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-Seventh Day: Wednesday, 7th August, 1946
(Part 6 of 10)

[MR. ELWYN JONES continues his cross examination of Guenther Reinecke]

[Page 365]

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Elwyn Jones, the Tribunal will take judicial notice of the document which you were submitting under Article 21. But they do not think that you need deal with it at great length.

MR. ELWYN JONES: If your Lordship pleases. The Document D- 959 will be Exhibit GB 571.




Q. Witness, have you any knowledge of the part played by SS units in the arrest and ill-treatment of the students of Prague on 17th November, 1939?

A. No. About that subject I cannot testify, as the fact of the participation is only becoming known to me now.

Q. You had no knowledge of the participation of the 6th SS Totenkopf Standarte in that matter, had you? I am referring to -

A. No.

MR. ELWYN JONES: I am referring, my Lord, to an entry in the previous Czechoslovak Report, Exhibit USSR 60.


Q. You say you had no knowledge of that? This report -

A. No, I had no knowledge.

Q. This report refers further to reprisal measures against civilians suspected of contact with the partisans, in which the SS took part. Do you have any knowledge of SS troops taking part in reprisal measures against civilians?

A. I can testify to that in so far as it is known to me in which manner the Waffen SS was being employed. I know that the Waffen SS - and in this case it can only be the Waffen SS which is meant - was fighting at the front.

Q. I just want you to look at the last sentence but one in paragraph 2, Page 4 of Exhibit D-959; it is the fourth paragraph down in the English text.

"On 4th May, 1945, after having plundered the village of Javorisko in, the district of Litovel, the SS burned it down. During this operation, the SS troops shot in the nape of the neck or killed in the burning houses all the male inhabitants of the village from the age of 15 to 70 years. Women with children, after having been ill- treated, were driven away. The operation, at which thirty- eight men lost their lives, took place because the inhabitants of the village were suspected of hiding partisans."

[Page 366]

Have you any knowledge of that action or of actions of that kind that the SS took part in?

A. No. Such actions never became known to me. Obviously, we are here concerned with the last fight for Prague.

Q. I want you to turn to some further evidence about the ill- treatment by SS guards of transports of prisoners from concentration camps. The fifth paragraph on Page 5 of the report refers to 312 persons being beaten to death or shot, and their bodies buried in a coal pit. And you see it stated there that the beatings and killings were done by SS guards. It is very much like the Dutch report, is it not? And then there follows in the last section, crimes committed during the Prague Revolution in May, 1945, further accounts of SS atrocities.

Now, witness, I want you to look at a new document, D-878 which will be 3 GB 572, which is a report from the Statistical - the Scientific Statistical Institute, of the Reichsfuehrer SS on the composition of the SS. I want you to look, if you will, at the third page of the account, that is a page marked "Page 1." That sets out the - I am sorry, my Lord, I have not a translation of this, but I think the entries will speak for themselves. They are quite clear. That is headed "Total w strength of the SS as on the 30th of June, 1944." You will see it shows "Allgemeine SS" excluding - and the translation, I think, is - excluding those members who, at the moment, were serving as reserves of the Waffen SS, "Nicht einberufen." Total called up, 64,614.

THE PRESIDENT: Sixty-four thousand.


Q. Sixty-four thousand. Called up in the Wehrmacht, 115,908. Called up to the Labour Front, 722. In miscellaneous duties, 19,254, a total of 200,498 of the Allgemeine SS. Now, can you tell the Tribunal whether those "not called up" among the 64,000-odd were performing police duties, or were some of those performing police duties?

A. In my view, the figures which are contained in the document refer to members of the General SS who were neither called up nor were carrying out any other type of activity - who were following their civilian occupations at home; in other words, who were used in the economic life.

Q. The last category of 19,254 "on miscellaneous duties," were these the people who were forming the personnel of the Einsatzkommandos?

A. That is absolutely out of the question, because the personnel of the Einsatzkommandos only consisted of a few hundred men. The conception of the "sonstiger Einsatz" (on miscellaneous duties) must refer to some other function which I cannot define at the moment.

Q. Well, now, you see that that page shows the total in the Waffen SS of 594,443. Now I want you to turn to Page 24 of this report.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Elwyn Jones, what is the final total described as?

MR. ELWYN JONES: The total, SS total 794,941.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but what does the second German word there mean?

MR. ELWYN JONES: "Insgesamt," "altogether," my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: "Altogether." I see.


Q. You turn to Page 24 and you will see that the total of members of the Waffen SS of 594,443 is divided up into various categories. There are first the Feldtruppenteile, which are field units, 368,654. Then the next is, I understand, the recruiting staff, 21,365. The next category, training and reserve, 127,643. The schools, 10,822. Then other units and offices directly subordinate to SS leadership head office, 26,544. And then in the head office 39,415, making the grand total of 594,443. Now, those - that entry of 26,544 other units and

[Page 367]

offices directly subordinate to SS leadership head office- who were those men? Were they the personnel of the Einsatzkommandos?

