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 6 of 7)

[Page 148]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Your Lordship will see that General Ritter von Epp seems to cover the same incident as Dr. Stepp. I said that I would not object to Dr. Stepp, but if Dr. Seidl wishes an interrogatory on some specific points from General Ritter von Epp, I should not make any objections.

DR. SEIDL: The next witness, No. 9, is Dr. Rudolf Bilfinger, late Oberregierungsrat and SS Obersturmbannfuehrer in the RSHA. This witness is already here in Nuremberg. The prosecution apparently has no objection to the hearing of this witness.

The next witness, No. 10...

[Page 149]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE (interposing): My Lord, I would just like to say one word about Dr. Bilfinger. I want the Tribunal to understand what the prosecution has in mind. The general plan for these witnesses is to show from both sides the relationship between the defendant Frank and the central agencies. The prosecution thought that it was right that the defendant should be allowed to call two or three members of his own staff and a member from Headquarters, who was in the position of Dr. Bilfinger, to give the other side of the picture. I just wanted the Tribunal to understand the plan on which we were working.


DR. SEIDL: No. 10 is Dr. Walter Stepp, late Chief Judge of the highest regional Court of Appeal in Munich. He is at present in the internment camp at Ludwigsburg. If I understand Sir David correctly, he has no objection to the calling of this witness.

I should be glad if in this case I could submit to the Tribunal an affidavit which is in my possession, and which will prove the veracity of these points. The reading of this affidavit would only take a few minutes, if the Tribunal would permit me to call another witness instead or if it would withdraw its objection to my calling another witness ...

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I have to ask for some notice as to who the other witness is. I was stating that I had no objection to Dr. Stepp because he speaks as to the defendant Frank's position in relation with other people in Bavaria in earlier years. Of course I cannot speak on behalf of my colleagues and accept just another witness blindly, until I know who the witness is and what he is going to say.

DR. SEIDL: The witness is Dr. Max Meidinger.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I want to be as reasonable as possible. The reason that I had objected to Dr. Meidinger was because, as the Tribunal will see under No. 7, it is stated that Fraulein Kraffzcyk is called for positive facts for which the witness Dr. Meidinger has already been named. It seemed to me that the private secretary is probably the most useful witness, but I am afraid that I cannot help Dr. Seidl any further. I have put my view, but I shall not say anything further against him. I am afraid that is as far as I can go on that point.

DR. SEIDL: The next witness, No. 11, is von dem Bach- Zelewski, SS Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Waffen SS, who has already been heard by this Tribunal as a witness for the prosecution. The Tribunal has already at an earlier date granted permission for an interrogatory. In the meantime I have spoken to the witness. He has made an affidavit, which I shall submit instead of calling him in person.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I should have thought that it would be most convenient if the witness von dem Bach-Zelewski came back and then Dr. Seidl could put any affidavit to him if he wanted. We might want to re-examine on the point. I do not know what is in the affidavit.

THE PRESIDENT: Was he cross-examined by Dr. Seidl?

DR. SEIDL: When the witness was heard here I had no opportunity to cross-examine him, and for that reason . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Why did you have no opportunity to cross- examine him?

DR. SEIDL: Because I did not know beforehand that he would be called by the prosecution as a witness, and had no opportunity to speak to the defendant Frank about the questions which might have been put to this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we will consider whether the witness ought to be recalled for cross-examination or whether you will be allowed to call him yourself. The affidavit which you say he has made, has that been submitted to the prosecution?

[Page 150]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I have not seen it, my Lord.

DR. SEIDL: No, Mr. President, opinion on this point is the following . . .

THE PRESIDENT: When you saw von dem Bach-Zelewski, did you see him with a representative of the prosecution?

DR. SEIDL: No, Mr. President, the General Secretary himself granted me permission to speak to the witness, and that was after the Tribunal had already approved the use of an interrogatory.

THE PRESIDENT: But when the witness was called by the prosecution and you had the opportunity of cross- examination, if you were not ready to cross-examine, you ought to have asked to cross-examine him at a later date. I mean if you were not able to cross-examine at that time, because you had not had any communication with the defendant Frank on the subject, you ought to have asked to cross- examine at a later date.

