The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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It appears that, outside of a small section of the
"Totenkopf," not one of the units or sections of the SS had
any connection with the police and the concentration

                                                  [Page 349]

camps, any more than with the police activities conducted by
Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich and Kaltenbrunner, or for that
matter with the other grave crimes committed by the
Hitlerites. As a result, in the opinion of the defence, the
only participants in the crimes perpetrated by these
executioners were the Gestapo members Muller and Eichmann
and the chief of the "D" administration of the SS, Pohl.

It results therefore that these seven persons murdered and
tortured over 10,000,000 people.

Among the perjured false witnesses already known to the
Tribunal, such witnesses for the defence of the SS as the
former Supreme Fuehrer of the SS and Police of the
Oberabschnitt in Munich, the SS Obergruppenfuehrer Baron von
Eberstein, General of the SS Troops Hauser, the chief of SS
recruiting section, Brill, or the SS Judges Reinecke and
Morgen, should by all rights take one of the first places,
if not the very first place, for the shamelessness of the
lies to which they resorted in their attempts to justify the
SS and its members.

However, even lies have their limits.

Carried to their utmost limits they not only failed to help
the criminals but served to expose them completely.

And it seems to me that the Tribunal must have duly
appreciated the testimony of Judge Morgen of the SS Reserve,
who describes one of the most brutal SS concentration camps,
Buchenwald, as practically a sanatorium for the internees,
abounding with good food and playgrounds, with easy work in
the open air and a large library.

In complete contradiction to the stupid lies of the
"witnesses" for the defence of the SS are the documents
which thoroughly expose this criminal organization. These
lies are also contradicted by the irrefutable logic of facts
- facts of the very grave crimes of which the organizers and
perpetrators were members of all chief detachments and
organizations of the SS.

At the beginning of the war the SS organization consisted of
the following main detachments:

  1. The so-called "General SS" (Allegemeine SS), where the
  SS members received general training before being
  assigned to the SS troops or to one or the other of the
  police organizations. The "General SS" served as a
  reservoir from which reinforcements were drawn for the
  completion of special organizations of German Fascism -
  such as the Secret State Police (the Gestapo) Security
  Police (SD), the administration of the concentration
  camps ("Group D") and others.
  
  2. The SS troops, whom the defence and the defendants
  have so persistently tried to represent as "units of the
  guard" of the former German Army, were by no means so
  very remote from all police activities. The SS troops
  included among other units those institutions whose
  criminal character not even the defence for the SS dared
  to challenge. These were the camp commands of the SS
  troops, who effected the mass extermination of the
  peaceful citizens and prisoners of war in the
  concentration camps. It was the "Waffen SS," which also
  included the SS police regiments, that in substance
  composed the units responsible for the destruction of
  inhabited centres and villages, and that perpetrated
  innumerable crimes in the temporarily occupied
  territories of the Soviet Union and countries of Eastern
  Europe.
  
  3. The machinery of the SS included the SS economic
  administration in charge of the concentration camps, the
  administration for the consolidation of the German
  nation, which put into practice the infamous doctrines of
  "racialism," and all the Hitlerite police organizations,
  among which were such agencies as the Einsatzgruppen and
  Sonderkommandos.

It is hardly worth disputing the assertions of the defence
that the relation of the SS to the police was "purely
external" and to be explained simply by Himmler's "personal
union."

                                                  [Page 350]

It is known what importance Himmler attached to the fact
that all police officials had to be members of the "General
SS," which served as the reservoir and life force of the
entire SS police system of German Fascism. Amongst other
evidence submitted to the Tribunal there is a letter from
Himmler to Kaltenbrunner dated 24th April, 1943, in which he
speaks of "the orders of the enrolment of the Sipo officials
(Security Police) into SS membership in cases where the
'applicant is eligible both racially and ideologically, if
he can provide guarantees as to the number of children, the
health of his relations, and proof that he personally is not
sick and is not a degenerate.'"

To this dishonourable "Black Corps" of German Fascism was
given a special role in the realization of the Fascist
criminal plans.

These degenerates, dressed in SS uniform and devoid of any
idea of human morality, were not only assured of immunity in
their crimes, but they were daily imbued with the idea that
they were the "most valuable class" racially, who would lay
the foundation of the future Greater German Empire.

This they were repeatedly told by Himmler and by the
Reichsleiter and Gauleiter who had been raised by Himmler to
the highest ranks in the SS, and according to the
appreciation of their activities by the "SS Reichsfuehrer"
were promoted in the hierarchy of the SS.

Ribbentrop, Minister for Foreign Affairs in Fascist Germany,
not only was unashamed of being compared, as a member of SS,
to the murderer Pohl or to robber and executioner
Globotschnik, but he was actually exceedingly proud of it.

