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 Sixth Day: Friday, 12th April, 1946
(Part 2 of 12)

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

[Page 282]

Q. How can you explain it that Muller was in a position at all to exercise such power, and that even during your term of office - 1943-5 - this state of affairs continued without your having the possibility to stop the man? Was it known to you that Muller had these powers? In this connection, will you tell the Tribunal what the size of Department IV of the Secret State Police was and how it might be explained that you weren't informed about those hundreds or even thousands of orders and instructions?

A. Muller was the chief of the Secret State Police Department. When he was appointed I don't know, but I assume that it must have been as early as 1943 or 1944, or at the very latest 1945. But much earlier, as I know today, he had the closest contact with Himmler and later with Heydrich. He originated from the Bavarian County Police, where Himmler met him. He had his personal confidence for at least twelve or fifteen years. He participated in and carried out with him every action which Himmler ordered in pursuance of his aims as Chief of the German Police. This confidence, I might say, grew steadily for twelve or fifteen years and remained unshaken to the very last days of the war. Muller also remained in Berlin after he had the order to remain with Himmler. Himmler relied on him as his blind and trusty instrument.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kauffmann, the question that you have put to him, or the questions which you put - you put several - he doesn't seem to be answering. The main question was whether he knew of these actions of Muller. He is giving us a long speech now about how much confidence Himmler had in Muller. He hasn't said anything else yet.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Mr. President, I think that this question particularly ought to be dealt with at some length, because what the Gestapo and Muller are being accused of is what Kaltenbrunner is accused of, as chief of the organisation.

THE PRESIDENT: What I was pointing out to you was that you had asked him several questions in one, and the main part of the question was whether he knew that Muller had these powers and was exercising them.


Q. Answer that question now briefly and clearly.

A. The relationship between Himmler and Muller was so immediate that there was no cause for him to give me any reports. I had no knowledge, and Himmler, as early as December 1942, stated clearly that the chiefs of Departments IV and V were his immediate subordinates, as had been the case since Heydrich's death.

Q. Now, it is going to be put to you, that based on certain statements of witnesses and other evidence it must be assumed that conferences of department chiefs must have taken place between you and Muller, and that it appears improbable that you had no general knowledge of the things which Muller decreed. Isn't that accusation justified?

A. It appears to be justified, but isn't. What is called a conference of department chiefs here was a joint lunch which was not taken every day but let us say three or four times a week, a joint lunch of adjutants, department chiefs, and any guests who might have been in Berlin at the time. That personal atmosphere alone made it quite impossible for internal or very secret events to have been discussed in front of all these people.

Q. In 1943 and the following years were you always in Berlin, or I think I had better say were you mostly resident in Berlin, or did your work as Chief of the Intelligence Service make it necessary for you to leave Berlin often?

[Page 283]

A. I was absent from Berlin a great deal. I think I can say that half of all the working time was spent away from Berlin. I was only constantly in Berlin from the moment that the headquarters were transferred there.

Q. When was that?

A. That was in the months of February and March, 1945. I was away from Berlin from 28th March until 15th April, then again from 19th April until the last day of the war. During the year 1943 I didn't reach Berlin until May, because up to that time I had my own Organisation in Vienna to reshape so that it could be taken over by my Berlin department, except that once, during the first or second week in February, 1943, I stayed in Berlin so as to pay visits, and from the middle of 1943 to February, 1945, I was away on trips for at least half the time. I have covered more than 400,000 kilometres by plane and car in my duties.

Q. What were your activities when you were absent from Berlin? Did you have no immediate and direct contact with Muller during that time?

A. Certainly not with Muller. During all these journeys of mine in the entire Reich, I never entered one single service department of the State Police, excepting the Secret State Police office in Linz where my family was living for a short while and from where I could send teleprints to my department in Berlin; thus it was for purely technical reasons. I had no other possibility of obtaining a teleprinter there.

Q. I am now going to discuss an affair of which you are accused by the Prosecution. In a few words, these are the facts concerned. During the suppression of the revolt in Warsaw in 1944, inhabitants of the town of Warsaw were taken to concentration camps. The prosecution put the figure at about 50,000 to 60,000. Further deportations are supposed to have ceased due to an intervention of the defendant Frank with Himmler, and you are said to have been involved by the fact that defendant Frank and his State Secretary Buehler had asked you to get these people out of the concentration camps and return them to their homes. To begin with, I ask you, did any conference on that subject take place in your office?

