The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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This task to work in more of an investigatory way with the
political groups on other ideological forms was not
permanent either, for after a short time it became obvious
that this investigatory work too belonged to the sphere of
activity of the Secret State Police, because in the long run
such an investigation of opponents could not remain
separated from the executive branch, from the information
acquired in the daily interrogations, and so forth.
Therefore, these tasks were changed when a very clear
division of tasks was made between the Security Service and
the State Police, a division which started in the middle of
1938 and was especially carried through in the year 1939,
and which was substantially ended with the creation of the
Main Reich Security Office in September of 1939. After this
division of tasks the task of the Security Service would
have been completely eliminated if it had not been for the
fact that out of this Security Service, beginning with the
so-called intellectual SD in 1933 and 1934, through a
special advisory section for culture and a central
department for spheres of life, intelligence service ... out
of this Security Service there developed the quite special
task for the domestic intelligence service, namely, the task
of investigating the spheres of life of the German people
according to developments and informing the executive
offices about the development as a whole.

THE PRESIDENT: As I said to the other counsel, we do not
want these witnesses to go over exactly the same ground that
they have gone through before the Commission.

We have got that evidence. We only want you to present them
here in order that we may see what credibility is to be
attached to their evidence and to deal with any particularly
important or new subject which has not been dealt with
before the Commission.

Now this witness seems to be going over exactly the same
ground which he has gone over before the Commission and at
great length. It is simply doing the same thing twice over.

DR. GAWLIK: As I understood it, Mr. President, I was to
summarize briefly once more the results of everything which
had been taken up in the Commission for longer than two
days, and that is what I am doing. I am now bringing ... the
witness has been examined before the Commission for two days
and now perhaps I shall present that material in one to one
and a half or two hours. But I thought that it was precisely
these various objectives of the Security Service for each
year that would be of interest to the High Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, will you try to present the summary
within reasonable limits?

DR. GAWLIK: Yes, indeed, Mr. President.


Q. What can you say about the significance of the work of
the SD during this period?

A. The work of the SD during this period was of almost no
importance. It was primarily concerned with finding its own
proper task, with establishing an

                                                  [Page 186]

intelligence network, and with locating the necessary; basic
material. Particularly important is the fact that during
this time the Security Service hardly appeared in public.

Q. The prosecution has declared that the SS and likewise the
SD were ‚lite groups of the Party, the most fanatical
adherents of the Nazi cause, who assumed the obligation of
blind loyalty to the Nazi principles and were ready to carry
them out unquestioningly, at any cost. In this connection I
should like to refer to the trial brief against the SS, Page

I ask you, witness, were the regular and honorary workers in
the SD selected according to those principles?

A. The regular and honorary workers were selected on the
basis of being capable in some professional capacity and
were men of decent character.

Q. Please answer the question first of all with yes or no.

A. No.

Q. And now please give your reasons.

A. I have already said that the regular and honorary members
were selected because they were capable in some professional
capacity and were of good character. It was not a
prerequisite for either regular or honorary co-operation
that anyone had to be a Party member or belong to the SS.

Q. Did the SD do things for which no Government office or
political party, not even the Nazi Party, was willing to
bear the full responsibility in public?

I should like to call the attention of the High Tribunal to
the trial brief against the SS, Page 7, second paragraph.

A. No.

Q. Did the SD work secretly behind the scenes in the period
which you described, from its formation until 1939?

A. No. One could give a whole list of examples. First of
all, the regular members wore uniforms. They had the SD
insignia on their sleeves. The offices had signs and were
listed in the telephone directory, etc.

Q. During the period from 1934 to 1939 did the members of
the SD make a common and general agreement to participate in
crimes against peace, war crimes, or crimes against

A. No.

THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off?

(A recess was taken.)


Q. During the period from 1934 until 1939 did the members of
the SD pursue the aim and task of supporting any individuals
who had made a general and common plan for committing crimes
against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity?

A. No.

Q. Did not the SD also support this sort of thing by
obtaining information on actual possible opponents of the
Nazi leaders and so contributing to the destruction and
neutralisation of the opposition?

