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 7 of 10)

[COLONEL SMIRNOV continues his cross examination of Paul Hauser]

[Page 325]

Q. Quite right, it is the name of an SS Police Leader.

A. Yes, General Lueneberg was the commanding officer of the SS Police Division.

Q. That is correct. Thank you.

Mr. President, I am submitting to the Tribunal a document of the Extraordinary State Commission about the actions which were committed by the Waffen SS troops in the occupied territories against the civilian population and prisoners of war. This document was compiled on the basis of evidence already submitted by the Extraordinary State Commission. It is signed by the Secretary of the Commission, Bogoiavlensky, and is sealed. This report might aid the Tribunal in its examination of the material already submitted by the Extraordinary State Commission.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you, Colonel Smirnov, the original of this document?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: May I see it?


THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, have you put in yet the report of the Extraordinary Commission?

[Page 326]

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Yes, Mr. President, a series of reports by the Extraordinary State Commission has been submitted, reports about the Esthonian SSR, Kiev, Kharkov, etc. This document is a summary of the material which has already been submitted.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, does this document consist of extracts from the Extraordinary Commission's report?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: No, Mr. President. Strictly speaking, it is only a list of the various units engaged in different regions of the USSR. It is not an extract from the reports by the Extraordinary State Commission, but a list of separate SS detachments engaged in the different territories. Mostly these are the facts on which the conclusions in the cases of the separate units were based. They are all mentioned in the reports of the Extraordinary State Commission which we have already put in.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, I think the Tribunal appreciates that you have done this for the convenience of the Tribunal, that this document has been prepared for the convenience of the Tribunal, but the Tribunal thinks they had better refer only to the report of the Extraordinary Commission itself which has already been offered in evidence.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Yes, Mr. President. I have no further questions to put to the witness.


Q. Witness, what unit were you commanding at the time war against Russia broke out?

A. At the beginning of the campaign against Russia I was commander of the Division "Das Reich."

Q. "Das Reich." Where was that division stationed at the outbreak of the war?

A. It was in action in the middle sector of the Eastern Front.

Q. The middle sector of the Eastern Front. Was it employed in the original attack upon the Soviet Union?

A. The attack was west of the Beresina, and south of Brest- Litowsk. However, the division was not deployed there, it was brought up later.

Q. You mean it was not deployed there upon the first day?

A. No, it was brought up as a rear echelon unit.

Q. How long after the attack opened?

A. Yes, several divisions were drawn up at the penetration points, one behind the other, for the motorized divisions could advance on good roads only.

Q. I asked how long after the attack opened was your division deployed?

A. Only two to three days after the outbreak of hostilities.

Q. And are you telling the Tribunal that at that time or about that time you never heard of the order to kill Commissars?

A. I have already testified that we did not receive this order, and that the division did not act according to it. I know only that later on we received an order for the "separation" of the Commissars, and I have already stated that the troops had very little to do with this matter, since the Commissars were not recognized by them.

Q. You say you did not receive the order. What I asked you was: Did you hear of the order?

A. When the second order arrived concerning the "separation," I believe I heard that a previous order had gone out, but that the High Command had not transmitted it to man offices.

Q. This order to kill the Commissars?

A. That first order, of which I spoke, we did not receive.

[Page 327]

Q. Now, when you received the second order, you said you had heard of the other order, and what I wanted to know is if the other order was the order to kill the Commissars?

A. I did not quite understand the question.

Q. You said you received a second order to "separate" the Commissars, and, at that time you heard of the first order. What was the first order?

A. I believe that I heard of the first order to kill the Commissars, but only later, when the other order for the "separation" had already come through.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire now.

DR. PELCKMANN: May I have another word, your Honour?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly. I thought you had finished.

DR. PELCKMANN: In the course of the cross-examination of this witness the British and the Russian prosecution submitted, as far as I was able to judge; twenty to thirty completely new documents. Not all of these documents were used in the questioning of this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, the purpose of re-examination is to ask questions and not to argue.

DR. PELCKMANN: I am not going to do that, Mr. President. I shall not put any questions dealing with these documents to which I shall return later. But the prosecution did not put any questions either, and I am of the opinion that these documents cannot be used. One document is in the Polish language, and unfortunately, I cannot read it and therefore cannot put questions on it.



Q. Witness, I should like to refer you, as an example, to a copy of a poster in a document in English, entitled "German Crimes in Poland," and comprising 184 pages. Will you please read it and will you tell me what connection it has with the Waffen SS, and if possible tell the High Tribunal the page on which it is found.

A. This poster is at the back of Page 184. It contains an announcement of the SS and Police Leader, it is therefore an instrument of the Higher SS and Police Leader and, as I have stated repeatedly, has nothing whatever to do with the Waffen SS.

Q. Now I am having submitted to you another document, 4039- PS, a document about which you were not questioned by the prosecution. Please tell me what connection this document has with the Waffen SS?

A. This is an announcement of the District Chief of Warsaw, that is an official subordinate to the Governor General, an announcement which has no connection with the Waffen SS.

Q. Is there not something about the Waffen SS in this document?

A. It says here only that the German Wehrmacht -

Q. Please speak clearly, I was asking you whether the document contains anything at all about the Waffen SS?

A. I'm sorry to have to say "No." There is nothing about the Waffen SS in this document.

Q. I should further like to show you Document 4038-PS. This document was also not submitted to you by the prosecution. Please read it carefully, and then tell me what connection it has with the Waffen SS?

