The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. And now please distinguish between Police Presidents and
Higher SS and Police Leaders. Please make clear to the Court
what the difference is between these two positions.

A. The Police President was a State administrative official,
while the position of Higher SS and Police Chief was created
only during the war, without his being designated an
official authority or a regional commander, for according to
the official instructions from the Reich Minister of the
Interior, his sole task was to represent the Reichsfuehrer
SS and Chief of the German Police in his Defence Area
(Wehrkreis). He did not have any authority to issue orders
to the police.

                                                  [Page 255]

According to the decree of the Reich Minister of the
Interior, the Chiefs of the Main Offices of the Regular
Police and Security Police remained the superiors of the
police. The power to issue orders rested in them. They used
their own chain of command, while the Higher SS and Police
Leader was secondary to them, without any authority to issue
orders to the police.

Q. And now please answer the question: Is the assertion of
the prosecution correct, that the Higher SS and Police
Leader formed a close connection between the general SS and
the police?

A. That was impossible

THE PRESIDENT: You have already asked him that once and he
has answered it. Let us go on to the next question.

Q. Is the more sweeping assertion of the prosecution
correct, that the general SS and the police officially
formed one unit, and so was a State within a State? Is this
assertion correct?

A. No.

DR. PELCKMANN: On this question, since I do not want to
burden the High Tribunal with details, I shall refer to the
depositions SS Affidavits 86 and 88, which I shall hand in

Q. You have already said, witness, that the Higher SS and
Police Leader had no power to issue orders to the Regular
Police or to the Security Police. But did the Higher SS and
Police Leader have the power to issue orders to the Waffen
SS or to the general SS?

A. The Higher SS and Police Leader had no power to issue
orders to the Waffen SS; to the general SS only if he was
Leader of the SS Oberabschnitt of the general SS at the same
time, not otherwise. I ask to be allowed to add something to
my previous answer. The Higher SS and Police Leader had the
right, but not the duty, to carry out inspections and he
could make suggestions. For my part, I am only in a position
to testify on the activities of the Higher SS and Police
Leader in the home territory. What the procedure was in the
occupied territories I cannot judge.

Q. To sum up your testimony, could one say that the title
"Higher SS and Police Leader" is misleading?

A. Yes.

DR. PELCKMANN: Concerning the testimony of the witness on
the position of the Higher SS and Police Leader in the
occupied territories with regard to Germany, I refer to
Affidavit SS No. 87.

Q. In your capacity as Higher SS and Police Leader, did you
ever receive information from the Reichsfuehrer SS on the
treatment of enemy flyers when they had to make emergency

A. Yes.

Q. For what purpose did you receive this information and how
did you apply it?

A. This announcement said it was not the task of the police
to interfere in altercations - I believe that was the
expression - between the German population and enemy flyers
who had bailed out. Nothing was said about any kind of
treatment in this announcement. This announcement was signed
by Himmler; and the Higher SS and Police Leaders were
ordered by Himmler to inform the commanders of the Regular
Police and the inspectors of the Security Police fully of
the contents of this announcement.

Q. Had corresponding announcements been sent previously and
subsequently to Party offices by the Fuehrer's Party
Chancellery, Reich Leader Bormann?

A. Yes, to a great extent. There were announcements in the
Volkischer Beobachter, in the paper Das Reich, and besides
that, the Gauleiter of my district commented on it.
Moreover, the commander of the Regular Police and the
Inspector of the Security Police received this order from
their superiors as well. I

                                                  [Page 256]

should like to remark that this was so throughout the entire
Reich. A similar order was also issued by the Main Office of
the Regular Police, giving the same information to the
police offices, as well as by the Main Reich Security

Q. On the basis of these decrees, did the attitude of the
police in your district change in any way in cases of
landings by enemy flyers?

A. In no way. It was a fundamental principle for us to
adhere to the provisions of the Geneva Convention or the
Hague Rules on Land Warfare; I do not know which of the two
rules is applicable there, but in any case to treat
prisoners as was proper.

Q. In spite of this, did the lynching of flyers occur in the
district under you?

A. No. Lynchings did not occur, but unfortunately there were
some shootings of flyers. It so happened with us that the
flyers were taken out of the police stations and then shot.
As I have now learned from the Press, trials have been held
on this account and the murders atoned for. I have been
under arrest now for a year and a quarter and get my
information only from the papers. The reports of the trials
indicate that the police treated the flyers decently in
every respect, bandaged their wounds, and turned them over
to the Luftwaffe, as was prescribed.

