The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Well, I shall give you briefly an account of paragraph
two of your regulation. It is the regulation of 11th March,
1943, No. 27.

  "Each student who, after the present regulation has been
  put into effect, has successfully passed the final
  examination or a similar test, in one of the studies
  mentioned in paragraph one, specified as such by orders
  of the General Secretary in the Ministry for Education,
  Science and Culture, is compelled to work for a
  determined period within the scope of the Arbeitseinsatz
  (labour commitment.)."

Is that your ordinance?

A. Does it say labour service?

Q. I have not got the German version in front of me. It is
ordinance Document No. 27.

A. Ordnance No. 27. May I ask what paragraph it is?

Q. Second paragraph.

A. That is correct. It says, "Students who have taken the
final examination", that is, who are no longer studying but
have finished their studies. Members of

                                                  [Page 130]

the same age groups were meanwhile drafted for labour
commitments, and those exempted by me had to make this up.
But their study was not disturbed or interrupted.

Q. Therefore, the students were able, freely to continue
their studies?

A. I do not recall any obstacles.

Q. Good. Will you please look at the following decree, that
is, No. 28, which is a decree of Secretary General van Damm.
This decree forces the students to make a declaration of

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. What were the consequences?

A. The Universities were, at that time, the seat of
anti-German activities. I demanded from the university
students a declaration promising they would uphold the laws
in effect in the occupied Netherland territories, that they
would abstain from any action against the German Reich, the
Wehrmacht, and the Netherlands authorities, and that they
would not interfere with public order at the University.

I could not understand why a University student could not
make such a statement. Those who did make it were able to
continue their studies without any hindrance. But the Dutch
professors, by way of sabotage, refused to give them any

Q. Well, then, those who did not subscribe to this
declaration, what happened to them?

A. They were no longer university students, and if they fell
into the age groups which I had called up for labour
commitment, they were drafted.

Q. Did you not apply the Fuehrer principle to the

A. Not quite as strictly, I believe, as in the community
administrations. But I gave the director of the University
greater power because I demanded greater responsibility from

Q. Very well. Was not a certain National Socialist
propaganda made in the schools?

A. I believe that could not be entirely prevented.

Q. In particular, did not the students have to visit certain
exhibitions and be present at lectures organized by the
Party or even by the Reich offices?

A. I do not know, but it is possible.

Q. In short, you interfered in the administrative domain, in
the realm of teaching, and you also interfered in a similar
manner in the cultural life of the Dutch people?

A. Yes, to the extent which I stated yesterday.

Q. You did, in fact, create various professional
associations, is not that what you told us?

A. Yes, yes.

Q. You alleged that the acceptance into these trade
associations was not obligatory and that you never imposed
payment of dues?

A. That is not correct. Membership in these associations was
obligatory. I am also convinced that the head of the
associations required the members to pay their dues. I
refused to conclude, from the failure to pay dues, that a
person was no longer a member of the association, and
consequently could no longer practice his trade, or that his
dues could be collected by way of court action.

Q. However, do you not recall the difficulties which arose
in this manner with the medical profession?

A. I was just thinking of the Medical Association. Certain
circles in it desired that the members who did not pay their
dues should be prohibited from carrying out their
profession, or, at least, the dues should be collected
through court pressure. I told these gentlemen that if it
was not possible to persuade the members to pay their dues,
I, for my part, would not apply any force.

Q. What were these circles?

A. Perhaps you can tell me, then we shall save more time.

                                                  [Page 131]

Was it not the NSB for instance?

A. In what connection?

Q. Well, still in connection with - You yourself said that
certain circles had demanded the payment of dues. I am
asking, what circles?

