The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/23

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DR. SEIDL (Counsel for defendant Hans Frank): Mr. President,
members of the Tribunal, on 9 April of this year, deviating
from the rule made by the Tribunal, I made the application
that I should first be allowed to present the documents,
then call the witnesses, and then at the end examine the
defendant as a witness. I do not know whether the Tribunal
is already in possession of the document books. I have
ascertained that Volume I of the document book was
translated by 8 April; Volume 2 and 3 on 11 April; and
Volume 4 and 5 a few days later. At any rate, I have not yet
received any document books myself for the reason that the
office concerned has not yet received permission to bind the

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I thought I asked about this, not
yesterday, but the day before yesterday, yes, and you said
you were perfectly ready to go on.

DR. SEIDL: I had been told that the books had been
translated and I naturally assumed that these books would
also be bound. Yesterday I discovered that this is not the
case. At any rate, the fault is not mine.

THE PRESIDENT: I was not suggesting that there was any fault
on your part.

MR. DODD: In the first place, we did not have much to go
over with Dr. Seidl. The agreement was reached with him the
night before last about six o'clock or a little afterwards.
Hereafter the materials were put into the process of
preparation and there are five hundred pages. They have just
not been completed, and it is not that the people did not
receive authority to go ahead. They have not been able to
complete their work and there will be some delay.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, you can go on with your witnesses.
You have the defendant himself to call and several other


THE PRESIDENT: And the documents will no doubt be ready by
then. We are rising this evening at half-past four, and by
the time that the Tribunal re-assembles, by Tuesday morning,
no doubt all the documents will be ready. As to your
application, the Tribunal has considered this and sees no
reason to depart from their ordinary rule that the defendant
should be called first; that is to say, if you intend to
call the defendant.

DR. SEIDL: Oh yes, I have the intention of examining the
defendant but in the interests of accelerating the
proceedings I suggested that the other witnesses should be
heard first, so that the examination of the defendant might
be as short as possible. It is possible that he can then
answer a number of questions merely by saying yes or no.
Another reason why I consider this procedure to be the most
expedient is because a proper examination of the defendant
is only possible if I have the document book at hand at the
same time. That necessity does not apply to the other
witnesses. I should, therefore, like to ask the Tribunal to
give me permission to examine first the witnesses who are
already in the witness' room.

THE PRESIDENT: The documents are all, or nearly all, I
imagine in German and can be put to the defendant in the
course of his examination, and the Tribunal think as they
have already said, that calling the defendant first is in
the interest of expedition and they, therefore, feel they
must adhere to their rule.

                                                  [Page 102]

DR. SEIDL: Very well. In that case, with the permission of
the Tribunal, I call the defendant Dr. Hans Frank to the
witness stand.

HANS FRANK, a witness, took the stand and testified as


Q. Will you give your full name?

A. Hans Frank.

Q. Will you 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.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: Will you sit down, please.


Q. Witness, when and where were you born?

A. I was born on 23 May, 1900, at Karlsruhe in Baden.

Q. Will you please give the Tribunal a brief outline of your

A. In 1919 I finished my studies at the High School, and in
1926 I passed the final State law examination, which
completed my legal training.

Q. And what profession did you follow after that?

A. I had several legal posts. I worked as a lawyer, as a
member of the teaching staff of an Institute of Technology
and then, I worked in the main as legal adviser to Adolf
Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

Q. Since when have you been a member of the N.S.D.A.P.?

A. I joined the German Labour Party, which was the
predecessor of the National Socialist German Workers' Party,
in 1919, but did not join the newly formed N.S.D.A.P. In
1923, I joined the movement in Munich as a member of the
S.A. and, eventually, I joined the N.S.D.A.P. in 1927.

Q. Were you ever a member of the S.S.?

A. I have never been a member of the S.S.

Q. That means you have never had a rank of an S.S.
Obergruppenfuehrer or General of the S.S.?

A. I never had the rank of an S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer or
S.S. General.

Q. Not even honorary?

A. No, not even honorary.

Q. You were a member of the S.A. What was the last you held

A. I was Obergruppenfuehrer in the S.A. at the end, and this
was an honorary position.

Q. Which offices did you hold in the N.S.D.A.P. during the
various periods, and what functions did you carry out?

A. In 1929 I became the head of the Legal Department of
Reich Leadership Office of the N.S.D.A.P. In that capacity I
was appointed Reichsleiter of the N.S.D.A.P. by Adolf Hitler
in 1931. I held this position until I was transferred in
1942. These are the principal offices I have held in the

Q. Until the seizure of power you concerned yourself in the
main with legal questions within the Party, did you not?

A. I dealt with legal questions in the interest of Adolf
Hitler and the N.S.D.A.P. and its members during the
difficult years of struggle to bring about the victory of
the movement.

Q. What were your basic ideas regarding the concept of a
State ruled by law?

A. That idea, as far as I was concerned, was contained in
Point 19 of the Party programme, which speaks of German
common law to be created. In the interest of accelerating
the proceedings, I do not wish to present my ideas in

                                                  [Page 103]

detail. My first endeavour was to save the core of the
German system of justice: the independent judiciary.

My idea was that even in a highly developed Fuehrer State,
even under a dictatorship, the danger to the community and
to the legal rights of the individual would at least be
lessened if judges who did not depend on the State
Leadership could still administer justice in the community.
That means, to my mind, that the question of a State ruled
by law is to all intents and purposes identical with the
question of the existence of the independent administration
of law. Most of my struggles and discussions with Hitler,
Himmler and Bormann during these years were more and more
focussed on this particular subject. Only after the
independent judiciary in the National Socialist Reich had
definitely been done away with, did I give up my work and my
efforts as hopeless.

