The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th January to 19th January, 1946

Thirty-Third Day: Monday, January 14th, 1946
(Part 1 of 5)

[Page 224]



THE PRESIDENT: Would you have the witness brought in? I think one of the defendants' counsel was about to cross-examine him.

DR. BABEL (Counsel for the S.S. and S.D.): I would like to put the following question to the witness. I am asking these questions in order to understand better the previous statements of the witness and for my own information.

The witness was from 1941 to 1945 in the concentration camp and should be well informed on conditions as they were. His memory seems to be excellent.




Q. Do you know how the relations of the inmates changed during the various periods of time; I mean the relations between the political and criminal inmates? What was the number of the political and criminal inmates?

A. In Dachau it was not always the same. There were political and actual criminals and the so-called "asocial" elements. Naturally, I am just speaking about the German prisoners, the members of the other nations were only political prisoners. The German inmates alone were divided into red, green and black prisoners.

Q. Can you indicate their approximate relations? About half, three-quarters, one-fourth?

A. I am sorry, I did not hear you.

Q. Can you give me figures? About how many of these - half, three-quarters, or how many? Can you give me an approximate number?

A. I would say about 5,000 German prisoners. Out of that number, 3,000 were political prisoners; about 2,000 were considered green and black.

Q. Was it like that during the whole four or five-year period?

A. It changed periodically because many died; some Germans left; many were drafted; and there were many new arrivals. In the last year there were always more and more political prisoners, for many of the green were taken to the front.

Q. What approximately was their total number in 1941, 1943, and 1945?

A. We had 8 to 9,000 in 1941; in 1943 from 15 to 20,000; and toward the end of 1944 until the beginning of 1945 we had more than 70 to 80,000.

Q. One more question: You mentioned you had first worked on the plantations. What do you mean by that?

A. Plantations, that refers to a large estate of the S.S. where many spices, medical herbs and things of that sort were raised.

Q. Was this plantation inside the camp?

A. No, it was in the near vicinity of the camp, not a part of it.

Q. You mentioned armament works; and I gathered from your testimony that these armament factories were partially within the camp and partially without. Is that true?

A. At first they were only outside the camp. Then, as a result of the bombings, certain sections were moved into the interior of the concentration camp.

Q. Now, regarding the guards: What was the number of the guards in 1941?

[Page 225]

A. The actual guard duty was done by about three S.S. companies; but at Dachau there were in addition a large garrison of S.S. and a Kommandantur. Guards were taken from other S.S. formations from time to time, when it was necessary. The number varied, and depended on how many guards were needed. For regular duty there were about three companies.

Q. Did they serve guard in the armament plants during working hours?

A. Yes. Every labour detachment had a commander and, in addition, these so-called guards, who went with the detachment to their place of work and brought the prisoners back again to the camp.

Q. While you were at the camp, did you notice any mistreatment of the prisoners by these guards in the course of their daily activities.

A. Yes; many.

Q. Often?

A. Yes.

Q. For what reasons?

A. The reasons varied, depending upon the nature of the guards or the commandant.

Q. You said you were busy and active?

A. Quite busy.

Q. How did you have the opportunity to observe such mistreatment?

A. I performed many autopsies of people either shot at work or beaten to death. I dissected these bodies and reported on these autopsies.

Q. You said they were shot. Did you see these shootings yourself?

A. No.

Q. How do you know that they were shot?

A. I received the bodies from their place of work, and my duty was to ascertain the cause of death: whether the man has been beaten to death, whether the skull or ribs were fractured, or whether there were internal haemorrhages. Had he been shot, a record had to be made - an official report - sometimes; sometimes, but rarely, when an investigation was made, I was called in as witness.

DR. BABEL: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, do you wish to re-examine the witness.

MR. DODD: I have no further questions to ask the witness at this time.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other member of the prosecuting staff want to re-examine? Colonel Pokrovsky?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: At this stage of the trial I have no more questions to ask the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness can go.