A. Do you mean what friends or co-workers of mine urged me
to insist on payment? The question is not very clear to me.

Q. I am just asking you to say exactly what you mean by
"circles". You, yourself, used the word - unless it is a

A. "Circles?"

THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, the Tribunal thinks really that
you are spending too much time on these various small
subjects. We have spent the whole afternoon on these various
measures which the defendant introduced in the Netherlands.
It is perfectly clear according to his own admission that he
was altering the whole form of administration in the


Q. Did you not also take part in the persecution of the

A. I do not know whether the measures could be called
"persecution of the churches", but I took measures
concerning the churches.

Q. What measures in particular? What measures?

A. I believe that the most serious, in your eyes, would be
the confiscation of various Netherlands cloisters. One of
them was turned into a German school and the church building
was pulled down.

Q. You alleged yesterday that priests or at least one priest
could visit concentration camps? Is that correct?

A. I did not understand the question.

Q. You said -

A. No, I do not understand. Please speak more slowly.

Q. You said yesterday that a priest or priests had the right
to visit concentration camps. Is that right?

A. No, I did not say that. I said only that in the Jewish
camp at Westerborg there were Catholic and Protestant Jews,
who were visited on Sundays by a clergyman from outside. I
do not believe that clergymen were allowed to pay visits at
the concentration camps under the control of German Police
or were able to enter them.

Q. Just one question as regards the Press. Did the Press
retain a certain - I repeat, a "certain" - liberty during
the time of the occupation?

A. From my point of view, much too little. The Press was
under fairly strict control of the Propaganda Ministry. The
editors were employed after being judged suitable by the
Netherlands Propaganda Ministry. I believe that it is a
matter of course for an occupying power that for such an
important instrument one takes only people who have a
certain positive attitude. I would have wished that these
men be given much more freedom of speech, and I believe I
can say that so far as I exerted any influence, this was the
case; but even the Reich Commissioner in the Netherlands was
not almighty.

Q. Were there not reprisal measures taken against certain

A. I do not know....

THE PRESIDENT: We might get on a little bit more quickly.
There is a very long pause between the question and the

THE WITNESS: I must first recall the circumstances. If
unexpectedly I am questioned about something which happened
five years ago I must think over carefully what actually
happened in individual cases. For example, I can say "No"
immediately, but I am sure that the answer is wrong.

For example, reprisals - I know that once in the Hague the
editor's office of a newspaper was blown up. That was a
measure taken by the Security Police. It was the seat of an
illegal propaganda group.

                                                  [Page 132]


Q. You spoke yesterday of the sterilisation of the Jews in
Holland. Who introduced this measure?

A. If you say "introduced" - I believe that I can answer the
question correctly. The Security Police informed me that a
number of Jews had themselves sterilised by Jewish doctors
and that thereupon these Jews were freed of all restrictions
and dispensed with the wearing of the Jewish Star. These
were Jews who otherwise would have been evacuated, and they
were allowed to remain in Holland subject to certain

I asked the head of my Health Department to investigate the
matter. He informed me that this was a very serious
operation in the case of women, and thereupon I asked the
Higher SS and Police Leader, at least in the case of women,
to forbid this action. Then the Christian churches protested
to me. I answered the Christian Churches - I assume you have
the letter in your files - describing the state of affairs
and pointing out expressly that no compulsion should be
exerted here. Shortly thereafter this action was finished.
As I heard, the Christian churches informed the Jews, and
when they were sure that no compulsion would be exerted on
them, they no longer submitted themselves to this operation.

I myself gave back their property to the Jews in question,
and the matter was ended; although I must say today that the
farther away one is from this period of time, the less
conceivable it is.

Q. But was it you who had the idea of this sterilisation?

A. No, the matter was reported to me by the Security Police.

Q. Very well, I shall have Document 3592-PS handed to you;
it will be submitted as Exhibit RF 1526. It is an affidavit
of Hildegard Kunze, an agent of the RSHA. Third Paragraph

  "I remember that either in this or another report he
  (that is Seyss-Inquart) suggested that all Jews who were
  privileged to remain in Holland should be sterilised."

It is not a question of the police service there.

