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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
29th July to 8th August 1946

One Hundred and Ninetieth Day: Tuesday, 30th July, 1946
(Part 6 of 11)

[Page 85]




Q. Witness, do you remember Hitler saying in his Reichstag speech on 20th February, 1938:

"National Socialism possesses Germany entirely and completely. There is no institution in this State which is not National Socialist."
Do you remember these words, or if you do not remember the exact words do you remember the sense of these words being stated by Hitler?

[Page 86]

A. I remember the sense of the words, but not the words themselves.


My Lord, the extract from the speech is in Document Book 5, in Document 2715-PS.


Q. Do you agree with the sense of these words?

A. No.

Q. Do you think it was an exaggeration?

A. I am convinced that not all institutions were at that time National Socialist.

Q. But you would agree that the vast majority of institutions were National Socialist?

A. They were in the process of becoming National Socialist, but that process had not been completed.

Q. So you would agree that what Hitler states as a fact was the aim for which he was working?

A. Yes.

Q. And the method by which he was working for that aim was through the system of political leadership conducted by the Leadership Corps?

A. By that means the aim could be reached only in part.

Q. It was one essential method of possessing Germany in the sense of getting complete control of the minds and hearts and feelings of the population of Germany, was it not?

A. No, in my opinion, only at the beginning.

Q. Only the beginning? But that was the work which had gone on from 1933 up to 1938, when these words were spoken by Hitler?

A. It was part of the success of the Party before the seizure of power and after the seizure of power.

Q. Let me just put a few more words of Hitler's to show you how he expresses it:

"National Socialism" - it is the same speech - "National Socialism has given the German people that leadership which, as a party, not only mobilizes the nation but organizes it."
Is Hitler correct in giving that description of the leadership?

A. Yes; I would say "yes."

Q. Well, now I just want to take the matters which Dr. Servatius has referred to and ask you about the share of the Leadership Corps in them. Let us take the question of the Jews first.

Speaking generally and not with sole reference to your own Gau of Hamburg, did the political leadership take an active part in the demonstration of November, 1938 ?

A. The information I received about that action for other Gaue gave me the impression that such actions had indeed taken place but that, with exceptions, the men responsible for these actions had in no case been political leaders.

Q. Now, if you say that, will you look at Heydrich's order of 10th November?


My Lord, your Lordship will find that on Page 79 of the Document Book 14.




Q. Witness, you will find it on Page 96 of the German Document Book. If it is not 96, it is 97. Have you found it?

You see, this was an order from Heydrich issued on 10th November, at 1.20, and I just want you to look at paragraph one:

[Page 87]

"The chiefs of the State Police or their deputies must get in telephonic contact with the political leaders who have jurisdiction over their districts and arrange a joint meeting with the appropriate inspector or commander of the Order Police to discuss the organization of the demonstrations. At these discussions the political leaders have to be informed that the German Police have received from the Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police the following instructions in accordance with which the political leaders should adjust their own measures."
Now, you remember the general instructions were as to the burning of synagogues, the arrest of 20,000 Jews to be taken to concentration camps, and the destruction or appropriation of Jewish property. What were "their own measures" which the political leadership were to take with regard to that?

A. First, may I point out that in the German text of that document the passage which says that the Gauleiter had jurisdiction is not included. I cannot find it.

Q. The point I am asking you about - we will deal with that in a moment, but what I want to know from you is, what were "their own measures" which the political leaders were to take with regard to this attack oil the Jews?

A. I can only say the following: I, myself, did not take part in the meeting of 9th November, 1938. I was not informed from Munich about the proposed. action, but in the evening of 9th November I heard from the chief of the Hamburg State Police that an action of that kind was imminent.

Q. That is, the leader of the Hamburg State Police was carrying out the instructions of this paragraph after getting in touch with you. I thought you were able to speak for Gauleiter generally, apart from Gau Hamburg, and I want you to tell the Tribunal what were their own measures which the leadership of the Party were to carry out? I mean you must have heard it discussed afterwards. Tell us what they were. What were the leaders of the Party to do?

A. You asked me in your previous question about my personal experiences. I had to answer that I myself was informed by the chief of the State Police that it was proposed to carry out this action. For the Gau Hamburg - that is what I was asked about just now - I gave the order that officials of the State and criminal police were to safeguard the business streets and residential districts of Jews in Hamburg immediately. This measure was in the hands of Commissioner Winke of the criminal police, to whom I sent a Gau inspector to assist him. After receiving the information through the State Police I immediately called up all the Kreisleiter and made them responsible for the prevention of this action in their districts.

