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 12 of 13)

[Page 236]

[DR. BOEHM, Continued]

Justice demands that the Mounted SA be exonerated of the charges brought against it, since both of the other sports organizations of the Party, the National Socialist Motor Corps and the National Socialist Flying Corps, were justly not indicted, because of their sporting aims. Thanks to the political influence of their leaders, the NS Motor Corps and the NS Flying Corps succeeded in achieving complete independence from the SA. During the whole period of its existence the Mounted SA likewise made efforts to secure this complete independence, but obtained it only in part. In its leadership it remained subordinate to the SA. The Mounted SA was probably not given any complete independence for the reason that the Party leadership did not consider it politically reliable. Under these circumstances a conviction of the Mounted SA would be felt to be a grave injustice, quite apart from the fact that the reproach of preparing for a modern war should rather apply to those who were trained in motor vehicles and aeroplanes than to those who devoted themselves to equestrian sports and horse breeding.

Still another group within the SA which had even less to do with political aims than the Mounted SA is represented by the so-called medical units.

In the formation of the latter the pressure of legal coercion made itself strongly felt. Legal coercion means that decrees, enactments, or statutes exist by virtue of a law which make service in an organization, for instance in the SA, compulsory. This applied to the greater portion of the so-called SA doctors. This is shown by the affidavit of Dr. Carrie (General SA Affidavit No. 74). In his affidavit it is stated that if doctors refused service in these units they were dismissed from municipal service.

Moreover, who can find anything criminal in their activity? Their task consisted in training persons for first aid in case of accidents, in installing medical aid stations, and in medical service in case of natural disasters, as well as in being in attendance at sports events.

The rank of a doctor in the SA depended on his capability. It was generally that of a Sturmbannfuehrer, or at least that of Obertruppfuehrer. The doctors in the SA, as high up as the Groups, were active in all the offices of the SA in an honorary capacity. As time went on a medical company (Sanitatssturm) was formed in every SA Standarte, which on the average comprised 100 members.

Trained SA medical men were, in general, constantly being detailed from the ranks of the medical companies to the individual SA companies. In practice it was arranged for each company to have about four to five SA medical men. The training of the SA medical men was conducted by physicians in keeping with the Geneva Convention. Some of the medical men were even trained directly by the Red Cross. The duties of the SA medical personnel corresponded to a large extent to the duties of the Red Cross.

The affidavit of Dr. Menge, Hanover, states that a large number of water-sport clubs were taken over by order of the SA as SA naval companies (Marine SA. Sturme). These SA naval companies differed from other SA units in that there was hardly one "old fighter" to be found in their ranks. The whole organization was set up after 1933. Their duties consisted exclusively in water-sport activities. Compulsory enrolment in the SA was also the case with the frontier defence units, as must be seen from the collective summarization of affidavits. From them it can be seen that this concerned a part of the SA which belonged to the latter only formally and for other than the usual reasons. I might stress that this concerned enrolment in the Frontier Defence units organized in the autumn of 1931 under Bruening and Severing, which were forcibly incorporated in the SA in the autumn of 1933. I might also point out that the duties of the so-called Reich Board of Guardians for the Education of the Young (Reichskuratorium fur Jugenderziehung), which was founded in 1932, was transferred

[Page 237]

to the sphere of the SA. In this Reich Board of Guardians for the Education of the Young there was a Chief of Educational Matters, who was also in the SA. The so-called SA duties, the so-called frontier defence tasks, fell within his jurisdiction. These SA tasks are mentioned in a document of the prosecution. Unequivocal proof is thereby furnished of the incorporation of the frontier defence units into the SA in 1933.

In my document book, in Document SA 218, I have submitted an order of the Supreme SA Leadership of 7th October, 1933. It shows that the Reich Minister of the Interior decreed in Br. I. A. 5400/26.9, of 30th October, 1933, that the auxiliary engineer service of the Technical Emergency Service was to be transferred to the SA.

The transferred auxiliary engineer units supplied by far the greater part of the personnel for the SA engineer companies. It is, therefore, natural if these units were used in current catastrophes, since they came from the Technical Emergency Service.

