The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 235]


FRIDAY, 14th JUNE, 1946




Q. I still have a few questions to put to this witness.

Witness, consequent upon the answers which you gave
yesterday about the libraries which have been looted and
taken to Germany, I would like to read to you a few lines
taken from a document which I submitted the day before
yesterday to the Tribunal. This document is F-803, Exhibit
RF 1525, on Page 34 of the French text. This is a report
from the Minister of Education and Art, of the Netherlands.
We find the following:

  "The Collections, as well as the libraries of the
  International Institute for Social History at Amsterdam,
  have been closed down. The Library, which has about
  150,000 volumes, has been taken to Germany as well as a
  very important collection of newspapers. The Library
  Rosenthaliana of the University of Amsterdam which
  belongs to the city has been stacked in 153 crates and
  has also been taken to Germany. Famous collections
  concerning Natural History of the College of St. Ignace
  at Mont Faucon (Valkenburg) and the Museum of Natural
  History at Maestricht have also been taken to Germany as
  well as the Library which belonged to it.
  In 1940, all the property of the Masonic Lodges was
  confiscated and taken away to Germany. It included the
  well-known Klausna Library."

THE PRESIDENT: Monsieur Debenest, have you not put enough
for the purpose of your question now? We have the document
already and you have questioned him about half a dozen
libraries which you are suggesting were taken to Germany,
and you want to know what he has to say to it, I suppose. It
is not necessary to go into the whole detail.


Q. What do you think about this story, witness? Are these
facts correct?

A. The question which you have put to me was answered in
part yesterday, as far as it concerns the property of
Freemasons. It was said yesterday, and I confirmed it, that
it is known to me that the property of the organizations,
but not of the individual members, was confiscated.

THE PRESIDENT: That is not an answer to the question. The
question is, was it true that these libraries were moved to

WITNESS: I know nothing of the removal of these libraries.


Q. But you did, nevertheless, claim that the Rosenthaliana
Library had remained in the Netherlands, did you not?

A. The Rosenthaliana, I said that.

Q. The Rosenthaliana, yes, the report specified that it was
packed in 153 crates and taken to Germany.

A. Do you mean the Rosenthaliana?

Q. Yes, the Rosenthaliana.

                                                  [Page 236]

A. I do know that instructions were given by the Reich
Commissioner that this Library was to remain in Amsterdam.
If it was removed in spite of this, the action was contrary
to instructions and I have no knowledge of it.

Q. But still it was you who were responsible for education,
or at least for supervising education in arts?

A. Yes, but not of the arts.

Q. No, but as far as the libraries and universities were

A. Yes.

Q. It is rather curious that you should not have been kept
informed of this.

A. I do not know whether the Library was removed or not.

Q. Well, all right. According to the statements which you
made yesterday evening you seem to claim that the Reich
Commissioner did all he could in favour of the Dutch nation,
is that so?

A. Yes.

Q. At any rate, he always did everything he could to avoid
the worst, is that so?

A. Yes.

Q. On the other hand, you know that numerous people in that
country were interned, deported and shot; that severe
coercion was forced upon that nation in every sphere, under
threat of heavy penalties and reprisals. Finally you know
that that country was looted. Who were then the people who
ordered these crimes and committed them?

A. I said that the Reich Commissioner did for the country
what he could. In a five-year period of occupation; measures
had to be taken which were difficult for the country to
bear. I do not deny the fact, it is undeniable. The ... I
would ask you to formulate your questions more concretely,
and to mention the actions which you call crimes. The
question is too general for me to answer it "yes" or "no,"
or at all briefly.

Q. Who ordered the arrests?

A. I beg your pardon?

Q. Who ordered these arrests?

A. Which arrests?

Q. The arrests of the Dutch people, of course.

A. I beg your pardon?

Q. The arrests of the Dutch people.

A. The arrests were ordered by the Higher SS and Police
Leader, he was Chief of Police.

Q. Who ordered the internments?

A. Which internments? Do you mean internments in the
concentration camps?

Q. In concentration camps and in internment camps.

A. They were ordered by the Higher SS and Police Leader.
That was his department.

Q. Who chose the hostages?

A. The police.

Q. Who appointed Rauter, as Commissioner for Public

A. As General Commissioner for Public Security, he was
appointed by the Reich Commissioner but his main function
was that of the Higher SS and Police Leader. To that office
he was appointed by the Reichsfuehrer SS.

Q. But he had been appointed - I suppose you know the order
- to assist the Reich Commissioner and for security reasons.

A. He was to be at the disposal of the Reich Commissioner,
but the Reich Commissioner did not have any unconditional
right to issue instructions to the Higher SS and Police
Leader. The Reichsfuehrer SS had this right. The appointment
as General Commissioner for Security was a formality. It was
made because the Reichsfuehrer SS wished the Higher SS and
Police Leader to have this title too. Originally he was not
to be appointed General Commissioner.

Q. You therefore consider that Seyss-Inquart had no
authority over Rauter?

                                                  [Page 237]

A. Yes.

Q. Very well. In that case I am going to read a document to
you, and you will tell me what you think of it, whether
Seyss-Inquart had no authority, and you can also make any
explanations you choose.

M. DEBENEST: That is Document 3430-PS, which has already
been submitted as Exhibit USA 708. This is an excerpt from
Seyss-Inquart's speeches made in Holland, and it is to be
found on Page 124 and Page 125 of the German text. I submit
it to the Tribunal.

It will most probably also be found in the Trial Brief of
Seyss-Inquart. I am afraid I do not have the exact page, but
I think it is Page 57 or Page 58.


