The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 17, 1945 to January 4, 1946

Twenty-Fifth Day: Wednesday, 2nd January, 1946
(Part 8 of 9)

[Page 232]

THE PRESIDENT: You say it is the same as 1650?

LT. HARRIS: It is, Sir, substantially the same. It relates to the same subject. It was, however, addressed to a different party, and I particularly wish to place before the Tribunal the last paragraph which has been quoted and read into evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: The last paragraph does not mean very much by itself, does it?

LT. HARRIS: Very well, Sir. Then, if the Tribunal will permit it, I would like to read the document in its entirety.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean that 1650 has got these paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 in it?

LT. HARRIS: Yes, Sir. That is exactly what I do mean, Sir.

I will call the attention of the Tribunal to Document 2285-PS, which was received in evidence this morning as Exhibit USA 490. That was the affidavit of Lt. Colonel Gast and Lt. Veith of the French Army, who stated that during 1943 and 1944 prisoners of war were murdered at Mauthausen under the "Bullet Decree." I am sure the Tribunal will recall that document.

The fourth crime for which Kaltenbrunner is responsible as Chief of the Security Police and S.D. was the commitment of racial and political undesirables to concentration camps and annihilation camps, for slave labour and mass murder. Before Kaltenbrunner became Chief of the Security Police and S.D., on 30th January, 1943, he was fully cognisant of conditions in concentration camps and of the fact that concentration camps were used for slave labour and mass murder. The Tribunal will recall from previous evidence that Mauthausen concentration camp was established in Austria and that Kaltenbrunner was the Higher S.S. and Police Leader for Austria. This concentration camp, as shown by Document 1063A-PS, which was received this morning as Exhibit USA 492, 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. The Tribunal will recall that prisoners of war to be executed under the "Bullet Decree " were sent to Mauthausen. As will be shown hereafter, Kaltenbrunner was a frequent visitor to Mauthausen concentration camp. On one such visit in 1942 Kaltenbrunner personally observed the gas chamber in action. I now offer Document 2753- PS as Exhibit next in order, Exhibit USA515. This is the affidavit of Alois Hoellriegl, former guard at Mauthausen concentration camp. The affidavit states, and I quote

"I, Alois Hoellriegl, being first duly sworn, declare I was a member of the Totenkopf S. S. and stationed at the Mauthausen concentration camp from January, 1940, until the end of the war. On one occasion, I believe it was in the fall of 1942, Ernst Kaltenbrunner visited Mauthausen. I was on guard duty at the time and saw him twice. He went down into the gas chamber with Ziereis, commandant of the camp, at a time when prisoners were being gassed. The sound

[Page 233]

accompanying the gassing operation was well known to me. I heard the gassing taking place while Kaltenbrunner was present.

I saw Kaltenbrunner come up from the gas cellar after the gassing operation had been completed.

(Signed) Hoellriegl"

On one occasion Kaltenbrunner made an inspection of the camp grounds at Mauthausen with Himmler and had his photograph taken during the course of the inspection. I offer Document 2641-PS as exhibit next in order, Exhibit USA 5 16.

This exhibit consists of two affidavits and a series of photographs. Here are the original photographs in my hand. The original photographs are the small ones which have been enlarged, and those in the Document Book are not very good reproductions, but the Tribunal will see better reproductions which are being handed to it.

DR. KAUFMANN: (Counsel for defendant Kaltenbrunner): Since the whole accusation against Kaltenbrunner has nevertheless been brought forward, I feel bound to make a motion on a matter of principle. I could have made this motion this morning just as well. It is in reference to the question of whether affidavits may be read or not. 1 know that this question has already been the subject of consultation by the Tribunal and that the Tribunal has already decided this question in a definite manner. When I ask that this question be decided once more, it is for a special reason.

Every trial is something dynamic. What was correct at that time may at a later date be wrong. The most important and most significant trial in history rests in many important points on the mere reading of affidavits which have been taken down by the prosecution exclusively, according to its own maxims.

