The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th February to 11th March, 1946

Seventy-Third Day: Monday, 4th March, 1946
(Part 5 of 7)

[Page 144]

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Thoma, if the witness was granted to you as a witness to give evidence in court, it would not be necessary for you to have any representative of the prosecution when you saw the witness wherever he might be. The granting of a witness would entitle you to see him yourself and to obtain a proof of his evidence. Is that clear?

DR. THOMA: So far I have only been granted an affidavit. I have not been granted him as a witness as yet.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I only wanted to make clear to you the difference between interrogatories and being allowed to call a witness to give all the evidence. Of course, if you are submitting written interrogatories, you would not see the witness, but if, on the other hand, you were going to call the witness as a witness, or to present an affidavit from him, you would then be at liberty to see the witness before he made his affidavit or before he drew up his proof.

DR. THOMA: Then I should like to put the request that Wilhelm Schiedt be called as a witness.

THE PRESIDENT: I understand that you are making that request.

DR. THOMA: As far as Robert Scholtz is concerned, I should like to point out to the Tribunal that Scholtz was the director of the Special Staff entrusted with the practical application of measures to be taken for the safe-keeping of works of art in both Eastern and Western districts, and I should like to draw the special

[Page 145]

attention of the High Tribunal to the fact that a number of learned German experts were members of this Special Staff, and that they did a great deal of very conscientious work in safeguarding, restoring and protecting these works of art and in preserving them for posterity. The way in which this Special Staff did its work 'is of decisive importance, therefore, for a good many men. Robert Scholtz knows every detail of the procedure. Robert Scholtz can testify in particular, to the fact that Rosenberg did not appropriate for himself any of the enormous wealth of art treasures that passed through his hands, and that he kept a careful record of those that went to Hitler and Goering. He also knows that all these works of art-or, at least, the greater part of them, were left where they were at first, especially in the East, and were only brought to the Reich when it was no longer safe to delay.

I beg the Tribunal to hear this important witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Thoma, can you explain why the application was withdrawn on 24th of January?

DR. THOMA: It was said then - I think by the British or American prosecution - that the Special Staff would not be mentioned again during the proceedings. The French prosecution, however, has now given detailed accounts of the looting of France; and so this witness is once more required.

THE PRESIDENT: That concludes your witnesses, I think?

DR. THOMA: I have one other request. I want to call a further witness, and I have already filed a request with the General Secretary for this witness: State Secretary Braeutigam. Braeutigam was junior Assistant Secretary in the Ministry for Eastern Affairs, and he is to be called as a witness to prove that Rosenberg, in his capacity of Minister for Eastern Affairs, did not persecute the Churches, but granted freedom to all religious sects by the issue of an edict of tolerance; and, further, Rosenberg himself consistently opposed the use of force, supported a policy of promoting culture and represented the view that the peasant class should be strengthened and established on a healthy basis. Further, and this seems to me to be particularly significant - that very many letters and telegrams of thanks from the clergy in the Soviet Union arrived at the Ministry for Eastern Affairs addressed to Rosenberg. Gentlemen, if Dankers and Astrowski are not granted as witnesses, then I request permission to go back to Braeutigam.

And then I have one further witness. To show how Rosenberg behaved towards his academic opponents, I should like to call one of these academic opponents, to wit, Dr. Kuenneth, a University professor who wrote an important book attacking the Mythos. He will testify that those who disagreed with Rosenberg's philosophy were not at all afraid of the Gestapo, etc., and that they had no cause to fear the Gestapo.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Sir David, did you want to review those last two?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, in my submission, these last two witnesses are not really relevant to the charges against this defendant which have been developed by the prosecution. They are general witnesses, and if I may put it - I hope the Tribunal will not think it flippant to put it this way - they are really witnesses who say that the defendant Rosenberg would not hurt a fly. That really puts it quite briefly as to what this class of evidence amounts to, and I respectfully submit on behalf of my colleagues that that should not be the subject of oral evidence, and it should be disallowed, or, if there is any special point raised, it should be dealt with by an affidavit.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the Indictment allege that he instigated the persecution of Churches?

