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 Sixth Day: Monday, 19th August, 1946
(Part 3 of 4)

[Page 264]

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Merkel, it is not necessary for you to submit copies of the transcript of the Commission's evidence; it comes to us directly from the Commission, so you need not trouble about that.

DR. MERKEL: Very well, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: It is suggested to me that perhaps it would be better for you to offer it in evidence and give it a number in your list of numbers.

DR. MERKEL: Then I shall give the transcript of 9th July the member Gestapo Exhibit 63; 19th July shall be Gestapo Exhibit 64; 27th July, Exhibit 65, and 3rd August, Gestapo Exhibit 66.

I should like to suggest that the submission of these affidavits be effected in the following way so that time can be saved. Twenty-two out of the 91 have been translated. I shall now summarize the most important of these 91 affidavits according to subject matter, and I shall also read some few brief passages from the affidavits which have been translated, which seem of especial importance to me, into the record. Of the remaining affidavits, I ask that the Tribunal take judicial notice.

Besides these 91 individual affidavits, a collective affidavit is at hand composed of 1265 individual affidavits. This summary, in line with the resolution of the Tribunal of 5th July, 1946, was prepared by former members of the Gestapo who are now imprisoned, and the authenticity of this summary was certified by me. I ask your permission to read also this brief summary into the record.

I turn to the first group, and I shall summarize Affidavits Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 13, 71 and 90. They deal with the occupied countries. Jewish questions here were handled by a special detachment under the leadership of Dannecker. From 1940 to 1942 they were carried out by the French Government, in agreement with the military commander and the German Embassy. Detention camps in France were supervised by the military commander.

[Page 265]

The recruitment of French labourers for the Reich area was done by the Field Commanders. In May of 1942 the Secret Field Police were arbitrarily taken into the Security Police. Police executive power, until April of 1942, lay in the hands of the French Police and of the German military police units.

From Affidavit 2, which has been translated, I ask permission to read the following: Page 1, paragraph 2:

"From October, 1940, until October, 1941, I was chief of the branch office of the Security Police and of the Security Service in Dijon, and from December, 1943, up to the retreat from France, I was Commander of the Security Police and of the Security Service in Dijon.

Composition of the Security Police Command Dijon:

There were about 10 Gestapo members; 13 criminal police (Kripo) members, and 69 men for emergency service (Notdienstverpflichtete).

As can be seen from the list, of the 92 male members of my command at the time, only ten belonged to the Gestapo. In this connection it must be taken into account that of these ten Gestapo members, the larger part did not volunteer for the Gestapo, but were transferred or ordered to it, or came to it for some other reason, without those concerned having been able to have any influence on the decision, or to resist it."

I pass the next sentence:
"The Security Police Command Dijon must be regarded as an average command in France in respect to its strength as well as to its composition."
On Page 3 of this affidavit, after the heading "Jewish Questions," I shall read the brief paragraph which follows. It reads:
"Recaptured prisoners of war were in no case brought to a concentration camp or shot by the Dijon office, but immediately turned over to the nearest competent Army office."
THE PRESIDENT: Where are you reading now?

DR. MERKEL: The second passage in Affidavit 2, at Page 3 of the German original; it follows directly after the brief heading, " Jewish Questions." It is the next paragraph.


DR. MERKEL: I shall omit the next four paragraphs and read on:

"There were no special Security Police or Security Service prisons in the Dijon area. Furthermore, never were arrestees in any prisons executed by order of the Security Police (Sipo) or Security Service (SD), to prevent their liberation by Allied troops."
Dealing with Affidavit 3, I read the beginning of the second paragraph:
"In September, 1941, I was transferred from the infantry to the Secret Field Police, and without my having anything to do with it, in June, 1942, I was assigned to the office of the Commander of the Sipo and the SD in Poitiers."
Next paragraph:
"The Security Police Command at Poitiers was composed of about five officials of the State Police and about five officials of the Criminal Police, about 80 former members of the Secret Field Police, who, like myself, were discharged from the Wehrmacht and engaged in compulsory war emergency service in the Security Police."
On Page 2 of this affidavit, under the heading "Commando Order," I should like to read the following:
"This order is known to me only in its basic substance through Wehrmacht reports, the Press, etc." I shall omit the next sentence. "This order was not carried out in the Poitiers region. I can mention two examples: In June, 1842, in a joint operation by the Security Police and the Wehrmacht,

