The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal really doesn't want to hear a
history of Ancient Rome.

THE WITNESS: Very well.

                                                  [Page 118]


Q. Witness, you have described the development of the
transfer of governmental powers into Hitler's hands.

A. Yes, but not completely.

Q. In that case, please continue with your account. But all
descriptions ...

THE PRESIDENT: We have had quite enough. We quite understand
that he is saying that Hitler took over all powers and would
not listen to any debate at all. It is perfectly clear that
he said so.



Q. Witness, will you please tell me one more thing about the
last question in this connection? Please tell me whether you
as Reich Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery
considered the development you have just described legal.

A. I regarded this development, in the first place, from the
point of view of the student of constitutional law. I
discussed these questions repeatedly with Hitler, and I
considered this development perfectly legal and, if it is
desired, I can explain my reasons in detail. In particular,
I considered this development legal in view of the well-
known Enabling Act and later laws which gave the Government
plenipotentiary powers and because of which the Government,
in turn, was in a position to delegate some of these powers
to the Fuehrer and to transfer the power. In that manner the
Reich Government, as such ...

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, the Tribunal isn't really
interested in whether or not it was legal. What the Tribunal
is interested in is whether crimes against other nations
were committed. We certainly don't want to hear this in such
great detail.

DR. SEIDL: Yes, but the main point of the Indictment is
Count 1 of the Indictment, and that is concerned with the
Conspiracy charged by the Indictment.

THE PRESIDENT: The main point in the Indictment is not
whether it was in accordance with German law that Hitler
should take over the powers of his Government. There was no
such point made in the Indictment.


Q. Witness, I now turn to some questions which concern the
defendant Dr. Frank.

Since when have you known Dr. Frank? What were his
activities up to the outbreak of the war?

A. I became acquainted with Herr Frank in the course of the
year 1932. If I understand you rightly, you want to hear
about his activities only from the outbreak of the war?

Q. Up to the outbreak of the war.

A. He was Chief of the Legal Division of the Party, then
Chief of the National Socialist Lawyers' Association
(Juristenbund) which later on became the so-called Lawyers'
League (Rechtswahrerbund). Then he became a member of the
Reichstag, and at the time of the seizure of power in 1933
he became Minister of Justice in Bavaria. At the same time
he became Reich Commissar for Legal Reforms.

Later on - and I don't remember the exact year - he became
Reich Minister without Portfolio, and he was the President
of the Academy of German Law. He finally became Governor

THE PRESIDENT: We have had the defendant Frank's posts
proved to us already, I should think probably more than
once. We don't require them from Dr. Lammers.

DR. SEIDL: I can put another question to the witness.


Q. Witness, what was the relationship between Frank and

A . The relationship between the two was, at the beginning,
I should like to say, good and proper, but not particularly
close. At any rate, during the whole time he did not belong
to those who could be called the closest advisers of the

                                                  [Page 119]

Q. What was Frank's attitude towards the State police and
the question of concentration camps?

A. Frank repeatedly made speeches in public in which he
stood up for the constitutional State, for right and law by
attacking the State police and in which - although not in
very strong terms - he always took a stand against
internment in concentration camps, because such internment
was without a legal basis. These speeches made by Frank were
frequently the cause of a severe disapproval on the part of
Hitler, so that in the end the Fuehrer instructed me to
forbid his making speeches and he was forbidden to publish
the printed versions of these speeches. Finally, Frank's
activity in standing up for the constitutional State,
resulted in his being removed from his office as the Reich
Chief of the Legal Division of the Party.

Q. Wasn't he dismissed from his position as President of the
Academy of German Law for these reasons?

A. Yes, that happened at the same time, and also from his
position as Chief of the Lawyers' League.

Q. Another question: Did Dr. Frank as Governor General have
considerable power, or was it not rather the case that his
power in many respects was greatly infringed?