A. No.

Q. Can you give reasons for your answer to the question?

A. Yes.

Q. But please be brief.

A. It was the task of the Security Service to investigate
wrong developments in all spheres of life. Individual cases
were examples. It was not its task to instigate proceedings
against individuals with any other offices.

Q. Should not the members of the SD have been convinced by
the reports on public opinion and the reports on the
different spheres of life, especially after the occupation
of the Rhineland until the beginning of the Second World
War, that everybody in Germany was expecting war?

                                                  [Page 187]

A. On the contrary -

Q. Please, will you first answer the question with yes or

A. No.

Q. Now give the reasons, please.

A. I already said, quite to the contrary. During that period
there was hardly anybody in Germany who expected a war, and
it was these very reports on the situation in different
spheres of life, in the spheres, perhaps, of food
production, economy and industry, which showed that we were
going to have armament to a limited extent, but not to an
extent ... but in no way gave any indications that we were
working towards a war of aggression.

Q. Now I come to the relation between the SD and the SS.

Was the SD always an inseparable and important part of the

I refer in this connection to the German transcript of 9th
December, Page 1596 of the German transcript, Page 1798 of
the English transcript, where this has been alleged by the

Please answer my question.

A. No. I should like to give the following reasons for that:
After the duty of the SS to help guard the speakers at
meetings and the Fuehrer was eliminated, the new task was
formed and further developed from the staff of the SD,
completely independent of the SS and the Reichsfuehrer SS.

Q. The prosecution has furthermore stated on Page 1759 of
the English transcript, "the general SS was the basis, the
root from which the various branches grew."

Will you comment on that with regard to the Domestic
Intelligence Service?

A. That could not be true for the Domestic Intelligence
Service because only about ten per cent of the regular
workers had come from the General SS, and because at least
90 per cent. of all the honorary workers and confidential
agents of the SD were neither members of the SS nor wanted
to be members of the SS, nor, viewed from the standpoint of
the organization, should they have belonged to the SS.

Q. Was there in the SS a uniform headquarters under which
the individual main offices operated jointly, or worked
together automatically in such a way that each branch of the
SS fulfilled a special task within the scope of the whole?

I refer to the transcript of 19th December, 1945, Page 1749.
That is the English transcript. State your opinion on this.

A. No.

Q. Give me your reasons.

A. The Reichsfuehrer SS was alone the Supreme Head of the
SS. The main offices which were under him were in no way
headquarters. Outwardly they represented various points of
view on the same questions. They competed with each other,
they were frequently jealous of each other. It was not even
true that each of these main offices represented a branch
which was necessary for the whole, because their duties,
their jurisdictions overlapped. For instance, four or five
offices shared the responsibility in questions of National
Folkways (Volkstum), and it was not possible, although this
very suggestion was made by the Main Reich Security Office,
to grant jurisdiction to one office. Among these different
main offices there was no directing office. The so-called
main directing office had only to perform the functions of
the Waffen-SS. If any office had claimed that leadership,
all the others would have rebelled against it immediately.

Q. What was the influence of Himmler on the development of
the tasks of the Domestic Intelligence Service?

A. Himmler did not have a positive influence on the
development of the tasks proper of the Domestic Intelligence
Service with regard to spheres of life. That task grew out
of the work of the office, and it could equally well have
developed in some other office. There were even a large
number of cases in which

                                                  [Page 188]

the task suffered because ft was connected with one
individual who was one leader among several, because it was
not always possible to send reports to the office for which
they were intended, via the Reichsfuehrer.

Q. In order to prove a uniform will and a planned connection
between the SD and SS the prosecution referred particularly
to the book by Dr. Best, The German Police, and the speech
by Himmler about the organization and objectives of the SS
and police. This concerns Documents PS 1852 and PS 1992. Do
you know the book by Dr. Best and do you know that speech by
Himmler concerning the organization and objectives of the SS
and police?

A. In a general way, yes.

Q. Please give your opinion as to whether the relation
between the SS and SD is described correctly in that book by
Dr. Best and in the speech by Himmler?

