The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Did the highest Military Leaders issue instructions that
anti-Partisan operations were to be conducted with severity?

A. Yes.

Q. Did the highest Military Authorities issue any detailed
instructions concerning the methods to be used in anti-
Partisan warfare?

A. No.

Q. What was the result, in the occupied territories, of this
lack of detailed directives from above?

A. Since orders proved insufficient, a wild state of anarchy
resulted in all anti-Partisan operations.

                                                   [Page 28]

Q. In your opinion, were the measures taken in anti-Partisan
operations far more severe than the circumstances warranted,
or were they not?

A. Since there were no definite orders and since the Lower
Command was forced to act independently, many undertakings
were executed according to the character of the officer in
command and to the quality of the troops. These, naturally,
varied very considerably. I am of opinion that operations on
numerous occasions, not only failed in their purpose, but
they very often overshot their mark.

Q. Did these measures result in the unnecessary killing of
large numbers of the civilian population?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you report these excessive measures to the commanders
of the Army Groups and other Wehrmacht officers with whom
you collaborated?

A. These measures were generally known. There was no
necessity to make any special report, since every operation
was directly reported in each individual case and in its
every detail, and was known to every responsible leader.

Q. Were any effective steps taken by the highest military
authorities or by any commanders of Army Groups to suppress
these excesses?

A. I remember that General von Schenkendorff, in particular,
made numerous reports in this connection. He discussed them
with me, and later we both forwarded them through our
service channels.

Q. Did these reports by General von Schenkendorff have any

A. No.

Q. Why not?

A. Quartermaster General Wagner certainly attempted to
effect a change by imposing on the troops a more rigid line
of conduct, but he did not succeed in his purpose.

Q. Was an order ever issued, and that by the Highest
Authorities, that German soldiers who had committed offences
against the civilian population were not to be punished in
the military courts?

A. Yes, a similar order was given.

Q. Did this order prove an obstacle to correcting the
excesses of the troops?

A. Yes, in my opinion this order prevented the only possible
way of dealing with the excesses, since you can educate the
soldiery only if you wield disciplinary powers, if you have
jurisdiction over the troops and are able to do something to
check the excesses.

Q. What decorations did you win during the War?

A. In this war I received the Clusters to the Iron Cross I
and II, the German Cross in gold and the Knight's Cross to
the Iron Cross.

COLONEL TAYLOR: Your Lordship, the witness is available for
examination by others.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the Soviet prosecutor wish to ask any

COLONEL POKROVSKY: If you will permit me, I wish to ask a
series of questions:

(Direct examination by Colonel Pokrovsky.)

Q. Which forces of the Police and S.S. were at your disposal
in 1941 and 1942, when you were Chief Leader of the Police
and S.S. in the Rear Zone of the Central Army Group?

A. There were directly under my command, in 1941, one Police
Regiment of the Regular Police, and occasionally, for about
two or three months at a time, one S.S. Cavalry Brigade.

Q. Was the Einsatzgruppe B, headed by Nebe, under your

A. No.

Q. Did you or did you not receive Nebe's reports?

A. Not directly, but I saw to it that they reached me

Q. What do you know of the activities of Einsatzgruppe B?

                                                   [Page 29]

A. Einsatzgruppe B was in Smolensky, where it operated
exactly like all the other Einsatz Groups. We heard
everywhere, in conversations, that the Jews were being
rounded up and sent to the ghettos.

Q. Did you report to the Commands of the Operational Groups,
on the activities of Einsatzgruppe B?

A. I learned about their activities directly through
Schenkendorff, who was at the head of Army Group Centre.

Q. Did you know of the order issued by the Commander of the
Sixth Army, General Reichenau, regarding the Partisan

A. Would you be good enough to repeat the name; was it
General von Reichenau?

Q. Yes.

A. Yes, I know about that. I think it was in 1941, although
it might have been in 1942; there was an order by General
von Reichenau which was sent to all the Wehrmacht
Commanders, and in this order he opposed the actions taken
against the Jews and Partisans.

Q. In 1943 or later were there, under your command, units or
companies specially selected to combat the Partisan

A. In 1943, as Chief of the anti-Partisan Movement, I had no
particular authority or command, since I was Head of the
Central Office, but I did lead some operations whenever the
authority of two commanders overlapped.

Q. Do you know anything about the existence of a special
brigade consisting of smugglers, poachers and persons
released from prison?

A. Of all the troops considered suitable for anti-Partisan
struggle in the beginning of 1942, one battalion, under the
command of Dirlewanger was introduced into the Army Group
Centre, and this battalion was gradually strengthened by the
addition of reserve units until it reached the proportions,
first of a regiment and, later, of a brigade. This
"Dirlewanger Brigade" consisted for the greater part of
previously convicted criminals, officially of so-called
poachers, although there were, amongst them, authentic
criminals convicted of burglary, murder, etc.

Q. How do you explain the fact that the German Army Command
so willingly strengthened and increased its forces by adding
to them from the ranks of criminals and directing these
criminals specifically against the Partisans?

A. I am of the opinion that this step was closely connected
with a speech made by Heinrich Himmler, at the beginning of
1941 prior to the campaign against Russia, when he spoke at
the Weselburg of the purpose of the Russian campaign, which
was, he said, to decimate the Slav population by thirty
million, and that in order to achieve this purpose units of
inferior calibre would have to be introduced.

Q. Have I understood you correctly when I say that the
calibre of the human element, introduced by the commanders
to fight the Partisans, had been given careful, prior
consideration? Had they received precise instructions how to
treat the population and how to act against the Partisans? I
am now referring to the proposed and officially sanctioned
extermination of the populace.

