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-Seventh Day: Friday, 4th January, 1946
(Part 1 of 9)

COL. AMEN: I would like to call as a witness for the prosecution Walter Schellenberg.

THE PRESIDENT: Is your name Walter Schellenberg?

THE WITNESS SCHELLENBERG: My name is Walter Schellenberg.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you take this oath: I swear to God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath in German.)


Q. Where were you born?

A. In Saarbruecken.

Q. How old are you?

A. Thirty-five years.

Q. You were a member of the N.S.D.A.P.?

A. Yes.

Q. And of the S.S.?

A. Yes ; the S.S. also.

Q. And of the Waffen S.S.?

A. And the Waffen S.S.

Q. And the S.D.?

A. And the S.D.

Q. What rank did you hold?

A. The highest rank that I held was that of S.S. Brigadefuehrer in the S.S. and of Major-General in the Waffen S.S.

Q. You were Chief of Amt VI?

A. I was Chief of Amt VI and . . .

Q. During what period of time?

A. I was Deputy Chief of Amt VI in July, 1941, and the final confirmation of my appointment as Chief was in June of 1942.

Q. State briefly the functions of Amt VI of the R.S.H.A.

A. Amt VI was the political secret service of the Reich and worked basically in foreign countries.

Q. Do you know of an agreement between O.K.W., O.K.H. and the R.S.H.A. concerning the use of Einsatz Groups and Einsatz Commandos in the Russian campaign?

A. At the end of May, 1941, conferences took place between the then head of the Security Police and the Quartermaster-General, General Wagner.

Q. And who?

A. The Quartermaster-General of the Army, General Wagner.

Q. Did you personally attend those conferences?

A. Yes. I kept the minutes of the final meetings.

[Page 291]

Q. Have you given us the names of all persons present during those negotiations?

A. The conferences took place principally between Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich, who was then the Chief of the Security Police and, the S.D., and the Quartermaster-General of the Army.

Q. Was anyone else present during any of the negotiations?

A. Not during the conferences themselves, but at a later meeting other persons took part.

Q. And did those negotiations result in the signing of an agreement?

A. A written agreement was concluded.

Q. Were you there when the written agreement was signed?

A. I kept the minutes and was present when both gentlemen signed.

Q. By whom was this agreement signed?

A. It was signed by the then Chief of the Security Police, S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich, and the Quartermaster-General of the Army, General Wagner.

Q. Do you know where the original agreement, or any copy thereof, is located to-day?

A. No, that I cannot say. I know nothing about that.

Q. But you are familiar with the contents of that written agreement?

A. Yes ; for the most part I recollect that.

Q. To the best of your knowledge and recollection, please tell the Tribunal exactly what was contained in that written agreement.

A. The first part of this agreement began with the quotation of a basic decree by the Fuehrer. It read somewhat as follows:

"For the safety of the fighting troops in the Russian campaign that is now at hand, all means are to be used to keep the rear safe and protected. On the basis of this consideration every resistance is to be broken by every means. In order to support the fighting unit of the Army, the Security Police and the Security Service are also to be called in for this task."
If I remember correctly, as a special example of something to be protected, the safeguarding of the so-called great routes of supply, also called "Rollbahnen," was mentioned.

Q. Do you recall anything else contained in that agreement?

A. In the second part of this agreement the organisation of the Army Groups was mentioned . . .

Q. And what was said about that?

A. . . . and the corresponding organisation of the Einsatz Groups and the Einsatzkonimandos of the Security Police and the S.D. Four different spheres of activity were distinguished.

I remember the following: first, the front area; second, the operational zone - it was also divided into an Army area and a rear Army area; third, the rear Army area; and fourth, the area for the Civil Administration "Reichskommissariate" to be set up.

To cover these different spheres, questions of subordination and command were settled exactly. In the front areas or fighting areas, the Einsatzkornmandos of the Security Police and the S.D. were tactically and operationally under the command of the Army, that is, they were completely under the command of the Army.

