The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 351]

Q. What position did you hold in the year 1944?

A. In the year 1944 I was the head of Department E-1 in the
Economic and Administrative Main Office in Berlin. My office
was the former Inspectorate of Concentration Camps at

Q. And what was the subject of that conference which you
have just mentioned?

A. It concerned a report from the camp at Mauthausen on the
so-called nameless detainees and their engagement in
armament industry. Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrunner was to
make a decision in the matter. For that reason I came to him
with the report from the commandant at Mauthausen but he did
not make a decision, telling me he would do so later.

Q. Regarding the location of Mauthausen, will you please
state in addition, in which district Mauthausen is situated?
Is that Upper Silesia or is it the Government General?

A. Mauthausen -

Q. Auschwitz, I beg your pardon, I made a mistake. I mean

A. Auschwitz is situated in the former State of Poland.
Later, after 1939, it was incorporated in the province of
Upper Silesia.

Q. Is it right for me to assume that administration and
feeding of concentration camps was exclusively under the
control of the Economic and Administrative Main Office?

A. Yes.

Q. A department which was completely separated from the

A. Quite correct.

Q. And then from 1943 until the end of the war, you were one
of the chiefs in the Inspectorate in the Economic and
Administrative Main Office?

A. Yes, that is correctly stated.

Q. Do you mean by that, that you are particularly well
informed on everything occurring in concentration camps, the
treatment inflicted and the methods applied?

A. Yes.

Q. I ask you, therefore, first of all, whether you have any
knowledge regarding the treatment of detainees, whether
certain methods became known to you according to which
detainees were tortured and cruelly treated? Please
formulate your statement according to periods, up to 1939
and after 1939.

A. Until the outbreak of war in 1939, the situation in the
camps regarding feeding, accommodation, and treatment of
detainees, was the same as in any other prison or
penitentiary in the Reich. The detainees were treated
strictly, yes, but methodical beatings or ill-treatment were
out of the question. The Reichsfuehrer gave frequent
warnings that every S.S. man who laid violent hands on a
detainee would be punished; and quite often S.S. men who did
ill-treat detainees were punished.

Feeding and accommodation at that time were in every respect
put on the same basis as that of other prisoners under legal

The accommodation in the camps during those years was still
normal because the mass influxes at the outbreak of and
during the war had as yet not taken place. When the war
started and when mass deliveries of political detainees
arrived, and, later on, when detainees, who were members of
the resistance movements, arrived from the occupied
territories, the construction of buildings and the
extensions of the camps could no longer keep up with the
number of detainees who arrived. During the first years of
the war this problem could still be overcome by improvising
measures; but, later, due to the exigencies of the war, this
was no longer possible since there were practically no
building materials any longer at our disposal. And,
furthermore, rations for the detainees were again and again
severely curtailed by the provincial economic administration

This then led to a situation where detainees in the camps no
longer had sufficient powers of resistance against the
ensuing plagues and epidemics.

The main reason why detainees towards the end of the war
were in such bad

                                                  [Page 352]

condition, why so many thousands of them were found sick and
emaciated in the camps, was that every detainee had to be
employed in the armament industry to the extreme limit of
his physical power. The Reichsfuehrer constantly and on
every occasion kept this goal before our eyes, and also
proclaimed it through the Chief of the Economic and
Administrative Main Office, Obergruppenfuehrer Kohl, to the
concentration camp commandants and administrative leaders
during the so-called commandants' meetings. Every commandant
was told to make every effort to render this possible. The
aim wasn't to have as many dead as possible or to destroy as
many detainees as possible. The Reichsfuehrer was constantly
concerned with the problem of engaging all forces possible
in the armament industry.

Q. Therefore there can be no doubt that the longer the war
lasted, the larger became the number of the ill-treated and
also tortured inmates. Didn't you ever when you inspected
the concentration camps learn something of this state of
affairs through complaints, etc., or do you consider that
the conditions which have been described are more or less
due to sporadic excesses of individual officials?

A. These so-called ill-treatments and torturing in
concentration camps, stories of which were spread everywhere
amongst the people, and particularly by detainees who were
liberated by the occupying armies, were not, as assumed,
inflicted methodically, but by individual leaders, sub-
leaders and men who laid violent hands on them.