DR. SEIDL: I could have made this application to the Tribunal if I had thought that there was any reason for questioning the witness. I did not find out until later that the witness possessed any vital information relevant to Frank's case.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Tribunal will consider the matter.

DR. SEIDL: May I perhaps add something to this point? The difficulty of a cross-examination is just this, in that we do not learn of the intended calling of a witness by the prosecution until the witness is led into the courtroom; and we do not know the subject of the evidence until the prosecution starts to examine the witness. It would have been much easier for us to cross-examine, if we had received information about the witnesses and the subject of evidence as far in advance as the prosecution; that is, as the prosecution is informed about the witnesses for the defence.

The next witness is witness No. 12, von Palezieux. His last appointment was that of art expert in the Government General. In regard to this witness I should like to suggest that an interrogatory might be granted in this case too.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If Dr. Seidl asks for an interrogatory I have no objection. I just want to be clear that that is a written interrogatory. I do not want Dr. Seidl to be under a misapprehension.

THE PRESIDENT: You meant a written interrogatory, did you not, Dr. Seidl?

DR. SEIDL: Yes, I assume that in cases where a written interrogatory is admitted the submission of an affidavit is also admitted by the Tribunal. The purpose is obviously to avoid bringing witnesses here and thus to save time.

The next witness is No. 13, Dr. Boepple. His last appointment was that of State Secretary in the administration of the Government General. He is now in the internment camp at Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart. This witness seems to me to be one of the most important because, in the administration of the Government General, he answered a number of questions which play an important part in the case against the defendant Frank. I may refer to the details in my list of evidence and should like to add, above all, that this witness can give detailed information as to whether, during the five years of the Government General's existence, the industrial equipment of the area was exploited; or whether in 1943 and 1944, as a result of transfers from the Reich, the Government General did not possess much more industry than before.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The prosecution submits that, as is stated in the first sentence, Dr. Boepple is called for a number of facts of evidence, for which Dr. Buehler has been already generally mentioned. Part of the evidence stated is the relationship with the Government General agencies, and the remainder, as .to the happenings in the Government General, can be dealt with by the witness already agreed to by the prosecution.

[Page 151]

DR. SEIDL: It is correct that some of the things which Dr. Boepple is to confirm are also to be testified to by Buehler. But in my opinion it cannot be denied that the subject of evidence, for which I have named this witness, is so important that one witness might not be sufficient to convince the Tribunal. I should like, furthermore, to point out the following. The witness Buehler was chief of the administration of the Government General. He has already been interrogated many times by the Polish Delegation, As well. There is also the danger that proceedings may be instituted against this witness, on account of the importance of the position he held. It is self-evident that under these circumstances every conscientious defence Counsel should take into account the fact that the witness may try to shield himself when he answers certain questions; and considering the importance of the evidence, it seems proper that, in these difficult circumstances, the defendant Frank be granted additional witnesses.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, in your suggestion, did you include any of the other witnesses who were cumulative to Buehler?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I suggested an affidavit from Boepple and only Fraulein Kraffzcyk on the general work of the Government General. The others, I think, are on the different points of the relationship with the central agencies.


DR. SEIDL : The next witness is No. 14, President Struve, whose last appointment was that of chief of the Main Labour Department in the Government General. In other words, he was Minister for Labour in the Government General. Since both the United States prosecution and the Russian prosecution have made grave charges against the defendant Dr. Frank on this very point of the compulsory transfer of workers, it seems to me proper that one witness at least - the competent official - should be examined on the facts presented by the prosecution, so that he can say what orders he received on the subject from the Government General. Information as to the location of this witness has also been obtained. He is in an internment camp near Paderborn.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I should suggest, my Lord, with great deference, that if Dr. Seidl would run through the other witnesses and show those to which he attaches special importance, it would be convenient for the Tribunal, and if Dr. Seidl would be good enough to, say quite bluntly whether he attaches importance to any of the others or if he doesn't; then it might be possible for the prosecution to reconsider the elimination of all these witnesses, but the position at the moment is that there are requests for all sections, all departments of the Government General, and the prosecution fails to see how these are necessary. If Dr. Seidl would indicate any special purpose that he attaches to any of them, then one might come back and consider President Struve again; but the position at the moment is that the prosecution does not see how it really helps the case of the defendant Frank that each one of the departmental chiefs should be called.

