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-Sixth Day: Tuesday, 6th August, 1946
(Part 4 of 10)

[MR. ELWYN JONES continues his cross examination of Paul Hauser]

[Page 312]

Q. I want you to turn to another document which might assist you in this matter. D-953, which will be Exhibit GB 566 - I beg your pardon - GB 565. This is an affidavit by David Wajnapel.
"A few weeks after the entry of the German troops into Radom, police anal SS authorities arrived. Conditions became immediately worse. The house in the Zeromskist where their headquarters were became a menace to the entire population. People who were walking in this street were dragged into the gateway and ill-treated by merciless beatings and by the staging of sadistic games. All SS officers, as well as the men, took part in this. Being a physician, I often had the opportunity to give medical help to seriously inured victims of the SS.

After a short time the SS uniform became a menace to the population. I myself was beaten up until I bled by four SS men in the street in spite of my doctor's armlet. Later on two ghettoes were established in Radom. In August, 1942, the so-called 'deportation' took place. The ghettoes were surrounded by many SS units who occupied all the street exits. People were driven out to the streets and those who ran were fired at. Sick people at home or in hospitals were shot on the spot, among others also the sick people who were in the hospital where I was working as a doctor. The total number of people killed amounted to about 4,000. About 3,000 people were spared and the rest - about 20,000 people - were sent to Treblinka. The whole action was directed and executed by the SS. I myself saw that the SS staff were on the spot forming groups and issuing orders. In the streets and in the houses SS men ill-treated and killed people without waiting for orders. After the 'deportation,' the remaining group of people were massed in a few narrow lanes and we came under the exclusive rule of the SS and became the private property of the SS who used to hire us out for payment to various firms. I know that these payments were credited to a special SS account at the Radom Bank Emisyjny. We were visited by SS men only. Executions carried out by the SS in the ghetto itself were a frequent occurrence. On 14th January, 1943, another 'deportation' to Treblinka took place. On 21st March, 1943, there took place throughout the whole district the so-called action against the intelligentsia, which action, as I know, was decided upon in an SS and Police Leaders' meeting in Radom. In Radom alone about 200 people were shot at that time; among others, my parents, my brother and

[Page 313]

his nine-months-old child met their deaths. On 9th November of the same year all Jewish children up to 12 years of age as well as the old and sick were gathered from Radom and from camps situated near Radom and shot in the Biala Street in Radom. Both SS officers and other ranks participated in this. From March, 1943, I stayed 18 months in Blizyn Camp. The camp was entirely under the SS and the Radom Police Chief's control. Its commandant was Untersturmfuehrer Paul Nell. The guards were composed of SS privates and N.C.O.s. The foremen were Waffen SS men who had been wounded at the front. Both behaved in a inhuman manner by beating and ill-treating us. Shootings of people were frequent occurrences. Originally sentences were passed by the SS and Police Fuehrer, later on by the camp commandant. The SS other ranks knew very well about the bloody deeds which were committed by the SS in Poland, in particular they told me personally about mass murders of Jews in Maidanek (in November, 1943). This fact was no secret. It was common knowledge among the civil population as well as among the lowest-ranking SS men. When the camp was taken over by the Maidanek concentration camp, new guards were sent to our camp, but there was no difference between them and the previous ones. In July, 1944, the whole camp, including myself, was sent to Auschwitz Camp, which could be entered only by SS men. The conditions of this camp are well known. I escaped during the evacuation of this camp into Germany. On the way, the SS escort machine gunned exhausted prisoners and later on the rest of the marching column. Several hundred people were killed at that time."
Now, witness, throughout that affidavit the participation of the SS troops is underlined. Do you deny the SS participated in the murders of Jewish people in view of affidavits like that?

A. The police and SS were specifically mentioned in this document and there is no Waffen SS in those places where the police worked with the SD. I have emphasized several times in connection with the camps which have been named that they had nothing in common with the SS except, most unfortunately, the name.

Of all the examples cited by the prosecution's attorney I must admit only that the "Prinz Eugen" and mounted units are members of the Waffen SS. Beyond that, I cannot tell anything on the basis of my own experiences.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you read the last paragraph to him?

MR. ELWYN JONES: The last paragraph may help you on this.

"I emphasize that during the few years of war, being a Jew and a doctor, I met a great number of SS men from the Waffen SS as well as other formations and of various ranks, but I must state that I noticed no difference between them as far as their inhuman attitude towards the civilian population was concerned."

