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 2 of 9)

[Walter Schellenberg's testimony continues.]

[Page 297]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Since your Lordship was good enough to ask me whether I wanted to put any questions, I have had some further information and I should be very grateful if you would be good enough to allow me to ask one or two questions.


Q. Would you direct your mind to a conversation between the defendant Kaltenbrunner, Gruppenfuehrer Nebe and Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, in the Spring of 1944, in Berlin at Wilhelmstrasse 102?

A. Yes.

Q. With what was that conversation concerned?

A. That conversation, as far as I could gather - since I took no part in it - concerned the subsequent invention of excuses for the shooting of about 50 English and American prisoners of war. The conversation in its particulars and to the best of my recollection, was as follows: there had evidently been a request from the International Red Cross inquiring as to the whereabouts of 50 English and American prisoners of war. This request for information by the International Red Cross appears to have been passed on to the Chief of the Security Police and the S.D. via the Foreign Office. From the conversation I could . . .

Q. Just one moment: was it already in the form of a protest against the shooting of prisoners of war?

A. I believe it was lodged in the form of a protest, since from fragments of this conversation I gathered that there was a discussion as to how the shooting of these prisoners of war, which had already taken place, could be covered up or disguised.

Q. How this could be done?

A. Or had been done.

Q. Did Kaltenbrunner discuss this with Mueller and Nebe?

A. Kaltenbrunner discussed this matter with Mueller and Nebe, but I merely heard fragments of the conversation. I heard, incidentally, that they meant to discuss the details in the course of the afternoon.

Q. Did you hear any suggestion put forward as to what explanations should be offered to explain away the shooting of these prisoners?

A. Yes, Kaltenbrunner himself offered these suggestions.

Q. What were the suggestions?

A. That the greatest part be treated as individual cases, as "having perished in air raids"; some, I believe, because they "offered resistance" i.e., "physical resistance", while others were "pursued when escaping".

Q. You mean - shot while trying to escape?

A. Yes, shot in flight.

Q. And these were the excuses which Kaltenbrunner suggested?

A. Yes. these were the excuses that Kaltenbrunner suggested.

[Page 298]

Q. Now, I want you to try and remember as well as you can about these prisoners. Does any number remain in your mind? Can you remember any number of prisoners that they were discussing or how these explanations arose? About how many?

A. I remember only that the number 50 was mentioned over and over again, but how the particulars went I cannot say because I just followed fragments of the conversation, I could not follow the exact conversation.

Q. But the number 50 remains in your mind?

A. Yes, I heard 50.

Q. Can you remember anything of the place or the camp in which these people had been, who were said to have been shot?

A. I cannot tell you under oath. There is a possibility that I might add a little bit. I believe it was Breslau, but I cannot state it exactly, as a fact.

Q. Can you remember anything of what service the people belonged to? Were they Air Force or Army? Have you any recollection on that point?

A. I believe they were all officers.

Q. Were officers?

A. Yes.

Q. But you cannot remember what service?

A. No, that I cannot tell you.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am very grateful to the Tribunal for letting me ask these questions.

COLONEL AMEN: That is all for this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, the witness can go then.

(The witness withdrew.)

COLONEL AMEN: I wish to call as the next witness Alois Hoellriegel.

THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?

THE WITNESS : Alois Hoellriegel.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you take this oath?

I swear by 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.)

THE PRESIDENT: You can sit down if you want to.


Q. What position did you hold at the end of the war?

A. At the end of the war I was Unterscharfuehrer at Mauthausen.

Q. Were you a member of the Totenkopf S.S.?

A. Yes; in the year 1939 I was drafted into the S.S.

Q. What were your duties at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp?

A. I was, until the winter of 1942, with a guard company and I stood guard. From 1942 until the end of the war I was detailed to the inner service of the concentration camp.

Q. And you therefore had occasion to witness the extermination of inmates of that camp by shooting, gassing and so forth?

A. Yes, I saw that.

Q. And did you make an affidavit in this case to the effect that you saw Kaltenbrunner at that camp?

A. Yes.

Q. And that he saw and was familiar with the operation of the gas chamber there?

A. Yes.

[Page 299]

Q. Did yuou also have occasion to see nay other important personages visiting that concentration camp?

A. I remember Pohl, Gluecks, Kaltenbrunner, Schirach and Gauleiter of the Steyermark, Uiberreuther.

Q. And did you personally see Schirach at that concentration camp at Mauthausen?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember what he looks like so that you could identify him

A. I think that he has probably changed a little in recent times, but I would certainly remember him.

Q. How long ago was it that you saw him there

A. It was in the fall of 1942. Since then I have not seen him.

Q. Will you look around the Courtroom and see whether you can see Schirach in the Courtroom?

A. Yes.

Q. Which person is it?

A. In the second row, the third person from the left.

COLONEL AMEN: The affidavit to which I referred was Exhibit USA 515.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the PS number?



Q. I now show you a copy of Document 2641-PS and ask you whether you can recognise the place where those individuals are standing?

A. As far as I can recognise it at a glance, it is a quarry ; whether it is at Mauthausen or not one cannot determine exactly, because the view is too small.

Q. Would you repeat that answer please?

A. Certainly, as far as can be seen from this picture, I cannot see clearly if this is the Wiener-Graben quarry near Mauthausen. It might easily be another quarry. A larger range of vision is required. But I think that visits were often made there. I assume that this is the Wiener-Graben quarry.