A. A conference between Buehler and myself took place. The subject was something quite different and I ask you to let me state it clearly. The so-called uprising of Warsaw was quelled in a purely military action. I think that the battle took place under the command of the Chief of the Anti- Partisan units, von dem Bach-Zelewski. I do not know which unit he was commanding, but I must assume that there were mixed troop units of the Armed Forces and the Police. Any participation of my office in this purely military action is out of the question from the start. What Himmler and the troop units did with the prisoners was naturally not reported to me. The reason why Buehler came to see me was quite a different one. Frank, I think for one and a half years or more, had been trying to get Hitler to employ a different policy in the Government General. Frank was in favour of increased autonomy for the Polish people. In October, 1944, I think, on the occasion of a National Polish Holiday, Frank had been planning to announce the increase of their autonomy. Hitler's refusal, in which he was encouraged by Himmler and also various other factors, was definite. Therefore he sent Buehler to me with the proposal that I should make suggestions through the information service to the same end, that is, the participation of the Poles in the administration of the country and in the high positions of the government. I promised him both these things. He went on to say "on this occasion Frank wants a generous amnesty to be pronounced in Poland and that includes the release of the prisoners from the Warsaw uprising. Can't you help us with that?" I asked him: "Where are those prisoners?"

He replied: "Himmler has sent them to prisoner-of-war or concentration camps." My answer could only have been: "Then he must have employed them in any case in the armament industry and it will be hard to get them out from there, but I shall support an amnesty." According to my knowledge that was the state of the case.

[Page 284]

Q. Would it have been possible for you to bring about a release by using all your influence?

A. No, during the time I was in office, as I have repeatedly stated during interrogations before the trial, I have received at least 1,000 individual applications for release and every single case was put before Himmler or sent to him - put before him mostly, since I put them in my report file and discussed them with Himmler during my periodical reports to him. In perhaps two-thirds of all the cases I was successful to the extent that he arranged a release. But as regards the broad measures which Frank wanted to achieve with the help of Buehler, I never had the possibility of making a decision or of bringing one about; the matter was entirely in Himmler's hands and was determined by the policy which he and Hitler agreed on regarding Poland.

Q. I now put before you a statement from the witness Schellenberg. On 3rd January he stated before this Tribunal that the evacuation of the concentration camp at Buchenwald had been ordered by Kaltenbrunner. "Kaltenbrunner" he said, "had said 'Yes, this is correct; this evacuation is due to a Fuehrer order which had been confirmed to him, Kaltenbrunner, by the Fuehrer.'" Please give an explanation of this.

A. The statement is absolutely incorrect. It is certainly incorrect because Hitler quite definitely never ordered an evacuation or a non-evacuation of concentration camps. Such an order could only originate from Himmler.

THE PRESIDENT: Was there an affidavit or did he give the evidence, Schellenberg?

DR. KAUFFMANN: It was a statement of a witness.

THE PRESIDENT: It was given in evidence, was it?

DR. KAUFFMANN: Yes, it is a statement of a witness on 3rd January.


DR. KAUFFMANN: But, then, who did actually give such an order?

A. It could certainly only have been an order from Himmler himself. The channel of command is quite clear, Himmler-Pohl- Glucks, and the Camp Commandant. It isn't impossible that Himmler may have given the order direct to the commandants of the camps. That I don't know.

Q. I want to interpose a question. Did you get information of this order?

A. No, I neither heard of it nor would these orders in any way have had to be connected with me, since I had ordered exactly the contrary regarding Mauthausen. Why, in the case of Mauthausen, I was able to give an order for the first and only time, I shall explain later. It has to do with the powers given to me on 19th April, 1945. Until then I never had any possibility at all of giving any such order in the name of Himmler.

Q. In the same connection, I mention the statement made by the witness Berger on 3rd January. I will read one or two sentences. "The commandant of Dachau,"' says Berger, "or his deputy, telephoned about twelve o'clock and stated to me that he had received this order, that is the order for the evacuation, from Kaltenbrunner after he had been summoned by the Gauleiter of Munich, the Reich Commissioner." I ask you: Do you know anything about the evacuation of Dachau?

A. No. This statement of Berger must be doubted quite definitely because he was the man who had been given full authority by Himmler, concerning Bavaria and all the territory West of it. That was given to him the same day I received full power regarding Austria. Therefore it would be for me ...

Q. Did the concentration camp at Dachau come under Berger's sphere of power just mentioned by you or did it come, under your sphere of command?

