The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. What were the main tasks of a State Police office in

A. The main subjects that were dealt with were the combating
of high treason, or treason; dealing with Church questions;
with questions which arose from the treatment of the Jews;
with so-called measures against the Treachery Act
(Heimtueckegesetz); with criminal acts within the Party; and
with certain important political questions from the whole
complex formed by the Press and economy.

Q. How was the question of protective custody dealt with in
the course of your activity with the Gestapo?

                                                  [Page 165]

A. The great majority of the cases were dealt with by means
of a warning by the State Police, when the result of the
inquiry was negative. In those cases where custody was
necessary, we saw to it that the perpetrators were brought
before the court. Protective custody was only given for a
short time in all those cases where the matter was not ready
to be brought to the court. Protective custody by being
transferred to a concentration camp was only proposed by the
Gestapo if the personality of the perpetrator, judged by his
previous behaviour, gave one to expect that he would
continue to be an habitual offender against the regulations.
To my knowledge, at the beginning of the war there were
twenty thousand inmates in the concentration camps, of whom
I estimate at the most one-half were held for political

Q. For what reasons were the other half kept there?

A. They were mostly criminals.

Q. Did the Gestapo take any measures for looking after the
members of the political inmates' families?

A. According to a decree of the Gestapo office, the State
Police office, when taking people into protective custody,
not only had to ask the welfare organizations to take care
of the families, but the official who dealt with the
particular case had periodically to make sure that they were
actually looked after.

Q. Were inmates who were released from protective custody in
a concentration camp forbidden to follow certain

A. No, they could go into any profession.

Q. That deals with the period during which you were in
charge of the State Police Office? Until what year?

A. That is during the time when I was deputy chief until
May, 1940.

Q. The prosecution has said that the Gestapo had fought the
churches; what do you know about that from the time when you
were in Coblenz and Dusseldorf?

A. Church matters during my period were dealt with on the
basis of a separation of Church and State; that is to say,
we -intervened when a priest violated the so-called
"Kanzelparagraph" (pulpit paragraph) which had been put into
the penal code in the days of Imperial Germany, or for
violating the "Heimtueckegesetz" (treachery act), or if
Church organizations were active in worldly matters, which
was prohibited by a decree.

Q. What did one mean by "Jewish questions" during the period
up to 1938?

A. The emigration of Jews.

Q. What was the number of officials who dealt with Jewish
matters, at the two offices of the Gestapo known to you?

A. At the Coblenz Gestapo office, one Criminal
Oberassistent, who also dealt with matters pertaining to
freemasonry; at the Dusseldorf, Gestapo office, one
Oberinspektor with, I believe, two or three assistants.

Q. Was there any change brought about by the order of
Heydrich of 10th November, 1938, to arrest an unlimited
number of Jews who were able to work?

A. That decree was a complete surprise for us, for the
measure could in no way be expected on the basis of the
measures which had heretofore been taken. Since to my
knowledge the great majority of these Jews were released
again later on, one could not recognize that as a basic
change of the course pursued by the State leadership.

Q. Did you or the officials in your office have any
knowledge that the deportation of Jews to the East, started
in 1942 approximately, really meant their destruction,
biologically speaking?

A. No. At that time I was an adviser in the Gestapo office.
At meetings with the chief of Office IV, nothing was ever
mentioned about that. The treatment of the Jewish question
was at that time in the hands of Eichmann, who had not risen
from the State Police, but had been transferred from the SD
to the State Police. He and his personnel were living in a
building set aside for that purpose

                                                  [Page 166]

and had no contact with the other officials. He particularly
did not bring in the other departments by getting them to
countersign, when for instance he ordered the deportation of
Jews. To our objections in that regard he always answered
that he was carrying out special missions which had been
ordered by the highest authorities and that, therefore, it
was unnecessary for the other departments to countersign,
and thus to be able to state their own opinion.

