The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. But did not your war-injury prevent you joining the Armed

A. I had hoped that I might be useful somehow or other.

Q. And what were the instructions the Fuehrer, gave you when
he appointed you?

A. The instructions are described in Document 997-PS, which
was submitted by the prosecution. That gives a fair picture
of them.

Q. That is Exhibit RF-122.

A. I was responsible for the civil administration and,
amongst my administrative tasks, I had to look after the
interests of the Reich. Apart from this I had a political
task - I had to see that whilst Dutch independence was
maintained the Netherlands were persuaded to change their
pro-British attitude for a pro-German one, and enter into a
particularly close economic collaboration.

I wish to draw your attention to Paragraph 3 of this
document, in which I point out the difficulties connected
with these two tasks and the difficulties in co-ordinating
them. I showed that one could not co-ordinate the two so

The occupying power, I said, demanded that all public
activities be prohibited and would like to see the growth of
a political will while granting such freedom that the final
result for the Dutch would depend on their own decision.

It was not my intention, therefore, to force upon the Dutch
people any definite political will.

Q. Was this order of the Fuehrer, ever altered later on?

A. No, this order was never altered.

Q. How did you carry out this task from the political point
of view? Did you ask the existing parties in Holland to

A. With the exception of the Marxist parties I allowed all
parties to remain, and I gave them as much freedom to
continue their activities as was compatible with the
interests of the occupying forces. I particularly helped the
National Socialist parties.

                                                   [Page 87]

Q. The prosecution makes the accusation against you that in
your speeches you often describe things quite differently
from the way in which you carried them out.

I refer to Document PS-3430, Exhibit USA 708. It is stated
there that you tried to force National Socialism upon the
Dutch. That is Document 76, on Page 197 of my Document Book.

A. It is certainly correct that the goal which I had set for
myself, and which I proclaimed in my speeches, was not
reached in practice, nor could it be reached. However, it
may be possible that it gave the Dutch the impression that I
was trying to force National Socialism upon them because,
after all, later on I could only admit National Socialist
parties, whereas I had to dissolve the others.

I never used State methods of coercion to force any Dutchman
to become a National Socialist, nor did I make membership in
the National Socialist Party a condition for exercising the
general rights and privileges which every Dutchman was
entitled to.

Incidentally, I referred to this quite clearly in my speech.
I said

  "I shall always act as a National Socialist. But that
  does not mean that I shall force National Socialism on
  one single person. National Socialism is a matter of
  inner conviction. There are two groups of organizations.
  There are the political ones in which it is important for
  every member to be a National Socialist. These are
  absolutely voluntary organizations. Then there are the
  vocational organizations, in which it is immaterial what
  political views the individual has, as long as he fulfils
  his duties in his particular profession."

Q. Why and when did you dissolve the political parties in

A. That happened during the second half of 1941. With the
beginning of the Eastern campaign all the political parties
with the exception of the National Socialists adopted an
actively hostile attitude towards the occupation forces. In
the interests of the occupation forces, that could no longer
be tolerated.

I think it remarkable, to say the least, that for a year and
a half I allowed those parties to continue their work,
since, after all, they were no less hostile to National
Socialism than National Socialism is today with regard to
the democratic parties.

Q. Tell me, is it true or not that you showed partiality and
gave preference to the NSB Party?

A. That is quite true, as far as the field of political
propaganda was concerned; it is untrue as far as State
matters were concerned.

The creation of a so-called National Political Secretariat
has been held up as an accusation against me. That was a
National Socialist advisory body for my administration, and
it was not allowed to exercise any influence on the Dutch
administration. Any such attempts were strictly prohibited
by me.

Q. Did you not, nevertheless, put individual members of the
NSDAP into State positions?

A. That is true, and it seemed a matter of course to me
because I had to find colleagues on whom I could rely. They
were not under party orders however; on the contrary, in
most cases a certain difference arose between these people
and the heads of the Party.

