The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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  Answer: No, I never heard about anything of the kind from
  Kaltenbrunner, although I was with him a great deal. As
  far as I can remember, however, Himmler issued an order
  of this kind.
  Question 9: Did Kaltenbrunner issue orders that Jews were
  to be killed?
  Answer: No, he never issued such orders, and, in my
  opinion, he could not issue such orders on his own
  authority. He was opposed, I am sure, to Hitler and
  Himmler on this question, that is, the physical
  extermination of European Jewry.
  Question 10: What church policy did Kaltenbrunner pursue?
  Answer: As adviser on Vatican matters, I often had the
  opportunity of speaking to him officially on this
  subject. He immediately supported my suggestion, made to
  Hitler in the  spring of 1943, that a change in church
  policy should be effected so that the Vatican could be
  won over as a peace negotiator. Kaltenbrunner had no
  success with Hitler, as Himmler opposed him violently.
  Baron von Weizsaecker, German Ambassador to the Holy See
  with whom I discussed the matter, failed likewise in his
  efforts, the result of which was that Bormann had an eye
  kept on him.
  Question 11: Did Kaltenbrunner intervene in foreign
  policy in the interest of peace?
  Answer: Yes. In the Hungarian question, for example. When
  in March, 1944, the German troops occupied Hungary, he
  succeeded in persuading Hitler to be moderate and to
  prevent Rumanian and Slovak units from marching in as
  planned. Due to his support, I was able to prevent for
  another six months a National Socialist Government from
  being formed in Hungary as planned."

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kauffmann, are you going to call the

DR. KAUFFMANN (counsel for defendant Kaltenbrunner): Mr.
President, I have committed a small oversight. I did not
read Page 5 of my document book, questions 12 and 13 of the
affidavit, which I inadvertently did not read. I wish to
apologise and ask your permission to do so.


DR. KAUFFMANN: I continue on Page 5, continuing the 11th

  "Kaltenbrunner wanted the old Austria-Hungary to be re-
  established on a federative basis. Since 1943 I had told
  Kaltenbrunner that Germany must endeavour to end the war
  by peace at any price. I had informed him about my
  connection with an American office in Lisbon. I also
  informed Kaltenbrunner that I had recently made a contact
  with an American office in a neutral country through the
  Austrian resistance movement. He also declared his
  willingness to travel to Switzerland with me and start
  the personal negotiations with an American representative
  in order to avoid further senseless bloodshed.
  Question 12: Do you know that Kaltenbrunner instructed
  the Comman-
                                                  [Page 242]
  -dant of Mauthausen Concentration Camp to hand over the
  Camp to the approaching troops?
  Answer: It is correct that Kaltenbrunner did give such an
  order. He dictated it in my presence, to be forwarded to
  the Camp Commandant.
  Question 13: Can you say something briefly about
  Kaltenbrunner's personality?
  Answer: Kaltenbrunner was completely unlike Himmler or
  Heydrich. He was therefore by conviction strongly opposed
  to both of them. He was appointed Chief of the R.S.H.A.,
  in my opinion, because Himmler did not want to run the
  risk of having a rival like Heydrich. It would be wrong
  to call him 'little Himmler.' In my opinion, he was never
  in complete control of the large office of the R.S.H.A.,
  and being very little interested in police and executive
  tasks, he occupied himself preponderantly with the
  intelligence service and with exerting influence on the
  overall policy. This he regarded as his particular

This is followed by signature, date and certification.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you any more documents?


THE PRESIDENT: Now you wish to call the defendant?


(Defendant ERNST KALTENBRUNNER took the stand.)


Q. Will you state your full name, please?

A. Ernst Kaltenbrunner.

Q. Repeat this oath after me: "I swear by God, the Almighty
and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will
withhold and add nothing, so help me God."

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.


Q. During the last two years of the war, since 1943, you
have been the Chief of the Security Police and the Security
Service and the Chief of the Reich Main Security Office, the
R.S.H.A. You are aware, of course, that you are under
extremely serious charges. The prosecution charges you with
having committed Crimes against Peace, and with having
intellectually aided and abetted or participated in War
Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, and finally, the
prosecution connects your name with the Gestapo terror and
the atrocities of the concentration camps. I now ask you: Do
you assume responsibility for the counts charged as outlined
and which are known to you?

