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 5 of 12)

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

[Page 293]

Q. Did there exist in the Austrian S.S., to which you belonged, the slightest intention to bring about through force the annexation of Austria to Germany or was this to be brought about through a plebiscite, through legal measures?

A. There was neither a plan by the S.S. of annexation by force nor do the facts of the political development indicate this. There was never any necessity

[Page 294]

for any such step, for the Anschluss Movement without any such outside urge was strong enough in itself.

Q. It has been asserted that the S.S. Standarte 86 - that must have been the one at Vienna.

A. You are thinking of the Dollfuss Putsch?

Q. Right. Can you tell me something about that? Did the work of this Standarte have any connection with the assassination of the Austrian Chancellor?

A. I consider that incorrect. I must say that this Standarte later on did not have the number 86, but 89.

In addition the group which had entered the Chancellery on 25th July, 1934, was not a group of the S.S., but a group of former members of the Austrian Army who, because of National Socialist activity, had been discharged from the Army.

I do not know of any closer connections. However, the chief of the Austrian Police at that time, Dr. Skubl, who as far as I know will be heard here as a witness in another case, should be able to give you exact information about that. I ask that you question him about this matter.

Q. Try to remember the entry of the troops on the night of 11th March, 1938. What kind of troops, according to your recollection, did march in? Were they S.S. units, or were they other units? Were they Army units, and were S.S. units at their disposal? What is your recollection?

A. My recollection is that, first of all, there were Wehrmacht units, the air force, of course, and there was one regiment of the Waffen S.S. I can't recall which one, perhaps the Standarte Deutschland.

Q. Can you compare the size of the Wehrmacht and the Standarte Deutschland approximately?

A. The Standarte Deutschland at that time had perhaps 2,800 men. So far as the Wehrmacht is concerned, I don't know how many units there were.

Q. In order to establish the relationship, what is according to your idea the entire number of S.S. men? I would like to make it a little easier for you. I have seen a communication in which it is stated that, in all, three-quarters of a million to one million men passed through the S.S. Is such a figure correct?

A. One million certainly is too high. All branches of the S.S. taken together, including the General S.S. and the Waffen S.S. and including the S.S. members in the various police activities add up, I should say, to 720,000 to 750,000 men. Out of that number, at least 320,000 to 350,000 men died in action.

These losses might even be a little higher than what I have just stated, but I believe a more precise figure might be had from one of the defendants who belonged to the Wehrmacht. I do not know it exactly.

Q. According to your knowledge how many men of this entire number do you believe were connected with concentration camps, that is, with the supervision, administration, and so forth? Can you give me any figure as to just how many were so connected?

A. That is a rather surprising question to me, which I cannot answer immediately. I would have to have pencil and paper in order to make calculations.

Q. Could you, through your own knowledge - ?

A. Of course, it is only a fraction, a very small fraction of the entire figure.

Q. Did those S.S. members - no matter how many or how few they were - who were not connected with the administration of concentration camps have any idea of the conditions or of things that took place in the camps?

A. Certainly not.

Q. How can you tell me that with such certainty?

A. From my own personal knowledge of concentration camps, that Himmler and his organisation kept the concentration camps behind an iron curtain.

Q. Were all the officials of the office which you headed, for example, the Main Security office, recruited only or chiefly from the S.S.?

A. No, not at all. The proportions of the S.S. members to those who did not

[Page 295]

belong to the S.S. was 5 per cent if I consider only the confidence men and the staff of the S.D. inside Germany.

Q. Therefore, out of 100 officials there were only 5 who had come through the S. S.?

A. Yes.

Q. According to your knowledge were there regulations prohibiting the physical ill-treatment of concentration camp internees and were these regulations known in the S.S.?

A. They were issued in print, in the Gazette of the Reichsfuehrer S.S. and the Chief of the German Police. Every S.S. man knew these regulations were laws, and they were punished heavily if ill-treatment were reported or became known.

I do not know to what extent and in what state the S.S. camp Danzig -Matzgau fell into the hands of the enemy, but I am convinced that all those who underwent a term of imprisonment there will give information about this severe punishment in connection with any ill-treatment which may have occurred.

DR. HAENSEL: I have finished, your Honour.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the prosecution wish to cross-examine?



Q. Defendant, in order to shorten as much as possible the time of this cross-examination, I want to be sure that we understand each other as to just what your position is as to several specific items.

Now, first, you concede that you held the title of Chief of the R.S.H.A. and Chief of the Security Police and S.D. from the end of January, 1943, up to and including the end of the war. Is that correct?

A. Yes; it applies with those limitations which I enumerated yesterday with regard to my authority in the State Criminal Police.

Q. And when you speak of those limitations, you are referring to this supposed understanding with Himmler? Is that correct?

A. It wasn't a supposed understanding with Himmler, but it was a well-established fact which existed from the very first day, that I had the task of establishing a centralised Intelligence Service, and that he would retain the command in the other sectors.

Q. Well, in any event, you concede that you held that title, but you deny that you exercised some of the powers? Correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And this title which you held was the same title which was previously held by Heydrich, who had died on 4th June, 1942? Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. There was no change in title?

