The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. I would just like you to look at a document which has not
got a number, but it is the Fuehrer's ideas about the Waffen
S.S., and to see if you agree. It is D-665, and it will be
Exhibit GB 280. It is a document from the High Command of
the Army, General Staff of the Army, "Statements of the
Fuehrer re Future State Military Police," and the covering
letter of the document says, "After the Fuehrer's ideas on
the Waffen S.S. had been passed on, doubts arose as to
whether it was intended that they should be given wider
distribution." If you will pass to the documents, perhaps
you will follow it while I read it. I do not think it has
been introduced before:
  
  "On 6th August, 1940, when the order for the organisation
  of the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler - Adolf Hitler
  Bodyguard - was issued, the Fuehrer stated the principles
  regarding the necessity for the Waffen S.S. as summed up
  below:
  
  The Greater German Reich in its final form will include
  within its frontiers, only those national groups which
  from the very beginning will be well disposed towards the
  Reich. It is therefore necessary to maintain outside the
  Reich proper a State military police capable in any
  situation of representing and imposing the authority of
  the Reich within.
  
  This task can be carried out only by a State police
  composed of men of best German blood and wholeheartedly
  pledged to the ideology on which the Greater German Reich
  is founded. Only such a formation will resist subversive
  influences even in critical times. Such a formation,
  proud of its purity, will never fraternise with the
  proletariat and with the underworld which undermines the
  fundamental idea. In our future Greater German Reich, a
  police corps will have the necessary authority over the
  other members of the community only if it is trained
  along military lines. Our people are so military-minded
  as a result of glorious achievements in war
  
                                                  [Page 307]
  
  and training by the National Socialist Party that a 'sock-
  knitting' police, as in 1848, or a bureaucratic police,
  as in 1918, would no longer have any authority.
  
  It is therefore necessary that this State police proves
  its worth and sacrifices its blood at the front, in
  closed formations, in the same way as every unit of the
  Armed Forces. Having returned home, after having proved
  themselves in the field in the ranks of the Army, the
  units of the Waffen S.S. will possess the authority to
  execute their tasks as State police.
  
  This employment of the Waffen S.S. for internal purposes
  is just as much in the interests of the Wehrmacht itself.
  We must never again allow the conscripted German
  Wehrmacht to be used against its fellow-countrymen,
  weapon in hand, in critical situations at home. Such
  action is the beginning of the end. A State which has to
  resort to such methods is no longer in a position to use
  its Armed Forces against an enemy from without, and
  thereby gives itself up.
  
  There are deplorable examples of this in our history. In
  future, the Wehrmacht is to be used solely against the
  foreign enemies of the Reich.
  
  In order to ensure that the men in the units of the
  Waffen S.S. are always of a high quality, the recruitment
  into the units must be limited. The Fuehrer's idea of
  this limitation is that the units of the Waffen S.S.
  should generally not exceed 5 to 10 per cent. of the
  peacetime strength of the Army."

Do you agree with that? Is that a correct description of the
purpose of the Waffen S.S.?

A. I am absolutely convinced that he did say that, but that
does not contradict my statement.

Q. Now, I just want you, while we are on the S.S., to look
at a note which is Document 729-D and will be Exhibit GB
281. It is on the conversation between you and the Duce in
the Palazzo Venezia on 23rd October, 1942. At that time you
were still in good favour with the Fuehrer and still
retained your power; is that right?

I will read it: It is Page 35, paragraph 1:
  
  "The Reichsmarschall then described Germany's method in
  fighting the Partisans. To begin with, all livestock and
  foodstuffs were taken away from the areas concerned so as
  to deny the Partisans all sources of supply."

A. Just a second, please. Where is this?

Q. It is Page 35, paragraph 1, but I will find it for you if
you have any difficulty. I think it is marked, and it begins
"The Reichsmarschall -" Can you find it?

A. Yes, indeed.

Q. I will start again if I may:

  "The Reichsmarschall then described Germany's method in
  fighting the Partisans. To begin with, all livestock and
  foodstuffs were taken away from the areas concerned, so
  as to deny the Partisans all sources of supply. Men and
  women were taken away to labour camps, the children to
  children's camps, and the villages burnt down. It was by
  the use of these methods that the railways in the vast
  wooded areas of Bialowiza had been safeguarded. Whenever
  attacks occurred, the entire male population of the
  villages were lined up on one side and the women on the
  other. The women were told that all the men would be shot
  unless they (the women) pointed out which men did not
  belong to the village. In order to save their men, the
  women always pointed out the non-residents. Germany had
  found that, generally speaking, it was not easy to get
  soldiers to carry out such measures. Members of the Party
  discharged this task much more harshly
  
                                                  [Page 308]
  
  and efficiently. For the same reason, armies trained
  ideologically, such as the German (or the Russian),
  fought better than others. The S.S., the nucleus of the
  old Party fighters, who have personal ties with the
  Fuehrer and form a special elite, confirm this
  principle."