Q. Do you mean you never took cognisance of these matters?

A. If in any way such a matter was brought to my notice,
then the perpetrator was, of course, immediately relieved of
his post or transferred somewhere else. So that, even if he
wasn't punished because there wasn't evidence to prove his
guilt, he was taken away and given another position.

Q. To what do you attribute the particularly bad and
shameful conditions which were found on invasion by allied
troops, and which to an extent were photographed and filmed?

A. The catastrophic situation at the end of the war was due
to the fact that, as a result of the destruction of railways
and of the continuous bombing of the industrial works, it
was no longer possible to properly care for these masses,
for example, Auschwitz with its 140,000 detainees.
Improvised measures, truck columns, and everything else
tried by the commandants to improve the situation were of
little or no avail. The number of the sick became immense.
There were next to no medical supplies; plagues raged
everywhere. Detainees who were capable of work were used
continuously. By order of the Reichsfuehrer, even half-sick
people had to be used wherever possible in industry. As a
result every bit of space in the concentration camps which
could possibly be used for lodging was filled with sick and
dying detainees.

Q. I'm now asking you to took at the map which is mounted
behind you. The red dots represent concentration camps. I
will first ask you how many concentration camps as such
existed at the end of the war?

A. At the end of the war there were still thirteen
concentration camps. All the other points which are marked
here on the map mean so-called labour camps attached to the
armament factories situated there. The concentration camps,
of which there were thirteen, as I have already said, were
the centres of districts, such as the camp at Dachau in
Bavaria, or the camp of Mauthausen in Austria; and all the
labour camps in each district came under the control of the
concentration camp. That camp had then to supply these
outside camps, that is to say, they had to supply them with
workers, exchange the sick inmates and furnish clothing; the
guards also were supplied by the concentration camp.

From 1944 on, the supplying of food was almost exclusively a
matter of the individual armament industries in order to
give the detainees the benefit of the wartime supplementary

Q. What became known to you about so-called medical
experiments on living detainees?

                                                  [Page 353]

A. Medical experiments were carried out in several camps.
For instance, in Auschwitz there were experiments on
sterilisation carried out by Professor Klaubert and Dr.
Schuhmann; also experiments on twins by S.S. medical officer
Dr. Mengele.

Q. Do you know the medical officer Dr. Rascher?

A. He was a medical officer of the Luftwaffe and carried out
experiments in Dachau on detainees who had been sentenced to
death, experiments concerned with the resistance of the
human body in high-pressure chambers and its resistance to

Q. Can you say whether such experiments carried out within
the camp were known to a large circle?

A. Such experiments, just like all other matters, were, of
course, called "secret Reich matters"; but it was not
possible to prevent the experiments, which were being
carried out in a large camp and which must have been seen in
some way by some of the inmates, from becoming known. I
cannot say, however, to what extent the outside world
learned about these experiments.

Q. You explained to me that orders for executions were
received in the camp at Auschwitz, and you told me that
until the outbreak of war such orders were few, but that
later on they became more numerous. Is that correct?

A. Yes. Until the beginning of the war there were hardly any
executions and only in particularly serious cases. I
remember one case in Buchenwald where an S.S. man had been
attacked and beaten to death by detainees, and the detainees
were later hanged.

Q. But during the war - and that you will admit - the number
of executions increased, and not inconsiderably.

A. That started with the beginning of the war.

Q. Was the authority for these execution orders in many
cases legal sentences of German courts?

A. No. Orders for the executions carried out in the camps
came from the R.S.H.A.

Q. Who signed the orders for executions which you received?
Is it correct that occasionally you received orders for
executions which bore the signature "Kaltenbrunner," and
that these were not the originals but were teleprints which
therefore had the signature in typewritten letters?

A. It is correct. The originals of execution orders never
came to the camps. These orders either arrived in their
original form at the Inspectorate of the concentration
camps, from where they were. transmitted by teletype to the
camps concerned, or in urgent cases, the R.S.H.A. sent the
orders directly to the camps concerned, and the Inspectorate
was then only informed, so that the signatures in the camps
were always only in teletype.

Q. So as to again determine the signatures, will you tell
the Tribunal whether the overwhelming majority of all
execution orders either bore the signature of Himmler or
that of Muller in the years before the war and until the end
of the war.

