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 Ninety-Third Day: Friday, 2nd August, 1946
(Part 6 of 10)

[DR. GAWLIK continues his direct examination of Hans Roessner]

[Page 219]

Q. On Page 51 of the Trial Brief it says, referring to Document 071-PS:
"In connection with the planned confiscation of scientific, religious and art archives, an agreement was reached between Rosenberg and Heydrich on the basis of which the SD and Rosenberg were to co-operate closely in the confiscation of public and private collections."
Was there any such close co-operation between the SD and the staff of the defendant Rosenberg, his agencies or any of his deputies?

A. No. In this document we are again confronted by the customary mistake concerning the Security Police and the SD. Such co-operation, if it existed, would have had to be known to me, since Group IIIC would have been competent for it.

DR. GAWLIK: Mr. President, I now come to my last point. Shall I begin it?

THE PRESIDENT: Have you any questions to ask upon it? It looks as if you had, so perhaps we had better adjourn.

DR. GAWLIK: There are 34 questions.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)




Q. I come now to my last point, the persecution of the Church, Trial Brief, Paragraph VII b. I should like to call the attention of the Tribunal to the fact that the SD is charged with its activities only until the 12th of May, 1941. Page 60 of the English text of the Trial Brief. My taking of testimony limits itself to the time since the creation of the RSHA in 1939 up to 12th May, 1941.

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. Which does that mean, May, 1940, or May, 1941?

DR. GAWLIK: The 12th of May, 1941, Page 64, the last section but one of the Trial Brief, where it states that the political treatment of the Church was divided between the Gestapo and the SD and from that point on was taken over entirely by the Gestapo.


Q. Did Division IIIC handle Church questions?

A. No.

Q. Did any other office in Division III handle Church questions?

A. No. Since the foundation of Amt III, no Church matters were handled in that office at all.

Q. What was handled in Amt III?

A. In Amt III, Group IIIC, only general religious matters were handled in various spheres of life.

Q. In what manner were the matters regarding religious life handled?

A. The principles of the handling were the same as for any other sphere of life. It was the task of Amt III to observe all the religious wishes, cares, proposals and movements of the German population and the influence of the German religious movements and the Christian creeds on the opinion, spirit and attitude of the German people in the Reich and to report on them.

Q. The prosecution has stated that the persecution of the Churches was one of the fundamental purposes of the SD and Sicherheitspolizei.

[Page 220]

That is Page 1999 of the English transcript.

Did the SD have this basic purpose in common with the Security Police?

A. To my knowledge as responsible head of a department, no such common purpose existed.

Q. Did the SD on its own initiative have and realize any such programme?

A. No. That would have been against all the principles of our work.

Q. Did the SD, Amt III, practically engage in the persecution of the Churches?

A. No.

Q. Was the SD, Amt III, in any way involved by the Gestapo in an alleged persecution of the Church?

A. No. Between the Gestapo and Amt III there was a complete separation of material, personnel, and organization.

Q. Was the SD involved in the persecution of the Church by any other office of the Party and State?

A. No. The SD worked quite independently in this sphere. No offices of the Party or of the State were entitled to give direct assignments to the SD.

Q. Were the regular and honorary members of the SD under control in the matter of their attitude toward the Church, and induced to leave the Church by means of threats?

A. No. I know nothing about that, and it would also have been contrary to our fundamental conceptions. Until the end, a large number of regular and honorary officials were and remained members of the Christian Churches. I might mention that the head of Amt III himself left the Protestant Church as late as 1942.

Q. Did the SD, Amt III, undertake any secret proceedings in the fight against the Church? This question is relevant to Page 58 of the Trial Brief.

A. Neither in this sphere nor in any other sphere of activity of Amt III were there any concealed aims or secret proceedings. As head of a department, I would have had to know of them.

Q. I submit to you prosecution Document PS-1815. Will you look at Page 59 of this, please?

A. May I ask ... the document does not go up to Page 59; is it Page 29 or 39?

Q. It must be 29 or 39.

A. I have both pages here.

Q. Will you look at Page 1?

A. I have Page 1 here.

Q. There it says that the former workers should be detailed to the Gestapo for the time being.

Was this order given on the ground that organization, tasks, aims and activities in the sphere of Church affairs were the same in Amt III of the SD and Amt IV of the Gestapo?

A. This order was given for an entirely different reason. Since Amt III and Amt IV were entirely different offices, the transfer of the former SD employees to Amt IV would have taken too long, and for that reason this planned transfer was undertaken in the form of an order so as to save time for the work.

Q. Will you now comment on Page 29 of the prosecution document? That is Number 18. Will you look at the first two sentences. Can it not be seen from that that the SD handled Church matters in collaboration with the State Police and the Criminal Police?

A. The document before me shows that SD, Amt III, did not at all participate in this connection. At the time of this conversation in 1942, Amt III, according to the order of separation which was previously mentioned, was not allowed, on principle, to handle Church matters.

[Page 221]

Q. Will you now look at Page 1 and Page 2. On the basis of these two pages, the prosecution has suggested - I refer to Page 58 of the Trial Brief - that the handling of Church matters had until then been divided between the Gestapo and the SD, and that the SD files on Church opposition were then to be transferred to the Gestapo, but the SD was to retain material concerning Church influence on public life. Will you make a statement on this?

A. I have said that SD, Amt III, ever since its foundation, had never handled Church matters. The old material that was to be given on the basis of this order to Amt IV was general informational material which was not suitable for the executive police tasks assigned to Amt IV. In general, the order submitted to me was formulated by Amt IV and consequently took into consideration the point of view of Amt IV.

