The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2001/01/10


As to the testimony of the Gauleiter and Kreisleiter as a
whole, it is to be remarked that only a few witnesses have
been examined, and that only a few affidavits could be taken
out of the mass of material available. However, it is no
doubt established that in general the Political Leaders did
not follow the criminal suggestion. In spite of the
embitterment, despair, and misery at the destruction of many
human lives, violation of the rules of warfare was

Affidavit 61 summarizes approximately 11,000 individual
statements. These statements not only bear witness to a
passive rejection of this dangerous method, but in many
cases confirm that definite steps were taken to protect
airmen against the excited population.

Finally, the Political Leadership Corps has been accused by
the prosecution of having worked through the Foreign
Organization of the NSDAP as a fifth column abroad. Evidence
for this has neither been produced during the hearing before
this Tribunal when the case of Hess was dealt with, nor
during the hearing of evidence before the Commission. The
Foreign Organization merely served in drawing together the
Party members of German citizenship abroad and it was meant
to maintain in them an understanding for Germanism. It was
expressly prohibited for members of the Foreign Organization
to make propaganda for the National Socialist ideology
amongst the inhabitants of the foreign countries, or to co-
operate with political groups abroad even if those
represented National Socialist or Fascist ideas. For that
reason, it was also forbidden for them to collaborate with
the American-German union; this prohibition was also
strictly observed. (Proof: examination of the witness von

On the strength of the experiences of Germans living abroad
during the First World War, they were, as testified by
witness von Roedern, against every policy of expansion They
had no other goal but that of maintaining peace with every
and for that reason it was out of the question that they
could be used for

                                                   [Page 46]

fifth column purposes. Members of the Foreign Organization
were prohibited from any collaboration with the German
Secret Service by order of their Chief, Bohle. If individual
members of the Foreign Organization infringed this order,
then they did not do so on behalf of the Foreign
Organization, but against its explicit instructions. This
becomes apparent from the fact that the foreign States
concerned, for instance England, never prohibited the
Foreign Organization in spite of such instances; on the
contrary, the legal character of the Foreign Organization
was repeatedly and expressly recognized by foreign States.
That the Foreign Organization never acted as a fifth column
becomes finally apparent from the fact that it remained
operative in neutral countries until the end, even at a time
when no difficulties of a diplomatic nature could have
arisen for these States if they had prohibited it.

I have commented on the individual points of the charges.
The question now is: what overall picture results? It is to
be examined whether the cases investigated were individual
occurrences, or whether they were represented by a mutual
bond, and thus indicate the criminal character of the
Political Leaders.

The prosecution has pointed out that it has presented
particularly extensive evidence. One must admit that, on the
basis of the occupation of all of Germany, and the activity
of the authorities, the last nook and cranny has been
searched, and the evidence has been brought here, but for
that very reason the material surprises one, on closer
examination, because of its scantiness; it is shown that the
scope of the prosecution's charge is not substantiated.

Not fragmentary evidence but only systematic evidence can
bring conviction that occurrences which happened once at one
place necessarily happened constantly everywhere else. The
individual occurrences could be designated systematic if
activated by a conspiracy which demonstrates their criminal
character, but if it exactly the existence of such a
conspiracy which should first be proved.

The documents of the prosecution are contradicted by the
testimony of the defense witnesses.

The prosecution has questioned the credibility of the
witnesses on the grounds that they are all witnesses on
their own behalf.

They were reproached for having remained in office until the

If one were to follow this line of thought, the possibility
of legal hearing of the members, guaranteed by the Charter,
would be void of meaning. The witnesses are not appearing on
their own behalf, but as witnesses with a general knowledge
of occurrences and conditions which can only be clarified by
the members of the organization themselves. Their
credibility must be shown by the uniformity of many

One cannot in general reject testimony when the express
purpose of the proceedings is to eliminate evidence on those
points in later proceedings. There every individual would be
able to bring witnesses for the correctness of the
testimony, but too late. If specific testimony is said to be
untrustworthy, this must be proved in the individual case;
that evidence cannot, however, be, given by a witness
drawing conclusions which he cannot draw correctly due to
his lack of insight and knowledge. Only a few witnesses were
heard before the Commission and the Tribunal.

The testimony of individual witnesses has no compelling
force to establish the criminal character of an
organization. The witness can generally give little
testimony about conditions as a whole which are under
examination. Even if he has an extensive knowledge of things
his testimony remains only fragmentary.

Only a comprehensive inquiry can bring clarification. The
prosecution had a good opportunity for this in the camps.
That all internees were examined is shown by the individual
trials which were carried out as a result of this
examination, but crime as a general phenomenon could not be

The defense for its part gathered together all available
evidential material by means of a sort of Enquete. In the
proceedings before the Tribunal Enquetes

                                                   [Page 47]

were admitted on principle in the form of governmental
reports. To prove general occurrences they in fact do not
seem superfluous.