Now, is that a correct description?

A. Yes, certainly.

Q. This expresses correctly your views on how war against
Partisans should be carried out?

A. I have transmitted this.

Just one second, please. May I ask what the number of this
document is, please ?

Q. Yes, I will give it again, D-729, and it becomes Exhibit
GB 291.

Now, I just want you to help me on one other matter on these
Organisations. You will remember that in answer, I think, to
Dr. Servatius, you made some remarks about the Leadership
Corps. Do you remember that? I just want you to have them in
mind.

A. Yes.

Q.  Now, will you look at the document which will be
presented to you, Document D-728, Exhibit GB 282. This is a
document from the Office of the Gau Leadership for Hessen-
Nassau. I am sorry; there is a reference to an order of the
Party Chancellery dated 10th February, 1945, and its subject
is "Action by the Party to be Taken for Keeping the German
Population in Check until the End of the War." It is signed
by Sprenger, Gauleiter and Commissar for Reich Defence.

A. The date is 15th March, 1945, is that right?

Q. I am grateful to you. I knew it was just after 10th
March. I have not got it in my copy, but if you say so I
will accept it.

A. 1945.

Q. Yes.

  "I request the Kreisleiters to discuss the following with
  the Ortsgruppenleiters at the next official discussion,
  and at the same time draw attention to the need for
  secrecy and drastic methods.
  
  (1) Every German must be subjected to a strict
  investigation as to his political reliability and
  firmness of purpose.
  
  (2) If in the course of this investigation weaklings are
  found, i.e., people who perhaps think or might think that
  we are losing the war, or that the best thing would be to
  stop fighting, etc., these people are to be reinspired,
  and imbued with new faith in Adolf Hitler.
  
  (3) If people are found who spread the rumour that we
  have lost the war or are about to lose it, this is to be
  countered with all available means. The Kreisleiters will
  have these people reported to them and will ask the
  Gestapo to arrest them, if the nature of the rumour
  warrants this.
  
  I consider an occasional arrest or the transfer of some
  people to concentration camps to be the best method for
  the elimination of such rumourmongers.
  
  (4) The Ortsgruppenleiter must in any circumstances keep
  all Germans in check and see to it that all of them keep
  a stiff upper lip to the end because, if courage fails
  and hatred of the enemy abates on the home front, we
  shall lose the war.
  
  (5) It is clear to me that our enemies will also be able
  to cross the Rhine and enter our Gau, but they will not
  conquer the whole of Greater Germany and above all not
  National Socialism.
  
  (6) The Kreisleiters are given strict and secret orders
  to withdraw, on the approach of the enemy, to the centre
  of Greater Germany. All files,
  
                                                  [Page 308]
  
  especially the secret ones, are to be destroyed without
  trace. The secret files about post-war reconstruction,
  purges among Party members, administration, extension,
  installations and deterrent tasks in the concentration
  camps, about the extermination of some families, etc.,
  must be destroyed at all costs. These files must under no
  circumstances fall into the hands of the enemy, since
  they are, after all, secret Fuehrer orders. I also order
  that people who on the approach of the enemy do not
  defend themselves, or attempt to flee, be shot down
  ruthlessly, or, if expedient, be hanged to deter the
  population."

Now, the other page is to the Kreisleiters, the county
leaders, and is a discussion about measures to be carried
out. The first deals with the people who have tuberculosis
and heart diseases, and prevention of producing families. I
am not going to read that in full.

The second paragraph deals with the work and jobs for Party
members. But I would like you to look at 3 and 4:
  
  "(3) Gerichtlichkeiten (legal proceedings). No Party
  member may be brought before a court. In case of criminal
  proceedings, these are to be conducted by the
  Kreisleitung. Party members are to be got off in all
  circumstances, even if they are guilty. The reputation of
  the Party must in no circumstances be harmed publicly, as
  the Party is and remains the model. It is always the Non-
  Party members who are to be accused. Foreigners must
  always be given the impression of a solid Party which can
  never be split and whose leadership corps and Party
  members are unity itself.
  
  (4) Food supply. The Fuehrer has again stressed that the
  special weekly food ration cards are to be used in strict
  secrecy and that the supplies are always to be bought at
  different places. In future the cards will be distributed
  by the Gauleiter.
  
  There will shortly be an increase in rations for Party
  leaders, namely:
  
  Meat, approximately 1,250 grammes, and fat, approximately
  500 grammes.
  
