The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
16th April to 1st May, 1946

One-Hundred-and-Tenth Day: Wednesday, 17th April, 1946
(Part 1 of 13)

[Page 45]


MR. DODD: Just before recess yesterday afternoon the Tribunal inquired as to the status of the Frank Document Book and when I informed the Tribunal that we were prepared to be heard, Dr. Seidl advised that we had a pact to which we had agreed. I was not aware of that at the time. I think we were both a little bit in error. The situation is that last night about six o'clock we did reach an agreement so that there is no difficulty at all about the Frank books.

DR. THOMA: I would like to make a brief correction. Yesterday I requested a document on the setting up of the Rosenberg Special Staff. My client has repeatedly asked me to bring in this document. However, there is a possibility that I confused this document with other documents which I requested but were not granted. I just wanted to make that correction.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. You do not want to do anything more than just make that verbal correction? Very well.


THE PRESIDENT: Is there any other defendants' Counsel who wishes to ask any questions?

BY DR. HAENSEL (Counsel for S.S.):

Q. Witness, you were the Plenipotentiary of the Fuehrer for the ideological objectives of the N.S.D.A.P. and its subsidiary organisations. Are you of the opinion that what you did in carrying out your duties and every thing you said and wrote for these aims, and for the planned so-called ideological combating of Jewry, may be considered as an official outline of the activity of the Party and its affiliated organisations?

A. If I may answer this long series of questions one by one I would like to say the following: My office as far as ideological education was concerned worked with the Main Office of the S.S. for Political Education (Hauptschulungsamt). We were of course in constant contact with them. The so-called "Guiding Pamphlet" of the S.S., which appeared as a school periodical, was read in my office. I myself had it repeatedly in my hands, and during these years in this educational office found an abundance of very valuable themes and mostly very decent ideas in this journal. This shows one of the reasons why through all these years I did not enter into any conflict with the S.S.

As far as the Jewish question is concerned, the objective as to this problem was expressed in the programme of the N.S.D.A.P. That is the only official statement which guided the Party members. Anything which I said about it and what others wrote about it were just proposals that were offered. Certainly many of them were accepted but as far as the Fuehrer and the State were concerned, these proposals were not binding rules.

Q. Was the objective of your fights against Jewry limited? Did you envisage that the Jews were to be eliminated from economic and State administration, or did you from the first have a vague notion of stronger measures, such as extermination, etc.? What was your final objective?

A. In agreement with the Party programme, I had the one objective in mind, to change the leadership in the German State as it had existed from 1918 to 1933. That was the vital point. As for elimination even from economic life, we did not talk about it at that time. Yesterday I referred to two of my speeches, which are available in print. In these I declared that after the end of this harsh political battle an investigation or examination of the question would have to take place. There was even earlier talk about the demand for Jewish

[Page 46]

emigration from Germany. Later, when matters became more critical, I expressed this idea again, in conformity with the proposals of very prominent Jewish leaders, that German unemployed Jews should be deported to Africa, South America and China.

Q. Then, following your train of thought of yesterday and today, one could differentiate three kinds of measures against the Jews: Firstly, up to 1933, up to the seizure of power, there were the propagandistic measures; Secondly, after 1933, those measures which were brought about by the anti-Jewish laws; and then, finally, after the outbreak of war, certain measures which without doubt, can be considered as Crimes Against Humanity. Do you agree with this tripartite arrangement?

A. Yes, it is approximately right.

Q. Then, I would like to call your attention to group 2; that is, to those measures which were instituted after the taking over of power and which were laid down in laws against the Jews. Did you participate in the formulating of the laws?

THE PRESIDENT: You are Counsel, are you not, for the S. S.?


THE PRESIDENT: What have those questions got to do with the S.S.?

