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 Eighth Day: Monday, 15th April, 1946
(Part 5 of 10)

[Page 363]

DR. PANNENBECKER (counsel for defendant Frick): I ask the Tribunal permission to ask a few supplementary questions for, during cross-examination, the witness stated that the defendant Frick had visited the concentration camps Sachsenhausen and Oranienburg in 1938.


Q. Witness, when an inspection of the concentration camp of Oranienburg took place at that time, 1937-8, was there any evidence at all of atrocities?

[Rudolf Hoess] A. No.

Q. Why not?

A. Because there was no question of atrocities at that time.

Q. Is it correct that at that period of time the concentration camp at Oranienburg was still a model of order and efficiency and that agriculture was the main occupation?

A. Yes. However, work was mainly done in workshops, in - wood-finishing workshops.

Q. Can you give me any details as to what was shown in that time at such an official visit?

A. Yes. The visiting party was led through the detainee camp proper, inspected the quarters, the kitchen, the hospital, and then all the administrative buildings; above all the workshops, where the detainees were employed.

Q. At that time were the quarters and the hospitals already overfilled?

A. No, at that time they were normally filled.

Q. How did these quarters look?

A. At that period of time, living quarters looked the same as in a barracks. The internees still had bed clothing, and all necessary hygienic facilities. Everything was in the best of order.

DR. PANNENBECKER: That is all. I have no further questions.


Q. Witness, what, was the greatest number of labour camps existing at any one time?

A. I cannot give the exact figure, but in my estimation there were approximately nine hundred.

Q. What was the population of these nine hundred?

A. I am not able to say that either; the population varied. There were camps with one hundred internees and camps with ten thousand internees. Therefore, I cannot give any figure of the total number of people who were in these labour camps.

Q. Under whose administration were the labour camps, under what offices?

A. These labour camps were, as far as the guarding, leadership and clothing were concerned, under the control of the main Economic and Administration Head Office. All matters dealing with labour and the supplying of food were attended to by the armament industries which employed these detainees.

Q. And at the end of the war were the conditions in those labour camps similar to those existing in the concentration camps as you described them before?

A. Yes. Since there was no longer any possibility of removing ill internees to the actual concentration camps, there was much overcrowding and the death rate was very high in these labour camps.

[Page 364]

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire. Dr. Kauffmann, does that close your case?

DR. KAUFFMANN: Mr. President, I wish to call another witness with the permission of the Tribunal, the witness Neubacher.

Hermann Neubacher, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:


Q. Will you state your full name?

A. Hermann Neubacher.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God the Almighty and Omniscient that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing?

(Witness repeated oath.)


Q. Witness, what was your position before the war and during the war?

A. For five years during the war I was abroad on diplomatic missions. Before the war I was Mayor of the city of Vienna.

Q. Do you know the defendant Kaltenbrunner?

A. I do.

Q. Since when have you known him?

A. I met Kaltenbrunner for the first time in Austria in 1934 in connection with the so-called appeasement action of the engineer Reinthaler in Austria. Later I saw him again, after the Anschluss.

Q. In the year 1943 Kaltenbrunner was appointed Chief of the R.S.H.A. Are you acquainted with that fact?

A. Yes, I am.

Q. Do you know whether Kaltenbrunner was glad to take this position?

A. Kaltenbrunner told me, I believe at the end Of 1943, that he did not wish to take that position, that he had declined three times but then had received a military order to accept. He added that he had requested and had been given a promise to be relieved of this office after the war.

Q. Did you have the opportunity or opportunities to judge how the defendant regarded his task as chief of the R.S.H.A.?

A. I had a number of conversations with Kaltenbrunner during my official visits to the Main Office from time to time, but they all dealt with foreign intelligence and foreign policy.

Q. The R.S.H.A. was in control of the Gestapo. Are you familiar with that fact?

A. Yes.

Q. According to your knowledge of the defendant's character, can you tell whether he had the prerequisites and the qualifications necessary for the position of chief of the police executive?

A. Kaltenbrunner, as far as I was acquainted with him, had no knowledge of police work when he assumed his office. In the year 1941 he wanted to leave the police.

Q. What proofs do you have for this?

A. At that time I was a special representative for economic questions in Roumania. Kaltenbrunner told me that he did not like a police career and did not understand anything about police work and, furthermore, had no interest in it. He was interested, however, in foreign political affairs.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not think that is really evidence which ought to be given. It cannot affect his official position, the fact he did not like it.

Q. Kaltenbrunner was called the successor of Heydrich. Can that be considered entirely true?

A. It cannot, and that I know because ...

THE PRESIDENT: That's a matter of argument. This witness's opinion cannot

[Page 365]

affect the position of Kaltenbrunner. This witness cannot testify whether he was called a successor to Heydrich or another Heydrich.

DR. KAUFFMANN: The prosecution speaks in a disdainful way that Kaltenbrunner was the successor of the evil, notorious Heydrich. This witness knows them both, therefore I believe ...

THE PRESIDENT: The witness has already admitted that he was the successor of Heydrich. You may ask him if he was another Heydrich.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Please, will you tell whether he was called a second Heydrich?

A. Himmler himself declared ...

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal feels that that is incompetent.

DR. KAUFFMANN: I understand. I now come to the next question.

Is there anything to show just why Himmler selected the defendant Kaltenbrunner?

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not think that the witness can give any evidence as to what Himmler thought. Himmler appointed him.