A. Only very few teletypes which I have ever seen came from
the Reichsfuehrer and still fewer from the defendant
Kaltenbrunner. Most of them, I could say practically all,
were signed by Muller.

Q. Is that the Muller with whom you repeatedly talked about
such matters as you reported earlier?

A. Gruppenfuehrer Muller was the chief of Department IV in
the R.S.H.A. He had to negotiate with the Inspectorate about
all matters connected with concentration camps.

Q. Would you say that you went to see the Gestapo Chief
Muller because you, on the strength of your experience, were
of the opinion that this man, owing to his years of service,
was acting almost independently?

A. That is quite right. I had to negotiate all matters
regarding concentration camps with Gruppenfuehrer Muller. He
was informed in all these matters, and in most cases he
would make an immediate decision.

                                                  [Page 354]

Q. Well, so as to have a clear picture, did you ever
negotiate these matters with the defendant?

A. No.

Q. Did you learn that towards the end of the war
concentration camps were evacuated, and, if so, who gave the

A. Let me explain. Originally there was an order from the
Reichsfuehrer, according to which camps, in the event of an
approaching enemy or in the event of air attacks, were to be
surrendered to the enemy. Later on, with respect to the case
of Buchenwald, which had been reported to the Fuehrer, there
was ... No, at the beginning of 1945, when various camps
came within operational sphere of the enemy, this order was
withdrawn. The Reichsfuehrer ordered the Higher S.S. and
police leaders, who in an emergency were responsible for the
security and safety of the camps, to decide themselves
whether an evacuation or a surrender was appropriate.

Auschwitz and Grossrosen were evacuated.  Buchenwald was
also to be evacuated, but then the order from the
Reichsfuehrer came through to the effect that no more camps
were to be evacuated. Only prominent inmates and inmates who
were not to fall into allied hands under any circumstances
were to be taken away to other camps. This also happened in
the case of Buchenwald. After Buchenwald had been occupied,
it was reported to the Fuehrer that detainees had armed
themselves and were carrying out plunderings in the town of
Weimar. This caused the Fuehrer to give the strictest order
to Himmler to the effect that in the future no more camps
were to fall into the hands of the enemy, and that no more
detainees capable of marching were to be left behind in any

This was shortly before the end of the war, and shortly
before Northern and Southern Germany were separated. I shall
speak about the Sachsenhausen camp. The Gestapo Chief,
Gruppenfuehrer Muller, asked me to see him one evening and
told me that the Reichsfuehrer had ordered that the camp at
Sachsenhausen was to be evacuated at once. I pointed out to
Gruppenfuehrer Muller what that would mean. Sachsenhausen
could no longer depend on any other camps for accommodation
except, perhaps, a few labour camps attached to the armament
works that were almost filled up anyway. Most of the
detainees would have to be lodged in the woods somewhere.
This would mean countless thousands of deaths and, above
all, it would be impossible to feed these masses of people.
He promised me that he would once more discuss the matter
with the Reichsfuehrer. He called me back and told me that
the Reichsfuehrer had refused to rescind the order and
demanded that the commandants should carry out his order
immediately. At the same time Ravensbrueck was also to be
evacuated in the same manner but it could no longer be done.
I do not know whether camps in Southern Germany were cleared
or not, since we, the Inspectorate, had no longer any
connections with Southern Germany.

Q. It has been maintained here - and this is my last
question - that the defendant Kaltenbrunner gave the order
that the detainees at Dachau and in two auxiliary camps were
to be destroyed by bombing and with poison. I ask you, did
you hear anything about this; if not, would you consider
such an order possible?

A. I have never heard anything about this, and I don't know
anything either about an order to evacuate any camps in
Southern Germany, as I have already mentioned. Apart from
that, I consider it quite impossible that a camp could be
destroyed by this method.

DR. KAUFFMANN: I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the defendants' counsel want to ask
any questions?

DR. MERKEL (for the Gestapo):


Q. Witness, did the State Police, as an authority of the
Reich, have anything to do with the destruction of Jews in

                                                  [Page 355]

A. Yes, in so far as I received all my orders as to the
carrying out of that action from the Obersturmfuehrer

Q. Was the administration of concentration camps under the
control of the Economic and Administrative Head Office?

A. Yes.

Q. You have said already that you had nothing to do with the

A. No.

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