The weaknesses of the Enquete are well known; their main
danger lies in the choice of witnesses. In the present case,
however, the circle of witnesses is limited to camp inmates.
The affidavits of approximately 38,000 persons which were
submitted are not a selection from the camps, but a digest.

The second difficulty of the Enquete is the impossibility
for outsiders to check the statements, because of their
extent. Under the prevailing circumstances, however, this
very checking is assured; the circumstances of all witnesses
from the camps are known and confirmed through
investigations. The statements of the witnesses can be
checked at any time. That such an examination is possible is
shown by the establishment of Denazification Courts.

If one denies the evidential value of the testimony of
witnesses and the affidavits in their totality, without
having examined their actual value, this trial cannot lead
to any real result.

If the testimony of witnesses is given even a little
evidential value, then the uniform picture is destroyed on
which the prosecution has based its plea.

Another question is whether, through the responsibility of
all Political Leaders, based on their position or based on
their knowledge and approval, a joint responsibility can

The practical question is whether a Kreisleiter in the
country is jointly affected through occurrences in an
Ortsgruppe in the city, and whether someone who was a
Political Leader in 1930 is affected by events which have
occurred during the war. The question is whether a
Blockleiter is affected by the circumstance that on the
basis of secret instructions human beings were removed by
mercy deaths.

It appears obvious that differences must be considered here.

First of all, a difference with regard to time.

The conspiracy which connects individual actions, according
to the statement of the Prosecutor of the Soviet Union,
cannot be proved with certainty before the year of 1933.
According to Appendix A of the Indictment of the
Organization, the Reich Government is held responsible for a
conspiracy only after 1934. Only one of the documents used
against the Political Leaders refers to the year 1933; it is
374-PS, and deals with a local Jewish boycott.

All other documents concern events after 1938. The majority
of documents only deal with the period of the war.

When ascertaining the incriminating period, no individual
case can be decisive, but only events which at the time when
they took place bore a general character.

If the prosecution maintain their plea for the entire period
of the existence of the Party, then I believe that this
position is untenable.

It is furthermore impossible to follow the train of thought
according to which the honorary Blockleiter is supposed to
be equally responsible with a Reichsleiter or Gauleiter. A
difference must be made according to the position held.

A Gauleiter has different possibilities for gaining insight,
and his knowledge and experience is greater than that of a
local group leader. The professional Political Leader must
be judged differently to one who is acting in a honorary

Only if proof of a joint conspiracy is furnished could they
be put on the same level, But that conspiracy in particular
is yet to be established.

When examining the incriminating documents, the difference
of this responsibility becomes evident. There are
instructions given at the higher level of which merely the
smallest circle had gained knowledge; there are instructions
meant to be communicated generally to Political Leaders,
which, however, did not pass through the entire channel of
orders; there are instructions which, issued in a certain
part of the Reich independently, did not become known in
other Gaue. There are measures carried out by the highest
Political Leaders which only became known to them because of
special State positions and which therefore had no contact
with the machinery of the Party.

                                                   [Page 48]

The difference in position has in fact been recognized by
the prosecution in its indictment of the Political Leaders,
and accordingly the members of the Ortsgruppen staffs and
the auxiliaries of the Zellen- and Blockleiter have been
omitted from the proceedings. It is in accordance with this
principle that in addition the degree of responsibility on
the part of the remaining groups must be examined.

That Zellen- and Blockleiter are still included in the
proceedings, whereas members of the staffs of the
Ortsgruppen who held a similar or even higher rank are not
included, is due to the fact that in the organization manual
they have been described as "functionaries"

The significance of the organization manual is misunderstood
by the prosecution. The book was a theoretical work which
was described as such by the personal adviser of the Reich
Organization Leader, Ley.

The designation "Hoheitstrager" was given to Zellen- and
Blockleiter merely constructive reasons, because in that way
they could be included in the territorial organization.

This interpretation has the result that a Blockleiter
appears as an important functionary whereas a Reichsleiter
lacks this same characteristic; on the other hand, the
Blockleiter, as a Hoheitstrager, falls into the same
category as the Fuehrer himself as a functionary of the
Reich. I call your attention to Affidavit Hederich No. 27,
Affidavit Schmidt No. 25, and Affidavit Foertsch No. 26.
These are witnesses who were active in the organization as
organizational leaders.

Accordingly, in the book of Oberreichsleiter Dr. Lingg,
entitled Administration of the NSDAP, which appeared in
1940, Zellen- and Blockleiter are not listed as
Hoheitstrager. The designation Hoheitstrager only goes down
as far as the Ortsgruppenleiter.