"I shall always consider it an especial honour to belong to
this proud corps of the Fuehrer, the corps which is of
decisive importance in the future of our Greater German
Empire," wrote Ribbentrop in his letter to Himmler, when he
was promoted from Gruppenfuehrer to Obergruppenfuehrer of
the SS.

Thus one and the same SS system united the commandant of
Treblinka, Unterscharfuehrer Kurt Franz; the inventor of the
"death-vans," Untersturmfuehrer Becker; the SS experimenter
on live persons, Dr. Rascher, and the Reich Minister and SS
Obergruppenfuehrer Ribbentrop.

At a conference of the SS Gruppenfuehrer in Poznan, in his
speech on the unity of the SS and the police, Himmler
stated:

  "I am always doing something towards this end, a band is
  constantly being drawn around these sections of the whole
  to cause them to grow together. Alas, if these bands were
  ever loosened, then everything - you may be sure of this
  - would sink back into the old insignificance in one
  generation, and in a short space of time .... I think
  that we are responsible for it to Germany, for the German
  Reich needs the SS organization. She needs it at least
  for the next few centuries."

In concluding his speech, he said:

  " ... When the war is won, then, as I have already told
  you, our work will start.
    
  ... the most copious breeding should be from this racial
  super-stratum of the Germanic people. In twenty to thirty
  years we must really be able to present the whole of
  Europe with its leading class. If the SS, together with
  the farmers, and we together with our friend Backe then
  run the colony in the East on a grand scale, without any
  restraint, without any question about any kind of
  tradition but with nerve and revolutionary impetus, we
  shall in twenty years push the national boundary
  (Volkstumsgrenze) 500 kilometres eastwards ....
      
  . We shall impose our laws on the East. We will charge
  ahead and push our way forward little by little to the
  Urals."
 
It is impossible to enumerate in a short statement the
gravest crimes committed by the members of the SS. Nor is it
necessary, since the evidence submitted to the Tribunal is
too recent and vivid in our minds.

                                                  [Page 351]

I shall dwell briefly upon some questions, dealing with the
responsibility of separate SS groups in connection with the
objections raised by the defence counsel.

(a) "GENERAL SS"

No matter to which of the special SS organizations an SS
member belonged, he was first and foremost a member of the
"General SS." His expulsion from such membership signified
loss of position and all the privileges related thereto.

In this connection I shall read one of the documents
submitted by the Soviet prosecution on the subject of the
Hitlerites' criminal acts against Soviet prisoners of war.

In this case we have documents of the investigations
conducted by the SS officials in relation to an "incident,"
as it is called in these documents, which occurred during
the performance of a "special treatment" operation.

The Tribunal well knows the significance of this last term.
In this particular case, a certain SS Hauptsturmfuehrer
Kallbach, who investigated the so-called "educational labour
camp" for Soviet prisoners of war in Berdichev, decided to
put to death seventy-eight Soviet prisoners whose condition
is described in records of the interrogation by the
commander of the camp, SS Sturmbannfuehrer Knopp, as
follows: "They were very seriously wounded. Some were
without legs, some without arms and others had lost at least
one of their extremities. Only a few had no injured limbs,
but these were so crippled as a result of other kinds of
wounds that they were unable to work." The fact that the
Soviet prisoners of war could not be utilized for work was
the only reason for their murder. The execution of the
sentence was entrusted to three SS men, SS Unterscharfuehrer
Paal, SS Rottenfuehrer Hesselbach and SS Sturmfuehrer
Volprecht. These three SS men are characterized in the
evidence as follows:

  " . I know that the three above-mentioned persons, whom I
  assigned to shoot the prisoners of war, had participated
  in mass executions of many thousands of people in Kiev.
  The local administration, ever since my arrival, had
  given them the task of shooting many hundreds of
  persons."

It so happened, however, that when twenty-eight of the
prisoners were being transported to the place of execution
they put up an heroic resistance against the executioners,
killed two of them and managed to escape.

It was in connection with this that the investigation was
ordered. The commander of the SS detachments in Berdichev
was prosecuted, not for his orders to murder seventy-eight
sick and innocent people but for allowing any possibility
for escape.

I have quoted this document not simply to remind you of one
of the countless episodes of SS brutality on the territory
temporarily occupied by the SS but to quote an extremely
characteristic wording of a warning against false evidence
resorted to prior to the interrogation by investigators from
SS.

It states:

  " ... I have been notified of the substance of the
  forthcoming interrogation. It has been pointed out to me
  that false evidence on my part will result in punishment
  and expulsion from the SS."
 
Upon entering the "General SS" the future member of this
criminal organization took an oath, which included the
following words:

  " ... I take an oath before you, Adolf Hitler, Fuehrer
  and Reichskanzler, to obey unto death you and all those
  whom you have appointed to command me."
  
