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-Second Day: Tuesday, 13th August, 1946
(Part 10 of 10)

[DR. BOEHM continues his direct examination of Max Juettner]

[Page 157]

Q. And what was the relation of the Chiefs of Staff to the Leadership Corps of the SA? Were the latter kept informed of everything that was planned and intended to be achieved?

A. At the Fuehrer leaders' meetings and at training courses in the SA schools, the Chiefs of Staff kept their Leadership Corps informed as to their aims and tasks, especially about the educational tasks of the SA. At the leaders' meetings there was always an open discussion.

Q. What do you know of the Leadership Corps before and after the death of Roehm?

A. I know the leadership of the SA, its aims and the SA leaders, especially the higher SA leaders, very well. Far be it from me to gloss over anything. A small fraction of SA leaders who had turned out to be mere lansquenets were eliminated. Even those SA leaders have in the past, during the First World War as brave soldiers and later as members of the Free Corps under the Government of Ebert-Noske, deserved well of their country. Their attitude and their way of life, however, were in contradiction to the principles of the SA, therefore, they had to leave. But the rest, that is the bulk of the SA Leadership Corps, were decent and clean, and irreproachable as to their sense of justice and duty.

Q. Tell us about the professional Leadership Corps.

A. Of the active leaders, the Obergruppenfuehrer and the Gruppenfuehrer, I know their history, their way of life and their political and ethical attitude. Apart from the insignificant few who had to leave, these SA leaders were irreproachable. Not one of them had a police record, not one of them was what one might call a failure, all of them had a civil profession before they were taken into the Leadership Corps of the SA. Their way of life was simple and modest. They received, however, in relation to comparable positions of civil servants or business men, extremely low salaries. All incomes from other sources were charged against them, there was no one in the SA who could have more than one source of income; not one could enrich himself personally because of his position, and only he could make a "splash" in society who had means of his own. Of the Gruppenfuehrer and the Obergruppenfuehrer who in 1939 were active in the SA leadership corps or with the SA Gruppen, half of them lost their lives in the war. They gave their lives in the belief that they were fighting for a just cause. They were patriots, and they committed no wrong or ungodly acts. And even today I pride myself on having belonged to such an upright leadership corps.

Q. Were the SA leaders paid?

A. Up to 1939 there were no paid SA leaders. Only the leaders of the so-called Untergruppen (the lower Gruppen), of which there was one in each Gau, received a remuneration of about three hundred marks a month. After 1933 a wage scale was established. In 1940 there was a small increase in pay. The highest basic salary for an Obergruppenfuehrer was twelve hundred marks a month. From Scharfuehrer up to Obersturmbannfuehrer inclusive, all SA leaders, with the exception of the auxiliary personnel, were honorary workers. Of the entire Leadership Corps roughly two per cent were paid, including the semi-official leaders.

Q. How was the SA Leadership Corps organized?

A. In the SA we differentiated between:

SA leaders,
SA administrative leaders,
SA medical leaders.
The SA leaders formed the leadership staffs and led the units. The SA administrative leaders handled the budget, financial matters and the audit. They formed, together with the administrative leaders of the other branches and of the

[Page 158]

Party, a special leadership body and had to follow the directives of the Reich Treasurer. The medical leaders were physicians and druggists; they were charged with the medical care of the SA.

Administrative, as well as medical, leaders had no influence whatsoever on the running of the SA, and they had no right to run it. Besides, the SA had leaders for special purposes, the so-called ZV leaders and honorary leaders, some of whom ire among the main defendants here.

Q. Was not one of the main defendants an honorary leader?

A. Yes, I believe several of them were honorary leaders such as Goering, Frank, Sauckel, won Schirach, Streicher, and, I think, Hess and Bormann.

I might add in this connection that the honorary leaders were not at all informed about the business affairs of the SA. They had neither the opportunity nor the authority to exert any influence on training, leadership, or use of the SA. They had merely the right to wear the SA uniform and, at meetings and festivities, to take their positions in the ranks of the SA leadership. Even Hermann Goering - who in 1923 headed the SA temporarily when it numbered but a few thousand men - no longer exerted any influence on the SA after that time, nor did he even have the time to do that. His nomination as chief of the "Standarte Feldherrnhalle" was only a formal honour similar to the honours that were extended in the days of the Kaiser to military leaders of merit or members - even feminine members - of reigning houses.

