The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Please describe in detail how, in spite of all this,
killings still took place, as I am informed.

A. Yes. In the course of that day, 30th June, a certain SS
Obersturmbannfuehrer Beutel came to me from the SS with a
special order which he had received from Heydrich. He was a
young man, this Beutel, and he did not know what he should
do, and he came to me to obtain advice from me, as an older
man. He had an order in which there were approximately
twenty-eight names and a postscript from which it appeared
that some of these men were to be arrested and others were
to be executed. This document had no signature on it and
therefore I advised this Obersturmbannfuehrer to get
positive clarification as to what should take place, and
warned him emphatically against any rash action. Then, as
far as I know, a courier was sent to Berlin and this courier
then brought back eight orders of execution which came from
Heydrich. The order read approximately as follows:

   "By order of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor..." and
   then followed the name of the person concerned "... so
   and so is condemned to death by shooting for high

These documents were signed by Heydrich. The signature was
undoubtedly genuine and the documents were stamped with the
official stamp of the office which Heydrich directed in
Berlin; and on the basis of these documents eight members of
the SA and the Party too, eight persons in all, were shot by
the political police of Saxony in Dresden.

Besides that, a Hitler Jugend leader was shot in Plauen and
still another person in Chemnitz. That is what I know about
it, at least about my area.

Q. Did you have anything to do with these shootings as
leader of the general SS?

A. No, in no way. This order of the State leadership was
executed by the political police. I could neither have
helped it; nor prevented it.

Q. Did you believe that Roehm was actually planning a
treasonable undertaking and that the danger for the German
Government and the German people was so immediate that only
immediate action, that is to say, the shooting of those
guilty, could save the situation?

A. I believed absolutely that a state of national emergency
existed. I had to believe so, moreover, after the German
police authority, namely, Himmler, had told me so, himself,
and had also expressly indicated that I should co-operate,
in case of an alarm, with the Defence Area commander, who
had a very authoritative office.

Q. Do you remember that immediately after these events the
Press published two telegrams from President von Hindenburg,
one to the Fuehrer, dated 2nd July, 1934 and the other of
the same date to Goering. I quote SS Document 74, which will
be handed in later, Hindenburg's telegram to Hitler:

  "From the reports which had been brought to me, I see
  that by your decisive initiative and by your brave
  personal activity you have nipped all the treasonable
  activities in the bud. You have saved the German people
  from a grave danger. For this I express to you my heart-
  felt gratitude and my sincere respect. With best
  greetings, von Hindenburg."

The telegram from Hindenburg to Goring:

  "For your energetic and successful action in crushing the
  attempt at high treason, I express to you my gratitude
  and respect."

Did you read these telegrams at the time in the Press?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember the speech which Hitler made before the
German Reichstag on 13th July, 1934, in which he also
described how an immediate danger had apparently been
hovering over Germany?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember this-and I will quote only a very brief
extract from SS Document 105 -

                                                  [Page 251]

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, do you not think that you can
summarize this rather more? This witness has said that so
far as his district is concerned the SS had nothing to do
with the Roehm affair and it does not seem to be necessary
to put all the details of it to him.

DR. PELCKMANN: I believe that I have only the following
point to add to the Roehm putsch - but perhaps that has
already been exhaustively discussed - that, as a matter of
fact, even afterwards no suspicion of an illegal action
could arise. I wanted to do that by means of this evidence
to which I am referring.

THE PRESIDENT: You realize, do you not, as we have said over
and over again, that we do not want to have the evidence
given before the Commission repeated before us. What we wish
is to have a summary and only the most important points
dealt with and any new points; and, of course, we wish to
see the witnesses in order to see whether they are credible.

DR. PELCKMANN: Yes, I will keep that in mind, your Lordship.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps we had better adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: With reference to the applications by Dr.
Siemers, both of those applications are rejected. Dr.
Siemers, of course, may go and visit Vice-Admiral Buerkner
if he wishes to do so, but the particular application which
he made in that respect is rejected and so is the other
application which he made for certain documents which are in
public libraries.


Q. One more question about 30th June. Witness, do you recall
from Hitler's speech that he said that some innocent persons
had been killed and that he promised that these cases would
be judged by the regular courts?

A. Yes.

Q. At that time, did you hear the opinion, which you have
also reported here today, expressed everywhere in your
circle of friends that a state of emergency had existed?

A. Yes, not only in the SS but also from other Germans.

Q. Witness, where were you on 9th November, 1938?

A. On 9th November, 1938, I was in Munich.

Q. What position did you hold at that time in the general

A. In the general SS I was SS Obergruppenfuehrer and head of
the SS Oberabschnitt South. In addition, I was Police
President of Munich.

