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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
4th April to 15th April, 1946

One Hundred and Second Day: Monday, 8th April, 1946
(Part 7 of 11)

[Page 117]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal really doesn't want to hear a history of Ancient Rome.

THE WITNESS: Very well.

[Page 118]


Q. Witness, you have described the development of the transfer of governmental powers into Hitler's hands.

A. Yes, but not completely.

Q. In that case, please continue with your account. But all descriptions ...

THE PRESIDENT: We have had quite enough. We quite understand that he is saying that Hitler took over all powers and would not listen to any debate at all. It is perfectly clear that he said so.



Q. Witness, will you please tell me one more thing about the last question in this connection? Please tell me whether you as Reich Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery considered the development you have just described legal.

A. I regarded this development, in the first place, from the point of view of the student of constitutional law. I discussed these questions repeatedly with Hitler, and I considered this development perfectly legal and, if it is desired, I can explain my reasons in detail. In particular, I considered this development legal in view of the well- known Enabling Act and later laws which gave the Government plenipotentiary powers and because of which the Government, in turn, was in a position to delegate some of these powers to the Fuehrer and to transfer the power. In that manner the Reich Government, as such ...

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, the Tribunal isn't really interested in whether or not it was legal. What the Tribunal is interested in is whether crimes against other nations were committed. We certainly don't want to hear this in such great detail.

DR. SEIDL: Yes, but the main point of the Indictment is Count 1 of the Indictment, and that is concerned with the Conspiracy charged by the Indictment.

THE PRESIDENT: The main point in the Indictment is not whether it was in accordance with German law that Hitler should take over the powers of his Government. There was no such point made in the Indictment.


Q. Witness, I now turn to some questions which concern the defendant Dr. Frank.

Since when have you known Dr. Frank? What were his activities up to the outbreak of the war?

A. I became acquainted with Herr Frank in the course of the year 1932. If I understand you rightly, you want to hear about his activities only from the outbreak of the war?

Q. Up to the outbreak of the war.

A. He was Chief of the Legal Division of the Party, then Chief of the National Socialist Lawyers' Association (Juristenbund) which later on became the so-called Lawyers' League (Rechtswahrerbund). Then he became a member of the Reichstag, and at the time of the seizure of power in 1933 he became Minister of Justice in Bavaria. At the same time he became Reich Commissar for Legal Reforms.

Later on - and I don't remember the exact year - he became Reich Minister without Portfolio, and he was the President of the Academy of German Law. He finally became Governor General.

THE PRESIDENT: We have had the defendant Frank's posts proved to us already, I should think probably more than once. We don't require them from Dr. Lammers.

DR. SEIDL: I can put another question to the witness.


Q. Witness, what was the relationship between Frank and Hitler?

A . The relationship between the two was, at the beginning, I should like to say, good and proper, but not particularly close. At any rate, during the whole time he did not belong to those who could be called the closest advisers of the Fuehrer.

[Page 119]

Q. What was Frank's attitude towards the State police and the question of concentration camps?

A. Frank repeatedly made speeches in public in which he stood up for the constitutional State, for right and law by attacking the State police and in which - although not in very strong terms - he always took a stand against internment in concentration camps, because such internment was without a legal basis. These speeches made by Frank were frequently the cause of a severe disapproval on the part of Hitler, so that in the end the Fuehrer instructed me to forbid his making speeches and he was forbidden to publish the printed versions of these speeches. Finally, Frank's activity in standing up for the constitutional State, resulted in his being removed from his office as the Reich Chief of the Legal Division of the Party.

Q. Wasn't he dismissed from his position as President of the Academy of German Law for these reasons?

A. Yes, that happened at the same time, and also from his position as Chief of the Lawyers' League.

Q. Another question: Did Dr. Frank as Governor General have considerable power, or was it not rather the case that his power in many respects was greatly infringed?

A. One can certainly say that in many respects his power was infringed.

There were a number of reasons for this - first of all, as is self-evident, the Armed Forces. But they bothered him least of all, for in the occupied territories the Reich Commissioners were never members of the High Command of the Armed Forces. That was always separate. Then Goering, as Trustee for the Four-Year Plan, had comprehensive powers to issue orders to both the Party and the State in all occupied territories, therefore also in the Government General and thus could give orders to the Governor General and could, when it was necessary in the interests of the whole, countermand and annul the latter's decrees.

Thirdly, Frank's powers as Governor General were considerably limited through the police, since Himmler as Chief of the German police had direct police powers which he was, to be sure, to co-ordinate with those of the Governor General but which he didn't always do.

The Governor General suffered a further loss of power through the fact that Himmler was Reich Commissioner for the "Strengthening of Germanism" and as such could undertake resettlements and did do so without consulting Governor General Frank in any way.

Then, there were certain infringements in favour of the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour, but in my opinion the infringement of power in this field was very slight, for Gauleiter Sauckel always, where possible, came to an agreement with the local offices beforehand. Finally there were powers reserved for Reich Minister Speer in the field of armament and technology. There were still other powers reserved for the postal service, the railroads, etc. But in the main these are the infringements, as you call them, Dr. Seidl, in Frank's power.

Q. What, according to your observations, was Frank's basic attitude towards the Polish and Ukrainian peoples, and what was the policy he tried to carry through?

A. In my opinion Frank always tried to pursue a policy of moderation and to create an atmosphere of friendship toward Germany in Poland. To be sure, he very often was unable to achieve his aim especially because of the fact that the powers of the police and Himmler's powers were too great in the field of resettlement so that his measures and his intentions suffered setbacks. He found it difficult to achieve his aims.