Q. You were also a member of the Reichstag?

A. In 1930 I became a member of the Reichstag.

Q. Which offices did you hold after 1933?

A. First, I was Bavarian State Minister of Justice, and,
after the ministries of justice in the various States were
dissolved, I became Reich Minister without portfolio. In
1933 I became the President of the Academy of German Law,
which I had founded. I was the Reich Leader of the National
Socialist Lawyers' Association, which was later on given the
name of "Rechtswahrerbund" (National Jurist's League). In
1933 and 1934 i was Reich Commissar for Justice and in 1939
I became Governor General of the Government General in

Q. What were the tasks of the Academy of German Law which
you were the founder?

A. These tasks are written down in the Reich Law regarding
the Academy of German Law. The main task, the central task
of that Academy was to carry out Point 19 of the Party
programme to bring German Common Law into line with our
national culture.

Q. Did the Academy of German Law have definite functions, or
could it act only in an advisory capacity?

A. The Academy of German Law was the principal seat of the
most prominent legal brains in Germany in the theoretical
and practical fields. Right from the beginning I attached no
importance to the question whether the members were members
of the Party or not. Ninety pre cent. of the members of the
Academy of German Law were not members of the Party. Their
task was to prepare laws, and they worked somewhat on the
lines of an advisory committee in a well organised
parliament. It was also my idea that the advisory committee
of the Academy should replace the legal committees of the
German Reichstag, which was gradually fading into the
background in the Reich.

In the main the Academy has only helped to frame laws of an
economic or social nature, since owing to the development of
the totalitarian regime, it became more and more impossible
to co-operate in other spheres.

Q. If I understand you correctly, then the governmental
administration of law was solely in the hands of the Reich
Minister of Justice, and that was not you.

A. No, I was not Reich Minister of Justice. The Reich
Minister of Justice, Dr. Guertner, was, however, not
competent for the entire field of legislation but merely for
those laws which came within the scope of his ministry.
Legislation in the Reich, in accordance with the Enabling
Act was in the hands of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor and
the Reich Government as a body. Consequently, my name
appears in the Reich Law Gazette at the end of only one law,
and that is the Law Regarding the Re-introduction of
Compulsory Military Service. However, I am proud to find my
name at the end of that law.

                                                  [Page 104]

Q. You have stated earlier that during 1933 and 1934 you
were Bavarian Minister of Justice.

A. Yes.

Q. In that capacity, did you have an opportunity of taking a
stand on the question of concentration camps and what were
the circumstances?

A. I learned that the Dachau concentration camp was being
established in connection with a report which came to me
from the Senior Public Prosecutor's office in Munich on the
occasion of the killing of the Munich attorney, Dr. Strauss.
This Public Prosecutor's Office complained to me, after I
had given them orders to investigate the killing, that the
S.S. had refused them admission to the Dachau concentration
camp. Thereupon I got Reich Governor, General von Epp, to
call a meeting, where I produced the files regarding this
killing and pointed out the illegality of such an action on
the part of the S.S. and stated that so far representatives
from the German Public Prosecutor's Office had always been
allowed to investigate any death which evoked the suspicion
that a crime had been committed, and that I had not become
aware of any departure from this principle in the Reich.
After that, I continued protesting against this method to
Dr. Guertner, the Reich Minister of Justice, and also to the
Attorney General. I pointed out that this meant the
beginning of a development which threatened the legal system
in an alarming manner.

At Heinrich Himmler's request, Adolf Hitler intervened
personally in this matter, and he used his power to quash
any legal proceedings. The proceedings were ordered to be
quashed. I handed in my resignation as Minister of Justice,
but it was not accepted.

Q. When did you become Governor General of the occupied
Polish Territories and where were you when you were informed
of this appointment?

A. On 24 August, 1939, as an officer in the reserve, I had
to join my regiment in Potsdam. I was busy with training my
company and on 17 September, or it may have been 16, I was
making my final preparations before going to the front when
a telephone call came from the Fuehrer's special train
ordering me to go to the Fuehrer at once.

The following day I travelled to Upper Silesia where the
Fuehrer's special train was stationed at that time, and in a
very short conversation which lasted less than ten minutes,
he gave me the mission, as he put it, to take over the
functions of Civilian Governor for the occupied Polish

At that time the whole of the conquered Polish Territories
was under the administrative supreme command of a military
commander, General von Rundstedt. Towards the end of
September, I was attached to General von Rundstedt's staff
as Chief of Administration, and my task was to do the
administrative work in the Military Government. In a short
time, however, it was found that this method did not work,
and when the Polish Territories were divided into the part
which was incorporated into the German Reich and the part
which then became the Government General, I was appointed
Governor General as from 26 October.

Q. You have mentioned the various positions which you held
over a number of years. I now ask you: Did you, in any of
the positions you held in the Party or the State, play any
vital part in the political events of the last 20 years?

A. In my own sphere, I did everything that could possibly be
expected of a man who believes in the greatness of his
people, and who is filled with fanaticism for the greatness
of his country, to bring about the victory of Adolf Hitler
and the National Socialist movement.

I never participated in far-reaching political decisions,
since I never belonged to the circle of the closest
associates of Adolf Hitler, neither was I consulted by Adolf
Hitler on general political questions, nor did I ever take
part in conferences about problems of policy. Proof of this
is that throughout the period

                                                  [Page 105]

from 1933 to 1945 I was received only six times by Adolf
Hitler personally to report to him about my sphere of

Q. What share did you have in the legislation of the Reich?

A. I have already told you that and there is no need to give
a further answer.

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