The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Griffith-Jones, this is already in evidence, is
it not?

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Yes, this is in evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think you need go into it.

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I am much obliged. I only drew the attention of
the Tribunal to it.

One further document which is also in evidence will be found at Page 55
of that same document book, at Pages 55 and then 54, the documents being
PS-849, which is Exhibit USA 354, and 848, Exhibit USA 353. The two
documents together describe how the Party-

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Griffith-Jones, I do not think you ought to
comment upon documents which are already in evidence unless they are
documents which the witness can throw light upon.

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: It is a little difficult to make the point
which I would have made in cross-examining the witness on these
documents if I only confine myself to the new ones without drawing the
attention of the Tribunal to other documents which relate to the same

THE PRESIDENT: If they are not new documents and you want to cross-
examine the witness about them, you can put them to the witness.

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well, sir. I will leave that particular
subject now.

The other subject on which I had intended to cross-examine this witness
is, euthanasia, or mercy killing, and the part the political leaders
played in those matters. My Lord, this is a new document, D-906, which
becomes Exhibit GB 543.

                                                              [Page 114]

I would refer first of all to the second of the three documents which
are printed on the first page of that exhibit, No. 2, Martin Bormann,
24th September, 1940, a letter from the National Socialist German
Workers' Party, the Fuehrer's deputy:

     "To the Gauleitung of Franconia, for the attention of Kreisleiter
     Your letter of 13th September, 1940, was given to me by Party
     member Hoffniann. The Commission which was working at
     Neuendettelsaus is under the control of Reichsleiter Bouhler.
     The text of the notifications of relatives is being variously
     worded, as was once more assured yesterday; naturally, however, it
     can happen that sometimes two families living close to each other
     receive similarly worded letters.
     It is natural that the representatives of Christian ideology speak
     against the Commission's measures; it must be equally taken for
     granted that all Partyoffices support, as far as necessary, the
     work of the Commission."

Then I go back to No. 1 on that page. "Gaustabaintsleiter " (Franconia)
Sellmer-that was another staff officer of the Gau staff. Handwritten
note, 1st October, 1940.

     "Justice. Visit from Party member Blankenberg, Berlin. Action
     begins in the near future. So far hardly any mishaps have occurred.
     30,000 dispatched. Further 100,000 to 120,000 are waiting. The
     circle of those who are initiated is to be kept very small. If
     necessary the Kreisleiter is to be notified in good time."

Then it goes on, "The Fuehrer gave the order; the decree is ready. At
present only clear cases, that is 100 per cent ones, are being settled.
Later an expansion will take place. From now on, notification will be
given in a . . ." it is not clear here from the print. And then at the
end of the document, "Kreisleiter Sellmer must be informed."

I go to No. 3, which is a situation report by the Kreisleitung of
Erlangen dated 26th November, 1940, dealing with the elimination of
mental patients.

     "On orders from the Ministry of the Interior, signed Schulz or
     Schultze, a commission consisting among others of a North German
     doctor and a number of students appeared some time ago in the local
     sanatorium and nursing home."

And then it describes how he examined the patients who were to be
transferred to another institution on orders from the Reich Defence
Commissar and "that a Berlin transport company was to carry out the
transfer and the head of the institution was to follow the directives of
this company, which was in possession of the list of names." In this way
three transports with a total numberof 370 patients were in the meantime
transferred to Sonnenstein near Pirna and to the Linz district. It goes
on, "a further transport is to leave in January of next year. The head
of the institution ..." And then it goes on for a few lines, and starts

     "Strangely enough various relatives received notification after the
     transportation that their patients had died. In some cases
     pneumonia and in others an infectious disease was given as the
     cause of death.
     At the same time the relatives were further informed that it had
     been necessary to cremate the body and that, if they were
     interested, they.could have the clothing of the deceased sent to
     them. The registry office of Erlangen was also informed by the
     institution of the various cases of death, and again either
     pneumonia or an infectious disease was given as the cause-illnesses
     which had no connection with the previous medical history, so that
     it is to be assumed that false indications were given. The
     population is terribly disturbed about the transfer of patients,
     because they connect it with the cases of death which are becoming
     known in rapid succession. They speak partly openly, partly
     secretly, about an elimination of patients for which   there exists
     no kind of justification. In these war times such unrest among

                                                              [Page 115]

     the population has a doubly unfavourable effect. Moreover, the
     events described above give the Church and religious circles cause
     to revive their attitude against National Socialism."

THE PRESIDENT: Under which part of Article 6 of the Charter does this

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: It would come under " Crimes Against Humanity,"
with respect to-

THE PRESIDENT: Are they connected with war?

LT-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: In respect, yes, because the purpose of this
extermination of old people was to rid the Reich of unproductive
elements. My Lord, I cannot for the moment give you the exact reference
where that appears, but it does appear upon one of the documents. That
is a handwritten addition to that document in the handwriting of the . .
. I beg your pardon, it is an original extract of the situation report
from the Kreisleitung of Erlangen.

The next document, my Lord, need not be dealt with at length. The point
is that a Kreisleiter is again involved and that it was general
knowledge that there were mistakes in the notification of deaths, for
instance, one family receiving two urns for one patient.

No. 5 on the next page is much the same. I draw the Tribunal's attention
to the middle of the large paragraph, toward the end. "The doctor also
informed me that it was well known that the Commission consisted of one
SS doctor and several subordinate doctors."