MR. DODD: I should like to ask the Tribunal at this time to take judicial notice of the findings and the sentences imposed by the Military Court at Dachau, Germany on the 13th day of December, 1945. The findings were dated the 12th and the sentences on the 13th. I have here a certified copy of the findings and the sentences, Document 3590-PS, which I should like to offer as Exhibit USA 664.

THE PRESIDENT: Have copies of this been given to the defendants?

MR. DODD: Yes. They have been sent to the defendant's counsel Information Room.


MR. DODD: I have one other matter that I should like to take up very briefly before the Tribunal this morning. It is concerned with a matter that arose after I had left the Courtroom to return to the United States.

On the 13th December we offered in evidence Document 3421- PS, and Exhibits USA 252 and 254. They were, respectively, the Court will recall, sections of human skin taken from human corpses and preserved; and a human head, the head of a human being, which had been preserved. On the 14th

[Page 226]

day of December, according to the record, counsel for the defendant Kaltenbrunner addressed the Tribunal and complained that the affidavit, which was offered, of one Pfaffenberger, failed to state that the camp commandant at Buchenwald, Koch, along with his wife, was condemned to death for having committed precisely these atrocities, this business of tanning the skin and preserving the head. And in the course of the discussion before the Tribunal the record reveals that Counsel for the defendant Bormann, in addressing the Tribunal, stated that it was highly probable that the prosecution knew that the German authorities had objected to this camp commandant Koch and, in fact, knew that he had been tried and sentenced for doing precisely these things. And there was some intimation, we feel, that the prosecution, having this knowledge, withheld it from the Tribunal. Now, I wish to say that we had no knowledge at all about this man Koch at the time that we offered the proof; we did not know anything about him except that he had been the Commandant, according to the affidavit. But, subsequent to this objection we had an investigation made, and we have found that he was indeed tried in 1944 by an S.S. court, but not for having tanned human skin nor for having preserved a human head, but for having embezzled money, for what, as the judge who tried him tells us - was a charge of general corruption, and for having murdered someone with whom he had some personal difficulties. Indeed, the judge, a Dr. Morgen, tells us that he saw the tattooed human skin and he saw a human head in Commandant Koch's office, and that he saw a lampshade there made out of human skin. But there were no charges at the time that he was tried for having done these things.

I would also point out to the Tribunal, that, we say, the testimony of Dr. Blaha sheds further light on whether or not these exhibits, USA 252 and 254, were isolated instances of that atrocious kind of conduct. We have not been able to locate the affiant. We have made an effort to do so, but we have not been able to locate him thus far.

THE PRESIDENT: Locate whom?

MR. DODD: The affiant Pfaffenberger, the one whose affidavit was offered.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, Mr. Dodd.

DR. KAUFMANN (Counsel for defendant Kaltenbrunner): The statement just made is undoubtedly significant, but it would be of importance if we had the proof and the documents which served to convict the Commandant and his wife, for Kaltenbrunner told me that it was known in the whole S.S. that the Commandant Koch and his wife had also - I am emphasising "also" - been convicted because of these things. It had been made known that the size, the magnitude of the penalty had been determined by their inhuman behaviour.

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. As you were the counsel who made the allegation that the Commandant Koch had been put to death for his inhuman treatment, it would seem that you are the party to produce the judgement.

DR. KAUFMANN: I never had the sentence in my hand. I depended on the information which Kaltenbrunner gave me personally and orally.

THE PRESIDENT: It was you who made the assertion. I do not care where you got it from. You made the assertion; therefore it is for you to produce the document.


COLONEL PHILLIMORE: May it please the Tribunal: briefs and document books have been handed in. The documents in the document book are in the order in which I shall refer to them, and the references to them in the briefs are also in that order. On the first page of the brief is set out the extract from Appendix A of the Indictment, which deals with the criminality of this defendant.

[Page 227]

THE PRESIDENT: Are you dealing first of all with Raeder or with Donitz?

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: With Donitz. My learned friend, Major Elwyn Jones, will deal with Raeder immediately after.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken.)

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: My Lord, may I proceed?


