Session No. 55
14 Sivan 5721 (29 May 1961)
Presiding Judge: I hereby declare the fifty-fifth Session of
the trial open.
Attorney General: With the Court’s permission, we are
obliged to interrupt, for a short time, the evidence about
Hungary, and to request the Court to hear evidence of a
general nature. I shall call Professor Gilbert. Professor
Gilbert will testify in English.
Presiding Judge: Is he Jewish?
Attorney General: Yes.
[The witness is sworn.]
Presiding Judge: What is your full name?
Witness: Gustave M. Gilbert.
Attorney General: Professor Gilbert, what post do you occupy
Witness Gilbert: I am chairman of the Psychology Department
of Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York.
Q. What are your professional qualifications?
A. I am a qualified psychologist, having received the
Doctorate at Columbia University in 1939. I also hold a
diploma from the American Board of Examiners in Professional
Q. Were you in military service during the Second World War?
A. Yes, I was commissioned as a military psychologist with
the rank of First Lieutenant, and after spending some time
examining misfit soldiers, I was sent overseas as a military
intelligence officer, because of my knowledge of German. At
the cessation of hostilities, I was assigned to the
International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, where the
major Nazi war criminals were about to be tried. That was
the first trial of the major war criminals.
Q. What was your function at the Nuremberg prison?
A. It was, first of all, to make psychological examinations
of all the defendants – Goering, Hoess, Ribbentrop and so
on, in order to be informed of their mental state, in case
any question of insanity arose, and also to keep watch over
them – to be with them at all times, so that I would have my
finger on the pulse of their morale and so on, and do
everything that was possible to ensure the conduct of an
Q. Were you their doctor in the sense that what they said to
you was a medical confidence between patient and doctor?
A. No; I am not a physician in the first place, but more
important than that, their position there, and my position
there was clearly not one of clinical confidences. In other
words, I was there in the uniform of the American army – I
was a military psychologist; it was my responsibility to
watch over them, and I never at any time pretended that
anything they said to me was in confidence. There was just
one limitation on this, and that was that, as the Nazis
ridiculed and cursed each other behind one another’s backs,
they would sometimes ask me to please not say anything about
it to the others until the trial was over. I kept that
Q. Professor, did they know that you were Jewish?
A. At first they did not. I wanted to see whether they
could tell according to the Nazi ideology that you could
always tell “these despicable Jews.” Not a single one
could. However, Streicher did think that some of the judges
were Jews. They were of course not – none of them. So I
let it be known that I was Jewish and they, in turn, did not
seem to react to this, beyond making it clear that they
never had anything against Jews personally, that this was
all silly ideological nonsense, and that some of their best
friends had been Jews.
Q. Did the fact that you revealed to them that you were a
Jew have any effect on your subsequent talks with them?
A. There was not really much, except in the case of
Streicher and Rosenberg, who seemed to be a little nervous
about it, but they reacted in rather a strange way:
Streicher, for instance, decided that, since the Jews were
fighting courageously to make a homeland in Palestine, he
wanted to “lead” them, because he admired their courage.
Outside of such nonsense, there was really no appreciable
effect. I behaved absolutely correctly – they appreciated
it, and the study went on in a perfectly dignified
professional manner. Perhaps I might add that there is
ample evidence that I had the respect and cooperation of the
defendants – perhaps Dr. Servatius himself can confirm this.
Q. Let us continue. Did you give any official evidence
before the International Military Tribunal in relation to
A. The only actual official testimony was in connection with
the sanity hearing for Rudolf Hess. I testified – I gave
the final testimony that Rudolf Hess was, in fact, sane; and
this testimony appears in Volume I of the proceedings of the
International Military Tribunal. Now, aside from that, of
course, I had examined all of the defendants and was with
them all through the trial.
Q. Did you subject them to psychological tests?
A. Yes. I administered intelligence tests and personality
tests to all of them before the trial started, to be sure
that these would be valid, because it was of supreme
importance to get to understand the Nazi mentality.
Q. Did you keep in contact with the accused persons also
after the trials had begun?
A. Oh yes, I was in intimate daily contact with all of the
Nazis on trial in Nuremberg; I was with them every day in
the court, I spoke to them during the court intermissions
and during the lunch hours, and had extensive conversations
with them at night in their cells and over the long weekends
and recesses from court. This went on from the beginning of
the trial to the end of the trial, without losing a day.
Q. Did you keep notes of your conversations with these
A. Yes, I made very extensive notes after every conversation
– but not in their presence. I recorded the summary of our
conversations with extensive verbatim quotations, and
compiled this in my own diary; and the defendants were
unaware of this until about the end of the trial. I might
add that I further substantiated these conversations with
notes by getting additional documentary evidence – you would
say (protocols – I would say) – to substantiate what we had
talked about; first, for psychological evidence, and
secondly, because some of it was so incredible that I felt I
had to have a record of these people because my colleagues
would never believe me.
Presiding Judge: What was the material that you recorded?
Witness Gilbert: There were essays written by the
defendants in their own handwriting which further
substantiated what we had talked about.
Attorney General: These essays are still in your possession
to this day and have not yet been published – is that
Witness Gilbert: That’s right. These essays are in my
possession, and most of it has not been published – hardly
any of it, in fact.
Q. Your diary is here with you, as I can see – the one you
kept at Nuremberg.
A. Yes, these are my original diary notes, in their original
binding, just as I kept them in Nuremberg. In fact, it just
so happens that I had them locked in a trunk for the last
ten years, and they only arrived by diplomatic pouch last
night, so they are substantially as they were in Nuremberg.