Q. Were there regulations about secrecy always applied
within the individual offices of the State Police?

A. Yes; even within the offices themselves. It was an old
police principle as early as 1933 that individual cases
should not be talked about. The secrecy was rendered more
severe by the well-known Fuehrer decree. The SS and the
police courts punished any offenders most severely and all
these punishments were regularly made known to the

Q. You were in charge of Office IV-D-4 in the Reich Security
Main Office (RSHA) since 1941. What were the duties of that

A. To deal with the political and police problems of
occupied territories from a uniform point of view and
particularly to summarize them in reports to higher and to
other offices; later, there was, in addition, the looking
after the interned political prisoners and other
personalities from these territories.

Q. What was your fundamental attitude, and therefore that of
the main Gestapo office, about the origin of the national
resistance movement in the occupied territories?

A. After these territories were occupied, the Allies also
started to utilize the potential forces in these territories
by setting up military organizations. That, in the
beginning, was voluntary on the part of the people and
whoever wanted to join any such military organization would
do so for patriotic or political reasons. Once he had joined
such an organization, he was subordinate to military orders
with all their consequences. The measures which he had to
carry out were carried out as part of the Allied strategy as
a whole and not in the interests of his own country or on
its behalf. As a result, all actions of the resistance
movement were military actions which were not carried out
spontaneously by the population, and from that it resulted
that all measures of a general nature against the population
were reactions against the activities of the military
organization, and not only useless but also harmful to
German interests, because the members of these military
organizations were not deterred by such measures from
carrying through their orders. The consequence was that a
combating of these forces was only possible on two lines:
first, to bring about by means of reports a policy on the
part of Germany which would deter people from the political
decision to fight against Germany; and secondly, to
neutralise the active groups by capturing them.

Q. Why, then, did the State leadership not act in accordance
with this fundamental conception of the Gestapo?

A. To begin with, because Himmler had not come from the
ranks of the police and his decisions were not usually made
according to the reports he received from the police, but
primarily on the basis of individual information which he
received from other sources, particularly from the Higher SS
and Police Leaders. Moreover, the police were not able to
report continuously and at the same time give an estimation
of the situation. On the other hand, the Higher SS and
Police Leaders and the local offices which represented the
highest German authorities in the various territories, again
and again interfered with the work of the police on the
lower level.

Q. You just used the word "interfered." Did not the Gestapo
have a well-defined chain of command?

A. No. The offices assigned in the occupied territories were
not only subordinate to the Central Secret State Police
Office but many other civilian and military authorities had
influence and could, for instance, issue directives,

                                                  [Page 167]

the Higher SS and Police Leaders, Reich Commissioners, and
in part also the military commanders.

Q. Can you give us two very striking examples.

A. First, the policy of Reich Commissioner Terboven, to
carry out the shooting of hostages, and other general
measures against the population. For three years we fought
in order to prevent his measures, and by reports sent to
Himmler we repeatedly tried to have him recalled. We took,
for instance, prisoners from Norway to Germany in order to
get them away from his jurisdiction, and later we were able
to release them in Germany. When ship-sabotage in Denmark
reached its climax in the autumn of 1944, a directive came
from OKW to the military commander, to bring about a decree
of the Reich plenipotentiary, so that dockers and their
relatives could be arrested if any acts of sabotage occurred
in their docks. After hard controversies the measure was
revoked because it was evident from our experience that the
dockers had nothing to do with those acts at all.

Q. How were Sipo and SD organized in the Western Occupied

A. The organization was not uniform. In Norway, and later in
Belgium, there were commanders under the Commanders-in-
Chief; in Denmark and the Netherlands there were branch
offices (Aussenstellen) and in France there were commanders
under the Commander-in-Chief. In all cases, the BDS was not
only subordinate to Berlin but also to the Higher SS and
Police Leader who again was immediately subordinate to
Himmler, and who could bring about decisions which did not
go through the RSHA.

Q. What was the composition of the personnel of these

A. There was a tremendous shortage of trained Criminal
Police officers. Therefore the State Police officers formed
only a skeleton staff, which was supplemented by men of the
Criminal Police, but primarily by men drafted for that
service, who had been transferred with units of the Secret
Field Police to Sipo. They represented a good deal more than
fifty per cent. of the staff.