DR. SEIDL: It is not the case that all officers and/or holders of office were to be named as witnesses. A good many others could have been named. For instance, I have already said that of nine governors, each of whom was in charge of three to three and a half million people, I have named only one: the witness von Burgsdorff.

I have also forgone witnesses whom I had previously named; for instance the various military commanders. If, however, the prosecution wishes to know which witnesses I consider of special importance, I shall give the numbers of these witnesses. They are, besides State Secretary Dr. Buehler, witness No. 2 von Burgsdorff; Lammers has already been approved. Further, the witness Dr. Max Meidinger; the witness Gassner, No. 6; the witness No. 7, Helene Kraffzcyk; the witness No. 9, Bilfinger - he was not a member of the administration of

[Page 152]

the Government General; Members of the Government General: Nos. 13, 14, 15, and 19. That does not mean, however, that I am willing to forgo the witnesses which I have not mentioned. Witness No. 15, President Dr. Naumann, is an important witness because he was the chief of the Main Department for Food and Agriculture and can give us detailed information about the defendant Dr. Frank's policy with regard to the feeding of the Polish and Ukrainian peoples and how he tried in particular, through the highest authorities of the Reich, to have the demands of the Reich reduced. The witness's address was not known until now, but I understand that the chief Polish Public Prosecutor, Dr. Sawicki, is supposed to know where he is at present.

The next witness is No. 16, President Ohlenbusch, who is called mainly to testify to the cultural policy pursued by the defendant. Frank in the Government General. He is not, however, one of our most important witnesses and I imagine that in his case an interrogation would suffice.

The same applies to Witness No. 17. Witness No. 18 is Dr. Eisfeldt whose last appointment was head of the Main Department of Forestry and who will testify to: the forestry policy of the defendant and especially - this seems to me an essential point - to the fact that there was so much trouble with the partisans in the Government General that it was in the interest of the Polish and Ukrainian people themselves to take strong measures against them.

Witness No. 19 is President Lesacker, lately head of the Main Department of Internal Administration, and whose last known place of residence was Bad Toetz. His present address may now have become known.

Witness No. 20 is Professor Dr. Teitge, who, as my application shows, is to testify to the efforts made by the defendant Dr. Frank in the field of public health.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: May it please the Tribunal. I have now had the advantage of hearing everything that Dr. Seidl has to say, and it seems to me that, so far as the witnesses from the Government General itself are concerned, the position is that Dr. Boepple, No. 13, does not add greatly to the general position which would be explained by Dr. Buehler and Dr. Burgsdorff and Fraulein Kraffzcyk; that the witness No. 5, Dr. Meidinger, seems to deal with very much the same problems as President Struve, witness No. 14, and the witness Naumann, No. 115, and that, on reconsideration, I think the prosecution would be prepared to agree that one of these witnesses, either Dr. Meidinger, or Dr. Struve, or Dr. Naumann, might well be called.

With regard to all the others, Dr. Ohlenbusch and Dr. Senkowsky, and Dr. Eisfeldt seem to speak about points that are really removed from the issues in this case, and Dr. Lesacker speaks on the general attitude of the defendant towards Poles and Ukrainians, which is covered by Dr. Buehler and von Burgsdorff, and Heidinger, if he is granted; and the last witness, Teitge, seems again to speak on a really departmental point which is not a serious issue in the case. And, therefore, in trying to apply our own principle of recommending any witness where there is a real relevancy, the prosecution would be prepared to go as far as I said in their recommendation, that, in addition to the witnesses that I have mentioned, they would suggest that either Dr. Meidinger or one of the witnesses, Struve or Naumann, should be called.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I ask for permission to add a few words to that which has been said by my esteemed colleague, Sir David.


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