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 Third Day: Tuesday, 9th April, 1946
(Part 6 of 12)

[MAJOR ELWYN JONES continues his cross examination of Hans Heinrich Lammers]

[Page 160]

Q. I am now talking about the defendant Frank, yes.

A. Frank had an office in Berlin where ministerial matters were delivered to him.

Q. So that the Reich Cabinet did not actually meet, but it continued to exist, did it not?

A. The Reich Cabinet existed only for those legislative and administrative matters which were handled in writing and by means of circulating letters.

Q. And the members of the Reich Cabinet, like Frank, continued to receive communications as to the legislative tasks and performances of the Reich Cabinet, even though they were not available for conferences or meetings?

A. They got such communications.

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: I think it's time to break off.


(The Tribunal adjourned until 14.00 hours.)




Q. Witness, I want to ask you some questions about the defendant Frank. Frank is a friend of yours, is he not?

A. Frank?

Q. Yes.

A. No, I have no very close connection with Frank.

Before answering this question, I would like permission to return to a document which you submitted to me previously, and which I have just now been able to finish reading. I would like to read just two sentences in connection with that document.

[Page 161]

Q. If the counsel for the defence desires you to return to it, I have no doubt they will draw your attention to the matter in due course.

Will you now deal with the question that I put to you on the defendant Frank? You say he is not a friend of yours?

A. I did not know him particularly well, and I had no particular connection with him - not more than any of the other people in the Reich Government.

Q. Would it be right to say, like yourself, he was one of the leading Nazi jurists?

A. Well, I never really thought of myself as a leading National Socialist jurist.

Q. Are you saying that you were not a leading jurist, or that you were not a National Socialist?

A. I considered myself in the first place as a lawyer - an expert on constitutional law, which I have been for many years in fact, since the year 1920 and under other governments; then I joined the National Socialist Party and naturally, in my position in the National Socialist State, I made every effort to represent the National Socialist idea of law.

Q. And you have said that, so far as Frank was concerned, he was a jurist who opposed the arbitrary use of power by the police.

A. He did that in some of his speeches; and the Fuehrer did not approve of these speeches.

Q. He was a man who believed in fair trials, was he?

A. What kind of trials do you mean? I cannot hear you; there is such a lot of noise.

Q. Criminal trials.

A. I did not hear the word.

Q. He was in favour of fair trials and he resisted the arbitrary power of the S.S.? That is your evidence, is it?

A. He told me that repeatedly, and he frequently expressed this view in his speeches, too.

Q. And you say he was a man who favoured a liberal administration in the territory of which he was Governor General? Is that so?

A. I am sorry, but I can't follow this; there is so much noise that I can barely hear half of what you are saying; the other half is completely lost.

Q. Well, we will try again. Did you ever hear of the AB Action, for which Frank was responsible in the Government General?

A. That is an action of which I know nothing at all. Someone mentioned this name to me about a week ago and said that Frank was accused of this AB Action; I do not know of any AB Action.

Q. You were getting frequent reports through Frank as to the administration of his territory, were you not?

A. Reports were occasionally sent in.

Q. Are you saying that Frank never informed you about the AB Action?

A. Yes, I do not know what the AB Action is.

Q. I will remind you. It was an action which resulted in the slaughter of the flower of the Polish race, of the Polish intelligentsia.

A. I know nothing about such an action.

Q. If you will look at the Document 2233-PS, which has already been exhibited as USSR 223, and which is Frank's diary, you will see that history of this action and perhaps you will then remember something of the circumstances of it.

A. Which page is that, please?

Q. On Page 8 of the annex to that text. You will see on that page that the action started on 16th May with a conference at which Frank, the Governor General and Reich Minister Dr. Seyss-Inquart, Secretary of State Buehler, S.S. Brigadier Streckenbach, and a Colonel Muller were present. You will see there that Frank decreed, with immediate effect, that the task of carrying out an extraordinary pacification programme be given to the Chief of the Security Police, to commence

[Page 162]

immediately. The more important details of the action were then discussed, and Brigadier Streckenbach was formally given the necessary authority by the Governor General. The Governor General ordered a detailed report to be made on 30th May.

Then, I want you to look at Page 2 of that text, at a report of the conference on 30th May, from which you, and, what is more important, this Tribunal, may be able to judge what kind of jurisprudence Nazi jurists believed in.

You will see, on Page 43 of the English text of Document 2233-PS, a report of the police conference on 30th May, where Frank and Kruger and others were present.

A. I was never present at these conferences of the Government.

Q. I want you to see how far removed Frank, the apostle of decency in administration, was from the true Frank when he was Governor General of Poland. You will see there that Frank states: "If I had not the old Nazi guard of fighters of the police and S.S. here in the country, with whom could we then carry out this policy?"

The report, with which the Tribunal is already familiar, goes on to describe how, now that the German aggressions in the West were in full swing, it was possible for Frank to go through with this action against the Polish intelligentsia.

A. If the entries in the Governor General's diary do not agree with what I gathered from the speeches which he made in public, I cannot make any comment. I do not know what he said about this. It may be that many of his speeches contradict other speeches which he made at a different time. What I said concerned only those speeches of which the Fuehrer disapproved, to which he objected, and which led to his being forbidden to make speeches or to print those he had made. I was referring to those speeches. I cannot say at the moment what other speeches the Governor General made and what he entered in his diary.

