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 7 of 12)

[Page 301]

THE PRESIDENT: When I said you could make your comments, I didn't mean you could go on giving the details of the hunger strike.

THE WITNESS [Ernst Kaltenbrunner]: My Lord, I just wanted to point out that what has been testified by the witness is incorrect; that I was the leader in the resistance and that I was still in the barracks. I had to be carried from the barracks on a stretcher. None of us could walk any more at that time.

Point 2: I talked with a cousin of Karwinski again and again later on. He was in charge of the social insurance department at Linz. He told me that his cousin,

[Page 302]

that is the witness mentioned here, never had been at Mauthausen, that he was at Dachau, from the day of his detention. There is a lot of difference between Mauthausen and Dachau, for he was committed as a former member of the Austrian Government who had committed crimes against National Socialism. He was arrested by the R.S.H.A., which was already in existence, and not by some Austrian office. I never saw this man afterwards, and I never visited Dachau. It should, therefore, be easy to determine whether this man was in Dachau or in Mauthausen from the beginning of his detention. If he was in Dachau, as I am charging, then everything is a lie. If he was in Mauthausen, it must be first determined whether he is not confusing me with another man. That proof - whether he has erred in identification, is not my business. The prosecution should attempt to find out whether he was in Dachau from the very beginning - for I know he was in Dachau; he was arrested in Innsbruck when trying to escape to Switzerland, his cousin had let me know that when asking me to intervene on his behalf. I could not intervene because the man was transported to Dachau directly via Innsbruck-Mittenwald. Thus, he was out of my sphere and power as the then State Secretary for Security of the Austrian Government.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 14.10 hours.)

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Amen, I suppose the defendant wants to say something about these other documents. He had answered the one, had he not?

COLONEL AMEN: I do not know whether he had finished, your Lordship.


Q. Had you finished with the affidavit or the statement of Karwinski?

A. Your Lordship, I had not quite.

Q. Go on then.

A. I have no longer the document before me and I request that it be given back to me. May I please ask you to return it to me?

Q. Yes, it is coming.

(Witness handed document.)

A. This document has not been shown to me during previous interrogatories before the trial. Otherwise I would have immediately answered with a request that the cousin of the witness Karwinski, who was chief of the Social Security Department at Linz and who has the same surname, be called as a witness and be asked whether it is correct that he expressly told me that this Karwinski was detained at Dachau and never at Mauthausen. I should very much like to add that the witness Dr. Skubl, who will be appearing before the Tribunal in another matter, can probably make a statement on the same matter and particularly regarding the fact that this witness, Karwinski, was arrested near the Swiss border on the occasion of his escape after the Anschluss and that he was taken from there to Dachau.

The reason why he was taken to Dachau is not exactly known to me, but Dr. Skubl will be able to give information on that subject, presumably to the effect that the intention was to prevent any intervention from Austria in connection with this former member of the Austrian Government, since Himmler was of the opinion that something might be attempted on Karwinski's behalf by the new Austrian Government.

Q. Your counsel can apply to call any witnesses that you want in rebuttal. He can make application for that request. It is not necessary to go into that now.

A. Very good, your Lordship.

I should like to make the following statement regarding the other two documents. I declare their entire contents to be untrue and incorrect. Had they been put before me in the interrogatories, then I would, as I did in other cases, have referred to the witness Zutter and his evidence, and I would have made an urgent request that this witness be brought face to face with me. Regarding the witness Zutter, I have asked the prosecutor, who holds the rank of major and is sitting at the table

[Page 303]

over there, at least twenty times that this witness who is making such serious statements against me be brought face to face with me. Today's prosecutor, Colonel Amen, was also present when I made that request at the time the question of Mauthausen was discussed. These gentlemen retired to consult with a third officer and discussed, in English, as to whether or not Ziereis and Zutter could be called in. Both were in this prison. All their statements are untrue.

Q. I have already told you that your counsel can apply to call any witnesses that you wish in rebuttal.

A. I shall ask my counsel to apply for the calling of those two witnesses.



Q. Defendant, who was responsible for the order to kill all inmates at Mauthausen concentration camp shortly before the end of the war?

DR. KAUFFMANN: Mr. President, may I say a few words in connection with these two documents?

