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 7 of 10)

[M. MONNERAY continues his cross examination of Hans Roessner]

[Page 223]

Q. And Amt No. 1 was in charge of organisational questions as much for the Sipo as for the SD, is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. Therefore, he should know sufficiently the respective functions of the Sipo and the SD?

A. May I ask again who knew the functions exactly?

Q. Witness, the question was quite clear. I was referring to Streckenbach.

A. No, one cannot assume that, since under him the duties and organisational problems were worked on entirely separately, even in his Amt I. I cannot judge to what extent Streckenbach knew and supervised the tasks of the SD.

Q. I should like to read to you Document F-984. It is an appeal by Streckenbach, published in the bulletin of the chief of the SD and Sipo.

THE PRESIDENT: Has this already been offered in evidence or not?

M. MONNERAY: This document will be Exhibit RF 1540. It has not yet been offered in evidence, Mr. President.It is an appeal by Streckenbach to all members of the Sipo and the SD, dated the 7th of September, 1942. Extracts from this appeal read as follows:

"Even before the seizure of power, the SD had done its share in contributing to the success of the National Socialist revolution.After the seizure of power the Sipo and SD assumed the responsibility for the internal security of our Reich and opened up the way for the forceful realization of National Socialism in the face of all opposition.

Since the beginning of the war our Einsatzkommandos are everywhere where you find the German Army and are carrying on, each in its own sector, the fight against the enemies of the Reich and of the people."

Farther on, this appeal requests material and information about the activities of the Sipo and the SD. "For instance, in particular, articles, reports or pictures are to be sent in on the following subjects: the history of the SD, its inception, the fight for its acknowledgement as the sole information agency of the SS and later on of the Party. Difficulties and experiences when first setting up offices, development of the SD from its beginning (illegal camouflage) until its full expansion after the seizure of power, particularly important instances of its activity in supplying information before and after the seizure of power (illegal mission), etc." And farther on, "Common action of the Gestapo and, of the SD for the destruction of antagonistic groups."


Q. Witness, this appeal by Streckenbach is contrary to your declarations, is it not?

[Page 224]

A. No, because there is no word in this appeal about the actual tasks of Amt III of Inland SD. Besides, the excerpt submitted to me does not indicate who actually drafted this appeal and formulated it. The name "Streckenbach" only means that he had signed it.

Amt III can hardly have participated in it, because otherwise the tasks of this Amt III would have had to be described more or less accurately in this appeal.

Q. What were the offices of the SD apart from Amt III?

A. For the Inland SD there was only Amt III.

Q. Witness, I would be grateful to you if you would answer my question.

A. I thought I had just answered your question, Mr. Prosecutor.

Q. I asked you what the offices of the SD were, and not what the offices of the Inland SD were.

A. Under the general concept of SD, which had nothing to do with the concept of "Inland SD," there were also Amt VI and Amt VII.

Q. What were the functions of Amt VI?

A. That was the Foreign Information Service.

Q. When one speaks of the struggle against opposition groups, in conjunction with the Gestapo, you no doubt think it means a struggle in foreign countries, do you not?

A. That cannot be deduced in detail from the document which I have before me.

Q. Again you are not answering my question, witness. Can you imagine the Gestapo fighting against antagonistic groups situated outside the Reich?

A. No. To my knowledge the Gestapo had a police task within the frontiers of the Reich.

Q. Good. So when this appeal mentions a fight carried out against opposition groups and led by the SD on the one hand and the Gestapo on the other hand and jointly, reference is really being made to a fight which is going on inside the country, is that right?

A. Yes, although nothing is said there about the task of the Inland SD.

Q. You told us several times, witness, that the duties of the Inland SD, and no doubt with greater reason those of the SD outside the Reich, were very different from the task of the Gestapo and that of the police in general, is that not so?

A. I have said absolutely nothing today about the "foreign" division of the SD (SD Ausland), except in mentioning the existence of Amt VI.

Q. Please, witness, can you answer for the Inland SD?

A. Yes.

Q. According to you, the police were imbued with a "police spirit"?

A. May I ask the Prosecutor what he means by this statement?

Q. As opposed to the spirit of the SD, which was objective, is that right?

A. I cannot say with what spirit the police were imbued, because I was never a member of the police.

Q. But you told us the SD had an objective, impartial, scientific spirit. That is right, is it not?

A. I never said a scientific spirit, but always an objective, critical spirit, and I would like to stress this formulation expressly.

Q. That was also the spirit of the police?

A. I cannot judge that, as I said, I never belonged to the police.

THE PRESIDENT: Put the question again, would you, M. Monneray.


Q. This impartial and objective spirit was also the spirit of the police?

A. I cannot state an opinion on this, as I was never a member of the police, but only of the Inland SD, Amt III.

[Page 225]

Q. Let us be clear about this, witness. You gave us long explanations as to the differences between the SD and the police, did you not? If you can give us evidence about this difference, you must at least know what the police is.

A. I have for certain spheres explained the difference between the SD tasks and the police tasks, but I am not in a position to define all the duties of the police, because I do not know them. I spoke only of the principles of the work of Amt III and of concrete examples that I know from the departments in which I worked.

Q. Is it correct to say, witness, that the young candidates who had to, or wished to, enter the SD received exactly the same training that the young candidates did who wished to enter the Gestapo or the Kripo?

A. The education of candidates for the SD was not known to me in detail. I know only that the head of Amt III repeatedly, from year to year, raised positive objections to a certain planned similarity in the form of training. How far his objections achieved a practical result, I cannot say from my own knowledge.

