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 7 of 12)

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

[Page 164]

Q. And you and your colleague, Himmler, you see, were actively interested in this matter. I just want you to look further at this report. You will see that in the report itself it is headed, in paragraph A:
"The task of the German administration in the Government General:

The German administration in the Government General has to fulfil the following tasks:

1. For the purpose of securing food for the German people, to increase agricultural production and utilise it to the fullest extent, to allot sufficient rations to the native population occupied with work essential for the war effort, and to deliver the rest to the Armed Forces and the homeland."

Then it goes on to deal with the difficulties of extracting sufficient man-power and wealth from the territory of the Government General for the benefit of the Third Reich. And then towards the end it deals specifically with the utilisation of man-power, and it is to that paragraph that I desire to draw your particular attention. Have you found the paragraph headed "utilisation of man-power," dealing with the difficulties that the administration in the Government General was confronted with? I draw your attention to it because it contains this sentence: "It is clear that these difficulties have been increased by the elimination of Jewish man-power."

A. Where is that, please?

Q. It is in the paragraph headed "Utilisation of man-power."

A. Yes, but that is not my report.

Q. But you said that in your covering letter that the memorandum was checked with General Kruger, who agreed with it in full. You recollect in your covering letter you indicated that this memorandum had received your consideration. Now, whether you wrote that or not is not the matter that I am concerned with at the moment. What I want you to explain to the Tribunal is, first of all, did you

[Page 165]

appreciate that this report contained the sentence, "It is clear that these difficulties of man-power have been increased by the elimination of Jewish man-power"?

A. May I please be allowed time to read this document through? I cannot reply to documents several pages long unless I have read them. I find it quite impossible, and I ask for time to read this report which is several pages in length.

Q. You may have the time required; but I only want you to concern yourself with one sentence, you see. You can take it that in the last paragraph but one of that report there appears this sentence about the elimination of Jewish man- power, and what I am going to suggest to you is that -

A. No, where is that? I haven't read this sentence. I have not yet found the place. Where can I find it? Is it at the top or at the bottom of the page? If I may read the whole page I will find the sentence, I will need a few minutes for this. Can you give me the approximate place? This is evidently Kruger's report; and he probably means the further evacuation of the Jews to the East. I do not know what you mean by "elimination." With the best intentions I am not in a position to give an explanation on the spur of the moment of one sentence taken out of a document of fourteen pages. It is absolutely impossible.

Q. Are you saying that elimination of Jewish man-power is to be translated as emigration of Jewish man-power?

A. I do not know, I will have to read the complete document in order to give you an explanation of the report. There are fourteen closely written pages in it, not written by myself; and I do not know what the connection is.

Q. You know, do you not, that Hans Frank himself was in favour of a policy of extermination of the Jewish people?

A. I do not know whether he held that view. He told me exactly the opposite, and as a witness I can only tell you what be said to me and not what he said elsewhere.

Q. You see, this Tribunal has had read to it extracts from Frank's diary in which he says that "my attitude towards the Jews" - and this is found in Page 12 of the German copy - "my attitude towards the Jews is such that I expect them all to disappear." And he says, as to the three and a half million Jews in the Government General, that "one cannot shoot them or poison them, but we will be able to take steps in order to annihilate them successfully. The Government General must become as free of Jews as the Reich is."

Are you saying that Frank didn't express similar views to you?

A. If Frank made these entries in his diary, and if he actually did say that, then it contradicts what he told me. That is all I have to say on that point.

Q. Did you know that Frank's diary indicates that on 9th September, 1941, there were three and a half million Jews in the Government General and when he makes an entry on 2nd August, 1943, he says that only a few labour companies are left. Did you not know that?

A. I do not know that it happened because he told me nothing about it. He himself must account for what he said in his diary. He himself must establish whether he did it or not. I knew nothing about these things.

Q. In view of your interpretation of elimination as emigration, Frank says in connection with those millions that they, as this Tribunal knows, were murdered: All the others have, let us say, emigrated. Are you using the word "emigrated" in an equally cynical and brutal sense as that?