A predominant part of the SA members who joined the SA after 1933, for example, members of the upper classes, of the secondary schools, students, candidates for government positions, as well as members of industrial plants and skilled trades, went into the SA not of their own free will but by virtue of decrees, enactments and statutes. Not even the prosecution's ingenious but irrelevant interpretation of the Indictment can change that. The students, for example, served with the SA University Office (Hochschulamt) after they had become members of the local SA companies. None of these people could vote before 1933. The election of March, 1933, determined their evolution. They cannot in any way be held responsible for this. They were born into this period, they are the victims of this period. They believed they were serving a State which was recognized by all nations. The greater part of these young men were at the front. Many sacrificed their health and their lives for the Third Reich, which demanded everything of them. They marched out believing it to be their duty, believing that they were performing their mission. Some of them came home from the World War deceived and disappointed. And now they are to be stamped as criminals by the Indictment against the organizations. In my collection of documents I have submitted a large number of enactments and decrees which represent the fundamental reason for the entry of these young people into the organizations. I need not mention them separately; they are known to the Tribunal. Are these people now to be punished because they fulfilled the duties which were imposed upon them by law and statute? From these young men who were enrolled in the organizations came the active fighters against the National Socialist State.

Let me give one example:

The case of Scholl, who rebelled against the coercion of this State.

These young men were born at a time when the First World War was inflicting its wounds upon the European countries. These young men suffered most from the consequences of the unfortunate development which shortsighted men created in Versailles. These young men suffered from this problem, which the bulk of the German people, as well as the Supreme SA Leadership, always wanted to solve by peaceful means. The witness Gisevius has also recognized this clearly. He stated that in the years before 1938 the mood among the majority of the SA must have been exactly the same as the mood among the majority of the German people. And this mood was beyond a doubt that the very thought of war was sheer madness. He also declared and proved that the assumption that the SA participated in war crimes must likewise be denied.

This treaty of Versailles and the chief post-war events, the blockade of the Republic and its struggle against Communism, the currency inflation, the ruin of the middle classes, unemployment, civil warfare, party armies, Parliamentary chaos, laid the foundation for the young generation and for its evolution.

[Page 238]

All of this should not be forgotten when passing judgment on the fate of the young generation within the organizations who did not vote for Hitler in 1933.

It is regrettable that this group-structure of the SA after 30th January, 1933, cannot be explained to the High Tribunal with statistics. These statistics are lacking because of the absence of the witness Wallenhofer. However, I can submit a rather accurate outline., which the Tribunal ought to have in order to get a clear picture of the SA. This outline is contained in the summarization of the collective affidavits.

As previously mentioned, on 30th January, 1933, the traditional SA had 300,000 members

The Stahlhelm was incorporated in the SA by order, as follows:

In the first contingent there were 550,000

In the second contingent there were 450,000

The following were transferred by order: -

The rural riding associations with about 200,000

The water-sport clubs with 50,000

The frontier defence units with 100,000

The auxiliary engineers' units of the Technical Emergency Service, with 50,000

In addition, Samaritan Leagues and other Red Cross Associations were transferred by order.

By virtue of official decree physicians were transferred to the SA medical associations, with 60,000

Also by order the Kyffhauser Society with 1,500,000

By virtue of legal enactment university students and students of technical high schools were enrolled numbering 100,000

Students of technical and secondary schools - by virtue of the decree of 9th September, 1933 - and religious youth societies by virtue of order joined the SA with 150,000

The Erhard Brigade was enrolled by order with 150,000

The Oberland Aviation Sports Society and the Frontbann with 200,000

Civil servants, above all, the, younger civil servants, were enrolled by virtue of government decree, numbering 200,000

The Honorary Leaders and Z.V. Leaders (leaders for emergency class) of SA 20,000

Other additions to SA amounted to 420,000

Of the 420,000 men 200,000 came from the camp of the leftist organizations, such as, for example, Red Front and Reichsbanner.

