The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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  "In accordance with my instructions, I had a lengthy
  discussion on the 1st June, 1933, with Police Commander
  Himmler in his office at the Police Headquarters, Munich,
  about the incidents at the concentration camp of

                                                  [Page 357]
  Dachau, which I have already reported to the Ministry of
  Justice separately; in particular I told him briefly,
  with the aid of the photographs from the investigation
  files, about the Schloss, Hausmann, Strauss and Netzger
  cases, of which he appeared to have been advised already.
  I pointed out that particularly the four above-mentioned
  cases, in view of the result of findings to date, offer
  good reason for cogent suspicion of serious punishable
  actions on the part of individual members of the camp
  guard and of camp officials, and that both the Public
  Prosecutor and the police authorities, to whose knowledge
  these incidents have come, are liable to heavy punishment
  if they do not carry out their obligation of making a
  criminal investigation of the above-mentioned incidents
  without consideration for any persons whatsoever."

I do not think I need trouble you with the rest of that
document. Document 2 is a letter from the Provincial Court
Public Prosecutor to the State Ministry of Justice, dated
the 11th August, 1933. So you see, witness, no action had
apparently been taken from the 2nd of June until the 11th of
August. And then the Provincial Court Public Prosecutor, in
the last sentence of that letter, after referring to the
dossiers relating to Schloss, Hausmann, Strauss and Netzger,

  "Should the dossiers not be required at present, I would
  request the return of these files for the purpose of
  examining whether the decree of 2nd August, 1933,
  regarding the granting of immunity from punishment has to
  be applied."

I need not trouble you with the third document, or the
fourth. If the Tribunal turns to Page 5 of its copy, and if
you, witness, turn to Document 8, which is the next I wish
to refer to - that is a report from the Provincial Public
Prosecutor to the State Ministry of Justice:

  "Death of the prisoner in protective custody Hugo
  Handschuh in Dachau camp." Have you found that, witness?

A. Yes, I have found it.

Q. I am reading from Page 5 of the English text:

  Subject: "Death of the prisoner in protective custody
  Hugo Handschuh in Dachau camp.
  The judicial autopsy ordered by me took place in Dachau
  on the 23rd of September, 1933" - I'm reading from Page 5
  of the English text now - "It showed that death was due
  to a brain injury owing to haemorrhage in the soft
  membrane and that this haemorrhage was caused by blows
  with a blunt instrument, which hit the skull particularly
  in the region of the left temple and the back of the
  head. In addition, extensive bleeding was established in
  the corpse in the region of the left cheek, in the right
  shoulder and left upper arm regions, in the regions of
  the seat and the upper thigh and of the lower part of the
  left thigh - the results of blows on the body of the
  deceased with a blunt object, during his lifetime. On the
  findings based on the post-mortem, the preliminary
  medical opinion gave grounds for assuming outside
  I intend to continue the further necessary search for the
  perpetrators in collaboration with the Political Police."

And it is brought to the attention, as you see, of the Prime
Minister with a request to take note and forward to the
Reich Governor in Bavaria. And then there is a notice given
to the State Minister of the Interior.

Then, Document 11, Page 9 of the English text. Proposal made
by the Minister of the Interior to quash the inquiry into
the deaths of the protective custody prisoners, Handschuh,
Frantz and Katz. Handschuh, you will remember, witness, was
the subject of the autopsy which indicated outside

This is a letter from Adolf Wagner to the defendant, Dr.
Frank, the representative Nazi jurist. The letter, which has
been in court, is dated the 29th of November, 1933.

THE PRESIDENT: What Dr. Frank do you refer to?

                                                  [Page 358]

MR. ELWYN JONES: That is the defendant Frank, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, go ahead.


  "The Commander of the Political Police in the Ministry of
  the Interior presented to you on the 18th of November,
  1933, a proposal, according to which the inquiry into the
  cases of the prisoners in protective custody, Hugo
  Handschuh, Wilhelm Frantz and Delvin Katz, should be
  quashed for State political reasons. In connection with
  this case, you sent to me the liaison man of the State
  Ministry of Justice with the Bavarian Political Police,
  Public Prosecutor Dr. Stepp. Meanwhile, in a discussion
  with the Commander of the Political Police, Reichsfuehrer
  SS Himmler, I have ascertained once more that to carry
  out this inquiry would cause considerable damage to the
  reputation of the National Socialist State because this
  inquiry would be directed against members of the SA and
  SS and thus the SA and the SS, as the main pillars of the
  National Socialist State, would be directly affected. For
  these reasons, I support the proposal for quashing the
  inquiry presented to you on the 18th of November by the
  Commander of the Political Police in the State Ministry
  of the Interior."

