The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Protective custody meant that you were taking people into
custody who had not committed any crime but who, you
thought, might possibly commit a crime?

A. Yes. People were arrested and taken into protective
custody who had not yet committed any crime, but who could
be expected to do so if they remained free, just as similar
protective measures are being taken in Germany to-day on a
tremendous scale.

Q. Now, it is also a necessity, in the kind of State that
you had, that you have some kind of organisation to carry
propaganda down to the people and to get their reaction and
inform the leadership of it, is it not?

A. The last part of that question has not been intelligibly

Q. Well, you had to have organisations to carry out orders
and to carry your propaganda in that kind of State, did you

A. Of course we carried on propaganda, and for this we had a
propaganda organisation.

Q. And you carried that on through the Leadership Corps of
the Nazi Party, did you not?

A. The Leadership Corps was there, of course, partly to
spread our ideas among the people. Secondly, its purpose was
to lead and organise the people who made up the Party.

Q. Through your system of Gauleiter and Kreisleiter down to
Blockleiter, commands and information went down from the
authority, and information as to the people's reactions came
back to the leadership, did it not?

A. That is correct. The orders and commands that were to be
given for propaganda or other purposes were passed down the
grades as far as necessary. On the other hand, it was a
matter of course that the reactions of the broad masses of
the people were again transmitted upwards through the
various offices, in order to keep us informed of the mood of
the people.

Q. And you also had to have certain organisations to carry
out orders - executive organisations, organisations to fight
for you, if necessary, did you not?

A. Yes, administrative organisations were, of course,
necessary. I do not quite understand - organisations to
fight what?

Q. Well, if you wanted certain people killed you had to have
some organisation that would kill them, did you not? Roehm
and the rest of them were not killed by Hitler's own hands
or by yours, were they?

A. Roehm - the Roehm affair I explained here clearly - that
was a matter of State necessity ...

Q. I did not ask you ...

A. . . .and was not carried out by the police.

                                                  [Page 189]

Q. But when it was State necessity to kill somebody, you had
to have somebody to do it, did you not?

A. Yes, just as in other States; whether it is called Secret
Service or something else, I do not know.

Q. And the S.A., the S.S. and the S.D., organisations of
that kind, were the organisations that carried out the
orders and dealt with people on a physical level, were they

A. The S.A. never received an order to kill anybody. Neither
did the S.S., not in my time. Anyhow, I had no influence on
it.... I know that orders were given for executions, namely
in the Roehm Putsch, and these were carried out by the
police, that is, by a State organ.

Q. What police?

A. As far as I recall, through the Gestapo. At any rate,
that was the organisation that received the order. You see,
it was a fight against enemies of the State.

Q. And the S.S. was for the same purpose, was it not?

A. Not in North Germany at that time; to what extent that
was the case in south Germany, where the Gestapo and the
S.S. were still separated, and who carried out the action in
South Germany, I do not know.

Q. Well, the S.S. carried out arrests and carried out the
transportation of people to concentration camps, did they
not? You were arrested by the S.S., were you not?

A. Yes, yes, but later.

Q. At what time did the S.S. perform this function of acting
as the executor of the Nazi Party?

A. After the seizure of power, when the police came to be
more and more in the hands of Himmler. It is difficult for
me to explain to an outsider where the S.S. or where the
Gestapo was active. I have already said that the two of them
worked very closely together. It is known that the S.S.
guarded the camps and later carried out police functions.

Q. And carried out other functions in the camps?

A. To what functions do you refer?

Q. They carried out all the functions of the camps, did they

A. If an S.S. unit was guarding a camp and an S.S. leader
happened to be the camp commander, then this unit carried
out all the functions.

Q. Now, this system was not a secret system. This entire
system was openly avowed, its merits were publicly advocated
by yourself and others, and every person entering into the
Nazi Party was enabled to know the kind of system of
government you were going to set up, was he not?

