The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/11/29

BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

Now I just ask you, witness, did you know an SA Sturmfuehrer
called Schroepfer, S-c-h-r-o-e-p-f-e-r?

A. I did not know any Sturmfuehrer Schroepfer in the SA.

Q. Did you know an SA Sturmfuehrer called Bub, B-u-b?

A. I did not know him, either.

Q. Did you know a man in the SA whose rank, unfortunately, I
have not got, called Gewecke, G-e-w-e-c-k-e, who became
district commissioner for this area 130 miles south of Riga?

A. Likewise unknown to me. The district commissioners, the
commissioners in general, were not employed by the SA, but
by the Ministry for Eastern Affairs, and we had no influence
of any kind with them.

Q. Kibart says he was in the SA and I am just asking you to
try to remember if you know him. There is no doubt that he
exists. We have got captured documents signed by him. But I
want to know, did you know him, Gewecke?

A. I understood you thoroughly, but apparently you
misunderstood me previously because you are stating that I
did not know Kramer and Lenzen, but I merely said -

Q. I did not say that, witness, and do not let us have any
misunderstanding. I was just making quite sure by informing
you that there was no doubt that Gewecke was there because
his name appears in captured documents, and I wanted you to
be quite sure you did not know him before you gave your
answer. You did not know him?

A. No, I do not know him.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, then I will again state it
quite shortly: In the first two paragraphs the deponent says
that he is a leather worker, and where he was working. In
the third he says that he was cursed and beaten by the SA
when he was at work. Then in paragraph 4 he says that
Schroepfer was there first and afterwards Bub. And in 5 he
said: " It is hard to judge, but I estimate that there must
have been 700 to 800 SA men there at the beginning, but they
decreased in numbers later. I knew them as SA because they
wore brown uniform with swastika armlets. Later on they used
other Germans in the locality as auxiliaries." Then in 6 he
says: "There were 4,500 Jews in the ghetto, which

                                                  [Page 180]

was very overcrowded; therefore, in August, 1941, the SA
surrounded the whole ghetto, and numbers of them went into
the houses and took out women, children and old men, and put
them into lorries and drove them away. I saw all this
myself. It was done exclusively by SA. I saw them take
children by the hair and throw them into the lorries. I did
not see what happened to them, but a Lithuanian told me
afterwards that they had been driven twenty kilometres away
and shot. He said he had seen the SA make them undress and
then shoot them with automatic pistols." Then paragraph 7
says they were shot if they took food into the ghetto and
describes the capture of a master baker who had four or five
cigarettes and some sausage, and his hanging. Then paragraph
8 deals with Gewecke, and, my Lord, I ask the Tribunal to
note: "The District Commissioner in whose courtyard I worked
was called Gewecke. I saw him every day. He was in the SA.
The SS took over from the SA in September, 1943, and the
ghetto then became a working camp."

Now, my Lord, if your Lordship would be good enough to turn
to Page 107, you will see a report from Gewecke - from
Schaulen. My Lord, that is Document 3661-PS, which will
become Exhibit GB 601. It is dated 8th September, 1941, from
Schaulen, where he was Regional Commissioner, to the Reich
Commissar for the Eastland (Ostland). My Lord, I understood
- I may be wrong - that Ostland included Lithuania, Esthonia
and Latvia only, but that is the position. This is a
complaint about an SS Standartenfuehrer called Jaeger
interfering in Schaulen's activities, and after explaining
that he had managed to acquire - or rather, that his agent
had been acquiring some Jewish silver and gold articles, he
then says - my Lord, this fresh, incident merely
demonstrates that Jaeger does not consider himself bound by
the instructions issued by the Reich Commissar and by the
Regional Commissar regarding the seizure of Jewish property
and that he meddled in matters -

DR. BOEHM: This document which is now being presented refers
to an SS Standartenfuehrer Jaeger. I do not think the case
of the SS is being discussed, and I request that the
document be presented when the SS is dealt with, because it
has nothing to do with the SA.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, the evidence is that the
signatory of this document is a member of the SA. He was
acting as commissioner, and my friend can make what argument
he likes on that. He was a member of the SA and here he is
protesting against the SS coming in and taking Jewish
property, exactly the thing which the evidence states the SA
have been doing in this area. My Lord, that is why I submit
the document, as a useful corroboration.