Q. Did you publish part of it in 1947, under the name
A. Yes, that is correct. The original edition of the
Nuremberg Diary, which represents, I should say, about two-
thirds of the material in my original diaries, was published
Q. Has this now appeared in a new edition?
A. Yes, a new edition was published just this year, because
of the renewed interest in Nazi war crimes, and it is an
authentic reproduction of the original edition. In fact, it
went to press before I even knew it, and it was printed from
the original manuscript.
Q. Is this the book? [Shows the witness a book]
A. Yes, this is the book. This is the authentic copy of the
original edition, which was edited by me from my own
original diary notes.
Attorney General: I shall now submit this, for the Court’s
convenience, if that should be desirable. I have another
Presiding Judge: Perhaps you have two more?
Attorney General: I shall submit the second one as well, at
the end of the session.
Witness Gilbert: I have a further copy.
Presiding Judge: Thank you very much. This will be marked
Attorney General: We shall come back to this diary of yours,
but meanwhile I wanted to ask you a number of questions.
When you were in Nuremberg, did you see Judge Musmanno
Witness Gilbert: Oh yes. He wasn’t Judge Musmanno then. He
was Commander Musmanno of the Navy. I remember him very
Q. When was that?
A. It was somewhere around the early part of the trial. I
don’t remember the exact date.
Q. What was Judge Musmanno doing there?
A. He was on two missions, as I recall. One was to
investigate the death of Adolf Hitler. The other one
pertained to naval military intelligence, and I don’t think
I’m free to speak about that. It’s quite irrelevant to the
Q. Did you introduce him, Judge Musmanno, to some of the
A. Yes, I did. I particularly remember that because he was
the only one outside of some psychiatrists who was allowed
to come down into the cells. In other words, everybody was
kept out of the gaol cells – except myself, chaplains and so
on, and occasional psychiatrists for the psychiatric
examinations – but Musmanno had special permission to come
down, and I introduced him to several of the top Nazi
defendants to satisfy his commissions.
Q. Did you take him to Goering?
A. Yes. Goering was one of them. Since Goering couldn’t
speak English, I remained for that interview as his
Attorney General: At this stage, I request the Court to
rule, by virtue of its powers under Section 15 of the Nazis
and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Act 5710-1950, that
Professor Gilbert should be permitted to recount what he
heard at Nuremberg from the following persons: Goering,
Ribbentrop, Keitel, Frank, Oswald Pohl, Ohlendorf, Rudolf
Hoess (the commandant of Auschwitz), and Kaltenbrunner. All
these conversations are relevant to the subject under
discussion; some of them are also linked to the evidence of
Judge Musmanno and to the matters on which he testified,
others are linked directly to the Accused, to persons with
whom he was in contact, and with remarks which they made
about him, with their mentality, with the Nazi personnel
Presiding Judge: With whose mentality?
Attorney General: Of the accused persons.
Presiding Judge: Of the persons who were accused there?
Attorney General: Of the persons who were accused there. We
also showed Professor Gilbert the psychological tests which
we conducted on the Accused here, and we shall ask him to
make a particular comparison between the tests that he was
shown here by the government psychologists and the tests he
Presiding Judge: Were tests conducted here as well?
Attorney General: Tests were conducted here. We shall
submit them in the proper way through the persons who
conducted them. These are public officials of the Ministry
of Health. Psychological tests were made. We shall submit
them. Professor Gilbert has seen them.
Presiding Judge: Very well, that may be an additional
Attorney General: Yes, this is an additional question. But
I am explaining why I am interested in evidence on the
personality of an SS man engaged in exterminating Jews.
Together with it a certain question of comparison will
Presiding Judge: At the present moment this matter is not so
clear to me.
Attorney General: Perhaps the Court will allow me to go over
this stage by stage?
Presiding Judge: Perhaps we could separate the issues and
leave this question of the psychological tests on one side
for the time being.
Attorney General: As the Court pleases.
Presiding Judge: Yes, Dr. Servatius?
Witness Gilbert: Pardon me, may I receive a summary of what
is being discussed?
Presiding Judge: No, this is a legal argument. If it would
be more comfortable for you to be seated, you remain where
you are; if not, you may leave the witness box. Perhaps
some member of the Prosecution, Mr. Bach, the Assistant
State Attorney, will explain to you briefly what is going on
here, as we did in the case of Judge Musmanno. For that we
have a precedent.
Dr. Servatius: If a psychological research is going to be
presented here dealing with what the Nuremberg accused said
and thought, I should have received, in the first place, the
tests that were conducted here concerning the Accused
Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, pardon me. I have already
said to the Attorney General that we shall deal separately
with the question of the psychological tests. We now have
here an application to hear evidence on what the witness
heard from the Nuremberg accused whose names we have heard.
This is the first question, irrespective of the
psychological aspect of the matter. What is your reply to
Dr. Servatius: I believe that such a question has already
arisen here once, and it was settled by the Court. I
believe that this is hearsay evidence, and I want to voice
an objection, something which I have already done
Judge Raveh: Mr. Hausner, did you only mention persons who
are no longer alive?
Attorney General: Only persons who are no longer living. I
have here eight names.
Decision No. 58
We shall permit evidence by this witness about matters which
he heard from those persons whose names have been mentioned
by the Attorney General, on the grounds we gave in our
Decisions 7 and 29, by virtue of our powers under Section 15
of the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law, 5710-