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-Eleventh Day: Thursday, 18th April, 1946
(Part 2 of 10)

[DR. SEIDL continues his direct examination of Hans Frank]

[Page 105]

Q. Did you, as a Reich Minister or in any other State or Party post want this war; did you desire a war which meant violation of treaties and agreements?

A. War is not a thing one wants. A war is something terrible. We have lived through it; we did not want the war. We wanted a great Germany and the restoration of the freedom and welfare, health and happiness of our people. It was my dream and probably the dream of every one of us to bring about a revision of the Versailles Treaty by peaceful means, as was provided for in that very treaty. But since also in the world of treaties between nations only the one who is strong is listened to, Germany had to become strong first before she could negotiate. That was how I saw the development: Strengthening of the Reich, reinstatement of its sovereignty in all spheres, in order by these means to free ourselves of the intolerable shackles which had been imposed upon out people. I was happy, therefore, that Adolf Hitler, after a most wonderful rise to power, unparalleled in the history of mankind, succeeded by the end of 1938 in achieving most of these aims; and I was equally unhappy when in 1939 to my dismay I realised, more and more, that Adolf Hitler appeared to be departing from the original policy and to be following another.

THE PRESIDENT: This seems to have been covered by what the defendant Goering told us and by what the defendant Ribbentrop told us.

DR. SEIDL: The witness has already completed his statement on this point.


Q. Witness, what was your share in the events of Poland after 1939?

A. I bear the responsibility, and when, on 30 April, 1945, Adolf Hitler ended his life, I resolved to reveal that responsibility of mine to the world as clearly as possible.

I did not destroy the forty-three volumes of my diary, which report on all these events and the share I had in them but, of my own free will, I handed them voluntarily to the officers of the American Army who arrested me.

Q. Witness, do you feet guilty of having committed crimes in violation of international conventions or Crimes Against Humanity?

THE PRESIDENT: That is a question that the Tribunal has got to decide.

DR. SEIDL: Then I shall drop the question.


Q. Witness, what do you have to say regarding the accusations which have been brought against you in the Indictment?

A. To these accusations I can only say that I ask the Tribunal to decide upon the degree of my guilt at the end of my case.

I, myself, speaking from the very depths of my feelings and after the experiences of the five months of this trial, want to say that now, after I have gained a full insight into all the horrible atrocities which have been committed, I am possessed by a deep sense of guilt.

Q. What were your aims when you took over the post of Governor General?

A. I was not informed about anything. I heard about special action commandos of the S.S. here during this trial. In connection with and immediately following my appointment special powers were given to Himmler. My jurisdiction was limited if not taken away from me, and economy, social policy, food policy, and so on, were all matters which were dealt with directly by a number of Reich offices. All I could do was to lay upon myself the task of seeing to it that, amid the conflagration of this war, some sort of an order should be built up which would enable men to live. The work I did out there, therefore, cannot be judged in the light of casual and isolated events, but must

[Page 106]

be judged in its entirety, and we shall have to come to that later. My aim was to safeguard justice without doing harm to our war effort.

Q. Witness, did the police, and particularly the Security Police and S.D., come under your jurisdiction in the Government General?

A. The Higher S.S. and Police Leaders were, as a matter of policy, subordinate to the Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler. The S.S. did not come under my command, and any orders or instructions which I might have given would not have been obeyed. Witness Buehler will cover this question in detail.

The total structure was such that the Higher S.S. and Police Leader was formally attached to my office, but in fact, and by reason of his activities, he was purely an agent of the Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler. This state of affairs, even as early as November, 1939, was the cause of my first offer to resign which I made to Adolf Hitler. It was a state of affairs which made things extremely difficult as time went by. All my attempts to gain control of police matters failed. An administration without a police executive is powerless and there were many proofs of this. The police officers, so far as discipline, organisation, pay, and orders were concerned, came exclusively under the German Reich police system and were in no way connected with the administration of the Government General. The officials of the S.S. and police, therefore, did not consider that they were attached to the Government General in matters concerning their duty; neither was the police area called "Police Area, Government General" and the Higher S.S. and Police Leader did not call himself "S.S. and Police Leader in the Government General" but "Higher S.S. and Police Leader East." However, I don't propose to go into details at this point.

