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 5 of 10)

[MR. DODD continues his cross examination of Fritz Wieshofer]

[Page 65]

Q. Where would you go to get a file for von Schirach that had to do with the Reich Defence Commission for that district or that defence district? Where would you go to get a file that had to do with matters concerning the Reich Defence Commission? Now, let us assume - let me make it clear to you. Say that von Schirach tells you he wants a file about a certain matter that has to do with the Reich Defence Commission. You had to have it on his desk by a certain hour and see that it was there, as you say. Tell the Tribunal just what you would do, where you would go, who you would talk to, and how you would get that file for him.

[Page 66]

A. That would be simple. I would apply to the Chief of the Central Bureau, knowing that he would probably have to go to the Regierungsprasident to obtain that file. That is what I assume. I myself would only have gone to the Central Bureau.

Q. You had a central filing place, did you not, for all of your files, whether they were under the Reich Defence Commission or the Gauleiter or the civil government of Vienna, is that not so? They were all kept in one place?

A. They were not all together in one place; only a part of the files were in the Central Bureau. I cannot tell you which part because I have never had anything to do with that.

Q. You left Vienna on 13th April, you say, with von Schirach?

A. Yes.

Q. I suppose, as his adjutant, you had to make considerable preparations for leaving for some days previously, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you pack up; what did you take with you,?

A. We did not take anything with us from Vienna. Von Schirach went by car, and the gentlemen of his staff went in two or three other cars. Nothing else was taken along from Vienna.

Q. Well, what did you do in the office; how did you leave it?

A. We had not used the office since, I think, the spring or early summer of 1944, because the Ballhausplatz, that is, the office of the Reich Governor, had a direct hit and von Schirach could no longer work there. He was working in his apartment.

Q. In his what?

A. Apartment.

Q. In his apartment. And did he have all his files in his apartment or somewhere near at hand?

A. He had no files whatever in his apartment. They remained in the office, in that part of the Reich Governor's building which was still being used and in which one could still work.

Q. Were any files taken out of the Filing Department of the Reich Governor's Office when you left Vienna, or before you left Vienna?

A. I do not know anything about that. I know that an order existed, both for the State administration as well as for the Party, that files must be destroyed when the enemy approached. Whether that was done or what actually happened to the files, I do not know.

Q. Who got that order?

A. This order - I did not understand. Please, would you repeat your question?

Q. I want to know to whom that order was directed, if you know, the order to destroy the files.

A. The order, as far as the Party channels were concerned, went to the deputy "gauleiter," and as far as the State administration was concerned, to the Regierungsprasident.

Q. Did you also receive an order to start moving your files to places of safety some time in the spring of 1945 or even the late winter of 1944?

A. I have no recollection of such an order.

Q. Do you know that some 250 folders of your files were moved to a salt mine outside Vienna? Do you know anything about that?

A. No, I hear that for the first time.

Q. Do you know that there is such a mine near Vienna? You have lived there quite a while, I gather.

A. No. It is not near Vienna - if I may be permitted to put this matter right - but it is near Salzburg, we never lived there. I only know that this mine exists.

Q. How far is it from Vienna?

A. Approximately 350 kilometres.

[Page 67]

Q. You do not know anything about any files being taken there. You are sure about that, are you?

A. I am absolutely certain, I do not know anything about that.

Q. I have just one other question to ask. I suppose you knew the defendant pretty well. He is a little older than you, but you had worked for him for some time. Is that not so?

A. Yes.

Q. Why did you not join the Army instead of the SS when you wanted to do something for your country?

A. When I was called up, the Waffen SS was considered the elite unit and I preferred to serve in such an elite unit, if I may say so, than in the general aimed forces.

Q. Was it partly due to the fact that you had been in the General SS since 1939?

A. No. That had nothing to do with it. Many members of the General SS went to the Forces.

Q. Did you talk this matter over with your superior, the Youth Leader von Schirach, before you joined the SS in 1939, and the Waffen SS later on?

A. No. Might I remind you that I did not join von Schirach until October 1940, whereas I joined the Waffen SS on the 26th of June 1940.

Q. Yes, but you were, I suppose, a young man and you were in touch with the Reich Youth Organization in 1939 when you joined the General SS. Is that not a fact? Were you not a part of the Youth Organization in 1939?

A. No. I was not taken into the Youth Officers' Corps until April 1944 when I became Bannfuehrer. Before that I had nothing to do with it.

Q. Well, I do not think you understand me. It is not too important, but how old were you in 1939? You were 24, approximately, were you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And were you not then in some way affiliated with the Hitler Youth or the Youth Organization in Germany, either as a member, or having something to do with it?

A. No. Neither as a member nor in any other way. Of course I knew Youth Leaders in Carinthia, yes.

Q. You were quite a speech-maker for the Party, were you not, during your lifetime?

A. I spoke at several meetings in Carinthia between April 1938 and May 1940.

Q. At about how many meetings would you say you spoke in that period of two years?

A. During that time I spoke at about 80 meetings.

Q. And an average of about, say, 3,000 persons per meeting?

A. I also spoke in very small villages. I would say that the average attendance would be about 200.

MR. DODD: That is all.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you want to re-examine?