Q. The Waffen SS was always the cause for any of these actions of the executive against the local population. That was its function, in the whole certainly -

A. No, the Waffen SS was incorporated into the Army.

Q. Did you ever, on this particular point, see Hitler's directive about the future of the SS?

A. I did not understand your question.

Q. Did you ever see Hitler's directive?

A. I am not familiar with the directives by Hitler regarding the future of the SS.

Q. In that directive which is, I think, familiar to the Tribunal - it is Document D-665, Exhibit GB 280 - Hitler points out that the function of the Waffen SS is to be the spearhead of Nazism to be used as an agent for effective action against

[Page 314]

resistance at home and against opposition in foreign countries. Did you not see those instructions of Hitler's on the role of the Waffen SS?

A. Is that perhaps a directive sent by Hitler to the military offices dealing with the future of the Waffen SS after the war?

Q. That was a directive of 1941 which was distributed to regimental units and was made available to the Waffen SS. I have not got the document available at the moment. Do you say you never heard of that?

A. No, I know of only one order, which was an oral one, and which contained the measures and intentions in regard to the organization after the war; a directive which went only to the various Army units.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps this would be a convenient time to break off.

(A short recess was taken.)

MR. ELWYN JONES: If your Lordship pleases, I want to make a slight correction of the exact numbers of these documents.

Document D-953 was put in twice as Exhibit GB 564 and 565. D- 953 will be 564 and the next document - D-955 - will be Exhibit GB 565.

THE PRESIDENT: The last document you mentioned will be what - 564, 565? You mentioned some other document after that.

MR. ELWYN JONES: The next document, D-955, which I am just putting in, will be Exhibit GB 565. This is a final affidavit from a Jewish merchant, Mojzesz Goldberg, and it reads:

"On 23rd June, 1941, I was called up into the Soviet Army in Lemberg, In the middle of July I was taken prisoner by the Germans. At a locality five kilometres from Podwoloczysk the SS companies sought the Jews out of the whole mass of prisoners and shot them on the spot. I remained alive as they did not recognize me as a Jew. I stress the fact that it was the Waffen SS who did this.

After my captivity was ended, I lived in Radom and worked from June, 1942, to July, 1944, for the Waffen SS at three places: the SS Veterinary Reinforcement Detachment, Koscinski Street, the Garrison Administration of the Waffen SS, Planty 11, and the Building Directorate of the Waffen SS, Slowacki Street 27. As I worked so long for the SS, I know the names and faces of all the officers and N.C.O.s of the above named detachments of the Waffen SS very well. At the head of the SS Veterinary Reinforcement Detachment were Sturmbannfuehrer Dr. Held and Hauptsturmfuehrer Schreiner; at the head of the garrison administration there was Obersturmfuehrer Grabau (at present in Dachau Camp) and at the head of the Building directorate, Oberscharfuehrer Seiler. All the persons mentioned took a direct part, together with their companies; in carrying out the expulsions in Radom on 5th, 16th, and 17th August, 1942, during which some thousands of people were shot on the spot. I know that the SS Veterinary Reinforcement companies went into the provincial towns to carry out the 'expulsions' of the Jews. I heard individual soldiers boasting about the number of Jews they had killed. I know from their own stories that these same companies participated in the actions against Polish partisans and also set the surrounding Polish villages on fire."


Q. Witness, do you still say that the Waffen SS had no part in the atrocities that were committed in Poland?

A. It is my impression that this document is not credible. How could units of veterinary companies participate in such measures? I cannot say any more than that because I do not know the particular units.

Q. It is a document by a man who worked for two years for the Waffen SS, who knew them personally, who spoke to them. He is a man of thirty-six years who suffered at their hands and he has mentioned in detail whatever the Waffen

[Page 315]

SS units are concerned with. Do you still say that the Waffen SS had no part in these matters?

A. These are units in the rear, which apparently did not belong to the Waffen SS. I cannot say more than that.


Q. Do you know the names of any of the officers who are mentioned in this letter?

A. No.

Q. Have you ever been in Radom?

A. No.

Q. Do you know whether there were Waffen SS at any of these places named in this affidavit?

A. I did not understand, your Lordship.

Q. Do you know whether there were Waffen SS headquarters of units at any of the places named in that affidavit?

A. The units which were mentioned cannot, to my knowledge, have been stationed there; nor any headquarters, either.

Q. Well, the person making the affidavit states the units which were quartered at particular places in Radom and what I was asking was, whether you knew what units were stationed at those places?

A. No, that I cannot say.


Q. Witness, you have said that the Waffen SS units respected International Law and committed no atrocities in the field.

With your permission, my Lord, I am now proposing to hand in a summary of the charges submitted to the United Nations War Crimes Commission by the National Commissions of the various countries which suffered at the hands of the Waffen SS. In addition to this summary, I can hand in certified true copies of the charges themselves which set out the facts of the incidents that are complained of. I submit that such charges and such summaries have probative value. It is true that the charges themselves have not yet resulted in trials and that the culprits named have not themselves been tried. The reasons for that are manifold, but I do submit that these summaries of charges have probative value and I invite the Court's ruling with regard to them.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps you can tell us a little bit more about the nature of the documents you are seeking, to put in evidence?

