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-Thirteenth Day: Wednesday, 24th April, 1946
(Part 5 of 9)

[Page 204]

THE PRESIDENT: What is the date of that?

DR. PANNENBECKER: It is a document which the prosecution has submitted as 779 - and which was taken from the files of the Ministry. There is no date on the document but it must have been in the spring of 1934, as can be seen from the first sentence of the document. The "Volkischer Beobachter" mentions the same decree in its issue of 14 April, 1934. I have included that as Document 32 in the document book; it will be Exhibit Frick-7.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pannenbecker, are you offering that as an exhibit or has it already been put in evidence?

DR. PANNENBECKER: No, it has not, as yet, been submitted. I offer it as Exhibit 6.

THE PRESIDENT: I am told the date is 12 April.

DR. PANNENBECKER: In the spring of 1934, yes, shortly thereafter.

THE PRESIDENT: 12 April, 1934.


The "Volkischer Beobachter" also mentions this decree in its issue of 14 April, 1934. We are concerned with Document 32 of the document book, which will be Exhibit Frick-7. I do not have to read it in detail.

The same is evident from No. 33 of the book, which will be Exhibit Frick-8.

Document 34 of the book, which will be Exhibit Frick-9, shows that the Gestapo actually did not adhere to Frick's directives and that Frick was powerless in that connection. Nevertheless, the document appears to me important, because it shows that Frick tried repeatedly, with great pains, to counteract the abuses of the Gestapo, which however, with the support of Himmler, was stronger than he, especially since Himmler enjoyed the direct confidence of the Fuehrer.

On 17 June, 1936, the affairs of the political police came under the jurisdiction

[Page 205]

of the Reich. Himmler was appointed Chief of the German police and, though formally attached to the Reich Ministry of the Interior, he was in fact, an independent Police Minister under the immediate authority of Hitler and, as a minister, he was privileged to look after his affairs in the Reich Cabinet himself.

This can be seen from Document 35 of the document book - an excerpt from the "Reichsgesetzblatt" (Reich Legal Gazette)- which has been submitted as Document 2073-PS. I do not believe that I have to give it an exhibit number, because it is an official announcement in the Reich Legal Gazette.

In this connection the prosecution has submitted Document 1723-PS as Exhibit USA 206. I have entered an extract from this document as number 36 in the document book in order to correct an error. The document is an extract from a book written by Dr. Ley in his capacity as Reich Organisation Leader. In that book Dr. Ley gives directives to the Party offices regarding co-operation with the Gestapo, and at the end of the extract Ley reprinted a decree by Frick which shows how Frick attempted to counteract the arbitrary measures of the Gestapo.

However, in presenting evidence on the morning of 13 December, 1945, the prosecution read the entire document as an order by Frick. I should therefore like to correct that error.

Since Himmler and the chiefs of the Gestapo did not heed his general directives, Frick tried, at least in individual cases, to alleviate conditions in concentration camps, but generally he was not successful. To quote an example, I have included - under number 37 of the document book - a letter by the former Reichstag Delegate Wulle, which he sent to me of his own accord. This letter will be Exhibit Frick-10. The letter states:

"He (Frick) as my former counsel told me, has at various times tried to persuade Hitler to release me, but without success, since it was Himmler who made all decisions regarding concentration camps. However, I owe it to him that I have been treated in a comparatively decent manner at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp ...

He stood out from among the Nazi demagogues because of his impartiality and reserve; he was a man who by nature disapproved any act of violence ...

Since the spring of 1925 I have been involved in a sharp struggle against Hitler and his party. I consider it even more to Frick's credit that despite this antagonism and his comparatively powerless position with respect to Himmler, he tried, in every way, to help my wife and me during the bitter years of my imprisonment in a concentration camp ... "

The prosecution has asserted, according to the statements made by the witness Blaha before this Tribunal, that Frick knew of the conditions in Dachau concentration camp from having visited it in the first half of the year 1944.