In the face of urgent protests I did not create a National
Socialist government in the Netherlands, as was the case in
Norway, and chiefly because certain Dutch gentlemen like
General Secretary van Damm, President van Lohen of the
Supreme Court and Professor Sheider, who was President of
the Cultural Committee, urged me to realize how wrong it
would be to do so.

Q. President Vorrinck, a witness who has been examined here,
talked about a policy of exploitation which you carried on.
Is that true?

A. An exploitation of the National Socialist parties for the
benefit of German policy did actually occur. I observed it,
and I stated the fact publicly. I regretted this occurrence,
but I could not stop it. The German occupation forces

                                                   [Page 88]

had to introduce a number of measures which were oppressive
for the Dutch people, and which discredited our Dutch

Q. What do you have to say to the accusation brought against
you that you had politically co-ordinated all the cultural

A. The accusation is partly correct. With the prohibition of
the political parties, most of the organizations of the
liberal professions became impossible, since right down to
the chessplayers' club, everything in the Netherlands was
organized on a political basis. In the interests of the
occupation forces I had to create new supervisory bodies.
Maybe it was due to lack of imagination that these
organizations were in part at least very similar to their
prototypes in the Reich. But I only used these organizations
for purposes of supervision and never asked them to
co-operate politically. Not only did I refrain from making
the exercise of a profession dependent on co-operation, but
I did net even insist upon compulsory collection of
membership fees.

I admit that we made two mistakes from two errors of
judgement: First of all we had the mistaken impression that
the order we imposed as occupation authorities was
necessarily the right one, at least the better one; and
secondly, that in an occupied country, an independent
political will can develop. It was there that our policy

O. What institutions did you set up in consequence?

A. I created a cultural association (Kulturkammer ), a
medical association (Aerztekammer), a chemists' association
(Apothekerkammer) and a board of agriculture (Landstand);
then there was a workers' front, but that was a voluntary
organization. Members could leave it without any
disadvantage to themselves whenever they wished.

O. Then another charge is brought against you, that of
"Germanisation." What do you say to that?

A. First of all, I must get something quite clear. In
English, you say "Germany," and in Russian you say
"Germanski." Both mean "German" (Deutsch). And when we spoke
of "Germanisation," then we did not mean "making them into
Germans"; we meant a political and cultural union of the
so-called "Germanic peoples," with reciprocal equal rights.
That we did intervene in this way, I stated in a speech,
Document 103:

  "Why do the Germans interfere with everything in the

Then I went on to say that in this total warfare there would
be moments of tension -

THE PRESIDENT: What page is that on?

DR. STEINBAUER: It is still Exhibit USA 708, which has not
been translated. But the entire book has been presented.

THE PRESIDENT: Has it got a PS number?

DR. STEINBAUER: Its PS number is 3430. It has been made
Exhibit USA 708. It is a book entitled Four Years in the
Netherlands, and it contains a collection of speeches made
by the witness, several of which have been submitted by the
prosecution. The witness is now replying to them.


THE WITNESS: There are moments of tension where there is no
longer any dividing line between something which is
important to the war effort and of a military nature, and
something which is private and a matter for civilians.

I was quite aware of the fact that all public activities
might be used for or against the occupation forces, and that
I had therefore to exercise control over them.


Q. Were there any attempts on the part of the NSDAP in the
Reich to influence your administration in the interests of
the Party?

                                                   [Page 89]

A. The Foreign Organization in the Netherlands had a
remodelled organization which permitted it to support the
policy of the Dutch National Socialist Party in every
respect. It had, however, no particular influence of its

Q. That is the important thing. Now, let us turn to the
administration proper. Who were the competent authorities in
the Netherlands?

A. In the civilian sector, there was the Reich Commissioner
... on a similar footing as the commander of the armed
forces, and the police had a sector of their own. The
commander of the armed forces had special rights to
intervene, and from July 1944 on, a part of the executive
powers was transferred to him.

