out, didn't you?

A. Yes.

Q. At that conference there were present, in addition to
yourself, Pancke, the Higher SS and Police Leader for
Denmark; General von Hannecken, the military governor for
Denmark; Hitler, Himmler, the defendant Kaltenbrunner, the
defendant Keitel, the defendant Jodl, and Schmundt. You
reported these names in your own diary, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And you knew that at that meeting it was agreed that in
order to counteract murders and sabotage against German
interests in Denmark - that the Gestapo was to go up to
Denmark and to carry out ruthless murders and to blow up
homes and buildings as a countermeasure, did you not?

A. It is not correct that an agreement was reached, but
rather that Hitler gave orders in spite of my opposition and
also Pancke's to these plans.

Q. Yes. Hitler gave the order to Himmler, who gave it to
Kaltenbrunner, who gave it to Muller, who sent the Gestapo
into action, and you knew that those murders and that this
wilful destruction of property was carried out in Denmark as
a result thereof, did you not?

A. This general fact was known to me, yes.

Q. Yes, and you knew that these were carried out, because
you protested about some of them. For example, you remember
when these thugs blew up a street car in Odense, killing and
injuring the passengers in it, do you not?

A. In the period following, again and again for various
reasons I protested against the use of this method;
appropriate reports or telegrams -

THE PRESIDENT: You have not answered the question. The
question was, did you know that the street car had been
blown up.

THE WITNESS: I do not accurately recall the individual
cases, and therefore I do not recall for what special reason
I made my protests. But I do know that I protested in very
many cases.


Q. Now Dr. Best, I know that you have a very short memory,
but I would have thought that you could have remembered some
of the events that you recited on 10th July, 1946. If you
will look at your statement there that you gave to Dr.
Kalki, you will find the following: "I used on such an
occasion the blowing up of a street car in Odense, for
instance." Do you not see that there, Dr. Best? The
statement that you gave on the 10th -

A. Where do I find that, please?

Q. You will find that on - about the middle of the document.

A. Wait just a minute. That is a wrong translation. I said
the blowing up of a "Strassenzug" in Odense. That meant that
along this street several houses were blown up
simultaneously. It was not a car, but a row of houses.

Q. Now, Dr. Best, you also remember the murder of four
doctors in Odense, against which you protested because these
doctors had been pointed out to you by National Socialist
circles as being German sympathisers, do you not?

A. Yes, and apart from that, that was not the only reason. I
called attention to the increased senselessness of these
measures, for I had found out that some of these physicians
were friendly to Germany.

Q. Yes, and that was a terrible thing for the Gestapo to
murder German sympathisers in Denmark, was it not? There
were so few. Now, to whom did you make your protests against
this murderous activity of the Gestapo?

                                                  [Page 156]

A. My protest always went to the Foreign Office, which was
the ministry over me.

Q. Yes, your protests went to the defendant Ribbentrop, did
they not?

THE PRESIDENT: Commander Harris, have we got a reference to
any document which records the meeting of 30th December,

LT.-COMMANDER WHITNEY HARRIS: Yes, Sir. This is in evidence
through the official Government report of the, Danish
Delegation, Exhibit RF 901.





Q. Now yesterday, Dr. Best, you testified that you learned
that the Einsatzkommando of the Security Police and SD in
Denmark was opposed to the Kugel Erlass, did you not?

A. Yes.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.