The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 104]


TUESDAY, 11th JUNE, 1946

MR. DODD: Mr. President, I would like to clear up the matter
that I raised yesterday with respect to the notes of the
conference between this defendant and Hitler. I had the
investigation made and I think these are the facts.
Apparently, Colonel Williams of our Staff, who interrogated
him late in October, was handed these notes by the
defendant, and somehow or other they never reached our files
and have been misplaced. So the defendant was quite right in
saying that he turned them over, but I think in error in
saying that he turned them over to me.




Q. Yesterday we had reached one of the most important points
in the Indictment, the question of the evacuation of Jews
from the Netherlands. Witness, what did you do when you
learned of this removal of the Jews from the Netherlands?
Did you write any letters?

A. Yesterday I stated that I had people sent from the
Netherlands to the Auschwitz camp in order to ascertain
whether there was accommodation and, if so, what kind. I
have given you the result of this inquiry. I asked the
Security Police, that is, Heydrich, whether it would not be
possible for the evacuated Jews to keep up correspondence
with the Netherlands. This concession was made by me. For
about three-quarters of a year or a year correspondence was
maintained; not only short postcards but long letters were
permitted. I do not know how the camp administration did
this. But the letters were identified as authentic by the
addressees. When the number of letters dropped off later -
it never stopped completely - the Security Police told me
that the Jews in Auschwitz now had fewer acquaintances in
the Netherlands, meaning other Jews, because most of them
were already in Auschwitz.

Q. Witness, did you turn to Bormann, too?

A. Yesterday I stated that, after learning of Heydrich's
order, I requested Bormann to inquire of the Fuehrer whether
Heydrich actually had such unlimited power. Bormann
confirmed this. I admit frankly that I had misgivings about
the evacuation.

Q. Did you do anything to get rid of these misgivings?

A. My misgivings - which increased in the course of the war
- were lest the severity of the war would especially burden
the Jews. If there was too little food in the Reich, the
Jewish camps in particular would receive little, and
probably the Jews would be treated severely and heavy
punishment be imposed upon them for comparatively slight
reasons. Of course, I also thought of the unavoidable
tearing apart of families, to a certain extent, at least, in
the case of conscription for labour. That was the reason why
we resisted for three or four months.

The decisive argument, however, was the declaration of the
competent authority, the Security Police, that in case of a
landing attempt the Jews should not be in the immediate
theatre of operations.

I ask the Tribunal to consider that the most important and
most decisive motive for me was always the fact that the
German people were engaged in a life and

                                                  [Page 105]

death struggle. Today, looking at it from another
perspective the picture looks different. At that time, we
might have told ourselves that the Jews would be kept
together in some camp, even if under severe conditions, and
that after the end of the war they would find a settlement
somewhere. But these considerations had to be cast aside
because their presence in the battle area might have
weakened the German power of resistance.

In the course of 1943, I spoke with Hitler and called his
attention to this problem in the Netherlands. In his own
convincing way he assured me and at the same time admitted
that he was thinking of a permanent evacuation of the Jews,
if possible, from all of Europe with which Germany wanted to
maintain friendly relations. He wanted to have the Jews
settled on the eastern border of the German sphere of
interest in so far as they were not able to emigrate to
other parts of the world.

At the beginning of 1944, I spoke with Himmler, whom I
happened to meet in Southern Bavaria. I asked him about the
Jews in the Netherlands. The fact that our eastern front was
being withdrawn meant that the camps would be in the battle
area in the course of time, or at least in the rear area. I
was afraid that the lot of the Jews would become even more
serious then. Himmler said something to the following
effect: "Do not worry; they are my best workers." I could
not imagine that on the one hand the Jews capable of doing
so were working if on the other hand their relatives were
being destroyed. I believed that in that case one could
expect nothing else than that every Jew would attack a
German and strangle him.

Q. Witness, when you learned of these evacuations did you in
your capacity as Reich Commissioner help to carry out these
evacuations through your administration?

A. Since the evacuation was a fact, I considered it proper
to concern myself with it to the extent possible for me as
Reich Commissioner. I gave my deputy in Amsterdam, Dr.
Bohmke, powers to carry out the evacuation, to exercise
control and to take steps if there were excesses due to
other than unavoidable difficulties, or to report them to
me. Dr. Bohmke was in constant opposition to the so-called
Central Office for Jewish Emigration. We had to intervene
again and again, but I am convinced that we did not put an
end to all hardships.