Q. Witness, did the concentration camps in the Government General come under you, and did you have anything to do with their administration?

A. Concentration camps were entirely a matter for the police and had nothing to do with the administration. Members of the civilian administration were officially prohibited from entering the camps.

Q. Have you yourself even been in a concentration camp?

A. In 1935 I participated in a visit to the Dachau concentration camp, which had been organised for the Gauleiters. That was the only time that I have entered a concentration camp.

Q. Witness, in 1942, by a decree of the Fuehrer, a State Secretariate for Security in the Government General was created. The date is 1 May, 1942. What was the reason for creating that State Secretariate?

A. The establishment of this State Secretariate was one of the many attempts to solve the problem of the police in the Government General. I was very happy about it at the time, because I thought now we had found the way to solve it. I am certain it would have worked if Himmler and Krueger had adhered to the principle of this decree, which was co- operation and not working against each other. It was soon evident, however, that this renewed attempt was merely a camouflage, and the old conditions continued.

Q. On 3 June, 1942, and on the basis of this Fuehrer decree, another decree was issued regarding the transfer of the official business to the State Secretary for Security. Is that true?

A. I assume so, if you have the document. I cannot remember the details of course.

Q. In that case I shall ask the witness Bilfinger about this point.

A. But I would like to add something to that. Wherever the S.S. is discussed here, the S.S. and the police are regarded as a body of men of one type. It would not be right of me if I did not correct that wrong conception. I have known during the course of these years so many honest, clean and soldier- like men among the S.S. and especially in the Waffen S.S. and the police, that when judging here the problem of the S.S. in regard to the criminal nature of their

[Page 107]

activities, one cannot generalise any more than in the case of any of the other social groups. The S.S., as such, behaved no more criminally than any other social groups would behave in similar circumstances when taking part in political events. The dreadful thing was that the responsible chief and a number of other S.S. men who, unfortunately, had been given considerable powers, were able to abuse the unquestioning loyalty, typical of the German soldier, of the rank and file.

Q. Witness, another question. In the decree concerning the creation of the State Secretariate for Security, it is ordered that the State Secretary - who in this case was the Higher S.S. and Police Leader - before making basic decisions, had to ask you for your approval. Was that done?

A. No, I was never called upon to give my approval and that was the reason why before long this, my last attempt, proved to be a failure.

Q. Did the Higher S.S. and Police Leader, and the S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Krueger in particular, obey orders which you had given them?

A. Please, would you repeat the question? It didn't come through too well. And please, Dr. Seidl, do not speak quite so loudly.

Q. Did the Higher S.S. and Police Leader Krueger, who at the same time was the State Secretary for Security, obey orders which you gave him in your capacity as Governor General?

A. Not even a single order. On the strength of this new decree I repeatedly gave orders. These orders were supposedly communicated to Heinrich Himmler, and since his agreement was necessary, these orders were never carried out. Some special cases can be quoted by the State Secretary Buehler when he is here as a witness.

Q. Did the Reichsfuehrer S.S. and Chief of the German Police, before he carried out security police measures in the Government General, ever obtain your approval?

A. Not in a single case.

Q. The prosecution has submitted a Document, L-37 as Exhibit USA 506. It is a letter from the Commander of the Security Police and S.D. of the District Radom, addressed to the executive office at Gomachow. This document contains the following:

"On 28 June, 1944, the Higher S.S. and Police Leader East issued the following order:

The security situation in the Government General has deteriorated so much during the recent months that the most radical means and the most severe measures must now be employed against these saboteurs. The Reichsfuehrer S.S., in agreement with the Governor General, has given orders that in every case of assassination or attempted assassination of Germans, not only the perpetrators shall be shot when caught, but that, in addition, all their male relatives shall also be executed, and their female relatives above the age of sixteen put into a concentration camp."

A. As I have said that I was never called upon by the Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler to give my approval to such orders, your question has already been answered. In this case, I was not called upon either.

Q. Witness, were you at least informed of such orders from the Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler or from the Higher S.S. and Police Leader before they were carried out?

