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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th May to 6th June, 1946

One Hundred and Fortieth Day: Tuesday, 28th May, 1946
(Part 4 of 10)

[DR. SAUTER continues his direct examination of Fritz Wieshofer]

[Page 62]

Q. Since when?

A. Since June of 1940.

Q. Are you Austrian by birth?

A. Will you please repeat that; I did not understand you.

Q. Are you Austrian by birth?

A. I am Austrian.

Q. When did you join the Reich Youth Leader's Office?

A. I joined Herr von Schirach on the 3rd of October 1940.

Q. And what did you do before that?'

A. Before that I had a temporary post in the Foreign Office.

Q. For how long?

A. Only from May until October, 1940.

Q. And before that?

A. Before that I was employed in the Gauleiter's Office in Carinthia.

Q. Did you have anything to do with the Hitler Jugend?

A. No.

Q. In October of 1940, then, you came to Vienna to join von Schirach?

A. Yes, to Vienna.

Q. In what capacity did you go there?

A. I went there as von Schirach's adjutant.

Q. And what did your duties mostly consist of?

A. As adjutant I was responsible for the handling of the mail, engagements for conferences, seeing to it that files were presented on time at conferences, travel arrangements and so on.

Q. Did you only work for Schirach in his capacity as Reich Governor, as Gauleiter, or did you act for him only as Mayor?

A. I was -

Q. Please pause a little after I have put a question to you, so that the interpreters can catch up.

A. I was adjutant for Herr von Schirach in all his capacities.

Q. Did you also have access to the secret files?

A. Yes.

Q. Witness, I shall only have a very few brief questions to put to you. First of all, I am interested in this: Who was responsible for the forced evacuation of Jews from Vienna?

A. The forced evacuation of Jews from Vienna, as far as I know, was handled by the RSHA. The representative in Vienna was a certain Dr. Brunner, an Obersturmfuehrer in the SS.

Q. Did you often visit Dr. Brunner officially in connection with the forced evacuation of Jews, and for what reason?

A. In some cases, Jews who were affected by this forced evacuation made written applications to von Schirach to be left out of the transport. In such cases, von Schirach, through the Chief of his Central Bureau, took the matter up with Dr. Brunner's office and asked that the request of the applicant be granted. I would say that generally this was done by the Chief of the Central Bureau. I remember two cases where I myself received instructions to intervene with Dr. Brunner, not by writing or telephoning, but by going and seeing him personally.

Q. And what did this SS Sturmfuehrer, Dr. Brunner, tell you about what was actually going to happen to the Jews when they were taken away from Vienna?

A. Dr. Brunner only told me, on the occasion of one of these interventions, that the action of resettling the Jews would be a resettlement from the district of Vienna into the zone of the former Government General. He also told me in what way this was being carried out. For instance he said that women and small children would travel in second-class carriages; that sufficient rations for the journey and milk for small children would be provided. He also told me that these resettled persons, upon arrival at their destination, in so far as they were capable of

[Page 63]

working, would immediately be put to work. First of all, they would be put into assembly camps, but that as soon as accommodation was available, they would be given homes, etc. He also told me that because of the numerous interventions by Herr von Schirach, his work had been made very difficult.

Q. Did you or have you - I will put my next question this way. Did you ever see an order in which Gauleiter were forbidden to intervene in any way on behalf of Jews, and did you discuss that order with von Schirach?

A. I recollect a written order, which we received either at the end of 1940 or at the beginning of 1941. It stated that "There are reasons which make it necessary once more to point out, etc ...." It obviously was a repetition of an order which had already been given. The purport of the order was that for certain reasons, Gauleiter were prohibited from intervening on behalf of Jews in the future.

Q. Did you talk about that with Schirach?

A. I talked to Herr von Schirach about it.

Q. What did he say?

A. As far as I can recollect, von Schirach wrote on the order, "To be filed." He did not say anything more about it.

Q. I have another question, witness. The defendant von Schirach was once in the concentration camp at Mauthausen. Can you tell us when that was?

A. I cannot tell you that exactly. All I can say on that subject is that when I came back from the front - and this was either in the autumn of 1942 or in June of 1943 - the adjutant who was on duty at the time told me that he had accompanied Herr von Schirach to a concentration camp, Mauthausen Camp. Some time afterwards - it must have been when I came back from the front the second time, at the end of 1943 - Herr von Schirach also told me that he had been to Mauthausen. I only recollect that he said that he had heard a symphony concert there.

Q. Well, we are not interested in that, we have heard that. I am only interested in one thing: Did he visit Mauthausen or another concentration camp again later on? Can you give us reliable information on that or not?

A. I can give you reliable information on that. That is quite out of the question, because from November 1943 until the collapse, I was continuously on duty and I knew where von Schirach was, day and night.

Q. Did he go to Mauthausen again in 1944?

A. No, certainly not, that is out of the question.

Q. Witness, you remember that towards the end of the war there were orders coming from some source or other, stating that enemy airmen who had been forced to land were no longer to be protected. Do you know of that?