Q. Was it a voluntary matter to belong to Sipo in the
Western Occupied Territories, or not?

A. No, one was transferred or drafted there. Only the native
interpreters had volunteered with the State Police.

Q. Who ordered the deportation of Jews from Denmark?

A. That order came from Adolf Hitler through the
Reichsfuehrer SS. The Commander of the Security Police tried
in vain to have it deferred, but he was not successful, to
my knowledge, as that was also one of the reasons why he was

Q. What was done on the part of the State Police to mitigate
those measures as far as possible?

A. The ordinary police who were charged to carry out these
measures in general were informed that doors could not be
broken open by force. Secondly, with the help of the Reich
plenipotentiary, it was made possible that no confiscation
of property should take place, and the keys of the
apartments were turned over to the Danish Social Minister.

Q. Was the deportation of Jews known in Denmark beforehand?

A. It had been known to the Danish population and discussed
by them for a long time previously.

Q. Why were the Danish Police dissolved and part of them
deported to Germany?

A. Because the Danish Police, in their entirety, were in the
closest contact with the resistance movement and the British
Intelligence Service. For instance, the Chief of the Danish
Police turned over information on the composition of German
troops on Jutland and Fuhnen to the British Intelligence
Service, and was involved in carrying out sabotage work in
case of invasion. Other leading officials were involved in a
similar manner. Under these circumstances, the armed forces
feared the Danish Police might be used to attack them from

                                                  [Page 168]

Q. Did the State Police suggest and carry through

A. Deportations were not initiated by the State Police, but
the Higher SS and Police Leader had already requested the
approval of these measures by Himmler in the Fuehrer
headquarters, when he told the State Police about his

Q. Was there a uniform order to use physical cruelty or
torture during interrogations?

A. Brutal treatment and torture were strictly prohibited and
were condemned by the, courts.

Q. Do you know of any cases in which interrogation officers
were sentenced by courts?

A. I remember two Gestapo officials in Dusseldorf who were
sentenced for maltreatment of prisoners, by a regular court.

Q. Were third-degree methods used in interrogations in
Denmark when you were in office there, and, if so, why?

A. Yes, third degree was carried out during interrogations.
To explain this I have to point out that the resistance
organizations occupied themselves with the following:

Firstly: Attempts on German soldiers.

Secondly: Attempts on trains, means of transport and
Wehrmacht installations in the course of which soldiers were
also killed.

Thirdly: Elimination of all so-called informers and people
collaborating with the German Police or other German

In order to forestall those dangers and to save the lives of
Germans, the third degree interrogation was ordered and
carried out, but only in such cases. There was restriction
in practice, in spite of the scope of the decree.

Q. What was discussed at the conference in Brussels in 1943,
about the application of third-degree methods?

A. At a conference of officials it was stated, on the basis
of experience gained, that it was already decided for the
aforementioned reasons that it was advisable to restrict the
application of third-degree methods to the extent mentioned.

Q. On whose orders were hostages shot in France, who
suggested it?

A. As far as I know, it was a directive from Adolf Hitler.
We constantly received reports from the Gestapo office, and
we sent reports protesting against these measures, to the
same extent as in other occupied territories, for the reason
that I have already given.

Q. Why did the Gestapo especially reject the idea of
shooting hostages as reprisal for the shooting of German
soldiers in Paris?

A. Because we were of the opinion that this had been carried
out by a relatively small group of people, and that general
measures, therefore, would not only be useless but damaging
in view of the considerations which I mentioned before.
Facts really proved that in Paris these measures had been
carried out by a group of not even one hundred persons.

Q. Who ordered and carried out the deportation of workers
from France to Germany?

A. That was a measure of the manpower administration. It was
not known to me that the State Police had carried out any
deportation of workers. I have to make one limitation
concerning France where, upon the orders of the
Reichsfuehrer , as far as I remember the so-called Action
"Meerschaum" was carried out, in the course of which French
nationals, I believe five thousand, who had committed minor
political offences were forcibly transferred to Germany in
order to be used as workers.

Q. Who was responsible for the evacuation of Jews from

A. The evacuation of Jews was carried out by Eichmann's
office as I have already explained, without it being
possible for the older offices of the State Police to do
anything about it.

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