A. One can certainly say that in many respects his power was

There were a number of reasons for this - first of all, as
is self-evident, the Armed Forces. But they bothered him
least of all, for in the occupied territories the Reich
Commissioners were never members of the High Command of the
Armed Forces. That was always separate. Then Goering, as
Trustee for the Four-Year Plan, had comprehensive powers to
issue orders to both the Party and the State in all occupied
territories, therefore also in the Government General and
thus could give orders to the Governor General and could,
when it was necessary in the interests of the whole,
countermand and annul the latter's decrees.

Thirdly, Frank's powers as Governor General were
considerably limited through the police, since Himmler as
Chief of the German police had direct police powers which he
was, to be sure, to co-ordinate with those of the Governor
General but which he didn't always do.

The Governor General suffered a further loss of power
through the fact that Himmler was Reich Commissioner for the
"Strengthening of Germanism" and as such could undertake
resettlements and did do so without consulting Governor
General Frank in any way.

Then, there were certain infringements in favour of the
General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour, but in
my opinion the infringement of power in this field was very
slight, for Gauleiter Sauckel always, where possible, came
to an agreement with the local offices beforehand. Finally
there were powers reserved for Reich Minister Speer in the
field of armament and technology. There were still other
powers reserved for the postal service, the railroads, etc.
But in the main these are the infringements, as you call
them, Dr. Seidl, in Frank's power.

Q. What, according to your observations, was Frank's basic
attitude towards the Polish and Ukrainian peoples, and what
was the policy he tried to carry through?

A. In my opinion Frank always tried to pursue a policy of
moderation and to create an atmosphere of friendship toward
Germany in Poland. To be sure, he very often was unable to
achieve his aim especially because of the fact that the
powers of the police and Himmler's powers were too great in
the field of resettlement so that his measures and his
intentions suffered setbacks. He found it difficult to
achieve his aims.

Q. Did Dr. Frank occupy himself with Germanisation aims or
did he rather, whenever he could, oppose the policy of
resettlement pursued by Himmler as Reich Commissioner for
the "Strengthening of Germanism"?

A. I shouldn't have thought that Frank would be so foolish
as to have Germanising intentions or to want to make Germans
of Poles. He probably tried to win the

                                                  [Page 120]

people of German origin in Poland for the cause of
Germanism. He had many difficulties with regard to the
resettlements, since he was not consulted beforehand and
since, by way of resettlement, people were simply pushed
into the Government General. In that respect he and I agreed
entirely. I have repeatedly told the Fuehrer that these mass
resettlements couldn't take place all at once without the
agreement of the Governor General, and that the Governor
General couldn't govern if he did not know about these
resettlement measures in advance and if he could exert no
influence in connection with these measures.

Q. Witness, you stated earlier that the entire Security
Police and the S.D. in the Government General were directly
under Himmler or the Higher S.S. and Police Chief. Did
Governor General Frank not try to protest against the policy
of force employed by these two men and to relieve the

A. On this point he addressed repeated complaints to me, so
that I might take them to the Fuehrer, which, however, I
could do only in part. In one point, however, we did want to
help him. In the Government General there had been
established a Secretariat of State for the security system.
This was under the then Higher S.S. and Police Chief Kruger.
This, however, functioned for only four to six weeks and
then differences of opinion in this field broke out once
more. The State Secretary for Security, Kruger, stated, "I
receive my orders from Himmler." If the Governor General
complained about that, then Himmler said, "These are all
unimportant matters. I certainly must be able to rule on
them directly." The Governor General replied, "But for me
they aren't unimportant matters."

The channels of command and the co-operation with the
Governor General were not being observed, and it is
therefore perfectly understandable that Herr Frank had a
very difficult position with respect to the police system.

Q. Is it correct that the Governor General repeatedly, both
verbally and in writing, declared his intention of resigning
and the reasons for it?

