The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/22

Q. We will go into what it means in a minute. We're just
talking about the initial "L." While we're talking about the
initial, will you look at it and see if there are any " R's,
" capital "R."

A . Yes, here is an "L." An "R"?

Q. Yes, "R."

A. Yes, there are two "R's."

Q. Did you put those on there?

A. No.

Q. You initialled them, did you?

A. I cannot decipher that as my "R."

Q. You say that it's not your "R"? We'll have to be clear
about this.
You'd have to know your own initial when you saw it

A. I never made such a pointed "R" on the top. You can
compare it with my handwriting.

Q. We'll do that; don't worry. I just want to ask you now if
that's your initial or not?

A. I cannot identify that as my initial.

Q. Do you say that it is not your initial?

A. Yes.

Q. All right. Now, I wish you'd look at Document 3666-PS,
which is also related to these other documents, and that's
also a letter written on the stationery of the Reich
Minister of the occupied Eastern Territories, and it's dated
18 December, 1941. Subject: Jewish Question. Re:
Correspondence of 15 November, 1941. This is an answer then
to the letter marked "L," inquiring whether or not
executions of the Jews is to be understood as a fixed

  "Clarification of the Jewish question has most likely
  been achieved by now through verbal discussions. Economic
  considerations should fundamentally remain unconsidered
  in the settlement of the problem. Moreover, it is
  requested, that questions arising be settled directly
  with the Senior S.S. and Police Leaders. By order
  (signed) Braeutigam."

Have you seen that letter before?

A. No, I have not seen it, in my opinion no. Here I see
again such an "R," pointed on the top, and I cannot identify
that as my "R" either.

Q. So that you do not identify that as having your initial,

A. Well, I could simply not identify that as my "R" because
this was a letter, signed by Braeutigam sent from the
Eastern Office to the Eastern Territories, and the notes on
the top are from an office that has received that letter.

DR. THOMA: Mr. President, may I clarify an explicit error
here? This "R" is in connection with a "K." That apparently
means Reichskommissioner.


Q. I am not discussing the "R" on the top of the letter; I
am discussing the one of the hand-written letter.

A. Well, it can be seen from this "R" that it relates to the
man who received

                                                   [Page 67]
the letter. "Received on 22 February-R." And it is addressed
from the Ministry to the East (Ostland). That note,
therefore, was written by a person living in Riga, and that
is the same "R" which can be found also on the other

Q. Who was your Reichskommissioner in the East for Riga?

A. Lohse.

Q. His name didn't begin with " R," did it?

A. No, but it is clear that this letter obviously was
initialled in his department.

DR. THOMA: May I also help the Tribunal in this matter? In
the hand-written document with the German "L" you will find
on the left margin "WV 1/12/41" which means to be presented
again (Wiedervorlage). And then you find "presented again
(vorgelegt) 1/12/41 R." That appears to have taken place in
the office of the Reichskommissar and it is a first draft
and, therefore, it was only marked with the first letter of
his name.

MR. DODD: We do not accept that as being any statement with
which we can prove this at this trial. I think the matter as
to whose initial it is will be presented later for

THE PRESIDENT: What do the words at the top mean "The Reich
Minister of the occupied Eastern Territories"?

MR. DODD: That is the stationery upon which it is written.
It is hand-written on this particular paper because this
whole letter was hand-written on the back of the first
letter. These were both found in this defendant's office in


Q. Well, now, I'd like to call your attention to another
document, No. 36.

A. I maintain emphatically that that initial "L" was put
down by the person who received the letter, to whom the
letter was addressed.

Q. Well, we'll get around that. Document No. 36. I ask that
you be shown Document No. 3428, which becomes Exhibit USA-

THE PRESIDENT: Give me the number again, will you?

MR. DODD: I am sorry. Document 3428-PS becomes 827, Exhibit


Q. Now, this is a letter written from Minsk in the occupied
area on July 31, 1942, and it is written by Kube, K-u-b-e.
He was another one of your subordinates, wasn't he? Will you
answer that please?

