The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1998/04/10

                                                  [Page 268]

DR. RUDOLF MERKEL (Counsel for the Gestapo):

Q. Witness, do you know that in April 1933 the Gestapo was
created in Prussia?

A. I do not know the month, but I do know the year.

Q. Do you know what was the purpose of creating this

A. To fight political opponents potentially dangerous to the

Q. Do you know how this institution, which was intended
originally for Prussia only, was extended to the rest of the

A. Either in 1933 or in 1934, the institution of the
Political Police was created in all of the States (Laender).
These political police agencies were officially
subordinated, in 1934, as far as I remember, to the
Reichsfuehrer S.S. as Political Police Chief of the States.
The Prussian Secret State Police Office represented the
first central headquarters. After the creation of the "Main
Office Security Police" the command tasks were delegated by
Himmler to Heydrich who carried them out through the "Main
Office Security Police."

Q. Who created and instituted the Gestapo in the individual

A. I cannot give you an answer to this question.

Q. Do you know whether before 1933, in the area which then
constituted the Reich, there had existed a similar
institution, a political police force?

A. Yes, that existed, as far as I remember, at Police
headquarters, Berlin, for instance, and I believe it was
Department IA. At any rate political police organisations
did exist.

Q. Do you know anything about the sphere of activities of
this organisation which existed before 1933?

A. Yes. They were the same; at any rate their activities
were fundamentally the same.

Q. Do you know anything about the recruiting of the Gestapo
personnel, which, on the whole, was a new institution and
consequently not constituted merely by transfer of personnel
already in existence.

A. When I got acquainted with the State Police it was
certainly true that the nucleus of expert personnel had been
taken from the Criminal Police, and the majority of the
leading men in the State Police Offices, i.e., in the
regional offices of the State police, had risen from the
ranks of the Department of the Interior, possibly also from
the State Police Administrations, and that they had, in
part, even been detailed from this Department of the
Interior civil. The same was also true for the experts
within Amt IV, i.e., the Gestapo.

Q. You say the majority of the officials were detailed?

A. I did not say the majority were detailed, but I said "in

Q. Detailed in part! Could any of these members of the
Gestapo possibly resist being taken over into the Gestapo if
they did not wish it, or could they not?

A. I would not affirm that a definite resistance was
possible. Some of them might have succeeded, by cunning, in
avoiding it had they not wanted to go. But if one was
detailed to such an office from the Department of the
Interior, then, as an official, one simply had to obey. As
an official he had to....

                                                  [Page 269]

Q. The members of the Gestapo evidently consisted almost
exclusively, or exclusively, of officials? Do you know
anything about that?

A. That probably was no longer the case during the war. But
as a rule it should be assumed that they were officials in
as far as the experts were concerned. Some of them, of
course, while in training, were not yet officials, and
others again were merely employees, especially in the
Auxiliary Forces.

Q. Can you tell me the approximate number of the members of
the Gestapo towards the end of the war?

A. I estimate the total organisation of the Gestapo,
including the regional offices and the Occupied Territories,
at about 30,000.

Q. There was therefore within the Gestapo,  a considerable
percentage of officials who were merely administrative
officials and had nothing to do with executive powers?

A. Yes, of course.

Q. And what was the percentage of these administrative
officials who performed purely administrative functions?

A. We must, in the first instance, take into consideration
that this number included the auxiliaries, as well as the
women, and I cannot, offhand,  immediately give you any
figures. But it is certain that a proportion of one expert
to three or four persons not employed in an executive
capacity could not be considered excessive.

Q. Do you know anything about who was responsible for the
direction and administration of the concentration camps?

A. It was Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl.

Q. Did the Gestapo have anything to do with the leadership
and with the administration of the concentration camps or

A. According to my knowledge, no.

Q. Therefore, no members of the Gestapo were active, or in
any way involved in the measures carried out in the
concentration camps?

A. As far as I could judge, from a distance, only
investigating officials of the State Police were active in
the concentration camps.

Q. Did the Gestapo in any way participate in the mass
executions undertaken by your Einsatzgruppe, which you
described this morning?

A. Only as much as every other person present in the

DR. MERKEL: I ask the Tribunal to give me the opportunity of
questioning this witness again after the return of the
defendant Kaltenbrunner, since I am obliged to rely
exclusively on information received from Kaltenbrunner.

THE PRESIDENT: I think that the Tribunal will be prepared to
allow you to put further questions at a later stage.

DR. MERKEL: Thank you.

BY DR. EXNER (Counsel for the General Staff and the O.K.W.):

Q. Witness, you mentioned the negotiations which took place
in the O.K.W., which later led to an agreement between
O.K.W. and O.K.H. on the one side, and the Main Security
Office of the Reich (R.S.H.A.) on the other. I am interested
in this point: Can you state that during the negotiations on
this agreement there was any mention made regarding the
extermination and the killing of Jews?

A. I cannot say anything concrete on this particular
subject, but I do not believe it.

Q. You do not believe it?

A. No.

                                                  [Page 270]

Q. In addition, you have told us that the Commander-in-Chief
of the 11th Army knew about the liquidations, and I should
like to ask you first of all: Do you know anything regarding
the Commanders-in-Chief of the other armies?

A. In general, they must have been informed, through the
speech of the Fuehrer, before the beginning of the Russian

Q. That is a conclusion that you have drawn?

A. No, it is not a conclusion that I have drawn; it is
merely a report on the contents of the speech which,
according to Himmler's statement, Hitler had made to the

Q. Now, you have spoken about directives given by the
Commander-in-Chief of the 11th Army. What kind of directives
were they?

