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

Eighty-Sixth Day: Wednesday, 20th March, 1946
(Part 2 of 10)

[MR. JUSTICE JACKSON continues his cross examination of HERMANN WILHELM GORING]

[Page 248]

Q. Now, let us go through the public acts which you performed on the Jewish Question. First, did you proclaim the Nuremberg Laws?

A. As President of the Reichstag, yes. I have already stated that.

Q. What date was that?

A. 1935, I believe, here in Nuremberg in September.

Q. That was the beginning of the legal measures taken against the Jews, was it not?

A. That was a legal measure.

Q. That was the first of the legal measures taken by your Government against the Jews, was it not?

A. No, I believe the removal from office was before.

Q. When was that?

A. I could not state the exact date, but I believe that happened in 1933.

Q. Then on the first day of December, 1936, you promulgated an act making it a death penalty for Germans to transfer property abroad or leave it abroad; the property of a culprit to be forfeited to the State, and the People's Court given jurisdiction to prosecute, did you not?

[Page 249]

A. That is correct, the "Decree Governing Restriction on Foreign Currency," that is to say, whoever had an account in a foreign country without permission of the Government.

Q. Then, your third public act was on 22nd April, 1938, when you published penalties for veiling the character of a Jewish enterprise within the Reich was it not?

A. Yes.

Q. Then on 28th July, 1939, you, Hermann Goering, published certain prescriptions on the competence of the courts to handle those matters under the decree, did you not?

A. Please, would you kindly read the law to me? I cannot recall it.

Q. I will not take time reading it. Do you deny that you published Reichsgesetzblatt Law, 1939, found on Page 1370, referring to the competence of the courts to handle penalties against Jews? If you do not remember, say so.

A. Yes, I say that I cannot remember the law. If it is in the Reichsgesetzblatt and bears my name, then, of course, it is so, but I do not remember the contents.

Q. Now, on 26th April, 1938, you, under the Four-Year Plan, published a decree providing for the registration of Jewish property and provided that Jews inside and outside Germany must register their property, did you not?

A. I assume so. I no longer remember it, but if you have the decree there and if it is signed by me, there cannot be any doubt.

Q. On 26th April, 1938, you published a decree under the Four-Year Plan, did you not, that all acts of disposal of Jewish enterprises required the permission of the authorities?

A. That I remember.

Q. Then you published, on 12th November, 1938, a decree, also under the Four-Year Plan, imposing a fine of a billion marks for atonement on all Jews?

A. I have already explained that all these decrees at that time were signed by me, and I assume responsibility for them.

Q. Well, I am asking you if you did not sign that particular decree? I am going to ask you some further questions about it later.

A. Yes.

Q. Then on 12th November, 1938, you also signed a decree that, under the Four-Year Plan, all damage caused to Jewish property by the riots of 1938 must be repaired immediately by the Jews, and at their own expense, and their insurance claims were forfeited to the Reich. Did you personally sign that law?

A. I did sign a similar law. Whether it was exactly the same as you have just read I could not say.

Q. You do not disagree that that was the substance of the law, do you?

A. No.

Q. And on 12th November, 1938, did you not also personally sign a decree, also under the Four-Year Plan, that Jews may not own retail stores, or engage independently in handicrafts, or offer goods or services for sale at markets, fairs, or exhibitions, or act as leaders of enterprises or as members of co-operatives. Do you recall all of that?

A. Yes. Those are all parts of the decrees for the elimination of Jewry from economic life.

Q. Then, on 21st February, 1939, you personally signed a decree, did you not, that the Jews must surrender all objects of precious metals and jewels purchased, to the public office within two weeks?

A. I do not remember that, but without doubt that is correct.

Q. I refer to Volume 1 of the "Reichsgesetzblatt," 1939, Page 282. You have no recollection of that?

[Page 250]

A. I have not the "Reichsgesetzblatt" in front of me now, but if there is a decree in the "Reichsgesetzblatt" or a law signed with my name, then I have signed that law and decreed it.

