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 9 of 12)

[COLONEL AMEN continues his cross examination of Ernst Kaltenbrunner]

[Page 310]

Q. Were you acquainted with Martin Sandberger, Group Leader VIa of the R.S.H.A.?

A. He was the first assistant of this man Schellenberg who has been mentioned, and he acted as intermediary between Himmler and Schellenberg.

COLONEL AMEN: I ask to have the defendant shown Document 3838-PS, which will become Exhibit USA 800.

Q. I call your attention to the first two paragraphs only of that affidavit:

"In my capacity as group leader VIa at the R.S.H.A., the following became known to me:

In February, 1945, I was told by group leader S.S. Standartenfuehrer Steinle that he had to represent Schellenberg at the daily Section Chief meetings. On that occasion, Muller (Section IV) presented to Kaltenbrunner a list of persons who were in confinement in or close to Berlin, for Kaltenbrunner to decide if they were to be transported to Southern Germany or if they were to be shot, because the Russian Armies were closing in on Berlin. Steinle did not know who these people were. Kaltenbrunner made his decisions in an extremely hasty and superficial manner and Steinle expressed his indignation to me about the frivolity of the procedure. I assumed that Kaltenbrunner had ordered a number of shootings, because if evacuation had been ordered, there would have been no talk about the frivolity."

Is that affidavit true or false?

A. The statement is not correct and, although it surprises me, I can immediately contradict it. Perhaps I may draw attention to the following points:

The document was prepared at Oberursel on 19th November, 1945, and is based on the testimony of the witness Sandberger. In the second half of the first paragraph - no, I beg your pardon, in the second paragraph, he says "As I was informed by Schellenberg in September, 1945, at an internment camp in England when taking a walk ..." You can gather from the second part that he, together with Schellenberg, was in an interrogation camp near London, in which I also was kept for ten weeks, and that they had detailed discussions. It is important, because something more will have to be said about this man Schellenberg, i.e. as to whether Sandberger received this information from Steinle before February, 1945, or whether he got it through Schellenberg in London when they were interned together. That can only be ascertained by having this man Sandberger questioned here through my defence counsel. Until then, I must contradict this statement altogether.

Q. All right.

A. Secondly. - No - I have by no means finished what I have to say. Secondly, Sandberger states that he had heard from Steinle something that he, Steinle, had heard. Personally I would not attach too much credit to any information at third or fourth hand, and I would strongly challenge a statement of the kind Steinle has made. I had not the authority to make such decisions nor could Steinle, Sandberger or Schellenberg ever have doubted that only Himmler personally could have made such decisions as these.

[Page 311]

Thirdly, only once did I hear of such treatment of detainees. I intervened and made that known here. This was in the case of Schuschnigg, who was in one such camp which was threatened by the Russians. On 1st February, 1945 - I remember this date very well and it can be confirmed by another defendant here - I replied to this other defendant when he asked "Can we not do something for Schuschnigg so that he will not fall into the hands of the Russians? Will you or shall I make the suggestion to the Fuehrer, to have him released from detention or at least to take him somewhere where he will not fall into the hands of the Russians but rather into American hands?" Whereupon, one of us - I cannot remember which, possibly both of us - took this proposal to Hitler.

THE PRESIDENT: Surely you are going very far afield. The Tribunal quite understands that you point out, which is obvious, that this is hearsay evidence. The only question for you is whether Muller did on this occasion present a list of names to you, and we understand that you say he did not. We do not want to hear argument about it.

A. No, your Lordship, Muller did not, submit such a list to me, but I must define my attitude to this document which has just been shown to me for the first time. I do not want it to appear to the Tribunal that I can only defend myself after I have been in close consultation with my lawyer for hours. I want to tell the prosecutor at once that this is not true. I must in some way fight to be believed. I cannot give an answer straight away and I cannot make it easier for the prosecutor except by requesting him to bring this witness Sandberger into court - they can discuss with him at length in the meantime - so that I may tell him why it is not true. I must be able to tell the Tribunal why these things are untrue.