That gives a total membership of 4,500,000

Withdrawals in 1934, immediately after 30th June, 1934, were as follows:

Kyffhauser Society 1,500,000

National Socialist Motor Corps (NSKK) 450,000

SS 250,000

Political Leaders 150,000

From 1934 until the time when membership had reached 1 1/2 millions there resigned:

War casualties and physically disabled 350,000

As a consequence of legal proceedings 40,000

By transfer to other organizations 260,000

Thus number of members reached 1,500,000

[Page 239]

In the course of the next few years there was a great change in personnel. Part of the members left because of death and illness. These were replaced by the rising generation. They came mostly from the Reich Finance Schools (14 schools) with about 50,000 members, as well as from students and the younger civil servants, who were legally compelled to serve in an organization, from the Hitler Youth, whence they were transferred to the SA. The conclusion of the testimony of 13th March, 1946, Paragraph 6A, Figure 2, emphasizes that it would be of importance whether the membership of the SA was in general voluntary or the result of legal decree. The preceding outline clearly shows that in general there can be no question of voluntary membership of the SA, but that in the majority of cases membership was secured by virtue of orders or legal compulsion. Therefore, large numbers were incorporated in a body by virtue of official enactments or decrees by Hitler, which according to the law concerning the unity of State and Party are legal decrees or have a legal character. Accordingly, a condemnation of the SA as a collective organization is not possible, because any unified objective is lacking.

If we picture to ourselves the period after 1933, we come to realize that the Third Reich was a national police State. From the affidavits of many transferred members of the Stahlhelm, it can be seen that as early as 1933-1934 attempts to resign from the SA were considered by the State authorities as the expression of an attitude hostile to the State, unless they were based on very weighty reasons, such as grave illness. Other reasons than reasons of health were not recognized. Significant in this connection is the decree of 27th February, 1936, of the Reich and Prussian Minister of the Interior, submitted under SA 222, in which it says:

" ... Then in every case a thorough investigation is to be made as to the reasons why the government employee resigned from the Party. If he did this because he disapproved of the programme or the political tendency, he cannot remain a government employee. But even if this is not the case, the resignation of a government employee from the Party can, in view of the close relationship between Party and State, lead to the conclusion that the employee lacks the inward allegiance to the National Socialist State or the necessary spirit of sacrifice."
If we look at Document SA 221, we read the regulation that the sworn obligation to the Fuehrer makes it impossible for anybody to leave the SA in the same way that they would resign from any other association, and that only the development of a physical disability or employment in some other capacity would enable one to resign from the SA. Other reasons left only one possibility: expulsion. The circular decree of the Reich and Prussian Minister of the Interior theoretically recognizes the possibility that, although expulsion from the Party and its organizations is designated as a severe punishment, the man in question, with his wife and children, might even be deprived of work and bread. That this regulation had already been applied in practice before is evident from a judgment of the Provincial Labour Tribunal of Bielefeld, according to which in cases of expulsion from the SA the employer could not be expected to provide further employment (Document SA 220). It is not surprising that in the National Socialist State regulations were carried out before they became legally effective.

For in this official commentary by Pfundtner-Neubert the following is said concerning the decree of 28th February, 1939:

"This sort of new order in the legal system is in keeping with the principles of National Socialist State leadership. It does not proceed in the same way as the constitutional State, that first issued high-sounding laws, which, however, it was unable to carry out because the necessary conditions for this were lacking, apart from the fact that the executive branches of the Government were also unable to do so, but the Government of the Third Reich first creates the actual conditions which are necessary for the execution of a government measure and then issues the corresponding law."

[Page 240]

Moreover, I might refer to Affidavits 1, 2, 3, 4, of the Stahlhelm, to the testimony of Hauffe and von Waldenfels, as well as to SA affidavits 67 and 87, which stress, the impossibility of resigning from the SA.

An attempt to resign for other reasons than of health would have resulted in expulsion. The consequences of this expulsion were, in addition to an automatic subjection to police supervision, the endangering or loss of one's economic position or profession, especially in the case of government officials and employees, or economic boycott and the danger of arrest because of political unreliability. The prerequisite for every profession was the so-called stamp of political reliability, which was obtainable only within the organizations, and the administration was not inclined to depart from it out of consideration for alleged or actually existing professional qualifications or family circumstances. Political reliability was demanded by the Third Reich. Therefore, it demanded service in the organizations by decrees. To exclude oneself meant what is written in Affidavit No. 81:

"It was widely known that a refusal to obey the decrees of State and Party led to the supervision of one's activity since it meant excluding oneself from service to the national community."

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