Therefore, with the permission of the Tribunal I submitted an interrogatory to the witness Gillhuber, who accompanied Frick on all his trips and ...

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a moment, Dr. Pannenbecker. The Tribunal consider that they cannot entertain an affidavit upon oath from the defendant Frick, who is not going into the witness box to give evidence on oath, unless he is offered as a witness, in which case he may be cross-examined.

DR. PANNENBECKER: Yes, but the last document was not an affidavit by Frick, but by, Gillhuber, a witness, who has received an interrogatory. It is No. 40 of the document book. I am just informed that, by an oversight this exhibit has not been included in the book; I shall have to submit it now.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, well, tell us what it is.

DR. PANNENBECKER: It is an interrogatory of the witness Gillhuber, and his answers. Gillhuber, for the personal protection of the defendant Frick,

[Page 206]

accompanied him on all his official travels. In answering the interrogatory, he confirmed the fact that Frick had never visited the camp. The interrogatory, with the answers, has still to be submitted in the translation. It is contained in my book.

THE PRESIDENT: You may read the interrogatory, unless the prosecution has any objection to its admissibility, or the terms of it, because the interrogatory has already been provisionally allowed.

DR. PANNENBECKER: I read, then, from the Frick Document 40, which becomes Exhibit Frick-11, the following:-

"Q. For how long, and in what capacity, were you working for the defendant Frick?

A. From 18 March, 1936, until the arrival of the Allied Troops on 29 or 30 April, 1945, as an employee of the Reich Security Service, I served as guard and escort.

Q. Did you always accompany him on his travels for his personal protection?

A. From 1936 until January, 1942, only intermittently, but since January, 1942, as office chief I accompanied him on all his trips and flights.

Q. Do you know whether the defendant Frick visited the concentration camp of Dachau, during the first six months of 1944?

A. To my knowledge, Frick did not visit the Dachau concentration camp.

Q. Would you have known if it he had, and how would you have known it?

A. I would have had to know if he had done so. I was always close to him; and my employees would have reported it, had he left during my absence.

Q. Have you still got the log book of the trips you made, and can you present it now?

A. Since about 1941 log books were no longer kept. Instead of that monthly reports of trips were sent to the Reich Security Service in Berlin. The copies which were kept in my office were, according to orders, burned with all the rest of the material, in April, 1945.

Q. Do you know whether the defendant Frick has ever visited the Dachau camp?

A. To my knowledge Frick has never visited the Dachau camp.

Moosburg, 23 March, 1946. Signed, Max Gillhuber. Signed, Leonard N. Dunkel, Lieutenant-Colonel, Infantry."

To comment on the question, whether an official visitor to a concentration camp could always get a correct picture of the actual conditions existing there, I ask permission to read an unsolicited letter which I received a few days ago from a Catholic Priest, Bernard Ketzlick. This letter which I have submitted as Frick Supplement 1 ...

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Your Honour, the prosecution lodges an objection to this because it is a type of evidence that there is no way of testing. I have a basket of such correspondence making charges against these defendants, which I do not think the Tribunal would want to hear. If the door is open to this kind of evidence, there is no end to it.

This witness has none of the sanctions, of course, that assure the verity of testimony, and I think it is objectionable to go into letters received from unknown persons.

DR. PANNENBECKER: May I say just one word on the subject. I received the letter so late that I did not have an opportunity to ask the person concerned to send me an affidavit. Of course, I am prepared to submit such an affidavit later, if such an affidavit should have greater probative value.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks that the letter cannot be admitted,

[Page 207]

but an application can be made in the ordinary way for leave to put in an affidavit or to call the witness.

DR. PANNENBECKER: Yes. Then, at a later date, I shall submit a written request.

