The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. If you look at this document, you will see that it is a
memorandum about your recommendations as to the personnel
for the Reich Commissariats in the East and for the
Political Central Office in Berlin, and it was written on 7
April, 1941, and I take it that that was only a few days
after Hitler talked to

                                                   [Page 62]
you about your new assignment in the East, four or five days
at the most isn't that so? Will you answer that question?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, in this memorandum you set out that you recommended
Gauleiter Lohse and we know from the documents and the
testimony that he was appointed, isn't that a fact?

A. Yes.

Q. All right. Now, turn to the next page of the English
text, it is the paragraph beginning as follows:-

  "In addition it will eventually become necessary to
  occupy with troops not only St. Petersburg but also
  Moscow. This occupation will probably differ considerably
  from that in the Baltic provinces, the Ukraine and the
  Caucasus. It will be accomplished by suppressing any
  Russian and Bolshevik resistance and will necessitate an
  absolutely ruthless person both as regards the military
  representation and also the eventual political direction.
  The problems arising from this need not be detailed here.
  If it is not intended to maintain a permanent military
  administration the undersigned would recommend the
  Gauleiter of East Prussia, Erich Koch, as Reich
  Commissar, Commissioner in Moscow."

Did you recommend Koch for that job as a particularly
ruthless man in April of 1941? Yes or no?

A. Yes.

Q. Just a minute. You have done a lot of talking here for
the last day and today just give me a chance once in a

He is the same man you told us a minute ago you did not know
to be particularly ruthless until after he did these
terrible things in the Ukraine. Now, it is very clear you
did know it in April of 1941, isn't it? What is your answer
to that?

A. That is not correct, that is not laid down here. I have
stated that I know from Koch's writings from 1933 and 1934
that he had a special liking for the Russian people. I knew
Koch as a man of initiative in East Prussia. I had to expect
that at the centre at Moscow and around Moscow a very
difficult job would have to be done. For here was the centre
of gravity for Bolshevism and here the greatest resistance
would be met. Then I did not want to have Koch in the
Eastern Territories nor in the Ukraine because I did not
believe I had to fear such resistance there. I was aware of
Koch's devotion to everything Russian, and knew that he had
initiative; and was intended for some job in the East by the
Fuehrer as well as by the Reich Marshal.

Q. When you were looking for a ruthless man you suggested
Koch as early as April of 1941.

A. This expression refers rather to initiative and, of
course, I also had the opinion that he would fight any
Bolshevik resistance ruthlessly; but not in the sense that
he would suppress a foreign race or try to exterminate
foreign cultures.

Q. The truth of the matter is that you had some peculiar and
odd interest in the Ukraine and you had somebody else in
mind for that job but you know Koch was a bad actor and you
wanted him in another part of Russia, is it not?

A. No, for the Ukraine I wanted the State Secretary Backe
and my Chief of Staff Schickedanz, as can be seen from the
document. I wanted Backe because he is a German from the
Caucasus and speaks Russian, knows the entire southern area
and probably could have worked very well there. I did not
get him and I was forced to accept Koch, I would like to
say, against my personal protest at the meeting of 16 July,

Q. Well, if that is your answer I do not care to go any
further with it. With respect to your attitude towards the
Jewish people, in your Frankfort speech in

                                                   [Page 63]

1938 you suggested that they all had to leave Europe and
Germany, did you not?

A. This phrase -

Q. All you need to say is "Yes" or "No." Did you make that
suggestion or not in your speech in Frankfort in 1938 -

A. Yes, but I certainly can't answer "Yes" or "No" on an
incorrect quotation.

Q. I do not think you need to explain anything at all. I
merely asked you whether you said that in Frankfort in your
Party Day speech.

A. Yes, essentially that is correct.

Q. Now, in your Party Day speech to which you made reference
yesterday, you said you used harsh language about the Jews.
In those days you were objecting to the fact that they were
in certain professions, I suppose, and things of that
character. Is that a fair statement?

A. I said yesterday that in two speeches I demanded a
chivalrous solution and equal treatment, and I said then the
foreign nations would not accuse us of discriminating
against the Jewish people.

