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 Fifth Day: Thursday, 11th April, 1946
(Part 7 of 10)

[DR. KAUFFMANN continues his direct examination of Ernst Kaltenbrunner]

[Page 261]

THE PRESIDENT: You are not looking at the words; what he is asked is, "Was the regular channel ...?" That is the question. "What was the regular channel for orders from Himmler to you and Muller?"

A. Your Lordship, I have already explained the question how Himmler himself arranged the authority. Just think of June, 1944, of Heydrich's death. From that day on - it is a written order and was announced publicly - Himmler took charge of the entire R.S.H.A. and assumed all the duties which had been Heydrich's. In January, 1943, I was appointed Chief of the R.S.H.A., after it had been announced that the executive power and competence of the State Police and Criminal Police remain with him, that no change was to be made, and that the Chiefs of Amt IV and V, Muller and Nebe, would continue to be directly under him. For that reason the organisational scheme as it existed at the time of Heydrich was no longer applicable for Amt IV and V when I joined the staff.

Q. Now, Question 3(a): There it says, "And did Kaltenbrunner know about the conditions in the concentration camps?" Here also it is not explained just what is meant by "conditions" in concentration camps, but it is most likely to be interpreted that those conditions which have been attested by witnesses are meant. The witness said "yes."

A. Dr. Kauffmann, you are overlooking a very important sentence, the last one, on Question No. 3. Here the prosecution asks: "Did the W.V.H.A. have supervision over all concentration camps for administration, for the utilisation of

[Page 262]

labour, and maintenance of discipline?" This sentence is tremendously important for the following reasons: the prosecution attempts to shift the entire guilt for the destruction of human life from the W.V.H.A. to the R.S.H.A., and, if the High Tribunal wants to find the truth ...

THE PRESIDENT: Just a minute, This is again a long argumentative speech. The only point which arises, it seems to me, upon this Question 3(a), is, "Did a conference take place between Kaltenbrunner, Pohl, and the chief of the concentration camps?" If he says that they did not, then that is an answer that he makes to the affidavit; ,that is the only question of fact.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Yes, that was the question; I am of the same opinion.


Q. Please answer "yes" or "no" to the question which was just put to you. Did such conferences between Pohl, Muller, and yourself take place?

A. I never had conferences with Pohl and Muller. I had to have semi-annual conferences with Pohl because Pohl was, as Chief of the W.V.H.A., the Finance Minister for the entire S.S. and Police and the funds for my entire Intelligence Service had to come from Pohl in so far as the Reich Finance Ministry did not provide for all the personnel.

Q. Now, please answer one further question. The administration of concentration camps, the general treatment, food, etc., who was charged with that responsibility?

A The entire competence and jurisdiction in concentration camps, from the moment an internee stepped through the gate of a concentration camp until his release or his death in the concentration camp, or, the third possibility, until the end of the war, at which time he was liberated, rested exclusively with the W.V.H.A.

Q. Now another question so that we may have a complete picture. I am assuming that these things were exclusively under the jurisdiction of the W.V.H.A., which had nothing to do with the R.S.H.A. But it is correct, isn't it, that only through measures of the Secret Police - by the issue of orders for protective custody - only through these measures could internment in these camps take place. I just want to define clearly these limitations.

A. There is no doubt that that is correct in respect to individual internments on the basis of individual orders for protective custody, and I admit these orders were illegal, as I have already stated. The bulk of the internments, however, did not take place on orders from the R.S.H.A. but came from the occupied territories - and from there came, for instance, the big transports which Fichte mentioned in the first document.

Q. But these then were, no doubt, the offices which were in charge of internments, the Gestapo or the Gestapo Allocation Office (Leitstellen).

A. No, not alone.

Q. But they did participate?

A. No, not alone. Internment could be the result of an order for protective custody by the Gestapo, by the Kripo, or by the courts.

Q. Now will you please make a statement to Question 5, the action in Denmark?

THE PRESIDENT: Have you dealt with Question 4 yet?

