The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Two Hundred and Thirteenth Day: Wednesday, 28th August, 1946
(Part 8 of 13)

[Page 218]

[DR. KUBUSCHOK, Continued]

Juettner's testimony, as well as the affidavits of Hoerauf and Freund, point to the fact that the Supreme Leadership of the SA maintained close relations with British and French circles for the purpose of forming a Western Pact up to the moment when it was eliminated from politics. I have proved that the SA received financial assistance from abroad in connection with these negotiations; furthermore, I have shown that in 1932 the leadership of the SA was actually engaged in negotiations with German Government circles for a coalition against Hitler. I have proved that from a political point of view there existed three deliberate trends as regards foreign policy, just as I also indicated that the Eastern and the Western trends were mutually opposed. In this connection, may I refer to the following extract from the speech of a member of the British prosecution of the 31st of July, 1946. I quote:

"If the German side could show that the British government had given economic assistance to the SA in order to bring it into power, subject to the condition that Roehm was placed in control, the defence would, indeed, have considerably advanced its own case. Because it is obvious that that Government of 1946 could not join in the trial against the SA if it had supported the SA in 1934."
The affidavit submitted by Hoerauf, however, shows clearly and unequivocally that the negotiations carried on between Anglo-French political elements and the SA leadership in those days were, indeed, perfectly obvious. I have furthermore shown that the contacts with British and French representatives are a clue to the events of 1934.

[Page 219]

The Indictment charges that the SA was at all times a willing tool in the hands of the conspirators. The best proof to the contrary is offered by the events of the 30th June, 1934. In connection with these events, the erroneous opinion is heard again and again that it had been possible in those days to crush an SA Putsch or a Putsch of a small clique intent upon seizing power. There can be nothing more mistaken than this train of thought. For the fact is that the SA led a life of its own within the Party as shown by Freund's affidavit (General SA-83). It is clear beyond a doubt that in the time of Chief of Staff Roehm the majority of the SA had little or no contact with the Party. The situation in 1934 was such that every free expression of opinion, above all in the Party itself, had already been suppressed and rigorous regimentation had been established. Everything was under the influence of the tendency toward political co-ordination (Gleichschaltung), coercion was triumphant and dominated public life completely. The Reich Cabinet had already been practically eliminated at that time. The Reichstag was nothing but a dummy and had no positive value whatsoever.

There was a time when the SA had enthusiastically advocated a leadership staff, but it now realized that Hitler, as Chief of Staff Roehm expressed it, surrounded himself with demagogues and non-politicians and, instead of becoming a national leader, had become a dictator. The Supreme Leadership of the SA viewed this development with growing distrust because it involved the great danger that the nation, which had given unlimited powers to the Fuehrer, was completely eliminated from the future development of the Reich and its policy. This danger and the conditions created by coercion brought about an untenable situation. Thus, there arose, at first strictly concealed, the opposition of the Supreme SA Leadership led by Chief of Staff Roehm.

Their intention was to remove the existing system and to replace it with a real popular government having the active co-operation of the people themselves. All the preparations, which have also been mentioned by the witness Juettner in the meeting of the Commission, were made along these lines. It was shown that Roehm intended to gather information at the Kulmbach convention about the situation of the workers which had come about from the dissolution of the labour unions by Ley. Here it should be expressly emphasized that Roehm authorized the participation of members of the SA in the liquidation of the unions only because the organization of the Left had weapons stored in the labour union headquarters, and it was to be a expected at any moment that civil war might spread from these labour union headquarters to the nation at large.

Roehm intended to dissolve the SS. This is proved by the affidavit of former SA Brigadefuehrer Freund. Roehm's endeavour to achieve the consolidation of the Central European area by way of negotiations with the Western powers is connected with this new State which was to be created. It has been shown that these negotiations had been under way for a number of years (Juettner's testimony, Freund's affidavit).

One of the last negotiators was SA Obergruppenfuehrer von Detten, as revealed in the affidavit of Brigadefuehrer Freund. All the documents dealing with the military-political aspects of the SA submitted by the prosecution are related to this unsuccessful attempt made by Chief of Staff Roehm. As the witness Juettner clearly testified, Roehm believed in the creation of a popular militia according to the Swiss model and based upon the framework of the SA, as part of the great plan for the creation of a Western Pact. It is regrettable that it was impossible to produce some witnesses who might have given further information on this matter to the Tribunal. Roehm's attempt failed. In addition, differences with the Reichswehr also contributed to his downfall. The 30th June, 1934, was the result of this development. The first attempt to eliminate Hitler's dictatorship definitely failed. More than 200 SA leaders were shot. From that time Heinrich Himmler was uncrowned king in Germany.