A. I once spoke about the Commander-in-Chief in the case of
Nikolaiev, i.e., that the order given at that time, for the
liquidations to take place 200 kilometers away from the
headquarters of the Army. On the second occasion, I did not
speak about the Commander-in-Chief of the Army,  but about
the High Command of the Army at Simferopol, because I cannot
say, with any certainty, who had requested the competent
Einsatzkommando at Simferopol to speed up the liquidation.

Q. That is the very question I should like to put to you:
With whom in the 11th Army did you negotiate at that time?

A. I did not personally negotiate at all with anyone on this
subject, since I was not the person directly concerned with
these matters; but the High Command of the Army negotiated
with the competent local Einsatzkommando either through the
responsible army office, which at all times was in touch
with the Einsatzkommandos, namely the I-C or the I-CAO, or
else through the staff of the O.Q.

Q. Who gave you directives for the march?

A. The directives for the march came, as a rule, from the
Chief of Staff.

Q. From the Chief of Staff? The Commander-in-Chief of the
Army at the time referred to was von Manstein. Was there
ever an order in this case signed by von Manstein?

A. I cannot remember any such order, but when the march was
discussed there were oral consultations with von Manstein,
the Chief of Staff and myself.

Q. When discussing the march?

A. Yes.

Q. You said that the Army was opposed to these liquidations.
Can you state how this became evident?

A. Not the Army, but the Leaders were secretly opposed to
the liquidations.

Q. Yes. But I mean, how did you recognise that fact?

A. By our conversations. Not only the leaders of the Army
but also most of those who had to carry them out were
opposed to the liquidations.

DR. EXNER: I thank you.

BY PROFESSOR KRAUS (Counsel for defendant Schacht):

Q. Were you acquainted with the personal records kept in
your department on Reichsbank President Schacht?

A. No.

                                                  [Page 271]

Q.  Do you know why, after the 20th July, 1944, the former
Reichsbank President Schacht was arrested and interned in a
concentration camp?

A. Probably the occasion of the 20th of July was also
favorable for a possible conviction of Reichsbank President
Schacht, who was known to be inimical to the Party, whilst
by means of witnesses or other methods he could be
prosecuted in connection with the events of the 20th of

Q.  Then defendant Schacht was known to your people as being
inimical to the Party?

A. Yes, at least since the year 1937 or 1938.

Q.  Since the year 1937 or 1938? And you also suspected him
of participating in "putsches"?

A. Personally I did not suspect this, because I was not
concerned with these matters at all; He was mainly under
suspicion mainly because of his well-known enmity. But, as
far as I know, this suspicion was never confirmed.

Q.  Can you tell me, who caused Schacht to be arrested?

A. That I cannot say.

Q.  Then you do not know whether the arrest was ordered by
the Fuehrer, by Himmler or by some subordinate authority.

A. I consider it impossible that it should emanate from any
subordinate authority.

Q.  Then you assume that it had been ordered by the Fuehrer?

A. At least by Himmler.

BY DR. STAHMER (Counsel for defendant Goering):

Q. Witness, if I have understood you correctly, you said
that at the beginning of 1933, after the seizure of power by
Hitler, the Gestapo was created in Prussia; but before that
time there had already existed in Prussia an organisation
with similar tasks; for instance at the Police Headquarters
in Berlin with Department IA; only this organisation was
opposed to National Socialism, whereas now the contrary is
true. But you also had the task of keeping political
opponents under observation and possibly of arresting them,
thus protecting the State from these political opponents.

A. Yes.

Q.  You said further that in 1933, after the seizure of
power, a political police with identical tasks was also
instituted in all the other States (Laender).

A. Yes, in the year 1933-1934.

Q.  This political police, which existed in the various
States was then centralised in 1934 and its direction handed
over to Himmler?

A. It was not at first centralised, but Himmler did become
Chief of Police of all the States.

Q.  Now one more question. Did the Prussian Gestapo play a
leading role, as far as the other States were concerned, as
early as 1933 or only after Himmler took over the leadership
in 1934?

A. I do not believe that the Prussian State Police, which
after all was under the leadership of Reichsmarshal Goering,
became, at that time, the competent authority for the other
States as well.

BY DR. KRANZBUEHLER (Counsel for defendant Doenitz):

I am speaking as the representative of the counsel for
defendant Grand Admiral Raeder.

                                                  [Page 272]

Q. Witness, you just mentioned a speech of the Fuehrer
before the Commanders-in-Chief, in which the he is supposed
to have instructed the Commanders-in-Chief regarding the
liquidation of Jews. Which conference do you mean by that?

A. A conference took place, shortly before the Russian
campaign, with the Commanders-in-Chief of the Army Groups
and the Armies, at the Fuehrer's quarters.

Q.  Were the of the Commanders-in-Chief  of the divisions of
the Armed Forces absent?

A. I do not know that.

Q.  Were you yourself present at this conference?

A. No. I have recounted this conference on the basis of a
conversation I had with Himmler.

Q.  Did this conversation with Himmler take place in a large
circle of people or was it a private conversation?

A. It was a private conversation.

Q.  Did you have the impression that Himmler stated facts,
or do you consider it possible that he wished to encourage
you in your difficult task?

A. No. The conversation took place much later and did not
spring from such motives, but from resentment at the
attitude of certain generals of the Armed Forces; Himmler
wanted to say that these generals of the Armed Forces could
not disassociate themselves from the events that had taken
place, as they were just as responsible as all the rest.

Q.  And when did this conversation with Himmler take place?

A. In May, 1945, at Flensburg.

DR. KRANZBUHLER:  Thank you.

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