The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/16

Q. Do you know who were the candidates for honorary
membership in this Congress?

A. Probably there were many, Ribbentrop among others, as far
as I still remember today.

Q. Who else from among the defendants was present at the

A. I really cannot say. As far as I remember, Rosenberg and
a large number of other leading personalities; but I cannot
recall their names any longer. But naturally there are
documents on the subject, so that they can be ascertained
without trouble.

Q. Did Ribbentrop attempt in any form whatsoever to protest
against the inclusion of his name in the roster of honorary
members of this Congress?

A. So far as I can recall he took over this post very
unwillingly but I do not believe that he really intended to
take any active part in this matter.

Q. If I have understood you correctly, you have recently
testified to the fact that relations between Ribbentrop and
Himmler were unfriendly.

A. Yes, relations were bad between them.

Q. But can you state if any contact existed between
Ribbentrop and Himmler

                                                  [Page 107]

in their work, if they maintained this contact in any one
particular sphere or branch of their work?

A. As a matter of fact, there was no working contact as
would have been considered right in a well-organised State.
Of course, now and then there were matters somewhere that
concerned both of these men, and to that extent they did
have contact, yes.

Q. What was the nature of this contact and what, exactly,
did it represent?

A. It really only amounted to this: that Ribbentrop and
Himmler saw each other every few months. Besides that, we
had a liaison man in the Foreign Office for the
Reichsfuehrer S.S., Himmler.

Q. Then how does all this fit in with the hostility which,
as you have just mentioned, existed between Himmler and

A. I presume you are referring to the second question I
answered. In every normal State it was the case that the
ministers saw each other at least once a year and exchanged
opinions. This, however, did not take place, since, as we
have already heard today, at some length, the fields of
jurisdiction overlapped to a great extent and the activity
of one man touched very closely on the activity of the
other. Therefore some connection had to be established
whether one wanted it or not.

Q. Do I understand you to say that Himmler and Ribbentrop
never even met?

A. They met perhaps once every three months, or it might
have been every four months, and they usually only met if by
chance they were both visiting Hitler at the same time.

Q. There were no special meetings, no business contact
between them at all?

A. Actually not.

Q. I should like you to familiarise yourself with Exhibit
USSR 120, which has already been submitted as evidence to
the Tribunal.

You will see that this is an agreement between Himmler and
Ribbentrop regarding the organisation of intelligence work.
Are you familiar with this agreement?

A. Yes, certainly.

Q. The contact between Himmler and Ribbentrop was evidently
closer than you wished to describe.

A. I do not consider, Mr. Prosecutor, that I attempted to
give you any impression other than the one that actually
existed. This agreement refers to Hitler's order of 12th
February, 1944. On the basis of this order Himmler took
charge of all activity abroad without the participation of
the Foreign Office, and, after he had become the successor
to Canaris, through this order he secured a predominant
position abroad. If the Foreign Office in one way or another
had not tried to contact this organisation then the Foreign
Office would have had no influence at all even in foreign
countries. We had to fight vigorously over this document,
for on the basis of it Himmler was obliged for the first
time to communicate to us the information that he received
from abroad. Otherwise he received these reports without
telling us about them. That was the reason why we reached
this working agreement. But so far as I recall, it was not
put into practice at all, because Hitler's order was issued
on 12th February, 1944, and we had not agreed until
February, 1945. Then it gradually came about. That must be
approximately the date. At any rate it took quite a while.

Q. You say that this agreement never became valid?

A. I did not say that. An agreement becomes effective at the
moment at which it is signed. But it was not put into
practice or hardly put into practice.

Q. I think we shall have to content ourselves with your
reply and pass over to some other questions. Did you ever
come into contact with Kaltenbrunner?

A. Did I come into contact with Kaltenbrunner? Yes.

Q. On what questions?

A. On precisely those questions which for example the Nuncio
directed to me,

                                                  [Page 108]

and about people who, because of the "Nacht und Nebel"
("Night and Fog") law, had been transported from abroad and
about whom we could give no information, I often went
privately to Kaltenbrunner and pointed out to him that this
order was inhuman. As a favour Kaltenbrunner then frequently
gave me information, and I, contrary to the orders,
transmitted this information abroad because I considered
humaneness to be right. Those were the main points of
contact which I had with Kaltenbrunner.

Q. Did you, in particular, have any conversation with him on
the subject of the Danish Policemen interned by the Gestapo
in a concentration camp without any concrete charges being
presented against them? Please reply to this question by
saying "yes" or "no."

A. Yes.

Q. During one interrogation, an interrogation conducted by
an American interrogator, you stated that although these
policemen were eventually sent back to Denmark, they were
very badly treated.

A. Yes.

Q. What did this ill-treatment consist of?

A. I discovered at that time, I believe through the Danish
Ambassador, that 1,600 Danish policemen -

Q. I must ask you to be brief. What did the ill-treatment
consist of which was meted out to the Danish policemen who
were interned in a concentration camp without any concrete
charges being presented against them?

A. These policemen were transported from Denmark. When I
learned of it, I went to Kaltenbrunner on the same day and
asked him under any circumstances to treat these people as
civilian internees or as prisoners of war.

Q. I beg your pardon, but you are not answering my question.
What did the ill-treatment of the Danish policemen consist

A. I assume that you want to know if Kaltenbrunner is
personally responsible for this and this I would have to
contradict. I am -

THE PRESIDENT: Will you answer the question? It was
repeated. You must understand what the question is: What was
the bad treatment? Either you know or you do not know. If
you know, you can say so.