A. I beg to repeat the answer I have just given you. That number cannot refer in any way to the personnel of these Einsatzkommandos, because that personnel of these special units did not have anything to do with the SS itself, but came from various departments of the executive, in particular from the police. This figure of 26,524 of members of the SS must refer to members of offices and units who were not stationed in the principal departments, but who, on the other hand, were not fighting at the front, either, but who were located in the Reich territory at some -

Q. Witness, will you next turn to Page 28 of this document, which shows how the 39415 described on Page 24 as being members of the Head Offices of the Waffen SS are employed. It starts:

SS Head Office, 9,349; Waffen SS men engaged in the SS Economic and Administration Head Office - I beg your pardon, the second line - Waffen SS men engaged in the Race and Resettlement Office of the SS, 2,689. That was the office headed by Himmler which yesterday you said had nothing to do with the SS - the Waffen SS - at all. And then:

Third, is SS Economic and Administration Head Office; WVHA, that is, is it not - 24,051 Waffen SS men. Personal Staff of the Reichsfuehrer SS, 673; SS Personnel Head Office, 170; Head Office SS Law Courts, 599; Office of the SS Obergruppenfuehrer Heissmeier, 593; Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Folkdom (1), 304; Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Folkdom, Die Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle Office (2), 987. Making a total of 39,415.

That makes it clear, does it not, that Waffen SS men were engaged in all this hideous network of Himmler's machinery of terror?

A. I do not believe that that is what is shown by this. Yesterday I described in detail that the various leading departments did not have a unified supreme command. If, for instance in this case, members of the Waffen SS appear in the various leading departments, then this is to be traced to the fact that those serving there were called up into service with the Waffen SS because in that way it became unnecessary to put them down as "unfit for service," and they could thus be removed from the reach of the armed forces.

Q. All those men were carried on the strength of the Waffen SS; they were members of the Waffen SS; they wore Waffen SS uniforms, and they were paid by the Waffen SS. That is so, is it not?

A. That may well be, but that has a different significance, in so far as that did not make them members of the expanded organization but, as was often the case in war time, they merely donned the uniform and were paid accordingly. If I look at Page 28 of this document, I take, for instance, the SS Economic and Chief Administrative Department, and find the figure listed as 24,051 who were supposed to be members of the Waffen SS. In this connection I must say that this can only refer to guards in concentration camps, and that shows that these men, as so-called nominal members of the Waffen SS, were attached to the Chief Economic and Administrative Department, but in reality they had nothing to do with the Waffen SS.

MR. ELWYN JONES: If your Lordship pleases, I submit that the document speaks for itself, and I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to have translations of the documents, of these two documents that you have referred to.

MR. ELWYN JONES: If your Lordship pleases, they will be put in.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: My Lord, I do not wish to subject the witness to a detailed examination, I would like merely to be allowed to put one single question

[Page 368]

to him upon a matter which he dealt with yesterday and in connection with a very short document which was mentioned yesterday.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. You may do so.


Q. Witness, did I understand you yesterday to say that there were honorary members of the SS?

A. Yes.

Q. You asserted that this position was only conferred in order to allow them to wear uniform? Did I understand you correctly?

A. Yes.

Q. I would like to show you a letter to Himmler from one of those people whom you named yesterday as being among the honorary members of the SS. I would like to read this very short document into the record. I quote:

"22nd July, 1940. Berlin W 8, Wilhelmstrasse 73."
THE PRESIDENT: Is it 1944 or 1940? COLONEL SMIRNOV: Nineteen forty, my Lord. It is a new document which bears the Number USSR 512. It was found by the Red Army in the Berlin archives. It will be submitted now to the Tribunal. I quote:
"My dear Himmler: I was highly pleased to learn of my promotion by the Fuehrer to the rank of Obergruppenfuehrer of the SS. You know my attitude to your SS and how greatly I admire their development, which was the fruit of your own work. I shall always consider it a special honour to belong to this proud corps of the Fuehrer, which is of decisive importance for the future of our Greater German Reich. I remain your faithful friend, Joachim Ribbentrop."

Tell me, witness, does not the first sentence of the document testify to the fact that those members of the SS whom you called honorary members were actually promoted by Himmler according to his estimation of their activity?

A. This document, in my opinion, proves something which I tried to describe yesterday. I said that it was typical of the honorary leaders that they did not actually come from the SS as such; that is to say, they had not performed any duty in the SS for a number of years like all the other men, but at some stage, and quite suddenly, they were awarded a high rank and given SS uniforms, without in -

Q. No, witness, I am asking you something quite different. You are not answering my question. I asked you if it was not a fact that Himmler promoted the so-called honorary members according to his estimation of their activity? From the SS point of view, naturally.

A. Yes, that is correct, in so far as it was typical of Himmler's policy that personalities who were holding certain positions of power were granted the right, to wear the SS uniform, and those are the honorary leaders.

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

DR. SEIDL (defence counsel for defendant Frank):

Mr. President, this morning the prosecution submitted a document, Exhibit GB 568, also numbered D-926. The subject of that document is documents from the files of the Bavarian Ministry of justice, which deal with the death of prisoners of war in the concentration camp at Dachau. I ask for permission to read now into the record No. 12 of that document, which was not read out by the prosecution.

As reason for my application, I should like to explain that this is the same document which I applied for six months ago and which could not be found.

[Page 369]

The portions of this document read by the prosecution may create the impression that the statement by the defendant Frank in the witness-box with reference to this question may not be correct. Number 12, however, shows -

THE PRESIDENT: Are you applying on behalf of Frank?

DR. SEIDL: I make the application on behalf of the defendant Frank.

THE PRESIDENT: I think, on Page 10 of the English copy, and with the heading 12, the two top paragraphs were read this morning.

DR. SEIDL: Only the first two sentences of paragraph 2 were read. The remaining sentences were not read. Paragraph 3 was not read either.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, Dr. Seidl, you may read what you want to read.

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