Q. Defendant, are you familiar with any of the so-called "Bullet" orders that were directed to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp? "Yes" or "No"?

A. I made a detailed statement on this "Kugel" order yesterday and I stated that I did not know of it.

Q. Did you ever issue any oral orders supplementing the so- called "Bullet" order, you yourself: Did you ever issue any such?

A. No.

COLONEL AMEN: I ask to have the defendant shown Document 3844-PS, which will become Exhibit USA 801.

Q. Were you acquainted with Josef Niedermayer, defendant? Josef Niedermayer?

A. No. I do not recollect having known anybody of that name.

Q. Well, perhaps this will refresh your memory. Paragraph 1:

"From the autumn of 1942 until May, 1945, the so-called cell-barracks of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp were under my supervision.

Paragraph 2. At the beginning of December, 1944, the so- called "Bullet" orders were shown to me in the political department of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. These were two orders, each of which bore the signature of Kaltenbrunner. I saw both of these signatures myself. One of these orders stated that foreign civilian workers who had repeatedly escaped from labour camps were, on recapture, to be sent to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp under the 'Bullet' action.

The second order stated that the same procedure was to be followed with officers and non-commissioned officers who were prisoners of war, with the exception of British and Americans, if they repeatedly escaped from prisoner-of- war camps. These prisoners of war were also to be brought to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp.

Paragraph 3. On the strength of this 'Bullet' order and the oral instructions of Kaltenbrunner which accompanied it, 1,300 foreign civilian workers, officers and non- commissioned officers were brought to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. There they were lodged in block number 20, and

[Page 312]

fed so badly, according to orders, that they starved. Eight hundred of them died from hunger and illness. The bad food and the lack of medical care were the result of the personal orders of Kaltenbrunner."
Is that statement true or false, defendant?

A. It is not correct. I believe that I can invalidate this document. May I draw your attention to Page 2? On Page 2, paragraph 3, it says in the third line:

"1,300 foreign civilian workers, officers and non- commissioned officers were brought - ." From the words "... civilian workers - "

Q. Defendant, I am primarily interested in paragraph 2, which has to do with the fact that the person who makes the affidavit saw two "Bullet" orders bearing your signature. Is that, so far as you know, true or false?

A. False; I said yesterday, and I repeat it today under oath, that these "Kugel" orders were not known to me. To dispute the credibility of the witness and the evidential value of the document, I must be able to raise my arguments on those points about which it is particularly obvious that the prosecution is wrong. That is, in the third line of paragraph 3, here the witness - who has a completely different signature to that of the person who has written the rest of the statement - and this is a fact to which I would like to invite the attention of the Tribunal - the witness completely forgot that the "Bullet" order, the text of which has been read out here repeatedly, referred to officers and non-commissioned officers, but not to civilian workers. How can he use an erroneously quoted order when making a statement? I could not pass the death sentence for murder on the strength of a civilian paragraph such as 820 of BGB, nor could I, on the strength of the "Bullet" order, lock civilian workers up in a camp. The witness, in his haste and anxiety to oblige, had forgotten these details.

Nor do I believe that this man has ever seen a document which bears my signature. Such a document was never submitted to me either.

Once again, I must ask that this witness - and I am sure there will be some more on the Mauthausen question - that this witness and all the others should be brought here and questioned as to how their statements came to be made.

Q. Defendant, do you recall the testimony of the witness Wisliceny with respect to your participation in the forced labour programme on the defences below Vienna?

A. I had not quite finished answering your last question; excuse me, but I still have something vital to say on this matter.

Q. I thought you were through with that.

A. Yes, I thought so too, but I have just remembered something important.

Q. All right.

A. It is very relevant that I should refer you to what I said about the "Kugel" order yesterday, or the "Bullet" order. I stated that it became known to me in December or January, 1944 or 1945, and what my reaction was, and how I opposed it. These circumstances also explain the fact that I could not, shortly before that, have signed this order myself.

