The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants
Ernst Kaltenbrunner
(Part 3 of 4)


[Page 579]

C. KALTENBRUNNER HAD DIRECT KNOWLEDGE OF AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE COMMISSION OF MANY SPECIFIC CRIMES.

(1) Kaltenbrunner was fully cognizant of conditions in concentration camps and of the fact that concentration camps were used for slave labor and mass murder. Mauthausen concentration camp was established in Austria while Kaltenbrunner was the Higher SS and Police Leader for Austria, and was frequently visited by Kaltenbrunner before he was appointed Chief of the Security Police and SD (L-51). On the occasion of one such visit

[Page 580]

in 1942, Kaltenbrunner personally observed the gas chamber in operation (2753-PS). After he became Chief of the Security Police and SD, Kaltenbrunner visited Mauthausen concentration camp but with less frequency (L-51). On one occasion he made an inspection of the camp grounds with Himmler and had his photograph taken during the course of the inspection (2641-PS). After a visit to Mauthausen in 1944 Kaltenbrunner reported to his Amt Chiefs with pride that he had helped to build up Mauthausen when he was Higher SS and Police Leader in Austria and that the camp was engaged in valuable armament work (2990-PS). Mauthausen concentration camp was classified by Heydrich in January 1941 in category III, a camp for the most heavily accused prisoners and for asocial prisoners who were considered incapable of being reformed (1063-A-PS).

There were frequent conferences between the RSHA and executives of the SS Wirtshaft and Verwaltungshauptamt who had charge of the internal administration of concentration camps. The affidavit of Rudolf Mildner states with respect to these conferences:

"SS Obergruppenfuehrer Dr. Kaltenbrunner attended personally conferences with SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, Chief of the SS Wirtschaft and Verwaltungshauptamt and Chief of the concentration camps. Due to these conferences and through talks with the Chief of Office Gruppenfuehrer Mueller of Amt IV and Gruppenfuehrer Nebe of Amt V, the Chief of the Security Police and SD, SS Obergruppenfuehrer Dr. Kaltenbrunner, must have known the state of affairs in the concentration camps." (L-35)

(2) With full knowledge of conditions in and the purpose of concentration camps, Kaltenbrunner ordered or permitted to be ordered in his name the commitment of persons to concentration camps. All orders for protective custody other than short-term confinements were issued in the name of Kaltenbrunner as Chief of the Security Police and SD and bore the facsimile stamp of his signature (2477-PS).

The commandant of Buchenwald concentration camp in his affidavit

"With the exception of the mass delivery of prisoners from the concentration camps of occupied territories, all prisoners were sent to the concentration camp Buchenwald on orders of the Reichssicherheitschauptamt, Berlin. These preventive arrest orders (red blanks) were in most cases signed with

[Page 581]

the name Kaltenbrunner. The few other preventive arrest orders were signed with 'Foerster."

On 7 July 1943 an order for protective custody was issued by the Gestapo (Amt IV C 2, RSHA) bearing the facsimile signature of Kaltenbrunner, to be sent in the form of a telegram to the Gestapo office in Koeslin in the case of a woman whose offense was stated to be failure to work, work sabotage, and asocial conduct. She was ordered to be confined in the concentration camp at Ravensbrueck (2745- PS).

On 19 January 1944 a warrant for protective custody was issued by the Gestapo (Amt IV C 2 of the RSHA) certified as signed by Kaltenbrunner, to a British subject, C. S. James, on the grounds that he had been proven guilty of activities to the detriment of the German Reich, and that there was reason to expect that he would, if released, commit acts prejudicial to the Reich (1574-PS).

Other instances of commitments to various concentration camps on orders, signed by Kaltenbrunner, are contained in the dossiers of 25 Luxembourgers committed to concentration camps by the Einsatzkommando of the Sipo and SD in Luxembourg during the year 1944. The concentration camps to which the persons were committed included Dachau, Natzweiler, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald. Among the grounds were: "strongly suspected of working to the detriment of the Reich; " "spiteful statements inimical to Germany as well as aspersions and threats against persons active in the National Socialist movement;" "strongly suspected of aiding desertion;" "as relative of a deserter expected to take advantage of every occasion to harm the German Reich." (L- 215).

Further orders for commitments to concentration camps are contained in file of 42 telegrams, all issued by the RSHA, Amt IV A 6, Prague, to the Gestapo Office at Darmstadt, and all signed by Kaltenbrunner, during the period from 20 September 1944 to 2 February 1945. The concentration camps to which people were sent included Sachsenhausen, Ravensbrueck, Buchenwald, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, Flossenburg, and Theresienstadt. Nationalities included Czech, German, French, Dutch, Italian, Corsican, Lithuanian, Greek, and Jew. Grounds included "refusal to work;" "religious propaganda;" "sex relations with PWs;" "communist statements;" "loafing on job;" "working against the Reich;" "spreading of rumors detrimental to morale;" "Aktion Gitter;" "breach of work contracts;" "statements

[Page 582]

against Germany;" "assault of foreman;" "defeatist statements;" "theft and escape from jail" (2239-PS).

(3) Kaltenbrunner authorized executions in concentration camps. Adolf Zutter, the adjutant of Mauthausen concentration camp, avers that, until the assassination of Heydrich, orders for executions at Mauthausen were signed by Heydrich or his substitute, and that after Kaltenbrunner became Chief of the Security Police and SD they were signed either by Kaltenbrunner or by his substitute, Mueller. Zutter mentions a specific instance in which Kaltenbrunner ordered the execution of a group of 12 to 15 uniformed members of an American military mission (L-51).


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