THE PRESIDENT: What number is that?

DR. PELCKMANN: It is 4038-PS, your Lordship.

THE WITNESS: This also is an announcement by the Chief of the Warsaw. District who was subordinate to the Governor- General and has no connection with the Waffen SS.

[Page 328]


I should further like to submit Document D-954, the figure might be 957, it is not quite clear. This is an interrogation of 27th May, 1946, of the witness -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Dr. Pelckmann, I think all these documents speak for themselves, and if they do not refer to the Waffen SS, the Tribunal will take note of that fact.

DR. PELCKMANN: Yes, Mr. President. But then I should like to know just why these documents were submitted. May I respectfully say that they are not relevant at all.

As you suggest, Mr. President, I shall not submit this document.


Q. Can you judge, witness, whether Document D-956, which you had in your hands, contains anything at all about the Waffen SS?

A. I looked at it only briefly, but I could not establish any connection.

Q. Thank you.

You were reminded, witness, of the speech of Himmler at Kharkov. You said that Himmler's idea that terror had been of use to the troops was wrong. Did you express your view about this to Himmler, and if so, in what way?

A. I made my view known to Himmler on the same day and, as is customary with military subordinates, I spoke to him alone.

Q. The SS Division "Prinz Eugen" was mentioned. How many divisions of the Waffen SS were there?

A. To my knowledge, there were at least thirty-five divisions. I believe there were even more, but they did not all exist at the same time. One of these divisions was the Division "Prinz Eugen," of which I have already said that it contained many Volksdeutsche in its ranks.

Q. Is it true that Serbs and Croats also served in this division?

A. I cannot give you the particulars on that point. We had several divisions in the Balkans which contained Croats, Montenegrins and Moslems.

Q. Do you know that the war in the Balkans was waged with particular intensity on both sides, and were atrocities by the other side ever reported to you? I am not asking this to ascertain whether the other side committed atrocities; my purpose is merely to establish the fact that, on the basis of isolated atrocities, one cannot draw conclusions about the general conduct of the enemy.

A. I had no personal insight into the campaign in the Balkans. But from history I know that even before the First World War such excesses did take place in the Balkans.

Q. Do you know through reports from the Eastern Front - and again I want to qualify the question to make my intention quite clear -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, the witness has already told us that he knows nothing about the war in the Balkans, and therefore any questions you put to him will have no significance to us.


Q. Witness, do you understand that I am now asking you about the Eastern Front?

A. Yes, incidents of that type did take place. And reports of them were collected at headquarters and were forwarded, I believe, through the OKH, and I think by the Red Cross at Geneva. But I cannot give you particulars.

Q. Do you know that reports of that sort were collected?

A. Yes.

Q. And would you conclude therefrom that the Red Army did things like that systematically

A. You can hardly expect me to state whether these things were done systematically or not.

[Page 329]

GENERAL RUDENKO: Mr. President, I would like to make the following brief statement. The defence has in the course of the proceedings tried more than once on the basis of inventions published in Fascist White Books, to draw attention to atrocities committed by opponents. This practice has already been categorically rejected by the Tribunal, and I therefore consider that the question now put by the defence counsel is also inadmissible.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, the Tribunal considers that you have no right to ask this witness for his opinion about these matters. You must confine yourself to asking him questions as to facts, and what he knows about facts. And you can make any comment about those facts that you like when you come to make your argument.


Q. Witness, in order to clarify the meaning of my previous question, I should like to ask you this: If you could now see the deeds which allegedly on the basis of these documents were committed by the SS, would you nevertheless say that these things were not representative of a system but were isolated incidents arising out of the severity of the battle, and caused partly by the lack of discipline on the part of certain foreign elements, incidents which for these reasons could happen everywhere?

THE PRESIDENT: You should not begin by asking the witness for his opinion. He has already given it to us, you know; he has already said, when he was being cross-examined about those incidents in which the Waffen SS Look part, that they were individual instances. He has already said that.


Q. You have seen the document which says that hostages were shot and a Yugoslav was hanged. If you had received knowledge of a case like that among your troops, would you have taken any steps?

A. A case like that falls mainly under the jurisdiction of the divisional commander as the judicial authority. If I, as the commanding general, received reports like that, I would have taken steps, and I would have appointed a military court to deal with the case. And that indeed is what happened several times.

Q. You were asked about the case of Oradour in France. Do you know whether your units, that is, when they were under your command, participated in this crime?

A. I know this incident only from the Indictment, and I have no further knowledge of it. Apparently it was a criminal act of a single company leader. It took place at an earlier date, however, and if it had been brought to my knowledge, and if the division commander had been subordinate to me, I would have given him the order to appoint a military court to try the case.

Q. Your unit was used in Normandy; is that correct?

A. Yes, but Oradour is not in Normandy.

Q. It is in Southern France? Was your unit, while it was under your command, responsible for it?

A. No, neither the unit nor I.

Q. The prosecution has confronted you with quotations from Document US 117.

DR . PELCKMANN: I should be very grateful if this document could be put at my disposal so that I could show it to the witness. I think that without seeing the whole of the document, the witness cannot give a comprehensive reply.

(A document was handed to Dr. Pelckmann.)

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