The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/11/29

DR. KAUFMANN (counsel for the defendant Kaltenbrunner):

Q. Witness, am I right in assuming that you were never in a
position to issue orders to - i.e., never had anything to do
officially either with the Gestapo or with the concentration

A. No, I never had anything to do with them.

Q. When did you first hear of the establishment of these

A. Through the general announcements in 1933 that such
concentration camps or rather that one concentration camp,
had, in effect, been established.

Q. Did you, during the years which followed, receive more
detailed information concerning further establishments of
this kind?

A. Until the war ended I had heard of Dachau and Oranienburg
only. I knew nothing at all about any other concentration
camps. At my own request and in the company of some high-
ranking officers of the Luftwaffe, I inspected Dachau in
935. I saw no other concentration camps, nor did I know
anything about what happened in them.

Q. During your inspection, what impression did you get of
the establishment itself and the treatment of the internees,

A. At that time there was so much talk about these camps,
even among the officers, that I decided to judge for myself.
Himmler gave his immediate consent to my request. At that
time, I believe, Dachau was the only concentration camp in
existence. There I found a very mixed assortment of inmates.
One group consisted of major criminals, all habitual
offenders; other groups consisted of people who repeatedly
committed the same offence, but who could not be classed as
criminals. There was another group of persons who had
participated in the Roehm "Putsch". One of the men I
recognised as having seen before. He had been a high-ranking
SA-Leader and was now an internee. The camp, run on military
lines, was clean and properly organized. They had their own
slaughterhouse and their own bakery. We insisted on having
the food of the internees served to us. The food was good
and one of the camp leaders explained that they fed the
inmates very well as they were engaged on heavy work. All
the inmates whom we approached explained the reason for
their internment. For instance, one man told us that he had
committed forgery twenty times; another, that he had
committed assault and other offences fifteen times. There
were many cases of this kind. I cannot, of course, say if we
were shown everything in this large establishment.

Q. You have just mentioned that the question had been
discussed in military circles, among the officers. Later,
when you returned, did you convey your impressions of Dachau
to anyone?

A. I scarcely mentioned them to anybody, only if my more
intimate comrades broached the subject. As I have said
before, I did not, go alone; there were several other
gentlemen with me and, no doubt, they too, must have had
occasion to discuss this subject in closer circles.

Q. Unheard-of acts of cruelty were perpetuated in the
concentration camps. Did you come to hear of them and, if
so, when did you first hear of them?

A. On the day on which I was captured it was revealed to me
for the first time when internees from an auxiliary camp in
the vicinity were led past the place where I was captured.
This was the first time I saw it for myself. The rest I
learned in captivity from the various documents which we
were shown.

Q. Then it was completely unknown to you that more than two
hundred concentration camps existed in Germany and in the
occupied territories?

A. It was completely unknown to me. I have already mentioned
the two camps whose existence was known to me.

Q. It could be held against you that it must have been
impossible not to know of these facts. Can you explain to us
why it was not possible for you to obtain better information
regarding existing conditions?

                                                  [Page 270]

A. Because the people who knew about these conditions did
not talk about them, and presumably were not allowed to talk
about them. I understand this to be so from a document in
the Indictment against the General Staff, in which Himmler -
also erroneously considered as one of the high-ranking
military leaders - had issued an order to this effect. This
document dealt with some conference or other of high-ranking
police leaders under Himmler, in 1943, 1 believe.

Q. Am I right in saying that any attempt to disclose
conditions prevalent in the concentration camps was
impossible unless the person in question was ready to risk
his life?

A. In the first place, the large number of concentration
camps was unknown to most people, as it was unknown tome.
Secondly, nobody knew what went on there. This knowledge was
apparently confined to a very small circle of people who
were in the secret. Further, the SD was very much feared by
the entire population. If anybody tried to gain access to
these secrets he did so at the peril of his life. And again-
how could the Germans know anything about these things,
since they never saw them or heard about them? Nothing was
said about them in the German Press, no announcements were
made on the German radio, and those who listened to foreign
broadcasts exposed themselves to the heaviest penalties, and
most often it meant death. No one could ever be alone. You
always had to think that if you yourself contravened this
law, others would overhear and then denounce you. I know
that in Germany a large number of people were condemned to
death for listening to foreign broadcasts.

Q. Did it ever come to your knowledge that there had been
mass deportations of Jews to the Eastern territories? When
did you first hear about it?

A. I cannot give the exact date. Once, in some way or other,
I can no longer remember how, the information did reach me
that Jews had been settled in special "ghetto towns" in the
East. I think it must have been in 1944, or thereabout, but
I cannot guarantee that this date is exact.

Q. You have just mentioned ghettos. Did you know that these
mass deportations were, in effect, a preliminary step to
mass extermination?

A. No, we were never told.

Q. May I ask you further if, in this connection, you had any
idea about the existence of the "extermination camp,"

A. No. I first heard of the name much later. I read it in
the Press after I was captured.

Q. So-called" Einsatzkommandos "were formed in the East,
where they carried out large-scale exterminations, also of
Jews. Did you know that these "Einsatzkommandos" had been
created by order of Adolf Hitler?

A. No. The first I heard of these "Einsatzkommandos" was
here in prison in Nuremberg.

Q. Did you know that a special campaign was launched for the
extermination of Jewish citizens in the south eastern
provinces of the Reich, which, according to the statement of
the leader concerned, named Eichmann, caused the death of
from four to five million Jews?

A. No, I know nothing at all about it. This is the first
time I have heard the name Eichmann mentioned.

Q. Am I correct in stating that in the Germany of the
"Leadership Principle any opposition to a supreme order
would most probably have meant death?