A. No.

Q. And you testified that you assume responsibility for all of the things which you did personally or knew about personally. That is correct, is it not?

A. Yes. I could add one thing, that my title was extended on 14th February, 1944, when the Military Intelligence Service of the O.K.W., Abwehr, was transferred to Himmler by Hitler. Then my title as Chief of the entire Reich Intelligence Service became known in other departments.

And I might add also, perhaps, that the capacity of a man or duties in an Intelligence Service which not only comprised a big country like the Reich, but also extended to foreign countries, were not made public. I might refer to England, where the Chief of the Secret Service over other -

Q. Defendant, will you please try to confine yourself to answering my question by "yes" or "no" whenever possible, and making only a brief explanation, because we will come to all these other things in due time. Will you try to do that?

[Page 296]

A. Yes, very well.

Q. Did you have any personal knowledge or anything personal to do with any of the atrocities which occurred in concentration camps during the war?

A. No.

Q. And therefore you assume no responsibility before this Tribunal for any such atrocities? Is that correct?

A. No, I do not assume any responsibility in that regard.

Q. And, in that connection, such testimony as has been given here by Hoellriegel, for example, to the effect that you witnessed executions at Mauthausen, you deny? Is that correct?

A. I was told yesterday of the testimony of Hoellriegel. I consider the statement wrong and incorrect that I ever saw a gas chamber, either in operation or at any other time.

Q. Very good. You had no personal knowledge of and did nothing personal about the programme for the extermination of Jews, is that correct, except to oppose it?

A. No. Except that I was against it. From the moment when I knew of this and had convinced myself of it I raised objections with Hitler and Himmler, and the final result was that they were stopped.

Q. And therefore you assume no responsibility for anything done in connection with the programme for the extermination of the Jews - right?

A. Yes.

Q. And does the same thing apply to the programme for forced labour?

A. Yes.

Q. And the same thing applies, does it not, to the razing of the Warsaw Ghetto?

A. Yes.

Q. And the same thing applies to the execution of fifty flyers in connection with Stalag Luft 3?

A. Yes.

Q. And the same thing applies to the various orders with respect to the killing of enemy flyers - correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And, as a matter of fact, you made all of these same denials in the course of your interrogatories before this trial - correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And you still make them today?

A. Yes. But as far as the preliminary interrogatories are concerned, may I make a statement again in the course of the cross-examination?

Q. Well, when we come to the proper place let us know.

Is it or is it not a fact that the Gestapo, Amt IV, R.S.H.A., prepared reports on concentration camps which were submitted to you for signature and then passed on to Himmler?

A. No. I do not recall any such reports. The normal channel was that Muller reported to Himmler direct.

Q. Do you likewise deny - ?

A. I would like to add that of course certain matters existed of which I had to be informed for several reasons, for instance the great domestic political event, the Plot of 20th July, 1944, of course. I was informed in such cases, not through Amt IV but through ...

Q. I am speaking of the general course of activity and not of any special exceptions, you understand.

A. Yes.

Q. You likewise deny that Muller, as chief of Amt IV, always conferred with you with respect to any important documents?

A. Yes. I not only deny it but the facts speak against it. He had direct authority from Himmler. He had no reason to discuss this matter with me beforehand.

[Page 297]

Q. I ask that the defendant be shown a document, L-50, which will become Exhibit USA 793.

THE PRESIDENT: Hasn't this been put in before?

COLONEL AMEN: No, your Honour, I am told it has not.

Q. By the way, were you acquainted with Kurt Lindov, who makes this affidavit dated 2nd August, 1945?

A. No.

Q. Although he was an official in the R.S.H.A. until 1944? Let us read together paragraphs 2 and 4 only. I won't take the time of the Tribunal to read paragraphs 1 and 3; 2, you will note, reads as follows:

"On the basis of general experience as well as of individual cases I can confirm that the Gestapo (Amt IV) wrote reports about practices of the administrative authorities in the concentration camps and that these were given by the Chief of Amt IV to the Chief of the Security Police for signature and were submitted to the Reichsfuehrer Himmler."
A. May I reply to that immediately? It might be important perhaps to read paragraph 1 also.

Q. Please make it as brief as you can.

A. Paragraph 1 seems to be important to read, f6r in paragraph 1 it says that the witness Lindow, from 1938 until 1940, was mentioned in the review in which such reports were given. From 1940 to 1941 he was in counter-espionage; in 1942 and 1943 he was mentioned for the combating of Communism, and later his name appeared in the report on educational matters. I believe, therefore, that his testimony in paragraph 2 - that he knew of the custom of the Gestapo, i.e. that via the Chief of Department IV, through the Chief of the Gestapo, reports were sent to Himmler about happenings in concentration camps - holds true only for the period 1938 to 1940.

Judging from his own testimony, he had no personal experience about the later periods.

Q. Well, in other words he is not telling the truth as it was at the time when you were active in R.S.H.A., correct?

A. I have not read anything about that. He maintains, that ...

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