Q. Please describe how you first heard of excesses against
Jewish businesses during this night?

A. On that day, in accordance with my official duty, I had
to accompany Hitler to the meeting of the Old Fighters in
the old City Hall. There Hitler was told that Legation
Councillor von Rath had died of his injuries. Hitler was
very strongly affected by this and refused to speak, as he
had always done before. During this dinner he had a very
serious discussion with Goebbels. I could not overhear what
was being discussed. Shortly thereafter Hitler drove to his
apartment. I had to accompany him there on my official duty.
Following that I was made responsible for directing the
security measures and blocking off traffic on the Odeon
Platz. Every year, on the night of 9th-10th November, a
meeting was held there and new recruits were sworn into the
Waffen SS. When I came to the Odeon Platz, it was reported
to me that a synagogue was burning and that the firemen were
being interfered with.

Shortly thereafter I received a telephone call from the
Chief Magistrate (Landrat) of Munich, who told me that
Planegg Castle on the Munich city limits, which belonged to
the Jewish Baron Hirsch, had been set on fire by unknown
persons. The constabulary asked for assistance. This was
about 23.45 hours. At 24.00 hours, Hitler came to the
meeting. Since I could not leave my post, I sent the

                                                  [Page 252]

next highest SS leader, Brigadefuehrer Diehm, to the
synagogue to establish order there. Besides that, I sent a
police raiding squad under an officer to Planegg in order to
ascertain the perpetrators and put out the fire.

Immediately after the roll-call, after the recruits were
sworn in, the other higher SS leaders and myself were
ordered to report to Himmler. There in the hotel his deputy,
Gauleiter Niepolt, informed me that following Hitler's
departure from the Rathaus, Goebbels had made a wild speech
attacking the Jews. As a result of this, quite a few
excesses had occurred in the city. I immediately drove
through the city in a car in order to survey the situation.
I saw shop windows which had been smashed; a few stores were
burning. First, I immediately intervened myself, and then
threw all the available police on the streets with
instructions to protect Jewish business establishments until
further notice.

In addition to that, in co-operation with one of the
municipal offices of Munich, I saw to it that the shop
windows were boarded up to prevent thefts and so forth.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, the witness is saying that he
took every step to prevent these excesses. I do not think we
want the details. I do not think that we want to hear the
details of the steps he took to prevent these things and to
keep order. The prosecution can cross-examine if they want

DR. PELCKMANN: Mr. President, is it not possible for me to
submit to the witness just what he will be asked by the
prosecution? I consider it important that the witness
himself should -

THE PRESIDENT: The witness has been telling us, for several
minutes, what happened on 9th and 10th November, 1938, and
we think we know enough. We know the general nature of what
he said and we do not want the details of it. If you think
that he has not said that the SS did not participate in the
excesses, you can ask him that question. He says as far as
he is concerned that he did not take part, but that he tried
to stop it. We do not want to hear the details of how he
tried to stop it.


What orders, witness, did you give to the general SS against
participating in the excesses and did the SS subordinate to
you obey these orders?

A. I told Brigadefuehrer Diehm that I strictly prohibited
any action and I threatened considerable punishment. We in
the SS considered this action downright indecent.

Q. Do you know, witness, that an Adjutant Schallermeier, on
the night before 10th November, took dictation from Himmler,
more or less to the effect that he disliked the whole action
as mere propaganda of Goebbels and that Hitler had told
Himmler that the SS was to keep out of this action?

A. I do not know this document.

Q. I refer to the Affidavit SS No. 5, which will be
discussed later.

You said, witness, that this whole action was detested by
the leaders and members of the SS. Do you attribute this to
the basic attitude of the SS toward the Jewish question, or
do you attribute it, as does a version I have heard from
another source, to the feeling that it would be a pity for
German national property of such considerable value to be

A. I can only say that the SS, just like the Party, was anti-
Semitic, but quite apart from any material loss, we
considered this indecent and the SS did not participate in

Q. One more question on the preparation for wars of
aggression: do you know whether the general SS made
preparations for the entry into Austria and whether it
participated in this entry?

A. No, the general SS did not participate in it. My
Oberabschnitt covered the whole German-Austrian border. I
would positively have had to know something about it.

                                                  [Page 253]

Q. Do you know of any other preparation for an attack on
Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, France and
Russia, by the general SS?

A. I know nothing of it and the general SS would certainly
not have been in any position to attack a foreign State.

Q. After the beginning of the war, did the general SS
continue to exist and what task did it then have to fulfil?

A. The general SS, as a practical matter, ceased to exist
during the war. Of the 10,000 men who were included in my
Oberabschnitt, there were only 7,200 left in the country
when the Volkssturm was called up in November, 1944. These
1,200 men had all been assigned to war work at home and were
no longer available for SS service. They had been taken into
the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS to the last man.

