The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
9th August to 21st August 1946

Two Hundred-First Day: Monday, 12th August, 1946
(Part 9 of 10)

[DR. BOEHM continues his direct examination of Franz Bock]

[Page 109]

Q. Was punishment inflicted in the SA? Was there a penal code and why was it necessary?

A. There was a penal code in the SA and there were punishments. The SA had to have these in order to maintain discipline and order in its ranks. One must consider that in the SA we had people from all sections of the population, and that especially after the seizure of power we received an enormous number of people into our ranks, all of whose characters we were not acquainted with, so disciplinary and penal codes had to be created in order to maintain order and discipline. There was no punishment with imprisonment in the SA. So-called arrest sentences were provided for which were intended primarily for the schools. During my service, I never needed to use them.

Q. From the fact of the existence of a penal code, can one not conclude a military character of the SA?

A. Not according to my opinion. One must have punishments and penal codes in any organization.

Q. What other regulations were there in the SA?

A. There was a general service regulation in the SA; especially the salute regulation, the uniform regulation, the medical regulation, and the drill order.

Q. Why was this drill regulation necessary? Must one not conclude a military character of the SA from it?

A. The drill regulation was a regulation for exercise. It was introduced into the SA in order that the marching units should make a good impression. These exercises were for the appearance, the bearing of the men, and were primarily to have an effect on the marching discipline. A comparison with the service regulations of the Army is not possible, for, as far as I am acquainted with these regulations of the Army, they include drill with arms and sham battles, while we had only physical exercises for attaining good marching discipline.

Q. Was there not an SA Sport or some other insignia for special training?

A. There was an SA Sport Insignia. After 1939, after the decree of 19th January, it was called the Defence Insignia (SA Wehrabzeichen). This SA Sport or Defence Insignia was an award for achievement just like the German Sport and Athletic Insignia. It included Group 1, so-called physical exercises, that is, achievements of a physical nature; Group 2, defence sport exercises for training the will-power; and Group 3, occupational service, water sports, and special task - straining of the mind. Those are the exercises that were taught and practised.

[Page 110]

This Defence Insignia had the purpose of achieving moral fitness (Wehrhaftigkeit) among the SA.

Q. What do you mean by "moral fitness"?

A. By that I mean there was taught in the schools a mental attitude in the sense of strong patriotic conviction, the training of the men for defence and for self-consciousness, and finally the maintaining of physical strength through bodies trained in sports.

Q. Was the execution of the tasks of the Sport Insignia immediately possible on a large scale, or was special preparation necessary?

A. The execution of these exercises for the SA Sport Insignia required an extensive preparation. It was clear that to achieve this insignia, the people had to be taught by competent men and leaders and that supervision had to be taught first before the exercises for the acquisition of this insignia could be carried out on a broad basis. In addition, for carrying out the work connected with this insignia we often lacked the necessary means, above all in the country. Thus it happened that after the re- establishment of this Sport Insignia in 1935 the Sport Insignia could only make its way into the masses of the SA men very gradually and year after year. In addition, the work for this Sport or Defence Insignia was not the main task which we had in the SA, but taking this test was more or less voluntary and considered supplementary.

Q. Are training and the discipline of this Defence Sport Insignia to be judged from a military point of view?

A. In my opinion, this insignia is not to be judged from a military point of view but, as I said, it is to be judged like the Reich Sport Insignia, as an insignia of achievement. Essentially it included the discipline which was required for the acquisition of German Sport Insignia or was at the basis of any other sport discipline, such as that required for the Olympic Games.

Q. The prosecution asserts that such activities played a great role in the defence of the country. What do you have to say to that?

