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 3 of 10)

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

[Page 253]

Q. The 13th of February, 1939, is the date.

A. Yes, that is correct; that is the result of investigations after the incidents.

Q. That is right. Now, as a result of the riots, did the court, the Party Court, not also report this to you: The Supreme Party Court has reserved to itself the right to investigate the killings, also the severe mistreatment and moral crimes, and will request the Fuehrer to drop proceedings against any person whom the Party Court did not find guilty of excesses?

A. That is correct.

Q. And the Party Court was made up of Gauleiters and Group Leaders of the Party?

A. The Party Court changed. I cannot say just how, without having the document, who made up the Party Court at that time. I see that I am being given the document.

Q. I call your attention to Page 4, toward the bottom, where the report says, "Gauleiters and Group Leaders of the branches served as jurors at the trials and decisions."

A. Yes, it was a matter of course that the jurors of the Party Court were always taken from these categories according to their importance. I only wanted to say I did not know which persons were taking part here.

Q. Now, the Party Court found five persons guilty of offences, did they not? Number 1, a Party member, was guilty of a moral crime and race violation and he was expelled. Is that right?

A. And turned over to the Penal Court. That is what it says in the last sentence.

Q. That is right. Another Party member, Case No. 2, was suspected of race violation and expelled from the Nazi Party.

A. Expelled for suspected race violation and theft and turned over to the State Court.

Q. Yes; and No. 2, Gustav, was expelled from the Party and S.A. for theft. Right?

A. You are at No. 3?

Q. I have No. 2, the first name mentioned.

A. Gustav is the first name - Gerstner - yes, for theft, also turned over to the Sate Court for suspected race violation.

Q. Now, No. 3 dealt with two expulsions of Party members on the grounds of moral crimes against a Jewess and they were then held in protective custody. Right?

A. Expelled from the N.S.D.A.P. and taken into protective custody; they were also turned over to the Civil Court later. I know that very well.

Q. Now, we come to Cases 4 and 5, the first of which was a man, a Party member and S.A. member, who was reprimanded and declared unfit to hold office for three years because of a disciplinary offence, namely, for killing the Jewish couple Selig, contrary to orders. Is that right?

A. That is correct.

Q. And in the last of these cases the offender was reprimanded and declared unfit to hold office for three years for shooting a sixteen-year-old Jew, contrary to orders after completion of the drive. Is that right?

A. That is correct.

Q. We now come to the cases of the killing of Jews, where proceedings were suspended or minor punishments pronounced. I will not go through those in detail, but it is a fact that only minor punishments were pronounced by the Supreme Court of the Party for the killing of Jews, were they not?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. I now ask you to turn to Page 8.

A. One moment please.

Q. I call your attention to the language in regard to Cases 3 to 16.

[Page 254]

A. Which page, please?

Q. Nine, I believe it is. The Supreme Party Court asks the Fuehrer to quash the proceedings in the State Criminal Courts.

A. To quash them, to beat them down, that does not mean suppress. A penal proceeding can be "niedergeschlagen." In German that is something different. It is not the same thing as "suppress."

Q. Well, you give us your version of it and tell us what it is. What does beating down a proceeding mean? Does it mean that it has ended?

A. That is what it means, but it can only be ordered by an office which has authority to do it; that is to say, the Fuehrer can at any time "beat down" a proceeding by way of an amnesty. The Cabinet could at any time pass a resolution to "beat down" a proceeding - suppressing it would have been illegal. In Germany, "niedergeschlagen" is a juridical term meaning "to suspend."

Q. And one further question. It was also reported to you, was it not, in that report - I refer to Page 11 - "The public down to the last man realises that political drives, like those of 9th November, were organised and directed by the Party, whether this is admitted or not. When all the synagogues burned down in one night, it must have been organised in some way and can only have been organised by the Party." That also was in the report of the Supreme Party Court, was it not?

A. I have not found it yet. It is not the same page as mine.

Q. Let us find it and not have any mistake about it. Page 11. I should think it would be at the very bottom of Page 10, perhaps, where it starts.

A. Yes, I have just found it:

Q. Did I give a reasonably correct translation of it?

A. That is correct.

THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off? Before we break off, will you offer in evidence these documents that you have been putting to the witness? Those which are not already in evidence?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Yes, they should be offered in evidence, your Honour, I will do that.

THE PRESIDENT: I think 3575-PS may have been offered yesterday, but not strictly offered in evidence, and 3063-PS to-day, and one other document the number of which I have not got.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I very much appreciate your calling my attention to it.

(A recess was taken.)

DR. HORN (counsel for the defendant Ribbentrop):

Mr. President, I ask you, your Honour, to permit the defendant von Ribbentrop to be absent from to-morrow's session, as there are still some fundamental questions I have to discuss with him in order to prepare his counter- evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, your suggestion, as I understand it, is that the defendant Ribbentrop should be absent from to-morrow morning's sitting in order that you may consult with him in reference to the preparation of his defence. Is that right?

DR. HORN: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has no objection to that course being taken, provided that you make arrangements with some other defence counsel to look after the defendant Ribbentrop's interests if any questions arise. The Tribunal does not wish that you should come hereafter and say that you and defendant Ribbentrop were out of Court, and object to what may have happened in your absence. You understand what I mean?

DR. HORN: Yes, Mr. President, and I give you my assurance that I will not use an objection of that nature, and shall ask one of my colleagues to act on my behalf.

[Page 255]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has no objection to your taking that course of action, but of course you realise that the trial cannot be held up by any delay which might be caused in the future by the fact that you were not present.

DR. HORN: Mr. President, the purpose of my request is such that it will help me to avoid future delays.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I quite understand that. I was only saying that in allowing you to do this, which is perfectly reasonable, the Tribunal is merely indicating it will not allow any future delays. The trial must continue.