And no matter where the SS man was in service, whether he
was murdering people in Treblinka and Auschwitz or torturing
them during interrogations in the torture-chambers of the
Gestapo, he first and foremost continued to be himself - a
stupid, ruthless member of the "General SS" who knew only
two duties -

                                                  [Page 352]

blind obedience to the "Fuehrer and Reichskanzler" and
unconditional enforcement of all criminal orders.

(b) SS TROOPS, "WAFFEN SS"

The organization of the SS troops originated in the so-
called "Leibstandarte," Hitler's bodyguard, and the "Death's
Head" Division, which was mostly active in the concentration
camps.

In war time the SS troops included, among other units and
formations, the so-called "Camp Commands" which directly
carried out the extermination of millions of people and
rendered effective the regime of exhaustion of the inmates
prior to extermination, as well as the police divisions and
units.

This simple enumeration of the units composing the Waffen SS
fully testifies to their criminal character.

The Soviet prosecution has submitted in evidence the
sentence of the Military Tribunal of the Fourth Ukrainian
Front and a report of the Extraordinary State Commission,
concerning the atrocities of the German Fascist invaders in
Kharkov and in the Kharkov area, from which it is evident
that the units of the SS - particularly the SS Division of
Adolf Hitler, under the leadership of Obergruppenfuehrer
Dietrich, and the SS Division "Totenkopf" (Death's Head)
under the leadership of Obergruppenfuehrer SS Simon, are
responsible for the extermination of more than 20,000
peaceful citizens of Kharkov, for the shooting and burning
alive of prisoners of war.

In Kiev alone, during the period of German occupation, over
195,000 peaceful citizens were tortured to death, shot and
poisoned in the death vans; most of them were exterminated
by the units of the SS, for which - according to the reports
of the Extraordinary State Commission - the former chief of
the SS troops in Southern Russia and in the Ukraine, Major-
General Troenfeld, SS Lieutenant-General Juttner, and other
commanders of the SS troops are responsible.

In the city of Rovno and in the Rovno district the Germans
exterminated 102,000 persons. Among many others, a soldier
of the Fourth Squadron of the Seventeenth SS Cavalry
Division, Adolf Mitzke, testified how the SS men carried out
these crimes; on the order of the commander of the regiment
Adolf Mitzke, together with the other soldiers of his
regiment, shot down the peaceful citizens (there were women
among them) and set the villages on fire.

In the official Note of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of
the USSR, W. M. Molotov, dated 27th April, 1942, a
description of atrocities committed by the SS Cavalry
Brigade in the Region of Toropets is reported. I quote:
    
  "In January, 1942, when Red Army troops smashed the
  German SS Cavalry Brigade in the district of Toropets,
  among the captured documents was found the report of the
  1st Cavalry Regiment of the above-mentioned brigade, on
  the 'pacification' of the Starobinsk District in
  Bielorussia. The commander of the regiment reports that
  in addition to the 259 prisoners of war shot by a
  detachment of his regiment, 6,504 peaceful inhabitants
  were executed. The report states that the detachment
  operated in accordance with regimental order No. 42, of
  27th July, 1941. The commander of the 2nd Regiment of the
  same brigade, von Mahill, states in his 'Report on the
  Conduct of the Pacification Operations in the District of
  the Pripet Marshes from 27th July to 11th August, 1941':
  'We drove the women and children into a swamp, but this
  did not have the necessary effect, as the swamp was not
  deep enough for them to drown. At a depth of 1 metre it
  was possible, in most cases, to reach firm ground
  (possibly sand).' In the same headquarters, telegram No.
  37 was found, sent by the Standartenfuehrer, commander of
  the SS Cavalry Brigade, to a mounted detachment of the
  above-mentioned 2nd Cavalry Regiment, dated 2nd August,
  1941, which announces

                                                  [Page 353]

  that the Reichsfuehrer of the SS and Police Himmler
  considers the number of peaceful inhabitants who are
  being exterminated as 'too negligible,' and points out
  that 'it is necessary to act radically,' that 'the
  commanders of the formations are too lenient in their
  conduct of operations,' and orders that the number of
  persons shot be reported daily."

The entire criminal activity of the SS units in the
territory of Yugoslavia, Poland and other temporarily
occupied countries of Eastern Europe, followed the same
pattern.

I now wish to remind the Tribunal of the numerous documents
presented to the Tribunal by the Soviet and British
prosecutions illustrating the crimes committed in the
territory of Yugoslavia by the SS Division "Prinz Eugen."

I particularly wish to remind the Tribunal of Communication
No. 9 of the Yugoslav State Commission, on the atrocities
perpetrated by the aforesaid SS division. This communication
described how the SS soldiers - members of the Waffen SS who
called themselves "The German Guard" - burned alive the
population of entire villages, including women and children.
I shall also remind you of the deposition given by SS Major-
General August Schmidthuber describing how, on the order of
the commander of the First Battalion SS Kaasarer, peaceful
citizens were locked up in a church in Krivaya Reka, and
then the church building was blown up.


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