A. Since Dachau is near Munich in Bavaria, of course it was in Berger's sphere of command.

Q. Was Dachau evacuated at all?

A. I don't know; I never went to Bavaria after 19th April.

Q. The witness refers to the date 23rd April, 1945, or he says, a little later.

[Page 285]

A. Yes, I forgot that.

Q. Where were you at that time?

A. On 19th April, at three o'clock in the morning, I left Berlin and went via Prague to Linz, my goal being Innsbruck, where I wanted to meet Burckhardt's representative again. From that moment onwards, I no longer had any connection with Berlin nor did I ever set foot on Bavarian soil or give orders there. My sphere of duty stopped at the Austrian Border.

Q. How can you explain such a statement?

A. The only way I can explain it is, that this must be a mistake and if I am put face to face with Berger, I am completely convinced that it can be cleared up.

Q. Could it have been an evacuation order bearing the signature of Himmler?

A. Certainly, perfectly possible.

Q. Among other things you have been accused by the prosecution of having committed a Crime against Peace, Will you tell the Tribunal whether you did anything, and if so what, during your time of office, to bring the war to an end?

A. I started in my appointment on 1st February, 1943. The situation which I found in the Reich was such that on this day - to be more exact 2nd February, 1943, with the fall of Stalingrad - I felt convinced that the war was to be regarded as absolutely lost for Germany. The conditions which I found, coming from the completely different atmosphere of Austria, only confirmed this point of view. I recall that I paid my inaugural visit to Under Secretary of State Luther in the Foreign Office, I think it was on 2nd or 3rd February; I talked to him from half-past eleven in the morning until two o'clock in the afternoon, suspecting nothing. We were talking about foreign political intelligence tasks which we would have to carry out together. At four o'clock in the afternoon the same Under Secretary of State Luther was arrested by the Gestapo and taken to a concentration camp.

I do not think I can produce a more graphic picture of the situation to which I was transferred to show how such events -

THE PRESIDENT: What is this in answer to? What is the question it is in answer to?


Q. You ought to come to the point a little more quickly. The question was, what you did to bring the war to the quickest possible end?

A. I could quote a lot of factors in this connection. My first effort was in the spring of 1943; I think it was even in February, 1943, when I supported a very big alteration of the church politics in order to win the Vatican for the first peace mediations. That was my first effort in that direction.

Q. I now mention the name Dulles. Did you have direct contact or indirect contact with him and what was the purpose of your taking up such contact?

A. Yes, I was in contact with him through Hoettl. Since May, 1943, I step by step won over Hoettl and other Austrians who were politically in the opposition and learned of their peace feelers directed to foreign countries. Through these channels I heard of Mr. Roosevelt's representative for Central Europe - I think he was his economic expert, a Mr. Dulles, who was reported as being in Switzerland.

Q. I want to interpose a question in that connection. What would have happened if Hitler had heard of that attitude of yours?

A. My instructions to Hoettl and my knowledge of his activity constituted, if you interpret it strictly, high treason, since the Fuehrer's views were known to me at the time - they were that there should be no contact regarding peace and no discussions about peace. Hitler changed his opinion only on 15th April, 1944, in a discussion with me in the presence of a certain Wolf.

Q. In the course of this so-called peace policy which you have described, did a representative make journeys to Switzerland so as to make contact with this Mr. Dulles?

A. Yes, there were many journeys, not only by Hoettl, but by several other persons. For instance, I mention a discussion which I had with a Count Pototsky,

[Page 286]

whom I asked to get in touch with such circles and forward the same information to Anglo-American circles also in Switzerland.

Q. I think we can leave this subject. In my opinion you have related the essential parts.

A. These were not the only attempts, there were still numerous others.

Q. I now come to your relations with the President of the Red Cross, Professor Burckhardt, and I ask you, is it true that you had a conference with Professor Burckhardt in 1945 with the aim that camps, prisoner-of-war camps, and concentration camps, should be opened to the Red Cross so that medical supplies could be taken into these camps?

A. Yes, I tried to achieve this with Burckhardt for a long time. I was helped by the fact that he himself had asked for a meeting with Himmler. Himmler, however, did not get Hitler's permission for such a meeting because he at that time was the commander on the Northern front of the River Vistula. A meeting with Burckhardt could only have taken place there at the front. I tried, therefore, to take upon myself to arrange a meeting between Burckhardt and a responsible personality in the Reich. After a lot of trouble and in spite of many difficulties I succeeded. I had a personal meeting with Burckhardt on 12th March.

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