The Jews were assembled in the Westerborg camp. When the
first transports left, I received a report that the trains
were overcrowded. I vigorously remonstrated with the
Commander of the Security Police and asked him to see that
the transport was carried out in an orderly manner. The
Netherlands Report states that at the beginning the
transports were made under bearable conditions; later,
conditions generally became worse. But that such excessive
overcrowding of trains occurred, as indicated in the report,
did not come to my knowledge. It is true that the Security
Police made it very difficult to have the execution of these
measures controlled. At the suggestion of some Dutch
secretaries general, especially Secretaries General von Damm
and Frohlich, I managed to arrange exemptions for a number
of Jews, but only in individual cases. I believe that the
number of exemptions was greater than indicated in the
Netherlands Report, at least according to my own reports.

These Jews were, at the last, in the Westerborg Camp. When
the invasion began, Himmler wanted to remove them. Upon my
objections, this was not done. But after the battle of
Arnheim, he removed them, as he said, to Theresienstadt, and
I hope that they remained alive there.

Q. Did you also release property on this occasion?

A. Those Jews who were exempted retained control of their

DR. STEINBAUER: In closing this chapter I should like once
more to call the attention of the Tribunal to Document
1726-PS, Exhibit USA 195, in the document book of the
prosecution. This document sums up the whole Jewish problem
in the Netherlands, and on Page 6 it gives all the agencies
which dealt with that problem. Under (3) you will find the
General Commissioner for

                                                  [Page 106]

Security, the Higher SS and Police Leader H. Rauter, General
of Police. Under (4) is the Central Office for Jewish
Emigration, with its Chief, Aus der Funte, under the General
Commissioner. The report says about this:-

  "Ostensibly an organisation for Jewish emigration; in
  reality, an organisation to rob the Jews of their rights,
  to segregate them, or to deport them."

This was the most important office, which was directly under
the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler, and not the defendant.

THE WITNESS: I should like to point out that Rauter
functioned as Higher SS and Police Leader in this case, and
not as General Commissioner for Security, for the measures
were carried out by the German police, and not by the
Netherlands police.

DR. STEINBAUER: The witness in a speech also spoke about his
views on the Jewish problem at one time. The prosecution has
submitted a part of this speech.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinbauer, you are putting Document
1726-PS to the witness, which contains an historical
statement, apparently. Does the witness agree that the
historical statement is accurate?

Do you, defendant, agree that his historical statement is

THE WITNESS: May I see the document?

(A document was handed to the witness.)

DR. STEINBAUER: It Is Appendix 2.

THE PRESIDENT: You see, Dr. Steinbauer, you put forward the
document and it is for you to ascertain from the witness
whether he agrees with the document or whether he challenges

THE WITNESS: The presentation of facts is accurate, except
for the corrections which I made with reference to the
General Commissioner for Security.

THE PRESIDENT: There are certain passages in the document
which your attention ought to be drawn to: February, 1941,
for instance. You have the document before you, Dr.


THE PRESIDENT: Will you look at the last entry under the
heading, February, 1941? Do you see that?


THE PRESIDENT: You have to put that to the witness. He said
that the facts are accurate.


Q. Witness, you will find under "February, 1941," a
statement - I have only the English here - saying that Jews
were arrested and then sent to Buchenwald and Mauthausen.

A. I mentioned this case yesterday. That was a measure by
direct order of Himmler, which only came to my knowledge
after it had been carried out, and against which I
protested. To my knowledge, mass deportations to Mauthausen
did not occur again after that.

THE PRESIDENT: Then what I understand the defendant to say
is that that document is accurate under the numbers 3 and 4,
on the last page. Is that right?

THE WITNESS: In my testimony yesterday I confirmed the
orders contained in this document, but not all the details
of the actual events.


Q. The presentation on Page 6, of the individual agencies is

A. The actual presentation too is basically correct.
Yesterday I spoke also of the burning of synagogues in the
Hague and Amsterdam.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, Dr. Steinbauer. Go on.

                                                  [Page 107]

DR. STEINBAUER: Now I should like to refer to Document 79,
Page 203, Exhibit USA 708. That is a speech which
Seyss-Inquart made on the Jewish question. The prosecution
submitted this document. Since it needs a little explaining
I shall begin by reading the last sentences:

  "The only thing we can talk about is the creation of a
  tolerable transitional stage by maintaining our stand
  that the Jews are enemies and thus applying every
  precaution customarily observed against enemies. As
  regards the time when Germany will not be here as an
  occupying force to maintain order in public life, the
  Dutch people will have to decide for themselves whether
  they want to endanger the comradely union with the German
  people for the sake of the Jews."