Q. Very good. Just lay the picture aside for the time being.

Did you have occasion to observe the killing of inmates of the concentration camp by their being pushed off a cliff?

A. Yes.

Q. Will you tell the Tribunal what you saw with respect to that practice?

A. I remember it was in 1941. At that time I was with a guard company on the tower which closed off the area of the quarry. I was able to observe in the morning about six to eight prisoners who came with two S.S. men of my acquaintance. One was Spatzenecker and the other, Unterscharfuehrer Eichenhofer; they moved ...

THE PRESIDENT: Wait, you are going too fast. You should go slower.

A. I saw that they were approaching the precipice near the quarry. I saw, from my watch-tower, that these two S.S. men were beating the prisoners and I realised immediately that they intended to force them to throw themselves over the precipice or else to push them over. I noticed how one of the prisoners was kicked while lying on the ground, and the gestures showed that he was supposed to throw himself down the precipice. This the prisoner promptly did under the pressure of the blows - presumably in despair.

[Page 300]

A. I estimate that it was 30 to 40 metres.

Q. Was there a term used amongst you guards for this practice of having the prisoners fall from the top of the precipice?

A. Yes. In Mauthausen Camp they were called paratroopers.

COLONEL AMEN The witness is available to other counsel.

THE PRESIDENT Has the Russian Prosecutor or the French Prosecutor or any defence counsel any questions?


BY DR. SAUTER (Counsel for defendant von Schirach):

Q. Witness, I am interested in the following points.

You said previously that in 1939 you were taken into the S.S.?

A. That is true, on 6th September....

Q. One moment, please repeat your answer.

A. That is right. On 6th September, 1939, I was taken into the S.S. at Ebersberg near Linz.

Q. Had you no connection at all with the Party before then?

A. Yes. In April, 1938, I enlisted in the Civilian S.S., because I was out of work and without any support, and I thought, I will join the Civilian S.S.; there I will get work, in order to be able to marry.

Q. Then, if I understood you correctly, you were drafted into the S.S. in 1939, because you had already enlisted in the Civilian S.S. in the spring of 1938?

A. I cannot say that exactly. Many were drafted into the Armed Forces, into the Air Force and into the General S.S.

Q. Are you an Austrian?

A. Yes.

Q. Then at that time you lived in Austria

A. Yes, at Graz.

Q. I am interested in a certain point in regard to the defendant von Schirach. You saw the defendant von Schirach at Mauthausen. How often did you see him there?

A. I cannot remember so exactly - once.

Q. Once?

A. Yes.

Q. Was von Schirach alone at Mauthausen, or was he with other people?

A. He was accompanied by other gentlemen. There was a group of about ten people, and among them I recognised von Schirach and Gauleiter Niberreuter.

Q. There are supposed to have been 20 persons at least and not 10, on that occasion.

A. I did not know at that time that I might have to give these figures I did not count them.

Q. This point is important to me, because the defendant Schirach told me it was a, visit of inspection, an official inspection tour of the concentration camp Mauthausen, occasioned by a meeting of the Economic Advisors of all six Gaue of the Ostmark.

A. Yes, I naturally did not know why he came to the camp, but I remember that this group came with von Schirach and Schutzhaftlagerfuehrer (Protective Custody-Camp Leader) Bachmeyer. At any rate I could see that it looked like an inspection.

[Page 301]

Q. Did you know that this inspection was announced in we camp severai days before and that certain preparations were made in the camp because of it?

A. I cannot remember any specific preparations, but I do remember it was during the evening hours. I cannot tell you the exact hour ; it was the time of the evening roll-call. The prisoners had assembled for roll-call and all the troops on duty also had to fall in. Then this group came in.

Q. Did you or your comrades not know on the day before that this inspection would take place the very next day?

A. I cannot remember that.

Q. And did it not strike you that certain definite preparations had been made in this camp?

A. I cannot remember that any preparations were made.

DR. SAUTER : I have no further questions to ask this witness.

BY DR. STEINBAUER (Counsel for defendant Seyss-Inquart):

Q. Witness, you described an incident which, according to the conception entertained by civilised people, cannot be designated anything but murder - i.e., the hurling of people over the side of the quarry. Did you report this incident to your superiors?

A. These incidents happened frequently and it is to be assumed with a 100 per cent. degree of accuracy, that the superiors knew about them

Q. In other words, you did not report this. Is it true that on pain of death not only the internees but also the guards were forbidden to report incidents of this sort to a third person?

A. Yes.

DR. STEINBAUER: I have no other question.



0. Would you just look at that picture again?

A. Yes.

Q. Will you look at it carefully and tell me whether that is the quarry underneath the cliff which you have just described?

A Yes, as far as I can tell from this picture, I assume with a 100 per cent. degree of accuracy that it is the quarry Wiener-Graben ; but one would have to see more, more background, to decide whether it is really this quarry. One sees too little, but I think quite certainly . . .

Q. Do you recognise the individuals whose faces appear in the picture?

A. Yes.

0. Will you tell the Tribunal the ones whom you recognise?

A. I recognise of course Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler first of all, next to him the Commandant of Mauthausen Concentration Camp and away to the right I recognise Kaltenbrunner.

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

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can go and we will adjourn for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken.)

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