The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/10/26

                 WEDNESDAY, 31st JULY, 1946

                WILLI MEYER-WENDEBORN-Resumed
                DIRECT EXAMINATION-Continued


Q. Witness, did you consider the Blockleiter and the Zellenleiter as
"Hoheitstraeger," head officials?

A. No.

Q. Do you not know that in the organization book of the Party, the
Blockleiter and the Zellenleiter are defined as "Hoheitstraeger"?

A. I read that, but I was never able to follow it because the
organization book started with assumptions which were not given.

Q. What do you understand under the term "Hoheitstrager"?

A. The Hoheitstraeger is the leading representative of the movement in
his district. He is entitled to give orders to his subordinate political
leaders and Party members. Moreover, his official and private behaviour
must at all times be such that non-Party members and State officials
will respect him and will listen to him without any legal obligation to
do so.

Q. You spoke of the rights which the political leaders have. Did the
Blockleiter and Zellenleiter also have these rights?

A. No, they did not have them and did not want them.

Q. Had the Blockleiter and Zellenleiter any authority to call on the SA
and the SS?

A. No, they were powerless to do so.

Q. Then it is true that the Blockleiter and the Zellenleiter were only
assistants to the Ortsgruppenleiter and had no powers of their own?

A. The Blockleiter and the Zellenleiter were the non-commissioned
officer corps of the Ortsgruppenleiter.

D R. SERVATIUS: I have no more questions to put to this witness.

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I have some certain new documents, two or three
pages, in connection with other matters. If the Tribunal wishes it I
could present these documents perhaps quickly in the way the Tribunal
indicated to Sir David, or I could put it in the form of
cross-examination. Whatever the Tribunal thinks most convenient.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Griffith-Jones, if it does not interfere with
your case or cross-examination, perhaps it would be better to put the
documents in, simply indicating the page or subject.

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: That will be done.

THE PRESIDENT: If there is anything particular with this witness you may

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: The first matter with which I was intending to
deal is the action taken by the Leadership Corps in connection with
elections, and I would refer the Tribunal to Document D-43, which will
become Exhibit GB 540. I understand the Tribunal has copies of that
document. That is a

                                                              [Page 110]

letter from the NSDAP district Memel, dated 26th May, 1936, and
addressed to Kreisleiter and Organizationsleiter. It is from the NSDAP
Memel District, and translated from the German. It refers to the
Reichstag elections of 29th March, 1936, and stated that in pursuance of
an inquiry from the Reich Minister of the Interior, Party member Dr.
Frick, a report is to be made on any civil servants who did not record
their votes on 29th March, 1936. "As far as such cases are known within
your Ortsgruppe or your Stuetzpunkt, you will report these names by 3rd
June, at the latest, of 1936." The expression, "Stuetzpunkt section,"
this is a smaller organization than an Ortsgruppe and was eventually
abolished, but in 1936 still existed.

     "You will report them to me by name at the latest by the 3rd of
     June of this year. The information will have to be correct under
     all circumstances."

Then the last paragraph, my Lord.

     "This circular has to be destroyed immediately after the matter is

My Lord, the next document is Document D-897, which becomes Exhibit GB
541, and that is a document in connection with the plebiscite of 1938.

The first point I make on that is that it shows that the activity
referred to in the letter I have just mentioned was not an isolated

My Lord, the second point upon this document is that it shows the close
co-operation between the Security Police and the political leaders.

On Page 1 of that document appears a special order, dated 4th April,
1938, from the Security Service of the Reichsfuehrer SS at Erfurt, which
is in Thuringia, the Gau of which Sauckel was Gauleiter. It is a "top
secret," "strictly confidential," addressed to all heads of sections and
to Stuetzpunkfleiter.

     "Stuetzpunkfleiter are to report not later than 1800 hours on 7th
     April, 1938, all persons in their district about whom it is safe to
     assume (with 100 per cent probability) that they will vote 'No' at
     the impending plebiscite. (Do not forget the International
     Jehovah's Witnesses.)
     Heads of Sections are to support the Stuetzpunkfleiter locally as
     much as possible in this matter.
     This matter is also to be carried out in closest collaboration with
     the Ortsgruppenleiter of the Party. The Ortsgruppenleiter will be
     instructed by the Aussenstellenleiter (head of the branch office)
     personally after 1800 hours on 5th April, 1938."

