The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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         Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression, Supplement B
      Treatment of Jews in Government General of Poland
                              
     Excerpts from Testimony of Hans Frank, taken at
     Nurnberg, Germany, 6 September 1945, 1430-1700, by
     Lt. Col. Thomas S. Hinkel, IGD. Also present:
     Herbert Sherman, Interpreter; Pvt. Clair van
     Vleck, Court Reporter.
     
                                                 [Page 1367]
                                                            
Q. What was your job in September 1939?

A. I was drafted and I was a lieutenant in the Army.

Q. What was your job in October 1939?

A. I was nominated by the Fuehrer as Governor General at
Cracow.

Q. Why did he give you that job?

A. There were many who say that he liked to see me in such
an exposed place.

Q. Never mind what many of them say. What do you think? Why
do you think you got that job?

A. I sincerely believe at that time that Hitler wanted to
give me a chance to prove to him what I was able to do, as a
man of administration, but I lost his confidence already
after one week when I saw what kind of responsibility Hitler
gave to Himmler and to Goering in the same area I was
supposed to be the responsible man.  My first action was
that I resigned.

Q. It is pretty hard to believe, isn't it, that you had all
this opposition to Hitler from 1933 to 1939, and that he
would give you such a nice job?  You don't think that is
odd, do you?

                                                 [Page 1368]
                                                            
A. I was a member of the Party.  I was known as a man of
law. I was known on an international basis. I visited Poland
twice. The same way he made von Neurath Protector in Prague,
he nominated myself a Governor for Poland.

He told me that this was not a situation for me to be a
lieutenant in the Army during the war. I was the only
minister and Party leader who was active in the military
force. I told him, "I am an officer in a very proud regiment
and now we are at war, and now we have to give an example
with a gun in the hand." Hitler said, "I don't care about
that. You will have a special war task and you just have to
take your assignments." Hitler said, "I promise you I will
help you to overcome all difficulties, and you may see me
any day you want to discuss anything with me."

Q. What did he tell you he wanted you to do in Poland?

A. For Hitler the most necessary thing was to get order in
economy and travel. It was general administration and to
take care that all troubles we found in Poland would be
erased.

Q. What special instructions did he give you with reference
to the treatment of the Polish population?

A. He only said that the situation in Poland was especially
difficult right then. He said I must understand that,
therefore, he would have to give special jurisdiction to
Himmler and to the Army to guarantee that order will be
reestablished as soon as possible.

Q. What was your first official action when you were
appointed Governor?

A. After my entry into Cracow, on November 1st or November
7th, a proclamation to the inhabitants of Cracow.

Q. What did you do about getting labor?

A. It was a voluntary demand to the population.

Q. As a matter of fact, your first official action really
was on the 26th of October 1939. Isn't that right?

A. No.

Q. And it wasn't on entering into Cracow, was it?

A. I was nominated on the 26th of October.

Q. You were appointed that day, weren't you?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember a decree introducing forced labor for all
Polish nationals of Jewish descent?

A. If I signed it, it came from me. I don't know if it was
the 26th of October.

Q. Was it the 27th?

A. That I don't know.

                                                 [Page 1369]
                                                            
Q. Do you remember the decree?

A. Yes, I remember.

Q. What else do you remember about it?

A. It was not forced labor; it was an obligation to work.

Q. Did you order that all Jews be brought together in
special places for this voluntary work, as you describe it?

A. I would like to see the decree, if it was a general
order, or if I have signed this special order.

Q. You will be shown it soon enough. In the meanwhile, I
want to test this memory you spoke about this morning.

A. At the very beginning, Buehler (nominated by Frank as
chief of his office) and some other representatives of
different ministries handed to me decrees I had to sign.

Q. Did you read these decrees?

A. I did not only read the decrees, but I studied them. I
agreed entirely, that during a war, it was quite all right
to use this kind of labor the way we did, naturally, in the
interests of the Reich.

Q. I am not talking about that right now; I am just talking
about whether you did, or did not, on or about the 26th day
of October 1939, issue the kind of decree I just told you
about. [Document referred to did not form part of
prosecution case as finally prepared and hence is not
published in this series.] Did you or didn't you?

A. If that is my signature, then I did.

Q. Don't you remember?

A. Yes; it was a special wish of Adolf Hitler that under any
condition we had to start at once with the work.

Q. So you did issue those decrees, didn't you?

A. Yes.

Q. Of course you did, and it was your first official act,
too, wasn't it?

A. No.

Q. It was the second decree you signed. Is that it?

A. It seems that all those decrees were together on the
first number, where different laws were passed.

Q. When did Hitler tell you to issue this decree?

A. Already during the conversation I mentioned before.

Q. Why didn't you mention this decree when you told me about
that conversation?

A. I told you that it was Hitler's special wish, to
reconstruct as soon as possible, Poland, and to get order
into this country.

Q. How about the Polish Jews, did they like you?

A. I was not responsible for the Polish Jews. It was Himmler
who was charged with all the rules referring to the
treatment of Jews in Poland. In a case where the Poles were
part of a resist-

                                                 [Page 1370]
                                                            
ance movement, even those Poles were under the jurisdiction
of Himmler. As a result, the Polish Jews worked under police
supervision, and you must find it in one of these decrees.

Q. You had something to do with the Polish Jews though,
didn't you?

A. Yes, I tried to save some of them at my residence.

Q. Did you save many of them?

A. During the time I went to the Reich, they took them away
from me. I had a possession near Cracow. I was living on a
summer residence near Cracow, and there a Jewish couple were
in charge of my stable, and I tried to save them, too, but
during the time I had to leave for Germany they were taken
away from me.


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