  Ortsgruppenleiters who are not self-supporting may also
  apply to the Kreisleitung. I again point out the need for
  strict secrecy."

PR. STAHMER (counsel for defendant Goering): I must object
to the use of this document, since I cannot recognise that
it is genuine. I have not yet seen the original, and the
doubts as to its being genuine are due to the fact that
expressions are used which are most unusual in the German
language.

THE WITNESS: I was going to raise the same objection. It is
not an original, for it says at the top, "copy," and there
is no original signature, but only the typewritten words
"Sprenger, Gauleiter" at the bottom.

DR. STAHMER: For instance, the expression
"Gerichtlichkeiten" is used. This is an expression
completely unusual and unknown in the German language, and I
cannot imagine that an official document originating from a
Gauleiter could contain such a word.

THE WITNESS: I can draw your attention to yet another point
showing that this is evidently not an original document. If
there had been an increase in meat or fat rations, I would
have heard something about it. Not a single word of these
two documents is known to me. It does not bear a rubber
stamp either, the whole thing is typewritten, including the
signatures. Therefore, I cannot accept this document.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: This is a file copy which, to the
best of my knowledge, was captured at the office of the Gau
Leader. It was sent to us by the British Army of the Rhine.
I shall make inquiries about it, but it purports to be a
file copy and I have put the original document which we
have, which is a file copy, to the witness.

(A short pause.)

                                                  [Page 310]

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, I have the original document in
my hands now, together with the certificate of an officer of
the British Army stating that the document was delivered to
him in the above capacity in the ordinary course of official
business, as the original of a document found in German
records of files captured by military forces under the
command of the Supreme Commander. Under these circumstances
it is in exactly the same position as an the other captured
documents. The defence, of course, can bring any evidence
which it thinks right, to criticise the authenticity of the
document. The document stands on exactly the same footing as
the other captured documents, subject to any criticism to
support which you may be able to bring evidence.

BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

Q. Witness, I want you to deal with the sentence in
paragraph 6, "the administration, enlargement, installations
and deterrent tasks in the concentration camps must be
destroyed at all costs, Also the extermination of some
families, etc. These files must under no circumstances fall
into the hands of the enemy, since they are, after all,
secret orders by the Fuehrer."

Now, this paragraph is certainly directed to all
administrative levels down to the Kreisleiters, county
leaders of the Nazi Party, and it assumes they knew all
about the running of concentration camps. Are you telling
the Tribunal that you, who up to 1943 were the second man in
the Reich, knew nothing about concentration camps?

A. First of all, I want to say once more that I do not
accept this document and that its whole wording is unknown
to me and that this paragraph appears unusual to me. I did
not know anything about what took place and the methods used
in the concentration camps later, when I was no longer in
charge.

Q. Let me remind you of the evidence that has been given
before this Court, that as far as Auschwitz alone is
concerned, 4,000,000 people were exterminated. Do you
remember that?

A. This I have heard as a statement here, but I consider it
in no way proved - that figure, I mean.

Q. If you do not consider it proved, let me remind you of
the affidavit of Hoettl, who was Deputy Group Leader of the
Foreign Section, of the Security Section of Amt IV of the
R.S.H.A. He says that approximately 4,000,000 Jews were
killed in the concentration camps, while an additional
2,000,000 met death in other ways. Assume that these figures
- one is a Russian figure, the other a German - assume they
are even 50 per cent. correct, assume it was 2,000,000 and
1,000,000, are you telling this Tribunal that a Minister
with your power in the Reich could remain ignorant that that
was going on?

A. This I maintain, and the reason for this is that these
things were kept secret from me. I might add that, in my
opinion, not even the Fuehrer knew the extent of what was
going on.

This is also explained by the fact that Himmler kept all
these matters very secret. We were never given figures or
any other details.

Q. But, witness, had you not access to the foreign Press,
the Press Department in your Ministry, to foreign
broadcasts? You see, there is evidence that altogether, when
you take the Jews and other people, something like
10,000,000 people have been done to death in cold blood,
apart from those killed in battle. Something like 10,000,000
people. Do you say that you never saw or heard from the
foreign Press, in broadcasts, that this was going on?

A. First of all, the figure 10,000,000 is not established in
any way. Secondly, throughout the war I did not read the
foreign Press, because I considered it nothing but
propaganda. Thirdly, though I had the right to listen to
foreign broadcasts I never did so, simply because I did not
want to listen to propaganda. Neither did I listen to home
propaganda.

Only during the last four days of the war did I - and this I
could prove - listen to a foreign broadcasting station for
the first time.

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