The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. And you and your colleague, Himmler, you see, were
actively interested in this matter. I just want you to look
further at this report. You will see that in the report
itself it is headed, in paragraph A:

  "The task of the German administration in the Government
  The German administration in the Government General has
  to fulfil the following tasks:
  1. For the purpose of securing food for the German
  people, to increase agricultural production and utilise
  it to the fullest extent, to allot sufficient rations to
  the native population occupied with work essential for
  the war effort, and to deliver the rest to the Armed
  Forces and the homeland."

Then it goes on to deal with the difficulties of extracting
sufficient man-power and wealth from the territory of the
Government General for the benefit of the Third Reich. And
then towards the end it deals specifically with the
utilisation of man-power, and it is to that paragraph that I
desire to draw your particular attention. Have you found the
paragraph headed "utilisation of man-power," dealing with
the difficulties that the administration in the Government
General was confronted with? I draw your attention to it
because it contains this sentence: "It is clear that these
difficulties have been increased by the elimination of
Jewish man-power."

A. Where is that, please?

Q. It is in the paragraph headed "Utilisation of man-power."

A. Yes, but that is not my report.

Q. But you said that in your covering letter that the
memorandum was checked with General Kruger, who agreed with
it in full. You recollect in your covering letter you
indicated that this memorandum had received your
consideration. Now, whether you wrote that or not is not the
matter that I am concerned with at the moment. What I want
you to explain to the Tribunal is, first of all, did you

                                                  [Page 165]

appreciate that this report contained the sentence, "It is
clear that these difficulties of man-power have been
increased by the elimination of Jewish man-power"?

A. May I please be allowed time to read this document
through? I cannot reply to documents several pages long
unless I have read them. I find it quite impossible, and I
ask for time to read this report which is several pages in

Q. You may have the time required; but I only want you to
concern yourself with one sentence, you see. You can take it
that in the last paragraph but one of that report there
appears this sentence about the elimination of Jewish man-
power, and what I am going to suggest to you is that -

A. No, where is that? I haven't read this sentence. I have
not yet found the place. Where can I find it? Is it at the
top or at the bottom of the page? If I may read the whole
page I will find the sentence, I will need a few minutes for
this. Can you give me the approximate place? This is
evidently Kruger's report; and he probably means the further
evacuation of the Jews to the East. I do not know what you
mean by "elimination." With the best intentions I am not in
a position to give an explanation on the spur of the moment
of one sentence taken out of a document of fourteen pages.
It is absolutely impossible.

Q. Are you saying that elimination of Jewish man-power is to
be translated as emigration of Jewish man-power?

A. I do not know, I will have to read the complete document
in order to give you an explanation of the report. There are
fourteen closely written pages in it, not written by myself;
and I do not know what the connection is.

Q. You know, do you not, that Hans Frank himself was in
favour of a policy of extermination of the Jewish people?

A. I do not know whether he held that view. He told me
exactly the opposite, and as a witness I can only tell you
what be said to me and not what he said elsewhere.

Q. You see, this Tribunal has had read to it extracts from
Frank's diary in which he says that "my attitude towards the
Jews" - and this is found in Page 12 of the German copy -
"my attitude towards the Jews is such that I expect them all
to disappear." And he says, as to the three and a half
million Jews in the Government General, that "one cannot
shoot them or poison them, but we will be able to take steps
in order to annihilate them successfully. The Government
General must become as free of Jews as the Reich is."

Are you saying that Frank didn't express similar views to

A. If Frank made these entries in his diary, and if he
actually did say that, then it contradicts what he told me.
That is all I have to say on that point.

Q. Did you know that Frank's diary indicates that on 9th
September, 1941, there were three and a half million Jews in
the Government General and when he makes an entry on 2nd
August, 1943, he says that only a few labour companies are
left. Did you not know that?

A. I do not know that it happened because he told me nothing
about it. He himself must account for what he said in his
diary. He himself must establish whether he did it or not. I
knew nothing about these things.

Q. In view of your interpretation of elimination as
emigration, Frank says in connection with those millions
that they, as this Tribunal knows, were murdered: All the
others have, let us say, emigrated. Are you using the word
"emigrated" in an equally cynical and brutal sense as that?

