The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/11/08

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I would call your attention
to the number, of course, that had reached the stage of
being approved by the United Nations War Crimes Commission.
That would be necessary to my argument.

THE PRESIDENT: What you are asking is that you wish to make
use of the summary which you have?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I want to make a comment.

THE PRESIDENT: The approval of the decision rests with the
national authority?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: When I was the Attorney-General, it
rested with me. I understand the same procedure is in effect
in other countries where it rests with the national

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Pelckmann.

DR. PELCKMANN: Whether the evidence which is now before the
prosecution is available in the appropriate form and
whether, as a report from Allied Governments or from the
United Nations War Crimes Commission, it can be used
according to Article 21, is something which I cannot
personally judge. I leave that confidently in the hands of
the Tribunal. What appears important to me is that according
to Article 21 the High Tribunal can take cognizance of these
things but, in my opinion, only during the prosecution's
presentation of evidence. We are now in the middle of
submitting evidence for the defence and if the prosecution
is making these reports the subject of its cross-
examination, then there does not seem to be any objection to
that, according to rules of procedure. But, if it is only a
judicial notice on the part of the Tribunal without making
these reports a part of the cross-examination, I do not
think it permissible for the SS witnesses who are being
called to define their attitude to these documents.

THE PRESIDENT: Is not that really a matter for the Tribunal
to decide? It is a matter of whether the documents should be
put in now when the witness can comment on them. Whether it
comes under Article 21 is a matter to be decided, that is a
matter of law. Whether it should be put in now or after
seems to be a matter entirely for the Tribunal.

DR. PELCKMANN: I consider it important to say that if the
High Tribunal accept these reports as evidence under Article
21, then, as I see it, I can only assume that the
presentation of evidence by the prosecution has been
completed in order to put it before the witness. If the
documents are put to the witness, I would consider it just
if, in view of the extraordinary bulk of the documents, the
defence be given sufficient opportunity to prepare itself
for examination on these documents. That would take at least
two days. To use these documents only for recognition by the
Tribunal without examining the witness is, I think,

                                                  [Page 318]

not permissible, since the presentation of evidence by the
prosecution has been completed and this would be an
inadmissible extension of the material for one side and a
limitation for the other.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will consider what you say. The
Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken).

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not in any way accept Dr.
Pelckmann's submission that it is inconvenient or unfair to
the defence that documents should be put in at this stage.
It considers that in all the circumstances of the case and
having regard to the late stage at which the trial has
arrived, and having regard to the nature of the document
which is offered in evidence by the prosecution, the
Tribunal ought not to admit the document now.



Q. Witness, with what division of the Waffen SS did you
serve during the course of the war?

A. For two years I led the Second Division and later -

Q. Just one moment. What was it called? What was its name?

A. The division later was called "Das Reich." Formerly it
had the name "VD-Division" and from 1942 to 1944, it was the
Second SS Panzer Corps.

From 1944 I was in the Army again.

Q. I do not want to leave the "Das Reich" Division for a
moment. During what period were you serving with the "Das
Reich" Division?

A. I did not understand exactly.

Q. In what periods were you serving with the "Das Reich"
Division? From what date?

A. Beginning with its setting up in 1939 until I was wounded
a second time in October, 1941.

Q. You did not return to serve with that division at all?

A. I no longer served with that division because I was then
Commanding General and Supreme Commander of an army.

Q. So that the "Das Reich" Division was the only division
you served with in the field as a Divisional Commander, was

A. No, there were others there after me who commanded.

Q. But the "Das Reich" was the only division which you
commanded personally during the course of the war?

A. During the time when I was Divisional Commander I was the
only commander of this division.

Q. Did you command any other Waffen SS Division apart from
"Das Reich"?

A. There were two and later three divisions which belonged
to my Panzer Corps.

Q. What were those divisions?

A. There was the First Division, the "Leibstandarte," the
Second Division, "Das Reich," and the Third, the "Totenkopf
Division." Later, in 1944, the 9th and 10th Divisions
belonged to it.