A. Every person who entered the Party knew that we embraced
the leadership principle and knew the fundamental measures
we wanted to carry out, so far as they were stated in the
programme. But not everyone who joined the Party knew down
to the last detail what was going to happen later.

Q. But this system was set up openly and was well known, was
it not, in every one of its details? As to organisation,
everybody knew what the Gestapo was, did they not?

A. Yes, everyone knew what the Gestapo was.

Q. And what its programme was, in general, not in detail?

A. I explained that programme clearly. At the very beginning
I described that publicly, and I also spoke publicly of the
tasks of the Gestapo, and I even wrote about it for foreign

Q. And there was nothing secret about the establishment of a
Gestapo as a political police, about the fact that people
were taken into protective custody, about the fact that
there were concentration camps? Nothing secret about those
things, was there?

A. There was at first nothing secret about it at all.

                                                  [Page 190]

Q. As a matter of fact, part of the effectiveness of a
secret police and part of the effectiveness of concentration
camp penalties is that the people do know that there are
such agencies, is it not?

A. It is true that everyone knows that if he acts against
the State he will end up in a concentration camp, or will be
accused of high treason before a court, according to the
degree of his crime. But the original reason for creating
the concentration camps was to keep there those people whom
we rightfully considered enemies of the State.

Q. Now, is that type of government - the government which we
have just been describing - the only type of government
which you think is necessary to govern Germany?

A. I should not like to say that the basic characteristic of
this government and its most essential feature was the
immediate setting up of the Gestapo and the concentration
camps in order to take care of our opponents. Over and above
that we had set down as our government programme a great
many much more important things, and those other things were
not the basic principles of our government.

Q. But all of these things were necessary things, as I
understood you, for purposes of protection?

A. Yes, these things were necessary because of the opponents
that existed.

Q. And I assume that that is the only kind of government
that you think can function in Germany under present

A. Under the conditions existing at that time, it was, in my
opinion, the only possible form, and it also demonstrated
that Germany could be raised in a short time from the depths
of misery, poverty and unemployment to relative prosperity.

Q. Now, all this authority of the State was concentrated?
Perhaps I am taking up another subject. Is it the intent to
recess at this time?

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken until 14.00 hours.)

DR. STAHMER: The witness Dahlerus has been in Nuremberg for
several days and is waiting to testify. He has informed me
that he absolutely must be in Stockholm again by Thursday.
For this reason he requests, and I am asking the High
Tribunal's permission, that he be called as a witness to-
morrow morning, even if the cross-examination has not been
completed. The prosecution have all agreed to my proposal.

THE PRESIDENT: Did you say the prosecution had agreed to
your proposal?

DR. STAHMER: Yes, my Lord. I contacted the four gentlemen
involved and they have agreed to this.

THE PRESIDENT: How long do you anticipate that the
examination in chief of the witness will take? You cannot
answer for the cross-examination.

DR. STAHMER: I believe that I will need half a day-that is,
until to-morrow noon. I cannot say definitely, but it is
quite probable it will last as long as that.

THE PRESIDENT: His evidence is only relevant to the few days
before 1st September, 1939?

DR. STAHMER: There are two additional questions, but these
questions may be answered very briefly. He seems to have
made two further efforts after September, but those are very
brief questions.

THE PRESIDENT: It appears to the Tribunal that half a day is
a totally unnecessary time for the examination-in-chief of a
witness who is going to speak about events during a few days
before the war began.

DR. STAHMER: I would not say that, Mr. President. It is not
just a few days. These negotiations started at the end of
June or the beginning of July. I

                                                  [Page 191]

should like to add, further I that I shall naturally limit
myself to those questions necessary for the trial, but these
questions should be asked.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal agrees, if the prosecution is
willing for this evidence to be interposed. The Tribunal
trusts that you will find it possible to make your
examination-in-chief much shorter than you have indicated.



Q. You have related to us the manner in which you and others
co-operated in concentrating all authority in the German
State in the hands of the Fuehrer; is that right?

