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-Fifteenth Day: Friday, 26th April, 1946
(Part 5 of 8)

[THE PRESIDENT continues his examination of Hans Bernd Gisevius]

[Page 288]

Q. Between the time you went to Zurich and 20 July, did you return to Germany from time to time?

A. During that time I was mainly in Germany, and only from time to time, Oster and Canaris sent me to Switzerland as a courier, on travel orders. Schacht was still quite helpful to me in getting me a Swiss visa, through the Swiss Legation.

Q. During the time that you were in the Gestapo from August to December, 1933, what was your actual job or function?

A. When I received my first Civil Service position I was only in training, and I was attached to the then Chief of the Executive Department, Oberregierungsrat Nebe, for training. After the warrant for arrest was issued, at the end of October, 1933, I was sent to Leipzig as a reporter, for the Reichstag fire trial.

Q. You spoke yesterday very often of a man whose name I am not clear about, Nebe, I believe it was.

A. Yes.

Q. What was his position?

A. Nebe was a well-known criminologist at the Berlin Police Headquarters before 1933. As a National Socialist he was called into the Gestapo in July of 1933; early in 1934 he was promoted to Oberregierungsrat. Then we were successful, with the aid of the defendant Frick, to have him transferred for some time to the Ministry of the Interior. Then he became the founder and chief of

[Page 289]

the Reich Office of Criminology. On the day of the appointment of Himmler as Chief of Police of the Reich, he was put into the new Reich Security Main Office. In the course of time he was taken over into the S.S.; he became a S.S. Gruppenfuehrer, S.S. General, and until 20 July, he was one of the closest subordinates of the defendant Kaltenbrunner. The defendant Kaltenbrunner was Chief of the Gestapo as well as of the Criminal Police and the Information Service. So that thereby Nebe became a subordinate of Kaltenbrunner and continuously received official orders from him, just like the Gestapo Chief Muller.

THE PRESIDENT: Did you wish to ask any questions, Dr. Dix?

DR. DIX: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, perhaps you had better do that after the adjournment at a quarter past two.

(A recess was taken.)


Q. The Soviet Prosecutor put a question to you in connection with the annexation of Austria. While answering the question you were interrupted. You had just said, "But the form ..."; would you please complete your answer now?

A. What I wanted to say was that Schacht was undoubtedly opposed to the Anschluss in this form.

Q. Then I have one last question, which concerns the so- called incident of the day before yesterday. I discussed this incident with you yesterday and explained the situation as regards my colleague Dr. Stahmer. I also gave you permission to make use of this explanation at any time. I now request you to give this explanation to the Tribunal.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: May I interpose an objection. I think that is a most irregular way to inform the Tribunal, if there is anything the Tribunal should be informed about, that Dr. Dix should tell the witness what the witness. should tell the Tribunal.

Now, I have no objection to the witness relating to the Tribunal anything that he knows from his own knowledge. I do object to the witness being asked to relate what Dr. Dix has told him he may tell the Tribunal. I think that is a most irregular way of clarifying it.

DR. DIX: That is not the case. I made a remark about Dr. Stahmer to Dr. Gisevius. That is a matter between the witness and myself, I consider it important that this remark of mine be related and testified to by the witness. It is an incident which he observed, and I prefer that the witness should confirm the fact that I explained this to him. I cannot see anything irregular about this procedure, and I ask for a decision by the Tribunal. Otherwise I should make the explanation myself, but I consider it better for the witness to say what I told him immediately after that incident.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks that you may properly put the question to the witness ...


Q. I have already put the question, and you may answer it at this time.

THE PRESIDENT: I am not quite sure now what your question was, but the Tribunal thinks that you may put the question. Was there anything in connection with the incident which the witness has not already told us, which he wishes to say?

DR. DIX: Yes. The question relates to a conversation between the witness and myself.


Q. Witness, what did I tell you yesterday?

A. You told me immediately that, in your opinion, your colleague Dr.,

[Page 290]

Stahmer did not wish to put undue pressure upon me, but that this undue pressure came rather from the defendant Goering.

Q. I have no further questions.

BY DR. SEIDL (Counsel for defendants Hess and Frank):

Q. Witness, were you, during the war ...

THE PRESIDENT: (Interposing) Dr. Seidl, are you attempting to re-examine?

DR. SEIDL: I wanted to put a single question ...

THE PRESIDENT: I wasn't thinking of the time which you would take up, but the question of whether you ought to be allowed to put any question.

Yes, go on, Dr. Seidl.


Q. Witness, during the war, were you at any time active in the intelligence service of a foreign power?

A. At no time.

Q. It is also not correct ...

THE PRESIDENT: (Interposing) That is not a question which you ought to put to this witness in re-examination.

DR. SEIDL: But, Mr. President it is a question affecting the credibility of this witness. If it should turn out that this witness, who is or was, a citizen of the German Reich, had been active in the intelligence service of a foreign power, that fact would have an important bearing on the credibility of the witness.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I should like to be heard on that. In the first place, I don't think that this witness should be subjected to any attacks. In the second place, I respectfully submit that it does not militate against the credibility of the witness that he should have opposed this kind of an organisation. I think that the attack upon the credibility of this witness, if there were one to be made - he is sworn on behalf of the defendants and is not the prosecution's witness - the attack is not timely, is not a proper attack, and the substance of it does not go to credibility.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will allow you to put the question.


Q. Please answer my question and remember your oath.

A. Mr. Attorney, it is not at all necessary for you to remind me of my oath. I have said that I was never in the intelligence service of a foreign power. I was in the service of a good, clean German cause.

