The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
12th March to 22nd March, 1946

Seventy-Ninth Day: Tuesday, 12th March, 1946
(Part 4 of 9)

[DR. STAHMER continues his direct examination of State Secretary Paul Koerner]

[Page 12]

Q. Under whom did he work?

A. He was formally under the Trustee of the Four-Year Plan, but he received his directives straight from the Fuehrer.

Q. What was your part in it?

A. In the spring of 1942, I ceased to have any jurisdiction over the employment of labour, since Sauckel received his directives straight from the Fuehrer and carried them out accordingly.

Q. Did you not have any more dealings with Sauckel?

A. No. There was no more dealings as far as I remember, since he received his directives from the Fuehrer.

Q. Who allocated the manpower?

A. The labour exchanges allocated the manpower and were under Sauckel.

[Page 13]

Q. What were the relations between the Reichsmarschall and Himmler?

A. They were not very cordial. There was frequent tension and mutual confidence was complete lacking.

DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions.

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

(No response.)

Do the prosecution wish to ask any questions?


Q. In your testimony you made some reference to a conversation between Goering and Thaelmann.

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Will you tell us when that occurred?

A. That must have been in the summer of 1933.

Q. In the summer of 1933? Was that before or after the Reichstag fire?

A. That was after the Reichstag fire.

Q. And Thaelmann was accused in the Reichstag fire trial and acquitted by the Court, was he not?

A. I cannot remember that very well.

Q. Do you remember it at all? Do you remember that he was accused?

A. I can no longer remember whether he was accused. It may be.

Q. Do you know where he died?

A. No, I do not know.

Q. Do you know that he was interned in Buchenwald after the Reichstag fire and remained there until he died in 1944? Did you know that?

A. Yes, I remember it was said he was a victim of an air attack.

Q. And where was he when he was caught in this air attack?

A. Where was Thaelmann? I did not quite understand the question.

Q. Where was he when he became a victim of an air attack?

A. As far as I heard, he was said to be in the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Q. And how long had he been there?

A. That I do not know; I have no knowledge of that.

Q. Were you present at the conversation between Thaelmann and Goering?

A. Yes.

Q. What did he complain about then in the concentration camp?

A. About treatment during interrogations.

Q. That was the only complaint he made?

A. Yes, as far as I can remember. The Reichsmarschall asked him whether he had good food and whether he was properly treated. All these things were discussed.

Q. And Thaelmann found no fault with the concentration camp except treatment during interrogation.

A. Yes, as far as I remember, that was his only complaint.

Q. Were the Communists regarded by the Nazis as enemies of the country?

A. Yes.

Q. And concentration camps, then, were built to receive Communists among others, were they not?

A. Yes.

Q. And Jews?

A. Yes, as far as they were known to be enemies of the State.

Q. Were Jews also regarded as enemies of the State?

A. Only when they had been recognised as such.

Q. Recognised as such - what, as Jews?

A. No, if a Jew was recognised as an enemy of the State, he was treated as an enemy of the State.

[Page 14]

Q. What was the test as to whether he was an enemy of the State?

A. Well, his attitude, his active participation in actions hostile to the State.

Q. Such as what? What actions?

A. I cannot give any details. I was not chief of the Gestapo and therefore I do not know any details.

Q. Were you not with Goering as his secretary during the time he was chief of the Gestapo?

A. In April, 1933, I became State Secretary in the Prussian State Ministry.

Q. And did you not have to do with concentration camps under the Secret Police as such?

A. No, I had nothing to do with that.

Q. Who handled that for Goering?

A. The then Ministerialdirektor Diehls.

Q. Did you know that, in setting up the Secret State Police, Goering used S.S. men to man the Gestapo?

A. I cannot remember now.

Q. You were a member of the S.S., were you not?

A. Yes.

Q. What was your office in the S.S.?

A. I never held any office in the S.S., neither was I in charge of an S.S. formation. I was just a member of the S.S.

Q. Were you not Obergruppenfuehrer?

A. Yes, I was a S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer.

Q. Now, as to these unauthorised concentration camps, you were asked who set them up, and I do not think you answered. Will you tell us who set up these concentration camps?

