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-Twelfth Day: Tuesday, 23rd April, 1946
(Part 10 of 10)

[Page 182]

THE PRESIDENT: I had thought that your extracts were going to be brief. But you have now read from Page 53 to Page 65.

DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, this document is the only one of this kind which is available to me and in view of the fact that the prosecution has only quoted in full those passages which the defendant, Dr. Frank, himself criticized most severely, I consider it my duty now to read a number of passages, to quote them, in order to give the entire picture correctly and to show what the defendant, Dr. Frank, really intended to achieve with this document. I shall only quote a few more lines and then I will pass to another document.

THE PRESIDENT: I had hoped that one or two extracts from that document would show what the defendant Frank was putting forward, one or two paragraphs.

DR. SEIDL: I go on to the next document, Mr. President, that is on Page 68, the affidavit by the witness Dr. Buehler, which I presented to the witness today and which has been given the number Exhibit Frank-1, Page 68 in the document book.

On Page 70 there appears Exhibit USA-473. If I remember correctly this document has already been read in full by the prosecution and I would like to ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of that also in the defence of Dr. Frank.

On Page 72 of the document book is an affidavit of the former Kreishauptmann, Dr. Albrecht. To be exact I have to state that this is not really an affidavit in the true sense of the word. It is only a letter which Kreishauptmann Dr. Albrecht has sent to me through the General Secretary of the Tribunal. I then returned the letter in order to have it sworn to by the witness, but I have to say that until now that sworn statement has not been returned, so that for the time being, this exhibit would only have the material value of a letter. Therefore I ask the Tribunal to decide whether that document can be accepted by the Tribunal as an exhibit in the form of a letter.

THE PRESIDENT: I think the Tribunal did consider that matter before when your application was before it. They will accept the document for what it is worth. If you get the document in affidavit form you will no doubt put it in.

DR. SEIDL: Yes. That will be Exhibit Frank-7. I forgo the quoting of the first points and proceed direct to Page 74 of the document book and I quote under No. 4:-

"Dr. Frank's fight against the exploitation and neglect of the Government General in favour of the Reich. Conflict with Berlin.

[Page 183]

The first meeting with Dr. Frank occurred shortly after the establishment of the Government General in the autumn of 1939 in the Polish district-capital, Radom, where the 10 Kreis chiefs of this district had to report concerning the condition of the population in their administrative district, and the problem of reconstructing as quickly and effectively as possible the general, as well as the administrative and economic life. What struck one most was the keen awareness of Dr. Frank and his deep concern about the area entrusted to him. This found expression in the instructions not to consider or treat the Government General, or allow it to be used, as an organisation for exploitation or as a useless area, but rather to consider it as a centre of public order and an area of concentration at the back of the fighting German front and at the gates of the German homeland, forming a link between the two. Also to consider that the loyal native inhabitants of this country had claim to the full protection of the German administration as citizens of the Government General. To this end the constant efforts of all authorities and economic agencies would be demanded by him, and, by means of constant control through supervisors, would be personally superintended by him by periodical inspection trips, with the participation of the specialised central offices. In this way, for instance, the two districts which were administered by me were inspected by him personally three times in four years.

In face of the demands of the Berlin central authorities, who believed it possible to import more from the Government General into the Reich than was advisable, Dr. Frank asserted vigorously the political independence of the Government General as an 'adjunct of Germany' (Nebenland des Reiches), and his own independence as being directly subordinated only to the Supreme Head of the State, but not to the Reich Government. He also instructed us on no account to comply with demands which might come to us on the basis of personal relations with the authorities by whom we were sent, or with the Ministries concerned, and if by so doing we came into conflict with such authorities or Ministries, to report to him about it. This firm attitude gained Dr. Frank the displeasure of the Berlin government circles, and the Government General was dubbed 'Frankreich.' A campaign of calumny was initiated in the Reich against him and against the entire administration of the Government General by systematically generalising and exaggerating regrettable ineptitudes and human weaknesses of individuals, at the same time by attempting to belittle the actual constructive achievements."

I should like to ask the Tribunal to take official notice of number 5, also number 6, and I will only quote from number 7.
"(7) Dr. Frank as an Opponent of Acts of Violence against the Native Population, especially as an Opponent of the S.S.