Q. Witness, I should like to ask you about this speech. Were
you thinking of the complete elimination and destruction of
the Jews?

A. I never thought of that at all, and in this speech I was
not even thinking of evacuation. At that time I held the
point of view that the Jews should be confined in the
Netherlands, as were enemy aliens, for the reasons which are
given in the preceding part of this speech, which the
American Prosecution has submitted. The idea still prevailed
of treating them as enemy aliens, even though Englishmen,
for example, were also transported to the Reich.

I have already pointed out that that viewpoint later changed
to conform to the measures against Jews which were customary
in the Reich.

Q. We now come to -

THE PRESIDENT: What is the date of the speech?

THE WITNESS: This speech is of March 1941. Only once again
did I express my point of view, and that was on 20th April,
1943, when I made the - I admit  - somewhat fantastic
suggestion that all belligerent powers should pool one per
cent. of their war costs in order to solve the Jewish
problem from the economic standpoint. I was thus of the
opinion that the Jews still existed; furthermore, I never
called the Jews inferior.


Q. I believe I can conclude this topic and go on to another
charge, which is made against you - violations of
International Law, the subject of plundering.

Who confiscated raw materials and machinery in the

A. The initiative for this, and the extent to which it was
to be done, originated with the Reich offices. The
operations were carried out either by my offices, by the
Wehrmacht, by the armament inspection offices or even by the
police and the Waffen SS; but from the middle of 1944 on
they were carried out in the main by the office of the
armament minister, which was also my office, and by the
field economic commands of the High Command of the army. At
that time control was extremely difficult.

Q. What was your own attitude towards this problem?

A. I was of the opinion that the provisions of the Hague
Convention for Land Warfare applying to this were obsolete
and could not be applied to a modern war, because the labour
potential of the civilian population is at least as
important as the war potential of the soldiers at the front.
How much could be demanded seemed, to me, to depend on the
conditions reigning in one's own country. These doubtlessly,
varied in each country. I therefore endeavoured to obtain a
statement from Reichsmarschall Goering to the effect that
the Dutch were to live under the same conditions as the
German people. This promise, to be sure, was not kept
completely in the ensuing period.

Q. How were the confiscations carried out? By what

A. Until 1943, the Dutch offices carried out our
assignments. The technical experts had to show me factual
justification for confiscations, for I did not understand
anything about such matters. I took steps when complaints
reached me.

                                                  [Page 108]

For example, I prevented the removal of margarine works in
Dortrecht and of a new electrical works in

Reich Minister Speer issued an important order that only the
machines from factories which delivered more than one-half
of their total production to the Reich, for example,
Phillips, of Eindhoven, could be moved to the Reich.

Q. The French Prosecution charges that you favoured the
black market. What do you have to say about this?

A. We fought the black market from the beginning. It was
always a so-called "grey market" with us. I had prohibited
the purchase of food from the current production and
likewise of other important consumer articles on the black
market. Every case was investigated by the competent offices
in conjunction with the Dutch offices. If it was a business
which had been forbidden by me, the goods were confiscated
and turned over to the Dutch offices. These measures were
100 per cent. for the benefit of the Dutch, for what the
German Reich wanted officially it got anyhow. I see from the
document that the turn-over in the Netherlands was the
lowest anywhere. The figures are deceptive, though, since
prices on the black market were several times higher than
those on the normal market; the actual amount of goods is
thus much lower.

Q. In Document 1321-PS the charge is made that you turned
medical instruments over to the SS.

A. That is true. Please judge that in connection with my
general statements. The SS needed microscopes for its
hospitals at the front, for all its hospitals which had been
destroyed by bombings. In the laboratories of the University
at Utrecht there were microscopes which were not being used.
I had the case investigated by my office, and what could be
spared was confiscated. In this connection I refer to a case
which was much more important for the Dutch. The Reich
wanted to pull down the Kammerling Institute at Leyden, one
of the most famous low-temperature research institutes in
the world. I believe only the Soviets and the Americans have
one as well, especially suitable for atomic research. I
prevented the pulling down of this institute, which would
have meant an irreparable loss for the Netherlands.
Experiments which seemed necessary were carried out by
Professor Heissenberger himself in Leyden.

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