[Page 266]

a camp of 40 English parachute troops was raided, and during the short fight, three Englishmen were killed, the rest being taken prisoner and handed over to the Wehrmacht, although it was established that the group had carried out sabotage on a railroad three kilometres from Poitiers, more than 200 kilometres behind the invasion line, and had organized French partisans and provided them with arms."
And the next paragraph as well:

THE PRESIDENT: What does that mean, "200 kilometres behind the invasion line" in reference to June, 1942?

DR. MERKEL: That is the town of Poitiers, which is about 200 kilometres behind the invasion line.

THE PRESIDENT: There was no invasion in 1942.

DR. MERKEL: In June, 1944. That is a typographical error.


DR. MERKEL: "Likewise, in March, 1944, in the same territory, five American airmen, who were met wearing civilian clothes and in company of forty armed partisans, were taken prisoner and turned over to the Luftwaffe."
Next I should like to summarize those affidavits numbered 5, 6, 7, 8 and 14. Mr. President, I beg your pardon that the numbers are not in consecutive order, but this can be explained through the fact that these affidavits, in so far as they came from camps, were received at very great intervals. Also the witnesses who deposed affidavits here in the Nuremberg prison arrived one at a time, therefore it is unavoidable that these affidavits are not numbered consecutively. I should like to repeat the numbers: 5, 6, 7, 8 and 14. They prove that the Gestapo not only did not take part in the excesses of 9th and 10th November, 1938, but took steps against them and in numerous cases it undertook arrests of members of the SA, the Party, and the SD. The 20,000 Jews who were arrested were largely released again after their emigration papers had been procured.

Numbers 15 to 27, 29 to 34, 72, 73, 76, 84, and 85 deal with the following: The offices of the Security Police and the Security Service in occupied countries were not made up of voluntary members. Administrative officials or technical officials of the Gestapo had nothing to do with carrying out orders, and in view of the strictest secrecy which was preserved, they could not know anything about details. Employees and persons in compulsory emergency service cannot be considered as accomplices in, or as having knowledge of, the possibly criminal nature of the organization. New members were not brought in by voluntary recruitment, but rather as a result of assignment, orders and transfers.

I shall read the following into the record from Affidavit No. 15, the second paragraph:

"In May, 1919, I was assigned to the Political Police, newly established as Dept. VI with Police Headquarters in Munich."
THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. Are you reading affidavit No. 15?


THE PRESIDENT: You say the second page, the second paragraph, and you begin something about 1919. I do not see that.

DR. MERKEL: No, Mr. President, it is the first page, second paragraph, right at the beginning of the affidavit.

THE PRESIDENT: On the first page, it begins "On 1st January, 1913."

DR. MERKEL: "On 1st January, 1913." I had only omitted this first sentence and the third sentence begins with:

[Page 267]

"In 1933 I, with almost all other members of this office, was transferred to the Bavarian Political Police which, with almost the same personnel set-up, was in turn transferred to the Secret State Police in Munich. The entire personnel was screened politically by the SD, resulting in a large part of the civil servants and employees of the former political department of Police Headquarters being judged negatively."
Then I shall read from Page 2 of the German text, under No. 2:
"While I was in charge of the office from 1933 to 1939 I always pointed out to the officials under me that it was forbidden to ill-treat prisoners. I did not hear of any of my officials laying violent hands upon a prisoner."
From No. 4 I shall read the next to the last sentence of the first paragraph:
"I learned that persons frequently pretended to be Gestapo officials. These persons also committed criminal acts. Because of the increase of such incidents, Himmler issued a decree according to which all persons who impersonated Gestapo officials were to be put into a concentration camp."
From Affidavit 16 I should like to read the following on Page 1, the fourth paragraph:
"On the basis of my activity with the Gestapo office in Berlin I can confirm that the Gestapo office was made up almost exclusively of officials of the former General Criminal Police as well as of the Berlin Police Administration, who were without exception ordered to duty in the State Police."
THE PRESIDENT: You are reading 16, are you? Which page?