Q. And so was there any more official business, such as you
have described as existing in peace time?

A. No. There were no more available for the tasks which
still had to be performed, namely, assisting the Welfare
Detachments of the Waffen SS in their work, attending to the
wounded in the hospitals and caring for the dependants of
our fallen comrades. We did this work with honorary members
and even with women.

Q. Were the members of the general SS enlisted instead of
the so-called Death's Head units to guard the concentration

A. Yes, a small percentage, just as members of other
branches of the Party, members of the Kyffhauser Bund,
mostly men who could no longer be used at the front. These
men were all liable for duty by virtue of the emergency
service order. Toward the end of the war members of all the
branches of the Wehrmacht, even citizens of allied States,
provided guards for the concentration camps.

Q. I refer in this connection to Documents SS 26 and 28. The
prosecution has asserted that the general SS established
concentration camps immediately after 1933, and that
killings and atrocities occurred. What do you know about

A. The general SS did not establish any concentration camps.
The concentration camps were established by the State. To
what extent atrocities occurred there I cannot judge.

Q. Can you recall the case of an SS leader Engel, in
Stettin, in this connection?

A. No, I knew Engel from the SS, but what he had to do with
this I do not know. He was in Northern Germany and I in
Southern Germany.

O. In Munich you were Oberabschnittsfuehrer of the general
SS; at the same time you were Police President, and from
1939 on you were Higher SS and Police Leader. Please comment
as to whether the position of Oberabschnittsfuehrer of the
general SS was fundamentally connected: (1) with the
position of Police President, and (2) with the positions of
the Higher SS and Police Leaders.

A. As a matter of fundamental principle I can say no in both
cases. There were exceptions. The Police Presidents of
Dusseldorf, Nuremberg and Munich were Oberabschnittsfuehrers
at the same time. In the second case I can say that the
great majority of Oberabschnittsfuehrers of the general SS
from 1939 on, that is from the outbreak of the war, were
also Higher SS and Police Leaders. An exception existed in
Berlin, where the Higher SS and Police Leader was
Heissmeier, who was not Oberabschnittsfuehrer of the general

Q. Is the assertion of the prosecution correct that the
Higher SS and Police Leader represented a very close
connection between the general SS and the Police?

A. No. The SS and police were separate organizations and
were only connected at the top, in the person of Himmler.
The general SS and the police had entirely separate tasks.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not understand what you are saying. I
thought you said that you were the head of the SS in Munich
and also the Police President.

                                                  [Page 254]

DR. PELCKMANN: Mr. President, in order to inform the Court -

THE PRESIDENT: Did you not say that you were the head of the
SS in Munich and the South and also Police President?


THE PRESIDENT: And then you say the police and the SS were
only united in the person of Himmler.

THE WITNESS: Yes. The sphere of duty of the Higher SS and
Police Leader - I have not yet had an opportunity to
describe this - he had no power of command over the police,
but he was only a representative of Himmler, without any
power to issue orders. Thereby -

THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean that you had no power to give
orders to the police?

THE WITNESS: In Munich, as Police President, yes. That was
my State office, that was my profession. In other towns,
however, where the Oberabschnittsfuehrer was not police
chief, he could not -

THE PRESIDENT: I am talking about Munich. In Munich you were
the head of the SS and you were also Police President?


THE PRESIDENT: The two organizations were united in you, is
that right?

THE WITNESS: In my case, yes, but not generally.

THE PRESIDENT: I am not talking about generally, I am
talking about Munich. Then you go on to say that the police
and the SS were only united in the person of Himmler. Those
two statements seem to me to be contradictory.

THE WITNESS: I remarked before that only in three cases in
all Germany were the Police Presidents at the same time
leaders of the general SS. It was an exception in my case,
in Munich, in Dusseldorf and in Nuremberg. Otherwise -

THE PRESIDENT: I thought you said Dresden, too.

THE WITNESS: In Dresden I was not in the police.

THE PRESIDENT: I did not say you were. I thought you said
the Police President in Dresden was also the head of the SS.

THE WITNESS: No, that must have been misunderstood. I did
not say that.



Q. Witness, the misunderstanding probably arose because of a
third function which has not yet been discussed. Please tell
us, did the following three positions have any basic
connection with each other: (1) the Police President, (2)
the Higher SS and Police Leader, and (3) the SS
Oberabschnittsfuehrer? As a matter of fundamental principle,
did these three have any personal connection in their

A. No, that in Munich was an exception. In my case they
actually coincided but not in other parts of the Reich.

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