In the same manner a decree of the Party Chancellery, dated
8th October, 1937, does not include the Zellen- and
Blockleiter among the Hoheitstrager (Document 2-PL). There
only four spheres of official jurisdiction are mentioned and
they end with the Ortsgruppe.

In addition there is an announcement by Hitler dated 25th
April, 1941, regarding authority to enter damaged property
after an air raid. There again Zellen-  and Blockleiter are
not listed amongst the Hoheitstrager.

Equally, the periodical Der Hoheitstrager, submitted by the
prosecution as Document 2660-PS, for the purpose of proving
the special character of the Zellen- and Blockleiter shows
that the periodical was only dispatched as far as to

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Servatius, are your pages in the German
the same the English pages or not?

DR. SERVATIUS: I have not been able to check them; they
ought to be the same. I am now on Page 54.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. I want you to go back to Page 53 for a
moment. I did not understand your argument at the bottom of
Page 53. This is says in the English: "The designation
'Hoheitstrager' was given to Zellen- and Blockleiter for
merely constructive reasons ...." I do not know what the
word "constructive" means there; and it goes on: " ...
because in way they could be included in the territorial
organization. This construction led to it that a Block
Leader appears as an important Hoheitstrager, whereas a
Reich Leader lacks this same characteristic ...." What do
you mean by "Reich Leader"? Is that the same as a

DR. SERVATIUS: Reichsleiter; it must be Reichsleiter.

THE PRESIDENT: Then on the next page, Page 54, you go on to
say in the third paragraph: "In the same manner a decree of
the Party Chancellery, dated 8th of October, 1937, does not
include the Zellen- and Blockleiter among the

                                                   [Page 49]

Hoheitstrager (Document 2-PL). There only four spheres of
official jurisdiction are mentioned and they end with the
Ortsgruppe." Well, that is equivalent to saying, is it not,
that the Reichsleiter are Hoheitstrager?

DR. SERVATIUS: No. On the Reich level there is only one
Hoheitstrager and that is Adolf Hitler himself, as Fuehrer,
whereas Reichsleiter are not Hoheitstrager since they
themselves have no allotted territories. The Fuehrer,
Hitler, requested that, and that is how it was constructed:
the Reich; the Fuehrer and then come the Gauleiter,
Kreisleiter and Ortsgruppenleiter, and there it ends. There
is no Reich for Block- and Zellenleiter.

I continue with the last paragraph.

Further instructions of the Party Chancellery were issued on
7th December, 1943, in which the Block- and Zellenleiter
were not counted among the Hoheitstrager (Document 24-PL).
But not only as regards their position but also with regard
to their activities, the Zellen- and Blockleiter were not
persons to whom special privileges and authority were
granted. Their activities have been described by witnesses
examined before this Tribunal and consisted of practical
assistance. These Political Leaders were active in the
administration of the Party or during war to an ever-
increasing degree, carrying on social work in order to
alleviate distress after air attacks, to which was added
practical assistance in resettlement and the prevention of
damage during air raid alerts. Self-sacrificing and
strenuous work was demanded of these people.

These Political Leaders did not occupy a particularly
predominant position. Interesting in this connection is
Document 9-PL, the appendix to the announcement by the
Deputy of the Fuehrer, dated 12th July, 1940. It appears
from this that unlike the actual Hoheitstrager, the
political reliability of Zellen- and Blockleiter had still
to be established if they applied for a marriage loan or any
other type of assistance.

That such people could not be regarded as generally suitable
for the duties of a spy is a certainty.

It also becomes clear that they had no tasks of political
leadership; they were mostly ordinary people who lacked the
time and the knowledge for such work. The fact that from
certain more highly educated circles individual persons were
appointed as Blockleiter, also shows that it was not their
political ability which was to be used.

Particularly important in this connection is the Document 24-
PL just mentioned, regarding "Hints for Leadership from the
Party Chancellery." These "Hints for Leadership" are issued,
as is stated in the document, "for the speedy political
enlightenment of the Hoheitstrager (that is, the Gau-, Kreis-
and Ortsgruppenleiter) and for assistance in their
leadership work." In order to inform the junior leaders of
the formations and affiliated organizations, the
Hoheitstrager are, each in his own sphere (Gau, Kreis and
Ortsgruppe), to acquaint the corresponding leaders of
formations and affiliated organizations with these
leadership hints.

Block- and Zellenleiter, therefore were neither the regular
recipients of leadership instructions, nor were
Ortsgruppenleiter allowed to acquaint them with these. This
proves that Zellen- and Blockleiter were excepted from the
political instruction which was meant to be achieved by
these leadership hints, and that they had no, or very small
tasks of a leadership nature, and that it was not considered
essential to aid them by means of these leadership hints.

The fact also that, particularly during war time, Zellen-
and Blockleiter were simply appointed to their offices,
speaks against the political significance of their

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