Q. Did you, in your Gau, burn the synagogues

A. No, I -

Q. I want to be exact. Were the synagogues burned in Hamburg? That is what I should have asked you.

A. As a result of my measures, no excesses took place during the first night, that is the night from the 9th to the 10th. There were minor, insignificant disturbances in the night from the 10th to the 11th, and in spite of my measure, one synagogue was set on fire, I assume by elements from outside.

Q. All over Germany generally, if my memory is right, there were at least seventy-five synagogues burned. In general, apart from your own Gau, is it not right that following this order of Heydrich the leadership corps co-operated with the police to see that synagogues were burned, Jews were arrested, Jewish property affected and non-jewish property left secure?

A. I know of no order and no directive which commanded the corps of political leaders, even outside the Gau Hamburg, to take part in that action. I was only informed that after the meeting of the 9th of November, Reichminister Dr. Goebbels made a request which then in practice led to excesses in individual Gaue, or in many Gaue. I also know that the chief executive of the Four-Year Plan at that time said a few days after that action at a meeting in Berlin that this measure,

[Page 88]

which he condemned in the strongest terms, was not in conformity with the intentions of the Fuehrer and his own intentions, and he mentioned the Gau Hamburg as an exception.

Q. You remember that you told me a few moments ago that this was an occurrence which only took place in individual instances. Here is the order of Heydrich, telling the police generally to get in touch with the leadership corps so that they could co-operate with the police to carry out his orders, which were, broadly, to attack the Jews and see that they did not do any harm to non-Jews while doing it. It is quite wrong, as you said a few moments ago, that this was an individual matter. The leadership corps were brought into this through the order of Heydrich, who was then Himmler's lieutenant-chief of the Secret Police, is that not so?

A. No, that is not correct. The corps of political leaders could not accept orders from Heydrich. Orders to the political leaders could be issued solely by the Gauleiter, who received his directives from the Fuehrer or from his deputy, or from the Party Chancellery.

Q. Well, do you remember what took place after that occurrence? Do you remember a meeting of the Party Court?

A. No.

Q. Let me remind you about the Party Court.. You will find that in Document 3063 at Pages 8I to 88 of the same document book.

A. Yes, I have found the page.

Q. You have found the page. Page 81. A meeting of the Supreme Party Court of the Party, and it begins with a report about the events and judicial proceedings in connection with the anti-Semitic demonstrations of 9th November, 1938. Immediately following is "Enclosure 2" which reads:

"It was probably understood by all the Party leaders present from the oral instructions of the Reich propaganda director, that the Party should not appear outwardly as the originator of the demonstrations, but in reality should organize and execute them. Instructions in this sense were telephoned immediately (thus a considerable time before transmission of the first teletype) to the bureaux of their districts (Gaue) by a large part of the Party members present."
And if you will look on to the next paragraph but one:
"At the end of November, 1938, the Chief Party Court, through reports from several Gau Courts, heard that these demonstrations of 9th November, 1938, had gone as far as plundering and killing of Jews to considerable extent, and that they had already been the object of investigation by the police and the State Prosecutor."
And then after that it says
"The deputy of the Fuehrer agreed with the interpretation of the Chief Party Court, that known transgression in any case should be investigated under the jurisdiction of the Party:

1. Because of the obvious connection between the events to be judged and the instructions which the Reich propaganda director, Party member Dr. Goebbels, gave in the town hall at the social evening. Without investigation and evaluation of this connection a just judgment did not appear possible. This investigation, however, could not be left to innumerable State Courts."

And then paragraph 2 says that matters which concerned the vital interests of the Party should also receive Party clarification first and that the Fuehrer should be asked to cancel the proceedings in the State Court. Now if you look on - I do not want to take too much time -- you will see that there were then sixteen cases which came up before the Supreme Party Court, and the first three cases are matters - oh, yes, there is just one point I should have drawn attention to. just before you come to the first case:

[Page 89]

"Gauleiter and Gruppenleiter of the branches served as jurors at the trials and decisions. The decisions which, for reasons to be discussed later, contain in part only the statements of the facts, are attached."
The first three cases, which come from Rheinhausen, Niederwerren, and Linz, are concerned with theft and rape. They are allowed to go on to the State Courts. The next thirteen, which come from all over Germany, very different places like Heilsberg, Dessau, Lesum, Bremen, Neidenburg, Eberstadt, Luenen, Aschaffenburg, Dresden, Munich, and all over Germany are thirteen cases of murdering Jews. Two of the perpetrators get the very mild sentence of a warning and not being able to hold public office because of disciplinary violation, and as to the remaining eleven, the proceedings against them are suspended.