DR. KAUFFMANN: Not yet, Mr. President.


Q. I go over to Question 4. "Is it not a fact that in July or August, 1944, an order was issued to commanders and inspectors of the Sipo and S.D. by Himmler through Kaltenbrunner, as Chief of the Sipo and S.D., according to which the members of all Anglo-American Commando Groups should be turned over to the Sipo by the Armed Forces?" Mr. President, I wanted to deal with this question comprehensively at a later time and by means of documents, but, if you wish me to, I can deal with it now.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not care how you deal with it. I thought you were taking him through this document.

[Page 263]


A. May I perhaps answer it right away? The answer to this question is very simple. The prosecution itself, through a document, has in a completely different form charged that the State Police had, by falsifying the facts, incriminated itself. In that document the prosecution states that Muller gave the approval; but here the deponent is told: "issued by Himmler through Kaltenbrunner as Chief of the Sipo and S.D." And that document, as far as I recall - I do not know the number - is signed by Muller.

Q. I will submit that document to you. It is Document 1650- PS, Exhibit USA 246. This document is headed: "Gestapo Office, Cologne, Branch Office Aachen." It is teletype and dated "4th March, 1944. Top Secret."

"Subject: Measures against escaped prisoners of war who are officers or non-commissioned officers with the exception of British and American prisoners of war."
THE PRESIDENT: Surely that has nothing to do with it. This is a document of March, and the document that the question refers to is in July or August.

DR. KAUFFMANN: I can't hear.

THE PRESIDENT: The document you have now put forward is a document in March, 1944. The Question No. 4 relates to a document of July or August, 1944.

DR. KAUFFMANN: July or August, 1944? I have no such document, your Honour. Perhaps the defendant can tell us now whether such an order by Himmler existed and whether such a Himmler order was transmitted by him; "yes" or "no."

A. I heard about the existence of such an order for the first time here. I believe it is a mistake on the part of the prosecution that the question was put to Mildner as July or August. I believe the prosecution means the document of 4th March, 1944.

Q. Then you are saying that this order from July is not known to you?

A. I did not know this order nor did I know about it during my term of office.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kauffmann, it is perfectly obvious, isn't it, that the document to which you are referring has nothing to do with this question at all, because this document of March concerns measures to be taken against captured, escaped prisoners of war who are officers or non- commissioned officers, except British and American prisoners of war. That is the document.

DR. KAUFFMANN: I have not any document of July or August, 1944.

THE PRESIDENT: I don't know whether there is a document of July or August, 1944, at all; what I am saying to you is that the document which you put to the witness now, of March, 1944, can't be the document referred to in Question No. 4, for it deals with an entirely different subject.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Yes. That is right, your Honour. I believe I can explain this. I assume that the testimony by the witness refers to the so-called "Commando order" of Hitler of 18th October, 1942, and that a result of this order is meant here. I believe it is that way.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Amen, can you tell us whether the prosecution, in putting this question, was referring to a document of March, 1944, or whether it was referring to a document of July or August, 1944?

COLONEL AMEN: We, your Lordship, were not referring to any document that was brought up by the witness. But in the meantime we have confirmed the existence of this order of July or August, 1944, from another document - which I think we have here at the table - referring to this order or an order of the same date. Now, the witness's feeling was that that document had been destroyed after reading. But that there was such an order apparently is borne out by another document which we have here which has not come before the Tribunal in any way at all.

THE PRESIDENT: But has the document to which Dr. Kauffmann has referred of March, 1944, got anything to do with it?

COLONEL AMEN: That is not the document and has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

[Page 264]

DR. KAUFFMANN: Then shall I pass on to the next question, your Honour?



Q. It is the question of the persecution of Jews in Denmark. Will you make a statement on that?

A. The statement in the affidavit of Mildner which was read by you this morning is alone correct.

Q. Is that your statement?

A. I never had anything to do with the removal of Jews from Denmark. Such an order could only have been given by Himmler; and that this was a direct order given by Himmler was confirmed by Mildner.