DR. BOEHM: This man was not a member of the SA in that
territory, but was working as a commissar.

THE PRESIDENT: We have just had evidence that he was, and
the witness in the box says he does not know, so I do not
know on what authority you say that he was not.

DR, BOEHM: It may be that he was one, but not in his
capacity as a member of the SA, but rather as a member of
the Ministry for Eastern Affairs. The SA had nothing to do
with it.

THE PRESIDENT: That is a matter which the Tribunal has got
to consider. We will consider the evidence of this witness,
who says there was no SA in this particular place at the
time. We will also consider the evidence of the deponent in
the affidavit, who says that this man Gewecke was there in
SA uniform with a lot of other SA men. That does not make
this document, which is a captured document, inadmissible.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, the next paragraph is the
only matter which I want to trouble the Tribunal with: "If
the SS continues to overreach

                                                  [Page 181]

itself in this fashion, I, as Regional Commissar, must
refuse to accept responsibility for the orderly confiscation
(Erfassung) of Jewish property."

THE PRESIDENT: Now, I suppose that Dr. Boehm's argument upon
that would be that this witness, Gewecke, was acting as
Regional Commissioner and not as a member of the SS.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, that is a perfectly proper
argument for Dr. Boehm to advance. Of course it is
important, when your Lordship has these affidavits in which
this man is dealt with, that one should be able to tie it in
with a captured document. That is really what I wanted to
do.

BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

Q. Well, now I come for a moment to a point that you have
mentioned several times. You said that the only SA
organization in this area was a unit formed by the defendant
Frank in the Government General, I think in April, 1942;
that the SA unit of the Government General was formed under
the orders of Lutze and the command was taken over by the
defendant Frank. That is right, is it not? And you said that
he had a special staff for the actual carrying on of the
unit which, I think, was in the hands of two men called Selz
and Friedemund, if I caught your evidence right. Is that so?

A. No, that is not right. In the first place, the names were
not Friedemund -

Q. If those are not the names, please blame me. I took them
down as I understood them. You tell us the right names. It
is my fault entirely if I got them wrong. What were the
names?

A. The correct names were Pelz and Kuehnemund, and this
operations staff was not under the former Governor General
Frank, but directly under the Chief of Staff, who managed
affairs, and Frank was merely appointed leader of the SA
there, as I have already described. As to the other
affidavits, I may, I hope, have an opportunity to state my
views later.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, your Lordship will find -
it is in evidence, in 2216-PS, Exhibit USA 424, the extract
from Das Archiv, giving that foundation of the unit in the
Government General.

BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

O. What I want you to tell the Tribunal, witness, is: What
was the purpose of forming a unit in the Government General?

A. There were two purposes; but first of all, may I put a
question with reference to the affidavits of Kovno, Schaulen
and Riga; I have an explanation to make which is necessary
to establish the truth. I wanted to ask whether I may do so
now, or should I do so in connection with the question which
has just been asked?

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks that it will be better
for your counsel to put questions to you in re-examination
upon that evidence.

BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

Q. Now, I want you to tell me, as shortly as you can, what
was the purpose of forming a unit of the SA in the
Government General in 1942?

A. There were two purposes. First of all, to keep the Reich
Germans who were working in the Government General united in
a comradely way, if they were members of the SA, and,
secondly, to bring people of German origin, who appeared
inclined and well-adapted to join the SA, later, into the
community by making them familiar with the German language,
German customs, etc., and the comradeship which we
cultivated in the SA.

Q. I want to get that clear. You said it was an entirely
peaceful purpose in the Government General. Do you adhere to
what you have told the Tribunal, that there were no other SA
formations operating in the Eastern territories, and
particularly, I ask you about the territory Ostland; that
is, as I understand it,

                                                  [Page 182]

including the old countries of Lithuania, Esthonia and
Latvia - I have already put certain evidence to you, but I
want to get this clear. Are you prepared for your proof to
be judged on the fact - on your answer to this question: Do
you say that there were no SA units operating in Ostland?

A. I am prepared to answer that question very clearly. The
supreme SA leadership did not set up an SA organization in
this territory of Ostland, which, if I understood you
correctly, you just described as Lithuania and Latvia. A
German SA was not formed there. If any SA were supposed to
have been formed there, then it was a wild organization
which had nothing to do with the SA leadership in the
slightest. I know nothing about an SA having been organized
there.

