Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Testimony-Abroad/Erich_Von_Dem_Bach_Zelewski-02 Last-Modified: 1999/06/14 (7 to 9): I did not know that the Operations Units were also required to exterminate Gypsies and political prisoners. The order for extermination was given - according to what I was told by Nebe and Naumann - by the Head Office for Reich Security. I do not know which Section in the Head Office for Reich Security issued the orders and cannot, therefore, give any names. In any case, in their conversations with me Nebe and Naumann did not mention the name Eichmann, neither do I remember any other names. However, I do remember that Nebe and Naumann mentioned the name Heydrich, who was Chief of the Head Office for Reich Security at the time. Whether Eichmann was able to influence the extermination orders, I do not know. (10 and 11): I do not know to whom the activity reports of the Operations Units were distributed. My Section did not receive them, although in my position of Chief of Anti- Banditry Units I should have been officially informed of them. I myself do not know whether Eichmann was on the circulation list. If this was the case, I consider that this underlines the importance of his Section. As to whether this also involved activities for the Operations Units, I am unable to judge. (0512): All Higher SS and Police Leaders were subordinate to Himmler himself. (0513): In those areas where the staff of the Higher SS and Police Leader included Senior Commanders of the Security Police, the Order Police and the Waffen-SS, respectively, such Senior Commanders were subordinate to the Higher SS and Police Leader. Such Senior Commanders would only be on the staff in the areas of civil administration of the occupied territories, but not in the area of the Reich or the theatres of operations. (0514): In my capacity as a Higher SS and Police Leader, I myself was never subordinate to the Head Office for Reich Security, both in the area of the Reich and in the theatre of operations. As far as I know, the other Higher SS and Police Leaders were also not subordinate to the Head Office for Reich Security, but to the Head Office of the Order Police. (0515): As far as I know, Higher SS and Police Leaders never received orders directly from the Head Office for Reich Security. In any case, I myself never received such an order. The only possibility might have been for the Head Office for Reich Security to have issued an order to a Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, and that order was then brought to the attention of the Higher SS and Police Leader by the commander on the staff. In formal terms, there was a possibility of the Higher SS and Police Leader obtaining a decision from Himmler directly in such a case. As to whether he made use of such a possibility in a particular instance depended on his personal courage. In my opinion this was not a life or death matter, but rather a question of one's career. ------ The examination was interrupted at 11.55. The examination was continued at 13.15. When questioned, the witness also stated the following: ------ I myself never had anything to do with the treatment of the Jews. I remember that in Upper Silesia a Police Chief called Schmelt was responsible for the labour service of Jews. ------ The witness was then asked the questions drawn up by the Attorney General of the State of Israel. He stated in reply: ------ (051 and 2): As I have already mentioned above, it was only in the areas of civil administration that Senior Commanders of the Security Police and the Security Service were assigned to the staff of the Higher SS and Police Leader. In these areas, the Higher SS and Police Leader undoubtedly had authority over the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service. The extent to which the Higher SS and Police Leader was able to make use of this authority depended on the relationship of personal confidence which existed between him and Himmler. Equally important was the relationship of confidence with regard to the District Party Leaders (Gauleiter) or the Reich Commissioners. In general, I should like to say that there was no SS state in the sense that is commonly accepted today. There were no general service regulations for the Higher SS and Police Leaders. The essential thing in the SS was, generally, one's personal relationship of confidence in one's superior officer. I consider the SS to have been a knights' order. Himmler himself selected people for particular assignments, according to circumstances. In this, official rank played no role; it was the official function which counted. Of course, a lower-ranking officer could not give orders directly to a higher-ranking officer, unless he was acting on authority. If Eichmann is supposed to have reported directly to Himmler, in my opinion this would mean that he was able to act by order of Himmler. That means that if he signed documents im Auftrag@0 (by order), that would have meant an order from Himmler in such cases. If he did not have access to Himmler, the indication im Auftrag before his signature on documents can only have meant that he was acting by order of Heydrich or other superiors. These explanations of mine are based on my knowledge of correspondence between myself and the Chief of the Order Police. I assume that it was similar with the Security Police. I should also like to mention that in those areas where no Senior Commander of the Security Police was assigned to the staff of a Higher SS and Police Leader, the Higher SS and Police Leader also had no authority over the Security Police and the Security Service. (053): Until today I was not aware of any Section IVB4 in the Department of the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service. (054): As to whether there was a Senior Commander of the Security Police and a Commander of the Security Police in Lublin, I am unable to say from my own knowledge. (055 and 6):Consequently I also do not know whether instructions went to Lublin from the Head Office for Reich Security. (057 to 9):I myself did not receive reports from the Operations Units up to the end of the War. I therefore do not know anything either from my own experience about the reporting channels. I therefore also do not know anything about the purpose of reporting, nor anything about whether Eichmann received reports, as I did not - as I said above - know Eichmann. 