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 and Third Day: Wednesday, 14th August, 1946
(Part 5 of 6)

[Page 179]


Now I just ask you, witness, did you know an SA Sturmfuehrer called Schroepfer, S-c-h-r-o-e-p-f-e-r?

[Max Juettner] A. I did not know any Sturmfuehrer Schroepfer in the SA.

Q. Did you know an SA Sturmfuehrer called Bub, B-u-b?

A. I did not know him, either.

Q. Did you know a man in the SA whose rank, unfortunately, I have not got, called Gewecke, G-e-w-e-c-k-e, who became district commissioner for this area 130 miles south of Riga?

A. Likewise unknown to me. The district commissioners, the commissioners in general, were not employed by the SA, but by the Ministry for Eastern Affairs, and we had no influence of any kind with them.

Q. Kibart says he was in the SA and I am just asking you to try to remember if you know him. There is no doubt that he exists. We have got captured documents signed by him. But I want to know, did you know him, Gewecke?

A. I understood you thoroughly, but apparently you misunderstood me previously because you are stating that I did not know Kramer and Lenzen, but I merely said -

Q. I did not say that, witness, and do not let us have any misunderstanding. I was just making quite sure by informing you that there was no doubt that Gewecke was there because his name appears in captured documents, and I wanted you to be quite sure you did not know him before you gave your answer. You did not know him?

A. No, I do not know him.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, then I will again state it quite shortly: In the first two paragraphs the deponent says that he is a leather worker, and where he was working. In the third he says that he was cursed and beaten by the SA when he was at work. Then in paragraph 4 he says that Schroepfer was there first and afterwards Bub. And in 5 he said: " It is hard to judge, but I estimate that there must have been 700 to 800 SA men there at the beginning, but they decreased in numbers later. I knew them as SA because they wore brown uniform with swastika armlets. Later on they used other Germans in the locality as auxiliaries." Then in 6 he says: "There were 4,500 Jews in the ghetto, which

[Page 180]

was very overcrowded; therefore, in August, 1941, the SA surrounded the whole ghetto, and numbers of them went into the houses and took out women, children and old men, and put them into lorries and drove them away. I saw all this myself. It was done exclusively by SA. I saw them take children by the hair and throw them into the lorries. I did not see what happened to them, but a Lithuanian told me afterwards that they had been driven twenty kilometres away and shot. He said he had seen the SA make them undress and then shoot them with automatic pistols." Then paragraph 7 says they were shot if they took food into the ghetto and describes the capture of a master baker who had four or five cigarettes and some sausage, and his hanging. Then paragraph 8 deals with Gewecke, and, my Lord, I ask the Tribunal to note: "The District Commissioner in whose courtyard I worked was called Gewecke. I saw him every day. He was in the SA. The SS took over from the SA in September, 1943, and the ghetto then became a working camp."

Now, my Lord, if your Lordship would be good enough to turn to Page 107, you will see a report from Gewecke - from Schaulen. My Lord, that is Document 3661-PS, which will become Exhibit GB 601. It is dated 8th September, 1941, from Schaulen, where he was Regional Commissioner, to the Reich Commissar for the Eastland (Ostland). My Lord, I understood - I may be wrong - that Ostland included Lithuania, Esthonia and Latvia only, but that is the position. This is a complaint about an SS Standartenfuehrer called Jaeger interfering in Schaulen's activities, and after explaining that he had managed to acquire - or rather, that his agent had been acquiring some Jewish silver and gold articles, he then says - my Lord, this fresh, incident merely demonstrates that Jaeger does not consider himself bound by the instructions issued by the Reich Commissar and by the Regional Commissar regarding the seizure of Jewish property and that he meddled in matters -

DR. BOEHM: This document which is now being presented refers to an SS Standartenfuehrer Jaeger. I do not think the case of the SS is being discussed, and I request that the document be presented when the SS is dealt with, because it has nothing to do with the SA.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, the evidence is that the signatory of this document is a member of the SA. He was acting as commissioner, and my friend can make what argument he likes on that. He was a member of the SA and here he is protesting against the SS coming in and taking Jewish property, exactly the thing which the evidence states the SA have been doing in this area. My Lord, that is why I submit the document, as a useful corroboration.