A. Yes.

Q. That somewhere such orders were issued?

A. Yes.

Q. What was the attitude of defendant von Schirach regarding such orders, and how do you know about it?

A. I talked about these orders with Herr von Schirach. Von Schirach was always against the idea contained in the order, and he always said that these airmen, too, should be treated as prisoners of war. Once he said, "If we do not do that, then there is the danger that our enemies, too, will treat their prisoners, that is Germans, in the same manner."

Q. Do you yourself know of cases where defendant von Schirach actually intervened on behalf of enemy flyers in that way?

A. Yes.

Q. Will you please tell us about it?

A. During one of the last air attacks on Vienna, in March 1945, an American plane was shot down and crashed near the headquarters of the Gau Command Post. That Command Post was on a wooded hill in Vienna to which part of the population used to go during air attacks. Von Schirach was watching from a 32 metre high iron structure on which he would always stand during air attacks, and he observed that a member of the American crew got out of the aircraft. He

[Page 64]

immediately ordered the Commander in charge of this Command Post to drive to the place of the crash so as to protect the American soldier against the crowd and bring him to safety. The American soldier was brought to the Command Post and after the air attack he was handed over to the Air Force Command 17, as prisoner of war.

Q. When did you leave Vienna?

A. I left Vienna with Herr von Schirach on 13th April 1945.

Q. When did you say?

A. On 13th April.

Q. On 13th April together with the defendant von Schirach?

A. Together with Herr von Schirach.

Q. Now, this is the last question I have to put to you. Witness, have you ever heard from Schirach's lips anything to the effect that Vienna was to be held "to the last man" at all costs, or that destruction should be carried out in Vienna?

A. I have never heard him say either the one or the other.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, I have no further questions to this witness.

DR. SERVATIUS (Counsel for the defendant Sauckel):


Q. Witness, do you know the Prater in Vienna?

A. Yes, of course, I am Viennese.

Q. What sort of a place is that?

A. The Prater is, or at least was, a pleasure park.

Q. Was it closed during the war?

A. The Prater was not closed during the war.

Q. What sort of people used to go there?

A. During the war you mean?

Q. Yes.

A. Workers, employees, civil servants, that is the Viennese, the whole of Vienna.

Q. Did you also see foreign workers there?

A. Yes.

Q. A great many or just a few?

A. The situation in Vienna was that we used to say that if you want to go to the Prater then you have to be able to speak French and Russian, because with Viennese alone you cannot get along. The Prater was overcrowded with foreign workers.

Q. How were these foreigners dressed, badly or well?

A. These foreigners were well dressed, so that you could not distinguish them from the population. Only when they talked could you recognize that they were foreigners.

Q. How did they look otherwise? As regards food, did they look starved?

A. As far as I myself could see, the workers looked perfectly well fed.

Q. Did the people have money?

A. They had plenty of money. It was known that the black market in Vienna was almost entirely dominated by foreign workers.

Q. Could foreigners be seen only in the Prater or were they to be seen everywhere in the town?

A. Not only in the Prater, but also in the rest of the town, in cafes, of which there are so many in Vienna, in restaurants and in hotels.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions.



Q. Whom, besides the defendant von Schirach, do you know of these defendants? And by "know" I mean know personally, or have some acquaintanceship with the person, or had something to do with the person?

[Page 65]

A. Personally, I only know Herr Funk.

Q. Do you know Sauckel?

A. Yes.

Q. Well, who else?

A. I know Herr Seyss-Inquart, but I did not have any personal dealings with him. I was the adjutant of von Schirach.

Q. How do you know Funk?

A. Officially, as adjutant of Herr von Schirach, I had some dealings with him, and apart from that, he invited me to his house several times privately.

Q. Were you in the SS at that time, when you were invited by Funk?

A. At that time I was in the Waffen SS as an officer.

Q. By the way, when did you first join the SS?

A. I joined the Waffen SS on the 26 June 1940.

Q. Were you in any other branch of the SS besides the Waffen SS?

A. I was also in the General SS.

Q. When did you join the General SS?

A. In June or July 1939.

Q. So you were actually in the SS from as far back as 1939?

A. In the General SS, yes.

Q. Now, you also became an SS Obersturmfuehrer at one time, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. When was that?

A. I became Obersturmfuehrer about the 21st June 1944.

Q. When did you join the SA?

A. I joined the SA on the 9th of May 1932.

Q. Did you know the Strasshof Camp, S-t-r-a-s-s-h-o-f?

A. This is the first time I have heard that name.

Q. Well, it may have been mispronounced. It was a camp located outside Vienna.

A. I do not know which camp you mean. I understood Strasshof. I do not know of any such camp.

Q. Yes, something like that. You never heard of that camp?

A. Never.

Q. And you were in Vienna from what year? - 19 -

A. I was born in Vienna.

Q. Well, I know you were, but I am talking about your service with the defendant Schirach. You were there with him for how long?

A. From the beginning of October 1940.

Q. And you never heard of Strasshof?

A. No.

Q. Did you have much to do with the files of this defendant von Schirach?

A. Yes.

Q. What would you say you had to do with them? What was your responsibility?

A. I merely had to see to it that files were presented in good time for the conferences, and that after they had been used they were returned to the Central Bureau.

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