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 Seventh Day: Tuesday, 20th August, 1946
(Part 9 of 9)

[Page 307]

DR. PELCKMANN: I have especially asked for their translation. I have not submitted any summaries of them to the Commission as they must be presented in their entirety. No. 70 is as important for the question of legal hearing of the broad mass of SS men as the presentation of the digest of the 136,000 affidavits. In order to shorten my presentation I have arranged the individual affidavits in groups and I hope that by giving the numbers I have made it possible for the Tribunal to obtain a general view of the various groups.

Group I contains the affidavit showing that the SS was a single group bound by oath in which no distinction can be made as to its composition or as to time. This is asserted by the Trial Brief on Pages IX and X in the German version. Moreover, that is asserted in the transcript on Pages 1607 and 1608 of the 19th and 20th December.

SS Affidavit 116, Petri, proves that the purpose of the Fuehrer Order of 17th August, 1938, Exhibit USA 443, was not to form an organic connection between the General SS; Totenkopf units and Verfugungstruppen but, on the contrary, to separate these various branches of the SS.

Now I sum up a group of affidavits, 13, 52, 49, 48, 42, 56, 55, 45, 54, 46, 97, 98, 53, 50, 51 and 38. I might remark, your Lordship, that a translation in English of these affidavits and also of No. 52 has already been made and is being distributed. I beg your pardon, it is only in French, your Lordship. With these affidavits

[Page 308]

I wish to prove the following: certain groups are charged in the general Indictment of the SS. They cannot be brought under the concept of a common conspiracy if only for the reason that they had only a very temporary relationship to the SS or none at all. They are the patron members of the SS, the Bauernfuehrer (peasant leaders), the so-called Ehrenfuehrer (honorary leaders), the SS Frontarbeiter, the so-called SS-Eisenbahnbaubrigaden (railroad construction brigades), the Postschutz (postal protection), the national political education institution. Furthermore, the Fuehrer des Reichskriegerbundes (leaders of the Reich Soldiers' League)that is something similar to the Stahlhelm - the SS Sportgemeinschaften (sport associations), also the Reiter Groups which were transferred to the SS - the so-called Reitersturme (troopers) which had exactly the same characteristics and history as the SA Reitersturme - and finally the students who were taken into the SS on a compulsory basis.

The following two affidavits, 118 and 101, deal with the Lebensborn organization. They prove that the tasks of this organization were to support families with many children and to care for mothers and children, including illegitimate children and unmarried mothers, but they did not afford the opportunity for the illegal begetting of children and the taking away of children for the use of the State as the prosecution has asserted.

SS Affidavit 47 is a valuable supplement to the testimony of the witness Liebrich, an SS doctor, before the Commission. It proves that doctors were taken into the SS exclusively on the basis of their professional ability. Leading doctors and leading authorities were taken into the SS to raise its prestige. It is asserted that the activity of the SS doctors of the General SS was also recognized by foreign countries, and examples of international authorities were given.

SS Affidavits 95 and 96 prove that the SS woman auxiliaries were neither members of the SS nor sponsors. These girls carried out the same work as the Intelligence and Staff assistants in the Wehrmacht and must not be confused with the female supervisors in the concentration camps for female prisoners.

There follows a large group of affidavits on the question of Germanisation, a lengthy and very difficult accusation by the prosecution. They are Affidavits 2, 112, 114, 113, 110, 115, 44, 71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 11, 43, 72, 76, 76, 78, and 80. May I add at this point that in putting such a large group together care has been taken to see that these individual affidavits are not cumulative. The affidavits supplement each other and thus give a complete picture of the points of the Indictment and the defence. These affidavits prove that the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the so-called Staff Main Office of the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood - I repeat for the interpreters - Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and Stabshauptamt des Reichskommissars fur die Festigung des Deutschen Volkstums - were not SS agencies but were State authorities. That is the formal side of the defence.

The material side is found in another part of these documents just quoted.

The SS was not entrusted with evacuation measures, Germanisation measures and the settlement of Germans in the occupied territories. SS Affidavit 89 proves that the Chief of the Prisoner-of-War Department, even after Himmler's appointment, was purely a Wehrmacht office.

When Himmler was appointed chief of the Prisoner-of-War Department nothing was changed in the organization of the Prisoner-of-War Department. The SS did not influence in any way the treatment of prisoners of war.