Q. Point (c) of the Question No. 5 says that: "Shortly after your return to Copenhagen you" - that is, the witness Mildner - " received a direct order by Himmler sent through Kaltenbrunner, as Chief..."

A. No such order went through my hands and I never received an order like that from Himmler. It is absolutely impossible, because Denmark had its own Higher S.S. and Police Leader who was the direct representative of Himmler there, and who was immediately subordinate to him and not to R.S.H.A. This Higher S.S. and Police Leader was at the same time Commander of the Sipo. Organisationally I could not give such an order to Denmark.

Q. In Question 6 it is asked: "Is it not a fact that the action of 'Special Commando Eichmann' was not a success; that Muller ordered you" - that is Mildner - "to make a report which went directly to the Chief of the Sipo and S.D., Kaltenbrunner?"

The witness Mildner answered that in the affirmative. Is such a report from Denmark known to you?

A. I not only do not know this report, but I know with certainty - I spoke to Himmler not once but a dozen times about this - that he received every report from Eichmann directly, in many cases even without informing Muller.

Q. Then let us turn to Hoettl's affidavit. As far as I can see there are no important changes from the affidavit given me. Does the High Tribunal wish me to put questions on that matter?

Then let us turn to Question 5(b). In answer, Hoettl stated:

"It is known to me that orders for commitments into concentration camps and releases from them came from the R.S.H.A. I did not know that all such orders originated with the R.S.H.A. I have no knowledge of orders for executions by the R.S.H.A."
What can you say to that?

A. Orders for execution could only have come through R.S.H.A. when Himmler had ordered Muller to forward these orders. But I believe that took place only in a few isolated cases and mostly after Muller had informed Himmler that a court had passed judgement.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Mr. President, the defendant asked me several minutes ago to make a statement with reference to Document 1063-PS which we have discussed. He had disputed his signature; I believe that he wishes to say now that it is his signature. It is the document of the R.S.H.A. of 26th July, 1943. Do you want the document?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kauffmann, is it 1063-PS? Have you the original there?

DR. KAUFFMANN: I have only a photostatic copy; not the original, your Honour.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, what is the question?


Q. Are you ready?

A. Yes. There is a mistake on your part, Dr. Kauffmann. I have not disputed my signature, but have stated that I must assume that I received knowledge of this order only after it had been published and that the original order presumably did

[Page 265]

not carry my signature. That is what I said. But I do remember now, through the clause: "verified" etc., that it was apparently an order of which the original was signed by me at the time. Furthermore I remember from the first few words of the decree - "The Reichsfuehrer S.S. has approved, etc." - that this order was based on a personal report which I must have made to Himmler, and that with this report - I call you attention to the date, 26th July, 1943 - I apparently made the first attempt with Himmler to mitigate or relax the conditions; so that in minor cases, in which people had hitherto been committed to concentration camps they should no longer be so committed but should be placed in labour education camps; and that there was to be a differentiation between concentration camps and labour education camps. Therefore, in my opinion it was the result of my first attempt with him against the system of concentration camps.

And third, I would like to point out that this decree carries the number IIc and thereby is not a decree which came from the Police executive offices such as Gestapo or Kripo but from the administrative level.

Q. That is a sufficient explanation.

The prosecution holds you responsible for the commitment of politically and racially undesirable persons into concentration camps. How many concentration camps became known to you after your appointment as Chief of the R.S.H.A.?

A. At the time of my appointment I knew three concentration camps. At the end of my official activity there were twelve in the entire Reich.

Q. How many were there in all?

A. There was a thirteenth. That was the S.S. prison camp near Danzig. There were altogether thirteen concentration camps in the Reich.

Q. How can you explain the chart which you saw here, with the many red dots which were alleged to be concentration camps?

A. That presentation is definitely misleading. I saw this chart hanging here. All the armaments centres, factories, etc., in which internees from concentration camps were used for labour must have been marked as concentration camps. I cannot explain in any other way the deluge of red dots.

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