The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th January to 19th January, 1946

Twenty-Eighth Day: Monday, January 7th, 1946
(Part 5 of 10)

[Page 19]

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Taylor, did you read paragraph 5 (1) on Page 10?

COLONEL TAYLOR: 5 (1) on Page 10? I read the first passage, your Honour. If you would like it in full

THE PRESIDENT: I think perhaps you might go to the end of it.


"Occasionally the conditions prevailing in the lunatic asylums necessitated operations of the Security Police. Many institutions had been robbed by the retreating Russians of their whole food supply. Often the guard and nursing personnel had fled. The inmates of several institutions broke out and became a danger to the general security; therefore, in Aglona (Lithuania), 544 lunatics, in Mariampol (Lithuania), 109 lunatics, and in Magutowo, near Luga, 95 lunatics were liquidated."
Passing back to Page 17, the first paragraph on that page:
"When it was decided to extend the German operations to Leningrad and also to extend the activities of Einsatz Group A to this town, I gave orders on 18th July, 1941, to parts of Einsatz Commands 2 and 3 and to the Staff of the Group, to advance to Novosselje, in order to prepare these activities and to be able to advance as early as possible into the area around Leningrad and into the city itself. The advance of the forces of Einsatz Group A, which were intended to be used for Leningrad, was effected in agreement with and on the express wish of Panzer-Group 4."
The final quotation from this document is Page 18, last paragraph:
"Einsatz Commands of Einsatz Group A of the Security Police participated from the beginning in the fight against the nuisance created by Partisans. Close collaboration with the Armed Forces and the exchange of experiences which were collected in the fight against Partisans, brought about a thorough knowledge of the origin, organisation, strength, equipment and system used by the Red Partisans as time went on."
Now, in the light of these documents, I would like to turn to some of the remaining affidavits which are before the Tribunal in Document Book 1. These affidavits have been furnished by responsible officials in both the Wehrmacht and the S.S., and fill in much of the background for the documents.

Affidavit number 12 is an affidavit by Schellenberg, which, in view of the fact that its contents have been covered in Schellenberg's and Ohlendorf's testimony, I do not propose to read. It covers much of the same ground, and I see no reason to take the time of the Tribunal by reading it. I should like to have it considered, subject to the usual rule that Schellenberg can be questioned on any of these matters by the defence. The affidavit itself is available in French and Russian as well as in English, and in German for the defence, so I will pass over that one.

I turn to Affidavit number 13, which will be Exhibit USA 558. Schellenberg's affidavit will be 557. This is an affidavit by Wilhelm Scheidt, a retired captain of the German army, who worked in the War History Section of the O.K.W. from 1941 to 1945. It sheds considerable light on the relations between. the Wehrmacht and the S.S. at the top with respect to anti-Partisan warfare I will read this affidavit:

"I, Wilhelm Scheidt, belonged to the War History Section of the O.K.W. from the year 1941 to 1945.

[Page 20]

Concerning the question of Partisan Warfare I state that I remember the following from my knowledge of the documents of the Operations Staff of the O.K.W., as well as from my conversations in the Fuehrer's headquarters with Generalmajor Walter Scherff, whom the Fuehrer had appointed to compile the history of the War.

Counter-Partisan warfare was originally a responsibility of Reichsfuehrer S.S. Heinrich Himmler, who sent police forces to handle this matter.

In the years 1942 and 1943, however, counter-Partisan warfare developed to such an extent that the Operations Staff of the O.K.W. had to give it special attention. It proved necessary to conduct extensive operations against the Partisans with Wehrmacht troops in Russian, as well as Jugoslavian territory. Partisan operations for a long while threatened to cut off the lines of communication and transport routes that were necessary to support the German Wehrmacht. For instance, a monthly report concerning the attacks on the railroad lines in occupied Russia revealed that in, the Russian area alone from 800 to 1,000 attacks occurred each month during that period, causing among other things, the loss of from 200 to 300 locomotives.

It was well known that Partisan warfare was conducted with cruelty on both sides. It was well known that reprisals were inflicted on hostages and communities whose inhabitants were suspected of being Partisans or of supporting them. It is beyond question that these facts must have been known to the leading officers in the Operations Staff of the O.K.W. and in the Army's General Staff. It was further well known that Hitler believed that the only successful method of conducting counter-Partisan warfare was to employ cruel punishments as deterrents.

I remember that at the time of the Polish revolt in Warsaw, S.S.-Gruppenfuehrer Fegelein reported to Generaloberst Guderian and Jodl about the atrocities of the Russian S.S.-Brigade Kaminski, which fought on the German side."

Now, the foreign documents and the testimony of Ohlendorf and Schellenberg relate to the arrangements which were made between the O.K.W., O.K.H., and Himmler's headquarters with respect to anti-Partisan warfare. They show conclusively that these arrangements were made jointly, and that the High Command of the Armed Forces was not only fully aware of, but was an active participant in these plans.