[Page 146]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The Indictment says that he took part in anti-religious teaching. I am speaking from memory. That is one of the matters. And I think there was certain correspondence between him and the defendant Bormann which was directed towards his anti-religious views. I do not remember at the moment that there was any evidence that he had personally participated in physical destruction of churches. That is my recollection.

My Lord, I am reminded that there is a general allegation in Appendix A that he authorized, directed, and participated in the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, including a wide variety of crimes against persons and property.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well; those matters will be considered.

DR. SEIDL (counsel for defendant Frank): The first witness that I ask be summoned is Dr. Hans Buehler, State Secretary and Chief of the Administration in the Government General. This witness is detained here in Nuremberg pending trial and he is the most important witness for the defendant, Dr. Frank. He is called for Dr. Frank's whole policy in the Government General, since he was head of the government during the entire period, from the establishment of the Government General up to the end.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, have you any objection to Dr. Buehler?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No, I have not, my Lord. The only point that I want to make clear is that the defendant Frank calls an enormous number of witnesses from his own officials; he calls something like fifteen. I am not going to object to Dr. Buehler, but I am going to ask the Tribunal to cut down substantially the witnesses who were officials of the Government General. And it might help Dr. Seidl if I told him before the adjournment that my suggestion would be that the Tribunal would consider allowing Dr. Buehler, an affidavit from Dr. von Burgsdorff, and that they might consider allowing Fraulein Helene Kraffzcyk, the defendant's secretary, and Dr. Bilfinger, and Dr. Stepp, but not -the succession of officials from the Government General.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, you say your suggestion is to allow Dr. Buehler?


THE PRESIDENT: And affidavits from ...

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Affidavits from Burgsdorff, allow Dr. Lammers - he is in the general list ...


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: . . . allow the private secretary, Fraulein Kraffzcyk, No. 7, and allow Nos. 9 and 10.

THE PRESIDENT: What are the names?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Dr. Bilfinger and Dr. Stepp.

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: And if these are allowed, I should suggest that Nos. 13 to 20, who are various officials from the office of the Government General, should not be allowed. If I may say so, with the submission of the prosecution, the height of irrelevancy will be No. 18, Dr. Eisfeldt, who is Chief of the Forestry Department.


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I thought it might be convenient for Dr. Seidl to know what the views of the prosecution were. Of course, if he has any suggestions of any alternatives, we should be pleased to consider them.

THE PRESIDENT: We will continue with that after the adjournment, Dr. Seidl.

Before the Tribunal rises, before the adjournment, I want to say that the Tribunal will rise this afternoon at three- thirty.

(A recess was taken.)

[Page 147]

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Seidl?

DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, your Honours, if I understand correctly, Sir David has no objection to the witnesses Dr. Hans Buehler, Dr. Bilfinger, and Fraulein Kraffzcyk being called.


DR. SEIDL: The second witness named by me is Dr. von Burgsdorff, whose last appointment was that of Governor of Cracow. He is at present in the Moosburg internment camp, which means that he is close to Nuremberg.

The witness Dr. von Burgsdorff is the only one of the nine governors whom I have named to the Tribunal as a witness. Considering the importance of the position of the governors in the Government General, and in view of the great difficulties which these governors had to overcome, it seems proper to me that the witness Dr. von Burgsdorff should be heard personally by the Tribunal and not by means of an interrogatory.

Is it necessary for me to read out the evidence material in detail now, or is it enough to refer to the application for evidence ?

THE PRESIDENT: We have got it in writing and we understand that, while Sir David suggests an affidavit, you want to insist upon his coming personally.

DR. SEIDL: Yes, Mr. President, since the Tribunal approved the calling of this witness at an earlier date.


DR. SEIDL: The next witness is Reichsminister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery, Dr. Lammers. This witness has already been approved for the defendant Keitel, so that no further discussion is necessary.