DR. BOEHM: This man was not a member of the SA in that territory, but was working as a commissar.

THE PRESIDENT: We have just had evidence that he was, and the witness in the box says he does not know, so I do not know on what authority you say that he was not.

DR, BOEHM: It may be that he was one, but not in his capacity as a member of the SA, but rather as a member of the Ministry for Eastern Affairs. The SA had nothing to do with it.

THE PRESIDENT: That is a matter which the Tribunal has got to consider. We will consider the evidence of this witness, who says there was no SA in this particular place at the time. We will also consider the evidence of the deponent in the affidavit, who says that this man Gewecke was there in SA uniform with a lot of other SA men. That does not make this document, which is a captured document, inadmissible.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, the next paragraph is the only matter which I want to trouble the Tribunal with: "If the SS continues to overreach

[Page 181]

itself in this fashion, I, as Regional Commissar, must refuse to accept responsibility for the orderly confiscation (Erfassung) of Jewish property."

THE PRESIDENT: Now, I suppose that Dr. Boehm's argument upon that would be that this witness, Gewecke, was acting as Regional Commissioner and not as a member of the SS.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, that is a perfectly proper argument for Dr. Boehm to advance. Of course it is important, when your Lordship has these affidavits in which this man is dealt with, that one should be able to tie it in with a captured document. That is really what I wanted to do.


Q. Well, now I come for a moment to a point that you have mentioned several times. You said that the only SA organization in this area was a unit formed by the defendant Frank in the Government General, I think in April, 1942; that the SA unit of the Government General was formed under the orders of Lutze and the command was taken over by the defendant Frank. That is right, is it not? And you said that he had a special staff for the actual carrying on of the unit which, I think, was in the hands of two men called Selz and Friedemund, if I caught your evidence right. Is that so?

A. No, that is not right. In the first place, the names were not Friedemund -

Q. If those are not the names, please blame me. I took them down as I understood them. You tell us the right names. It is my fault entirely if I got them wrong. What were the names?

A. The correct names were Pelz and Kuehnemund, and this operations staff was not under the former Governor General Frank, but directly under the Chief of Staff, who managed affairs, and Frank was merely appointed leader of the SA there, as I have already described. As to the other affidavits, I may, I hope, have an opportunity to state my views later.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, your Lordship will find - it is in evidence, in 2216-PS, Exhibit USA 424, the extract from Das Archiv, giving that foundation of the unit in the Government General.


O. What I want you to tell the Tribunal, witness, is: What was the purpose of forming a unit in the Government General?

A. There were two purposes; but first of all, may I put a question with reference to the affidavits of Kovno, Schaulen and Riga; I have an explanation to make which is necessary to establish the truth. I wanted to ask whether I may do so now, or should I do so in connection with the question which has just been asked?

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks that it will be better for your counsel to put questions to you in re-examination upon that evidence.


Q. Now, I want you to tell me, as shortly as you can, what was the purpose of forming a unit of the SA in the Government General in 1942?

A. There were two purposes. First of all, to keep the Reich Germans who were working in the Government General united in a comradely way, if they were members of the SA, and, secondly, to bring people of German origin, who appeared inclined and well-adapted to join the SA, later, into the community by making them familiar with the German language, German customs, etc., and the comradeship which we cultivated in the SA.

Q. I want to get that clear. You said it was an entirely peaceful purpose in the Government General. Do you adhere to what you have told the Tribunal, that there were no other SA formations operating in the Eastern territories, and particularly, I ask you about the territory Ostland; that is, as I understand it,

[Page 182]

including the old countries of Lithuania, Esthonia and Latvia - I have already put certain evidence to you, but I want to get this clear. Are you prepared for your proof to be judged on the fact - on your answer to this question: Do you say that there were no SA units operating in Ostland?

A. I am prepared to answer that question very clearly. The supreme SA leadership did not set up an SA organization in this territory of Ostland, which, if I understood you correctly, you just described as Lithuania and Latvia. A German SA was not formed there. If any SA were supposed to have been formed there, then it was a wild organization which had nothing to do with the SA leadership in the slightest. I know nothing about an SA having been organized there.