[Page 292]

In the operational zones only subordination in respect to operations should apply and this same rule should apply in the rear Army area. In the zone intended for the Civil Administration (Reichskommissariate) the same conditions of subordination and command were to apply as in the area of the Reich.

In a third part was explained what was meant by tactical and operational, or rather only the concept "operational" was explained in detail.

By "operational " was meant the subordination to the Army in respect to discipline and provisions. Special mention was made of the fact that the operational subordination also included all supplies - especially supplies of petrol, food and the making available of technical routes of intelligence transmission.

Q. Have you now told us everything which you can recall about that agreement?

A. Yes; I cannot remember anything else contained in the agreement.

COL. AMEN : If your Honour pleases, that is all.

THE PRESIDENT: Has the English prosecution any questions to ask?


THE PRESIDENT: Has the Russian prosecution any questions to ask?


THE PRESIDENT: Has the French prosecution any questions to ask?

(There was no response.)

THE PRESIDENT: Do the defendants' counsel wish to ask any questions?


BY DR. KAUFFMANN (Counsel for defendant Kaltenbrunner)

Q. Is it correct that Dr. Kaltenbrunner was your superior?

A. Dr. Kaltenbrunner was my immediate superior.

Q. During what time?

A. From the 30th January, 1943, until the end.

Q. Do you know his attitude towards the important views of life entertained by National Socialism, for instance, towards the question of the treatment of the Jews or the question of the treatment of the Church?

A. I personally did not have a chance to converse with him on these problems. What I know about him is the result of my own few personal observations.

Q. Did you see original orders from Kaltenbrunner dealing with the execution of saboteurs, the confinement of people in concentration camps and the like?

A. No. I had only oral orders from him in respect to this - commands which he gave to the Chief of the State Police, the Chief of Amt IV of the R.S.H.A.

Q. Did Kaltenbrunner ever indicate to you that he had agreed with Himmler that everything concerning concentration camps and the entire executive power was to be taken away from him, and that only the S.D., as an Intelligence Service, was to be entrusted to you and him, and that he wanted to expand this Intelligence Service, in order to supply the criticism that was otherwise lacking?

A. I never heard of any such agreements. and what I found out later to be the fact is to the contrary.

[Page 293]

Q. Now, since you have given a negative answer, I must ask you the following question, in order to make this one point clear: What fact do you mean?

A. I mean, for instance, the fact that, after the Reichsfuehrer S.S., persuaded by me, had very reluctantly agreed not to evacuate the concentration camps, Kaltenbrunner, in direct contact with Hitler, circumvented this decree of Himinler's and broke his word in respect to international promises.

Q. Were there any international decisions in respect to this, decisions which referred to existing laws, or decisions which referred to international agreements?

A. I would like to explain that, if in regard to internationally known persons the then Reichsfuehrer S.S. promised the official Allied authorities not to evacuate the concentration camps in case of emergency, this promise was humanly binding.

Q. What do you mean by evacuate?

A. Arbitrarily to evacuate the camps before the approaching enemy troops and to transplant them to other parts of Germany still unoccupied by the enemy troops.

Q. What was your opinion?

A. That no further evacuation should take place, because human right simply did not allow it ; that the camps should therefore be surrendered to the approaching enemy.

Q. Did you know that your activity could also contribute to the suffering caused to many people who were innocent?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you know that your activity, too, could bring suffering to many people, to people who were per se innocent?

A. I did not understand the question. Will you please repeat it?

Q. Did you ever think that your activity, too, and the activity of your fellow workers, was a cause for the great suffering of many people - let us say Jews - even though these people were innocent?

A. I cannot imagine that the activity of my office could cause any such thing. I was merely in an information service.

Q. Then your information service had no connection at all with such crimes?

A. No.

Q. Then Kaltenbrunner too would not be guilty in regard to this point?

A. But he was, at the same time, the Chief of Amt IV of the State Police.

Q. I asked in regard to this point, and by that I meant your sector.

A. I only represented the sector Amt VI and Amt Mil.

Q. But Kaltenbrunner, at the same time, was Chief of Amt VI?

A. Kaltenbrunner was the Chief of the R.S.H.A. Eight departments were under him. One or two of them I headed, namely, Amt VI and Amt Mil. These two offices had nothing to do with the executive power of the State Police.