A. Yes.

Q. And it is written to Lohse, the Reich Commissioner for
the Eastern Territory, isn't it?

A. Yes, that's right.

Q. Now, then, let's look at it, "Combating of Partisans and
action against Jews in the District General of White
Ruthenia." It says:-

  "In all the clashes with partisans in White Ruthenia it
  has been proved that Jewry, in the former Polish
  section," and so on, "is the main bearer of the Partisan
  movement. In consequence, the treatment of Jewry in White
  Ruthenia is a matter of political concern."

Then, moving down a sentence or two -

  "After exhaustive discussions with the S.S. Brigadier
  General Zenner and the exceedingly capable Leader of the
  S.D., S.S. Lieutenant Colonel Dr. jur. Strauch, we have
  liquidated in the last ten weeks about 5 5,000 Jews in
  White Ruthenia. In the area of Minsk Jewry has been
  completely eliminated, without endangering the manpower
  commitment. In the predominantly Polish district of Lida,
  16,000 Jews; in Zlonin, 8,000 Jews; and so forth, have
  been liquidated. Owing to an encroachment in the army
  rear zone, already reported, the preparations made by us
  for liquidation of the Jews in the Glebokie area have
  been disturbed. The army

                                                   [Page 68]

  supply and communications section of the rear zone,
  without contacting me, has liquidated 10,000 Jews, whose
  systematical elimination had been provided for by us in
  any event. In the city of Minsk approximately 10,000 Jews
  were liquidated on the 28 and 29 July, 6,500 of them
  Russian Jews, predominantly aged persons, women and
  children - the remainder consisting of Jews unfit for
  commitment to labour, the greater majority of whom were
  deported to Minsk in November of last year from Vienna,
  Bruenn, Bremen and Berlin, by order of the Fuehrer. The
  area of Luzk, too, has been relieved of several thousands
  of Jews. The same applies to Novogrodek and Vilejka.
  Radical measures are imminent for Baranowits-schi and
  Hanzewitschi. In Baranowitschi alone, approximately
  10,000 Jews are still living in the city itself; of
  these, 9,000 will be liquidated next month."

And it goes on to say:-

  "In the city of Minsk 2,600 Jews from Germany are left
  over. In addition, 6,000 Russian Jews and Jewesses are
  still alive. Even in the future Minsk will still retain
  its character as the strongest centre of the Jewish
  element, necessitated for the present by the
  concentration of the armament industries and demands of
  railroad services. In all other areas, the number of Jews
  to be drafted for labour commitment will be limited by
  the S.D. and by me to 800 at the most, but if possible to

And so on. It tells of other situations with respect to
Jews, all of which I do not think it is necessary to read.
But I do want to call your attention to the last paragraph,
the last sentence:-

  "I fully agree with the commander of the S.D. in White
  Ruthenia, that we shall liquidate every shipment of Jews
  which is not ordered or required by our superior offices,
  to prevent further disturbances in White Ruthenia."

And up above I did omit one sentence or two that I wanted to
  "Naturally, after the termination of the demands of the
  Armed Forces, the S.D. and I would like it best to
  eliminate Jewry once and for all in the District General
  of White Ruthenia. For the time being, the necessary
  demands of the Armed Forces, which are the main employers
  of Jews, are considered."

I ought to tell you as well that this document was also
found in your office in Berlin. Now, that is a letter -

A. (Interposing) That seems very improbable to me, that it
has been found in my office in Berlin. If so, it can only be
at most that the Reich Commissioner for the Eastern
Territories had sent all his files to Berlin, packed in
boxes. It was not in my office at that time, and this letter
was also never presented to me. There is stamped here: "The
Reich Commissioner for the Ostland," not the Reich Minister
for the occupied Eastern Territories. I stated yesterday,
however, that quite a number of such happenings were
reported to me as, individual actions in the fighting, and
that I received this one report from Luzk personally, and
Gauleiter Meyer was immediately charged to protest to
Heydrich and to order an investigation. That presupposes
that such a general action was not assumed to be ordered for
one centre.

Q. Well, I only want to suggest to you that it is a strange
coincidence that two of your top men were in communication
on these lines in 1942 without your knowledge.

Did you also tell the Tribunal yesterday that you understood
that most of the difficulties or a large part of the
difficulties in the East for the Jewish people came from the
local population? Do you remember saying that yesterday?