A. That has been proved in many hundreds of cases.

Q. Am I also correct in stating that the peril would have
been equally deadly, even if the order had been opposed on
legal and moral grounds?

I A. I believe that here, too, one would have had to be
prepared to pay the penalty, and not only one's self, but
one's family as well.

DR. KAUFMANN: Thank you. I have no more questions to ask.

                                                  [Page 271]

DR. SIEMERS (counsel for the defendant Raeder):

Q. Witness, I have only a short question to ask you. You
told us, on Saturday or on Friday, that in 1937 you had
discussions with an English mission. This mission was headed
by Air Vice-Marshal Courtney. I should like to know from you
if, in the course of these discussions, it was agreed that
the competent German and British authorities should exchange
information concerning the establishment plans for their
respective Air Forces.

A. Your surmise is correct.

Q. How was the agreement made?

A. The agreement was drawn up in writing.

Q. Had the British and German Air Forces establishment plans
for each year?

A. No. The plans covered several years.

Q. How many years ahead were covered by the 1937 plan?

A. I cannot tell you from memory. At that time it may
possibly have covered two or three years.

Q. That would have been 1938-1940?

A. Possibly 1937-1938-1939-1940. I cannot say for certain. I
have forgotten.

Q. Had this plan a technical name? Was it called
"Establishment Plan" (Aufstellungsplan), or did it have some
other name?

A. I cannot remember now. We generally referred to it as the
"Projected Establishment Plan" (Aufstellungsvorhaben).

Q. On the English side, were the plans also drawn up to
cover a definite period, say three years?

A. I believe the periods covered were very much the same.
The procedure was more or less the same.

DR. SIEMERS: Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the prosecution now wish to cross-
examine? Perhaps it would be convenient to adjourn for ten
minutes now.

(A recess was taken.)



Q. Witness, you are a prisoner of war of the United States
at the present time?

A. No, I am not a prisoner of war of the United States. I
was an English prisoner of war and since I have been here I
have been declared an internee. I do not know what that
means. At any rate, it is not correct to apply it to an
officer prisoner of war who is taken by the enemy during
action before the end of hostilities.

Q. You have been allowed to confer with counsel both while
this trial was in progress and . . .

A. I have been able to confer with some of the defendants's
counsel, not all, I assume that the other defence counsel
did not desire it.

Q. Now you will save a great deal of time if you will answer
my questions as briefly as possible and with "yes" or "no"
where possible. You have been allowed to prepare, keep and
bring to the Court notes, after your consultations with

A. The notes which I had with me were made by me before I
conferred with defendants's counsel.

Q. You have made none of the notes since your consultations
with counsel?

A. I made one note for myself about one consultation. It was
merely about a date which had been mentioned to me and which
otherwise I could not have remembered.

                                                  [Page 272]

Q. And you occupied a very high position in the German Air

A. I was Inspector General.

Q. You frequently attended conferences on behalf of Goering?

A. On behalf of Goering, very rarely.

Q. You deny that you attended conferences on behalf of
Goering frequently?

A. No. I do not deny it at all, but I was called upon to
attend some of these conferences by virtue of my own office.
I rarely had occasion to represent Goering, as he usually
attended these conferences himself.

Q. You had a very large part in building up the Luftwaffe,
did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And you were honoured for that, were you not, in 1941, by
the Hitler regime?

A. 1941 - no; I believe, Mr. Justice Jackson, you mean 1940.

Q. 1940 - well, perhaps I'm wrong.

A. You mean the promotion to Field-Marshal, do you not?

Q. When was your promotion to Field-Marshal?

A. On the 19th of July, 1940.

Q. And did you not receive a gift from the Hitler regime in
recognition of your services?

A. In 1942, on the occasion of my fiftieth birthday, I
received a recognition.

Q. And the recognition was in the form of cash, was it not?

A. Yes, it was a cash recognition, with which I could buy
myself an estate.

Q. And what did it consist of?

A. The sum amounted to 250,000 marks.

Q. And now you come here to testify, as I understand your
testimony, that the regime of which you were a part put
Germany into a war for which it was in no way prepared. Do I
understand you correctly?

A. It is correct insofar as Germany in 1939 entered into a
war for which it was not prepared so far as the Air Force
was concerned.

Q. Did the head of the Air Force ever give any warning of
that fact to the German people?

A. That I am unable to say. I do not believe he could do

Q. You do not know that he ever did do it, do you?

A. I cannot remember that he ever gave such a warning to the
people publicly. I assume that the warning was given to his
superior military officer.

Q. And what officer would be above him?

A. That would be the Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler.

Q. The Fuehrer, yes.

A. As a soldier, the Reichsmarshal could not address himself
to the public.

Q. Now, can you point to any time at any meeting of the High
Command or at any other meeting that the Fuehrer called,
when Reichsmarshal Goering in the presence of any of these
people, raised the question that Germany was not prepared
for war?

A. I cannot remember such a conference, because such
conferences were held only between the two people concerned.
The Reichsmarshal never strongly opposed the Fuehrer in
public, nor before any large group of his officers, because
Hitler would not have tolerated such opposition.

Q. Do you know of any occasion when any one of the
defendants in the box ever took a public stand against going
to war?

A. Publicly no, I cannot remember any occasion. But I rather
think that, also to the gentlemen who now stand accused, the
whole question of the war came as a great surprise.

Q. You would like to believe that?

A. I do believe it, yes.

Q. You do believe it. How long did it take the German Armed
Forces to conquer Poland?

                                                  [Page 273]

A. To conquer Poland - eighteen days, I believe.

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