THE PRESIDENT: What I understood you to say was that you were only in a branch which was an information centre ; is that right?


THE PRESIDENT: And that Kaltenbrunner was your immediate chief; is that right?

[Page 294]

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, he was the Chief not only of your branch but of the whole organisation.

THE WITNESS : Yes, this is correct.

DR. KAUFMANN: I should like to question this witness later on. I should like to reserve these important questions for later on, after I have talked with Kaltenbrunner.

BY DR. KUBUSCHOF (Counsel for defendant von Papen)

Q. In the summer of 1943 were you in Ankara, and did you then pay a visit to the German Embassy?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you during this visit criticise German foreign policy in various respects, and did you in this regard mention that it was absolutely advisable to establish better relations with the Holy See? Did Herr von Papen then answer: "That would be possible only if, in accordance with the demands that I have made repeatedly, the Church policy is revised completely and the persecution of the Church ceases"?

A. Yes, that is the correct gist of the conversation, and I spoke with the then Ambassador von Papen to that effect.

BY DR. THOMA (Counsel for defendant Rosenberg)

Q. You said a little while ago that the same regulations applied in the area of the Civil Administration as in the Reich.

A. I said they were to apply.

Q. Please answer my question again.

A. I will repeat: I described the agreement which contained the pro vision that in the areas intended for Civil Administration (Reichskommissariate) the same relations to the Security Police and the S.D., in regard to subordination and command, were applicable as in the Reich.

Q. Do you know how that was done in practice?

A. No, later on I did not concern myself with these questions any more.

Q. Thank you.

BY DR. BABEL (Counsel for S.S. and S.D.):

Q. You were a member of the S.S. and of the S.D., and in leading positions ...

THE PRESIDENT: Will you state, for the purposes of the record, on behalf of which organisation you appear?

DR. BABEL : I represent the organisations of the S.S. and S.D.

Q. In the R.S.H.A. there were departments of the Security Police and the S.D. How were these two departments related, and what was the purpose of the S.D.?

A. That is a question that I cannot answer in one sentence.

Q. I can withdraw the question for the moment and ask a concrete one:

Was the S.D. used with the "Einsatzgruppen" in the East? To what extent? And with what tasks?

A. I believe that the largest employment of personnel in the East was undertaken by the Security Police, that is, by the Secret State Police and the Criminal Police, and that from the personnel of the S.D. only supplementary contingents were formed.

Q. How large were these contingents? How large was the S.D.

A. I believe that I can estimate the figures: excluding female help, the State Police - perhaps 40,000 to 45,000; the Criminal Police - 15,000 to

[Page 295]

20,000; the S.D. of the Interior, that is, Amt Ill with its organisational subsidiaries - 2,000 to 2,500; and the S.D. outside Germany, that is my Amt VI - about 400.

Q. And how was the S.D. used in the East with the Einsatz Groups?

A. I cannot give you the particulars, since that was a concern of the Personnel Administration, and subject directly,to the instructions of the then Chief of the Security Police.

Q. Did the figures you mentioned include male members of the S.D. exclusively, or was female help also included?

A. Only male members. I excluded the female help.

Q. Yesterday a witness gave us approximately the same figure of 3,000, but he included the female help in this figure.

A. I mentioned a figure of 2,000 to 2,500 for the S.D. in the Interior.

Q. What was the organisational structure of the Waffen S.S.?

A. As for the organisational structure of the Waffen S.S., I cannot give you a detailed reply that is reliable.

Q. You were a member of the Waffen S.S. and of the S.D.

A. I was appointed a member of the Waffen S.S. only in January, 1945, by higher orders, so to speak. There I had more military units under my command through the Amt Mil and had to have a military rank to justify my activities.