I will now differentiate between the documents in the next group II, and sum them up. They deal with the assertion of the prosecution that there had been organisational unity between the SS and the police. This unification is supposed to have taken place under the so-called "Higher SS and Police Leaders." That assertion of the prosecution is on Pages 12 and 16 of the German Trial Brief. It is in the transcript of the 19th and the 20th December. The following affidavits will refute this statement: 86, 87, 88 and 10.

[Page 309]

I will ask the Tribunal to pay special attention to the explanation in Affidavit 87. These affidavits prove that the Higher SS and Police Leaders within the Reich had no authority to give orders to the Regular Police and to the Security Police. On the contrary, those police branches received their orders from their respective main offices, and they were given directly and not through the Higher SS and Police Leaders.

The presentation given by Dr. Best in Document PS-1852 does not give the true facts and is wishful thinking.

The affidavits taken together in group 3 contain material to refute the assertion of the prosecution that the SS was trained in the doctrine of the Master Race and in racial hatred, and that it prepared for war mentally and physically. This assertion also appears in the Trial Brief on Page 6 and in the transcript of the 19th and 20th of December.

They are Affidavits 57, 58, 6o and 83 and prove that the SS was not trained in racial hatred and certainly not for racial extermination, also that the SS was not trained for war either mentally or physically.

The affidavits in group 4 deal with the following charges: that the Waffen SS was an integral part of the whole SS. That is found in the transcript of the 19th and 20th December, 1945

Secondly that service in the Waffen SS was with a few exceptions mainly voluntary at the end of the war, and, thirdly, that the Waffen SS, because of their ideological training, had fought in an inhuman manner and contrary to International Law. Affidavit 84 shows that the Waffen SS as a unit had no concept of Himmler's ideology, and above all that the Waffen SS heard hardly anything about the other sectors under Himmler's power, and that they were not directed by Himmler in a military sense, but only in regard to personnel questions, clothing and equipment.

The next four affidavits will be taken together, 36, 37, 39, and 40. These prove that a considerable part of the Waffen SS and also special groups such as the Customs Border Protection and the SS Motor Transport Squadron, Auxiliary Field Post, were taken into the SS on a compulsory basis.

The following affidavits, Nos. 1, 31, 32, 33, 34, and 81, prove the following:

The Waffen SS were repeatedly instructed in the observance of martial law. Martial law was in fact observed and infringements were severely punished.

Affidavits 82 and 85 deal with the SS Police regiments in the same way as the documents quoted previously. They prove that these SS police regiments were purely regiments of the regular police without connection with the SS. Also the police divisions, to be distinguished from the police regiments, were not at all under the SS up to April, 1942. Only after that were they forcibly ordered into the Waffen SS.

The "Dirlewanger" Brigade has been mentioned repeatedly. Affidavit 35 deals with this. This affidavit says:

"This brigade was not an SS unit but a unit set up on the direct orders of Himmler and composed of all kinds of persons on probation."
The next group are Affidavits 3 and 4. They prove that the assertion of the prosecution that the SS had participated in suppressing the SA on 30th June, 1934, is false. The General SS in Frankfurt and Berlin, for example, was only told to stand by. No arrests or shootings took place. I may say here in this connection that a large quantity of evidence from all over Germany is given in Affidavit 70. It is a cross- section from a whole camp, a whole internment camp, which will be presented in the digest.

The next group deals with another point of the Indictment: participation of the SS in the Jewish pogrom of 9th November, 1938. This comprises Affidavits 7, 6, 8, 9, 104, and 105. They prove that the SS in Nuremberg, Offenburg, Hamburg, Berlin and in Ulm did not participate in pogroms, but were only used for protection on the 10th November.

[Page 310]

I consider Affidavit 5 of special importance in connection with the question as to whether an order from above was given to the SS to participate in these pogroms. It is by a certain Schallermeier. I have just heard it is available in English and I would be grateful if the Tribunal would permit me to read it. I shall -

THE PRESIDENT: Has it been digested in the transcript before the Commissioners?

DR. PELCKMANN: It was digested in the transcript before the Commission, your Lordship. I do not want to read the whole document, your Lordship, but may I read only a small portion of it which is especially important.