The reading of affidavits is not satisfactory in the long run. It is becoming more necessary from hour to hour to see, to hear for once a witness for the prosecution and to test his credibility and the reliability of his memory. There are many witnesses standing, so to speak, at the door of this Courtroom, and they need only be called in. To hear the witness at a later stage is not sufficient; nor is it certain that the Tribunal will permit a hearing on the same evidential subject. I therefore oppose the further reading of the affidavit just announced. The meaning of Article 19 of the Charter should not be killed by a literal interpretation.

THE PRESIDENT: Is your application that you want to cross-examine the witness or is your application that the affidavit should not be read ?

DR. KAUFMANN: The latter.

THE PRESIDENT: That the affidavit should not be read ?


THE PRESIDENT: Are you referring to the affidavit of Hoellriegl, Document 2753-PS ?


THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal is of the opinion that the affidavit, which is upon a relevant point, upon a material point, is evidence which ought to be admitted under Article 19 of the Charter, but they will consider any motion which counsel for Kaltenbrunner may think fit to make for cross-examination of the witness who made the affidavit, if he is available and could be called.

[Page 234]

LT. HARRIS: Yes, Sir. They have been offered in evidence as the exhibit next in order, and I wish to refer to the first affidavit accompanying them, which appears in the Document Book.


LT. HARRIS: It being the affidavit of Alois Hoellriegl.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. You had handed up the affidavit at the same time, had you not ?

LT. HARRIS: Yes, Sir, I did, Sir. That affidavit states, and I quote:

"I was a member of the Totenkopf S.S. and stationed in the Mauthausen concentration camp from January, 1940, until the end of the war. I am thoroughly familiar with all of the buildings and grounds at Mauthausen concentration camp. I have been shown Document 2641-PS, which is a series of six photographs. I recognise all these photographs as having been taken at Mauthausen concentration camp. With respect to the first photograph I positively identify Heinrich Himmler as the man on the left, Ziereis, the commandant of Mauthausen concentration camp, in the centre, and Ernst Kaltenbrunner as the man on the right."
THE PRESIDENT: He does not say, does he, at what date the photographs were taken?

LT. HARRIS: No, Sir. I have no evidence as to what date the photographs were taken, Sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Just that Kaltenbrunner was there?

LT. HARRIS: Just that Kaltenbrunner was there, at some time, in the company of Ziereis and Himmler.


LT. HARRIS: 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.

I offer Document L-38 as exhibit next in order, Exhibit USA S17. This is the affidavit of Herman Pister, the former commandant of Buchenwald concentration camp, which was taken on 1st August, 1945, at Freising, Germany, in the course of an official military investigation by the United States Army, and I quote from it as follows, beginning with the second paragraph:

"With exception of the mass delivery of prisoners from the concentration camps of the occupied territory all prisoners were sent to the concentration camp Buchenwald by order of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt - Reich Security Main Office - Berlin. These orders for protective custody (red forms) were in most cases signed with the name 'Kaltenbrunner.' The few remaining protective custody orders were signed by 'Foerster'."
I now offer Document 2477-PS as exhibit next in order, Exhibit USA 5 18.

This is the affidavit of Willy Litzenberg, former Chief of Department IV A Ib in the R.S.H.A. This document reads in part as follows, and I quote, beginning with the second paragraph:

"The right of summary taking into protective custody belongs to the Directors of the State Police H.Q.'s or State Police Offices; previously for a period of 21 days; later, I think, for a period of 56 days. Custody

exceeding this time had to be sanctioned by the competent Office for Protective Custody in the R.S.H.A. The Regulations for Protective Custody or the signing of the Protective Custody Order could only be issued through the Director of the R.S.H.A. as Chief of the Sipo and S.D. All Regulations and Protective Custody Orders that I have seen bore a facsimile stamp of Heydrich or Kaltenbrunner. As far as I can remember, I have never seen a document of this kind with another name as signature. How far and to whom the Chief of the Sipo and S.D. possibly gave authority for the use of his facsimile stamp, I do not know. Perhaps the Chief of Amt IV possessed a similar authority.