Q. Yes, very well. Did you ever talk about the extermination
of the Jews?

A. I have not in general spoken about the extermination of
the Jews in the sense of this term. One has to consider the
words. The term "extermination" has been used by the British
Prime Minister -

Q. You will refer to the words. You just tell me now whether
you ever said it or not? You said that did you not?

A. Not in a single speech in that sense.

Q. I understand the sense. Did you ever talk about it with
anybody as a matter of State Police or Party policy, about
the extermination of the Jews?

A. In a conference with the Fuehrer there was once an open
discussion on this question apropos of an intended speech
which was not delivered. The sense of it was that now a war
was going on and that the threat which had been mentioned
should not be discussed again. That speech was not

Q. When was it you were going to deliver that speech?
Approximately what was the date?

A. In December, 1941.

Q. Then you had written into your speech remarks about the
extermination of Jews, hadn't you? Answer that yes or no.

A. I have said already that that word does not have the
sense which you attribute to it.

Q. I will come to the word and the meaning of it. I am
asking you, did you not use the word or the term
extermination of the Jews in the speech which you were
prepared to make in the Sportpalast in December of 1941?
Now, you can answer that pretty simply.

A. That may be, but I do not remember. I myself did not
prepare the phrasing of the draft. In which form it was
expressed I can no longer say.

Q. Well then, perhaps we can help you on that. I will ask
you be shown Document 1517-PS. It becomes Exhibit USA-824.

(Witness handed document.)

Now, this is also a memorandum of yours written by you about
a discussion you had with Hitler on 14 December, 1941, and
it is quite clear from the first paragraph that you and
Hitler were discussing a speech which you were to deliver in
the Sportpalast in Berlin and if you will look at the second
paragraph,, you will find these words:-

  "I remarked on the Jewish question that the comments
  about the New York Jews must perhaps be changed somewhat
  after the conclusion (of matters in the East). I took the
  standpoint not to speak of the extermination (Ausrottung)
  of the Jews. The Fuehrer affirmed this and said that they
  had thrust the war upon us and that they had brought the
  destruction; it is no wonder if the results would strike
  them first."

                                                   [Page 64]

Now, you have indicated that you have some difficulty with
the meaning of that word and I am going to ask you about the
word "Ausrottung." I am going to ask you be shown - you are
familiar with the Standard German-English dictionary,
Cassell's, I suppose, are you? Do you know this work, ever
heard of it?

A. No.

Q. This is something you will be interested in. Will you
look up and read out to the Tribunal what the definition of
"Ausrottung" is?

A. I do not need a foreign dictionary in order to explain
what various meanings in the German language the word
"Ausrottung" may have. One can exterminate an idea, an
economic system, a social order and, as a final consequence,
also a group of human beings, certainly. Those are the many
possibilities which are contained in that word. For that I
do not need an English-German dictionary. Translations from
German into English are so often wrong. For example, in that
last document you have submitted to me, I heard again the
translation of "Herrenrasse." In the document itself
"Herrenrasse" is not even mentioned, however, there is the
term "ein falsches; Herrenmenschentum" (a false master
mankind). Apparently everything is translated here in
another sense.

Q. All right, I am not interested in that. Let us deal on
this term of "Ausrottung." I take it then that you agree it
does mean to wipe out or to kill off, as it is understood,
and that you did use the term in speaking to Hitler.

A. Here again I hear a different translation, which again
used new German words, so I cannot determine what you wanted
to express in English.

Q. Are you very serious in pressing this apparent inability
of yours to agree with me about this word or are you trying
to kill time? Don't you know that there are plenty of people
in this Court room who speak German and who agree that that
word does mean to wipe out, to extirpate?

A. It means to overcome in one sense and then it is to be
used not with respect to individuals but rather to juridical
entities, to certain historical traditions. In another
sense, the word has been used with respect to the German
people and we have not believed that it meant that sixty
millions of Germans would be shot.

Q. I want to remind you that this speech of yours in which
you use the term "Ausrottung" was made about six months
after Himmler told Hoess, whom you heard on this witness
stand, to start exterminating the Jews. That is a fact, is
it not?