DR. HORN: I understand that and I wish to thank you.


Q. Now, the "Volkischer Beobachter" of 12th March, 1933, quotes a speech of yours delivered at Essen on 11th March, 1933, including the following - and I refresh your memory by calling it to your attention:

"I am told that I must employ the police. Certainly I shall employ the police, and quite ruthlessly, whenever the German people are hurt, but I refuse the notion that the police are protective troops for Jewish stores. No, the police protect whoever comes into Germany legitimately, but it does not exist for the purpose of protecting Jewish usurers."
Did you say that?

A. When did you say that was?

Q. Did you say that on 11th March, 1933, in a speech at Essen, either that, or that in substance?

A. That is correct, but the circumstances were different. Before I answer, I would like to ask whether you have finished with the document in the book that was submitted to me previously. I gave no explanation and will ask my counsel to have me questioned later on in regard to that document.

Q. That is satisfactory.

After the riots of 9th and 10th November, you have testified that you called a meeting on 12th November and ordered all officials concerned to be present, and that the Fuehrer had insisted on Goebbels being present.

A. Yes, all officials concerned with the Economic Departments.

Q. Could you tell us who was there in addition to yourself and Goebbels?

A. As far as I recall, the following were there for the purpose of reporting. The Chief of the Secret State Police to relate what had happened, the Minister of Economics, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of the Interior -

Q. Will you please state their names so that there will not be any mistake about who was there at that time?

A. I can quote only from memory. There were present - to report the events: the leader of the Secret State Police in Berlin, Heydrich; Minister of the Interior, Dr. Frick; Dr. Goebbels you have mentioned already; the Minister of Economics, Funk; Finance Minister, Count Schwerin Krosigk; and Fischbock from Austria.

Those are the only names I can recall at present, but there may have been a few others there too.

Q. Part of the time, Hilgard, representing the insurance companies, was also present, was he not?

A. He was summoned and waited there. His views were asked on special questions.

Q. Now, you have been shown the stenographic minutes of that meeting, which are in evidence as Exhibit USA 261, being Document 1816-PS, have you not, in your interrogation?

A. Yes.

Q. I will ask that they be shown to you now, so that we may have no misunderstanding about the translations.

[Page 256]

You opened the meeting with this statement. I will read it: "Gentlemen" - I think perhaps we had better be clear about which meeting it was. This is the meeting held on the 12th day of November, 1938, at the office of the Reich Ministry for Aviation. That is correct, is it not?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. You opened the meeting:

"Gentlemen, to-day's meeting is of a decisive nature. I have received a letter written on the Fuehrer's orders by the Stabsleiter of the Fuehrer's Deputy Bormann, requesting that the Jewish Question be now, once and for all, co-ordinated and solved one way or another."
Is that correct?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Further down, I find this:

"Gentlemen, I have had enough of these demonstrations. They do not harm the Jews, but finally devolve on me, the highest authority for the German Economy. If to-day a Jewish shop is destroyed, if goods are thrown into the street, the insurance company will pay the Jew for the damages so that he does not suffer any damage at all. Furthermore, consumer goods, goods belonging to the people, are destroyed. If, in the future, demonstrations occur - and on occasion they are necessary - then I ask that they be so directed that we do not cut our own throats."
Am I correct?

A. Yes, quite correct.

Q. Omitting two or three paragraphs, I come to this -

A. But the supplement has been omitted.

Q. Well, you can supplement it any way you want to.

A. "And I wish to have these things directed in such a way that we do not cut our own throats. For it is madness to empty and set fire to a Jewish store and then allow a German insurance company to cover the damage and pay for goods which I sorely need. I might as well take and bum the raw materials when they come in."
Q. That is right. You read any part of it that you want to as we go along, in addition to what I read.
"I am not going to tolerate a situation in which the German insurance companies are the ones to suffer. To prevent this, I will use my authority and issue a decree. In this, of course, I ask for the support of the competent Government agencies, so that everything shall be settled properly and the insurance companies will not be the ones who suffer.

It may be that these insurance companies have re- insurance in foreign countries. If there are such re- insurances, I would not want to give them up, because they bring in foreign exchange. The matter must be looked into. For that reason, I have asked Herr Hilgard of the insurance business to attend, since he is best qualified to tell us to what extent the insurance companies are covered by re-insurance against such damage. I would not want to give this up under any circumstances."

Is that correct?

A. That is absolutely correct.

Q. "I do not want to leave any doubt, gentlemen, as to the purpose of to-day's meeting. We have not come together merely to talk again, but to make decisions, and I earnestly ask the competent departments to take trenchant measures for the Aryanising of German Economy and to submit them to me as far as is necessary."
A. That is correct.

[Page 257]

Q. I then omit a considerable portion, unless there is more that you wish to put in, and come to this statement:
"The State Trustee will estimate the value of the business and decide what amount the Jew shall receive. Naturally, this amount is to be fixed as low as possible. The State Trustee will then transfer the business to Aryan ownership. The aim is thus accomplished, inasmuch as the business is transferred to the right ownership and its goodwill and balance sheet remain unimpaired.

Then the difficulties begin. It is easily understandable that strong attempts will be made to get Party members into all these stores and thus give them some compensation. I have witnessed terrible things in the past; little chauffeurs of Gauleiters have profited so much by these transactions that they have raked in half a million. You gentlemen know it. Is that correct?"

And they 'assented.'

A. Yes, I said that.

Q. Would you care to read anything further in connection with that?

A. Perhaps only the next sentence:

"These are, of course, things which are not permissible, and I shall not hesitate to deal ruthlessly with such underhand dealings. If a prominent person is involved I shall go straight to the Fuehrer and report these dirty tricks quite dispassionately."

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