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 Fifth Day: Friday, 16th August, 1946
(Part 1 of 10)

[Page 212]

FRIDAY, 16th AUGUST, 1946


DR. BOEHM: Mr. President, yesterday, in answer to the question of how long the re-direct examination would be, I gave too long a time. After looking through the material, I believe I can say that much of it has nothing to do with the SA; and that I can abbreviate the examination considerably.



Q. In connection with Document 4011, witness, I wanted to ask you again about the report that 21 groups were engaged in the transport of prisoners. How did the report originate and at whose orders did these people transport the prisoners; that is, were these people ordered by the SA to transport prisoners, or was this activity carried out by these men in their capacity as soldiers?

A. The report originated from the activity reports which the groups made every month and later every three months. The men were under the Wehrmacht for the purpose of guarding the prisoners; the Wehrmacht selected and assigned them.

Q. Do you know the number of the SA men who were active here as Wehrmacht members in connection with the transport of prisoners?

A. I do not know the number. They were quite small units.

Q. The Prosecutor said yesterday that the so-called military training was the same before and after the beginning of the Second World War. I should like to ask you, Herr Guettner, was shooting on a battle scale taught before 1st September, 1939, or was it only small calibre shooting?

A. Only small calibre shooting, such as was practised previously. I said yesterday that soon after the beginning of the war we laid more stress on defence sport exercises and ordinary sport exercises; physical exercises took rather a second place.

Q. Do you agree with the numerous affidavits which say in this connection that it was forbidden in the SA to base manoeuvres on military situations?

A. That was forbidden, and, further, we were not able to do so because most of the SA had no previous military training and could not base the exercises on military situations.

Q. Then a small historical question. In view of the assertions of the prosecution in connection with the statements on Page 14 of Document 4011, do you know, Herr Guettner, when Memelland became part of the Third Reich? Do you know, perhaps, that it was in March, 1939?

A. I cannot say exactly, but that is probably correct.

Q. Did the region of Memelland belong to Esthonia, Latvia and Lithuania, or was it a part of the province of East Prussia; I believe I can say the prosecution is confusing the SA Group Ostland with the so-called Reichskommissariat.

A. I should like to say: In East Prussia, the SA Group Ostland, we had an SA unit and we organized and directed it. In the rest of Ostland, Lithuania, Latvia, etc., no German SA was ever organized or directed by us. This question

[Page 213]

is probably connected with the documents from which excerpts were read by the prosecution yesterday.

Perhaps I may explain to your Lordship that since the beginning of the cross examination I have been in solitary confinement and have had no contact with counsel for the SA. For that reason, I believe I may be allowed to make the following three brief statements in regard to the documents presented yesterday, which contain monstrous and untrue accusations against the SA leaders and the SA as an organization:

(1) To such serious documents one cannot reply exhaustively unless one has been able to look them over and check them quietly. I was not able to do that.

(2) There were numerous documents, excerpts of which were read, about which no questions were asked. For example, the Blomberg letter.

(3) When the separate documents were submitted to me, only questions were asked which had scarcely any connection with the facts contained in them. For example, the report of Brigade 50 regarding the destruction of the synagogues.

Even today I do not consider this report authentic, because what is actually contained in it is impossible, and moreover because what was done according to the report could not have been carried out in view of the time. But I believe that the questions of the defence will clear up any doubt.

Q. From Document 4011 the prosecution concludes that the SA leadership concerned themselves with foreign peoples. In this connection I should like to ask you if you did do that and if that was ever your intention?

A. We in the SA did not concern ourselves with foreign peoples and it was never our intention.

Q. Witness, you surely know the order of the Reich Government that in the Reichskommissariat Ostland the establishment of Party branches was prohibited. Could an SA Group or SA Brigade "Vilna" therefore exist in Esthonia, Latvia or Lithuania?

A. No, it could not exist, and we did not organize or establish any. The men of the SA who were employed there were not under the SA leadership. For example, the SA Fuehrer Kunze and Kramer, who were mentioned yesterday, were Fuehrer for special purposes. They were not under the SA leadership when they were employed there. These men also wore a different uniform from that of the SA. Perhaps the confusion is due to this.