A. I am not in a position to comment on Herr Frank's diary.
Herr Frank himself will have to do that.

Q. You, witness, were from the beginning of this tale of
terror involved in assisting in drafting legislation towards
achieving the end of racial persecution, were you not? Is
that not so? Did you not put your signature to the Fuehrer's
decree empowering Himmler to carry out the necessary
measures to eliminate from the territory of the Reich racial
elements of which you, as a Nazi, did not approve?

A. I do not recall ever signing anything like that.

                                                  [Page 166]

Q. Well, I will draw your attention to it. It is Document
686-PS, which is Exhibit USA 305. It is the decree of Hitler
to strengthen German folkdom. That is the title of it. It is
dated 7th October.

A. Yes, I know of the decree.

Q. I thought it would not surprise you.

A. But this says nothing about what you asserted.

Q. Just look at the first clause of it. It reads:

  "The Reichsfuehrer S.S. is responsible, in accordance
  with my directives:
  1. For finally returning to the Reich all German
  nationals and racial Germans abroad.
  2. For elimination of the harmful influence of such alien
  parts of the population as represent a danger to the
  Reich and the German people."

Then it goes on with "Formation of new German settlement
districts, by resettlement ..." and it says:

  "The Reichsfuehrer S.S. is authorised to take the
  necessary measures to execute his obligation."

You signed that decree, did you not?

A. It is correct, but it says nothing about killing Jews. It
speaks of the elimination of a harmful influence exercised
by alien populations. There is no mention of the elimination
of aliens, but only of the elimination of the influence of
alien elements of the population; the removal of a person's
influence does not mean the removal of the person himself.

Q. Are you, as the head of the Reich Chancellery, the man
who knew all the secrets of the Third Reich, saying to this
Tribunal that you had no knowledge of the murder of millions
and millions who were murdered under the Nazi regime?

A. I mean to say that I knew nothing about it until the
moment of the collapse, that is, the end of April or the
beginning of May, when I heard such reports from foreign
broadcasting stations. I did not believe them at the time,
and I only found further material here, later on, in the
newspapers. If we are speaking now of the elimination of a
harmful influence, that is far from meaning annihilation.
The Fuehrer did not say a word about murder; no mention was
ever made of such a plan.

Q. I now want you to turn your attention to the defendant
Rosenberg. You have told us that the first you heard of
several of the major military operations of the Third Reich
was through the newspapers. Was it from the newspapers that
you heard of the Nazi plans to invade the Soviet Union?

A. I only learned of the war of aggression against Russia
when everything was complete. The Fuehrer never said a word
about a war of aggression against Russia before that. He
only spoke of military complications with Russia which might
be imminent but I did not interpret that as meaning a war of
aggression against Russia.

Q. Did you know that the war between Nazi Germany and the
Soviet Union was a defensive war on the part of Nazi

A. The Fuehrer never told me anything except what I have
already stated here, that troop concentrations had been
observed which led us to the conclusion that military
complications with Russia might be expected, and that he
wanted to be prepared for any eventuality, and therefore
Herr Rosenberg was to deal with Eastern questions. I heard
nothing further. I was completely unaware of the fact that a
War of aggression was to be waged against Russia. Various
incidents might have justified the conclusion that we might
expect to be attacked; at least, it was represented to us in
that way, as far as we were informed.

Q. But you, you know, witness, that as early as 20th April,
1941, Hitler was planning and plotting the details of action
against the Soviet Union. Just look at Document 865-PS
Exhibit USA 143, will you? That, as you will see, is a
decree of the Fuehrer, which is dated 20th April, 1941, and,
let me remind you, that the

                                                  [Page 167]

invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany did not take
place until 22nd June. On 20th April you signed that decree,
in which Hitler named Rosenberg as "My Commissioner for the
central control of questions connected with the East
European Region."

A. Yes, that is correct. I have never testified to anything
else. That was the assignment, the first assignment which
Rosenberg was given and on this occasion the Fuehrer spoke
of possible military complications with Russia and granted
Rosenberg his authority.

Q. Just a minute. Answer the question I am putting to you at
the moment. You can give your explanations later. Look
further down that Document 865-PS. You see it is a letter
from you to Keitel, dated 21st April, in which you say,
"Herewith I am sending you a copy of a Fuehrer's decree of
the 26th of this month by which the Fuehrer appointed
Reichsleiter Rosenberg as his Commissioner for the central
control of questions connected with the East European
Region. In this capacity, Reichsleiter Rosenberg is to make
all the necessary preparations for the possible emergency
with the greatest speed." Are you saying that these
activities of yours and Rosenberg at that time were not
connected with aggressive plans on the part of Nazi Germany?

