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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
12th March to 22nd March, 1946

Seventy-Ninth Day: Tuesday, 12th March, 1946
(Part 5 of 9)

[MR. JUSTICE JACKSON continues his cross examination of State Secretary Paul Koerner]

[Page 16]

Q. I understood your testimony to be that the Reichsmarschall went to Hitler at some time and wanted this campaign, against people who were in the Roehm revolt stopped, and I want to know why he wanted it stopped.

A. In order to prevent innocent people being involved. Only the really guilty were to be caught and accordingly punished. It was clear that on this occasion someone or other might like to take personal revenge and do away with his enemy, and, in order to prevent this, the action should be stopped immediately and only ordinary courts should deal with the matter.

Q. Who was in charge of the selection of the people who were shot or otherwise killed as a result of the Roehm revolt?

A. The Fuehrer himself.

Q. The Reichsmarschall had sufficient influence to stop that immediately when he complained?

A. At that time, yes, the Reichsmarschall definitely had sufficient influence.

Q. In connection with this Four-Year Plan, you said that it was its function to eliminate the confusion in the labour market?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, you represented the Reichsmarschall at many meetings, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And was not one of your functions to get prisoners of war to work in the armament industry and other industries that needed labour?

A. No.

Q. You never had anything to do with that?

A. The General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour, of course, called for prisoners of war for labour.

Q. You attended many meetings when that was discussed, did you not?

A. I cannot recall that.

Q. Did you report to the Reichsmarschall what happened at those meetings?

A. When questions of a general nature were discussed, a report was made and submitted to the Reichsmarschall.

Q. You were a member of the Central Planning Board, were you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And you were representing the Reichsmarschall on that board?

A. No. I did not represent the Reichsmarschall there. It was a nucleus of three men - Speer, the Field-Marshal, and myself. The Central Planning Board was set up in the spring of 1942.

Q. Who appointed you?

A. The three of us were appointed to the Central Planning Board.

Q. Who appointed you?

[Page 17]

A. As far as I remember, Goering.

Q. And you reported to him, did you not, what occurred from time to time?

A. The Central Planning Board was merely an office for the distribution of raw materials. We usually met every three months in order to fix the quotas for the following quarter. Previously the Four-Year Plan, in co-operation with the Minister of Economics, handled the distribution and, from the spring of 1942 on, the Central Planning Board handled it in the interests of armament.

Q. Now, do you want us to understand that the Central Planning Board only met every three months?

A. Yes, approximately. In very rare cases another meeting was called, especially if there were urgent problems to be solved. I remember, for instance, the case when agriculture was not getting enough nitrogen and, if the nitrogen quota was too small, agricultural production would suffer. In view of this State Secretary Backe asked for a meeting to be called and this took place in the Central Planning Board.

Q. Would you testify that Sauckel did not report to the Central Planning Board at a meeting at which you were present that, out of all the labour that came to Germany - only 200,000 came voluntarily - out of the millions who came only 200,000 came voluntarily?

A. I cannot remember that.

Q. Do you say that the Central Planning Board never discussed labour questions?

A. In the Central Planning Board only demands for labour were submitted, and the quota holders to whom raw materials were allocated also demanded the necessary labour. Only very rough figures were given and then passed on to the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour.

Q. What about prisoners of war?

A. With these the Central Planning Board was not at all concerned, as it was only given rough figures. For instance, if some branch of industry needed so many thousand workers, they were called for.

Q. What about concentration camp labour?

A. The distribution of labour was dealt with by the labour exchanges. The Central Planning Board had nothing to do with it.

Q. Are you familiar with a letter dated 9th March, 1944, citing that 36,000 concentration camp prisoners were now being used and wanting an increase to 90,000?

A. I do not know about these demands.

Q. Do you know about the use of Russian prisoners of war in manning anti-aircraft guns?

A. No.

Q. After Goering closed the unauthorised concentration camps, did you know that the number of concentration camps increased very greatly in Germany?

A. This I do not know. What happened after they were turned over to Himmler is beyond my knowledge. It may be that a large number of concentration camps was then set up.

Q. How did you come to know about Goering's relations with Himmler? Did he tell you?

A. Goering once spoke about it, and I concluded that the relations were not at all good.

Q. Do you know about the appointment of Kaltenbrunner as head of the Austrian State Police after the Anschluss?

A. No.

Q. Do you know who obtained that appointment for Kaltenbrunner?

A. No, I have no idea.

Q. Now, you say that Goering and you were in Munich on the night or nights of the anti-Jewish riots in Germany?

[Page 18]

A. Yes.

Q. Was Goebbels also there?

A. No.

Q. Go on; do you want to say something else?

A. On 9th November we travelled from Munich to Berlin, so Goebbels could not have been there then.

Q. Why could he not have been there?

A. Because the Reichsmarschall, with his entourage, travelled in his train to Berlin.

Q. I mean, did you know that Goebbels was in Munich before these uprisings?

A. Yes, that I heard afterwards-that Goebbels had been in Munich. All National Socialist leaders were in Munich, because 9th November was a day when all of them met.

