Archive/File: imt/nca/supp-b/nca-sb-02-kaltenbrunner.05 Last-Modified: 1997/11/22 Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression, Supplement B Kaltenbrunner's Stand on Concentration Camps [Page 1300] Excerpts from Testimony of Ernst Kaltenbrunner, taken at Nurnberg, Germany, 5 October 1945, 1030-1210, by Lt. Col. Smith W. Brookhart, IGD. Also present: Capt. Jesse F. Landrum, Reporter; T/5 Gunter Kosse, Interpreter. Q. You had information at your finger tips from all over the Reich; you made reports on conditions and must have included matters of new inmates for concentration camps and new forced labor groups? A. No, I had nothing to do with shipments to the concentration camps; I naturally knew that there were concentration camps but that's all I knew about that. Q. Well, according to the sworn statement of Colonel Mildner [See document L-35, Vol. VII, p. 780], orders for deportation of Jews, in the Reich and in countries occupied by German troops, to labor and concentration camps were issued by Himmler. Orders had his signature and were classified TOP SECRET. They passed through you, and before you, Heydrich to Mueller. A. No. Q. Orders also went directly from Himmler to local headquarters, but you were always informed. A. No, that's not true, either. Q. Orders of Himmler concerning type of labor employment of prisoners and for the extermination of Jews went directly through Pohl and from him to Gluecks, either written as TOP SECRET or sometimes orally, and always as adviser to Himmler was Kaltenbrunner on all Jewish questions, on all deportations to camps. A. Never. He must mix that with Heydrich's time. Q. We are only concerned at this point with Kaltenbrunner's time. A. But I am the one who is accused here and, therefore, I have to take some kind of a stand. Q. That's your right. The basis for Colonel Mildner's statements as to channels through which orders were issued were his conversations with Mueller and other people in the SIPO [Security Police]. A. He must have talked with Mueller about that, then. Q. That's what he swears. A. That might be possible, that Mueller tried to push the fault on somebody else; I don't doubt that at all, but I can only say [Page 1301] again that Mueller was only the tool of Himmler. I must say again that I never got any plenipotentiary for the Gestapo. I said many times before that I took a stand against many things but there was nothing I could do. Q. There is nothing in what I have brought to your attention that shows any disposition for Mueller to dodge his responsibility; it's merely the inclusion of the channels which included yourself through which these orders passed. A. Like I said, that a basis for this Mildner got through conversations with Mueller and therefore I say that Mueller is trying to push the fault on somebody else. Mildner himself gets all mixed up because in one paragraph he says that a report went from Himmler to Mueller and then he said it went from Himmler through me to Mueller. Q That's correct. On different occasions the channels differed, as you have said, but he adds what you failed to add, that you were always informed. A. Everybody in Germany knew that those were affairs of the Gestapo and the deportation of Jews was done by the Gestapo on orders from Himmler. Q. After being arrested and sent to concentration camps, in whose charge was the treatment, health, and assignment of work for the internees? A. Pohl. Q. What reports were received by Kaltenbrunner from concentration camps? A. Not one. Q. What was the basis for your classifying camps into classes one, two, or three? A. I never classified them myself but that was all over. Q. What office did it come out of? A That could only have come from Pohl or from Himmler. Q. What was the purpose of such classification? A. Probably the difference of work production. Q. Was there any distinction made as to the character of the inmates, whether they were there because of alleged racial inferiority -- as the Jews -- or because of their political beliefs? A. I don't know that but I am sure to know that was not the reason. I think it was more the kind of work, like agriculture or industry. Q. Who picked the location of the concentration camps? A. Maybe Himmler. [Page 1302] Q. Why do you say that? A. Because that was his work and he was supposed to build them up. Q. Who caused the building of the gas chambers that were designed as shower rooms? A. I don't know that. Q. You don't like to have questions asked about gas chambers, do you? A. Why shouldn't I like such a question? I can only say again that already in Bamberg a paper was showed to me where I was accused of being a specialist and adviser to Hitler concerning these gas chambers and that naturally could not be very pleasant and right to me. Q. When did you first have any knowledge of the use or the planned use or the result of the use of gas through chambers, mobile vans, or other means of exterminating these unwanted people? A. I don't know the time, but as soon as I got foreign reports about that I showed them to Hitler and Himmler -- not to Himmler but to Hitler -- and Goebbels. Q. What did they say? A. I didn't show it to them personally, but I sent it to them by mail, and a few days later I got word that both of them are going to talk this over with Himmler. Q. And after that, the use increased, didn't it? A. I don't know that. Q. And Kaltenbrunner was sending in advice all the while? A. That's a statement which I cannot verify at all. Q. That's a statement that many, many other representatives of the Nazi government continue to make. A. That's a lie if anybody makes such a statement. I want you to consider that between 1933 and 1943 ten years passed in which I did not have anything to do with that office. How can you make such a statement, because at that time, as it was reported from foreign countries, things like that were done by Himmler. Q. Because they continued to be done through 1943, 1944, and until the allied armies overran the concentration camps in 1945, and through those years Kaltenbrunner was Chief of the RSHA which had them in charge. A. No, I was never in charge of any such, but orders were done, as I said in my statement in London, by Himmler or Pohl. No commander of any concentration camp in any part of Germany can say that he ever got the slightest order from me. [Page 1303] Q. Would it surprise you to know that that is substantially the same answer that everyone else is giving that has had anything to do with these matters? A. I can't know but I cannot explain that nothing else otherwise can be proved through evidence.
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