DR. KAUFFMANN: The witness, so far as I am told, will report something from a conversation with Himmler, which clearly shows that Himmler selected Kaltenbrunner and no one else because he did not fear Kaltenbrunner in any way. The prosecution contends exactly the opposite, He therefore knows that the prosecution's contention is entirely incorrect.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks you cannot ask what Himmler said about his appointment, if he said anything to this witness. You can ask him what did Himmler say about the appointment to Kaltenbrunner.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Please begin, witness.

THE WITNESS: During the course of a conversation with Himmler when I was at his office at Headquarters to look at the death mask of Heydrich, Himmler said to me that he had suffered an irreparable loss through the death of this man. After Heydrich, no one person could any longer assume these wide functions, only he who had developed this system could do that. Upon my question, "What about Kaltenbrunner?" Himmler said as follows:

"Of course as an Austrian you are interested in that matter. Kaltenbrunner will have to get used to the work. He is now diligently occupied with matters of interest to you, with foreign intelligence."
Thus spoke Himmler.

Q. Do you have any knowledge of the fact that soon after he assumed office in the year 1943, Kaltenbrunner assiduously tried to establish contact abroad, because he considered the military situation at that time as hopeless?

A. Kaltenbrunner was, as I know from many conversations, always striving for a so-called "talk with the enemy" (Feindgespraech). He was convinced that we could not come out of this war favourably without the use of some large- scale diplomacy. I did not discuss further details with him concerning the war. In Germany, everyone was sentenced to death who, even to a single person, expressed a doubt about the victory of Germany.

Q. Did Kaltenbrunner support you in your efforts to mitigate as much as possible the terror policy in Serbia?

A. Yes, I owe much to Kaltenbrunner's support in this respect. The German police offices in Serbia knew, through me and through Kaltenbrunner, that the latter, as chief of the foreign intelligence service, wholeheartedly supported my policy in the south-east area. I succeeded, therefore, in making my influence felt in the police offices, and the support from Kaltenbrunner was valuable to me in my endeavours to overthrow, with the help of intelligent officers, the current system of collective responsibility and reprisals.

Q. Do you know the basic attitude of Kaltenbrunner towards the Jewish question?

A. I spoke once very briefly with Kaltenbrunner about this matter. When rumours kept multiplying of a systematic action against the Jews, I asked Kalten-

[Page 366]

brunner, "Is there any truth in this?" Kaltenbrunner briefly told me that that was a special action which was not under his command. He rarely touched on the subject before me, and later, I believe it was at the beginning or end of 1944, he told me briefly that a new policy had been adopted in the. treatment of the Jews. His voice had the triumphant ring of a man proud of his victory.

Q. Kaltenbrunner is characterised as "hungry for Power." Do you know what kind of a life he led?

A. Kaltenbrunner led a simple life. He never acquired a fortune ...

THE PRESIDENT: The prosecution has not called him "hungry for power." There is no charge against him as being "hungry for power."

DR. KAUFFMANN: Hungry for power and cruel. Both of these words were expressly used.

THE PRESIDENT: But being "hungry for power" or "cruel" is quite different.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Yes, I am just asking about the first term.

THE PRESIDENT: I was just wondering where these terms were used.

DR. KAUFFMANN: The Indictment contains both these terms: "Hungry for power" and "cruel."

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): It certainly isn't in the Indictment. We find no allegation in the Indictment which reads "hungry for power and cruel," and we do not recollect any mention being made in the statement in the prosecution's case.

DR. KAUFFMANN: But I would not have had notes taken on it otherwise. In the Indictment, there is a page with the heading "Summary and Conclusion." I am referring to the last paragraph, where it says:

"As all other Nazis, Kaltenbrunner was hungry for power. In order to assure himself of power he signed his name in blood - a name which will remain in memory as a symbol for cruelty, for ..."
THE PRESIDENT: Where are you reading from? What are you reading from?

DR. KAUFFMANN: From the Indictment on the last page, under the heading: "Summary and Conclusion."

MR. DODD: I think I can clarify the matter. It is rather clear that the counsel is reading from my trial brief. The trial brief was never offered in evidence in court, but it was handed to the counsel.

DR. KAUFFMANN: If that will not be maintained I do not need to ask any questions on that point.

I now come to the next question. Do you know, witness, whether Kaltenbrunner gave an order for the evacuation of concentration camps?

A. No.

Q. Did Kaltenbrunner, from your experience and observations, do everything as chief of his office to mitigate the severity of inhuman measures or prevent their application?

A. I must call your attention to the fact that I was abroad for five years and could observe little of what was happening within Germany. From what I know of Kaltenbrunner, I do not doubt that he gave way to the illusion that he was able to influence the course of events. He was in no way capable of doing so.

Q. Thus, I come to the last question.

Do you know of a case where he used his power, in spite of opposition from the police, to liberate two church dignitaries of the orthodox church in Serbia?

A. Yes, I am familiar with that. These two church dignitaries -

THE PRESIDENT: How is this relevant to Kaltenbrunner?

DR. KAUFFMANN: He is accused of having persecuted the churches. The prosecution expressly accuses Kaltenbrunner of persecuting churches, with the objective of annihilation of Christianity. This accusation is contained, I can say this with assurance, in the records; and it is to this that my question refers.

THE PRESIDENT: The answer to it cannot answer any charge against Kaltenbrunner, can it?

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