Turning now to the field, I would like to read three statements by General Hans Rottiger, which will be Affidavits numbers 15 and 16, Exhibits USA 559 and 560. General Rottiger attained the rank of General of Panzer Troops, the equivalent of a Lieutenant-General in the American Army, and was Chief of Staff of the German Fourth Army, and later of Army Group Centre on the Eastern front, during the period of which he speaks.

The first statement is as follows:

"As Chief of Staff of the Fourth Army from May, 1942 to June, 1943, to which was later added the area of the Ninth Army, I often had occasion to concern myself officially with anti-Partisan warfare. During these operations the troops received orders from the highest authority, as, for example, even the O.K.H., to use the harshest methods. These operations were carried out by troops of the Army Group and of the Army, as, for example, security battalions.

At the beginning, in accordance with orders which were issued through official channels, only a few prisoners were taken. In accordance with orders, Jews, political Commissars and Agents were delivered up to the S.D.

[Page 21]

The number of enemy dead mentioned in official reports was very high in comparison with our own losses. From the documents which have been shown to me I have now come to realise that the order from the highest authorities for the harshest conduct of the anti- Partisan war can only have been intended to make possible a ruthless liquidation of Jews and other undesirable elements, by using for this purpose the military struggle of the Army against the Partisans."
The second statement:
Supplementary to my above declaration, I declare: "As I stated orally on 28th November, my then Commander-in- Chief of the Fourth Army instructed his troops may times not to wage war against the Partisans more severely than was required at the time by the position. This struggle should only be pushed to the annihilation of the enemy after all attempts to bring about a surrender failed. Apart from humanitarian reasons we necessarily had an interest in taking prisoners, since very many of them could very well be used as members of native volunteer units against the Partisans.

Alongside the necessary active combating of Partisans, there was propaganda directed at the Partisans, and also at the population, with the object of causing them by peaceful means, to give up Partisan activities. For instance, in this way the women too were continually urged to get their men back from the forests or to keep them by other means from joining the Partisans, and this propaganda had good results. In the spring of 1943 the area of the Fourth Army was as good as cleared of Partisans. Only on its boundaries, and then only from time to time, were Partisans in evidence, when they crossed into the area of the Fourth Army from neighbouring areas. The Army was obliged for this reason, on the orders of the Army Group, to give up security forces to the neighbouring army to the South."

The third statement by Rottiger, number 16:
"During my period of service in 1942-43 as Chief of Staff of the Fourth Army of the Central Army Group, S.D. units were attached in the beginning, apparently for the purpose of counter-intelligence activity in frontline areas. It was clear that these S.D. units were causing great disturbances among the local civilian population, with the result that my commanding officer asked the Commander-in-Chief of the Army Group, Field Marshal von Kluge, to order the S.D. units to clear out of the frontline areas. This was done immediately. The reason for this, first and foremost, was that the excesses of the S.D. units, in the form of execution of Jews and other persons, assumed such proportions as to threaten the security of the Army in its combat areas, because of the infuriated civilian populace. Although, in general, the special tasks of the S.D. units were well known and appeared to be carried out with the knowledge of the highest military authorities, we opposed these methods as far as possible, because of the danger which existed for our troops."
I would like now to offer one final document, the last document, 1786-PS, which will be Exhibit USA 561. This is an extract from the War Diary of the Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces Operational Staff, dated 14th March, 1943. I propose to read the last two paragraphs, which deal with the problem of shipping of suspected Partisans to concentration camps in Germany.

The Tribunal will see, from the extracts which I will read, that the Army was chiefly concerned with maintaining sufficiently severe treatment for suspected Partisans without, at the same time, obstructing the procurement of labour from the occupied territories.

[Page 22]

I will read the last two paragraphs:
"The General Quartermaster, together with the Economic Staff, has proposed that the deportees should be sent either to prison camps or to training centres in their own area, and that deportation to Germany should take place only when the deportees are on probation and in less serious cases.

In view of the Armed Forces Operations Staff, this proposal does not take sufficient account of the severity required, and leads to a comparison with the treatment meted out to the 'peaceful population' which has been called upon to work. He recommends, therefore, transportation to concentration camps in Germany which have already been introduced by the Reichsfuehrer S.S. for his sphere, and which he is prepared to introduce for the Armed Forces in the case of an extension to the province of the latter. The High Command of the Armed Forces therefore orders: that Partisan helpers and suspects who are not to be executed, should be handed over to the competent Higher S.S. and Police Leader, and that the difference between 'punitive work' and 'work in Germany' is to be made clear to the population."

Finally, I would like to offer a group of four affidavits which show that the anti-Partisan activities on the Eastern front were under the command of and supported by the Wehrmacht, and that the nature of these activities was fully known to the Wehrmacht.