Q. Let us be quite clear, Do you know that the regime of Frank in the Government General was a murderous one?

A. I never heard anything about that.

Q. Did you receive any reports from him, or from other sources, of misgovernment in the Government General?

A. Complaints about misgovernment in the Government General came in frequently from Frank himself, and from other departments against Frank.

Q. Did you have knowledge of the utter ruthlessness of Frank's methods in the Government General?

A. I only heard half your question.

Q. You were receiving reports from Frank as to what he was doing in the Government General, were you not?

A. Yes. Reports came in frequently and I immediately passed them on to the Fuehrer as transit matters. Most of them went to Reichsleiter Bormann or the adjutant office of the Fuehrer. These were reports -

Q. Just a moment. If you deal with the questions I put to you, we shall get on much faster, you know. Just answer the questions I put, briefly. I am going to put to you one message which Frank's diary indicated that you received.

At Page 41 of the English text of Frank's diary there is this entry of 5th August:

"The Governor General sends the following teletype to Reich Minister Dr. Lammers:

The city of Warsaw is for the most part in flames. Burning down the houses is the surest way of depriving the insurgents of hiding places. After this rising and its suppression, its deserved fate of complete annihilation will rightfully - overtake Warsaw or be imposed upon it."

Do you recollect receiving that teletype?

A. To my knowledge this report did come in and was immediately transmitted to the Fuehrer. However, I was not concerned in the action itself; that was a military measure and military reports normally went straight to the Fuehrer. In

[Page 163]

all probability I passed on this teletype message not only to the Fuehrer, but also to the Chief of the High Command.

Q. I am not concerned with the action which you took in these circumstances; I am concerned with your knowledge, because you have denied to this Tribunal, time and time again, that you ever knew anything of these abominations that were going on under the Nazi regime. So just deal with the question of your knowledge at the moment.

You have said -

A. I know that this report was received -

Q. And that was a characteristic Frank message, was it not?

A. And that an annihilation action had been decreed in Warsaw and that there was fighting in Warsaw. After all, I had no right to give orders to the Governor General. I could only transmit his report to the Fuehrer. The report was meant for the Fuehrer and not for me personally.

Q. You say that Frank was opposed to the institution of concentration camps. That is your evidence, is it not? Is it your evidence that Frank was opposed to concentration camps?

A. Yes. Frank himself told me that in principle he was opposed to internment in concentration camps, for he agreed with my view that such a proceeding must at least have a legal basis.

Q. That is what he told you?

A. Yes, he told me that. Yes.

Q. Just let me read to you one brief extract from his diary to show why he disapproved of concentration camps. I am reading from Page 45 of the diary. He is referring to the Polish intelligentsia, and he says:

"We do not need first to deport these elements to the concentration camps in the Reich, because then we should only have annoyance and unnecessary correspondence with their families. Instead we shall liquidate matters in the country itself."
Then he goes on to say that:
"... we do not intend to set up concentration camps, in the real sense of the term, here in the Government General. Any prisoners from the Government General who are in concentration camps in the Reich must be put at our disposal for the AB Action, or dealt with there. Any one who is suspect here must be liquidated immediately."
That is why Frank opposed the institution of concentration camps. He believed in immediate murder, did he not?

A. It may be that Frank's diary and his actions do not agree with what he told me, but I only know what he told me was his opinion of concentration camps. I do not know what he wrote in his diary nor do I know what he did in practice. I had no right to exercise supervision over the Governor General.

Q. You have spoken of the battle between Frank and various other Reich Commissars and Reich Ministers and the S.S. I suggest to you that the battle between Frank and the S.S. Brigadier Kruger was a battle for power, a battle between personalities, and was not connected in any way with Frank's desire to see decency and justice determine the administration of the Government General.

A. If you mean that Frank's statements to me do not agree with his actions, you must question Herr Frank on the point. I am not responsible for his actions. I can only say what Herr Frank told me.

Q. You see, you were receiving reports not only from Frank himself but from the S.S., were you not?

A. A great many reports came in to me and were passed on in the routine way, for which I was only a transit station for such reports. In any case, reports from the S.S. in most cases did not go through my office.

[Page 164]

Q. You were another of these highly placed post offices on which the Nazi Reich was founded, were you?

A. I am sorry, I did not understand that.

Q. Do you remember communicating with Himmler about the situation in the Government General?

A. Yes, certainly. I know that Himmler would have liked to remove Governor General Frank from the Government General. He would rather have had someone else as Governor General.

Q. You submitted a report to Himmler on the strength of a discussion you had had with S.S. Lieutenant General Kruger, did you not?

A. I cannot recall a discussion with General Kruger at the moment, unless I am given more exact information as to when it took place.

Q. Will you just look at the Document 2220-PS, which is Exhibit USA 175. That is your report to Himmler. You will see that that report is dated 17th April, 1943, addressed to Himmler, with reference to the situation in the Government General. I will read some of it; it has not been read before:

"Dear Reich Leader:

We had agreed at our conference on 27th March of this year that written reports should be prepared on the situation in the Government General, on which our intended mutual report to the Fuehrer could be based."

That was the mutual report of the S.S. and yourself, and then the next paragraph reads: "The material ..."

A. That was a report made on instructions given me by the Fuehrer to investigate certain complaints made against Frank. A series of complaints against Frank had been received and the Fuehrer had given instructions that Himmler and I should investigate the matter. That is the matter we are concerned with now.

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