The fourth witness is State Minister, Dr. Meissner. With regard to the fact that this witness is called in connection with evidence for which the witness Dr. Lammers was also named, I should like to ask the Tribunal to allow an interrogatory unless this witness is called for another defendant and can appear in person.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I did check that point as far as I could from my records, and I could not find that he was being called as a witness for any other defendant. And, as Dr. Seidl very fairly says in his first sentence, Dr. Meissner is named for the same material evidence as the witness, Dr. Lammers. That is my point.


DR. SEIDL: The next witness is Dr. Max Meidinger, late Chief of the Chancellery of the Government General, and who, like Dr. von Burgsdorff, is in Moosburg. My written application shows that this witness held a very important appointment. He received all the correspondence of the administration of the Government General, and is acquainted in particular with the substance of suggestions and complaints addressed by the defendant Dr. Frank to the central government authorities in Berlin, and in particular with the proposals which the defendant Dr. Frank repeatedly made to the Fuehrer himself.

The witness was likewise approved previously by the Tribunal, and I think that considering the vast knowledge of this witness - he worked in the Government General for several years - a personal hearing before this Tribunal seems advisable.

THE PRESIDENT: You say he was approved. Was he not approved as one out of a group of which Frank was to choose three? There was a large group of witnesses.

DR. SEIDL: Yes, Mr. President. The witnesses von Burgsdorff and Dr. Max Meidinger were chosen from this group. Those are the two witnesses who were selected from a group of thirteen.

[Page 148]

THE PRESIDENT: Which was the other one?

DR. SEIDL: The other one was witness No. 2, Dr. von Burgsdorff. Witness No. 6, whom I have named and whom I should like to have called in person' is the witness Hans Gassner. His last appointment was that of Press chief in the Government General, and he is also in the Moosburg internment camp. He was named, along with some others, to give evidence that the defendant Frank did not hear of the existence of the camp of Maidanek and the conditions prevailing there until 1944, and then only because the witness informed him of reports published by the foreign Press.

The witness was also present - this is not stated in my application - when Dr. Frank told a Press reporter that the forests of Poland would not be large enough for posting up the death warrants. The witness will also be able to describe the interview in detail, to say what Frank meant by this remark, how he intended it to be understood and what his reasons were for making the remark.

I may add that the Tribunal likewise approved this witness at an earlier date.

I may also say, generally speaking, that, according to the wishes of the Tribunal, my applications for evidence will only indicate the general lines on which the witnesses are to be questioned, and that I have consciously refrained from formulating the separate questions which I intend to put to the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, will you express your view about No. 6?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If your Lordship pleases, it seemed to the prosecution that the second matter which Herr Gassner was desired to speak about, that the defendant Frank learned from him only in 1944 about Maidanek, is really a matter about which no witness can be as satisfactory as the defendant himself. All the witness can say is: "I told the defendant Frank about Maidanek, and it appeared to me that he did not know anything about it." Well, that is not, in the view of the prosecution, satisfactory evidence.

The Tribunal will be able to judge from the defendant Frank himself when he has been cross-examined on that point. If it is desired that that interview should be before the Tribunal, the prosecution submits that it could be adequately dealt with by an affidavit or an interrogatory. Apart from that, the grounds are entirely general and again could be covered by a written statement.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, then, the next one Sir David has already expressed his views on.

DR. SEIDL: Yes, Mr. President.

The next witness is Helen Kraffzcyk, the defendant's last secretary. If I understand correctly, there are no objections on the part of the prosecution.

Witness No. 8 is General von Epp, the last Reich Governor of Bavaria. He is at present in the internment camp at Oberursel. The statements to be made by this witness will be mainly concerned with the attitude of the defendant, Frank, towards the concentration camp in 1933. As the witness is at present in the neighbourhood of Frankfurt, I should be satisfied in this case with an interrogatory.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Sir David?

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