Only now have they been introduced into the trial for the first time, and only now is it possible for me to discuss these serious accusations with the defendant. He also tells me that he denies the truth of these statements. I think I should be neglecting my duty as defence counsel if I did not ask immediately that these witnesses be heard. It may be that the prosecution later on -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kauffmann, what is the point of delaying the trial? I have just said that you might make application and you know perfectly well that application has to be made in writing.

I have said twice to the witness that you, Dr. Kauffmann, his counsel, can apply for the calling of any witnesses you like in rebuttal. What is the good of delaying the trial by getting up and making your application verbally now?

DR. KAUFFMANN: Far be it from me to cause delay, but I wanted to state here and now that I wanted to call these witnesses and I shall certainly make application in writing.


Q. Did you understand the question, defendant?

A. Yes. You asked me who had given the order for the killing of the inmates at Mauthausen at the end of the war, and to that I reply that such an order is unknown to me. I only gave one order with regard to Mauthausen and that was to the effect that the entire camp and all detainees were to be surrendered to the enemy without any ill treatment. This order was dictated by me in the presence of the witness Dr. Hoettl and taken to Mauthausen by courier. I draw your attention to the statement of Hoettl in which he confirms that fact. A questionnaire has been sent to a second person by my defence counsel. I requested a similar statement from him, but it is still unanswered.

Q. I did not ask you about that order. I asked you about an order to kill all inmates at Mauthausen concentration camp shortly before the end of the war. Who was responsible for that order? Were you?

A. No.

Q. You are acquainted with the person who tells the story, Ziereis?

A. Yes, I knew Ziereis.

Q. And you had your picture taken with him and with Himmler, and this is now in evidence before this Tribunal. Do you recall that?

A. I have not seen the picture. It was handed to the Tribunal while I was in the hospital.

Q. Well, never mind the picture then.

COLONEL AMEN: I ask to have the defendant shown Document 3870-PS, which will be Exhibit USA 797.

Now, if the Tribunal pleases, this is a fairly long document which I do not propose to read at length, but it is one of the more important documents in the

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case, and so I hope that the Tribunal will read the entire statement, even though I do not bring it all out today in the interest of saving time.

THE PRESIDENT: Is it a new document?

COLONEL AMEN: A new document, your Lordship.

THE PRESIDENT: Is it in German?


(Witness is handed the document.)


Q. This, you will note, defendant, refers to a dying confession of Ziereis, as reported to the individual making the affidavit, and I call your attention, first, to the last two paragraphs on the first page which we will read together.

"There was one S.S. man for ten prisoners. The highest number of prisoners was about 17,000, not including the branch camps. The highest number in Camp Mauthausen, the branch camps included, was about 95,000.

The total number of prisoners who died was 65,000. The complement was made up of Totenkopf (Dead Head), Units, numbering 5,000 men, comprising guards and the command staff."

And, now, at the middle of the next page, the paragraph begins:
"According to an order by Himmler, I was to liquidate all prisoners on the instructions of S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Dr. Kaltenbrunner; the prisoners were to be led into the tunnels of the Bergkristall works of Gusen and only one entrance was to be left open."
A. I haven't yet found the passage.

Q. It's in the middle of Page 2. Have you got it?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. "Then I was to blow up this entrance with some explosive and thus cause the death of the prisoners. I refused to carry out this order. This meant the extermination of the prisoners in the so-called 'mother camp,' Mauthausen, and in the camps Gusen I and Gusen II. Details of this are known to Herr Wolfram and S.S. Obersturmfuehrer Eckermann.

A gassing plant, camouflaged as a bathroom, was built in Concentration Camp Mauthausen by order of the former garrison doctor, Dr. Krebsbacher. Prisoners were gassed in this camouflaged bathroom. In addition to that, a specially built automobile ran between Mauthausen and Gusen, and in this prisoners were gassed during the journey. The idea for the construction of this automobile was Dr. Wasicki's, S.S. Untersturmfuehrer and Pharmacist. I, myself, never put any gas into this automobile; I only drove it, but I knew that prisoners were being gassed. The gassing of the prisoners was done at the request of S.S. Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Krebsbacher.

Everything that we carried out was ordered by the Reich Security Main Office Himmler or Heydrich, also by S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Muller or Dr. Kaltenbrunner, the latter being Chief of the Security Police."