[Page 220]

The true background of the 30th June, 1934, was not supposed to become known in Germany and abroad, as this would have seriously shaken Hitler's prestige and that of his Government. That was the reason why the huge smoke-screening machinery of the Press was wound up and set in motion to divert the attention of the masses, and that was also why such a comparatively large number of persons were shot to prevent them talking. Among Party members it was forbidden to talk about the 30th June, 1934.

It is an interesting parallel that an SA leader was likewise involved on 20th July, 1944, SA Obergruppenfuehrer Count Helldorf. He was hanged.

After 30th June, 1934, the SA sank into complete insignificance. After 30th June, 1934, the SA was regarded as a disagreeable appendage. The SA was considered politically unreliable. Therefore, as was repeatedly established by the testimony of witnesses before the Commission, it was not given any further duties. The SA's destiny from that day on was nothing but the search for a task. Officially the SA was supposed to handle military-political education and athletics. In reality, however, the Party entrusted the SA with totally inferior tasks. The attitude of the Party towards the SA became particularly evident in 1939. As the witness Juettner has clearly stated, it was Bormann who sabotaged the decree of 30th January, 1939, and who did not permit the pre-military training duties of the SA to be carried out. The witness Bock has informed us of the preparation and beginning of the pre-military and post-military training programme. But he also stated that this task of the SA was terminated. Only the events of the war brought about the so-called war-time SA military units (Wehrmannschaften).

Thus the SA was never able, as the prosecution says, to "participate feverishly in the preparations for war." It is absolutely impossible that, as the prosecution claims, 25,000 officers were trained in SA schools. This claim was unequivocally refuted by the testimony of the witnesses Juettner and Bock. How unreliable the SA became in Bormann's eyes is shown by the fact that the Volkssturm was not built up from the SA. We learn from one of the affidavits submitted that the reason for this was the unreliability of the SA (General SA No. 67). The elimination of the SA is demonstrated by purely external evidence if we recall that Roehm was Chief of Staff, Reich Leader and Reich Minister, Lutze Chief of Staff and Reich Leader, and Schepmann only Chief of Staff.

During the meetings of the Commission there was much discussion about the "Wehrsport" work of the SA. Nothing has been more completely misunderstood than this. The SA is described by the prosecution as a semi- military organization of volunteers, although the duties of the Wehrmacht and the SA were clearly separate from each other. Misunderstandings resulted primarily from the fact that there is no correct English translation of the word "Wehr." Nevertheless, this concept ought to be clarified, for the prosecution itself submitted Document 2471-PS. In this document it says:

"The SA, the exponent of the desire for military preparedness (Wehrwille). The SA claims to be the exponent of the desire for military preparedness (Wehrwille) and of the defensive force (Wehrkraft) of the German people. The emphasis on these qualities may have led to misunderstandings abroad, partly because foreign languages are unable to translate correctly the terms 'Wehrwille' and 'Wehrkraft' but substitute for them the terms 'Kriegswille' or 'Kriegskraft,' while correctly 'Verteidigungswille' or 'Verteidigungskraft' (force) should be used. Because 'Sich wehren' is a linguistic derivation from 'Abwehr' (defence), therefore, 'der sich wehrende' (the one who is defending himself) in every case is the one who is attacked; and, therefore, the imputations of aggressive military intentions are plainly absurd."
Ultimately, the Wehrmacht is the concentrated trained and directed force of all men able to defend themselves (Wehrfahig). At no time did the SA have anything to do with that technical military training which is given in the Wehrmacht.

[Page 221]

Therefore, the SA athletic badge has been misjudged by the prosecution. It is admitted that it was the purpose of the SA athletic badge to train citizens fit for military service (Wehrhaften). Indeed, it is also stated in the first document of 15th February, 1935:
"The new State demands a tough and hardy breed."
In the regulations concerning the implementation of the document of 18th March, 1937, it states the following:
"The training of the body in competitive sports is not a purpose in itself, but a means to strengthen German men spiritually and physically, to increase their efficiency, and to make them ready and able to serve for the maintenance of the nation even up to an advanced age."
It is also admitted that parallels exist between the work of the Wehrmacht and the SA. The idea was that the SA would train the German man to be a National Socialist and political fighter, while the Wehrmacht would give him the character and technical training of the man-at-arms; it would train him for the defence of the country. However, it would be going too far to call the SA a military unit. At no time did the SA possess any military value. The SA was nothing but an association whose members amounted to millions. From time to time field games were played, but it was forbidden to base them on military exercises. The SA man listened to an occasional lecture and practised with small-calibre rifles, once every fortnight, just as is done in rifle clubs. Therefore, the SA is far from being a military unit, even if every company (Sturm) should have had a maximum of five small-calibre rifles, which, however, was not universally true. The SA never possessed heavy arms, much less practised with them.