COLONEL PHILLIMORE: Briefs and documents books have been handed in. The documents are in the document book in the order in which I shall refer to them, and the references in the brief to the documents are in that same order. On the first page of the brief is set out the extract from the Indictment as Appendix A, which deals with the allegations against this defendant. It sets out the positions he held, and charges him, first, with promoting the preparations for war, set forth in Count 1; second, with participating in the military planning and preparation for wars of aggression and wars in violation of international treaties, agreements, and assurances, set forth in Count 1 and 2 of the Indictment; and, thirdly, with authorising, directing, and participating in the war crimes, set forth in Count 3 of the Indictment, including particularly the crimes against persons and property on the high seas.

Now, if at any place I appear to trespass on Count 3, it is with the consent and courtesy of the Chief Prosecutor for the French Republic.

My Lord, on the second page of the brief are set out first the positions held by the defendant Donitz, and the document in question is the first document in the document book, 2887- PS, which has already been put in as Exhibit USA 12. The members of the Tribunal will see that after his appointment in 1935 as Commanding Officer of the Weddigen U-boat Flotilla - that was, in fact, the flotilla to be formed after the end of the World War in 1918 - the defendant, who was in effect then Commander of U-boats, rose steadily in rank, as the U-boat arm expanded, until he became an Admiral. And then, on the 30th of January, 1943, he was appointed Gross Admiral and succeeded the defendant Raeder as Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy, retaining his command of the U-boat arm. Then on the 1st of May, 1945, he succeeded Hitler as leader of Germany.

My Lord, as appears from a number of documents which I shall put in evidence, the defendant was awarded the following decorations: On the 18th of September, 1939, the Iron Cross, first class, for the U-boat successes in the Baltic during the Polish campaign; this award was followed on the 21st of April, 1940, by the high award of the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross, while on the 7th of April, 1943, he received personally from Hitler the Oak Leaf to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, as the two hundred and twenty-third recipient, for his outstanding services in building up the German Navy and, in particular, the offensive U-boat arm for the coming war. And now I put in the next document in the document book, D-436, which becomes Exhibit GB 183. That is an extract from the official publication Das Archiv on the defendant's promotion to Vice-Admiral. It is dated the 27th of September, 1940, and I read the last two sentences:

"In four years of untiring and, in the fullest sense of the word, uninterrupted work of training, he succeeds in developing the young U-boat armed personnel and material till it is a weapon of a striking power, unexpected even by the experts. More than three million gross tons of enemy shipping sunk in only one year, achieved with only a few boats, speak better than words of the service of this man."
The next document in the document book, 1463-PS, which I put in as Exhibit GB 184, is an extract from the diary of the German Navy, 1944 edition, and it serves to emphasise the contents of that last document. My Lord, I will not

[Page 228]

read from it. The relevant passage is on Page 2, and, if I might summarise that, it describes in detail the defendant's work in building up the U-boat arm, his ceaseless work in training night and day to close the gap of seventeen years during which no training had taken place, his responsibility for new improvements, and for devising the "pack" tactics which were later to become so famous. And then his position is summarised further at the top of Page 3. If I might read the last two sentences of the first paragraph on that page:
"In spite of the fact that his duties took on immeasurable proportions since the beginning of the huge U-boat construction programme, the chief was what he always was and always will be: the leader and inspiration to all the forces under him."
And then the last sentence of that paragraph:
"In spite of all his duties he never lost touch with his men, and he showed a masterly understanding in adjusting himself to the changing fortunes of war."
It was not, however, only his ability as a naval officer which won the defendant these high honours: his promotion to succeed the defendant Raeder as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, the personal position he acquired as one of Hitler's principal advisers, and finally - earlier candidates such as Goering, having betrayed Hitler's trust or finding the position less attractive than they had anticipated - the doubtful honour of becoming Hitler's successor. These honours he owed to his fanatical adherence to Hitler and to the Party, to his belief in the Nazi ideology with which he sought to indoctrinate the Navy and the German people, and to his masterly understanding in adjusting himself to the changing fortunes of war, referred to in the diary, and which the Tribunal may think, when I have referred them to the document, may be regarded as synonymous with the capacity for utter ruthlessness. His attitude to the Nazi Party and its creed is shown by his public utterances.

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