A. I share your opinion that this purpose was a decisive
factor in the selection of certain commanders and of some
quite definite formations.

Q. By what means and by what measures were Wehrmacht units
brought into fight the Partisans? Were they specially
recruited or were they introduced from time to time,
according to some particular plan?

A. There was apparently no absolutely definite plan, but so-
called large-scale operations were initiated at
headquarters, planned and executed. Anti-Partisan fighting,
however, was mostly of a spontaneous nature, since every
lower commander was obliged to keep his own area free from
Partisans, which means that he acted on his own initiative.

                                                   [Page 30]

Q. You have shown that in very many cases generals and
officers of the Wehrmacht personally headed the operations
against the Partisans. Can you give us some concrete facts
and the names of some of the generals and officers?

A. I do not fully understand the purpose of the question.
The names of commanders?

Q. You have told us that, in the course of certain
operations during the struggle against the Partisans,
officers and generals of the Wehrmacht conducted operations,
and I now ask you if you can name some of the officers and

A. I did not quite understand. Names? The idea is still not
quite clear. Oh Yes! You mean the surnames of the generals.
Partly. I remember General von Hartmann, in Central Russia.
He either commanded a large-scale anti-Partisan operation or
else led it in his capacity of highest ranking senior
officer. I also remember General (Full General) Reinhardt;
he had important Partisan groups in his rear zone. I should
like to add that there was not a single general in the rear
zone who had not participated in the struggle against the
Partisans. I cannot, of course, bear in mind who had and who
had not participated, but if I hear the names mentioned, I
might remember if he had taken part in the anti-Partisan
warfare or not.

Q. Could you tell us what undertaking had been commanded by
General Ackmann?

A. No. I cannot remember that.

Q. Were there any general orders relating to prisoners of
war, the civilian population or the Partisan Movement?

A. Unfortunately, there were no general instructions
whatsoever to hand, which clearly stated how the Partisans
or the population were to be treated. That was the complaint
I made, namely, that no instructions had been issued
concerning the treatment of the Partisans or even who was to
be considered as a Partisan at all. When anything ever
happened to the German Wehrmacht, orders were invariably
missing to tell us clearly what was to be done by way of

Q. Am I to understand that in the absence of direct orders,
commanders were given a clear field and had the right to
declare any person they liked a Partisan and treat him

A. He certainly could and had to decide independently. No
precise control was possible in individual cases, but the
activities of all the troops introduced were constantly
visible to the High Command, since in individual reports
those counter-measures were scrupulously listed. This means
that the number of Partisans killed in combat, the number of
Partisans shot, of Partisan suspects shot, as well as the
number of our own losses, had to be carefully reported.
Equally careful reports had to be made on the amount of
captured booty in the form of weapons, so that each leader
could clearly realise how an operation worked out in

Q. That means that each commander decided for himself
whether there was any reason to suspect a man and to execute

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know of any order prescribing the seizure of
hostages and the burning of villages as a reprisal for
abetting the Partisans?

A. No. I do not think that such orders were ever issued, and
it is precisely this lack of orders that I deplore. It
should, for instance, have been definitely stated how many
people were to be executed for the killing of one, or of ten
German soldiers.

Q. Am I to understand that if certain commanders burned
villages as a punitive measure against the local population,
they the commanders, would be acting on their own

A. Yes. These steps would be taken by a commander on his own
initiative. His superior officers could do nothing about it,
since orders emanating

                                                   [Page 31]

from the highest authorities definitely stated that if any
damage were inflicted on the civilian population, no
disciplinary or juridical measures could be taken.

Q. And can we assume that the same applied to the seizure of

A. Well, I consider that the question of hostages did not
arise at all in the anti-Partisan struggle. In any case, I
believe that the "Hostage System" was reserved exclusively
for the Western Front. The term "hostage" was unknown in
anti-Partisan warfare.

Q. Do you know anything about the forcible abduction and
deportation to Germany of minors between 14 and 18 years of

A. I do not remember that in detail, but I do know that,
when I was appointed Chief of anti-Partisan warfare, I
welcomed the issue of an order that in future, during this
struggle, Partisans and Partisan suspects would no longer be
shot when arrested, but shipped to the Reich to work in the
Sauckel organisation.

Q. If I understood you correctly, you replied to the
question by my colleague, the American prosecutor, by saying
that the struggle against the Partisan Movement was a
pretext for destroying the Slav and Jewish population?

A. Yes.

Q. Was the Wehrmacht Command aware of the methods adopted
for fighting the Partisan Movement and for destroying the
Jewish population?

A. The methods were generally known, certainly by the
military leaders. I do not, of course, know whether they
were aware of the plan mentioned by Himmler.

Q. Did you personally take part in any conferences with
generals of the Wehrmacht, during which the methods of anti-
Partisan warfare were clearly and plainly discussed.

A. The methods of this warfare were discussed in detail and
provided for, but at these discussions it was not mentioned
that so-and-so many persons were to be shot. That is not at
all how the matter should be understood.

Q. You have told us that the Germans intended to destroy the
Slav population in order to reduce the number of Slavs to 30
million. Where did you get this figure and this order?

A. I wish to make an amendment: not to reduce to 30 million,
but by 30 million. Himmler mentioned this in his speech at
the Weselburg.

Q. Do you confirm the fact that actually all the measures
carried out by the German commanders and by the Wehrmacht in
the occupied Russian territories were directed to the sole
purpose of reducing the number of Slavs and Jews by 30

A. The meaning is not quite clear to me. Did the Wehrmacht
know that the Slav population was to be diminished by 30
million? The sense is not clear. Would you kindly repeat the

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