A. I am not in a position to comment on Herr Frank's diary. Herr Frank himself will have to do that.

Q. You, witness, were from the beginning of this tale of terror involved in assisting in drafting legislation towards achieving the end of racial persecution, were you not? Is that not so? Did you not put your signature to the Fuehrer's decree empowering Himmler to carry out the necessary measures to eliminate from the territory of the Reich racial elements of which you, as a Nazi, did not approve?

A. I do not recall ever signing anything like that.

[Page 166]

Q. Well, I will draw your attention to it. It is Document 686-PS, which is Exhibit USA 305. It is the decree of Hitler to strengthen German folkdom. That is the title of it. It is dated 7th October.

A. Yes, I know of the decree.

Q. I thought it would not surprise you.

A. But this says nothing about what you asserted.

Q. Just look at the first clause of it. It reads:

"The Reichsfuehrer S.S. is responsible, in accordance with my directives:

1. For finally returning to the Reich all German nationals and racial Germans abroad.

2. For elimination of the harmful influence of such alien parts of the population as represent a danger to the Reich and the German people."

Then it goes on with "Formation of new German settlement districts, by resettlement ..." and it says:
"The Reichsfuehrer S.S. is authorised to take the necessary measures to execute his obligation."
You signed that decree, did you not?

A. It is correct, but it says nothing about killing Jews. It speaks of the elimination of a harmful influence exercised by alien populations. There is no mention of the elimination of aliens, but only of the elimination of the influence of alien elements of the population; the removal of a person's influence does not mean the removal of the person himself.

Q. Are you, as the head of the Reich Chancellery, the man who knew all the secrets of the Third Reich, saying to this Tribunal that you had no knowledge of the murder of millions and millions who were murdered under the Nazi regime?

A. I mean to say that I knew nothing about it until the moment of the collapse, that is, the end of April or the beginning of May, when I heard such reports from foreign broadcasting stations. I did not believe them at the time, and I only found further material here, later on, in the newspapers. If we are speaking now of the elimination of a harmful influence, that is far from meaning annihilation. The Fuehrer did not say a word about murder; no mention was ever made of such a plan.

Q. I now want you to turn your attention to the defendant Rosenberg. You have told us that the first you heard of several of the major military operations of the Third Reich was through the newspapers. Was it from the newspapers that you heard of the Nazi plans to invade the Soviet Union?

A. I only learned of the war of aggression against Russia when everything was complete. The Fuehrer never said a word about a war of aggression against Russia before that. He only spoke of military complications with Russia which might be imminent but I did not interpret that as meaning a war of aggression against Russia.

Q. Did you know that the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union was a defensive war on the part of Nazi Germany?

A. The Fuehrer never told me anything except what I have already stated here, that troop concentrations had been observed which led us to the conclusion that military complications with Russia might be expected, and that he wanted to be prepared for any eventuality, and therefore Herr Rosenberg was to deal with Eastern questions. I heard nothing further. I was completely unaware of the fact that a War of aggression was to be waged against Russia. Various incidents might have justified the conclusion that we might expect to be attacked; at least, it was represented to us in that way, as far as we were informed.

Q. But you, you know, witness, that as early as 20th April, 1941, Hitler was planning and plotting the details of action against the Soviet Union. Just look at Document 865-PS Exhibit USA 143, will you? That, as you will see, is a decree of the Fuehrer, which is dated 20th April, 1941, and, let me remind you, that the

[Page 167]

invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany did not take place until 22nd June. On 20th April you signed that decree, in which Hitler named Rosenberg as "My Commissioner for the central control of questions connected with the East European Region."

A. Yes, that is correct. I have never testified to anything else. That was the assignment, the first assignment which Rosenberg was given and on this occasion the Fuehrer spoke of possible military complications with Russia and granted Rosenberg his authority.

Q. Just a minute. Answer the question I am putting to you at the moment. You can give your explanations later. Look further down that Document 865-PS. You see it is a letter from you to Keitel, dated 21st April, in which you say, "Herewith I am sending you a copy of a Fuehrer's decree of the 26th of this month by which the Fuehrer appointed Reichsleiter Rosenberg as his Commissioner for the central control of questions connected with the East European Region. In this capacity, Reichsleiter Rosenberg is to make all the necessary preparations for the possible emergency with the greatest speed." Are you saying that these activities of yours and Rosenberg at that time were not connected with aggressive plans on the part of Nazi Germany?