I do not think I need trouble with the rest of that letter.
It states that the inhabitants of the concentration camp are
almost exclusively criminal types.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Elwyn Jones, the document you have just
been reading from, which is on Page 9 of the English text,
is dated the 29th of November, 1933. Is that a misprint?

MR. ELWYN JONES: No, my Lord, that is correct.

THE PRESIDENT: The document on Page 5 which you read before,
from the Public Prosecution, is dated 26th September, 1936.
Is that correct?

MR. ELWYN JONES: No, my Lord, that is a misprint and I
should have called your Lordship's attention to it. That
should be 1933, my Lord, and I am much obliged.

THE PRESIDENT: That is Page 5. In referring to the document,
you should state that the pages which you did not refer to,
Pages 3 and 4, show that the other dossiers, in connection
with the Public Prosecutor, Provincial Court, Munich, were
apparently lost and were not forthcoming and that inquiries
were going on about them until 1935.

MR. ELWYN JONES: Yes, my Lord. Much obliged. I was trying to
deal with the essential contents of the file.

THE PRESIDENT: Go on, then.

MR. ELWYN JONES: I want you, witness, to look at Page 6 of
the English text and Document 10 of your file. That is a
memo from Dr. H. Frank, the defendant, dated 2nd July, 1933,
to the Prime Minister, and the subject is "Quashing of
Criminal Proceedings."

  "A merchant's wife, Sophie Handschuh, of Munich, in a
  written statement received by the Public Prosecutor at
  the Provincial Court, Munich II, on the 18th of
  September, 1933, stated that her son, Hugo Handschuh,
  taken into protective custody on the 23rd August, 1933,
  died of heart failure in Dachau camp on the 2nd of
  September, 1933. In the inquest certificate, heart
  failure following on concussion of the brain was given as
  the cause of death. The body was not shown to the
  relatives and was handed over only after great
  difficulties and on condition that the coffin would not
  be reopened. The coffin was so firmly nailed down that it
  was impossible to reopen it. The writer asked that the
  coffin be opened and a judicial post-mortem held, as she
  wanted the body identified and the cause of death

                                                  [Page 359]

  In order to clear up the state of affairs, the Provincial
  Court Public Prosecutor at the Provincial Court, Munich
  II, at first, personally questioned the plaintiff, Sophie
  Handschuh, and the fiancee of the deceased, Thea Kink.
  From their evidence, the assumption seemed justified that
  already on the day of his arrest Handschuh was badly
  physically treated in the Braune Haus in Munich, and in
  connection with the further established fact that the
  relatives of the dead man were expressly refused
  permission to view the body, sufficient grounds were
  given for the suspicion that Handschuh did not die a
  natural death. In order to establish the cause of death
  without any doubt, the body was exhumed in Dachau on the
  23rd of September, 1933, and a judicial autopsy carried
  out on the orders of the Provincial Court Public
  Prosecutor. It showed that death was caused by injury to
  the brain, as a result of a haemorrhage of the soft
  membrane of the brain, and that this haemorrhage
  originated from blows with. a blunt object, which hit the
  skull particularly in the region of the left temple and
  that of the back of the head."

Then there follow further details of the autopsy which have
been given in another document I have read.

The findings of the judicial autopsy gave ground for
assuming outside responsibility.

  Paragraph II: In the forenoon of the 19th October, the
  Public Prosecutor at the Provincial Court, Munich II,
  informed by telephone by the Bavarian Political Police
  that in the afternoon of the 17th of October, 1933,
  Wilhelm Franz, of Munich, a prisoner in protective
  custody, born on the 5th of June, 1909, and on the night
  of the 17th-18th of October, 1933, Dr. Delvin Katz, of
  Nuremberg, a prisoner in protective custody, born on the
  3rd of August, 1887, hanged themselves in their military
  confinement cells in Dachau concentration camp. The
  Public Prosecutor ordered the same morning an
  investigation to be held in the camp, followed by a post-
  mortem. The corpses in a locked camp shed were lying on
  stretchers, and, with the exception of the feet, were
  totally undressed. In Franz's cell, fresh blood spots and
  splashes were observed on the wooden plank bed."

And then it goes on to say that a judicial autopsy was
ordered on the 20th of October.

According to the next paragraph:

  "The autopsy gave grounds for suspecting in respect of
  both corpses that force by an outside hand had been used.
  According to the preliminary opinion of both court
  doctors, Provincial Court Doctor Flann and Court Doctor
  Niedenthal, death by suffocation, as a result of
  strangulation and throttling, was established in both
  cases. The strangulation marks found on the neck do not
  correspond to those shown in the case of persons hanged.
  In respect of Franz's body, it is also stated in the
  preliminary opinion that fat embolism is not prima facie
  to be excluded as a contributing cause of death. Fresh
  weals on the body - fresh weals on the head, covered with
  hair, as well as particularly numerous ones on the body
  and the arms, with extensive bleeding and destruction of
  the fatty tissues, were established on this corpse, apart
  from injuries on the neck. Also Katz's body showed
  various signs of drying up and rubbing off of the skin of
  the head and one separation of the skin.
  At the time of the examination, the Public Prosecutor had
  demanded the production of both belts with which Franz
  and Katz had allegedly hanged themselves; they could not
  be handed over at once. The Dachau lower Court had
  ordered the confiscation of the belts, in accordance with
  the application. Until now, the objects, confiscated had
  not yet been received by the Public Prosecutor."