A. He repeatedly offered his resignation, because of these
sharp conflicts which he had, with Himmler in particular,
and because Hitler usually decided that he was in the wrong
and Himmler in the right. Many statements of his intention
or desire to resign were brought to me, some of which I
wasn't even allowed to submit to the Fuehrer. But I informed
the Fuehrer of the Governor General's intentions of
resigning and the Fuehrer several times refused Frank's
offer to resign.

Q. Do you know that the Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler was
working towards having Frank removed?

A. The Reichsfuehrer Himmler personally was indubitably an
opponent of Frank. There is cause for me to assume from
various disapproving statements made by Himmler with regard
to Frank that Himmler would have liked it very much if Frank
had been removed from his position; and Reichsleiter
Bormann, who also wasn't very well disposed to Frank's
personality, would have liked it also.

Q. Who in the Government General had jurisdiction of the
concentration camps and was the competent official as far as
their instalment and administration was concerned?

A. The concentration camps were under Himmler, and offices
and departments under Himmler's control were responsible for
the administration and organisation. There was an economics'
department, I believe, attached to the S.S., which was
responsible for administration; but concentration camps as
such were under Himmler's jurisdiction.

Q. Who was responsible for all questions connected with the
so-called Jewish policy in the Government General?

A. In occupied territories the Jewish policy, I might say in
its larger implications, was handled by Himmler, who
directed it. But, of course, the Governor General was also
concerned with matters in the field of Jewish policy or with
measures against the Jews, for instance, the combating of
spotted fever, and, I think, the marking by means of a
visible sign. All personal measures were proposed to the

                                                  [Page 121]

Governor General by the police. But the main policy in
Jewish questions, as I learned afterwards, was handled
entirely by Himmler alone, who had been given these powers
by the Fuehrer.

Q. Is it true that the Governor General, as early as 1940,
continuously raised complaints regarding the activities of
the Higher S.S. and Police Chief Kruger?

A. I can confirm that. That happened several times. In
particular these complaints were made because the S.S. and
police courts were assuming powers in the Government General
which they didn't actually have. Consequently, they deprived
the Governor General, the only authority competent in this
respect, of the administration of justice. There were also
shootings of hostages. He repeatedly complained about that.
I want to state that all complaints were addressed to me -
not to me personally, but were merely always directed to me
so that I could submit them to the Fuehrer.

Q. Is it correct that the Governor General continuously made
objections about the extensive claims made by the Reich or
the Government General, particularly in reference to grain

A. He often raised objections, but the demands which were
put to him were even increased. He did, for the most part,
fulfil them, which must have been extremely hard for him.

Q. Do you know that the Governor General protested against
the removal of art treasures by Himmler's organisation?

A. I have only a very faint recollection of that. It is
possible that he also complained about the removal of art
treasures, but I can't remember any details in that

Q. And now the last question. Is it true that the Governor
General in many documents, from as early as 1940 on, made
proposals to the Fuehrer regarding the improvement of the
living conditions of the population under the Government
General and that the Fuehrer, only very much later,
acknowledged that the liberal policy which had been
advocated by Frank from the very beginning was correct?

A. Herr Frank often objected to a policy of exploitation and
pronounced himself in favour of a policy of development, in
cultural matters as well. He had suggested, for instance,
that Polish advisory committees be assigned to the
authorities under the Governor General and to the district
chiefs and so forth. That was refused. He spoke in favour of
the creation of high schools, theological seminaries and
similar cultural aims, all of which were rejected.

On one occasion he had submitted a long memorandum. This
referred to a Polish organisation which called itself "The
Plough and the Sword"; it had offered to co-operate with the
Germans, and Frank submitted detailed proposals in a large
memorandum, saying that these Poles could be won over to co-
operate only if they were met on proper terms. All these
suggestions, coming from Frank, were turned down by Hitler.
It isn't correct for you to say, Dr. Seidl, that it wasn't
until the last moment that the Fuehrer agreed to these
suggestions. All I can say is that they were all turned down
without exception.

DR. SEIDL: I have no further questions.

DR. THOMA (counsel for defendant Rosenberg):

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