Q. Do you know whether that also happened to a large extent in other cases?

A. That question is beyond me to answer.

DR. BABEL : Thank you.



Q. Do you know of any particular case in which Kaltenbrunner had ordered the evacuation of any one concentration camp, in direct contradiction to Himinler's wishes?

A. Yes.

Q. Will you tell the Tribunal about that?

A. I cannot give you the exact date, but I believe it was in the beginning of April, 1945. The son of the former Swiss President, Muesi, who had taken his father to Switzerland, returned by car to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, in order to call for a Jewish family which I myself had set free. He found the camp in complete evacuation and under the most deplorable conditions. As he had, three days previously, driven his father to Switzerland, with the final decision that the camps would not be evacuated, and since this declaration was also intended for General Eisenhower, he was doubly disappointed at this breach of promise. Muesi Jr. called on me personally at my office. He was deeply offended and reproached me bitterly. I could not understand the situation and at once contacted Himmler's secretary, protesting against this sort of procedure. Shortly after the truth of the facts, as depicted by Muesi Jr., was confirmed, although it was still incomprehensible, since Himinler had not given these orders. An immediate halt to the evacuations by every available method was assured. This was certified personally by Himmler by telephone a few hours later. I believe it was on the same day, after a meeting of office chiefs, that I informed Kaltenbrunner of the situation and expressed my profound concern

[Page 296]

at this new breach of international assurances. As I paused in the conversation, the Chief of the State Police, Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, interrupted and explained that he had started the evacuation of the more important internees of the individual camps, three days ago at Kaltenbrunner's orders. Kaltenbrunner replied with these words:
"Yes, that is correct, it was an order of the Fuehrer which was also recently confirmed by the Fuehrer in person. All the important internees are to be evacuated at his order to the South of the Reich."
He then turned to me mockingly and, speaking in dialect, said :
"Tell your old gentleman (i.e., Muesi Jr.) that there are still enough left in the camps. With that you, too, can be satisfied."
I think this was on the 10th April, 1945.

COL. AMEN : That is all, may it please the Tribunal.


Q. Can you say what the functions of the Chief Amt of the Security Police were?

A. That I cannot answer in one sentence. I believe . . .

Q. Be brief, be brief! What were the aims?

A. The R.S.H.A. was a comprehensive grouping of a Security Police, that is, a State Police . . .

0. We know about this organisation on the basis of the documents which are at the disposal of the Court, but what were its functions?

A. I just wanted to explain its functions. Its functions consisted of security, that is, State Police activity, of Criminal Police activity, and of intelligence activity at home and abroad.

Q. Would it be correct to formulate the functions as follows : to suppress those whom the Nazi Party considered its enemies?

A. No, I think that statement is too one-sided.

Q. But these functions were included?

A. They were, perhaps, a certain part of the activities of the State Police.

Q. Had this part of the functions, then, been changed after Kaltenbrunner took office?

A. No, there was no change.

Q. Had those functions, to which you referred just now, been changed since the time that Kaltenbrunner took office as Chief of the Security Police?

A. The functions, as I formulated them, did not change after Kaltenbrunner assumed office.

Q. I have one more question : What were the aims and purposes of the operation groups which were to have been created on the basis of the agreement between the S.D. and the High Command?

A. As far as the agreement was covered at that time, the first part, as I mentioned before, referred to the task laid down of protecting the rear of the troops, and using all means against opposition and against resistance.

Q. To repress or to crush resistance?

A. The words were: "All resistance is to be crushed with every means."

Q. By what means was the resistance suppressed?

A. The agreement did not mention nor discuss this in any way.

Q. But you know what means were used for that suppression, do you not?

A. Later I heard that because of the bitterness of the struggle, harsh means were chosen, but I know this only by hearsay.

Q. What does it mean more exactly?

A. That in Partisan fighting and in the treatment of the civilian population many shootings took place.

Q. Including the children?

A. That I did not hear.

Q. You have not heard it?

A. (No response.)

Q. That is all.

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