I shall not read Document 38 of the document book, since it concerns a statement made by Frick, and I refer, finally, to an excerpt from the book "Inside Europe," by John Gunther which will be submitted as Exhibit Frick-12. The excerpt is contained under No. 39 in the document book. It concerns a book which appeared originally in the English language, and I therefore quote it in English:-

"Born in the Palatinate in 1877, Frick studied law and became a 'Beamter,' an official. He is a bureaucrat through and through. Hitler is not intimate with him, but he respects him. He became Minister of the Interior because he was the only important Nazi with civil service training. Precise, obedient, uninspired, he turned out to be a faithful executive he has been called the only honest Nazi."
The last document to which I ask permission to refer is an extract from the book "To the Bitter End," by Gisevius. I believe I do not have to quote these passages individually since the witness himself will be questioned. The extract will be Exhibit Frick-13.

There are still left two answers to interrogatories by the witnesses Messersmith and Seger. I ask to be permitted to read these answers, later, as soon as they have been submitted to me.

That concludes the presentation of documents. I believe there would be no purpose in calling the witnesses now.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will now adjourn.

(A recess was taken until 14.00 hours.)

THE PRESIDENT: Are you prepared to call your witness, Dr. Pannenbecker?

DR. PANNENBECKER: Yes, Mr. President, that is my request. I now ask permission to call the witness Gisevius. He is the sole witness in Frick's case. And I have especially selected witness Gisevius to clarify the question of the distribution of police power in Germany since he, from the very beginning, has been on the side of the opposition and is best qualified to give a picture of the distribution of power in Germany as it was then.

HANS BERND GISEVIUS, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:-


Q. Will you state your full name?

A. Hans Bernd Gisevius.

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.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.



Q. Witness, have you been a member of the N.S.D.A.P. or one of its affiliated organisations?

A. No.

Q. Is it correct that you personally participated in the events of the 20 July, 1944, and that you were also in the O.K.W. at that time?

A. Yes.

Q. How did you get into the police service?

A. In July, 1933, I passed the State examination in law. As a descendant

[Page 208]

of an old family of civil servants, I applied for a civil service appointment in the Prussian administration. I belonged, at that time, to the German National People's Party and to the "Stahlhelm" and by the standards of that day I was considered as politically reliable. Consequently, at the first stage of my training as a civil servant, I was assigned to the political police, which meant my entry into the newly created Secret State Police. In those days I was very happy to have been assigned to the police service. I had already, at that time, heard that abominations of all kinds were going on in Germany. I was inclined to consider these as the final outburst of that situation, very akin to civil war, which we had known at the end of 1932 and the beginning of 1933. So I hoped to contribute to the re- establishment of a proper executive organisation which would take care of law, decency and order. But this desire was doomed to be short-lived.

I had been only two days in this new police office, when I discovered that incredible conditions existed there. Here was no police to intervene against riots, murder, illegal detention and robbery. But a police which protected just the very people who were guilty of such crimes. Not the guilty persons were arrested, but those who asked the police for help. It was not a police which took action against the crime, but a police whose task seemed to be to hush it up or, even worse, to sponsor it. For those S.A. and S.S. commandos who played at being private police, were encouraged by this so-called Secret State Police and were given all possible aid. The most terrible and even, for a newcomer, most obvious thing was that a system of unlawful detention gained more and more ground, a system which could not have been more dreadful. The offices of the new State Police were in a huge building which was however not large enough to take in all the prisoners. Special concentration camps for the Gestapo were established, and their names will go down in history as a shameful blot. These camps were at Oranienburg, and the Gestapo's private prison in the Papenstrasse, the Columbia House or, as it was nicknamed cynically, the "Columbia Bar."

I should like to make it quite clear that this was certainly little compared to what we all learned later on. But so it started and I can only convey my personal impression by describing a brief incident which I remember. After only two days I asked one of my colleagues, who was also a professional civil servant - he had been taken over from the old political police into the new one, and he was one of those officials who were forced into that office - I asked him "Tell me, please; am I here in a police office or in a robber's den?" The answer I received was "You are in a robber's den and you can expect to see much more yet."

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