Apart from that, it is totally impossible for Kaltenbrunner to have signed a "Bullet" order, when it is clear to the prosecution here that it had already been signed in 1941 by Hitler. This is why I wanted to make that final remark about the document.

Now, will you please be good enough to repeat the next question.

Q. I want to call your attention to the testimony of Wisliceny with respect to your participation in the forced labour programme on the defences below Vienna. Are you familiar with what he said in this court?

A. No.

Q. Well, I will read it to you. It is very short:

[Page 313]

Question: With reference to the Jews who were left in Budapest - what happened to them?

Answer: In October-November, 1944, about 30,000 - perhaps a few thousand more - were taken out and brought to Germany. They were to be used for work on the defences in Vienna. They were mostly women. A small number of these people were put into the labour camps on the Lower Danube, and they died there from sheer exhaustion. A small percentage, perhaps 12,000, were taken to Vienna, the boundary part to the West, and about 3,000 were taken to Bergen and Belsen and then to Switzerland. Those were Jews that had come from Germany."

Now, defendant, do you recall having had any correspondence with the Burgermeister of the City of Vienna with respect to the assignment of this forced labour?

A. I have never written a single letter to the Burgermeister of Budapest, and I should very much like to ask you to show me any such letter.

Q. I didn't say Budapest, I said the Burgermeister of the City of Vienna, or I intended to, if I did not.

A. The Mayor of Vienna? I cannot remember having had any correspondence with him either. I think I may be able to explain the matter to you by saying that these fortification works which must be meant here, did not come under the City of Vienna, but under the district of the Lower Danube. I did not know that Vienna had a joint frontier with Hungary.

Q. Well, you have already testified that you had nothing to do with participating in this forced labour programme: is that not correct?

A. Yes.

Q. All right.

COLONEL AMEN: I ask to have the defendant shown Document 3803-PS, Exhibit USA 802.

(The document was submitted to the witness.)

Q. I call your attention to the first three paragraphs. You will note that the letter comes from yourself, and reads as follows:

"To: To the Burgermeister of the City of Vienna, S.S. Brigadefuehrer Blaschke.

Subject: Assignment of Labour Force to Essential War Work in the City of Vienna.

Re: Your letter of 7th June, 1944.

Dear Blaschke:

For the special reasons cited by you I have in the meantime given orders to direct several evacuation transports to Vienna-Strasshof. S.S. Brigadefuehrer Dr. Dellbruegge had, as a matter of fact, already written to me concerning the same matter. At the moment it is a question of four transports with approximately 12,000 Jews. They should reach Vienna within the next few days. According to previous experience it is estimated that 30 per cent of the transport will consist of Jews able to work - approximately 3,600 in this case - who can be utilised for the work in question, it being understood that they are subject to removal by you at any time. It is obvious that these people must be put in a well- guarded, enclosed place of work and accommodated in secured camps, and this is an absolute prerequisite for making these Jews available.

The women and children among these Jews who are unable to work, and who are all being kept in readiness for special action, and will therefore one day be removed again, must stay in the camp also during the day.

Please discuss further details with the State Police Headquarters in Vienna, S.S. Obersturmbannfuehrer Dr. Ebner and S.S. Obersturmbannfuehrer Krumey

[Page 314]

from the Special Action Command (Sondereinsatzkommando) Hungary, of whom the latter is at present in Vienna.

I hope these transports will be of help to you in carrying out the urgent work you have in view.

Heil Hitler.

Yours Kaltenbrunner."

Now, do you recall that communication?

A. No.

Q. Do you deny having written that letter?

A. Yes.

Q. Well, I think, defendant, that this time your signature is affixed to the original of this letter. Have you the original?

A. Yes.

Q. Is that not your signature?

A. No, that is not my signature. It is a signature either in ink or it is a facsimile, but it is not mine.

Q. Defendant, I want to show you samples of your signature which you gave in the course of your interrogatories, and I ask you to tell me whether or not these are your signatures.

A. I have already made hundreds of such signatures, and they are probably right. The one in pencil, the document signed in pencil, has been signed by me.

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