Archive/File: imt/nca/supp-b/nca-sb-02-pohl.12 Last-Modified: 1997/12/10 Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression, Supplement B Who Was Responsible for the Concentration Camps Excerpts from Testimony of Oswald Pohl, taken at Nurnberg, Germany, 10 June 1946, 1400-1700, by Lt. Col. Smith W. Brookhart, Jr., IGD. Also present: Richard Sonnenfeldt, Interpreter; Charles J. Gallagher, Reporter. [Page 1600] Q. Let me read some of Kaltenbrunner's testimony. He was being questioned about the deaths that occurred in concentration camps, and this question was put: "Because they continued to be done through 1943, 1944, and 1945, and until the Allied Armies overran the concentration camps, and through those years Kaltenbrunner was Chief of the RSHA which had them in charge. "A. No, I was never in charge of any such, but orders were generally like such in my statement in London, that Himmler [Page 1601] or Pohl, and no commander of any concentration camp on the part of Germany can ever say he ever received the slightest order from me." A. I can give you exactly the same answer. No concentration camp commandant ever received the slightest order from me, either written or oral. The WVHA [Economics and Administration Main Office (of SS), in charge of concentration camps and headed by Pohl.] did not have the slightest jurisdiction over the prisoners. Any such order could only come from Himmler, or from the RSHA, [Reich Security Main Office, headed by Kaltenbrunner.] from Mueller, head of Amt IV. I do not know whether Kaltenbrunner knew about it in every case, but at any rate any such orders never emanated from the WVHA, or from me. Q. You and Kaltenbrunner contradict each other at almost every turn. A. Well, I am telling you the truth. Q. Kaltenbrunner says that in all his dealings with you he never referred to the concentration camps. A. That is an error. I already testified to this fact, and I am insisting on it that I wrote quite a number of letters to Kaltenbrunner to release several prisoners and that cannot be changed. Those letters would be entirely surplusage if I myself ever had the power to take them out, because would have simply to say, "Take them out." Q. You stand on your oral testimony that when you wanted to deal with any one about taking a prisoner out of a camp, you took it up with Kaltenbrunner, is that right? A. Yes, I insist on that absolutely, and I will not change it. The whole thing is so clear that any error is absolutely out of the question. Some of my collaborators, no doubt, would be in a position to testify whether or not I had authority to release prisoners. Loerner would know that, and Hoess perhaps. Q. Here you make out Kaltenbrunner as a liar when he is on trial for his life when he gave this testimony? A. It is not true insofar as he refers to me. That is absolutely not true. Q. Kaltenbrunner says if he can be confronted by you he will say that you are the responsible person always. A. Please confront me with him. Q. In connection with the Jewish extermination program, Kaltenbrunner said this: "During my time" -- meaning his time with the RSHA -- "I have repeatedly opposed such persecution of the Jews; particularly in view of those reasons I have declined to take charge of this office." What do you know about that? He said further, "The responsibility rests with Himmler, Mueller, and Pohl." [Page 1602] A. In this Kaltenbrunner makes only one mistake. He put in the name of Pohl instead of Kaltenbrunner, and I will tell you why. If I oppose anything, that means that I have something to do with it; how can I possible oppose something I did not have anything to do with?
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