The police were merely placed at my disposal, and came under
the Higher SS and Police Leader, who was nominated by
Himmler and appointed by the Fuehrer. I was never asked
about this beforehand. The police reserved the right to
investigate, that is to say, if I gave them an order they
would investigate as to whether the order was in line with
the instructions which Himmler had given directly to the
Higher SS and Police Leader.

Then there were the General Plenipotentiary for Employment
of Labour and the Armament Minister who carried out the
orders for the Four-Year Plan.

Q. Yes, and as another Reich organization, there was
Rosenberg's Einsatzstab, too, and Speer, to complete the

A. Yes, Speer was the Minister for Armaments. Then there
were other smaller and separate mandates of a special

So that you were really nothing but a kind of executive
organ attached to higher Reich offices?

A. No; I was not an ordinary official. I bore responsibility
for the Reich in the civilian sector. Perhaps during the
first few months departments in Berlin went straight ahead
and ignored me, but I then concentrated the administration
in such a way in my own hands that nothing occurred in the
civilian sector to which I had not previously given my
consent. The Fuehrer acknowledged this quite plainly on one
occasion, and I should like to remark that you must not draw
any conclusions from this with regard to other occupied
territories. I am perfectly convinced that in the Eastern
territories and in the Government General the same
centralisation did not exist.

Q. What possibilities did you have then of setting up an

A. The initiative for and the extent of the demands made by
the Reich came, of course, from the competent central
offices in the Reich. I investigated the demands with my
colleagues in consultation with the Dutch offices. We would
then make counter-proposals, which seemed to us reasonable
for the Dutch. And if the Reich still demanded more, then we
made efforts not to exceed what could be expected of them.
Until 1943, all demands were fulfilled by the Dutch
authorities themselves. I gave my officials no authority to
make such demands until after this period. Then the demands
became so increased, that I could no longer expect the Dutch
authorities to meet them.

Q. I come back to the question of the police for a moment,
which, as you said, came directly under Himmler ....

A. You asked what possibilities I had?

Q. Yes.

A. I had two possibilities: The Queen of the Netherlands and
the government had gone to England. I could have appointed a
new Dutch government, as in Norway, or I could conduct the
administration of the country myself. I decided on the
second solution.

Q. How did you organize the existing police force in the

A. Whereas the German police were not in any way dependent
on me, the Dutch police were under my orders; but it was a
matter of course that I should transfer the supervision of
the Dutch police to the Higher SS and Police Leader, and
make him my General Commissioner for Security. The Dutch
police were divided into three or four different branches. I
think that we can safely say we

                                                   [Page 90]

were acting in the interests of the occupying power when we
co-ordinated them as regards organization.

Q. What was the "Home Guard"?

A. The "Home Guard" was a protection squad organized by the
Dutch National Socialists. In 1943 there were serious cases
of terror-attacks on National Socialists, and also some very
cruel murders. There was the danger of the counter-terror,
of which we had heard in Denmark, and in fact several
unfortunate incidents did happen. Consequently I had this
"Home Guard" organized with orders to act as a regular
disciplined auxiliary police force and to control street
traffic at night, and guard railways, etc. The result was
that these acts of terror almost entirely ceased, and until
the middle of '44, no further difficulties arose.

Q. Witness, we now come to an exceptionally important

A. May I just for a moment refer to Document 101? This
document has been held against me by the prosecution -

THE PRESIDENT: Is 101 the right designation?

DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, the speeches which the
defendant is quoting have been sent down by me to be
mimeographed. Although they are actually already before the
Tribunal, the translation department did not quite catch up,
as they wanted to translate all the affidavits too. So they
are not here yet in the translation, but I hope to have them
by tomorrow morning.

THE PRESIDENT: Has it not a PS number or any other

DR. STEINBAUER: It is a book, Exhibit USA 708. The
prosecution has only quoted individual passages from it.


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