Q. That is your answer. My Lord, I wonder if the Tribunal would look for a moment just at a part of Document 1475-PS, which is also R-135, and it is Document Book 16-B, Page 81, Exhibit USA 289 - my Lord, it comes just after Page 81 in the book. It is 81-A. Would you give the witness a copy? My Lord, that is the protest of the Reichskommissar for Ostland to the defendant Rosenberg, and the Tribunal is probably familiar with that bit. The first page is a protest against killing off so many Jews in the "Cottbus" project because they would have been useful for slave labour, and, in any case, the locking of men, women and children into barns and setting fire to them does not appear to be a suitable method for combating bands. That is the effect of that. Now, my Lord, there is a catch to that. On the next page is the report of 5th June, 1943, from the General Commissioner of White Ruthenia to the defendant Rosenberg, through the Reich Commissar for Eastland, and, my Lord, it may be that the territory is slightly out of that mentioned, but at any rate I'll make it perfectly clear. My Lord, it begins by saying: "The result of the operation, between 4,500 and 5,000 enemy dead, suspected of belonging to bands, who apparently were the people who had been locked up and burned in barns." Then, my Lord, below it gives the booty, and then the next paragraph: "The operation affects the territory of the General District of White Ruthenia in the area of Borissov. It concerns in particular the two counties of Begomie and Pleschtschamizy. At present, the police troops, together with the Army, have advanced to Lake Palik and have reached the whole front of the Beresina. The battles are continuing in the rear zone of the army."

Then there is another note to the effect that only 492 rifles were taken from 4,500 enemy dead. Now, my Lord, it is the next sentence: "By order of SS Obergruppenfuehrer von dem Bach" - my Lord, that is the officer who gave evidence before the Tribunal some months ago - "units of the - " Witness, I ask you to note this: "Units of the Wehrmannschaften have also participated in the operation. SA Standartenfuehrer Kunze was in command of the Wehrmannschaften." Now, witness, are you going to tell the Tribunal that the SA Wehrmannschaften were not a section of the SA and that the Standartenfuehrer Kunze was not operating as a member of the SA?

A. Yes, I shall be very willing and glad to give a clear answer to that. First of all, it does not say "SA Wehrmannschaften." It says "Wehrmannschaften." Secondly -

Q. Just a moment. Are you suggesting that Wehrmannschaften does not mean SA Wehrmannschaften? That it is not a unit of the SA - is that your answer?

A. In this case, it was not a unit of the SA. I maintain that very definitely. If such Wehrmannschaften existed at all, they were not Wehrmannschaften which had been formed or organized by the SA.

Secondly, if SA Standartenfuehrer Kunze commanded these Wehrmannschaften which had presumably been formed there, then in no case did he command them in his capacity as SA leader, but rather in connection with the Eastern administration.

Q. But he was in command of the Wehrmannschaften. Are you saying that when you have got a well-known SA formation, the Wehrmannschaften commanded

[Page 183]

by a SA Standartenfuehrer, you are telling the Tribunal that they were not operating as SA at all, is that your evidence? You really ask the Tribunal to believe that? All right, I am putting another document to you. My Lord, if you will turn to Page 64-A, you will find -

A. In this connection I must add that it is not merely that I want to make the Court believe this, but it was actually so. SA Wehrmannschaften is a very frequent term. There were Wehrmannschaften elsewhere, too, which had nothing to do with the SA, and apparently these here were of such a kind.

We did not have any Wehrmannschaften there. Standartenfuehrer Kunze was not acting as an SA leader. The SA leadership and organization had nothing to do with these things, or with the events described in Schaulen, Riga and Kovno.

Q. Now, witness, just do be careful before you answer this: Do you say that there were no SA Einsatzkommandos securing forced labour inside the Government General? That is a simple question. Do you say that there were no SA Einsatzkommandos collecting forced labour inside the Government General?

A. The SA knew nothing at all about Einsatz Kommandos.

Q. Now, I suggest to you that is absolutely untrue.

A. SA leadership, that is -

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