Q. Was it improper, or a violation of the Hague  Rules on
Land Warfare, if the flyers were arrested by the police and
not by the Wehrmacht?

A. I can give no judgement on these regulations of
International Law, as I said before.

THE PRESIDENT: He is not a witness on law. This is a matter
for us to judge.

Q. Witness, was there a general order in existence since the
beginning of the war that flyers who had made emergency
landings had to be taken to a place of safety by the police?

A. Yes. The regulations read as follows: Flyers who had
bailed out were to be arrested by the police. Besides that,
according to German law, any other citizen was able to do
this. Then they were to be taken to the police. The police
stations had orders to inform the nearest Luftwaffe office
that the police had enemy pilots and that the Luftwaffe was
to come for them. There was a binding rule that these
captured flyers were to be turned over to our Luftwaffe

Q. What did you, as Higher SS and Police Leader, have to do
with the Gestapo and the SD?

A. Nothing. According to existing regulations, the Inspector
of the Security Service informed the Higher SS and Police
Leader of what happened in the sphere of the Gestapo or
Security Service. These two agencies, the Security Service
and the Gestapo, received their orders directly from the,
offices concerned, Offices III or IV of the Main Reich
Security Office.

Q. And so you had no power to issue orders to the
inspectorates of the Security Police and the SD?

A. I believe you made a mistake by saying "inspectorates." I
could not have any power of command over inspectorates.

Q. You had no power to issue orders to the Security Police
and the SD?

A. No.

Q. What did you, as leader of the Oberabschnitt of the
general SS, have to do with the Gestapo or the SD?

A. As Oberabschnitt leader I did not have anything to do
with them.

Q. Was it so throughout the Reich that the leaders of the
general SS had no power to issue orders to the Gestapo and
the SD?

A. Yes. The general SS had no executive powers and, besides
that, it was not allowed to become active or to interfere as
an intelligence service, that is, in the sphere of the
Security Service.

                                                  [Page 257]

Q. Did your corps area (Oberabschnitt), or did the
divisional areas (Abschnitt), regiments (Standarten) and
companies (Sturme) of the General SS, have any official
connection with the Gestapo or the SD?

A. No.

Q. As Higher SS and Police Leader, or as Oberabschnitt
leader of the general SS, what did you have to do with
concentration camps up to September, 1944?

A. Nothing.

Q. Is it true for all the Reich that the Police Presidents,
the Higher SS and Police Leaders, and the leaders of the
general SS had nothing to do with concentration camps?

A. Yes.

Q. What offices were responsible, first for delivery to and
release from concentration camps, and second for the
administration of the concentration camps themselves?

A. For admission to and release from a concentration camp,
Office IV of the Main Reich Security Office was competent.
For the administration and internal affairs of the
concentration camps, the Economic and Administrative Head
Office of the SS was responsible, Amtsgruppe D, Inspectorate
of Concentration Camps.

Q. Therefore, can one conclude from your answer that for
killings and atrocities committed against prisoners in
concentration camps, neither the Police President of the
district in question nor the Higher SS and Police Leader of
this district, nor the leader of the Oberabschnitt of the
general SS was responsible?

A. None of the offices mentioned was responsible for such
things. The concentration camp system was a strictly
independent apparatus, with its own chain of command.

Q. Do you know the concentration camp at Dachau, from your
own experience?

A. Yes. In the course of the years from 1936 on, when I was
transferred to Munich, I often received orders from Himmler
that I was to take high German and foreign officials to
Dachau to show them the concentration camp. Among others, I
took the Royal Yugoslav Minister of the Interior there; once
some high American police officials; a number of commandants
of prisoner-of-war camps; high political personages from
Italy, and so forth.

Q. Then since you say you had nothing else to do with the
concentration camps, that was your only opportunity to
obtain permission to enter them? And if I have understood
you correctly, you received permission through the Main
Reich Security Office just like the guests who were
inspecting the camp?

A. Yes; that is, I received orders to go there, and the
guests received permission. It was done in the following
way: Either Himmler's staff or the RSHA, through the
Inspectors of Concentration Camps, informed the competent
camp commandant that guests were coming with me as their

THE PRESIDENT: We do not think you need go into the details
of the exact way in which the orders went. We do not want
the details.


Q. Aside from the Rascher case, which I shall discuss in a
minute, did you ever have any official reason to visit the
camp at Dachau?