Q. What were the names of these divisions?

A. The names were "Hogenstaufen" and "Goetz von
Berlichingen"; I beg your pardon, "Frundsberg."

Q. During what period was the Leibstandarte Division under
your command?

A. The "Leibstandarte" was under my command from the
beginning of 1943 about the end of January, until the
beginning of August.

Q. From January, 1943, to August, 1943?

A. Yes.

                                                  [Page 319]

Q. You were in command of that division when it was fighting
near Kharkov, you were in command of the corps, rather, in
which the Leibstandarte Division was, when it was fighting
near Kharkov in the spring of 1943, were you not?

A. The division was under my command during the fighting
around Kharkov.

Q. Have you any knowledge of the fact that Staroverevka, the
town, was burned by the Second Regiment of the Leibstandarte

A. No, I know nothing of that.

Q. And that that regiment also burned down Stanitschnoje?

A. No, that I do not know.

Q. And that it burned down Jefremovka, murdering the
civilian population, in the spring of 1943, near Kharkov?

A. I do not know that and I cannot believe it either,
because the fighting at that time did not allow for any
tasks other than military ones.

Q. Fighting did not give your troops time to burn down
villages as they went through - are you saying that? That
was one of the outstanding characteristics of your form of
warfare on the Eastern Front, was it not?

A. No, I deny that. The conception of "scorched earth" was
not created by us. If villages went up in flames during the
fighting, that is often unavoidable. I do not believe that
the villages were set on fire intentionally because it was
in the interest of the operations we were carrying out that
these villages be retaken.

Q. It was because of incidents like those burnings that
Himmler was telling the officers of your three SS divisions
of the terrible reputation they had created, was it not?
Those were typical instances of your form of warfare on the
Eastern Front, were they not?

A. No, Heinrich Himmler did not say anything about that in
that speech. He mentioned the terror, which I personally

Q. The "Das Reich" Division, when was that under your

A. The "Das Reich" Division was under my command at the same
time, from the end of January, 1943, until August of the
same year.

Q. Did you command it subsequently at all, as Corps
Commander or Army Commander?

A. Only afterwards when I was commanding an army did the
division come under my command again, in Normandy.

Q. Did you receive any reports of the numerous murders and
burnings of villages that the "Das Reich" Division was
responsible for in France in the month of June, 1944?

A. I know, from the Indictment, the accusation that in
Southern France, during the campaign against the de Gaulle
Army, there was fighting during which villages had been set
on fire. At that time the division was not yet under my
command. I was still in the East. I only learned of these
events here during my captivity.

Q_ I am referring not to villages burned during action but
villages burned as punitive measures by units of your Waffen
SS divisions. Did you never hear reports of these incidents?

A. I have heard of only this one case in Southern France
here in the Indictment.

Q. In June, 1944, for instance, the Panzer Grenadier
Regiment 3 burned the village of St-Germain-de-Belair. You
know nothing of that?

A. No, at the moment I do not.

Q. And Oradour-sur-Glane? It was the "Das Reich" Division
that was responsible for that atrocity, was it not, when 793
men, women and children were deliberately murdered? You
never heard of the atrocities of Oradour-sur-Glane performed
by the "Das Reich" Division when it was a component part of
your corps?

A. That name and the accusation came to my knowledge here,
during my captivity, from the Indictment. Before that I had
no knowledge of it. It apparently

                                                  [Page 320]

concerns an individual. company belonging to that division,
which was put into action through local orders of the Field

Q. Was not the Panzer Grenadier Regiment under your command?

A. No, at that time it was not yet under my command because
I only returned  to France from the East at the end of June.

Q. That was characteristic use of the units of Waffen SS for
these terror purposes then, was it not - the very point I
have been putting to you for many minutes through this cross-

A. I have repeatedly stated that it was not a characteristic
of this division.

Q. The Death's Head Division, when did you command that?

A. The Death's Head Division too came under my command at
the same time, from the end of January, 1943, until August,

Q. Did you know that the 1st Regiment, the 7th Company of a
detachment , belonging to the Totenkopf Division, had in
Warsaw murdered about 45,000 Jewish men, women and children.
Did you not hear of that?