A. Possibly, but only to the extent that all functions of civil life play a certain role in the defence of a country.

Q. Did attendance at the SA schools entail any military qualifications? What schools were there in the SA?

A. There were four possibilities of training in the SA. First, the so-called week-end training, covering free Saturdays and Sundays. At these week-end courses the lower ranks, the Scharfuehrer and Truppfuehrer were primarily trained. This was a so-called elementary training for the lower units and could be quite brief according to circumstances and necessity. The next training school was the so-called SA Gruppenschule (Group School), that is within the district of a group. It was for the Sturmfuehrer and lasted about two weeks. At the so-called SA Gruppenschulen the purpose of the training was the strengthening of comradeship amongst the Sturmfuehrer, to introduce them into general SA service in their storm units, to instruct them briefly in sport activities and at the same time to make them acquainted with the discipline of the Sport or Defence Insignia. Furthermore, questions of the day were discussed, a brief general intellectual education was given, and, finally, they were given an examination on their achievements, ability and character. The next training school was the Reichschule (Reich School). This was primarily for the secondary leaders, the Sturmbannfuehrer and Standartenfuehrer. The training was more or less the same as at the Gruppenschulen only one step higher. Generally there was an examination of the ability and achievement of the individual and of his character, and an introduction to the SA service at the rank represented. These schools were also -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Boehm, cannot you condense this a little bit? We have got all this. You are going straight through the examinations as far as I can make out, when you know we do not want that.

[Page 111]

DR. BOEHM: Yes, Mr. President, I will try to condense it a little.


Q. The prosecution asserts that 25,000 officers were trained in these schools. What do you have to say to that? Officers for the Wehrmacht, of course.

A. SA Fuehrer were never trained as officers of the Wehrmacht at these schools. Only SA Fuehrer were trained and no one else.

Q. Were drills with arms carried out at these schools?

A. No, none at all.

Q. The prosecution alleges further that seventy per cent of the militarily trained men of the SA, were sent to the Wehrmacht. What do you have to say to that?

A. According to the German Defence Law, every German had to do his military service no matter to what organization he belonged. The SA did not train any soldiers. In 1940, I myself served in the Wehrmacht as a simple soldier and worked myself up to an officer, although I was active as an inspector of the SA Gruppenschulen.

Q. Did the Wehrmacht have an opportunity to influence these schools in any way?

A. No, the Wehrmacht had no opportunity to influence these schools and no right to inspect the schools.

Q. Tell me, witness, what do you understand by political soldiership and "spiritual" arming (wehrgeistiger Erziehung) in the SA?

A. Political soldiership means the general attitude and bearing of the men connected with a clear political conception. Spiritual arming was training in the fundamental physical, mental, and spiritual bearing, nothing else.

Q. You are acquainted with the decree of the Fuehrer of 1939 on pre-military and post-military training of the SA. How about this order? Was it carried out or not?

A. This order of 19th January was not carried out. Immediately after the outbreak of war, when all the preparations for the execution of this order were far from being concluded, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army repealed it and postponed it until the end of the war. When this order was published on 19th January Chief of Staff Lutze intended to make an experimental beginning of this training on the 1st October, but he did not put it into execution. At the beginning of the war everything still remained in an experimental and preparatory state.

Q. Can the decree of the Fuehrer of 19th January, 1939, be interpreted to mean that it followed in a logical development of the work of the SA before 1939?

A. As I could see it, no. The state of training of the SA when the decree was issued was not such that one could speak of an analogous continuation. Our whole training from 1934 to 1939 was only a general sport training. Otherwise, in my opinion, there would have been no need for any agreement between the SA and the Commanders-in-Chief of the three branches of the Wehrmacht. In the second place, we could have begun. immediately after the 19th January, and in the third place, the training of the SA Fuehrer, as far as I know, had not sufficiently progressed by about eighty per cent to enable them to fulfil even the slightest military demands. These leaders would no doubt first have had to learn to the Army what had to be done for this training or the post-military training.

Q. Can one say that in the field of pre-military and post military training, as originally ordered, anything practical ever took place?

A. In my opinion, no. In the first place, this order was given only on 19th January, not before, and it was never carried out. In the second place, it could not be, because it was to begin only on the 1st October. No men could come back, since the war had really begun on the 1st September. Only preparations of a technical and financial nature were made - particulars are not known to me - and perhaps the general considerations of how and in what way this order could be carried out.

[Page 112]

Q. And then an order was given that this activity concerning pre-military and post-military training of SA members should be stopped?