Q. During the war did you receive funds from any power at war with Germany?

A. No.

Q. Do you know what the three letters O.S.S. mean?

A. Yes.

Q. What do they stand for?

A. They stand for an American intelligence service.

Q. You had nothing to do with that organisation?

A. I had friendly and political contacts with several members of this organisation.

DR. SEIDL: I have no further questions to put to the witness.

DR. KUBUSCHOK (Counsel for the defendant von Papen):

THE PRESIDENT: I hope the defendants' counsel will remember that they have all had a free opportunity to cross-examine this witness already and have not ...

DR. KUBUSCHOK: The person of Herr von Papen was not mentioned until

[Page 291]

the cross-examination by the American Prosecutor. Therefore I could not ask questions before.


Q. Witness, you replied in the negative to a question put by the Chief American Prosecutor yesterday as to whether the defendant von Papen at any time protested. Of course, you modified this by pointing out that no written communication by von Papen had been addressed to the Ministry of the Interior.

In order to clarify this problem, I should like to know whether this assertion of yours refers only to the Ministry of the Interior. On Page 133 of your book you pointed out that one of the defendant von Papen's main activities as vice-chancellor consisted in handing in protests, and that he addressed these protests above all to Hindenburg and Goering.

A. I again emphasised the latter point yesterday or today. I have no official knowledge of any protest made by von Papen to the competent police minister after 30 June, 1934. I can say only that it would greatly have strengthened the position of the Ministry of Police if a protest of that nature, describing in detail the murder of von Papen's closest co-workers, had reached the Ministry of the Interior. In that case, it is unlikely that this rumour about the suicide or rather the unconfirmed death of Bose and Jung would have reached the public.

Q. Do you not think that it is understandable, especially considering the comparatively insignificant and uninfluential position held by Frick, that such protests should have been brought to the notice of higher authorities if possible?

A. By adopting the standpoint that they could apply only to higher authorities, that is, the dictator himself, of their own accord they shattered the constitutional competency of the individual ministries and the cabinet.

It would have meant a great deal if Herr von Papen at that time had used the prescribed channels.

Q. In agreement with your book, you do not dispute the fact that von Papen made many protests to these higher authorities in respect to other questions as well?

A. No, he did protest frequently.

Q. Yesterday, within the scope of your general statements you gave an unfavourable estimate of the character of the defendant von Papen. This character sketch coincides with the one you gave in your book. In your book you pay special attention to certain details and draw your conclusions from them.

Since the defendant von Papen only occupies a comparatively small amount of space in your book and you probably had nothing to do with him in your official capacity, you must have had to base your statements on second-hand information. Since all these statements, as far as they refer to von Papen, are incorrect, I refer to them briefly.

(1) You take as your starting-point your statement that, in spite of the events of 30 June, von Papen did not resign.

From the historian's point of view, it is significant that Papen sent in his resignation after the suppression of his Marburg speech, that negotiations about this resignation were pending between Hitler and Hindenburg, and that Hitler accepted Papen's resignation immediately after the latter's release on 3 July, when it was again tendered, but did not intend to make it public until a later date, in spite of Papen's request to the contrary.

Is it possible, witness, that you were not correctly informed of this interval event?

A. It is perfectly possible for me not to have known of internal events. I should like, however, to stress the fact that a Minister or Vice-Chancellor is under an obligation to give a certain amount of publicity to his opinion and to his decisions; and I can only say that, whatever Papen may have said to Hitler in private, he contrived with consummate skill to conceal from the German

[Page 292]

people the fact that he intended to resign - or had already resigned; and that is the point.

Q. Are you aware that this same defendant von Papen had had a very bad experience a few weeks earlier, when the Press was forbidden to publish his speech at Marburg, which contained a frank statement of his opinions, and warning was given that persons found circulating it would be punished.

A. I am aware of it because we were appalled that a vice- chancellor of the German Reich allowed himself to be silenced in such a way. I believe that 30 June would not have involved such a heavy death roll for the middle classes if Vice-Chancellor von Papen had given a manly "no" - a definite "no" at the proper time.

Q. Your answer makes no reference to the point which I raised before that von Papen had actually resigned, because the publication of his Marburg speech had been prohibited.

(2) You make the assumption that von Papen took part in the cabinet session of 3 July, in which the law was passed that the measures involved by 30 June were legal as emergency measures for the protection of the State. Is it known to you that von Papen did not participate in this session; that he had just been released and went into the Chancellery while the session was in progress; that Hitler asked him from the session room to go into the adjoining room; that von Papen again tendered his resignation, which Hitler accepted; and that he left the Chancellery immediately afterwards, without participating in the session at all?

THE PRESIDENT: I do not know whether it is possible for the witness to follow your questions, but they are so long and contain so many statements of fact that it is very difficult for anybody else to follow them; it is very difficult for the Tribunal.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: The gist of my question was that von Papen did not attend the cabinet session on 3 July. My question to the witness ...

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, why do you not ask the witness whether he knows whether he did participate or not. If that is the question you want to ask, why don't you ask it?


Q. My question is simply an attempt to find out whether the assertion to the contrary which appears in his book can also be explained by an error in information obtained from a third party.

A. It can be explained by inaccurate information, through the silence of Herr von Papen, which became known to the public and by which I myself was misled.

Q. (3) You start from your statement that von Papen, although he went to see Hindenburg afterwards, did not make a sufficiently strong protest against the measures taken. Is it known to you that von Papen did everything in his power to reach Hindenburg but was kept away from him, and that he did not reach Hindenburg's estate at Nendeck until after 30 June, after Hindenburg's death? Can the assertion to the contrary contained in your book be traced back to an error in information?

A. Yes, if you tell me that even in his capacity of Vice- Chancellor of the Reich he did not have access to the President of the Reich and still remained in office, in spite of the pressure of foreign journalists, of the foreign diplomatic corps and even of a large number of Germans who heard of this attitude of a German Vice-Chancellor.

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