Q. Would you have violated such an order of the Reich Government?

A. No, under no circumstances.

Q. Would it have been possible therefore for the SA to have been entrusted with the administration of the ghetto in Vilna?

A. The SA did not set up or administer ghettoes and neither the SA as an organization nor the leadership was at any time entrusted with such tasks.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Boehm, when you speak of an order of the Reich Government, are you referring to a document?

DR. BOEHM: No, but to an order of the Reich Government which is generally known.


Q. An affidavit of Herr Szloma Gold was submitted yesterday. In that connection I should like to ask you briefly whether the City Commissar of Vilna came under your jurisdiction in any way. Could you give him orders, and did he carry out any tasks on your instructions.

A. None of the Commissars in the Ostland were under the SA leadership, and they did not receive orders therefrom. If I remember rightly, women SA members were also mentioned yesterday in connection with the Commissars. There were never any woman members.

Q. Was the Provincial Commissar of Vilna ever under you?

[Page 214]

A. I have already said that the Commissars were not subordinate to the SA leadership.

Q. This affidavit does not indicate whether the man concerned is a Commissar. It merely says that the expert on Jewish questions was an SA leader called Murer. Was he under you in any way with respect to his activity in Vilna?

A. The personnel which worked with the Commissars was not under the SA leadership either, and so the, same applies to this man who is mentioned here. If he was employed there, he was on leave from the SA for the duration of his assignment, and he carried out his tasks and duties there without the SA leadership being able to influence him in any way.

Q., In connection with the Indictment against another organization, the prosecution submitted a document, Exhibit USA 276. I shall quote from Page 2 of this document, the last paragraph:

"In the first hours after the entry, in spite of the considerable difficulties, native anti-Semitic forces were incited to pogroms against the Jews. Acting on orders, the Security Police was determined to use every means to solve the Jewish question."
In the case against the SD the prosecution says that it was the Security Police who carried out the pogroms in Vilna, Schaulen and Kovno. In the case against the SA, on the other hand, the prosecution says that it was the SA. As defence counsel, I should like to know which organization is actually responsible for the Jewish pogroms in these cities, and I ask you, did the supreme SA leadership, through orders or instructions, have any part in any excesses or any murders of the Jews in this district?

A. At no time and under no circumstances.

Q. And then an affidavit of a Mr. Chaim Kagan was submitted yesterday. The witness asserts that he saw girls in SA uniforms. Were there ever female SA members?

A. I have already answered that we did not have any female SA members - never.

Q. Is the absurdity of this assignment of guilt in the affidavit not made obvious by the fact that it asserts that they were or must have been SA people because they wore a brown uniform? This assertion is made repeatedly in this affidavit.

A. In my testimony yesterday and the day before yesterday, I pointed out several times that, in the course of years, anyone who wore a brown shirt was always called an SA man. That seems to be the case here too, although those concerned had nothing to do with the SA.

Q. The same is true of the affidavit of Mr. Leib Kibart, who also calls some of the people whom he mentions SA men and he identifies them as SA men because they wore brown uniforms with a swastika armband. Were not the swastika armband and the brown uniform worn by all the other people and primarily by those people who worked in the Eastern Ministry and were engaged on duties connected with it? There was an East uniform, was there not? Was this uniform worn by the SA, and could it be confused with the uniform of the SA?

A. The East uniform was worn by those who were employed in this task, and they were employed not by the SA but by the Eastern Ministry. It was brown, and I believe that it had the swastika armband, and, without doubt, like any other brown uniform, it could be confused with the SA uniform.

Q. Document 1435-PS was submitted yesterday. It is a letter from the Reich Commissar for the Ostland, written on 18th June, 1943. What I wanted to ask you was: Did the Reich Commissar for the Ostland ever come under you or the SA Fuhrung at any time?

A. No. No Reich Commissars in the Ostland were under SA leadership. They were under the Eastern Administration. The SA leadership had no influence on them and that was not its function.