Then, passing on to Page 5, just below the centre of the page, the paragraph commencing "In the early summer of 1943." Have you the place?

A. Yes.

Q. "In the early summer Of 1943, S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Dr. Kaltenbrunner visited Mauthausen Concentration Camp. The Camp Commandant, Ziereis, Gauleiter Eigruber, Chief of the Detention Camp, Bachmeyer, and several others accompanied Dr. Kaltenbrunner. I saw Dr. Kaltenbrunner and the people who accompanied him with my own eyes. According to the testimony of the 'Corpse Carriers' at that time, the former prisoners Albert Tiefenbacher - whose affidavit has been read - present address Salzburg; and Johann

[Page 305]

Polster, present address Pottendorf near Wiener Neustadt, Austria, about fifteen prisoners of the detainee class were selected by Unterscharfuehrer Winkler, in order to show Dr. Kaltenbrunner three ways of extermination, by a shot in the neck, hanging, and gassing. Women whose hair had been shorn were among those executed and they were killed by shots in the neck. The above-mentioned 'Corpse Carriers' were present at the execution and had to carry the corpses to the crematorium. Dr. Kaltenbrunner went to the crematorium after the execution and later he went into the quarry. Baldur von Schirach visited the camp in the autumn of 1944. He, too, went to the detention building and also to the crematorium."
Do you still say that you had nothing to do with the order referred to or the matters set forth in the affidavit?

A. I maintain that most emphatically, and I want to draw your attention to the fact that you, sir, have said that this statement was taken when Ziereis was on his death bed, but you did not say that what you read from Pages 7 and 8, does not come from Ziereis, but from Hans Marsalek, who is responsible for these statements. This man, Hans Marsalek, whom, of course, I have never seen in my life, had been a detainee in Mauthausen, like the two other witnesses. I have already expressed my views as to the value of a statement concerning me from a former concentration camp detainee, and my inability to speak face to face with this witness who now confronts me, and my application will be made through my counsel. I must ask here that I be allowed to confront Marsalek. Marsalek cannot know of any such order. In spite of that, he states that he did.

Q. Defendant, Marsalek is merely the individual who took the dying confession from Ziereis. Do you understand that?

A. No, I do not, because so far it is new to me that the prosecution was using detainees from concentration camps for the interrogation of a man who had been shot in the stomach three times and was dying. I should have thought that such interrogatories would have been carried out by a man who was legally trained and who would be in a position to attach the right value to any statements.

Q. Well, perhaps, defendant, if you were conducting the prosecution, you would do it differently; but, in any event, your testimony is that everything in that affidavit which was read to you is false; is that correct?

A. It is false. I have never given an order to Mauthausen Camp, with the exception of that one order, which I was entitled to do on the strength of special powers, and for the contents and transmission of which I have offered sufficient evidence. Mauthausen was never under my jurisdiction in any other way, and I could not issue any such orders. The prosecution knows perfectly well, and it must have been proved to it by dozens of witnesses' statements, that I had never had any authority over Mauthausen.

THE PRESIDENT: Defendant, you do not seem to understand what this document is. It is an affidavit of Hans Marsalek and paragraph 2 shows the fact that he made the interrogatory of Ziereis, who was dying, in the presence of the Commander of an Armoured Division. He sets out what Ziereis said, and then he goes on to declare, in addition, what is contained in paragraph 3; and it is perfectly obvious to the Tribunal that what is said in paragraph 3 is not what Ziereis said, but what Marsalek said, the person who was making the affidavit.

A. (continuing): My Lord, may I say in reply that Marsalek, as a detainee in the camp, was of course not in a position to know that Ziereis was never under my command. For that reason alone, it appears likely that Marsalek, when he questioned Ziereis, could not possibly know the facts of the case. I have proved to the Tribunal, and to the prosecution, that no authority was given to me until 9th April.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I know; that is only a matter of argument. I was only drawing your attention to the fact that it is perfectly obvious from the document

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itself that what Colonel Amen was reading was a statement of Marsalek and not a statement of Ziereis, which was the point you were making.


Q. Defendant, do you recall having given an order to the Commandant of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp on 27th April, 1945, that at least one thousand persons should be killed at Mauthausen each day? Is that true or false?

A. I have never given such an order. You know -

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