Q. Did you not also, on 3rd March, 1939, sign a further decree concerning the period within which items of jewellery must be surrendered by Jews - "Reichsgesetzblatt," Volume 1, 1939, Page 387?

A. I assume that was the decree for the execution of the decree for surrender previously mentioned. A law sometimes requires regulations and decrees for execution consequent upon the law. Taken together, this is one single measure.

Q. Did you not also sign personally a decree under the Four- Year Plan of 17th September, 1940, ordering the sequestration of Jewish property in Poland?

A. Yes, as I stated before, in that part of Poland which, I may say, as an old German province, was to return to Germany.

Q. Did you not also, on the 30th day of November, 1940, personally sign a decree which provided that the Jews should receive no compensation for damages caused by enemy attacks or by German Forces, and did you not sign that in the capacity of President of the Reich Defence Council? I refer to "Reichsgesetzblatt," Volume 1, 1940, Page 1547.

A. If you have it there before you, then it must be correct.

Q. You have no recollection of that?

A. Not of all the separate laws and decrees. That is impossible.

Q. Then, it was you, was it not, who signed, on the 31st day of July, 1941, a decree asking Himmler and the Chief of Security Police and the S.S. Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich to make plans for the complete solution of the Jewish Question?

A. No, that is not correct. I know this decree very well.

Q. I ask to have you shown Document 710-PS.

(A document was handed to the witness.)

That document is signed by you, is it not?

A. That is correct.

Q. And it is addressed to the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service and to S.S. Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich, is it not?

A. That is also correct.

Q. I am not certain whether the entire thing has been read into the record, but I think it should be; and, that we may have no difficulty about the translation of this, you correct me if I am wrong:

"Completing the task that was assigned to you on 24th January, 1939 - "
A. Here is a mistake already. It says: "Complementing" not "completing" the task which has been assigned to you.

Q. Very well, I will accept that.

"which dealt with arriving at a thorough furtherance of emigration and evacuation; a solution of the Jewish problem, as advantageously as possible. I hereby charge you with making all necessary preparations in regard to organisational and financial matters for bringing about a complete solution of the Jewish Question in the German sphere of influence in Europe."
Am I correct so far?

A. No, that is in no way correctly translated.

Q. Give us your translation of it?

A. May I read it as it is written here?

"Complementing the task which was conferred upon you already on 24th January, 1939, to solve the Jewish problem by means of emigration and evacuation in the best possible way according to present conditions. I charge you herewith to make all necessary preparations as regards organisational, factual and material matters. . ."

[Page 251]

Now comes the decisive word which has been mistranslated - "for a total solution," not "for a final solution" -
"for a total solution of the Jewish Question within the area of German influence in Europe. Should these come within the competence of other governmental departments, then such departments are to co-operate.

I charge you further to submit to me as soon as possible a general plan showing the organisational and material measures for reaching the desired total solution of the Jewish Question." - "Complementing the task assigned to you on 24th January, 1939." ... That was at a time when there was no war or prospect of a war.

Q. Now are you reporting the instrument or are you making an explanation?

A. I wanted to add an explanation to the quotation and just to point out the date.

Q. Yes. Well, I did not want it to appear that it was a part of the instrument. The last that is contained in the instrument is:

"I charge you furthermore to send me, before long, an overall plan concerning the organisational, factual and material measures necessary for the accomplishment of the desired solution of the Jewish Question."
Is that not a substantially accurate translation of your order to Heydrich And Himmler?

A. To Heydrich and the other Government departments which had anything to do with it. That can be seen from the first part of the letter, the last sentence.

Q. Let us have no misunderstanding about this translation, now. This letter was directed to the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service and S.S. Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich. We are right about that, are we not?

A. That is correct, but I have to make an explanation in connection with that.

Q. All right.

A. The reason I sent this letter to him was that, by the decree of 24th January, 1939, Heydrich, or it may have been Himmler, had been given the task of dealing with the emigration of the Jews. Therefore, this was the Government department concerned, and it was to the department which had been given the task that I had to apply concerning all material and economic matters arising therefrom.