A. As far as I know, both the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Party Chancellery ordered that this measure was to be put aside, and if I recall rightly, this letter of the Party Chancellery further included instructions that due to difficulties connected with the youth organizations and with the Party units concerning the carrying out of the decree by the SA alone this whole decree of 79th January, was to be reviewed and perhaps given up entirely.

Q. Did the SA have the- financial possibilities for creating training opportunities, particularly in the special units?

A. The SA had very meagre means. For example, an SA Sturm had 80 to 720 marks. A Standarte had about 800 to 1,200 marks. An SA Gruppe had about 2,500 to 3,500 marks. I cannot say exactly. These amounts were just sufficient for covering the immediate needs of the offices. We had hardly any funds for bigger purchases or the acquisition of depots for our special units. If from time to time we received any funds, then those were only smaller amounts which were meagrely distributed through the SA leadership. Generally, however, and I believe I have mentioned that our SA men and, above all, men in the special units, manufactured about ninety per cent of their tools themselves or bought them with money they had taken from their ordinary wages or had collected from friends or acquaintances.

Q. Witness, there was some shooting in the SA, among other things. Will you tell us what kind of weapons were used and how many of these weapons were at the disposal of the individual storm units?

A. The SA carried out shooting exercises on ranges with small calibre weapons and partly also with air rifles. In addition, at various leader meetings we had pistol shooting competitions for sports training and just as a matter of entertainment. Some SA men and units on private rifle ranges belonging to rifle clubs carried out competitions from time to time with larger calibre guns. The number of rifles they had was very small. I remember -

THE PRESIDENT: We surely do not want the details of these rifles. You have probably got it all in the hearings before the Commission, the details of the particular calibre of the rifles.

DR. BOEHM: Mr. President, this witness was only named for two questions, the question of military training in the SA and in connection with the newspaper Der SA Mann. I believe that I have only a few more questions to put to this witness altogether.


Q. You have spoken about schools before - group schools, and so on. Were these schools continued during the war?

A. Shortly after the beginning of the war - no, I would rather say immediately at the beginning of the war, the largest number of these SA schools was closed Only a few were being continued. The reason for that was that in the course of time more and more SA men and leaders were inducted into the armed forces, and on the other hand those who remained behind or at home at their occupation were kept so busy that they could no longer carry out their service in the SA to the fullest extent, and especially at school.

Q. Now I should like to ask you about another subject, the last one which I would like to discuss with you, and that is the publication Der SA Mann. Can we consider Der SA Mann as an official publication of the supreme leadership?

A. No, I did not consider it an official publication because I knew that Der SA Mann was not published by the SA leadership. It was a newspaper just like any other.

Q. What was the attitude of the supreme SA leadership to that publication?

[Page 113]

A. The supreme SA leadership published official statements such as promotions or announcements of a similar nature in the newspaper. Apart from that, the contents were similar to those of other publications.

Q. Did you, as chief of office Amtschef in the supreme SA leadership, have any influence on the set-up of that publication?

A. No, I had no influence on that newspaper. I only know that my superior the Hauptamtschef had tried several times to get a special section in that publication for schooling and training. It was not possible, though. I do not know why, but I have always assumed that for purely business reasons this was refused.

Q. Now was that publication Der SA Mann used for training purposes within the SA?

A. I have not noticed that. That publication was distributed in schools and was read there just as other publications were, but as far as I know it was not used for special training purposes.

Q. There appeared in that publication a series of articles about armament in other States. Is not it to be assumed that these articles were published in order to justify our own armament?

A. In my opinion, that particular weekly was not so important or so well distributed that it could have had any influence on important people or large numbers of people.

Q. Do you know of a publication within the SA which had an official character?

A. The Verordnungsblatt, the official Verordnungsblatt, the publication containing regulations of the supreme SA leadership, or for instance, Der SA Fuehrer (the SA Leader) which was published by a special department in the supreme SA leadership.

Q. One question which is outside this complex of questions: could you tell me who guarded the concentration camp in Dachau from the very beginning?

A. As far as I can recall, that was guarded by SS. I myself was never in that camp. Only later did I find out about the existence of that camp.

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