DR. MERKEL: The paragraph from which I was reading is on Page 1. It begins with "In 1935," and the fourth sentence," On the basis of my activity - "

THE PRESIDENT: "In 1935 without being consulted I was ordered and transferred - ".

DR. MERKEL: Yes, yes, Mr. President, that is the paragraph. And in this paragraph the fourth sentence, "On the basis of my activity with the Gestapo office in Berlin." Then I shall read the following paragraph:

"As in the Gestapo office in Berlin, so too did the great majority of the police personnel of the State Police offices throughout the Reich consist of old professional police officials who had been transferred from the old 1- A section of the Criminal Police and from the remaining branches of the police to the State Police, or were ordered there, without their wishes being taken into consideration in this connection."
Then I omit a paragraph:
"Transfers back were entirely out of the question because an order existed which absolutely prohibited them. If, in spite of this, requests were handed in for transfer back or transfer from the Gestapo to another branch of the police, such requests were usually answered with penal transfer. Such requests were not made because the Gestapo was considered a criminal organization, but mostly for purely personal reasons."
From Affidavit No. 18 I should like to read the following, on Page 3 of the German original:
"1. Officers: There were about 50 to 60 officers' positions in the whole Security Police Force.

2. Administrative officials: The administrative officials were engaged exclusively in office work for the entire police administration. They were strictly separated from the executive officials by different regulations concerning their career, by different titles, and different duty passes. Above all they had nothing to do with executive work. A change in their position and activity never took place.

3. Executive Officials: They executed the real tasks of the Gestapo which were laid down by law. In this connection it should be noted, however, that

[Page 268]

a number of these officials also were engaged in pure office work as is the case in every office.

4. Civilian Employees: The civilian employees were mainly clerks and other office personnel and personnel for subordinate work.

5. Emergency Service Conscripts."

Here I shall read only the end of this paragraph:
"No right whatsoever to complain existed if an emergency service conscript was sent to the Gestapo and not to any other governmental office or to some private enterprise."
I shall omit two paragraphs and shall read the third one which follows:
"I estimate that the Gestapo had about 10,000 emergency service conscripts by the end of 1944."

"6. Men detailed from the Waffen SS: In order to guarantee the personnel requirements of the Gestapo, members of the Waffen SS who, due to wounds and other physical handicaps, could not be utilised at the front any more were detailed to the Gestapo in increasing numbers during the war."

THE PRESIDENT: I think we had better break off now.

(A short recess was taken.)

DR. MERKEL: From Affidavit No. 18, I should like permission to read Section 7, relative to the members of the former Secret Field Police:

"With the transfer of the tasks of the Secret Field Police to the Security Police, at first in the occupied territories in the West, the members of the Secret Field Police were also taken over into the Sipo, respectively into the Gestapo. This transfer was done by order, so that none of the transferred men could have done anything against it."
And then the final sentence of that:
"Altogether approximately 5,500 men were taken over."
And the first sentence of the following paragraph:
"Particular importance was attached to secrecy in the Gestapo."
I pass the following sentence, and continue:
"Particularly by means of the Fuehrer order of 1940, which was extended immediately by the Reichsfuehrer SS to include the Security Police, keeping of secrecy was pronounced the supreme duty of all members of the Security Police, and thereby of the Gestapo. This secrecy rule was circulated at certain intervals to all members of the individual offices, receipt being acknowledged by their certified signatures. In that connection it was pointed out time and again that any offences against the secrecy regulations would be severely dealt with, and, in important cases, even be punishable by death."
From Affidavit 20, I beg permission to read from Page 1, second paragraph:
"The members of the administrative service in the lower, middle and higher grades were, by order of the Gestapo, and after 1937 of the Main Office of the Security Police, taken out of their positions as civil servants in all offices, mainly, however, from the police administration, and were transferred to the Security Police and/or to the Gestapo."

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