Q. That is your answer. My Lord, I wonder if the Tribunal
would look for a moment just at a part of Document 1475-PS,
which is also R-135, and it is Document Book 16-B, Page 81,
Exhibit USA 289 - my Lord, it comes just after Page 81 in
the book. It is 81-A. Would you give the witness a copy? My
Lord, that is the protest of the Reichskommissar for Ostland
to the defendant Rosenberg, and the Tribunal is probably
familiar with that bit. The first page is a protest against
killing off so many Jews in the "Cottbus" project because
they would have been useful for slave labour, and, in any
case, the locking of men, women and children into barns and
setting fire to them does not appear to be a suitable method
for combating bands. That is the effect of that. Now, my
Lord, there is a catch to that. On the next page is the
report of 5th June, 1943, from the General Commissioner of
White Ruthenia to the defendant Rosenberg, through the Reich
Commissar for Eastland, and, my Lord, it may be that the
territory is slightly out of that mentioned, but at any rate
I'll make it perfectly clear. My Lord, it begins by saying:
"The result of the operation, between 4,500 and 5,000 enemy
dead, suspected of belonging to bands, who apparently were
the people who had been locked up and burned in barns."
Then, my Lord, below it gives the booty, and then the next
paragraph: "The operation affects the territory of the
General District of White Ruthenia in the area of Borissov.
It concerns in particular the two counties of Begomie and
Pleschtschamizy. At present, the police troops, together
with the Army, have advanced to Lake Palik and have reached
the whole front of the Beresina. The battles are continuing
in the rear zone of the army."

Then there is another note to the effect that only 492
rifles were taken from 4,500 enemy dead. Now, my Lord, it is
the next sentence: "By order of SS Obergruppenfuehrer von
dem Bach" - my Lord, that is the officer who gave evidence
before the Tribunal some months ago - "units of the - "
Witness, I ask you to note this: "Units of the
Wehrmannschaften have also participated in the operation. SA
Standartenfuehrer Kunze was in command of the
Wehrmannschaften." Now, witness, are you going to tell the
Tribunal that the SA Wehrmannschaften were not a section of
the SA and that the Standartenfuehrer Kunze was not
operating as a member of the SA?

A. Yes, I shall be very willing and glad to give a clear
answer to that. First of all, it does not say "SA
Wehrmannschaften." It says "Wehrmannschaften." Secondly -

Q. Just a moment. Are you suggesting that Wehrmannschaften
does not mean SA Wehrmannschaften? That it is not a unit of
the SA - is that your answer?

A. In this case, it was not a unit of the SA. I maintain
that very definitely. If such Wehrmannschaften existed at
all, they were not Wehrmannschaften which had been formed or
organized by the SA.

Secondly, if SA Standartenfuehrer Kunze commanded these
Wehrmannschaften which had presumably been formed there,
then in no case did he command them in his capacity as SA
leader, but rather in connection with the Eastern
administration.

Q. But he was in command of the Wehrmannschaften. Are you
saying that when you have got a well-known SA formation, the
Wehrmannschaften commanded

                                                  [Page 183]

by a SA Standartenfuehrer, you are telling the Tribunal that
they were not operating as SA at all, is that your evidence?
You really ask the Tribunal to believe that? All right, I am
putting another document to you. My Lord, if you will turn
to Page 64-A, you will find -

A. In this connection I must add that it is not merely that
I want to make the Court believe this, but it was actually
so. SA Wehrmannschaften is a very frequent term. There were
Wehrmannschaften elsewhere, too, which had nothing to do
with the SA, and apparently these here were of such a kind.

We did not have any Wehrmannschaften there.
Standartenfuehrer  Kunze was not acting as an SA leader. The
SA leadership and organization had nothing to do with these
things, or with the events described in Schaulen, Riga and
Kovno.

Q. Now, witness, just do be careful before you answer this:
Do you say that there were no SA Einsatzkommandos securing
forced labour inside the Government General? That is a
simple question. Do you say that there were no SA
Einsatzkommandos collecting forced labour inside the
Government General?

A. The SA knew nothing at all about Einsatz Kommandos.

Q. Now, I suggest to you that is absolutely untrue.

A. SA leadership, that is -


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