Q. Seyss-Inquart in that speech of the 29th January, 1943,

  "I will give the orders, and they must be strictly
  carried out by everybody. In the present situation, the
  refusal to carry out such an order cannot be called
  anything except sabotage. It is also clear, now more than
  ever, that every resistance which is directed against
  this fight for existence must be suppressed."

And further on, he says

  "At the moment in which our men, fathers and sons with
  iron determination, look towards their fate in the East,
  and unflinchingly and steadfastly perform their highest
  pledge, it is unbearable to tolerate conspiracies whose
  goal is to weaken the rear of this Eastern front. Whoever
  dares this must be annihilated. We must be severe and
  become even more severe against our opponents. This is
  the command of a relentless sequence of events and for
  us, perhaps, inhumanly hard but our holy duty. We remain
  human because we do not torture our opponents. We must
  remain hard in annihilating them."

If Seyss-Inquart had had no authority over the police, would
he have been able to make such a speech and say that he
would issue the orders?

A. I did not say that Seyss-Inquart had no authority over
the police. I only said that the orders were given by the
Higher SS and Police Leader. The relationship with the
police was as follows:

The Reich Commissioner could, of course, turn to the police
in any case in which he needed them, but could convey only
his wish and not a binding order. In such cases, if they
were important, the police first consulted the Reichsfuehrer
SS, or his office, and only if this office approved could a
wish of the Reich Commissioner be carried out by the police.

Q. The question is simpler than that. Could he - Yes or No -
and did he do so - issue orders in cases such as are
mentioned in his speech? He himself mentioned this, you

A. He could express wishes but not give orders.

Q. I merely note that you do not agree with Seyss-Inquart's

I will now speak to you of another document, and you will
tell us how you explain that Seyss-Inquart could only
express wishes, as you term it, and not give orders. This is
F-860, which I submitted yesterday. This document is a
letter of Seyss-Inquart which was sent to Dr. Lammers. In
this letter he writes that he had wanted to reorganise the
Dutch Police in order to adapt it to the German Police
organization, and in the same document he states the opinion
that the police must be the strongest expression of the
interior administration of a country which should not be
transferred to another agency. That is what Seyss-Inquart
says in that document. How can you then reconcile your
answer with what Seyss-Inquart writes?

A. As for this reorganisation, it was not suggested by the
Reich Commissioner but originated with the police
themselves. The Reich Commissioner in this reorganisation -
and I myself, too - attempted to arrange that the Dutch
Police at least would not be completely separated from the
administration, which in the

                                                  [Page 238]

main was already the case in Germany, and was what the
German Police in the Netherlands also wanted.

Q. You contradict what Seyss-Inquart himself wrote in this
document. How do you explain what Seyss-Inquart wrote
further on in the same document:

  "I would not like to appoint expressly as president of
  the Tribunal the Higher SS and Police Leader here, for
  this appointment suggests to the Dutch a limitation of
  the authority of the Reich Commissioner: this is of
  particular importance because the Reich Commissioner was
  appointed as the guardian of the interests of the Reich
  by order of the Fuehrer. But I have myself given to the
  Higher SS and Police Leader all plenary powers which a
  magistrate needs."

A. Would you please read the first two sentences again?

THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, the document is before us.

M. DEBENEST: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: It is scarcely worth while to argue with the
witness about it.

M. DEBENEST: I will not insist upon it, Mr. President.


Q. Witness, how do you explain the fact that Schongart - you
saw the document yesterday, did you not, which counsel for
the defence submitted to you, the interrogatory of Schongart
after the attempt on Rauter's life - how do you explain that
Schongart on the very morning after the investigation, went
to Seyss-Inquart and that Seyss-Inquart gave him the order,
as he himself states in the document, to take increased
measures of reprisal and to execute 200 prisoners, and this
with the aim of intimidating the population?

A. Yesterday, I believe, I covered this subject. I said
everything I knew about it.

Q. Will you give me the explanation I am asking you to make?

A. I said yesterday that Brigadefuehrer Schongart came to me
and - to be brief about it - represented the matter to me to
the effect that the Reichsfuehrer SS had demanded 500
shootings, and that Schongart on the advice of the Reich
Commissioner, had succeeded in reducing the number to 200.
That is what I said yesterday.

Q. You maintain that he had received orders previous to the
ones he received from the Reich Commissioner then?

A. Not from the Reich Commissioner, from the Reichsfuehrer

Q. Yes, from the Reichsfuehrer?

A. I can only say that Brigadefuehrer Schongart reported the
matter to me in that way. I was not there when he telephoned
the Reichsfuehrer SS.

Q. Very well. Did you not yourself take part in a meeting
during which hostages were chosen?

A. A meeting?

Q. A meeting, a conference, if you prefer.

A. Yes.

Q. On what occasion?

A. I recall that in the Rotterdam case the Reich
Commissioner had a conference with the General
Commissioners, and the matter was reported.

Q. Were you present at the meeting with General

A. I cannot say with certainty; I believe I was.

Q. Do you know what Seyss-Inquart said during that meeting,
what his attitude was?

A. His attitude was that the intention of the Wehrmacht to
carry out 50, or, as I heard yesterday, 25 shootings, was
going too far and that this could not be done. In this
connection, I testified yesterday that the Reich
Commissioner was able, after repeated remonstrations, to
persuade the Wehrmacht to agree finally to have only five
hostages shot.

                                                  [Page 239]

THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, this has all been gone over with
Seyss-Inquart, has it not?


THE PRESIDENT: And with this witness?

M. DEBENEST: Yes, Mr. President. I just wished to see
whether the witness agreed with the document which I
submitted to the Tribunal.

I have finished, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you wish to re-examine, Dr. Steinbauer?

DR. STEINBAUER (Counsel for the defendant Seyss-Inquart): I
have no questions to put to the witness, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

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