Q. Yes. And you ordered all other governmental agencies to co-operate with the Security Police and the S.S. in the final solution of the Jewish Question, did you not?

A. There is nothing about the S.S. here, only about the Sicherheitspolizei, a Government agency. The fact that Heydrich was S.S. Gruppenfuehrer had no direct bearing on it, because it was sent to the Chief of the Security Police - mentioning his rank as S.S. Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich.

Q. And mentioning his rank in the S.S. was just superfluous and has nothing to do with the case?

A. I have to explain that. For instance, if I write to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, then I write to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Colonel-General or Field- Marshal Von Brauchitsch. And if I write to the Chief of the Security Police, then I must address it to the Chief of the Security Police S.S. Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich. That was his rank and his title. However, that does not mean that the S.S. had anything to do with it.

Q. Now, at the time that you issued this order you had received complete reports as to the 1938 riots and Heydrich's part in them, had you not?

A. At that time I had no knowledge of Heydrich's part in the riots - only Heydrich's report on the riots, for which I had asked.

Q. All right. Now we will show you Document 3058-PS, in evidence as Exhibit USA 508.

(A document was handed to the witness.)

[Page 252]

That is the report written by Heydrich which you say you had received, and it is dated 11th November, is it not?

A. That is correct.

Q. And it reported to you the looting of Jewish shops, the arrest of 174 persons for looting, the destruction of 815 shops, 171 dwellings set on fire or destroyed, and that this indicated only a fraction of the actual damage caused; 191 synagogues were set on fire, and another 76 completely destroyed; in addition, 11 parish halls, cemetery chapels, and similar buildings were set on fire, and 3 more completely destroyed; 20,000 Jews were arrested; also, 7 Aryans and 3 foreigners. The latter were arrested for their own safety. Thirty-six deaths were reported, and the seriously injured were also numbered at 36. Those killed and injured are Jews. One Jew is still missing. The Jews killed includes 1 Polish national, and those injured include 2 Poles.

You had that report on or about the 11th day of November, 1938, did you not?

A. That is correct. That is the report mentioned by me and which I had asked the police to supply, because I wanted to know what had happened up to then.

Q. Exactly. And the note was made at the top of it, "The General Field-Marshal has been informed and no steps are to be taken," was it not?

A. That is not quite correct. It says here, "General Field- Marshal has taken note. No steps are to be taken by any other office," because I myself wanted to take them.

Q. Now, you know that that is not true, do you not, that steps were to be taken by some other office? I put it to you squarely whether you are telling this Tribunal the truth when you say that no steps were to be taken by anyone else.

A. This is a note of my adjutant, so that nothing would be done from this quarter, because I said I was going to deal with it personally. In fact I went straight to the Fuehrer with this report.

Q. All right. Did you receive a report from the Chief Party Judge of the Nazi Party, dated Munich, 13th February, 1939, concerning the proceedings taken by the Party in these matters?

A. That is correct. I received that report much later.

Q. And at the time you appointed - I withdraw the question. It is obvious from the dates of the documents. You acknowledged the receipt of that document, did you not, to Party member Buch?

A. That is also correct.

Q. And the only proceedings that were taken about these riots were those taken by the Party Court, were they not?

A. Not quite; some were brought before the court. That is in the report also.

Q. I ask that the witness be shown the report, which is Document 3063-PS. It is not in evidence. Since the document apparently has not been brought here, I will ask you for your recollection.

A. I know it fairly well.

Q. I thought so.

A. No, because it has been submitted to me before, here.

Q. Yes, it has not been kept from you. Now, in the first place, the Party Court reported that it was probably understood - I quote - "by all of the Party Leaders present, from oral instructions of the Reich Propaganda Director, that the Party should not appear outwardly as the originator of the demonstrations but in reality should organise and execute them." Was that the report of the Party Court?

A. The Party Court, as a result of its investigation, established that the Propaganda Chief, Dr. Goebbels, had given these directives. May I ask if we are dealing with a report dated March or maybe April?

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