A. I remember two camps. In the case of one, I know for certain it was Gruppenfuehrer Heines, in Breslau.

Q. Gruppenfuehrer of what?

A. S.A. Gruppenfuehrer Heines, in Breslau.

Q. Who was the other?

A. I cannot say exactly. I believe it was Karpfenstein, but I am not sure of it.

Q. Who was he?

A. Karpfenstein was Gauleiter in Stettin.

Q. The Gauleiter was a Party official?

A. Yes, he was a Party official.

Q. The concentration camps were designed to take care of not only enemies of the State but enemies of the Party, were they not?

A. Yes.

Q. The Prime Minister of Prussia was the chief of the Secret State Police?

A. Yes.

Q. In his absence the State Secretary of the Ministry was to act as chief of the Secret State Police?

A. No, that was Diehls.

Q. Was that not the law, whatever was done about it? Did you not know that that was the law under which the Secret State Police was set up, Section 1, paragraph 2?

A. I cannot remember that law any more. I no longer know the details.

Q. You know the law of November 30, 1933 - do you not know the law under which you were operating?

A. I do not remember that law now. I would have to see it again.

Q. Now what was wrong with these concentration camps that they had to be closed down?

A. These unauthorised concentration camps had been established without permission of the then Prussian Prime Minister and for that reason he prohibited them immediately.

[Page 15]

Q. That is the only reason, that they were set up without his authority?

A. I believe, yes.

Q. And he had them stopped immediately?

A. Immediately stopped, yes.

Q. Goering did not tolerate concentration camps that were not under his control and the Fuehrer backed him up in it, is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, from time to time complaints came to you about the treatment of people in concentration camps, during all the time you were with Goering, did they not?

A. Yes, there were frequent complaints.

Q. What did they complain of?

A. Various things.

Q. Tell the Tribunal what the complaints were that you had to deal with.

A. Well, mostly from relatives of the people taken to concentration camps whose release was applied for; or complaints that these people had been taken to a concentration camp without reason.

Q. That is, that they were innocent people, innocent of any offence?

A. The relatives asserted this.

Q. Did you do anything to get them released from concentration camps?

A. The Reichsmarschall had ordered that all complains were to be replied to. Every case was followed up at once.

Q. Did you find that many of these people were innocent, or did you find that they were guilty?

A. If anybody was found to have been wrongly taken to a concentration camp, he was released immediately.

Q. To whom was the communication given, that he had been found innocent and was to be released from the concentration camp?

A. It was given to the Secret State Police, Gestapo.

Q. To whom at the Secret State Police? Who was the man with whom you communicated?

A. I cannot name the individual who dealt with these matters. The chief, as far as I remember, was first Heydrich and then Kaltenbrunner or Muller.

Q. Goering was on good terms with all of those, was he not?

A. Yes.

Q. Well acquainted with all of those men?

A. Of course.

Q. Now, when you say that Goering obtained the release of people from concentration camps, are you talking about just one or two cases, or did he obtain the release of a good many people?

A. In the course of the years, there were naturally several cases.

Q. What do you mean by "several"?

A. Well, I cannot give the number now, but there were quite a lot of releases.

Q. Did you find any cases, when you investigated, of people proving to be guilty?

A. If they could not be released, then they were considered guilty.

Q. Who decided that?

A. That, as far as I know, was decided by the chief of the Secret State Police.

Q. Well, then, what did you do in requesting their release? Did you advise the Secret State Police that you disagreed with their conclusion that the man was guilty, or did Goering simply order the man to be released or request his release?

A. They were told the exact reason why the man should be released.

Q. Do you know of any instance in which Goering requested the release of a person from a concentration camp, and his request was not granted?

A. I cannot say that now. I must think it over.

Q. You cannot recall any to-day, can you, in which Goering's word requesting a release was not honoured?

[Page 16]

A. At the moment I cannot remember any particular case.

Q. How many people were put in concentration camps as a result of the Roehm revolt?

A. This I cannot say either.

Q. How many people were killed as a result of it?

A. I cannot say from memory. As far as I know, these figures were published at the time.

Q. Well, would it be a couple of hundred people that were killed?

A. I should not like to tie myself to a figure, because I may be wrong.

Q. Well, it was a very large number of people, was it not?

A. No. I am sure it was not a very large number.

Q. Give a figure.

A. The number was published at the time. This could still be checked.

Q. Well, why did the Reichsmarschall want Hitler to stop punishing the people who had been a party to the Roehm revolt?

A. I did not quite understand the question.

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