Now, I just want you to look at 102. If you will look at No. 6; that is, the the shooting of a Jewish couple called Goldberg; No. 7, the shooting of the Jew Rosenbaum and the Jewess Zwienicki; No. 10, shooting the Jewess Susanne Stern; and there is No. 5. No. 5 is the shooting of the 16-year-old Jew Herbert Stein.

Now, you say that you did not deal with any of these situations yourself, is that so?

A. I explained clearly that I gave orders to the contrary in my Gau.

Q. Yes. I asked you, as I said at the beginning - I want you to tell the Tribunal about it generally - how it is that the Court of your Party, which is supposed to deal with the discipline and decency of its members, passed over thirteen cases of murder with two suspensions from public office for three years, and the remaining eleven cases with all action suspended. Do you not think that that was a disgraceful way to deal with murder?

A. May I say first that among the thirteen cases which are quoted here there is only one political leader.

Q. Well, you are not right, you know. Cases 9 and 10 involve Ortsgruppenleiter; case 11 involves a Blockleiter. It is true that cases 2, to 8, 12, and 15 involve people with various ranks in the SA, and cases 11, 14 and 16 involve cases with people in the ranks of the SS. But actually I think you will find that cases 9, 10, and 11 involve the political leadership. But that is not my point, witness. My point is this.

Here are these members of the Party brought up before the Court of the Party, and the Court of the Party is condoning and conniving at murder. Thai is my point, and I want you to give your explanation as to why you condone and connive at murder.

A. I saw this document, which has just been submitted to me, for the first time only after I was brought here to the Palace of Justice as a witness. In view of my attitude toward the Jewish question and the Jewish measures, I did not under any circumstances approve such handling of cases as is mentioned here. I would never have approved of it, if I had known about it.

Q. But, witness, if that is your personal view, then let us leave your personal view for the moment. The Tribunal are considering the leadership corps of the Party. Here is the highest Court of the Party. If the highest Court of the Party. gives decisions of that kind of which you intensely disapprove, does it not show that the highest Court of the Party was rotten to its foundations?

A. The highest Court of the Party should have adopted a strong attitude toward the Fuehrer. It apparently neglected to call to account the creator of the whole action, the instigator of all these excesses.

Q. I am not going to take it in complete detail; but I just want you to look at one paragraph of the explanation which the Party Court gives. The full explanation is there, on Page 87.

My Lord, that is the second paragraph.

Will you turn to that? I am sure where that will be. It will be a few pages on; 112, I think, witness. I just want you to try to help us on this point.Have

[Page 90]

you got a paragraph that begins, "Also in such cases as when Jews were killed without an order (enclosures 13, 14, and 15) or contrary to orders (enclosures 8 and 9) . . . "? Now, mark the numbers -

A. No, I have not found that paragraph.

Q. Would you try at Page 113? The sergeant will help you.

A. Yes.

Q. Do you see, "Also in such cases" - it begins - "as when Jews were killed without an order (enclosures 13, 14, 15) or contrary to orders (enclosures 8 and 9), ignoble motives could not be determined. At heart the men were convinced that they had done a service to their Fuehrer and to the Party. Therefore, exclusion from the Party did not take place. The final aim of the proceedings and also the yardstick for critical examination must be, according to the policy of the Supreme Court, on the one hand, to protect those Party comrades who, impelled by their decent National Socialist attitude and initiative, had overshot their mark, and, on the other hand, to draw a dividing line between the Party and these elements who for personal reasons basely misused the Party's national liberation battle against Jewry . . . " - do you say that it is decent National Socialist attitude and initiative to murder Jewesses and children of sixteen?

A. My opinion in these matters is quite clear. I objected to the action, and I do not at all approve the viewpoint of the Party Court. I am convinced that the great majority of the Party members are of the same opinion.

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