A. In what year was that supposed to have happened?

Q. In the year 1943, when you were commanding the corps to
which this division belonged, the Totenkopf Division, with
the great tradition of murders in concentration camps?

A. The division, as such, came under my command not during
the fighting f at Warsaw but at Kharkov. That is apparently
again a confusion of the men and the guard units of the
concentration camps.

Q. Did you know that the 1st Regiment of the 7th Company of
the Totenkopf Division had shot forty Russian prisoners of
war near Kharkov in August, 1943, for instance?

A. No, in August, 1943, the Totenkopf Division was no longer
near Kharkov. It was further south at the Mius river.

MR. ELWYN JONES: Would that be a convenient time to adjourn?
I have only a few more questions to put to this witness.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)




Q. Witness, did you know that the Prinz Eugen Division had
been responsible for the massacre at Lidice in June, 1942?

A. I did not understand the name of the place.

Q. It is a very famous place, Lidice, L-i-d-i-c-e.

A. No, I left the division in the year 1941 and had nothing
to do with it after that time. I heard nothing about this.

Q. Did you hear the name today for the first time?

A. Yes, I rather think so.

Q. Oh, the whole world knows of the massacre of Lidice. Are
you saying seriously to the Court you never heard of it? You
have admitted that the Prinz Eugen Division was an SS
division, have you not?

A. Yes.

Q. I want you to look at Document D-944, Exhibit GB 566,
because you have said that units of the Waffen SS did not
set fire to villages or commit atrocities against the
inhabitants. This is a statement from the Yugoslav
Commission for Ascertaining War Crimes taken from a member
of the SS, Holtzer Leander; , and he declares:

  "In August, 1943, the 23rd Company set fire to a village
  on the railway line Jablabnica-Prozor by order of the
  battalion commander, Obersturmbannfuehrer Wagner, under
  the command of the company commander,

                                                  [Page 321]

  Untersturmbannfuehrer Schuh. The inhabitants of the
  village were shot in the meantime.
  "In August, 1943, on the orders of the same persons, the
  23rd Company set fire to a village on the railway line
  Niksic-Avtovac; and the inhabitants of the village were
  shot. The order for the shooting came from Jablabnica and
  the villages were burnt down in the early morning. The
  shootings in Pancevo were carried out by the police agent
  Gross, former master-dyer, Brunn from the SS Division
  "Prinz Eugen" from Pancevo, a former master-miller. He
  received a reward of 20,000 Dinars for the hangings at
  the cemetery."

Did you know members of the Waffen SS were from time to time
employed for hanging prisoners?

A. It is strange that this company was called the 23rd. We
had no numbering of this sort. Furthermore, I cannot tell
you anything about it since I never commanded this division.
The "Prinz Eugen" Division included many "Volksdeutsche"
from the Balkans, German nationals resident in the Balkans;
and the senior commander, Fritsch, also was a
"Volksdeutscher." I believe that the war in the Balkans
bore, on both sides, a different aspect from that found

Q. Now, finally, I want to deal with the unity of the SS
organization. I suggest to you that the Waffen SS, the
Allgemeine SS, the SD, and the police branches of the SS
formed one great unit of the Nazi State. Do you agree with

A. No. I stated again and again that this apparent unity did
not exist; that we had no connection with the general SS nor
with the SD but were independent under the command of the
Army. Occasionally small units of the Waffen SS were
assigned to tasks in the rear areas where they were
subordinate to the Higher SS and Police Leader. And that
seems also to have applied in Warsaw, where the rear
formations of the cavalry brigade

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