I think I can omit the next paragraph and then go on:

     "The tremendous responsibility which the StuetzpunktIeiter have, in
     particular with regard to this report, is stressed once more. The
     Stuetzpunkfleiter must have no doubts as to the possible
     consequences for the persons contained in their report. Very
     special attention must be given as to whether the persons who
     impart such information to the Stuetzpunktleiter and from whom the
     Stuetzpunkfleiter make their inquiries are not motivated by
     personal reasons; even political leaders are not excepted from
     The confidential nature of this order is again emphasized.
     The order is to be minutely memorized and thereafter destroyed
     immediately. Every Stuetzpunktleiter is personally responsible to
     me for the complete destruction of this order."
The reasons for the necessity for accuracy appear from the following
documents. On Page 2 there are set out certain sections of the
population about whom jnquiries have got to be made and who have to be
particularly watched. It will be seen in the first paragraph:

     "Increased attention is to be devoted to participation in and the
     results of the plebiscite on 10th April, 1938, particularly in
     small towns and villages. It must, above all, be ascertained
     whether the opponents are to be found in Marxist and other circles
     of opposing ideologies."

                                                              [Page 111]

Then under the heading " Catholicism " I draw the attention of the
Tribunal to No. 2.

     "Was any attitude expressed during church services and similar

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will, if it is convenient to the officers of
the Court, not have any further recess before one o'clock.

LT-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: My Lord, I had reached paragraph No. 2 under
"Catholicism" on the second page of Document D-897. "Was any attitude
expressed during church services and similar meetings?" Perhaps I might
be allowed to ask one question of the witness upon that.



Q. Witness, when the Ortsgruppenleiter is charged with making the report
on these matters, would it be the Block- and Zellenleiter that he would
ask for information as to what was expressed in the various church
services throughout his Ortsgruppe?

A. No.

Q. Would you tell the Tribunal who it would be, if it would not be the

A. The Ortsgruppenleiter himself would have asked for this confidential
information, if it had been inquired for at all.

Q. Do you think the Ortsgruppenleiter would be able to attend every
church service in his Ortsgruppe himself? Do you think that is
physically possible for any Ortsgruppenleiter?

A. No, they would not have been able to do that, but for such
information they would always have had special men from whom they would
have obtained advice and information.

Q. Those special men who provided them with advice and information are
the Zellen- and Blockleiter, are they not?

A. No, they are not.

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well. Well, we will leave that. The next
heading is "Protestantism." I again draw attention to Paragraph 2 under
that heading, "Was any attitude expressed about the Anschluss or the
plebiscite during services?" And the next paragraph, "What comment did
the Church Press make?" And again No. 5, "Were the bells of all
religious communities rung on the evening of 9th April, 1938, following
the Fuehrer's speech in Vienna?"


Q. Witness, would it be the Block- and Zellenleiter who would report
whether the church bells were rung on that evening in their districts?

A. They would have been able to say that, for if they had been rung, the
Block- and Zellenleiter would have heard them.

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I turn to the next page of the document, the
next to the ultimate paragraph: "It is suggested that the election
officials be contacted in a suitable manner where necessary. The
exertion of any kind of pressure must, however, be desisted from."

I turn to the next page, Page 3 of the English translation, which is a
report from the branch office of the Security Service of Weissensee
dated 25th April, and we begin to see how the instructions regarding the
election were carried out.

     "Prior to the election, Party Member Paul Friesche from Weissensee,
     Thuringia, completed a register of all persons suspected of voting
     'No. ' On the election day every person included on this list
     received from a specially
                                                              [Page 112]
     selected official a voting paper which was marked with a number
     imprinted by means of a ribbonless typewriter."

Then it describes how the procedure worked.

The next page, approached from the middle of the first paragraph:

     "The election officials did not throw the envelope into the voting
     box immediately, but tried to push it under the paper end which is
     situated on the voting box to cover the slit, so as to be able to
     open the envelope later at an opportune moment."