  Then paragraph III: "In each case I informed the Prime
  Minister, and through him the Reich Governor in Bavaria,
  as well as the State Minister of the Interior, of the
  Public Prosecutor's reports.

                                                  [Page 360]

  In a letter of the 29th of November, 1933, addressed to
  me, the State Minister of the Interior proposed that, for
  State political reasons, the inquiry by the Public
  Prosecutor of the Provincial Court, Munich 11, into the
  deaths of Hugo Handschuh, Wilhelm Franz and Dr. Delvin
  Katz, prisoners in protective custody, should be quashed.
  As a reason, it was pointed out that the conducting of
  investigations would cause great harm to the prestige of
  the National Socialist State, since these proceedings
  would be directed against members of the SA and SS and
  thus the SA and SS as the chief protagonists of the
  National Socialist State would be immediately affected."

And then Frank goes on to give an opinion in law that the
Reich Governor in fact has the right of pardoning. He states
that - in the last part of the last paragraph but one - "the
constitutional deed of the Free State of Bavaria of 1919
forbade the quashing of criminal investigations. The law
regarding the quashing of criminal investigations of 2nd
August, 1933, removed the ban on quashing. According to the
Bavarian provincial law at present valid, the legal
possibility therefore exists of quashing individual criminal
proceedings by means of an administrative act in the form of
a pardon." And then he states that this right is vested in
the Reich Governor of Bavaria.

And then Frank suggests that "in view of this legal
position, the proposal of the State Minister of the Interior
be submitted to the Council of Ministers."

The next document, Page 10 of the English text, Document 12
of the German text, indicates that the Council of Ministers
was not prepared to countenance the quashing. And it states:

  "The proposal of the State Minister of the Interior that
  the inquiry pending into the death of the prisoners
  Handschuh, Franz and Katz, who were in protective
  custody, be quashed, was the subject of a debate during
  the meeting, of the Council of Ministers of the 5th of
  December, 1933. As a result, the State Minister of
  Justice communicated the following to the undersigned
  official: 'The criminal proceedings regarding the
  happenings in the Dachau concentration camp are to be
  continued with all determination. The facts are to be
  cleared up with the utmost speed.' "

Then there are various instructions with regard to the

The next step of this story is Document 12 of the German
file, Page 11 of the English text:

  "Presented to the State Minister with the request that he
  take note. The rote of the first Public Prosecutor, Dr.
  Stepp, regarding the carrying out of his instructions is
  attached with the request that note be taken.
  By order of Ministerial Counsellor Doebig, I communicated
  to the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler the decision taken
  yesterday by the Council of Ministers concerning the
  cases of Handschuh, etc. The Reichsfuehrer SS told me
  that  the matter greatly concerned the Chief-of-Staff of
  the SA, Reich Minister Roehm. He (Himmler) had to discuss
  the matter with the latter first."

Then Roehm gives certain instructions which this
correspondent Dr. Stepp writes down from memory:

  "The Dachau camp is a camp for prisoners who are in
  protective custody and who were imprisoned on political
  grounds. The incidents concerned are of a political
  nature and under all circumstances the political
  authorities must decide first about them. To my mind they
  are not suited to be dealt with by the legal authorities.
  This is my opinion as Chief-of-Staff and also as Reich
  Minister who is interested in the Reich not suffering
  politically because of the proceedings in question.
  I shall get the Reichsfuehrer SS to issue an order that
  no investigating authorities may enter the camp for the
  time being and that people in the camp may also not be
  interrogated for the time being."

                                                  [Page 361]

Then there is a note:

  "The Court of Appeal, Munich, was instructed by a
  directive from the Minister to refrain for the time being
  from making an application for the opening of preliminary

Then follows the next document, Document 13, a letter to the
Public Prosecutor on the deaths of these men Franz and Katz.

  "With regard to the above-mentioned matter, I have, as
  instructed, requested the Bavarian Political Police to
  clear up the matter further in conjunction with the
  commandant's office of the concentration camp of Dachau
  and to endeavour to find out the persons who are
  suspected of having been the culprits. In this request I
  mentioned also that I have not yet received the legally
  confiscated instruments of suicide (belt and braces) of
  the dead men.
  The Political Police have apparently transmitted the
  files without any written direction to the Political
  Department of the concentration camp of Dachau."

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