A. I did not receive the translation.

Q. I asked you if it wasn't a fact that yesterday you told
the Tribunal that much of the difficulties for the Jews in
the East came from the local population of those areas.

                                                   [Page 69]

A. Yes. I was informed about that in the beginning by people
returning from the East, that it was not due to local
authorities but to parts of the population. I knew the
attitude in the East from former association and could well
understand that this was true.

Secondly, I have stated that I had been informed that the
police took care of various other nests of resistance, and
centres of sabotage. Thereby a large number of Jews were
shot in various cities. And then I have treated of the case
of Slutsk ...

Q. I think you will agree that in the Ukraine your man Koch
was doing all kinds of terrible things, and now I understand
that you do not dispute that Lohse and Kube were helping to
eliminate or liquidate the Jews; and that Brautigam, an
important member of your staff, and that Leibbrandt, an
important member of your staff, were informed of the
programme. So that five people at least under your
administration were engaged in this kind of conduct, and not
small people at that.

A. I should like to point out that a decree by the Reich
Kommissar for the Eastern Territories is at hand, which in
agreement ...

THE PRESIDENT: (Interposing) Will you answer the question
first? Do you agree that these five people were engaged in
exterminating Jews?

THE WITNESS: Yes. They knew about a certain number of
liquidations of Jews. That I admit, and they have told me
so, or if they didn't, I have heard it from other sources. I
only want to state one thing: That according to the general
law of the Reich, the Reichkommissar for the Eastern
Territories issued a decree according to which Jewry, which
of course was hostile to us, should be concentrated in
certain Jewish quarters of the cities. And until the end,
until 1943-1944, I have heard that in these cities such work
was still carried out in these Jewish ghettos to a large

And may I supplement this with still another case which came
to my knowledge, namely, that a District Kommissar ...


Q. I don't want you to point out anything else. You have
answered the question, and you have explained your answer. I
don't ask you further -

A. (Interposing) What I wanted to add explains another part
of my answer in a very concrete way. A district Kommissar in
the Ukraine had been accused before the court of committing
blackmail in a Jewish community and had sent furs, clothes,
etc., to Germany. He was brought before the court, and was
sentenced to death and was shot.

Q. Well, that is very interesting, but I don't think it is a
necessary explanation of that answer at all. And I would ask
that you try to limit these answers. I would like to get
through here in a few minutes.

You are also, of course, the man who wrote the letter, as
you told the Tribunal yesterday, suggesting the out-of-hand
execution of 100 Jews in France, although you said you
thought that - was what, a little bad judgement or not quite
just, or something of the kind? Is that right?

A. I have made my statement about that yesterday.

Q. I know you have, and I would like to talk about it for a
minute today. Is that what you said about it, that it was
not right, and that it was not just? Yes or no, didn't you
say that to the Tribunal yesterday?

A. You have to quote literally, word for word, if you want
me to answer yes or no.

Q. I will ask you again. Didn't you say yesterday before
this Tribunal that your suggestion in that letter, in
Document 001-PS, was wrong and was not just? Now, that is
pretty simple, and you can answer it.

A. I have stated that it was humanly incorrect.

Q. It was murder - isn't that what it was, a plan for
murder? Yes or no.

A. No. But I considered the shooting of hostages, which was
publicly made

                                                   [Page 70]

known by the Armed Forces - as an obviously generally
accepted necessity in the extraordinary times of war. These
shootings of hostages were published in the Press.
Therefore, I had to assume that according to International
Law and certain traditions of warfare this was an accepted
act of reprisal. Therefore, I cannot admit -

Q. (Interposing) Well, were you talking then as the benign
philosopher or as a soldier? When you wrote this letter,
Document 001 -PS, in what capacity were you writing it, as a
benign, philosophical minister on ideology and culture, or
were you a member of the Armed Forces?

A. As can be seen from the document, I have spoken about the
fact that sabotage and murder against German soldiers had
been committed here, so that good future relations, which I
also aimed for, between Germany and France would be poisoned
forever. For that reason this letter was written, in which I
am sorry from the human point of view.

Q. It comes a little late, don't you think?

The witness Hoess - you were in the courtroom when he
testified, Hoess, H-o-e-s-s?

A. Yes, I heard him.

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