MR. ELWYN JONES: The documents I am seeking to put in evidence set out, under the names of the various Waffen SS divisions, the unit involved, the date of the commission of the offence complained of, the place, the nature of the incident itself, and the source of the information. They are from the files of the United Nations War Crimes Commission, or a SHAEF Court of Inquiry which put the matter up to the United Nations War Crimes Commission.

THE PRESIDENT: As to the evidence, it is only a reference. It does not contain the evidence or summary of the evidence, does it?

MR. ELWYN JONES: It contains the summary of the evidence. The certified charges which I shall hand in to the Tribunal contain much fuller details than the summary itself I intend to use on the witness. There is no objection to your Lordship's looking at one of them.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Elwyn Jones, are you submitting the reports under Article 21 in any way?

MR. ELWYN JONES: That is my submission, my Lord. They are official reports submitted by the national authorities to the United Nations War Crimes

[Page 316]

Commission and they embody evidence of witnesses and are reduced into summary reports formed as charges.

If your Lordship would care to look at one of the charges as an illustration without prejudice to the question whether it would admit the document or not, it might be helpful. If your Lordship pleases, my learned friend Sir David Maxwell Fyfe is in a position to list the arrangement of the United Nations War Crimes Commission with regard to these charges and it might be helpful if Sir David would indicate the machinery to the Tribunal.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, one might commence with Article 21 that says: "It - the Tribunal - shall also take judicial notice of official governmental documents and reports of the United Nations, including the acts and documents of the committees set up in the various Allied countries for the investigation of war crimes." My Lord, the procedure which was set up was that the United Nations War Crimes Commission under the chairmanship first of Lord Finley, and then of Lord Reiter, would gather the material, examine it, and send it back to the respective prosecuting nations. The procedure was that the National Office sent a report to the United Nations War. Crimes Commission who then considered it and sent it back to the authority in the various countries that dealt with the prosecution of the crimes. My Lord, what is being put forward at the moment is a synopsis of the report sent by various countries to the United Nations War Crimes Commission, in the form of the suggested charges that should be brought and a summary of the supporting evidence. These are available and authenticated, and the document which we should like to use, for the convenience of the Tribunal, is a synopsis of these charges, showing the unit, the date, the place, the incident, and the source, including the United Nations War Crimes Commission's files.

THE PRESIDENT: But, Sir David, as I understand what you said, these documents, of which this is a summary, world come forward to the United Nations War Crimes Commission for some action by them, for some form of approval, after which they would send them back to the countries concerned and they would be sent to a Tribunal for the purpose of trying those individuals whom the United Nations War Crimes Commission approved the trial of: This is a summary of charges which has not been approved by the United Nations War Crimes Commission.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: They may or may not. It is the earlier stage of a report of the United Nations War Crimes Commission. Each of the United Nations had its National Office for investigating and reporting on war crimes. That was an essential step which the National Office had, first of all, to take - to collect the evidence, put forward the charge, and put forward that report to the United Nations War Crimes Commission. It then came back with an approval or a comment of the United Nations War Crimes Commission to the prosecuting authority of the various countries. If, my Lord, simply for the sake of clarification, I can give my own example when I was in charge of this: The British National Office was in charge of Sir Thomas Barnes, the Treasury Solicitor, who collected the reports from the various committees of inquiry. He sent these forward to the United Nations War Crimes Commission. They made their comment. It then came back to me and I decided whether there would be a prosecution or not. My Lord, I am putting this forward as an authenticated report of the United Nations. It is the committee which each country established in order to collect the evidence and to forward that evidence to the United Nations body. My Lord, what we are now submitting is the fact that each of the United Nations, by an authoritative committee, collected the evidence, summarised the evidence, and put it forward, which in its form, does ipso facto give it probative value.

[Page 317]

THE PRESIDENT: You say, do you not, that it falls exactly within the words of the 3rd last line of Article 21. It says, in the following words, "documents of the committee set up in various Allied countries for investigation of war crimes"?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: That is so, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to look at the document and see just exactly what is its make-up. Do you have an original document?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, this is one which is certified by Colonel Leningham, the Secretary-General of the United Nations War Crimes Commission.

My Lord, here is one which has been accepted by the United Nations War Crimes Commission, as many of them have.

THE PRESIDENT: We have looked at the document. Now, before the Tribunal adjourns for the purpose of considering this matter, they would hear anything further you wish to say, Sir David.

[ Previous | Index Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.