Besides the exploitation and the pauperisation of the Government General, the accusation of the enslaving of the native population as well as deporting it to the Reich, and many atrocities of various kinds have appeared in the newspaper reports on the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial and were interpreted as serious evidence against Dr. Frank. As far as atrocities are concerned, the guilt does not lie with Dr. Frank but in some measure with the numerous non-German agitators and provocateurs who, with the growing pressure on the fighting German fronts, increased their underground activity, but more especially with the former State Secretary for the Security Organisation in the Government General, S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Kruger and his agencies. My observations in this respect are sketchy, because of the strict secrecy of these offices.

On the other hand, Dr. Frank went so far in meeting the needs of the Polish population that this was frequently objected to by his German

[Page 184]

compatriots. That he did the correct thing by his stand for the just interests of the Polish population is proven, for example, by the impressive fact that barely a year and a half after the defeat of the Polish people in a campaign of eighteen days, the concentration of German Army masses against Russia in the Polish area took place without any disturbances worth mentioning, and that the Eastern railroad was able to move the troop transports with Polish personnel up to the most forward unloading points without being delayed by sabotage."
I quote the last paragraph on Page 79:
"This humane attitude of Dr. Frank, which earned him respect and sympathy among considerable groups of the native population, led, on the other hand, to bitter conflicts with the S.S., in whose ranks Himmler's statement, 'They shall not love us, but fear us,' was applied as the guiding principle of their attitude and actions.

At times it came to a complete break. I still recall quite clearly that Dr. Frank, during a governmental visit to the District (Kreishauptmannschaft) of Stanislau in the Carpathian areas in the summer of 1943, when he took a walk alone with me and my wife in Jaremtsche on the Prutz, complained most bitterly about the arbitrary acts of the S.S., which quite frequently ran counter to the political line taken by him. At that time he called the S.S. the 'Black Plague,' and pointed out, when he noticed our astonishment at hearing such criticism coming from his lips, that if, for example, my wife were to be wrongfully arrested one day or night by agencies of the Gestapo and disappear, never to be seen again, without having been given the opportunity of defence in a court trial, absolutely nothing could be done about it. Some time afterwards he made a speech to the students in Heidelberg, which attracted much attention and was loudly applauded, about the necessity for the re-establishment of a German constitutional State (Rechtsstaat) such as would do justice to the real needs of the German people. When he wanted to repeat this speech in Berlin, he is said to have been forbidden by the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor, at Himmler's instigation, to make speeches for three months, as reported to me by a reliable, but unfortunately forgotten source. The struggle against the methods of violence used by the S.S. led to Dr. Frank having a nervous breakdown and he had to take a fairly long sick-leave. As far as I can remember this was in the winter of 1943/44."

I ask the Court to take official notice of number 8, and I pass on to Page 84 of the document book. That is an affidavit by S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Erich von dem Bach- Zelewski, of 21 February, 1946. This affidavit becomes Frank Exhibit No. 8.

THE PRESIDENT: Didn't this witness give evidence?

DR. SEIDL: The witness was questioned here by the prosecution and I made the motion at that time that either I be allowed to interrogate the witness again or be granted the use of an affidavit. On 8 March, 1946, the Tribunal made the decision, if I remember correctly, that I could use an affidavit from that witness, but that the prosecution would be free to do so, if they desired, to question the witness again.


DR. SEIDL: I shall read the statements of the witness concerning this matter, and I quote:

"(1) Owing to the infiltration of Russian partisan groups over the line of the river Bug into the Government General in 1943, Himmler declared the Government General to be a 'guerrilla warfare territory.' Thus it became my duty, as 'Chief of the guerrilla warfare units,' to travel about the Government General to collect information and get experience, and to submit reports and suggestions for fighting the partisans.

[Page 185]

In the general information Himmler gave me, he called the Governor General, Dr. Frank, a traitor to his country, who was conspiring with the Poles, and whom he would expose to the Fuehrer very shortly. I still remember two of the reproaches Himmler used against Frank:
(a)At a lawyer's meeting in the Old Reich territory Frank is said to have stated that 'he preferred a bad constitutional state to the best conducted police state,' and

(b) During a speech to a Polish delegation Frank had disavowed some of Himmler's measures and had disparaged, in front of the Poles, those charged with carrying them out, but calling them 'militant personalities.'

