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-Eighth Day: Thursday, 8th August, 1946
(Part 4 of 6)

[DR. MERKEL continues his direct examination of Georg Konrad Morgen]

[Page 398]

Q. Did you wish to execute an order of the SS Court to arrest Eichmann?

A. I asked the SS Court at Berlin to examine Eichmann on the basis of my report. The SS-Court in Berlin, thereupon, submitted the order to intern Eichmann to the Chief of the RSHA in his capacity as judge, SS Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrunner.

Dr. Bachmann reported to me that on the submission of this matter, rather dramatic incidents took place.

Kaltenbrunner immediately called in Muller, and now the judge was told that an arrest was not to be considered in any event, for Eichmann was carrying out a special secret task of the utmost importance entrusted to him by the Fuehrer.

Q. When was that?

A. That was in the middle of 1942.

DR. MERKEL: Thank you, I have no further questions to put to this witness.

DR. GAWLIK (on behalf of the SD): Your Lordship, may I be permitted to put a few questions, please?



Q. Witness, you mentioned the orders of the RSHA. From which office did these orders come?

A. Do you mean the orders for the mass extermination?

Q. Yes.

A. I stated that the SS jurisdiction -

Q: Answer the question briefly, please. Which office issued these orders?

A. I said that the investigating judge could not establish the origin of such orders to my knowledge.

Q. You spoke of the orders of the RSHA, did you not?

A. I said that the accused Koch and Grabner, because of the killings they committed, referred to orders of the RSHA and said that these orders had to be destroyed as soon as they were received. That was purely an assertion and therefore this statement had to be investigated.

Q. Did you ascertain that the Offices III, VI and VII were in anyway participating in these measures?

A. I have already testified that Wirth's undertaking directly -

Q. Can you answer this question with a yes or no?

A. I could not determine that.

DR. GAWLIK: Thank you. I have no further questions to the witness.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The prosecution very carefully considers the question of cross-examining this witness. We do not accept his evidence as to Buchenwald, Dachau, and as to conditions in concentration camps generally. We feel, however, the Tribunal has been shown such an overwhelming amount of evidence, including films and exhibits of the consistent pattern of cruelties in the concentration camps, of the smelling chimneys of the crematoria, and of the persons who carried out these actions, that we consider that any further discussion of these matters should be by way of comment, and that it would not be right to take up the time of the Tribunal by confronting this witness with the details of that evidence which is so fully in the Tribunal's mind.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness may retire.

Is that your case?


THE PRESIDENT: The prosecution wants to cross-examine the witness Sievers. We will call for Wolfram Sievers.

[Page 399]

WOLFRAM SIEVERS, a witness,: took the stand and testified as follows:


Q. What is your name?

A. Wolfram Sievers.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.



Q. You are Wolfram Sievers and from 1935 on you were Reich manager of the Ahnenerbe (Ancestral Heritage Society), were you not?

A. I was the Reich manager of the Ahnenerbe.

Q. You recollect on the 27th June you gave evidence before the Commissioner appointed by this Tribunal?

A. Yes.

Q. I am referring to Page 1925 of the transcript of your evidence before the Commission.

Do you recollect that Dr. Pelckmann, the counsel for the SS, accounted that he was calling you to show that this Ahnenerbe did not know of the biological experiments of the group led by Dr. Rascher, performed on concentration camp inmates?

A. Yes.

Q. And do you remember, the record is on Page 1932 of the transcript, that when Dr. Pelckmann asked you:

"Did you have any possibility of having an insight into the circumstances relating to or the planning of the methods or the carrying out of these scientific research works of the military scientific department?" you answered "No"?
A. I recall that.

Q And when I cross-examined you upon your testimony, do you recall telling the Commissioner that Himmler and Rascher were very close friends and you did not know exactly what went on? Do you remember that?

A. I said that I was informed about these matters only in general but not in particular.

Q. In my final question to you in cross-examination, I asked you:

"How many people do you estimate were murdered in connection with Rascher's and other experiments carried out under the guise of 'Nazi science?" and to that question you gave this answer:

"I cannot say because I had no knowledge of these matters."

Do you remember that on Page 1939 of the transcript?

A. Yes, indeed.

Q. Well, now, I want to see whether or not you did have knowledge of these matters.

Did you ever hear of Professor Hirt's skeleton collection?

A. That is in connection with anatomy at the University of Strassburg -

Q. I asked you did you hear about it?

A. Yes, indeed, I did hear of it.

Q. You played a very active part in the creation of that collection of skeletons, did you not?

A. I did not understand the end of the question.

Q. You played an active part in the collection of these skeletons?

A. No.

Q. I want you to look first at Document No. 116.

[Page 400]

It is an insertion into the Tribunal's Document Book at Page 1901. It follows Page i9 in your Lordship's document book. It will be Exhibit GB 573.