The next document, the next page, another report from another branch of
the Security Service:

     "To all Ortsgruppenleiter of the NSDAP of the Kreis of Erfurt-
     On their appearance in your Ortsgruppen area for the purpose of
     carrying out their voting duty, the under-mentioned persons are to
     be specially watched and the Kreisleitung of Erfurt (SDoffice) is
     to be notified immediately."
There are many names; and lastly:

     "By order of the Kreisleiter, this matter is to be strictly

On the next page there is another report about a Jehovah's Witness,
Robert Siering, and his wife, "who appeared in a voting centre on Sunday
morning and deposited their vote after both had been advised of their
duty to vote by the police in Griefstedt and had been threatened with
the removal of their child in case of non-participation."

My Lord, the next document, still on the same subject, is D-902, which
will become Exhibit GB 542. On the first page of that exhibit we have a
report sent to the Erfurt Branch Office of the Security Service, marked
confidential. It is not clear who it is signed by. It is dated 7th
April, 1938, and reads as follows:

     "After thorough and most careful examination in the area of the
     Ortsgruppe of Melchendorf and in the closest co-operation with the
     Ortsgruppenleiter, we have come to the following conclusion:
     The following persons will, with 100 per cent probability, vote '
     No' at the forthcoming plebiscite."

Then, after setting out the names, it gives what they call "
explanations " in the case of each.

     1. Wilhelm. Messing (taken into protective custody in 1933 because
     of illegal activity for the Communist Party . . . ) and so on.
     2. Waiter Messing (also taken into protective custody in 1933 for
     slandering the SA)."
I do not think I need bother with anything further on that page.

I draw the attention of the Tribunal to the last three paragraphs on the
next page:

     "Guenther Hartung, 113 Johannesstrasse, Wallstrasse entrance, must
     be reported as being an enemy of the State and opposed to the
     Hartung must be described as a morally totally degenerate man and
     it is necessary to lock him up in spite of his advanced age (70
     Amongst other things, he referred to the German troops on their
     entry into Austria as loafers. Sufficient witnesses as to Hartung
     are available."

My Lord, on the next page, another report in connection with the
plebiscite, I draw the attention of the Tribunal to the penultimate

     "The wife of the 100 per cent Jew Bielschowski, who was dragged
     along just before closing time of the plebiscite, voted 'No,' as
     can be proved."

Now, turn to some pages ahead, Page 7 of the English translation, which
describes how the votes were screened in another area by a ribbonless
typewriter and then again on Page 9 of the translation, another report:

                                                              [Page 113]

     "The labourer Otto Wiegand . . . was requested four times to record
     his vote on the day of the election and finally only voted under
     application of force."

And the next report on the same page:

     "The married woman Frieda Schriener . . . did not vote in spite of
     being repeatedly invited to do so. The above is a fanatic member of
     the former International Association of Jehovah's Witnesses.
     The husband, who has the same opinions and who was recently
     involved in criminal proceedings because of them, recorded his
     vote. To be sure, this was probably only through fear of renewed

My Lord, the other portion of that document that I referred to is on
Page 11, where there is shown an extract from the local newspaper
recording the united German vote, which has been obtained by the
Security Service with co-operation of the Leadership Corps in the way in
which we have seen.

My Lord, again to emphasize that these were not isolated cases, I would
refer the Tribunal to a document which has already been put in, and it
will be found. on Page 91 of the small document book that Sir David
handed to the Tribunal yesterday, Page 91 of that book, Pages 118 and
119 of the German. It is Document R-42, Exhibit USA 481. That, it will
be seen, is a report again from the Security Service, but this time in
Coblenz. I read the second paragraph:

"The high percentage of 'No' votes and invalid votes in nearly all cases
is due to the religious attitude of the population, whether they be
Catholics or Protestants...." "The district manager," My Lord, that in
the original is the "Kreisgeschaeftsfuehrer," who is one of the staff
officers of the Kreisleiter "the Kreisgeschaeftsfuehrer of the Kreis
conclave gave the assurance that it was mostly women who voted 'No,' or
invalidly. As became known here, a supervisory control was ordered at
several of the--"

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