DR. HAENSEL: The questions concern the S.S. in the following way: If the Party as a whole had the objective of anti- Jewish legislation which was, in the beginning, quite orderly, then the S.S. was bound to this objective and for the time being had none beyond that point. I wanted to establish when the legislation and the measures against Jews turned into criminal acts, and that up to that time the S.S. in no manner took criminal measures against the Jews.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, he said already that the Jewish problem was contained in the Party programme, and that is all that you want, is it not?

DR. HAENSEL: I wanted only to show that the fact that the Jewish problem was contained in the Party programme does not prove that it was in the Party programme as a Crime Against Humanity. In the Party programme there was just a general policy enunciated which I do not believe as such can be construed as a Crime Against Humanity. In addition to that, there must be ...

THE PRESIDENT: That is a matter of construction of the Party programme. It is not a matter for him to give evidence about. It is in a written document. The Party programme is contained in the written documents.

DR. HAENSEL: But, in addition to the Party programme, a series of decrees and laws were issued later which expanded the Party programme, and the question ...

THE PRESIDENT: They are also documents which this Tribunal has to, construe, not for this witness to construe.

DR. HAENSEL: The question is, insofar as the defendant can tell us, how far the S.S. participated in the carrying out of these measures.

THE PRESIDENT: He can tell us the facts; he cannot tell us the laws nor interpret documents. If you are asking him about facts, well and good, but if you are asking him to interpret the Party programme or to interpret the decrees, that is a matter for the Tribunal.

DR. HAENSEL: Very well.


Q. In your book you represented the objective that all Germans should be unified in a Greater Germany and that point is also set down in the Party programme.

A. Yes.

Q. Did you believe that this could only be attained by means of war or did you believe, also, that it was possible through peaceful means?

A. In the beginning of my testimony I referred to a speech of mine made before an International Congress in 1932. Here the proposal was expressly

[Page 47]

approved by the Fuehrer that the four great powers should investigate and examine the general European problems. The proposal said that we would give up all claims to German colonies, to Alsace-Lorraine, to the Southern Tyrol as well as claims to the separated German ...

THE PRESIDENT: We have heard all this before from the defendant Goering and the defendant Ribbentrop, and we said that we did not want to go into it again. In any event, it has nothing to do with the S.S., nothing directly to do with the S.S.


Q. Just one more question. Do you know that the S.S., as far as the Jews were concerned, followed secret aims and objectives, other than those that were declared officially?

A. That I learned here.

Q. You do not know that from your own knowledge?

A. No.

BY DR. STEINBAUER (Counsel for defendant Dr. Seyss-Inquart):

Q. Witness, I have one single question to put to you. Under Document 91-PS the prosecution submitted a letter which you, as chief of the Rosenberg Special Staff, sent to Dr. Seyss- Inquart in his capacity as Reichskommissar for the Netherlands. In that letter you demanded that the library of the so-called Social Institute at Amsterdam be handed over to you. I do not know whether you recall this library. It is rather voluminous in Socialist Marxist content. The prosecution did not submit the answer given by my client. Therefore, I have to ask you: Do you remember this matter and what answer did Seyss-Inquart give you?

A. I remember this library very well for I was told about it. To my knowledge it was the establishment of a spiritual centre of the Second International in Amsterdam, in which the history of social movements in various countries was to be summarised, so that on the basis of this scientific material a spiritual political fight, a scientific fight

Q. Very well. We want to be brief and you know what I am talking about. What answer did you receive? Did Seyss- Inquart order this library to be transferred to Germany or did he request that it should remain in Holland?

A. It was at first agreed that this library would remain in Holland, and that the cataloguing and organising of this collection, which was not yet in order, was to take place in Amsterdam. In the course of the next few years this took place at Amsterdam. Only in the year 1944, when either the invasion had already begun or was surely imminent, when bombing attacks also increased in this area, part of this library was taken to Silesia; another part, to my knowledge, did not get so far, but remained in Emden; and a third part, I believe, was not transported at all.