A. This question essentially involves the clarification of
the concept which in many speeches and publications was
designated as "Staatsschutzkorps " (Corps for the Protection
of the State), and this idea of a Staatsschutzkorps was
expressed by Himmler and Heydrich very early, a little after
1936. Its description changed, but although it appeared
again and again in speeches, it was never really carried
out. The individual parts of this so-called
"Staatsschutzkorps" of Himmler's grew independently,
developed independently; they were not a unit, so that we
can say here, although it was indeed Himmler's wish to
create this Staatsschutzkorps, this idea never materialised.

Q. Did the Higher SS and Police Leaders also have authority
to issue orders to the SD, and did they have to supervise
the activity of the SD? In this connection I refer to the
trial brief against the Gestapo and SD, Page 12 of the
English edition, and the trial brief of the SS, Page 12 of
the English edition also.

A. The Higher SS and Police Leaders had neither authority to
issue orders nor did they have to supervise the SD. They
were merely representatives of the Reichsfuehrer within
their territories without having any actual or disciplinary
jurisdiction over the Security Service. Attempts were made
in that direction in connection with the above-mentioned
Staatsschutzkorps, but it was the Domestic Intelligence
Service itself which averted them.

Q. Now I come to the relation between the SD and the Party.
What was the organisational relationship between the
Domestic Intelligence Service and the political leadership
of the NSDAP?

A. The Domestic Intelligence Service was an institution of
the Party, but it did not belong to the organization of the
political leadership. Therefore, no organisational
connection existed. The proper and final task of the
Domestic Intelligence Service was not given to it by the
Party either. The task assigned it by the Party, as I have
already mentioned, had already been essentially completed in
the years 1938-39.

Q. Did the SD have the task of maintaining the Nazi leaders
in power?

A. The Security Service had the task of -

Q. Can you first answer the question yes or no?

A. No.

Q. Now please give me your reasons.

A. The Security Service had a different task. It had the
assignment to observe the effects of the measures taken by
the leaders of the State, Party, economy and of autonomous
bodies, to determine what the people were saying about them,
whether the results were positive or negative, and then to
inform the leaders about what it had found out.

Q. Was the Domestic Intelligence Service the espionage
system of the NSDAP? Here I refer to the trial brief against
the SS, Pages 8a and 8b of the English edition.

A. No. Firstly, the Security Service was not an espionage
service at all. Secondly, it sent its reports to all
executive offices, not only to those of the Party, but also
to the executive offices of the State.

                                                  [Page 189]

Q. Now I come to the next topic of evidence, the relation
between the SD and the Gestapo. Were the Gestapo and the SD
a uniform police system which became constantly more closely

I refer to the trial brief against the Gestapo and SD, Page
12, Pages 1, 4, 13, 18, 21 of the English edition. What was
the connection between the Gestapo and SD organizations with
respect to aims, tasks, activities and methods?

A. First, in answer to the first question: it was not a
question of a uniform police system, since a Security
Service and a police system have absolutely nothing to do
with each other. The Security Service and the Secret State
Police were two entirely different organizations. While the
Security Service had developed from a semi-military
formation (Gliederung) of the Party, the Secret State Police
was a continuation of an already existing institution of the

While the Security Service saw its aim and its task in
gaining a general view of the various spheres of life or the
specific forms of activity of other ideological groups, and
regarded the individual cases as a system and an example, it
was the task of the Secret State Police, on the basis of
existing laws, ordinances, decrees, and so on, to deal with
that individual case itself and to take preventive or
subsequent measures in an executive police capacity, the
continuation of an already existing state institution. While
the Secret State Police worked with executive means, such as
interrogations, confiscations, and so on, the Security
Service never had executive powers.

Q. Was it the task of the SD to support the Security Police
as has been stated in decree and other announcements,
particularly the circular letter released on 11th November,
1938; in this connection I refer to Document 1638 PS.

A. No, that was incorrectly expressed. Perhaps I may comment
briefly on that circular letter of 11th November, 1938.

We are concerned here with the fact that for the first time
an agreement had been made between the Security Service and
an office of the State. The chief result of this agreement
was that the Security Service was thereby officially and
publicly recognized by an office of the State -

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