My Lord, the next document is on Page 10, No. 12, where we have a
protest, or rather, an inquiry about the death of a relative. It is from
a Mrs. Marie Kehr, and I mention that because it is also referring to
another document, PS-1969. No, it is a new document. It will become GB
544, PS-1969. I would ask you to look at the second page of that
document where you have a letter from the Reich Minister of the Interior
to the Gaustabamtsleiter in Nuremberg. He forwards Mrs. Kehr's letter
and the importance of that document is at the bottom.

     "In Ink. Ortsgruppenleiter Party Member Popp is of the opinion that
     one can inform Mrs. Kehr. She is calm and circumspect."

The document also bears the stamp of the Kreisleiter who has been

My Lord, if I might return quite briefly to the document we were looking
at, D-906, Page 6 of that document. The Ortsgruppenleiter in Absberg is
writing about incidents which occurred on the occasion of the latest
removal of mentally defective persons from an institution in that town-a
sanatorium in that town. He writes to the Kreisleiter and refers to a
report of an incident which took place and I can only emphasize that
there was public knowledge of what was happening.

And then again on Page 8 another Kreisleiter, this time in Weissenburg,
Bavaria, writes about the same disturbances and you see that that goes
to the Gau Staff Officer in Nuremberg.

The next document, No. 11, is from a Kreisleiter in Ansbach, and he is
writing about the removal of patients from yet another sanatorium in
another town, and on the top of the following page the Ortsgruppenleiter
is involved. "Ortsgruppenleiter Retischel is furthermore of the opinion
that he should speak about the removal of the inmates, if possible at
the next meeting of Party members, in order to give the facts and above
all to disperse the rumours that have arisen that the inmates would very
soon be put out of the way, done away with, or poisoned."

Then at the bottom you see another handwritten note. "The
Organizationsleiter," that is, the political leader on the staff of the
Hoheitstraeger "is to be informed."

My Lord, that concludes the evidence that I was going to ask this
witness about. There is one general matter which perhaps the Tribunal
will allow me to ask a few questions about.

                                                              [Page 116]


Q., Well, perhaps first of all I might ask you this on that evidence,
witness. In view of the documents that you have seen, did you yourself
ever have. any knowledge of this so-called mercy killing that was going

A. Once I heard a rumour that somewhere in southern Germany mental
patients were being done away with. Thereupon, as was my duty, I
immediately inquired of my Gauleiter and after a short time I received
the information that this was not true and that in the future I was not
to make such inquiries, which were senseless as I ought to be able to

Q. Why did you not have to make such inquiries?

A. Because I had heard such rumours from the population.

Q. Did you know that colleagues of yours in the Corps of Political
Leaders were co-operating in that system of murder?

A. No, I never knew or suspected that.

Q. Now let me ask you about one other matter. You told the Tribunal
yesterday that there was no Corps of Political Leaders, is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. That is not correct, is it? They were recognized officially as the
Corps of Political Leaders, were they not?

A. The Corps of Political Leaders was spoken of with the intention of
teaching people better manners on their appearance in public, and for
that reason officer and student corps were pointed out as examples. .
There was no official Corps of Political Leaders and there could not be
any such corps because the men changed constantly and had to come from
all parts of the population.

Q. They were called a Corps of Political Leaders because on becoming a
political leader you became a member of that corps, is not that the

A. Since there was no real Corps of Political Leaders, when one was
appointed one could not become a member of it.

Q. And the political leaders are referred to as a Corps of Political
Leaders in the official organization book of the NSDAP, are they not?

A. I am convinced that you can refer to them as such. You have the book.
Upon the oath that I have taken I again want to say that I have not had
time until now to read this book carefully because my actual tasks were
more important than reading about this wishful dream. For I cannot call
it by any other name.

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I have no further questions.

                    RE-DIRECT EXAMINATION


Q. I have a question on Document D-897, the first one that was
submitted; a letter from the Reich Security Service, Subsidiary Branch
Erfurt, signed by an officer of the Branchoffice. It is addressed to all
consultants and Stuetzpunktleiter (base or operational point leaders).
The Prosecutor said that the Stuetzpunkt, which is here referred to, is
a Party agency. Is this opinion correct if you read that the letter is
addressed to all consultants and Stuetzpunkleiter and is a letter of the

A. I noticed that immediately, too, and I would have mentioned it
myself. It can only be a Stuetzpunktleiter of the SD, for at that time
within the political leadership there were no more Stuetzpunkte but only
Ortsgruppen. Moreover, farther on this letter expressly mentions the

Q. Yes. It says there: "This matter is also to be carried out in close
cooperation with the Ortsgruppenleiter of the Party" Is this letter
addressed to a subordinate Party agency from a subordinate SS agency?

A. At the moment I have not the letter here, but I recall that it was
addressed to the subordinate offices of the branch agency and states
that they should contact the Ortsgruppenleiter. I noticed that the
Ortsgruppenleiter was to be,informed

                                                              [Page 117]

only one day before, while those who received the letter were informed
two days beforehand and given the necessary information.

Q. Please speak more slowly. The interpreter cannot keep up with you.

A. The confidence in the Party cannot have been very great then.

Q. Was the Ortsgruppenleiter here informed through the customary
channels of the Party or were the higher Party agencies skipped?

A. In this case the information was not passed on in the official way;
for it should have been done through the higher Party agency.

Q. Therefore I can draw the conclusion then that it is possible that the
higher Party agencies knew nothing of this action of the lower SS

A. Absolutely.

DR. SERVATIUS I have no more questions to put to the witness.

THE PRESIDENT The witness can retire.

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