DR. THOMA (Counsel for Rosenberg):



Q. What were the subjects you talked about at these meetings?

A. Our subject was given to us by the Reich Propaganda Ministry. The meetings were conducted in such a way that every speaker was able to talk on general matters. For instance the subject might have been "With the Fuehrer to Final Victory" or "Why Welfare for the Nation" or "Why Winter Relief." Such subjects were always given.

Q. Did you speak on Rosenberg's "Mythology of the 20th Century"?

A. No.

[Page 68]

Q. Did you speak about such subjects?

A. Never; because of the nature of my education I would not have been in a position to do so.

Q. Have you ever read this "Mythology"?

A. I have not read the "Mythology."

Q. Did you speak to the youth at these meetings?

A. I did not speak to the youth - that is not expressly to the youth.

DR. THOMA: Thank you.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, I do not wish to put any questions to the witness, thank you very much.


Q. Witness, did Schirach have any authority to intervene in case of Jews who were being deported from Vienna?

A. He had no authority to do so, but he did it.

Q. How many times did he intervene?

A. I cannot recollect a single case where von Schirach did not intervene when he received a petition.

Q. I did not ask that; I asked how many times he intervened.

A. I cannot give you any number without being inaccurate. It is difficult to say.

Q. Did he intervene many times, or a few?

A. He intervened often.

Q. Did you see the order to the police not to protect aviators? You said it was in writing, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. Who signed it?

A. The order was signed by Bormann.

Q. And was it distributed to the police in Vienna?

A. By the police.. If I have understood you rightly, you were talking about the order that gauleiter must not intervene on behalf of Jews.

Q. No. This was the order about not protecting aviators who had crashed. You said you saw that order, did you not?

A. I did see the order, yes. I can no longer remember whom it came from and to whom it was addressed. It was merely sent to our office for our information. It was not for us to take any action.

Q. Do you know whether or not the police had a copy of it?

A. Please, will you be good enough to repeat the question?

Q. Do you know whether or not the police in Vienna had copies of the order?

A. That I do not know.

Q. Did you ever know Himmler?

A. I have seen him.

Q. Did he give you any instructions?

A. No.

Q. Did you get any instructions from the SS?

A. In which way do you mean?

Q. Any instructions from the SS directly when you were in von Schirach's office?

A. No.

Q. None at all?

A. None at all. I cannot recollect any.

Q. I think you said once that Schirach sent a command to save American aviators from the crowd, did you not? Do you not understand?

A. Yes, yes, I understand and I did say that.

Q. And what other efforts did von Schirach make to protect aviators from the crowd? Did he make any other efforts?

[Page 69]

A. Yes.

Q. Did he issue any orders to the police or take it up with the police?

A. Von Schirach's opinion was known. In the circles ....

Q. I did not ask for his opinion. Did he issue any orders to the police or talk to the police?

A. I have no recollection of that.

Q. Well, you would know if he had, would you not?

A. If I had been present when he gave the orders then I would know it, but it is possible that he talked when I was not there.

Q. Did you say you had access to the secret files?

A. Yes.

Q. What was kept in the secret files?

A. I did not understand the question.

Q. I asked you what was kept - what was put in the secret files, what sort of papers?

A. There were secret files which came from the Supreme Party Headquarters, secret files which came from the Minister of the Interior; there were things there which made one wonder why they were called "secret." But as far as details of these files are concerned, I cannot, of course, today remember them.

Q. And I suppose any documents, any reports, that were marked "secret" would be put in those secret files, would they not?

A. Reports from us to higher departments, or do you mean from the top downwards?

Q. Reports coming in to you.

A. They would then have been filed in the secret archives.

Q. And SS secret reports would go in the secret files, would they not?

A. SS reports did not come to us, because we were not a service department of the SS.

(There were no further questions from Mr. Biddle.)

THE PRESIDENT: If you have no questions yourself, Dr. Sauter, then witness may retire.


(The witness, Fritz Wieshofer, left the witness-stand.)

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, in Schirach's Document Book there are still a few documents which, up to now, have not been expressly presented, but I believe it is not necessary to read these documents to you. To save time, I should like, if I may, to refer to the documents and ask you to take judicial notice of them; for instance, of the affidavit of Frau Hopken, which is incorporated in the Document Book under No. 3, and which has already been submitted somewhere else.

There is only one document, Mr. President, about which I want to give a very brief explanation. In the Schirach Document Book, under No. 118A, there is the farewell letter of the traveller, Dr. Colin Ross. With reference to this Dr. Colin Ross, when the documents were dealt with, the prosecutor said that the body of Dr. Ross had not been discovered. My first reaction was of course surprise, and I made inquiries as to what actually had been done with these bodies and I discovered that in fact on the 30th April 1945, the day before the arrival of American troops, the body of Dr. Colin Ross and that of his wife were found in the house of defendant von Schirach, at Urfeld, on Lake Walchen. They had both first of all taken poison and then, to be quite sure, Dr. Ross shot his wife and then himself. German soldiers who were still patients at the time at Urfeld on Lake Walchen, then buried the bodies quite close to the house of the defendant von Schirach.

In the autumn the American Governor ordered that the bodies were to be transferred to the cemetery, but eventually he rescinded that order and permitted the bodies to remain where they had originally been buried.

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