Q. Well, I shall put to you a paper which will improve your knowledge of matters with which you were always concerned. It is a circular published in the official bulletin of the chief of the Sipo and the SD, dated the 18th May, 1940, which states that young candidates, young students of the police and SD, in spite of its character, which was so objective and impartial, would have to be attached for a period of four months to the Criminal Police: for three months to the Gestapo and three months to the SD. You were unaware of this, were you not?

A. No.

Q. Now you have told us also that the SD had very little to do with the official policy of the personnel and the Nazi Party. Is that right, witness? Perhaps you now recall the fact that the political leaders of the Party had to give the German Government their opinion of the political outlook of candidates for Government posts. You know that, do you not?

A. May I ask the Prosecutor to repeat his question? I did not quite follow it.

Q. When it was a question of promoting a civil servant of a certain grade, or of appointing a civil servant, the political leader, the Gauleiter or the Kreisleiter, for, instance, would have to furnish to the Government a sort of political appreciation of the sound outlook of the candidate, is that right?

A. Yes, I said this morning that this was the duty of the Hoheitstrager of the Party.

Q. And it was the chief who had to supply the political appraisal?

A. No.

Q. Very well. I shall read to the witness an extract of Document F-989, which becomes Exhibit RF 1541 (Page 2 of the extract). It is a circular of the Chancellery of the National Socialist Party concerning political reports supplied by political leaders. First of all, this political report is defined as follows. It is an opinion of the political and ideological point of view and the moral attitude, and of competence of the candidate.

"It has no value except if it reflects the moral and political outlook of the candidate."
And afterwards there is a short paragraph saying who will have to supply this opinion:
"The people who are competent to give this opinion are the political chiefs of the technical office of the SD and the SS. Political information can be given by all offices of the Party and particularly by the SD offices."
That is not right, is it?

A. I said clearly this morning that the SD could give information but never political judgements, and that the SD itself put special value on giving as complete a personal picture as possible in 'this information which was supplied along with other

[Page 226]

reports. In the extract which is before me, moreover, there is no mention that I can see of personal information but only of information on the general situation of which I spoke this morning.

Q. In this document there is no mention of the political appreciation as a useful judgement of the political and ideological attitude?

A. Not in this document, no. It only mentions generally situation reports.

Q. Very well.

M. MONNERAY: I would ask that the witness be shown the original letter in a little while.

I continue.

Q. There was close collaboration between the SD and the Party, was there not?

A. One cannot in any way speak of close co-operation. The relations between the SD and the Party, specially between Amt III and the Party Chancellery, were to a great extent strained to the utmost in the last years. I would be very glad to illustrate this with concrete examples.

Q. I would like to read you another extract from the same circular, dated 21st August, 1943. It says:

A. That is the same extract as I have already had before me.

Q. "The SD is directed by the RSHA to keep the leaders concerned currently informed as to the political events which take place in their sector and further the attention of the political chiefs must be directed constantly to particularly urgent affairs in order to enable them to undertake the necessary political steps." Is that right?

A. Here, unfortunately, theory and practice are completely at variance. Amt III would, contrary to the usual practice, have been very glad in many cases to be heard by the Hoheitstrager of the Party so that all the critical material could have been submitted. But, in many cases, this did not take place for years since the local representative of the SD was not received by the Hoheitstrager.

Q. , Very well, we will see by a few practical examples if there was a difference or an inconsistency between practice and theory. Before the Commission you were shown Document R- 142, Exhibit USA 481, concerning the control by the SD of the 1938 plebiscite, when the collaborators of the SD, who were so honourable and so disinterested, had even falsified the ballot papers. As this was a practical instance, you told us that this was an isolated instance, is that not so?

A. I would like again to repeat most emphatically before the High Tribunal that this document does not refer to the SD but to one single subsidiary office among many hundreds of branch offices of the SD. The document makes absolutely no mention of the fact that the RSHA, Amt III -

THE PRESIDENT: Do not raise your voice, please.

A. ... that Amt III in Berlin had ever given any order to make these reports.

Q. Well, I will show you another document which, no doubt, is another isolated case. This time reference is made to the city of Erfurt. It is Document D-897, already offered by the British Delegation when they were submitting evidence against the political leaders, Exhibit GB-541. This is a secret circular of 4th April, 1938, coming from the Erfurt SD office and addressed to all subsections, requesting all outside agents to send in reports urgently on all those persons who, they were sure, were going to vote "No." This document makes you smile, witness. However, if you look a little farther down you will see that the matter was a serious one, for the head of the SD, a conscientious man, as you call him, says as follows:

"The tremendous responsibility of the operational point leaders is stressed once more particularly in regard to this report, as they must be fully aware of the possible consequences to those persons named in their reports."
Witness, you call that objective reporting, do you not?

[Page 227]

A. I am sorry, Mr. Prosecutor. You spoke just now of the head of the SD, and the document is signed by a local Scharfuehrer, which is approximately the same as a private, first class, in the Army; I do not think you can speak of the chief of the SD. I am also sorry to have to state that this is certainly an exaggerated, isolated case since to my knowledge it was never one of the assignments of the "Inland SD" to supervise elections.

THE PRESIDENT: M. Monneray, I think a good many leaders have already been examined on this document.

M. MONNERAY: Yes, Mr. President.

I will also draw the attention of the Tribunal to Document D- 902, already offered in evidence as Exhibit GB 542, on the same subject.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the witness know anything about this document? - because if it is already in evidence there is no use putting it to him unless he knows something about it.

M. MONNERAY: Yes. It has already been submitted in evidence and I understand, Mr. President, that you do not wish me to interrogate on that document.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, if there is any particular reason for asking this witness questions upon this document, you may ask them, but there is no use putting a document to him if he has never seen it before, if it is already in evidence. I do not know what the document is.

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