A. I was speaking about myself and to what extent I had a
part in it.

Q. Is there any defendant in the box you know of, who did
not co-operate toward that end so far as was possible?

A. That none of the defendants here opposed or obstructed
the Fuehrer in the beginning is clear, but I should like to
call your attention to the fact that we must always
distinguish between different periods of time, for some of
the questions that are being put to me are very general and,
after all, we are concerned with a period extending over
twenty-four to twenty-five years, if a comprehensive survey
is to be made.

Q. Now, I want to call your attention to the fruits of this
system. You, as I understand it, were informed in 1940 of an
impending attack by the German Army on Soviet Russia?

A. I have explained just how far I was informed of these

Q. You believed an attack not only to be unnecessary, but
also to be unwise from the point of view of Germany itself?

A. At that particular time I was of the opinion that this
attack should be postponed in order to carry through other
tasks, which I considered more important.

Q. You did not see any military necessity for an attack at
that time, even from the point of view of Germany?

A. Naturally, I, too, was fully aware of Russia's moves
towards the deployment of her forces, but hoped to put
through, first, other strategic measures, as described by
me, in order to improve Germany's position. I thought that
the time required for these would ward off the critical
moment. I well knew, of course, that this critical moment
for Germany might come at any time after that.

Q. I can only repeat my question, which I submit you have
not answered.

Did you at that time see any military necessity for an
attack by Germany on Soviet Russia?

A. I personally believed that at that time this danger had
not yet reached its climax, and therefore the attack might
not yet be necessary. But that was my personal view.

Q. And you were the Number Two man at that time in all

A. It has nothing to do with my being second in importance.
There were two conflicting points of view as regards
strategy. The Fuehrer, the Number One man, saw one danger,
and I, as the Number Two man, if you wish to express it so,
wanted to put through another strategic measure. If I had
imposed my will every time, then I would probably have
become the Number One man. But since the Number One man was
of a different opinion, and I was only the Number Two man,
his opinion naturally prevailed.

Q. I have understood from your testimony - and I think you
can answer this "Yes" or "No," and I would greatly
appreciate it if you would - I have understood from your
testimony that you were opposed, and told the Fuehrer that
you were opposed, to an attack upon Russia at that time. Am
I right or wrong?

                                                  [Page 192]

A. That is correct.

Q. Now, you were opposed to it because you thought that it
was a dangerous move for Germany to make; is that correct?

A. Yes, I was of the opinion that the moment - and I repeat
this again - had not come for this undertaking, and that
measures which were more expedient, as far as Germany was
concerned, should be taken.

Q. And yet, because of the Fuehrer system, as I understand
you, you could give no warning to the German people; you
could bring no pressure of any kind to bear to prevent that
step, and you could not even resign to protect your own
place in history.

A. There are quite a few questions here. I should like to
answer the first one.

Q. Separate them, if you wish.

A. The first question was, I believe, whether I took the
opportunity to tell the German people about this danger. I
had no occasion to do this. We were at war, and such
differences of opinion, as far as strategy was concerned,
could not be brought into the public forum during the war. I
believe that has never happened in world history.

Secondly, as far as my resignation is concerned, I do not
wish even to discuss that, for during the war I was an
officer, a soldier, and I was not concerned with whether I
shared an opinion or not. I had merely to serve my country
as a soldier.

Thirdly, I was not the man to forsake a man to whom I had
given my oath of loyalty every time he was not of my way of
thinking. If that had been the case there was no need to
bind myself to him from the beginning. It never occurred to
me to leave the Fuehrer.

Q. In so far as you know, the German people were led into
the war, attacking Soviet Russia under the belief that you
favoured it?

A. The German people did not know about the declaration of
war against Russia until after the war with Russia had
started. The German people, therefore, had nothing to do
with this. The German people were not asked; they were told
of the fact and of the necessity for it.

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