After having, on a circular tour, personally obtained information on the spot about the situation in the Government General, I visited the higher S.S. and Police- Fuehrer Kruger and the Governor General, Dr. Frank, in Cracow.

Kruger spoke very disapprovingly about Dr. Frank and blamed Frank's faltering and unstable policy towards the Poles for conditions in the Government General. He called for harsher and more ruthless measures and said that he would not rest until the traitor Frank was overthrown. I had the impression, from Kruger's statements, that personal motives also influenced his attitude and that he himself would have liked to become Governor General.

After that I had a long discussion with Dr. Frank. I told him of my impressions, and he went into lengthy details about a new policy for Poland which aimed at appeasing the Poles by means of concessions. In agreement with my personal impressions, Dr. Frank considered the following factors responsible for the crisis in the Government General:

(a) The ruthless resettlement action carried out now in the midst of war, especially the senseless and purposeless resettlement carried out by the S.S. and Police-Fuehrer Globoznik in Lublin.

(b) The insufficient food quota allotted to the Government General. Dr. Frank called Kruger and Globoznik declared enemies of any conciliatory policy, and said it was absolutely essential that they should be recalled.

Being convinced that if Dr. Frank failed, he would only be succeeded by a more ruthless and uncompromising person, I promised him my support. Having been assured of strictest secrecy, I told Frank I shared his opinion that Kruger and Globoznik would have to disappear. He, Dr. Frank, knew however that Himmler hated him and that he was urging Hitter to have him removed. With such a state of affairs, any request on Frank's part to have Kruger and Globoznik recalled would not only be rejected, but would even strengthen their position with Himmler. Frank, therefore, should give me a free hand, then I could promise him that both would be relieved of their posts within a short time. Dr. Frank agreed to that, and I then made use of the military mistakes that Kruger and Globoznik had committed in order to bring about their recall by Himmler.

(3) The Warsaw revolt of 1944 - "

THE PRESIDENT: I must point out to you that you said you were going to be only two hours over five volumes. You have now been over an hour over one volume, and you are reading practically everything in these documents. It isn't at all what the Tribunal has intended. You have been told that you may make short comments showing how the documents are connected with each other and how they are connected with all the evidence. That is not what you are doing at all.

DR. SEIDL: In that case I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of paragraph 3 of the affidavit by von dem Bach- Zelewski. Paragraph 3 deals with the Warsaw revolt in the year 1944 and the question

[Page 186]

as to whether the Governor General had anything to do with the crushing of that revolt.

Then I pass on to Page 92.

THE PRESIDENT: As a matter of fact, does the indictment charge anything in connection with the crushing of the Warsaw revolt in 1944?

DR. SEIDL: There is nothing in the Indictment itself about the part played by the Governor General in the crushing of that revolt. However, the Soviet Prosecution has submitted a telegram which puts the defendant Dr. Frank in some relation to the Warsaw revolt. But I shall not go into details about that now.

I pass on to Page 92 of the document book.

This is an affidavit by the witness Wilhelm Ernst von Palizieux, in whose case the Tribunal has approved an interrogatory. But I was told by the Tribunal that in place of an interrogatory I could submit an affidavit. I quote only the two main paragraphs as follows:

"The art treasures stored in the castle in Cracow since the spring of 1943 were under official and legal supervision there. When speaking to me Dr. Frank always referred to these art treasures as State property of the Government General.

Catalogues of the existing art treasures had already been made before I came to Poland; the list of the first selection had been printed in book form as a catalogue, with descriptions and statement of origin and had been ordered by the Governor General."

THE PRESIDENT: Now you are reading the affidavit all over again. We don't want that sort of -

DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, I assumed that in those cases where a witness does not appear before the Tribunal in person, it is admissible that either the interrogatory or the affidavit be read, because otherwise the contents of his testimony would not become part of the record and therefore part of the proceedings.

THE PRESIDENT: That rule was in order that the defendants and their counsel should have the document before them in German; that is the reason for reading the documents through the earphones. The Tribunal will adjourn now. But I want to tell you that you must shorten your presentation of this documentary evidence. We have already been a good deal more than an hour over one book and we have four more books to deal with, and it doesn't do your case any good to read all these long passages and it is only necessary for you to give such connecting statements as make the documents intelligible and to correlate them with the oral evidence that is being given.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 24 April, 1946, at 10.00 hours.)

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