Herr Frank was appointed leader of the SA for the former Government General by the Chief of Staff, Lutze. That, too, was and remained only a formal honour, because the administration itself was carried out by a special administrative staff under Brigade Leader Peltz, and later Kuehnmund. He did not receive any orders concerning the administration of the SA in that region from the staff chief. Such orders went to the administrative staff, who in turn were responsible to the supreme SA leadership.

The leaders for special purposes whom I have mentioned could temporarily be called in for duty if they were willing. They were advisory duties, for example on legal and social questions.

Q. Of what types of people did the SA in general consist?

A. From the beginning, the SA was made up of former soldiers of the First World War, that is, soldiers and young idealists who loved their country above all. The SA was not, as the witness Gisevius asserted, a mob of criminals or gangsters but rather, as Sinclair Lewis is said to have written, pure idealists. Many clergymen, many students of theology, belonged to the SA as active members, some until the very end.

Each and every SA man will be able to confirm that never at any time were criminal actions demanded of him, and that the SA leadership never pursued criminal aims.

Q. Are you in a position to give us figures with respect to those members of the SA who came into conflict with existing laws?

A. In some of the internment camps where thousands of former SA members from all parts of the Reich are interned, investigations have been made and the resultant information can very well form a basis on which to judge the entire SA. It was found that of the SA men interned, not even one per cent - to be exact .65 per cent - had previously been punished as criminals. As opposed to that are the findings of the Reich Bureau of Statistics with a figure of 1.67 per cent of the entire population of the former Reich who had been punished as criminals before.

Q. But how can you explain, then, that in the years 1933 and 1934, for example, excesses and abuses were committed by members of the SA such as are asserted in the Indictment?

A. These excesses cannot and should not be excused. They are excesses such as occur in every revolutionary movement, for example, such as the German

[Page 159]

revolution in 1918, or similar incidents in the past in other countries. These excesses were revolutionary actions of dissatisfied political fighters.

Q. Are there not perhaps still other explanations for these excesses?

A. One can give a whole series of circumstances which do not excuse such excesses, but perhaps might explain them. Here are two examples:

1. Before 1933, especially under the Government of Schleicher, the police took especially strong measures, and biased measures, against the SA. The result was a distrust of the police. Conditions were such that in the year 1933 riots and civil war threatened in the interior of the country. Thus it is quite understandable, even though not excusable, that many a man felt that he rather than the police, who were considered unreliable, was responsible for the protection of his new State and in that way let himself become involved in excesses.

2. Before 1933 a campaign of wild hatred against the SA was conducted. Almost all other political parties participated in this campaign of hate. There were demands to commit violence, posters with the slogan, "Beat the Fascists where you find them." Groups were organized which shouted in chorus, "Down with the SA"; chicaneries were practised on SA members at their places of work, on the children of SA members at school; there were boycotts of businesses whose owners were SA members, and there were attacks on individual SA men and also on Stahlhelmer. For example, in my home district of Halle, where I was at that time, forty-three Stahlhelmer and SA men were slain.

All these circumstances caused a certain anger and indignation which were understandable, and so many a man believed himself entitled to square old accounts with political opponents after 1933.

As a third reason or circumstance which led to these excesses, I must emphasize the fact that after 1933 there was a rush of people to join the SA. The fundamental decency of all these individuals could of course not be determined and, as is proved, dark elements and provocateurs sneaked in with the intention of damaging the reputation of the SA. The excesses, therefore, were not just the final note of the political conflict before 1933 but rather, in many cases, they were committed by just such provocateurs. The organization, as such, is not guilty of that. It renounced the evildoers, and the leadership strongly condemned such cases when they were reported to them.

Q. Now tell us, what did the SA leadership do in order to prevent such excesses as occurred throughout the year 1933?

A. The SA leadership in Prussia worked together with the Prussian Minister for the Interior and his deputies in order to prevent such excesses. Chief of Staff Roehm made people available for the auxiliary police and selected men from the SA for the Feldjaeger Corps, which was first established in Prussia and proved itself exceptionally satisfactory.