The greater part of the Protective Custody Office was transferred to Prague. Only one staff remained in Berlin."

I now offer Document 2745-PS as exhibit next in order, Exhibit USA 519.

This is an order under date 7th July, 1943, which was found at the former office of the section of the Gestapo which handled protective custody matters in Prague. It was an order to the Prague Office to send a teletype message to the Gestapo office in Koeslin, ordering protective custody of one Racke, and her commitment to the concentration camp at Ravensbrueck for refusing to work. The order carried the facsimile signature of Kaltenbrunner and I invite the attention of the Tribunal to the original which has that facsimile for the arrest. Orders of this type were the basis for the orders actually sent out to the Prague office, which carried the teletype signature of Kaltenbrunner. At the bottom of the page the Tribunal will note the facsimile stamp of Kaltenbrunner.

I next refer to Document L-215, which has heretofore been received as Exhibit USA 243, and which contains 25 orders for arrest issued out of the Prague office of the R.S.H.A. to the Einsatz.

THE PRESIDENT: Which number are you dealing with now ?

LT. HARRIS: I am dealing with Document L-215. I believe the Tribunal will recall this document, which has heretofore been received in evidence, and which contains 25 orders for arrest issued out of the Prague office of the R.S.H.A. to the Einsatz Commando of Luxembourg, all of which carry the typed signature of Kaltenbrunner. And the Court will remember, and I am holding up the original document, that these arrest orders were the red forms which the Commandant of Buchenwald referred to in his affidavit as being the forms which he saw coming from R.S.H.A. committing persons to Buchenwald.

The concentration camps to which persons were committed, according to Document L-215, by Kaltenbrunner, included Dachau, Natzweiler, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald.

THE PRESIDENT: What was the date of it ?

LT. HARRIS: Most of these, Sir, were in 1944. I believe they are all in 1944.

THE PRESIDENT: It does not appear on the document does it?

LT. HARRIS: It does appear, Sir, on the original document. The first page of this translation is a summary of all of these. There is only one of the dossiers which has been translated in full, and the date on that one is 15th February, 1944.


[Page 236]

LT. HARRIS: Among the grounds specified on these orders carrying the typed signature of Kaltenbrunner were, quoting:
"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 deserters."
I now offer Document 2239-PS as exhibit next in order, Exhibit USA 52o. This is a file of 42 telegrams sent by the Prague office of the R.S.H.A. to the Gestapo office at Darmstadt, and they all carry the teletype signature of Kaltenbrunner. These commitment orders were issued during the period from 20th September, 1944, to 2nd February, 1945. The concentration camps to which Kaltenbrunner sent these people included Sachsenhausen, Ravensbruck, Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen, Flossenburg, and Theresienstadt. Nationalities included Czech, German, French, Dutch, Italian, Corsican, Lithuanian, Greek and Jews. Grounds included refusal to work, religious propaganda, sex relations with prisoners of war, communist statements, loafing on the job, working against the Reich, spreading of rumours detrimental to morale, "action Gitter," breach of work contracts, statements against Germany, assault of foremen, defeatist statements, and theft and escape from gaol.

Not only did Kaltenbrunner commit persons to concentration camps, but he authorised executions in concentration camps. I now offer Document L-51 as exhibit next in order, Exhibit USA 521. This is the affidavit of Adolf Zutter, the former adjutant of Mauthausen concentration camp, in the course of an official military investigation of the United States Army, on 2nd August, 1945, at Linz, Austria. This affidavit states, and I am quoting from paragraph 3:

"Standartenfuehrer Ziereis, the commander of Camp Mauthausen, gave me a large number of execution orders after opening the secret mail, because I was the adjutant and I had to deliver these to Obersturmfuehrer Schulz. These orders of execution were written approximately in the following form."

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.