A. This involves the correctness of the memory of a

Moreover she does not even assert that the report in the
third paragraph is the one mentioned in the previous
paragraph which she ascribes to me. It is out of the
question that she saw any report from me wherein I made such
a suggestion. The case was reported to me as a fact by the
Security Police, as an already existing fact or one in
process of realization.

Q. So you contend that it was not you but the police. In any
case, you tolerated it?

A. As far as the male Jews were concerned, I tolerated it
for a time; that is true. It was made clear to me that no
direct compulsion was exerted on these Jews, no threat to
their disadvantage.

THE PRESIDENT: We might adjourn for ten minutes.


Q. Defendant, do you claim that you forced nobody to go and
work in Germany

A. On the contrary, I believe I compelled 250,000 Dutch
people to work in Germany, and I testified to that

Q. Good. I shall not dwell on that point.

Did you not also introduce certain legislative clauses as
far as nationality was concerned?

A. You mean the nationality of the Dutch people?

Q. Yes.

A. Yes, I did that.

Q. Did you take part in the arrest, internment, and
deportation to concentration camps in Germany of Dutch
citizens and, if so, in what way?

A. I should like to explain briefly the matter of
citizenship - Staatsburgerschaft.

                                                  [Page 133]

Q. Certainly.

A. Quite a few Dutch reported for the Waffen SS. It was the
intention of the Fuehrer to give them German citizenship.
However, with that they would have lost their Dutch
citizenship, and that was something they certainly did not
want to happen. Therefore, I issued a decree that upon the
acquisition of German citizenship, the Dutch citizenship was
not lost for a year, during which time the person involved
could make his decision.

This should serve to clarify the purpose and the object of
this decree of mine.

Q. I am going to put to you again the question which I put
to you a few minutes ago. Did you take part in the arrest,
internment, and deportation to concentration camps of Dutch
citizens, and, if so, under what conditions?

A. Deportation to and retention in a concentration camp was
exclusively a matter for the police. I do not recall a
single instance in which I requested the police to put any
Dutchmen into a German concentration camp. It may have
happened that I ordered the German police to take Dutchmen
to Herzogenbusch or Amersfort. Especially at the time when
the Netherlands courts were very lenient with
black-marketeers and slaughterers who supplied the black
market, did I demand their internment in a concentration
camp for two or three months.

However, if you have specific cases in mind, please mention
them and you may be assured that I will tell you everything
exactly as I remember it.

Q. No, your answer is sufficient.

Did you participate in the seizure of hostages and in their

A. I stated yesterday that I recall only one actual hostage
case, which took place in 1942, and I told you what I had to
do with it. The so-called shooting of hostages, beginning
with July of 1944, was not actually shooting of hostages,
but rather executions carried out by the police on the basis
of a Fuehrer decree.

I myself never ordered a single shooting. But I would like
to say this: if, for instance, I called the attention of the
police to the fact that in any certain locality of the
Netherlands an illegal resistance movement was causing much
trouble, and gave the police instructions to investigate the
case, it was perfectly obvious to me that the leaders of the
resistance movement could be arrested by the police and, on
the basis of the Fuehrer decree, these people would be shot.

But I must emphasise that I had to meet my responsibility,
even in a difficult situation, so that those who were guilty
- that is, legally guilty and not morally, because morally I
probably would have acted the same way as they did - those
who were guilty were not brought before a court.

Q. As far as the fact which you mentioned yesterday is
concerned, this does deal with hostages who were shot
following an attempt which was made against the railway at

A. Yes.

Q. Who selected those hostages?

A. Hostages were selected by the Security Police, and the
Higher SS and Police Leader submitted this list to me. As I
testified yesterday, I asked why he selected the people that
he did and he explained that to me. Then, in checking the
matter over, I crossed off the names of fathers who had
several children. I returned the list to the Higher SS and
Police Leader and asked him to take my attitude into
consideration in the execution of this decree.

Therefore, through my direct intervention, the fathers of
several children were saved from being shot.

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