This was the limit of any relationship of the SA to the Wehrmacht. At no time was it recognized by the Wehrmacht. Service rank in the SA - no matter how high it may have been - had not the slightest influence on rank in the Wehrmacht. On the contrary, it often had the effect of delaying promotion. Special training certificates of the SA, such as riding certificates, medical certificates, radio certificates, received no recognition in the Wehrmacht. It is actually comic to read in affidavits that SA men from engineer units were used in Signal Corps regiments, and SA men from Signal Corps units in army engineering units. It may be stated in detail:

1. The SA uniform was the most unsuitable uniform imaginable for military purposes. In this connection I refer to the testimony of the witness Bock.

2. Apart from the small-calibre rifles already mentioned, only dagger and pistol were permitted. Moreover, the dagger was not introduced until after the year 1933. Only the Sturmfuehrers had pistols and only part of the Sturmfuehrers at that, namely, only those carried pistols who met the customary conditions in Germany for the firearms permit.

3. There were no means of transportation in the SA.

4. The SA had no depots for heavy weapons and no arsenals for small arms. Therefore, no training in the use of them could take place.

5. The SA units did not correspond to the military units. Their composition and organization were not planned from the point of view of possible military service. With the exception of the "Feldherrnhalle" Standarte, the SA were not quartered in permanent barracks. The military jurisdiction (draft board and recruiting district headquarters) did not correspond with the SA classification. A "Standarte" in the country, for instance, was territorially split up into many small "Sturme" and "Truppen," which were not fixed in number and not comparable with a military regiment.

6. Commands could not be passed on quickly.

7. Exercises in military formation did not take place.

8. The SA special units did not have any military tasks. They had no military equipment, just as they had no military value and no military mission. The SA riding companies served for equestrian sports. The engineer companies were for

[Page 222]

emergency service in case of natural disasters. The signal companies had the task of reading signals with primitive, old-fashioned methods, without the use of radio, which was forbidden, as can be seen from an affidavit. The medical companies of the SA served in accident cases in the field of public health service. Their training was in keeping with the Geneva Convention (testimony of Bock, Affidavit General SA 90).

9. The so-called "Feldherrnhalle" army units were not subordinate to the Supreme SA Leadership as evidenced by the affidavit of the former Major- General Pape (General SA 18).

10. The SA leaders were not chosen according to military consideration or ability (Bock's testimony.) The examination of the defendant von Schirach showed that the SA was incapable of providing military training. During the war the draft of an agreement was submitted to the SA for over a year, according to which the SA, like the SS and the police, was to furnish persons to the Hitler Youth for the purpose of training young men in military training camps. Documentary evidence in Exhibit USA 867 establishes that the SA leadership did not grant this request. As reason for this the defendant von Schirach states that the SA was not capable of doing it.

The concepts of "Wehrmannschaften" and "SA Wehrmannschaften" were confused by the prosecution. In the occupied territories the Wehrmannschaften constituted a consolidation of local civilian offices which were generally only concerned with administration, but if the rear areas should become endangered they were to be organized for their defence. Furthermore, the term "Wehrmannschaften" in the occupied territories also included local residents such as Lithuanians, Latvians, Esthonians or White Ruthenians, who likewise, had to defend themselves against partisans.

However, the term SA Wehrmannschaften signifies formations from the Reich itself which primarily were supposed to organize the SA men dismissed from military service in the Wehrmacht for the purpose of preserving their military efficiency. They were to be a kind of substitute for the former veterans' organizations.

The British prosecution has been good enough to submit among its documents an article from the SA Mann, which reveals what is really to be understood by military training. Probably for purposes of comparison, to determine whether the SA gave military training, it quotes these articles which deal with the training of British, French, Russian, and Italian youth, as well as that of British Dominion youth and French youth. They make it quite clear that the Supreme SA Leadership did not give any such training.

The connecting link between the military training of the SA and aggressive warfare was supposed to be a series of articles on the so-called "Lebensraum" question, which, indeed, the British prosecution has meanwhile withdrawn, since this series of articles does not indicate what the prosecution wished to maintain. The articles quoted by the British prosecution on the colonial problem mention only a peaceful recovery of the colonies. As the proceedings before the Commission have shown, these articles showed no signs of any war- mongering spirit.

Therefore, the leap which the prosecution makes in order to prove the furthering of a war of aggression by the SA is a leap in the dark. On the contrary, I have shown that the Supreme SA Leadership did everything possible to contribute to understanding among nations. This was clearly shown by the statements of the witness Oberlindober. I have also shown that only individual ideological political training was given at the Fuehrer schools of the SA, and no military training. We see from affidavits that songs which might perhaps have indicated an aggressive tendency were forbidden by the Supreme SA Leadership. I have shown that individual SA men who tried to preach a war of revenge were expelled from the SA.

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