A. No, that is not correct, for Adolf Hitler said in his
statement before the Reichstag: Should a new world war be
started by the attacks of the emigrants and their backers,
then as a consequence there would be extermination and
extirpation. That has been taken as a political threat.
Apparently, a similar political threat was made by me before
the war against America broke out. And, when the war had
already broken out, I have apparently said that, since it
has come to this, there is no use in talking about it any

Q. Well, actually, the Jews were being exterminated in the
Eastern occupied Territories at that time and thereafter,
weren't they?

A. Then, may I perhaps say something about the use of the
words here? We are speaking here of extermination of Jewry;
there is also still a difference between Jewry and
individual Jews.

Q. I asked you if it wasn't a fact that at that time and
later on Jews were being exterminated in the occupied
Eastern Territories which were under your ministry? Will you
answer that, "Yes" or "No"?

A. Yes. I quoted a document on that yesterday.

Q. Yes, and after that you told the Tribunal or, as I
understand you at least, you wanted the Tribunal to believe
that that was being done by the police and without any of
your people being involved in it. Is that so?

                                                   [Page 65]

A. I have heard from a witness here that a District
Commissar had participated in these things in Vilna, and I
have heard from another witness that the report came through
that the police were carrying it out in other cities. From
Document 1184 I gathered that a District Commissar opposed
in every possible way and protested against these so-called

Q. Dr. Leibbrandt was your subordinate; he was in charge of
Division 2 in your Ministry for the occupied Eastern
Territories wasn't he?

A. Yes, for a time.

Q. All right. Now, for the second time, I'll ask that you be
shown Document 3663-PS, Exhibit USA-825.

(Witness was handed the document.)

Q. (Continuing) Now, this document consists of three parts
as you will notice. The first page is a letter written by
Dr. Leibbrandt on the stationery of the Reich Minister for
the occupied Eastern Territories and it is dated 31 October,
1941; that's not very many days before you had your
conversation with the Fuehrer about your speech, and it is
addressed to the Reichskommissioner for the East in Riga;
that was Lohse, the man whom you recommended.

The letter says:-

  "The Reich and Security Main Office has complained that
  the Reichskommissioner for the East has forbidden
  execution of Jews in Libau. I request a report in regard
  to this matter by return mail. By order
  (signed) Dr. Leibbrandt."

Now, if you will turn to the next page, you'll see the
answer. Turn that document over if you have the original?
You'll see the answer, dated Riga, 15 November, 1941, to the
Reich Minister for the occupied Eastern Territories, Berlin.

  "Re: Execution of Jews, re decree."

It refers to the letter of Leibbrandt, apparently, of 31
October, 1941, and it says:-

  "I have forbidden the wild execution of Jews in Liepdja
  because they were not justifiable in the manner in which
  they were carried out. I should like to be informed
  whether your inquiry of 31 October is to be regarded as a
  directive to liquidate all Jews in the East. Shall this
  take place without regard to age and sex and economic
  interests of the Wehrmacht, for instance, and specialists
  in the armament industry?"

And there's a note in different handwriting:-

"Of course, the cleansing of the East of Jews is a necessary
task. Its solution, however, must be harmonised with the
necessities of war production."

It continues:-

"So far, I have not been able to find such a directive,
either in the regulations regarding the Jewish question in
the Brown Portfolio or in other decrees."

Now, that has the initial "L" for "Lohse," doesn't it, at
the bottom of it.

And then, if you'll look at the third page - no, it's
another document. There are only two parts to that document.

Now, I wish that you'll look at Document 3666-PS, which
becomes Exhibit USA-826.

THE PRESIDENT: That has on it the initial "L," has it?

MR. DODD: The original has, your Honour, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: And the defendant agrees that that is the
initial of Lohse, is that right?

THE WITNESS: That could hardly be Lohse. I don't know
Lohse's initial. I don't know.

MR. DODD: Well, it's very -

THE WITNESS: It could also be Leibbrandt, I don't know.

                                                   [Page 66]


Q. You're not willing to say that that second letter was
from Lohse and that that's his initial on the bottom of it?

A. That I cannot say.

Q. All right.

A. That I cannot say because usually these letters are sent
typewritten and mailed to many places.

Q. Well, we're -

A. This note on the back is not quite clear to me.
Essentially, however, it means that there was a protest
against police measures which had become known and that an
instruction -

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