Q. Did Dr. Frank occupy himself with Germanisation aims or did he rather, whenever he could, oppose the policy of resettlement pursued by Himmler as Reich Commissioner for the "Strengthening of Germanism"?

A. I shouldn't have thought that Frank would be so foolish as to have Germanising intentions or to want to make Germans of Poles. He probably tried to win the

[Page 120]

people of German origin in Poland for the cause of Germanism. He had many difficulties with regard to the resettlements, since he was not consulted beforehand and since, by way of resettlement, people were simply pushed into the Government General. In that respect he and I agreed entirely. I have repeatedly told the Fuehrer that these mass resettlements couldn't take place all at once without the agreement of the Governor General, and that the Governor General couldn't govern if he did not know about these resettlement measures in advance and if he could exert no influence in connection with these measures.

Q. Witness, you stated earlier that the entire Security Police and the S.D. in the Government General were directly under Himmler or the Higher S.S. and Police Chief. Did Governor General Frank not try to protest against the policy of force employed by these two men and to relieve the situation?

A. On this point he addressed repeated complaints to me, so that I might take them to the Fuehrer, which, however, I could do only in part. In one point, however, we did want to help him. In the Government General there had been established a Secretariat of State for the security system. This was under the then Higher S.S. and Police Chief Kruger. This, however, functioned for only four to six weeks and then differences of opinion in this field broke out once more. The State Secretary for Security, Kruger, stated, "I receive my orders from Himmler." If the Governor General complained about that, then Himmler said, "These are all unimportant matters. I certainly must be able to rule on them directly." The Governor General replied, "But for me they aren't unimportant matters."

The channels of command and the co-operation with the Governor General were not being observed, and it is therefore perfectly understandable that Herr Frank had a very difficult position with respect to the police system.

Q. Is it correct that the Governor General repeatedly, both verbally and in writing, declared his intention of resigning and the reasons for it?

A. He repeatedly offered his resignation, because of these sharp conflicts which he had, with Himmler in particular, and because Hitler usually decided that he was in the wrong and Himmler in the right. Many statements of his intention or desire to resign were brought to me, some of which I wasn't even allowed to submit to the Fuehrer. But I informed the Fuehrer of the Governor General's intentions of resigning and the Fuehrer several times refused Frank's offer to resign.

Q. Do you know that the Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler was working towards having Frank removed?

A. The Reichsfuehrer Himmler personally was indubitably an opponent of Frank. There is cause for me to assume from various disapproving statements made by Himmler with regard to Frank that Himmler would have liked it very much if Frank had been removed from his position; and Reichsleiter Bormann, who also wasn't very well disposed to Frank's personality, would have liked it also.

Q. Who in the Government General had jurisdiction of the concentration camps and was the competent official as far as their instalment and administration was concerned?

A. The concentration camps were under Himmler, and offices and departments under Himmler's control were responsible for the administration and organisation. There was an economics' department, I believe, attached to the S.S., which was responsible for administration; but concentration camps as such were under Himmler's jurisdiction.

Q. Who was responsible for all questions connected with the so-called Jewish policy in the Government General?

A. In occupied territories the Jewish policy, I might say in its larger implications, was handled by Himmler, who directed it. But, of course, the Governor General was also concerned with matters in the field of Jewish policy or with measures against the Jews, for instance, the combating of spotted fever, and, I think, the marking by means of a visible sign. All personal measures were proposed to the

[Page 121]

Governor General by the police. But the main policy in Jewish questions, as I learned afterwards, was handled entirely by Himmler alone, who had been given these powers by the Fuehrer.

Q. Is it true that the Governor General, as early as 1940, continuously raised complaints regarding the activities of the Higher S.S. and Police Chief Kruger?

A. I can confirm that. That happened several times. In particular these complaints were made because the S.S. and police courts were assuming powers in the Government General which they didn't actually have. Consequently, they deprived the Governor General, the only authority competent in this respect, of the administration of justice. There were also shootings of hostages. He repeatedly complained about that. I want to state that all complaints were addressed to me - not to me personally, but were merely always directed to me so that I could submit them to the Fuehrer.

Q. Is it correct that the Governor General continuously made objections about the extensive claims made by the Reich or the Government General, particularly in reference to grain deliveries?

A. He often raised objections, but the demands which were put to him were even increased. He did, for the most part, fulfil them, which must have been extremely hard for him.

Q. Do you know that the Governor General protested against the removal of art treasures by Himmler's organisation?

A. I have only a very faint recollection of that. It is possible that he also complained about the removal of art treasures, but I can't remember any details in that connection.

Q. And now the last question. Is it true that the Governor General in many documents, from as early as 1940 on, made proposals to the Fuehrer regarding the improvement of the living conditions of the population under the Government General and that the Fuehrer, only very much later, acknowledged that the liberal policy which had been advocated by Frank from the very beginning was correct?

A. Herr Frank often objected to a policy of exploitation and pronounced himself in favour of a policy of development, in cultural matters as well. He had suggested, for instance, that Polish advisory committees be assigned to the authorities under the Governor General and to the district chiefs and so forth. That was refused. He spoke in favour of the creation of high schools, theological seminaries and similar cultural aims, all of which were rejected.

On one occasion he had submitted a long memorandum. This referred to a Polish organisation which called itself "The Plough and the Sword"; it had offered to co-operate with the Germans, and Frank submitted detailed proposals in a large memorandum, saying that these Poles could be won over to co- operate only if they were met on proper terms. All these suggestions, coming from Frank, were turned down by Hitler. It isn't correct for you to say, Dr. Seidl, that it wasn't until the last moment that the Fuehrer agreed to these suggestions. All I can say is that they were all turned down without exception.

DR. SEIDL: I have no further questions.

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