[Page 215]

Q. Now I should like to show you the paragraph which yesterday formed the subject of statements by the Prosecutor, but which, in my opinion, was taken out of the context. It reads:
"On the order of the Chief - "
THE PRESIDENT: What is the reference? DR. BOEHM: That is No. 1435-PS, Mr. President. It is the second paragraph from the end in this document.


"On orders of the Chief of Anti-Partisan Activity, SS Obergruppenfuehrer von dem Bach, units of the militia (Wehrmannschaften) took part in the undertaking. SA Standartenfuehrer Kunze led the Wehrmannschaften, which included 90 members of my group and of the District Commissariat Minsk. Our men returned yesterday from the undertaking without loss. I refuse to employ officials and Reich employees of the General Commissariat in the army rear area. The men employed by me were not deferred in order to combat partisans in the place of the Wehrmacht and the police. One railroad Wehrmannschafter was wounded (shot in the lungs)."
Does this not show clearly that these were railroad men and officials formed into fighting commandos, to combat partisans, as had to be by reason of the Soviet Russia order? Could this have been an SA commando?

A. No, under no circumstances. They were called Wehrmannschaften under an SA Fuehrer, named Kunze, who had for some time been out of the active Leadership Corps of the SA. He was a leader for a special purpose. He was in the East. I know him, but I have just learned now that he was employed in the East.

He was employed within the Eastern Administration but not as an SA Fuehrer. If he trained Wehrmannschaften, they were not SA Wehrmannschaften. There were not any there, and they were not organized, trained or influenced by us in any way.

Q. Then it is probably correct if I assume that Kunze was an official of the District Commissariat of the city of Minsk and that he had nothing to do with the supreme SA leadership?

A. That is correct.

Q. Through an affidavit of

THE PRESIDENT: Will you ask the witness, Dr. Boehm, what "Wehrmannschaften" means literally?

DR. BOEHM: The witness already commented on that yesterday by distinguishing between "SA Wehrmannschaften" and "Wehrmannschaften" of the type mentioned here. Herr Guettner, would you please -

THE PRESIDENT: I asked what the word meant literally.


Q. Witness, please explain to the President what you understand by the term "Wehrmannschaften."

A. Your Lordship, I should like to distinguish between "SA Wehrmannschaften" and "Wehrmannschaften" of the type mentioned here. The "SA Wehrmannschaften," according to the decree of Adolf Hitler of January, 1939 were to be set up by the SA in the Reich from released soldiers, so that they could be kept ready for defence physically and mentally. The "Wehrmannschaften" mentioned here were given this designation without our having anything to do with it and I imagine that these "Wehrmannschaften" were men who formed themselves into groups to combat partisans in occupied territory.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness still has not told me what the word means. It is a German word. All we want is the translation. Is it possible to translate it?

[Page 216]

DR. BOEHM: If I may explain it I would say that it is a group of persons determined to ward off an attack from any side.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you agree with what your counsel has said, or what the organization counsel has said as to the meaning of the word?

THE WITNESS: I could give it another definition. It is a unit under a leader, set up in this case for dealing with enemy action in occupied territory that is behind the front, a defence organization.

DR. BOEHM: I believe that it is necessary, Mr. President, for me to demonstrate to you with the aid of Document 4011 the difference between "Wehrmannschaften" and "SA Wehrmannschaften." In Document 4011, on Page 9, the Deputy General Kommando IV says - in the third paragraph, last line but one -

THE PRESIDENT: Page 9 of what?

DR. BOEHM: I thought I said 4011, Mr. President. It is the third paragraph. The Deputy General Kommando IV A.K. speaks of "SA Wehrmannschaften" and the same term is used on the same page in the same document in paragraph 5. It is the view taken by the Deputy General Kommando IV A.K. There it also states: "While I was on duty with the 'SA Wehrmannschaften' on 2nd June, 1940" - if he was referring to the Wehrmannschaften of the SA then they were SA Wehrmannschaften and they were explicitly designated as SA Wehrmannschaften.

[ 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.