A. No.

Q. Did you, perhaps, for other reasons necessarily have the
desire to obtain accurate information about conditions in
the camp, perhaps because you had heard that mass killings
were carried out there, and that the people were starving to

A. No, because from what I saw when I visited the camp
everything was in order. The kitchen installation was shown,
the hospitals, the dental station, the operating-rooms,
showers, barracks; and there was also an opportunity here to

                                                  [Page 258]
see numerous prisoners who, in my judgement, in peace time -
that is, before 1939 - were in an outstandingly good state
of health. After 1939 - that is, during the war - they gave
the impression of being normally well fed.

There were also thousands of prisoners, in Munich, for
example, who were employed in the removal of bomb debris in
public squares and streets and everyone could see the
prisoners. From my point of view, on the basis of the
knowledge I gained during my visits to the camp, I had no
occasion to intervene, and I had no right to do so, either.

Q. On these visits, could you, because of your position, see
more or less than the visitors whom you accompanied?

A. I cannot judge. Tours were conducted through the whole
camp. For example, in the autumn of 1944, the commandants of
prisoner-of-war camps were taken through. They were all
experts who knew everything about camps and could go around
everywhere, according to their own judgement, and see
everything for themselves.

Q. Did you ever hear anything about biological experiments
on living persons in the concentration camp at Dachau, and
if so, when?

A. Yes. In the spring of 1944, in the course of criminal
police investigations against an SS Hauptsturmfuehrer, Dr.
Rascher, a physician, and his wife. The Raschers were
accused of interchanging children (Kindesunterschiebung).
That is a word which is very difficult to translate. In our
law it means the illegal appropriation of other people's

Secondly, Rascher was accused of financial irregularities in
connection with the research station at Dachau, where these
biological experiments were carried on. This research
station was directly subordinate to Himmler, without any
intermediate authority.

Q. Did you know anything of those experiments beforehand?

A. No. It was only by accident that I found out about them.

Q. Please describe your investigation so that the Court may
see that you did not close your eyes to such things?

A. On the basis of the proceedings which had already been
commenced with the Criminal Police in Munich, I forced an
entry into the camp at Dachau. I call your attention to the
fact that it was by then 1944, and communications were so
bad that I could not wait long for approval. With the help
of a teletype message to the inspectorate I learned that I
could go with the officials to Dachau in the course of the
police investigation if I could obtain their permission. I
did not know anything about the biological experiments at
that time, but only of the two offences mentioned first. And
when in a talk with the camp commandant I merely mentioned
the name of Rascher, he, as well as the camp doctor, who had
been summoned there, said that they considered Rascher a
dangerous, incredible person who was carrying on the most
abominable experiments on living human beings. He, Rascher,
was vested with full powers from Himmler; and the camp
commandant and his personnel were so intimidated that up to
the time when I intervened, they did not dare oppose
Rascher's activity in any way.

They felt that I would afford them the protection of a high
SS leader, and so we came to discuss the experiments.
Naturally, I did not release Rascher, who had been
previously arrested by the Criminal Police for
investigation, and immediately made a personal report to
Himmler in his field headquarters in Eigen near Salzburg,
and, indeed, I did this without being asked and on my own
decision. Himmler had already reproached me bitterly by
telephone for interfering at all.

He said I probably wanted to hold a sensational trial. I
made the situation clear to Himmler, upon which he was very
reserved toward me and said I did not understand anything
about these things. He said that Herr Rascher was making
very important experiments. He promised he would keep the
documents which I had brought and submit the Rascher case to
the Supreme SS and Police Court for punishment. The Supreme
SS and Police Court was competent, because

                                                  [Page 259]

Himmler was Rascher's superior in this research office and
Rascher was immediately subordinate to him. Unfortunately,
he was not subject to the jurisdiction of my court.

Q. Were any proceedings brought against Rascher?

A. No.

Q. What became of Rascher?

A. Rascher remained under arrest as before. I kept
complaining without interruption for weeks and months to
Himmler's office and to the Supreme SS and Police Court. I
learned later from the latter office that Himmler had not
turned over the files to them at all.

Q. Did you learn later that Rascher was in a concentration

A. Yes. Rascher remained under arrest in the detention house
of the SS barracks, Munich-Freimann, apparently until the
barracks, at least the detention house was evacuated because
of the approach of the American troops. He was then sent to
Dachau and I learned from the Press that he must have been
shot during the last few days. I cannot give any further
information about this, since I was relieved of my post on
20th April, 1945.

THE PRESIDENT: Before we adjourn, perhaps you can tell us
how long you are going to be with this witness.

DR. PELCKMANN: I assume forty-five minutes, your Lordship.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 5th August, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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