Now we shall be able to test your ignorance of this collection. This is a letter from Brandt to the Main Office for the Security of the Reich, dated 6th November, 1942.

Brandt was Himmler's agent, was he not?

A. He was his personal expert.

Now, this letter:

"Subject: Organization of a skeleton collection in the Anatomical Institute of Strassburg.

The Reichsfuehrer SS has ordered that everything necessary for the research work of SS Captain (Hauptsturmfuehrer) Professor Dr. Hirt, who is at the same time director of a branch of the Institute for Scientific Researches for Specific Purposes in the Office Ahnenerbe, should be placed art his disposal. By order of the Reichsfuehrer SS, I therefore request you to make the organization of the planned skeleton collection possible. The SS Lt.-Col. (Obersturmbannfuehrer) Sievers will contact you for details."

Now, that Sievers is you, is it not?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you contacted for details?

A. Here we are concerned with the building up of a department of anatomy at the University of Strassburg which had been newly taken over, and this was a matter of reconstruction of the so-called anatomical museum, something quite customary with all anatomical departments in universities everywhere.

Q. This was just a piece of academic research, was it?

A. Yes.

Q. Where were you going to get the skeletons from?

A. Particulars were to be handled by Professor Hirt -

Q. Now just answer my question, witness, because you know perfectly well the answer to it.

Where were you going to get those skeletons from?

A. They were to be put at our disposal from Auschwitz.

Q. Now, I want you to look at a letter which you sent to Brandt, in furtherance of Brandt's communication containing suggestions as to where those skeletons should come from.

It is Document No. 085, which will be Exhibit GB 574. It is at Page 11 of the document book, my Lord. It is at Pages 14 and 15 of the German Document Book.

Now, that is a letter headed "The Ahnenerbe," dated 9th February, 1942, marked "Secret." It is addressed to Brandt, Himmler's adjutant. It is your letter, witness, is it not, it is your signature at the bottom of it? A. Yes.

Q. I will read it out.

"Dear Comrade Brandt:

Professor Dr. Hirt's report, which you requested in your letter of 29th December, 1941, is submitted in the enclosure. I was not able to send it to you before because Professor Hirt was taken seriously ill."

Then there follow details of his illness.
"Because of this, Professor Hirt was merely able to write a preliminary report which, however, I should like to submit to you. The report concerns:

1. His research with the microscope on living organs; the discovery. of a new method of examination and the construction of a new research microscope.

2. His proposal for securing skulls of Jewish-Bolshevik commissars."

Then there is your signature and you forwarded that letter and Professor Hirt's report and his suggestions, and this is Hirt's report:

[Page 401]

"Subject: Securing of skulls of Jewish-Bolshevik commissars for the purpose of scientific research at the Reich University, Strassburg.

We have a nearly complete collection of skulls of all races and peoples at our disposal. Of the Jewish race, however, only very few specimens of skulls are available, with the result that it is impossible to arrive at precise conclusions from examining them. The war in the east now presents us with the opportunity to overcome this deficiency. By procuring the skulls of the Jewish- Bolshevik commissars, who represent the prototype of the repulsive but characteristic subhuman, we have the chance now to compile good, scientific documents.

The best practical method for obtaining and collecting this skull material could be handled by directing the Wehrmacht to turn over alive all captured Jewish- Bolshevik commissars to the Field Police. They, in turn, are to be given special directives to inform a certain office at regular intervals of the numbers and place of detention of these captured Jews and to give them close attention and care until a special delegate arrives. This special delegate, who will be in charge of securing the material (a junior physician of the Wehrmacht or even the Field Police or a student of medicine equipped with a motor car and driver), will be required to take a previously established series of photographs, make anthropological measurements and, in addition, determine as far as possible other personal data of the prisoners.

Following the subsequently induced death of the Jew, whose head should not be damaged, the physician will separate the head from the body and will forward it to its proper point of destination in an hermetically sealed tin can, especially made for this purpose and filled with a conserving fluid. Having arrived at the laboratory, the comparison tests and anatomical research on the skull, as well as determination of the race membership and of pathological features of the skull form, the form and size of the brain, etc., can proceed by means of photos, measurements and other data supplied on the head, and the skull itself."

That was the report which you forwarded to Brandt?

A. Yes, that was the report of Professor Hirt.

Q. How did the collection of these skeletons from the living proceed?

A. I cannot give you the exact details. In earlier interrogations I pointed out that Professor Hirt would have to be asked himself about this matter.

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