A. I most certainly will say that. By an emergency the
Fuehrer meant, as I said before, that the Fuehrer believed
that there might be war with Russia. That was the emergency
which led to Rosenberg's assignment. There is not a word
here about a war of aggression and, indeed, there was no
question of it.

Q. You know that Rosenberg was in communication with other
government departments of the Third Reich, in connection
with this preparation for aggression against the Soviet
Union, weeks before the invasion took place, do you not?

A. Whom is he supposed to have influenced? I did not hear
whom he is supposed to have influenced.
Q. Perhaps I was not understood. He was collaborating with
other departments of the Third Reich weeks before the
invasion happened.

A. He may have worked with other departments in carrying out
his assignment but I do not know to what extent or with what
purpose. Nor do I know what other assignments he was given
by the Fuehrer.

Q. At least you do know that Hitler made clear to Rosenberg,
before he to office, what the main principles of Nazi policy
towards the conquered territories of the Soviet Union were
to be, do you not? You attended the conference of Hitler on
16th July, 1941, when he set out his principles and aim with
regard to the Soviet Union?

A. This happened after the outbreak of war but not before
it. Before this there was never any discussion about a war
of aggression in my presence.

Q. You said that Rosenberg was a man who believed in liberal
treatment of those whom the Nazi armies conquered, but you
were at Hitler's conference in July, 1941, in the very first
week of this man's responsibility, and you heard Hitler at
that conference enunciating a programme of terror and
brutality and exploitation, did you not?

A. On 16th July, Herr Rosenberg had already expressed
Q. But they were doubts which did not cause him to leave his
post and he continued until the Red Army made his position
somewhat uncomfortable in the East, did he not?

A. Yes, but he always followed principles of moderation. I
have always spoken of Rosenberg's activities generally. I
cannot testify to all the special measures which he took and
I can only tell you what Rosenberg told me, the complaints
he made to me personally and what he described to me as his
objectives. If he acted at all differently, I know nothing
about it.

Q. You were familiar with the conflict between Rosenberg and
Koch, the Reich Commissar for the Ukraine, were you not?

A. Yes, I know all about that. Rosenberg was always in
favour of moderation

                                                  [Page 168]

and the handling of political matters in a reasonable
manner. Koch inclined towards a more radical solution.

Q. When you say a "more radical solution," what do you mean
by that, "Mass

A. No, I do not mean that at all.

Q. But you did in fact know that Koch was a murderer, did
you not?

A. That Koch was a murderer?

Q. Yes.

A. I do not know the particulars. That did not come within
the scope of my department.

Q. I will just draw your attention to them. Look at the
Document 032-PS, which will be Exhibit GB 321, the document
which has not yet been exhibited. That is a report dated 2nd
April, 1943, from Rosenberg to Himmler, with a copy to you.
It is a report on the murder of the people of the Zuman
wooded area so that there could be established a place for
Reich Commissar Koch to hunt in.

A. I know of this complaint and I even submitted it to the
Fuehrer. Herr Rosenberg complained that Reich Commissar Koch
had had a large wooded area cleansed of all towns and
villages because he wanted to hunt there. That was submitted
by Rosenberg to the Fuehrer as a complaint.

Q. And this word "cleansed," does that mean emigration or
does that mean murder?

A. "Cleanse" means to free the area.

Q. I don't want you to shut this document. I just want you
to look at this document because you have denied knowledge
that Koch was a murderer. In paragraph 2 of the report you
see this:

  "I have just received the following report from an old
  Party Comrade who has worked for nine months in Volhynia
  and Podolia with a view to preparing to take over a
  District Commissariat or a main division in the General
  District of Volhynia and Podolia."

This report reads:

"On orders from the highest quarters, steps were taken to
evacuate the whole district of Zuman. Germans and Ukrainians
both stated that this happened because the entire wooded
area of Zuman was to become a private shoot for the Reich
Commissar. In December, 1942, when it was already bitterly
cold, the evacuation was begun. Hundreds of families were
forced to pack all their possessions overnight and were then
evacuated a distance of over 60 km. Hundreds of people in
Zuman and its vicinity were shot down with the aid of an
entire police company, 'because they had Communist
sympathies.' None of the Ukrainians believed this last ..."

Have you not found it, witness, because I want you to follow
this, you see. Have you found it?

A. No, I have not yet found it.

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