10 and 11):I cannot remember an SS Fuehrer called Streckenbacher or Streckenbach, as far as the period of the War is concerned. I remember vaguely that there was a Brigadefuehrer Streckenbach who once led an SS brigade on the front in Russia. I did not have any closer acquaintance with him. (0512) to 14): As I have already said above, I did not know Eichmann, neither am I familiar with the status of orders between the Head Office for Reich Security and the Operations Units. I did not participate in any issuing of orders in Berlin in June 1941. (0515 to 18): As far as I am aware, at the beginning of the war against Russia, there were three Operations Units, which advanced with the three Army Groups. I found out after the War that apparently there was also a fourth Operations Unit. The leader of the Operations Unit North was Stahlecker; the leader of the Operations Unit Centre was Nebe, who was succeeded, as of December 1941, by Naumann. I did not know who was the leader of the Operations Unit South. In accordance with orders, the Operations Units had to advance with the armoured units. They took up fixed positions only when the front became stationary before Moscow. The areas behind the front were organized in terms of civil administration. Thus Bialystok, for example, was included in East Prussia, and thus came under the control of Gauleiter Koch. I assume that in Bialystok there was a Commander of the Security Police, who was subordinate to the Senior Commander of the Security Police in Koenigsberg. The Eastern area, which included Lithuania, Latvia and White Ruthenia, had a Senior Commander of the Security Police on the staff of the Higher SS and Police Leader, with his seat in Riga. Minsk was the seat of an SS and Police Leader and a Commander of the Security Police, as far as I remember. The latter was subordinate to the Senior Commander of the Security Police in Riga. In the Reich Commissariat Ukraine, there was a Higher SS and Police Leader, and on his staff there was a Senior Commander of the Security Police, both of them with their seat in Kiev. I believe that in 1942 the Senior Commander of the Security Police in Kiev was a certain Dr. Thomas. East of the areas mentioned there began the zone of the Senior Commander in the army areas behind the lines. The Operations Units were spread around this zone. In the North Russia and South Russia areas, there was a personal union between the Higher SS and Police Leader and the Higher SS and Police Leader at the Reich Commissariat. In contrast, my area, Central Russia, only included the army area behind the lines, as in the meanwhile White Ruthenia had been attached to the Eastern Reich Commissariat. In my area, there was the Operations Unit B, with its seat at Smolensk. It was in charge of the Operations Commandos in Mogilev and Vitebsk. I also assume that there was an Operations Commando in Smolensk. The above listing is not exhaustive, as I did not travel to all the areas and was not familiar with all the Departments. I have already answered above the other questions in this context. (0519 to 22): I have already said that I did not know Eichmann and also did not know of the existence of his Section until the end of the War. I am therefore also unable to say anything about visits, special assignments, and receipt of orders. I did realize that there was a Section for Jewish Affairs in the Head Office for Reich Security. However, I was not familiar with the designation of this Section and also did not know who worked in it. ------ In reply to questioning, the witness also stated: ------ When it came to selection and filling posts and allocating important assignments, a vital role was played by Himmler's personal inclinations and the candidate's personal suitability and ideological stance. There was a possibility of avoiding an assignment by applying for a transfer. In a particular case, this might have led to some disciplinary action; however, this certainly did not include any risk to one's life. I can remember a shooting of twenty or thirty people. I can see from my diary that this must have been on 17 August 1941. The manager of an SS estate had previously been shot north of Minsk. Subsequently, Operations Unit B under Nebe arrested two women and a number of men, some in uniform and others in civilian clothing. In my opinion, they were partisans. As far as I remember, they included Jews, too - two or three of them. I see now in my diary that the manager of the SS estate was SS Untersturmfuehrer Krause. He had been killed on 31 July 1941. The people captured by the Nebe Operations Unit were brought before a field court martial. They were sentenced to death. I do not know who sat in the court martial. Himmler himself was present at the executions. Obergruppenfuehrer Wolff and I were also present. He had accompanied Himmler from Baranovichi to Minsk. Himmler was very pale during the executions. I think that watching it made him feel sick. The executions were carried out by shooting with carbines. I myself was constantly remonstrating with Himmler about unjustified executions, and I was instrumental in the demotion of Higher SS and Police Leaders. The reaction to this were repeated disciplinary transfers below my rank and assignments to dangerous front-line positions. I also managed to arrange that the retaliatory order, signed by the High Command of the Armed Forces and by Keitel, that women and children were also to be shot as part of retaliatory measures, was not observed in my area of command. I myself even cancelled this order in writing and notified all Armed Forces Departments, including those outside my area, accordingly. I fell into disgrace, but was not brought before a court. On 11 October 1944, I received from Hitler himself the assignment to go to Budapest and to prevent the defection of the Horthy regime by forcing him to capitulate and setting up a military government for Hungary. On my urging, Horthy capitulated at 6 o'clock on the morning of 16 October 1944. On 17 October I myself left Budapest and set out for Vienna, as my assignment had been accomplished. The political discussions did not take place till later. I did not take part in them. In giving this information, I have based myself on my diary, a photocopy of which is before me today. After the end of the War, I spent a long time in prison in Nuremberg together with Ohlendorf. He told me that Heydrich assigned him to an Operations Unit, in revenge for a memorandum written earlier by Ohlendorf which Heydrich had not liked. Ohlendorf told me that the orders for the Operations Unit had already been received before he joined it. In his talks with me, Ohlendorf never incriminated Mueller and never mentioned the name Eichmann. Read and signed by (-) Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski Whereupon the witness was sworn in accordance with the law. End of examination: 16.05 (-) Dr. Knorr, Judge of First Instance (-) Achatzy, Court Official (Seal of Bavarian Court of First Instance - Nuernberg)
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