Q. Now will you look again at Page 19, please, where it says, in summarising, that in Church matters the struggle against opposition and the work in everyday life must go hand in hand. Does this not indicate a collaboration of the SD and State Police with the common aim of a struggle against the Church?

A. No, because Amt IV, to my knowledge, never had the fundamental task of a struggle against the Church. What is formulated here, in this page, is the personal desire of an inspector, who had no factual right to give orders either to the Gestapo or to the SD.

Q. Now look at Page 24. Especially note Paragraphs r and 4, where it says,

"For the reasons stated, I request the 'Information service on opponents ' immediately to extend and intensify work in the field of Church policy."
Also note the half-sentence immediately afterwards,
" ... as soon as informational connections have been made in this manner."
Does it not seem from that that the SD had an "Information service on opponents" in the sphere of the Church?

A. No. It indicates exactly the opposite. The decree in front of me is dated August, 1941, that is to say, after the order separating the two services. If the SD, on the basis of this order of separation, had transferred to Amt IV its information service apparatus as "Information service on opponents," then this decree of August, 1941, need not have given the order finally to begin the establishment of an information service in Amt IV. In general, the order was given to a large number of State Police offices and it cannot be simply a matter of one local case.

Q. I refer you now to Page 27, which discusses the transfer of Amt "V" men (agents) to the Gestapo, and a common leadership for these Amt "V" men. What have you to say as to this order of the inspector in Dusseldorf?

A. I must first again point out that this can be only a personal desire of the inspector, since he had no factual power to give orders. Practically, such a desire could never have been realised because, owing to the variety of the tasks, it was completely impossible to provide common confidential agents between Amt III and Amt IV with practical assignments on specific questions. Each agent of the SD would have refused to undertake police tasks as well.

Q. On the basis of your activity, what can you say on the scope of the files which, as a result of the separation order of 12th May, 1941, were handed over to the Gestapo by the SD.

A. That will have varied considerably according to the way in which cases were handled in the various offices. Divisions with good information services would have had correspondingly more material which would then have been given to the State Police.

Q. On the basis of your knowledge, were the documents handed over by the SD of any use for the police tasks of the State Police against individuals?

A. No, they certainly were not, as the Information Service's attitude toward the problems of Church and creeds on the part of the SD was entirely different. Particularly, it was never organized on the basis of individual cases.

[Page 222]

Q. According to your knowledge, were the files that were then handed over actually worked on by the State Police?

A. I cannot make any statement in detail on this, but for the reasons I have just given, a large part of the material was never utilised any further, as it was completely useless for police tasks.

Q. Did Amt III of the SD have the fundamental task and aim of persecuting the Churches, or preparing a general persecution of the Church, and did it work at all for the persecution of the Church? That is to say, in the period between 1939 and the order of separation of 12th May, 1941?

A. No, Amt III never did at any time receive such a practical assignment, nor did it ever set itself such a goal.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Gawlik, you remember that you told us before the adjournment that you had come to your last point.

DR. GAWLIK: Yes. I have only about six questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Then you can compress them into a short time.


Q. Did Amt III regularly inform leading offices of the Party and the State on the questions pertaining to religious matters, with a view to a common persecution of the Church?

A. No, the reports about religious matters in everyday life, in the last period, came in very slowly and incompletely because the department in Amt III had for years only one man to work on these matters.

Q. What was the aim of the SD in informing other offices about these matters?

A. Amt III in addition to its ordinary reports also pointed out in public reports that according to its opinion it was not a matter of a struggle for political power with the Church but, in fact, of the vital questions of religion affecting the German people, in conjunction with other cultural questions.

Q. Did the reports of the SD lead to the preparation or institution of measures g inimical to the Church?

A. No. On the basis of Amt III's reports, on several occasions, strong criticism was directed against individual measures against the Church on the part of individuals or particular offices.

DR. GAWLIK: I have no further questions to ask.



Q. Witness, you said that you were mobilised in the SD in 1940?

A. I did not say that I was called up but that I was detailed to the Reichssicherheitshauptamt on emergency duty.

Q. You forgot to state that you were already a member of the SD before that?

A. I was asked by defence counsel, as far as I know, since when I had been in the SD.

Q. Were you a member of the SD before 1940?

A. I did not understand the question exactly.

Q. Were you a member of the SD before 1940?

A. Yes. From 1934.

Q. You forgot that, did you not?

A. Not as far as I know. Besides, I said it all in detail before the Commission.

Q. Is it a fact, witness, that before the seizure of power by the Nazi Party the SD was a secret and illegal organization?

A. May I ask again? Did you say before the seizure of power?

Q. Yes, before the seizure of power.

A. I cannot say anything about that, as I was not a member of the SD.

[Page 223]

Q. After the seizure of power, was the SD utilised by the Party? And on the other hand by the State, along with the Gestapo, in order to fight opposition groups?

A. As far as I know, the SD always had an entirely different information service task from that of the Gestapo.

Q. During the war, in the occupied territories, did the SD appear at the same time as the Sipo (Security Police) within the Einsatzkommandos (Operational detachments)?

A. I can unfortunately give no testimony about the organization and activity of the Einsatzkommandos, as I was never in occupied territory as a member of the SD.

Q. Do you know Streckenbach?

A. Yes.

Q. What were his functions?

A. As far as I know, he was for some years head of Amt 1.

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