Q. Is it then correct that Seyss-Inquart prevented the taking away of this library from the Dutch working class?

A. Yes, that is correct.

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



Q. Before we begin our discussion of some matters that we would like to go over, I wonder if you would be good enough to write your name a few times on these pieces of paper, both in pen and in pencil.

(Witness was handed paper, pen, and pencil.)

Q. (Continuing) Would you write "A. Rosenberg, " please, with pen, and "Alfred Rosenberg" also with the pen; and the first initial of your Surname with a capital?

Now, would you do the same thing on another piece of paper with pencil,

[Page 48]

"A. Rosenberg" in pencil, "Alfred Rosenberg," and the first initial of your surname?

And then would you do one thing more, please. Would you print the first initial of your surname?

Now, yesterday afternoon, while you were on direct- examination by your own counsel, you stated before the Tribunal that you did have a discussion with Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsfuehrer S.S., about concentration camps, and if I remember correctly, you said that that was some time in 1938; is that so?

A. Yes. I testified that I discussed the concentration camps with him once, but I cannot say with certainty that it was in 1938, as I did not make a note of it.

Q. Very good. He suggested you should go through one or the other of these camps, Dachau or some other camp; is that so?

A. Yes, he then told me that I should take a look at the Dachau camp.

Q. And you declined the invitation?

A. Right.

Q. And, if I recollect correctly, I understood you to say that you declined because you were quite sure that he would not show you the unfavourable things that were in that camp?

A. Yes, I assumed more or less that if there really were unfavourable things, I certainly would not see them anyway.

Q. You mean that you simply assumed that there were unfavourable things that you didn't know there were unfavourable things?

A. I heard this through the foreign Press and it is about ...

Q. When did you first hear that through the foreign Press?

A. That was in the first months of 1933.

Q. And did you continuously read the foreign Press about the concentration camps in Germany from 1933 to 1938?

A. I did not read the foreign Press at all for unfortunately I do not speak English. I only received some excerpts from it from time to time, and in the German Press there were occasional references to the allegations in the foreign Press, and it was emphatically denied that there was any truth in these allegations. I can still remember a statement by Goering in which he said that it was beyond his comprehension that anything like that could be written.

Q. But you thought they were true to the extent that there were unfavourable things in that place which Himmler might not show you.

A. Yes, I assumed that in such a revolutionary system surely a number of excesses were taking place, that in some districts also there might be conflicts occasionally, and the fact that murders of National Socialists in the months subsequent to the seizure of the power continued most probably brought about reprisals here and there.

Q. Did you think that was still going on in 1938, these measures against the National Socialists?

A. No. The majority of reports upon the continuance of murders of members of the Hitler Youth, of the police, and members of the Party, were mainly received during the period 1943 to 1944, but I did not remember that many reports were published about this in subsequent years ...

THE PRESIDENT: Did you say 1943 and 1944 or 1933 and 1934? Which is it?

THE WITNESS: 1933 and 1934, excuse me.


Q. But, in any event, in 1938 you had some knowledge in your own mind which made you think that it would not be profitable for you to inspect these camps because some things were going on there that would not be shown to you. Now, that is so, isn't it?

A. No, but I said very frankly that under some circumstances excesses might be taking place and I talked to Himmler about this matter so that he, in any

[Page 49]

case, knew that we were informed about such things from abroad and that he should take care. Only once did I, myself, receive a complaint directly.

Q. Now, turning to another matter, we also understood you to say yesterday that in your book, "The Myth of the Twentieth Century," you expressed your personal opinion and you did not intend it to have any great effect upon State affairs. Is that a fair statement of your testimony of yesterday with respect to your book?

A. I did not quite follow the last sentence. I wrote "The Myth of the Twentieth Century" during the years 1927 and 1928, after certain historical and other preliminary research. It was published in October, 1930, with an introduction to the effect that this was a purely personal opinion, and that the political organisation of which I was a member was not responsible for it.

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