Archive/File: imt/nca/supp-b/nca-sb-02-frank.09 Last-Modified: 1997/11/26 Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression, Supplement B Persecution of the Jews in Poland Excerpts from Testimony of Hans Frank, taken in Nurnberg, Germany, 7 September 1945, 1030-1215, by Lt. Col. Thomas S. Hinkel, IGD. Also present: Siegfried Ramler, Interpreter; T/4 R.R. Kerry, Reporter. Q. Do you remember the removal from Warsaw of a large number of Jews in 1942? A. When should that have been? Q. During the period 22 July to 3 October 1942. A. This might have been reported to me later on. Was this during the time of the ghetto rising? Q. You know whether or not it was reported to you that a large number of Jews had been removed from Warsaw during a period in 1942? [Page 1375] A. I have understood the question. State Secretary Buehler would know it. I know that a conference had taken place between the City and the State Secretary, but I had not taken part in this conference. Q. Well, wasn't the result of the conference reported to you? A. No. The competent authority was in Warsaw. Q. Is it your statement that as Governor-General of Poland, you didn't know that a large part of the population of Warsaw had been removed therefrom? A. Certainly I got to know it. That's quite clear. Q. That is my question to you. Wasn't it reported? A. It certainly was not told me by State Secretary Buehler, to whom the report was directed. If a report had been issued, perhaps it was by Governor Fischer, who was personally in Cracow. Q. I am not trying to quibble with you on words. When I say report, I don't mean necessarily that a formal written document was presented to you concerning these matters. What I mean generally is, were you not informed by one means or another whether orally or in writing of these events? A. The question about the transportation of Jews has certainly been reported to me not only from Warsaw but other sources. Q. What other sources? A. Out of the whole Reich. Q. Didn't Buehler tell you who told him about these things? A. Not only Buehler spoke about it, but also Secretary Boepple spoke about it, and besides that, this was a general plan where always the names were mentioned because this was a problem that affected the administration all over Germany; but what we did know was that Himmler was the Reich Commissioner for Jews. Only once a written document came into my hands from Lammers in which was written that all affairs in the Reich and all occupied territories of the Reich are under the jurisdiction of the Reich SS Commissar Himmler. This document has been repeated in various forms. Once it came to a connection where the police alone could dispose of the property of the Jews: that all the property that belonged to Jews who were being evacuated came under the charge of Reich Commissar Himmler and not in the charge of State authorities, and this also applied to the General Government. Q. I still say that as Governor-General of Poland, when reports were made to you by your subordinates regarding instructions that they had received from Berlin while they were in Berlin, that they must have told you from whom these instructions were [Page 1376] received and who these people were that gave the instructions that you refer to. A. I think the best man who would know about this is SS Gruppenfuehrer Krueger. Q. That may be, but I am asking what you know about it. A. I know what has been reported to me. Q. And what was reported to you? A. That the Jews on the order of the Fuehrer should be transported towards the east in stages, that this plan was not discussed very often because we often administered those things ourselves and there was also a different town, Theresienstadt, which was also taken into consideration, but that had not been notified to us in writing. Q. Now, you said that your subordinates, including Buehler, on occasion told you about instructions which had been received concerning the treatment to be accorded the Jews or other matters in connection with the Jews, and I want to know from whom your subordinates received these instructions. A. First the word "instruction" is far too grand a word. It was not really an instruction. It was just the result of conversations and rumors. Himmler had never expressed his plans so clearly, and what I have said and done then was just the result of beliefs which were quite clear to me. Q. The question is this: Did you or did you not take action in response to the message that you received from one of your subordinates as to what the people in Berlin wanted you to do with the Jews? A. In no case have I had anything to do with the transportation of Jews from Warsaw, which was a clear internal affair of the SS. Q. What connection did you have with the Jews? A. I had no competent authority on this particular field. I had a few Jews in the castle with me as workers, but I personally had nothing to do with the Jews. Q. You stated that after you talked with Buehler that you took action with reference to the suggestion that Buehler told you about as coming from Berlin. What were these actions to which you refer? A. I have not said that I took action. Q. What did you do? A. I don't know what you mean by action, but I often talked to Dr. Fischer, and it is a fact that the transportation of Jews from Poland to different places was very bad for the economy. We have gotten in touch with the Chief of the Ss, with the Ober- [Page 1377] kommando of the Wehrmacht Keitel, and the Reich Minister to prevent Jews who worked so well producing uniforms from being transported away from Warsaw. My