Secondly, the SA leadership, in order to gain and justify confidence, assiduously strove to cleanse its own ranks of provocateurs. Those dismissed from the police and auxiliary police were at the same time removed from the SA. Anyone who was proved guilty of any excesses was punished. The SA leadership of its own accord further set up an SA patrol service in order to watch the deportment of its men in the streets and in public life. And finally, it was always the main concern of the SA leadership to have the many unemployed put to work, to take them off the streets and put them in proper jobs. The numerous social measures of the SA leadership, such as, for example, the many institutions for professional re-conversion, the projects for the cultivation of swamps and similar things, were directed toward the same end.

Q. Was the number of the excesses or misdeeds that took place, and for which SA members were responsible, a large one?

A. In comparison with the strength of the SA, these misdeeds that were ascertained were infinitesimally small, and in addition to that, another point should not be forgotten, the SA was blamed for all these excesses, for at that time

[Page 160]

everyone in a brown shirt was taken for an SA man, regardless of whether he was a member of the SA or not. Naturally, all that was bound to present to the world a distorted picture of the SA. It was bound to create prejudices detrimental to the SA because the SA was blamed for many excesses in which SA members did not in the slightest degree participate.

Q. Is it known to you that steps were taken to quash proceedings before civil courts against SA men for such excesses?

A. As far as I know, such steps to quash legal proceedings before civil courts were not undertaken by the SA leadership. On the occasion of a general amnesty the SA leadership naturally demanded the pardoning of its own members too.

Q. After the action against the Jews in November of 1938, the Supreme Party Court, however, opposed the conviction of SA members who had participated in the shooting of Jews. Did you know about this request?

A. I did not know of this request, but have heard about it here whilst in custody.

Q. And what is your opinion about it?

A. If I remember correctly, the Supreme Party Court demanded that first of all the man who was responsible for this action be called to account.

Q. Do you consider this attitude of the Supreme Party Court correct?

A. I agree with this demand wholeheartedly. It is to be regretted that the Supreme Party Court did not prevail. But the demand that men who had shot others should go scot free, i.e., not be sentenced by regular courts, cannot be justified under any conditions.

Q. Well, was such a demand ever made by the SA leadership or by members of the SA?

A. The guiding principle of the SA leadership, especially as regards these actions of November, 1938, was that those who had been found guilty were to be punished, not only by the SA but also by the regular courts. As far as the Chief of Staff Lutze learned of such cases he always, to my knowledge, advocated such procedure and initiated the necessary steps. The SA even had an agreement with the judicial authorities that if an SA man committed a misdeed and was to be brought before a court, the SA leadership would be notified, so that it could suspend this man from service at once and, as the case might be, could prohibit him from wearing the SA uniform and even punish him on its own initiative. This principle was favoured and applied in the action of November, 1938, by Chief of Staff Lutze.

Q. What was the opinion and the attitude of the SA on the Jewish question?

A. The SA demanded that the influence of the Jews in national affairs, in the economy and cultural life, be reduced in accordance with their position as a minority in Germany.

Q. And what was the reason for this demand or this attitude?

A. This demand, which was not only that of the SA, arose in Germany because after the First World War, in 1918 and 1919, great numbers of Jewish people emigrated from Poland to Germany and entered into the economic and other spheres of life, where they gained considerable influence in an undesirable manner. Through numerous judicial proceedings it had become well known that their profiteering and disintegrating influence caused much ill-will and resulted in an increasing hostility. Even Jews who had lived in Germany for a long time and societies of German citizens of the Jewish faith opposed these forces in a decided manner. So one can readily see that the demand of the SA was well grounded.

Q. Did the SA incite active violence against the Jews?

A. No, in no way. Never did Staff Chiefs Roehm, Lutze, Scheppmann make the Jewish question the topic of their speeches or directives in that respect, that is to say a subject for incitement to violence. The concept of a so- called "master race" was never fostered in the SA; that would have been quite contrary to reason, for the SA received its replacements from all strata. The extermination of a people because of its type was never given any support by the SA, and actions

[Page 161]

of violence against Jews were not favoured by the SA. Quite the contrary, the leadership always objected most strongly to actions of that kind.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps that will be a convenient time to break off. How long do you think you are going to be with this witness?

DR. BOEHM: Mr. President, I believe I will need another hour to interrogate the witness, perhaps an hour and a half to examine him.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 14th August, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

[ 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.