"About 3 a.m. on November 10th (this is Schallermeier speaking) the Reichsfuehrer dictated to me in my room a statement which read as follows: 'On 9th November I went to the Fuehrer and towards 11.30 p.m. Gruppenfuehrer Wolff came to me and informed me about the order issued by the Gau 1 Propaganda Office in Munich. (I repeat Gau Propaganda Office.) I asked the Fuehrer what orders he had to give me. The Fuehrer replied that the SS should keep out of this action. The State Police offices were to take care of Jewish property and see that the Jews themselves were protected. The General SS who remained in barracks were only to be called in for protective measures if it proved necessary. I immediately passed on this Fuehrer order to Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich for the State Police offices and to the Oberabschnittsfuehrer for the General SS. When I asked the Fuehrer, I had the impression that he knew nothing about what was happening. The order came from the Reich Propaganda Headquarters and I presume that Goebbels, in his lust for power and foolhardiness, which had been obvious to me for some time, had sponsored this action at a time when the situation as regards foreign policy was at its worst.' "
May I correct myself. If I said this was Schallermeier that was a mistake. This quotation was dictated by Himmler; Himmler dictated this paragraph.

And the author of the affidavit goes on to say:

"I myself had to type what I had taken down from dictation" - I add - "then this statement of Himmler was locked up in the safe and made secure."
Some very good material for judging as to the participation, or rather the non-participation, of the SS in these events of 9th November is again afforded to the Tribunal by Affidavit 70, a digest from a camp.

The next group includes the following affidavits: 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 23, and 25. It deals with conditions in the concentration camps.

These affidavits are to prove that the treatment meted out in concentration camps, as described by those witnesses, was generally speaking satisfactory.

Ill-treatment of prisoners was severely punished. Evidence of this is given in the numerous examples in Affidavit 70, which I have already mentioned, and in the digest of many affidavits, the collective Affidavit 119-122.

Relevant to the question of authority in the concentration camps and the part which this played within the whole SS organization are Affidavits 99 and 100. They prove that the intake into concentration camps from the employment of prisoners was not turned over to the SS, in particular not to the Waffen SS, but this intake was entered in the budget of the German Reich.

The next group includes affidavits regarding experiments on living human beings. I consider them valuable only in so far as they provide an answer to the question: What did the broad masses of the SS men know of these experiments?

Affidavit 17 is to prove that in Dachau prisoners voluntarily submitted to freezing experiments after they had been medically examined and given food to make them fit. Affidavit 107 also deals with these experiments.

The following group of affidavits, 18, 22, 27, and 28, deal with the question of secrecy regarding crimes, especially crimes in concentration camps, and are to

[Page 311]

refute the assertion of the prosecution, on Pages 3419 and 3420 of the German transcript, that the whole German population knew of the atrocities in concentration camps and therefore the SS men knew about them, especially the SS men outside the concentration camps. These four affidavits prove that from all persons who came in contact in any way with concentration camps statements of secrecy were demanded, further that the concentration camp guards could not have any insight into the actual conditions of protective custody camps and that even within the garrisons (Kommandanturen) of the camps one section was not informed about the activity of the other section.

On the same question of how much the members of the SS knew, I consider Affidavit 24 very important.

In answer to the explicit question of a Waffen SS Fuehrer, who reported to him, Himmler said in April, 1944, that everything was in order in the concentration camps, and that the treatment of the prisoners was satisfactory.

Himmler made this same statement to the whole officer corps of the 17th SS Division.

Affidavit 117 proves that the utmost secrecy prevailed in the Fuehrer's headquarters and the degree of secrecy was such that nothing was known about crimes in concentration camps, the extermination of Jews and the activity of the Einsatzkommandos.

I again put three affidavits together, 63, 93 and 94. They also show that the utmost secrecy was observed within Himmler's sphere of command and especially concerning the inspection of concentration camps.

The notorious speech of Himmler's at Posen in October, 1943, is known to the Tribunal. It was made to an Obergruppenfuehrer of the SS. The Schneider Affidavit, 29, says the following:

"Schneider was warned by Himmler personally to keep absolutely silent about the Posen speech if he valued his life."
Affidavit 41 shows that the Economic and Administrative Main Office (Wirtschafts and Verwaltungshauptamt) was competent for concentration camp administration through Amtsgruppe D. This affidavit emphasized the extraordinary secrecy which prevailed within this administrative organization.

Affidavit 12 reports that the Adjutant of the Chief of the SS Personnel Main Office made inquiries of the RSHA and also of the WVHA Amtsgruppe D. That was in 1943. This Chief of the SS Personnel Main Office inquired whether rumours about the murder of Jews were true. The offices mentioned answered to the effect that those rumours were untrue, and that they were definitely enemy propaganda.

THE PRESIDENT: We shall break off now, Doctor, please. Will you be much longer in your summaries of these affidavits?

DR. PELCKMANN: No, your Lordship, these affidavits will not take much longer, but a resume of the group affidavits, which I must give so that the Tribunal will know what these group affidavits deal with, will take a little longer.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 21st August, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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