point of view was that it was crazy to do such a thing in the middle of the war when one must have every button of every uniform. We had armament officials that came to us and begged us to leave the Jews because their factories would have to stop. Q. What did you tell Hitler about the Jews? A. I told him in 1940 that the special thing about the Jews in Poland was that they were a different class of people from what we had in Germany. In Germany the Jews are the rich ones. In Germany they are not manual workers; they are not people who stand in factories and work. In Germany they have been bankers, doctors, merchants. In Poland, on the other hand, the Jews are the small manual workers. They are the bootmakers, the tailors, and not only that, they are also semi-skilled workers in industry. Q. What else was said? A. And then I also told him that they are really quite well off, that they are very industrious and behave well, and that we cannot dispense with them in Poland because the Pole has not the nature that the German Jew has. The Jew in Poland was the man that brought the trade into the village because the transportation of the country was so very bad. There were no railways, and that was terribly important. Q. What did Hitler say to all this? A. That interested him but he did not talk about it further. Q. Did you tell him about how the Jews were being treated? A. That I could not tell him because nothing special had happened to the Jews. Q. What happened after that? A. The Colonel must remember that I came with very few men into a completely alien country. From the 7th of November it took me a quarter of a year until I occupied all my service posts, until all these posts were able to communicate with the central post or orders from the central post could be given to the different administrative sections. Besides, I had in the country the Wehrmacht commander, who had nothing to do with me, who was not under me at all, and who was not responsible to me for any reports, and they had already been in the country since the 1st of September. The SS and police had already been in the country, as I said before. It is my personal opinion, although Adolf Hitler never told me in the course of all this time, that Himmler in- [Page 1378] fluenced Hitler to make a very great anti-Jewish campaign, using the reason that the Jews were guilty of the war against Germany. This of course contributed in ever- increasing measure to the more difficult problem of the Jews. The SS never allowed any of my workers to get involved in their Jewish campaigns. At first they started to gather together the Jews, saying that anyway the Jews had their own parts of the town in every town they lived, and it was then we tried through the formation of ghettos to keep things in order at least in the bigger cities. In these ghettos all Jews were to be rounded up together; they were to be under the protection of the police; they were to have their own administration there. I want to point out that the order we talked about yesterday about the forced labor of Jews, that those orders had actually never gone into effect, that the SS acted under their own orders and declared that the General-Governor had nothing to order. Q. What happened to the Jews? A. We already talked about the fact that these ghettos came into their greatest difficulties, especially Warsaw, where food was concerned. And then in accordance with the general plan, the general transportation of Jews towards the east was carried out. Q. What was your participation in that? A. That I fought against that until the very last moment, as I said before. Q. Then what did you do at the last moment? A. I went to the highest authorities of the different departments in order to interest them in my opinion, but I got the decision of the Fuehrer from the Oberkommando of the Wehrmacht Keitel, who told me himself that the Fuehrer wanted the transportation of the Jews to the East carried out under any circumstances. Q. After your opinion was overruled, what did you do? A. I have already told the Colonel before that eight times I offered my resignation. Q. How many Jews were killed or liquidated during that 1943 period? A. In the rising? Q. Yes. A. The number has never been told to me. I once asked Himmler to show me the photos of the ghetto but that was not shown to me. Nobody could enter this territory. It was shut tightly. It had been declared a military wartime restriction, and the civilian administration was kept outside completely. I just had a very superficial report with no exact information, and whenever I [Page 1379] had a question, I just received the answer that the question hadn't been cleared up. It was always very difficult to ask questions because the police and the Wehrmacht said, "Mr. Governor-General what have you to do with that question? You should sit in the castle and be a representative." Q. Did you hear that more than 50,000 Jews had been killed or captured or liquidated one way or the other? A. This number I am hearing for the first time. I have not heard any numbers but I heard it was in the thousands. I was also told that the losses of the German police and Wehrmacht had been very substantial. Q. What action, if any, did you take in connection with the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto in 1943? A. I asked for reports from the Wehrmacht and the police, and it was reported to me that there was really a big rising with weapons, with cannons, machine guns of all kinds, that it was an internal civil war.
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