Q. Goebbels spoke in Munich on the Jewish question that night, did he not?

A. That I do not know. I do not remember the speech.

Q. Goering was there to attend the meeting of the National Socialist leaders, was he not?

A. Yes, on 9th November the entire leadership of the National Socialist Party met in Munich. It was an anniversary meeting.

Q. Goering attended regularly?

A. Of course he did.

Q. You did, too?

A. I also did, yes.

Q. Hess also?

A . As I said, all National Socialist leaders always attended if they possibly could. Nobody ever failed to attend unless he was ill or was prevented by official duties.

Q. Which of the defendants in the dock attended those meetings? Ribbentrop, of course?

A . Ribbentrop, certainly.

Q. Keitel?

A. I assume so.

Q. Kaltenbrunner?

A. I never saw Kaltenbrunner because Kaltenbrunner held a public post only during the latter years, and during these years the meetings were not as regular as before.

Q. Rosenberg, of course, was there?

A. Of course, as I said before.

Q. Frank and Frick?

A. Certainly.

Q. Streicher?

A. Not during the latter years, I think, but previously he had always attended.

Q. When was that, during the latter years?

A. As far as I know, Streicher did not attend during the latter years, but I do not know for certain.

Q. He attended in November, 1938, at the time of the anti- Jewish uprisings, did he not?

A. I believe so, because at that time Streicher was in Nuremberg.

Q. He was very active, was he not?

A. I did not understand the question quite correctly.

Q. He was very active in the anti-Jewish matters, was he not?

A. Yes, this is generally known.

Q. And did you see Funk at those meetings?

A. I believe that Funk frequently attended those meetings.

Q. What was the subject considered at this meeting of 9th November, the night of the anti-Jewish uprising?

[Page 19]

A. I do not know of any discussions as there was always a fixed programme on that day, and I do not know about anything else, nor can the Reichsmarschall.

Q. Who was the adjutant who informed him on his arrival the next morning that something had happened during the night?

A. This I cannot say exactly as the adjutants were always changing. I only know that an adjutant came and reported.

Q. What did he say had happened?

A. He reported that during the night anti-Jewish riots had taken place and were still going on; that shop windows had been smashed, and goods thrown into the streets. Goering was infuriated about this.

Q. What was he infuriated about?

A. About the riots.

Q. You mean that he was taking the part of the Jews?

A. About the entire action.

Q. You mean that he was taking the part of the Jews?

A. Goering always showed a different attitude to the Jewish question.

Q. You just tell us what it was. You may go into all details. Tell us what his attitude was.

A. He always showed a moderate attitude towards the Jews.

Q. Such as fining them a billion Reichsmark right after the fire, right after these outrages? You know that he did that, do you not?

A. Yes. The Fuehrer demanded it.

Q. You know that the Fuehrer is dead, do you not? Do you know that for a fact?

A. Yes, I know he is dead.

Q. That is generally understood, is it not, among all of you, that the Fuehrer is dead?

A. Yes.

Q. So the Fuehrer ordered the Reichsmarschall to levy a fine of a billion Reichsmark? Who ordered the confiscation of the insurance of the Jews a few days after this assault?

A. That I do not know. I can no longer remember the details.

Q. Do you not remember that that was Goering's order?

A. I cannot recall it now.

Q. Why did Goering go to Hitler to get this stopped? Why did he not go to the head of the police, which is supposed to prevent crime?

A. Naturally he went to the highest chief so that an authoritative order could be given that the riots cease immediately.

Q. Did he have any idea who had started them?

A. It had been said that Goebbels had instigated these riots.

Q. Did he know that the Gestapo and S.S. also participated?

A . I do not know. As far as I know the S.S. did not participate.

Q. Did the Gestapo?

A. No, I do not know this either.

Q. So he went to Hitler to complain about Goebbels instigating these riots, is that the fact?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. So that he knew the next morning that these riots against the Jews had been instigated by members of the Government?

A. Yes.

Q. You were interrogated at Obersalzberg, the interrogation centre, on 4th October of last year by Dr. Kempner of our staff, were you not?

A. Yes.

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