The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

Q. Yes, but then explain the difference or the similarity.

A. Yes.

Q. Did you want to say something further on this?

A. Whether it is the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, whether it is the bombing of residential
districts, regardless of whether it is England or Germany,
whether it is the gassing of Jews - everything is a crime
against humanity, that is obvious.  At that time people were
living in a time of crime legalized by the state... and it
was the responsibility of those who gave the orders...

Q. All right, we shall come to the question of
responsibility later.

A. And I... on myself... and that is why I have indicated
these matters, the bombing and so on - the direct effect on
myself, when I saw the bodies...

Q. You mean the psychological impact?

A. That is what I meant, relating this to myself, I do not
have the right here to deal with this matter in its
entirety, nor do I have the requisite knowledge to do so, to
be able to deal with it objectively.

Q. You probably knew that there is international legislation
on war?  The Hague Convention, and so on?

A. Yes.

Q. That civilian populations - that all civilians are
protected against measures which are not required for
military purposes in war?

A. Yes.

Q. You said that for you an oath is one of the highest moral

A. Yes.

Q. And you had sworn loyalty to the Fuehrer, and also within
the SS had an obligation to be loyal to the Reichsfuehrer-
SS, Himmler?

A. Yes.

Q. Would you read out here what Himmler stated in his well-
known speech at Posen on 4 October 1943, about the
evacuation of the Jews.


     "I am referring now to the evacuation of the Jews, the
     extermination of the Jewish People.  This is one of
     those things one says easily...`the Jewish People will
     be exterminated'...every Party member says that...quite is in our programme...removing the
     Jews...exterminating them...that we'll
     do...exterminating them...that we'll do...and then they
     all come along, the brave eighty million Germans, and
     everyone has his `decent Jews'...obviously all the
     others are pigs...but this one is a first-class
     Jew...none of those who talk like that have looked on,
     no one has gone through it...most of you will know what
     it means when a hundred corpses are lying on the ground
     together...when there are five hundred or a thousand
     lying have to get through this and to have
     remained decent, apart from exceptions due to human
     weaknesses...and this has made us tough.
     "This is a page of glory in our history which never has
     been and never will be written down, because we know
     how hard it would be for us if today in every town, in
     addition to the bombing raids and the sufferings and
     deprivations of the War, we also had the Jews as
     undercover saboteurs, agitators, and instigators.  We
     would probably have reached the level of 1916-1917 by
     now, if the Jews were still part of the German national
     body.  We have taken from them the wealth they had...I
     gave strict orders, which were implemented by SS
     Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, that this wealth was of course
     to be transferred in its entirety to the Reich...we did
     not take anything of this for ourselves...individuals
     who have acted wrongly are punished in accordance with
     an order I gave at the outset, stipulating that anyone
     who takes even one mark of this will be put to death.
     A number of SS men...not very many...sinned against
     that, and we shall have no mercy in putting them to

     "We had the moral right, we had the duty to our people
     to kill this people which wanted to kill us.  But we do
     not have the right to enrich ourselves with even one
     fur, with one clock, with one mark, or with one
     cigarette or anything else...we do not wish in the end,
     because we have exterminated a germ, to fall sick of
     that germ and to die.  I shall never tolerate even the
     smallest rotten spot developing or gaining a hold.
     Wherever it appears, we shall together cauterize it.
     But overall, we can say that we have carried out this
     most arduous duty out of the love for our people, and
     we have not been harmed in so doing in our innermost
     being, in our soul, in our character.  And in
     obedience, in our life as soldiers..."

Judge Halevi:  Up to here, this far; this refers to a second
question. Stop here for the interpretation.  This was a
Prosecution document - perhaps there is already a Hebrew
translation of this in the Court records... Very well, in
that case we do not need to waste any time having this
interpreted now. T/1288.

Your views have changed since then, you told us.

Accused:    Yes.

Q. Up to 8 May 1945, you were loyal to the oath you had

A. Yes.

Q. You were a convinced National Socialist?

A. Yes.

Q. But after the defeat, gradually - over the years - and
with relapses - as you have said - you reached a different

A. Yes, in my case this took a very long time.

Q. But at that time - when Himmler gave authoritative
expression to the prevailing National Socialist point of
view, and in particular to the duties of the SS - at that
time it was considered a glorious act to destroy Jews?  The
Jews were looked upon as a germ which had to be destroyed,
just like any other disease?  And pitilessness was
considered a virtue, if one can put it like that...

A. Yes, that is correct, that I must admit.

Q. Incidentally, in terms of racial doctrine, at that time
you called yourself "Nordic-Dinaric," if I am not mistaken.

A. I did not call myself that, I could not, it was the
people who were - the doctors, who carried out the

Q. What is "Nordic-Dinaric"?

A. It is a mixture of Nordic, North German, if one can put
it this way, and South German, an alpine person is mainly
Dinaric, while someone from the north is mainly Nordic; the
mixture of the two is called Nordic-Dinaric.

Q. At that time did you ever hear the term Blutkitt - `blood

A. Yes, definitely, Blutkitt became a familiar phrase.  I
would put it this way - the other words, the other play on
words, "Blood cements."