A. I most certainly will say that. By an emergency the Fuehrer meant, as I said before, that the Fuehrer believed that there might be war with Russia. That was the emergency which led to Rosenberg's assignment. There is not a word here about a war of aggression and, indeed, there was no question of it.

Q. You know that Rosenberg was in communication with other government departments of the Third Reich, in connection with this preparation for aggression against the Soviet Union, weeks before the invasion took place, do you not?

A. Whom is he supposed to have influenced? I did not hear whom he is supposed to have influenced.

Q. Perhaps I was not understood. He was collaborating with other departments of the Third Reich weeks before the invasion happened.

A. He may have worked with other departments in carrying out his assignment but I do not know to what extent or with what purpose. Nor do I know what other assignments he was given by the Fuehrer.

Q. At least you do know that Hitler made clear to Rosenberg, before he to office, what the main principles of Nazi policy towards the conquered territories of the Soviet Union were to be, do you not? You attended the conference of Hitler on 16th July, 1941, when he set out his principles and aim with regard to the Soviet Union?

A. This happened after the outbreak of war but not before it. Before this there was never any discussion about a war of aggression in my presence.

Q. You said that Rosenberg was a man who believed in liberal treatment of those whom the Nazi armies conquered, but you were at Hitler's conference in July, 1941, in the very first week of this man's responsibility, and you heard Hitler at that conference enunciating a programme of terror and brutality and exploitation, did you not?

A. On 16th July, Herr Rosenberg had already expressed misgivings.

Q. But they were doubts which did not cause him to leave his post and he continued until the Red Army made his position somewhat uncomfortable in the East, did he not?

A. Yes, but he always followed principles of moderation. I have always spoken of Rosenberg's activities generally. I cannot testify to all the special measures which he took and I can only tell you what Rosenberg told me, the complaints he made to me personally and what he described to me as his objectives. If he acted at all differently, I know nothing about it.

Q. You were familiar with the conflict between Rosenberg and Koch, the Reich Commissar for the Ukraine, were you not?

A. Yes, I know all about that. Rosenberg was always in favour of moderation

[Page 168]

and the handling of political matters in a reasonable manner. Koch inclined towards a more radical solution.

Q. When you say a "more radical solution," what do you mean by that, "Mass murder"?

A. No, I do not mean that at all.

Q. But you did in fact know that Koch was a murderer, did you not?

A. That Koch was a murderer?

Q. Yes.

A. I do not know the particulars. That did not come within the scope of my department.

Q. I will just draw your attention to them. Look at the Document 032-PS, which will be Exhibit GB 321, the document which has not yet been exhibited. That is a report dated 2nd April, 1943, from Rosenberg to Himmler, with a copy to you. It is a report on the murder of the people of the Zuman wooded area so that there could be established a place for Reich Commissar Koch to hunt in.

A. I know of this complaint and I even submitted it to the Fuehrer. Herr Rosenberg complained that Reich Commissar Koch had had a large wooded area cleansed of all towns and villages because he wanted to hunt there. That was submitted by Rosenberg to the Fuehrer as a complaint.

Q. And this word "cleansed," does that mean emigration or does that mean murder?

A. "Cleanse" means to free the area.

Q. I don't want you to shut this document. I just want you to look at this document because you have denied knowledge that Koch was a murderer. In paragraph 2 of the report you see this:

"I have just received the following report from an old Party Comrade who has worked for nine months in Volhynia and Podolia with a view to preparing to take over a District Commissariat or a main division in the General District of Volhynia and Podolia."
This report reads:
"On orders from the highest quarters, steps were taken to evacuate the whole district of Zuman. Germans and Ukrainians both stated that this happened because the entire wooded area of Zuman was to become a private shoot for the Reich Commissar. In December, 1942, when it was already bitterly cold, the evacuation was begun. Hundreds of families were forced to pack all their possessions overnight and were then evacuated a distance of over 60 km. Hundreds of people in Zuman and its vicinity were shot down with the aid of an entire police company, 'because they had Communist sympathies.' None of the Ukrainians believed this last ..."
Have you not found it, witness, because I want you to follow this, you see. Have you found it?

A. No, I have not yet found it.

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