A. In the first place, I should like to state to the
Tribunal that I am fully aware of the serious character of
the charges against me. I know the hatred of the world is
directed against me, and that I particularly, since Himmler,
Muller and Pohl are no longer alive, must here alone give an
account to the world and the Tribunal. I realise that I
shall have to tell the truth in this court -room in order to
enable the Tribunal and the world to recognise fully and
understand what has been going on in Germany during this
war, and to judge it with fairness.

In 1943 - that is to say, two years before the unhappy end
of this war, I was appointed to a certain office. I will
give details about that later on.

First and foremost, I would like to state that I assume
responsibility for every wrong that was committed within the
scope of this office since I was appointed Chief of the
R.S.H.A. and as far as it happened under my actual control,
which means that I knew about it or had to know about it.

                                                  [Page 243]

May I ask permission for my defence counsel to put questions
to me so as to direct my line of thought?

Q. Will you briefly describe in rough outlines your career
until you entered public life, and Austrian politics, that
is until about 1934.

A. I was born in 1903. My father and my grandfather were
lawyers of repute. For the rest I am a descendant of farmers
and scythemakers. My mother comes from a simple family. She
was adopted by the Belgian Ambassador to Rumania and lived
there for twenty-five years. During my childhood, which I
spent in the open country with a family which took very good
care of me, I was given on the one hand the best education
and, on the other hand, became familiar with the life of the
simple people. I attended secondary school, high school
(Realgymnasium), graduated and, in 1923, went to the
Institute in Graz. First I studied chemico-technical
sciences at the Institute of Technology and later on, when
my father returned from the war seriously ill and when the
possibility arose that I might have to take over his law
practice, I studied law. I completed these studies with the
degree of Doctor of Law and Political Economy in 1926.

I had a hard time. I had to earn my own living and the
expenses for my studies, had to work while I studied
(Werkstudent) and for two years I worked as a coal miner
during the night shift; and I have to thank my fate that
thus I got to know the German workman better than people
usually do.

Q. Would you be slightly more brief? Please get as quickly
as possible to the period after 1934.

A. After leaving the Institute I had to complete seven or
eight years work as a candidate for the bar examination in
accordance with the Austrian law: I spent one year of this
time in Court as assistant and the rest of the time in
lawyers' offices in Salzburg and Linz.

Q. I am interrupting you for one moment with a question. Is
it correct that in 1932 you became a member of the Party?

A. I became a member of the Party in 1932 after I had
belonged for several years to the Non-Partisan Movement for
the Protection of the Austrian Homeland.

Q. Did you join the S.S. in that same year?

A. I think it was at the end of 1932 or maybe at the
beginning of 1933.

Q. Is it correct that even before 1933, as maintained by the
prosecution, you were public speaker and legal adviser of an
S.S. sector in the Gau?

A. That statement requires clarification. It is true that I
made speeches in my own home province, the Gau Upper
Austria, at National Socialist meetings, but chiefly, or
rather exclusively, to promote the Anschluss movement. I was
a legal adviser just as any other lawyer to any party who,
at that period of economic emergency, was willing to give
legal information and advice gratis for some hours at the
end of the day to the needy who, in this case, were National

Q. Is it true that later, in 1934, the Dollfuss Government
had you arrested and that you, together with other leading
National Socialists, were sent to the Kaisersteinbruch
concentration camp? What was the cause for that?

A. That is correct. I think that with regard to this point I
must briefly describe the political situation in Austria at
the time.

The Government was in the hands of a group of men who had
very few followers among the people. There were two
different groups which did not participate in the
Government; the first being the left group, i.e. the Social
Democrats and Austro-Marxists, and the second being the
National Socialists, which was a much smaller group. The
Government, at that time, put not only the National
Socialists into their detention camps but also Social
Democrats and Communists, in order to eliminate any
political strife originating from meetings or
demonstrations. Approximately 1,800 of those National
Socialists were arrested, I among them.

Q. Did you have another conflict with the Government and
were you later subjected to a trial for conspiracy and
eventually discharged from the custody under which you had
been placed?