Q. What does that mean?

A. Having the same blood makes a link between people.

Q. I see.  Did it also have another meaning?

A. It was also used in terms of descent, for example in the
Waffen-SS divisions, where the so-called was
used... I must just think about this...

Q. No, that is not what I mean.  Did Blutkitt mean: Blood
shed together acts as a cement?

A. No, I did not understand it to mean that, but that common
blood acts as cement.

Q. No, no.  What I mean by Blutkitt can be expressed as
follows, for example: "We are all in the same boat, and no
one is allowed to alight; if anyone wants to turn his back
on me, I will force him to become an accomplice, so that
there is no turning back for him."

A. Linguistically that is correct, this term would readily
fit here, but I have never heard it in this form.

Q. Well, I can tell you that at that time this was not a
rare occurrence.  And I shall read this out here from
Wisliceny's report (T/84), where he says that your principle
(Eichmann's principle), "that his principle, he once told me
to my face in Hungary in the course of a heated discussion."
And then it says: "We are all in the same boat, and no one
is allowed to alight; if anyone wants to turn his back on
me, I will force him to become an accomplice, so that there
is no turning back for him."

A. About this, I have said that in fact...that it is not my
way to deal with my people in such a dictatorial and
aggressive fashion.  I also have no recollection of having
said anything like this.

Q. Very well, that will do.  This sentence I read out to

A. Yes.

Q. ...comes at the end of two previous sentences, which
read: "Eichmann's principle in his staff policy was never to
release anyone who had once worked in his Section for
another job.  Even volunteering for the army or the Waffen-
SS he refused as a matter of principle."  And then comes
this sentence.  What do you have to say about this?

A. I would like to say about this...

Q. Keep it brief.

A. Reporting to the Waffen-SS - I can give an example of
this.  Dr. Rajakowitsch had volunteered for the Waffen-SS,
and I did not have to make any problems for him, but then I
could not approve it.  And as for staff policy, I could not
conduct it - it was Mueller who conducted it.
fact, not only Mueller, but exclusively the Head Staff
Office, but here Mueller had decisive influence.

Q. And you do not remember having had a conversation like
this with Wisliceny?

A. No.  But it is quite possible that perhaps there was a
similar conversation, and then in 1945 Wisliceny twisted
things to his own advantage.  All I can do, is just to say
again that it is not true that if any of my staff was
fortunate enough to get into the Waffen-SS, that I would
stand in his way - that is proved by Dr. Rajakowitsch.  And
secondly, I was in no way able to conduct any staff policy.

Q. You knew Heydrich quite well, didn't you?

A. Yes.

Q. What sort of person was he?

A. Particularly prominent was his ambition, his desire for
publicity, and his desire to grab all sorts of authority for

Q. He was presumably very active?

A. Outstandingly active.

Q. And he organized the Head Office for Reich Security to a
great extent.

A. To some extent he was the person who created the Head
Office for Reich Security, and I would say that Best was the
architect who then cast this in the right legal form.

Q. But the creator was Heydrich?

A. Yes, Heydrich was the creator.

Q. And also the policy - let us say the major lines,
strategically and tactically speaking, of the extermination
of the Jews were probably laid down by Heydrich - or was it

A. I believe that Heydrich and Himmler did that jointly,
together with Pohl as well; I could not exclude Pohl here.
I would say that this triumvirate was responsible for the
strategic and tactical planning.

Q. That was drawn up like a campaign, and also planned using
psychological warfare, the tactics of deceiving the enemy
and so on...

A. In my opinion, this gradually crystallized as things
happened, and in case of need was ordered directly by
Himmler.  I do not believe that right from the outset there
was a discussion of action to be taken, where these matters
were dealt with in the minutest, finest detail, but that
this automatically somehow resulted from the ...

Q. All right.  You are saying that this developed - let us
say organically, in the course of time.

A. That is how I would put it.

Q. For example, first the Jewish communities in Vienna, then
Prague, then Berlin came under the supervision of the Secret
State Police, for the purposes of emigration.

A. And as the official supervisory authority, the Secret
State Police, first there was the centralizing of
these Jewish organizations, and the roof association...

Q. But I am placing the stress on the supervision by the
Secret State Police.

A. Yes, yes.

Q. So that, for example, the Jewish functionaries were given
duties - to register the members of the communities for
emigration, arranging property matters, and exercising
fairly stringent controls here, which greatly facilitated

A. Yes, that is true, and that is also confirmed in a very
precise fashion by Dr. Loewenherz.  The reports are

Q. Yes.  And then that could be switched very rapidly and
simply to deportation?

A. Yes.

Q. Then there was the idea of the Jewish Councils,
particularly for Poland?

A. Yes.

Q. And later for Hungary, too?  Before that, let us also say
for Holland?  Possibly it started in Holland, the Jewish
Council in Amsterdam, then in Poland - or at the same time -
and lastly in Hungary?

A. Yes.

Q. As instruments of German policy regarding the Jews, these
Jewish Councils - shall we say - considerably facilitated
the implementation of measures against the Jews?

A. Yes.

Q. And saved a great deal of manpower and staff.

A. Yes.

Q. Both police and civil servants, too?

A. Yes.

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