The first of these is Affidavit No. 17, Exhibit USA 562, by Ernst Rode, who was an S.S. Brigadefuehrer and Major General of the Police, and was a member of Himmler's personal Command Staff from 1943 to 1945:

"I, Ernst Rode, was formerly Chief of the Command Staff of the Reichsfuehrer S.S., having taken over this position in the spring of 1943, as successor to former S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Kurt Knoblauch. My last rank was Generalmajor of Police and of the Waffen S.S. My function was to furnish the forces necessary for anti- Partisan warfare to the higher S.S. and police leaders, and to guarantee the support of Army Forces. This took place through personal discussions with the leading officers of the Operations Staff of the O.K.W. and O.K.H., namely, with General Warlimont, General von Buttlar, Generaloberst Guderian, Generaloberst Zeitzler, General Heusinger, later General Wenk, Colonel Graf Kielmannsegg and, later, Colonel von Bonin. Since anti- Partisan warfare also was under the sole command of the respective Army Commander-in-Chief in operational areas - for instance, in the Central Army Group under Field Marshal Kluge and later Busch - and since police troops for the most part could not be spared from the Reich Commissariats, the direction of this warfare lay almost always entirely in the hands of the Army. In the same way orders were issued not by Himmler but by the O.K.H. S.S. and police troops transferred to operational areas from the Reich Commissariats to support the Army Groups were likewise under the latter's command. Such transfers often resulted in harm to anti-Partisan warfare in the Reich Commissariats. According to a specific agreement between Himmler and the O.K.H., the direction of individual operations lay in the hands of the troop leader who commanded the largest troop contingent. It was therefore possible that an Army General could have S.S. and Police under him, and, on the other hand, that army troops could be placed under a General of the S.S. and Police. Anti-Partisan warfare in operational areas could never be ordered by Himmler. I could merely request the O.K.H. to order it, until 1944, mostly through the intervention of Generalquartiermeister Wagner, or through State Secretary Ganzenmuller. The O.K.H. then issued corresponding orders to the army groups concerned, for compliance.

[Page 23]

The severity and cruelty with which the intrinsically diabolical Partisan warfare was conducted by the Russians had already resulted in Draconian laws being issued by Hitler to deal with it. These orders, which were passed on to the troops through the O.K.W. and O.K.H., were equally applicable to army troops as well as to those of the S.S. and Police. There was absolutely no difference in the manner in which these two components carried on this warfare. Army soldiers were exactly as embittered against the enemy as were those of the S.S. and Police.

As a result of this embitterment orders were ruthlessly carried out by both components, a thing which was also quite in keeping with Hitler's desires or intentions. As proof of this, an order of the O.K.W. and O.K.H. can be adduced which directed that all captured Partisans, for instance, Jews, agents and political Commissars, should without delay be handed over by the troops to the S.D. for special treatment. This order also contained the provision that in anti-Partisan warfare no prisoners except the above-named be taken. That anti-Partisan warfare was carried on by army troops mercilessly and to every extreme, I know as the result of discussions with army troop leaders, for instance with General Herzog, Commander of the 38th Army Corps, and with his Chief of Staff, Colonel Pamberg, in the General Staff, both of whom support my opinion. Today it is clear to me that anti-Partisan warfare gradually became an excuse for the systematic annihilation of Jewry and Slavism."

Your Lordship, I am told that I misread and said "Hitler" instead of "Himmler."

I next wish to offer another and shorter statement by Rode, which shows that the S.D.-Einsatzgruppen were under Wehrmacht command. This is Affidavit number 18, Exhibit USA 563:

"As far as I know, the S.D. Combat Groups with the individual Army Groups were completely subordinate to them, that is to say tactically as well as in every other way. The Commanders-in-Chief were therefore thoroughly cognisant of the missions and operational methods of these units. They clearly approved of these missions and operational methods, for apparently they never opposed them. The fact that prisoners, such as Jews, Agents and Commissars who were handed over to the S.D., underwent the same cruel death as victims of so- called purifications, is a proof that the executions had their approval. This also corresponded with what the highest political and military authorities wanted. Frequent mention of these methods were naturally made in my presence at the O.K.W. and O.K.H., and they were condemned by most S.S. and police officers, just as they were condemned by most army officers. On such occasions I always pointed out that it would have been quite within the scope of the authority of the Commanders-in- Chief of Army Groups to oppose such methods. I am of the firm conviction that an energetic and unified protest by all Field Marshals would have resulted in a change of these missions and methods. If they should ever assert that they would then have been succeeded by even more ruthless Commanders-in-Chief, this, in my opinion, would be a foolish and even cowardly dodge."
I would like next to read the final affidavit, number 24, in Document Book 1.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Taylor, unless you are going to conclude this particular part, I think we had better adjourn now.

COLONEL TAYLOR: I will conclude with two affidavits, your Honour, but it will take probably ten minutes.

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