                                                  [Page 244]

Give in a few sentences the reasons for this procedure.

A. This was considerably later. I was arrested in May, 1935.
I should say first of all that in the meantime the National
Socialist attempt at revolt had taken place in Austria in
July, 1934. This attempt at revolt, which unfortunately also
included the murder of Dollfuss, was defeated and avenged by
most severe measures against a large number of National
Socialists. One particularly severe measure was the law by
which many thousands of National Socialists lost their jobs
or professional licence. Some form of appeasement or
pacification was clearly necessary; some alleviation of the
government policy. That was effected mostly by two men:
Langot, the then Deputy President of Upper Austria; and
Reinthaler, a farmer and engineer. That appeasement action
started at the end of 1934 in September or October, and I
was invited to join in it.

Q. Will you please, if possible, go on to the 1938 period?

A. I was in no way implicated in this attempted revolt of
July, 1934, and that is why I was invited to join in that
appeasement action. The Government itself demanded that
certain men should maintain connections with the Party
leaders, with the S.A., S.S. and all organisations of the
then forbidden movement. With the knowledge and consent of
the Government and the proper police departments, I took up
the connection with the S.S.

In May, 1935, I was arrested, suspected of establishing an
illegal connection with the S.S. and of being engaged in
high treason activity. I remained in custody for six months
and was arraigned before the Military Tribunal in Wels on a
charge of high treason. I was, however, acquitted of this
crime since the Government itself admitted that this
assignment had been granted to me with their knowledge. I
was merely given a minor sentence for conspiracy, and this
was deemed to have been already served by my custody.

Q. How did you participate in the Austrian revolution which
occurred in March, 1938, and how did the S.S. participate?

A. Shortly after my activities in connection with the
appeasement action initiated by Langot and Reinthaler, I got
in touch first with circles of the Anschluss Movement Clubs;
and second, with those circles whose aim it was to improve
conditions in Austria peacefully by an evolutionary movement
and development, and, on the, other hand, to enlarge the
Anschluss movement so as to win over the Government itself
to that idea.

In 1937 and 1938 I attempted to come into closer personal
contact with the later Minister Seyss-Inquart and I
completely adopted his political policy.

Q. Are you of the opinion that the plebiscite in Austria in
April, 1938, corresponded with the wish of the nation?

A. The plebiscite of 10th April, 1938, was completely in
accordance with the will of the Austrian population. The
result of 99.73 per cent for Anschluss to the German Reich
was perfectly genuine.

Q. On the occasion of the Anschluss is it right that you
were promoted to S.S. Brigadefuehrer and leader of an S.S.

A. Yes, but first I would like to add the following about
the Anschluss.

The prosecution is completely incorrect in stating and
thinking that National Socialism in Austria at that time
could in any way be compared with the development which had
already taken place in Germany. The development of Austrian
National Socialism was completely different. The starting
point was the abnormal depression in that country. There
followed the Anschluss movement, and finally National
Socialism made the Anschluss come true. This course, from
economic depression via Anschluss movement to National
Socialism, was the road of nearly all National Socialists
and the Ideology of the Party programme of the time was in
no way responsible.

I believe that it must be taken for granted and that it is
my duty to state that the Anschluss movement in Austria was
backed by the people. The fact that the plebiscite in the
various provinces, like the Tyrol or Salzburg, had already

                                                  [Page 245]

previous years, I believe from 1925 to 1928, a result of
over go per cent in favour of the Anschluss should now be
taken into consideration.

Back in 1928, the National Council of Austria and the
Austrian Federal Council signed the decree of the National
Council of the year 1918 which said that both these
assemblies had resolved to join the Reich and would not
swerve from that resolution.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kauffmann, I do not think you need go
into such detail as to the reasons for their being in favour
of the Anschluss.

Will you try to confine the witness to less detail and get
on to the material period?

DR. KAUFFMANN: I thought that the defendant was being held
responsible for his participation in the Austrian
revolution. Therefore I wanted to have at least a few
sentences said about that before this Tribunal but I am now
prepared to change the subject.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness was giving us the figures in
particular plebiscites long before the Anschluss, and that
seems to be quite irrelevant detail.

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