A. The reason why this was not done was always the same, I was told that since Poles were living not only in the Government General but also in those territories which had been incorporated into the Reich, the fight against the Polish resistance movement had to be carried on by unified control from a central office and this central office was Heinrich Himmler.

Q. Witness, what jurisdiction did you have in the general administration?

A. I think it would accelerate the proceedings if the witness Buehler could

[Page 108]

testify to these details. If the Tribunal so desires I will of course answer this question now. In the main I was concerned with the setting up of the usual administrative departments, such as food, culture, finance, science, etc.

Q. Were there representatives of the Polish and Ukrainian population in the Government General?

A. Yes. The representation of the Polish and Ukrainian population was regional, and I united the heads of the bodies of representatives from the various districts in the so-called sub-committees. There was a Polish and an Ukrainian sub-committee. Count Roneker was the head of the Polish sub-committee for a number of years, and at the head of the Ukrainian sub-committee was Professor Kubiowicz. I made it obligatory for all my offices to contact these sub- committees on all questions of a general nature, and this they did. I myself was in constant contact with both of them. Complaints were brought to me there and we had free discussions. My complaints and memoranda to the Fuehrer were mostly based on the reports from these assistant committees.

A second form in which the population participated in the administration of the Government General was by means of the lowest administrative units, which throughout the Government General were in the hands of the native population. Every ten to twenty villages had as their head a so-called "Voyd." This Polish word Voyd is the same as the German word "Vogt" -V-o-g-t. He was the, so to speak, lowest administrative unit.

A third form of participation by the population in the administration was the employment as government officials or civil servants in the public services, including postal and railway services, of the Government General of about 280,000 Poles and Ukrainians.

Q. In what numerical proportion did the German civil servants stand to the Polish and Ukrainian civil servants?

A. The proportion varied. The number of German civil servants was very small. There were times when in the whole of the Government General, the area of which is 150,000 square kilometres - that means half the size of Italy - there were not more than 40,000 German civil servants. That means to one German civil servant there were on the average at least six non-German civil servants and employees.

Q. Which territories did you rule as Governor General?

A. Poland, which had been jointly conquered by Germany and the Soviet Union, was divided, first of all, between the Soviet Union and the German Reich. Of the 380,000 square kilometres, which is the approximate size of the Polish State, approximately 200,000 square kilometres went to the Soviet Union and approximately 170,000 to 180,000 square kilometres to the German Reich. Please don't tie me down to exact figures, at any rate that was roughly the proportion.

That part of Poland which was taken over into Soviet Russian Territory was immediately treated as an integral part of the Soviet Union. The border demarcations in the East of the Government General were the ordinary Reich border demarcations of the Soviet Union as from 1939. That part which came to Germany was divided thus: 90,000 square kilometres were left to the Government General and the remainder was incorporated into the German Reich.

THE PRESIDENT: I don't think there is any charge against the defendant on the ground that the civil administration was bad. The charge is that crimes were committed, and the details of the administration between the Government General and the department in the Reich are not really in question.

DR. SEIDL: The only reason, Mr. President, why I put that question was to demonstrate the difficulties with which the administration had to cope right from the beginning in this territory, for an area which originally represented one economic unit, was now split into three different parts. I am coming now to the next question. Did you ever have hostages shot?

[Page 109]

A. My diary contains the facts. I myself have never had hostages shot.

Q. Did you ever participate in the annihilation of Jews?

A. I say yes, and the reason why I say yes is because having lived through the five months of this trial, and particularly after having heard the testimony of the witness Hoess, my conscience does not allow me to throw the responsibility solely on these small people. I myself have never installed an extermination camp for Jews or supported the existence of such camps; but if Adolf Hitler personally has laid that dreadful responsibility on his people, then it is mine too, for we have fought against Jewry for years; and we have indulged in the most horrible utterances, my own diary bears witness against me. Therefore, it is no more than my duty to answer your question in this connection with "Yes." A thousand years will pass and this guilt of Germany will still not be erased.

Q. Witness, what was your policy for the recruiting of labourers for the Reich when you were Governor General?

A. I beg your pardon?

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