THE WITNESS: So far as I can remember, ten per cent. of
these prisoners died.

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: Is that all you can say in reply to the

A. Regarding details of the ill-treatment, I was informed by
Denmark that the people were not allowed to keep their
uniforms and had to wear concentration camp clothes, that
this concentration camp clothing was too thin and the people
frequently died of inflammation of the lungs, and also that
the food was insufficient. I did not discover any more at
the time. They were also flogged.

Q. Witness, please tell us: did you ever hear of the
activities of the defendant Sauckel?

A. I came into touch with Sauckel's activities only in so
far as we objected that so many people from abroad were
brought into Germany by force.

Q. Do you perhaps remember a conference at which both you
and Sauckel were present? You have already mentioned this
fact in the course of your interrogation prior to the
opening of the current trial.

A. Yes.

Q. Do you perhaps remember you testified in the course of
this interrogation: "But the measures adopted for recruiting
people in Russia and similar countries are beyond

A. In the session I ... I did not understand the question.

Q. You stated, during the interrogation of 28th September,
1945, I am quoting verbatim: " But the measures adopted for
recruiting people in Russia and similar countries are beyond
description." Do you remember your testimony?

A. I confirm that statement.

Q. Then you confirm it? Will you kindly enumerate, if only
in brief, what

                                                  [Page 109]

precisely were the indescribable measures adopted by the
defendant Sauckel in Russia and other countries?

A. I know of only one case that was reported to me at the
time. It concerned the fact that in a certain sector people
were invited to a theatrical performance and the theatre was
surrounded, and the people who were inside were brought to
Germany for forced labour.

Q. I have no further questions to ask.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I request permission to ask one more
question, or rather, to have one more question elucidated.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, the Tribunal has already
indicated that it wishes the cross-examination to be cut
down as far as possible, and it really cannot hear more than
one counsel on behalf of each of the four countries. I am
afraid we cannot hear any further cross-examination from

COLONEL POKROVSKY: The question is not a new one. The
witness has not answered a question which was repeated four

THE PRESIDENT: It is a new counsel though.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: No. The Soviet Prosecutor asked who of
the defendants influenced the foreign policy of Germany. The
witness replied: "The Armed Forces." I wished to -

THE PRESIDENT: I am sorry, Colonel Pokrovsky, but I have
given you the Tribunal's ruling. We cannot hear more than
one counsel. I hope, as I say, that the prosecutors will
make their examination as short as possible.

M. FAURE: This witness having been already interrogated at
considerable length, I wish only to ask a very short


Q. Witness, I should like you to confirm precisely what you
have already declared that the Embassy of Germany in Paris
was under the authority of Ribbentrop and depended only on
him; is that correct?

A. I did not understand that question in German.

Q. Is it correct from your declaration, and from what you
know, that the German Embassy in Paris was under the
authority of Ribbentrop and that it depended only on him?

A. Yes.

Q. Does it mean that every important measure taken by the
Embassy would have to be known by the defendant Ribbentrop?

A. Yes.

M. FAURE: I should like simply to have this point elucidated
in view of the interrogatory of the witness, and I have no
further questions to ask.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn until 2.00 o'clock.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 14.00 hours.)

DR. KAUFFMANN (counsel for defendant Kaltenbrunner): Mr.
President, I request permission to ask one question which I
could not ask before. The Russian Prosecutor asked whether
the witness had discussed the question of the Danish
policemen with Kaltenbrunner. In this connection it remained
entirely unanswered how Kaltenbrunner himself behaved. I
simply want to ask this one question.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Kauffmann.

(Examination of Adolf von Steengracht-resumed.)


Q. Witness, would you please tell the Tribunal how
Kaltenbrunner behaved when you discussed with him the
question of the Danish police who were inhumanly treated;
how Kaltenbrunner behaved in this connection; what he did?

A. The question is perhaps not quite correct, when you say
"who were inhumanly treated," for they could not yet have
been dealt with. They had just been turned over to the
concentration camp. So the moment I found out about

                                                  [Page 110]

it I went to Kaltenbrunner and told him that it was
impossible for these people to be put into a concentration
camp. They had to be treated either as prisoners of war or
as civilian internees.

Kaltenbrunner listened to this and said he was also of that
opinion, and in my presence gave the order that these people
should be transferred from the concentration camp to a
prisoner-of-war camp. I therefore assumed that the matter
was thereby settled and then found out after 14 days that
they were still in the concentration camp. I appealed to
Kaltenbrunner in earnest. Kaltenbrunner said he could find
no explanation for it. I could not find any either, since
the order to transfer these people had been given in my
presence. We subsequently carried on many negotiations
regarding this matter. I had the impression that other
influences were at work there, and that Kaltenbrunner could
not carry it through.

Q. Was he against this inhuman treatment?

A. He always told me that he was in favour of their being
put in a prisoner-of-war camp. That was naturally a
substantial improvement.

DR. KAUFFMANN: No further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, do you wish to re-examine this

DR. HORN: I have no further questions to put to the witness.


Q. Was Ribbentrop in favour of violating the Treaty of
Versailles or was he opposed to that?

A. I should like to say -

Q. Could you say "yes" or "no" and then explain later?

A. He wanted a modification.

Q. Was Ribbentrop in favour of the re-occupation of the

A. At that time I did not know Ribbentrop and consequently
cannot answer this question.

Q. Was Ribbentrop opposed to rearmament?

A. I cannot answer this question either because I did not
yet know him at that time. I saw him for the first time in
the year 1936.

Q. Was he in favour of the Anschluss?

A. That I assume.

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