The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1997/12/07

                                                 [Page 1404]
Q. Did you think it was just to levy a heavy fine on some
woman here in Nurnberg, for example, that didn't even know
this Jew that was supposed to have committed murder?

A. I would not have made such a law. You are right: You
cannot make anybody responsible just because he belongs to
the same idea.

Q. In other words, you didn't think it was just, did you?

A. I probably did not agree with it inside of me. My
activity in this whole affair was probably very passive; all
I did was sign.

Q. In 1941 you were a member of the Ministry for the Defense
of the Reich, were you not?

A. Since 1939.

Q. Yes. And do you remember the decree that was issued by
the Ministry on 4 December, 1941, and signed by you, with
reference to the treatment of the Poles and Jews in Poland?
[Document 2746-PS, Vol V., p. 386. R-96, Vol. VIII, p. 72.]

A. That doesn't come under the laws any more.

Q. This is a decree of the Ministry for the Defense of the
Reich, issued 4 December, 1941, and it has reference to
treatment of Poles and Jews in Poland; do you recall such a

A.  Only as far as the treatment concerning the law was
concerned, if they were brought up before a court.

Q. I hand you a copy of the decree, which is signed by you,
and ask you to look at it and see whether it refreshes your
recollection (hands witness a document).

A. That only concerns Poland and southeast Prussia. That is
only a territorial rule and that does not concern all of

Q. Well, the purpose of that decree was to set up some
special judicial procedure for occupied territories in
Poland, wasn't it?

A. A new judicial procedure was founded according to the
situation as it was existing at that time.

Q. In other words, this decree created a special judicial
procedure for Poles and Jews in Poland different from the
judicial procedure in Germany proper?

A. A special procedure for Jews and Poles in those

Q. And the rules of procedure were much more harsh and
severe than they were in Germany, weren't they?

A. Because from the experience that these people were the
ones who committed these acts. In charge of all this was the
Minister for Justice, but since he was not represented in
the Defense Ministry, I just took it over to bring it into
this office.

Q. This decree provided for the death penalty for Jews and
Poles for any act of violence against the Germans, didn't

A. This was done to give a possible protection to the
Germans because there were always fights between the Germans

                                                 [Page 1405]
the Poles.

Q. Well, the law does so provide for such a death penalty,
doesn't it?

A. Well, if it is in that law, it must be.

Q. Well, look at it and see if it isn't in it?

A. (Witness looks over document) Well, this is for any acts
of violence against any Germans or against higher German

Q. The law also provides that the death penalty can be meted
out to a Pole or a Jew for having any anti-German

A. What do you mean?

Q. By that I mean by making statements that he is opposed to
Germans he can be shot and killed, can he not, under this

A. I am not informed about the details of this decree.

Q. Let me ask you this: It also provides that a Jew or Pole
can be shot for tearing down any sign that is posted by a
German, does it not?

A. There were special measures taken for the safety of the
German people.

Q. Well, you consented to and signed a decree which approved
shooting a person for tearing down a sign off a wall, didn't

A. In this decree (indicating document)?

Q. That's right.

A. It would have been an act of sabotage.

Q. Don't you think that's a pretty severe penalty for
tearing down a sign that is posted on the wall?

A. At that time it was still during wartime.

Q. No, but this was civil administrator's regulation, by the
department of Interior, generally, under this decree, wasn't

A. This was handled by the Minister of Justice.

Q. The military government did not have to have any law to
shoot a man if they wanted to; they just shot him. This was
a civil administration, wasn't it?

A. It was not time of war any more but probably the
situation was not considered very steady and, therefore,
some kind of protective measure had to be taken.

Q. Well, you favored a law providing that if a man tore down
any kind of a sign, he could possibly be shot for doing so,
is that right?

A. Where is that written about the sign?

Q. (Interrogating officer indicates section of document to
witness who reads it.) Did you subscribe to a code of
justice that a Jew can be shot for tearing down any sign
that is posted?

A. You must consider that as a semi-wartime measure.

                                                 [Page 1405]
Q. Well, you subscribed to this sort of decree under the
circumstances that existed in the civil government in the
territories at that time, didn't you?

A. Naturally, that was an exceptional decree.

Q. This decree also provides with reference to judicial
procedure that Poles or Jews cannot object to a judge
because he is prejudiced.

A. That is possible; that they may not refuse a judge.

Q. In other words, you subscribe to a code of justice that
provides that even though the judge is prejudiced you would
be tried by him anyway, is that right?

A. Because these were exceptional times it was said that no
one can refuse a judge.

Q. Under the times that existed them you thought it was fair
to have a Jew or Pole tried before a judge who was already
prejudiced against him?

A. During times of war you don't have time to refuse a

Q. But this was the civil administration of these
territories after the war was not in progress in Poland, was
it not?

A. The war was not over; only Poland was beaten at that

Q. There was not any fighting going on in Poland in 1941,
was there?

A. There was actually no more war but just because such a
law was passed, you cannot say that everything was not quite-

Q. Assuming that would be true, you still think that it is a
fair and judicial code to have a trial before a judge who is

A. In such cases it can't be done any other way, and I
probably would not have signed any such decree if I saw it
could be done in any other way.

Q. Why couldn't a law provide that you pick an impartial man
to try Jews?

A. It is not said that the jury could be prejudiced; it's
only done to prevent a sabotage so that the accused could
not refuse one judge after the other.

Q. Well, if the defendant could show that the judge was
prejudiced, don't you think it would be right for him to
have an impartial judge?

A. If actually such a prejudice would exist on the side of
the judge, I think the judge would not agree to handle that

Q. But he didn't have to refuse to act under this decree,
did he?

A. It was up to the judge then.

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