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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
23rd March to 3rd April, 1946

Ninetieth Day: Monday, 25rd March, 1946
(Part 3 of 11)

[DR. SEIDL continues his direct examination of ERNST WILHELM BOHLE]

[Page 20]

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the defendants' counsel wish to ask the witness any questions?

DR. SAUTER (counsel for defendant Schirach): I would like to put several questions to this witness, your Honour.


Q. Witness, I represent the defendant von Schirach, the former leader of the German Youth. Therefore, the following points would interest me: Did the Hitler Youth (H.J.) also exist in foreign countries, or only in Germany?

[Page 21]

A. The Hitler Youth existed in foreign countries also, among the native Germans.

Q. Please tell me whether the Hitler Youth abroad was subject to the political directives of the duly qualified Landesleiter of the Ausland Organization, or is that not right?

A. Yes, the Hitler Youth abroad was politically under the control of the Hoheitstrager (bearers of supreme power) of the Party.

Q. Once in the course of the proceedings the assertion was made that members of the Hitler Youth were trained for service as agents and for espionage work abroad and also were used for these purposes. Neither actual facts nor individual cases were given, but only this general assertion was made, and in this connection it was also asserted that Hitler Youth abroad were even used as paratroopers, that is, that they had been trained internally as paratroopers in order to be used abroad in this capacity.

That is the assertion which I submit to you and I now ask to have your opinion on this, whether according to your knowledge as the duly qualified leader of the Ausland Organization, something like that did occur or whether anything like that was at all possible?

A. I would like to say the following in reply:

I consider it entirely out of the question that members of the Hitler Youth abroad were utilised in this way. I can assert that so much the more, since I know I would have heard about it from the leaders of the Party in the various foreign countries. I know also nothing at all about the training of the Hitler Youth as paratroopers or anything similar. I consider these assertions as absolutely pure invention.

Q. Then I may assume, as the result of your testimony, that things of that sort, on the basis of the entire organization, would certainly have come to your knowledge, if something like that had occurred or had been planned; is that correct?

A. Yes, indeed.

Q. And then, witness, I have a last question:

Here in the Courtroom a further assertion was also made about the Hitler Youth. It was asserted that at Lemberg the following once took place: That the Hitler Youth or members of the Hitler Youth had used little children as targets. Also in this report no details of course were given, but only the assertion was made. The following would interest me:

As you know the Hitler Youth had, I believe, a membership toward the end of about seven to eight million.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, does that have anything to do with the Ausland Organization?

DR. SAUTER: Yes, it does in so far as my client, the defendant von Schirach, is charged with the fact that the Hitler Youth abroad committed such atrocities.

THE PRESIDENT: It was not suggested that they did this abroad, was it, that Hitler Youth even used children as targets abroad?

DR. SAUTER: Yes, indeed, it was said that at Lemberg, in the Government General, not in Germany, which means abroad.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean after the war began?


THE PRESIDENT: I thought this witness was speaking about the same organization before the war.

DR. SAUTER: I do not know whether he was also talking about the Ausland Organization during the war. But in any case, Mr. President, the witness knows these facts, for he was the head of the Ausland Organization. Therefore this witness seems to me especially qualified to give us information on these matters.

THE PRESIDENT: It seems to me that we are very far from the point, but you can go on.

[Page 22]

DR. SAUTER: Yes, Mr. President, for otherwise I would have to call this witness for my client again.


Q. Witness, do you at all recall the last question I put to you, whether you have any knowledge that the Hitler Youth, or members of the Hitler Youth abroad, which was under your jurisdiction, is supposed to have committed atrocities of that nature?

A. I regret to tell you, Mr. Attorney, that the Government General did not belong to the Ausland Organization, that I was never there, and therefore am not in a position to state anything on that point. Obviously the erroneous opinion seems to exist that the Government General, like the Party, was connected with the Ausland Organization, however that was not the case. I had no organisational powers there.

DR. SAUTER: I have no further questions.

DR. SERVATIUS (Attorney for the Organization of the Political Leaders): Witness, to what extent, in your capacity as Reichsleiter of the Ausland Organization, were you informed about the foreign political intentions of the Fuehrer?

A. I was not Reichsleiter, but Gauleiter, and was never informed of the foreign political intentions of the Fuehrer.

Q. Do you know whether the Fuehrer basically advocated to your organization an understanding with England?

A. I do not quite understand your question.

Q. Before the war did Hitler, in your presence and before the other Gauleiters, many times emphasize the fact that he wanted at all costs an understanding with England and that you also were to work for its achievement?

A. I received no orders in this respect from the Fuehrer, but from the Deputy to the Fuehrer. The Fuehrer never discussed foreign political matters with me during the twelve years I was in office.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any members of the defence counsel want to ask any other questions?


Q. Your Ausland Organization was organized in the same way as the Party in Germany was organized, is that not so?

A. Not in all points, because there were various organizations within the body of the Party in the Reich which were not intended for foreign countries, for example, the Office for Municipal Policy.

Q. Perhaps I can shorten my question: Did you have Hoheitstrager abroad in the same way as you had them in Germany?

A. Yes.

Q. The organization in each country was under the Landesgruppenleiter, is that correct?

A. In almost all countries.

Q. And under many there were lower-ranking Hoheitstrager?

A. Yes, the Ortsgruppenleiter.

Q. Was the result of that, that you had your German population in foreign countries well organized and known to the leaders in those countries?

A. To a great extent that might be correct, but it was not so thoroughly organized, nor could it be practical because the leader of the Party did not know all the Reich Germans in the country concerned.

Q. Did it never occur to you that in the event of your army invading a country where you had a well-organized organization, that organization would be of extreme military value?

A. No, that was not the sense and the purpose of the Ausland Organizations and no offices ever approached me in this connection.

[Page 23]

Q. Are you telling this Tribunal now that when the various countries of Europe were in fact invaded by the German Army your local organizations did nothing to assist them in a military or semi-military capacity?

A. Yes, indeed.

Q. Very well. Now, let me ask you about something else for a moment: You had, had you not, an efficient system of reporting from your Landesgruppenleiter to your head office in Berlin?

A. Yes.

Q. I think you have said yourself, did you not, in your interrogations, that you took an especial pride in the speed with which your reports came back?

A. I did not say that, I believe, with respect to speed but rather with respect to the accuracy of their political survey.

Q. In fact, your reports did come back with great speed, did they not?

A. I cannot say that in general. It depended on the possibility of dispatching these reports quickly to Berlin, and how far that was the case in individual instances, I naturally cannot say today. In any case, I had no special speed or acceleration measures at my disposal.

Q. In fact, you told your interrogator - and I can refer you to it if necessary - that on occasions you got back information before Himmler or the Foreign Office had got similar information.

A. That must be a misunderstanding. It concerns the political reports from the Landesgruppenleiter which I transmitted from Berlin to the different offices.

Q. Very well, we will leave the speed out. I have it from you that you had an efficient system of reporting, had you not?

A. In order to answer that question I would have to know in respect to what reports I am supposed to have had an efficient system of reporting.

Q. That was going to be my next question. I was going to ask you: What in fact did your Landesgruppenleiter report to you?

A. The Landesgruppenleiter reported of their own accord to me, if they had anything of importance which they wanted sent to the competent offices in the Reich.

Q. Did they ever report anything which might have been of military or semi-military value?

A. That might have been true in a few cases, although at present I cannot recall any special cases.

Q. They were never given any instructions, were they, to report that kind of information?

A. No, generally not.

Q. How did you get your reports back? Did you have wireless sets with your organizations in foreign countries?

A. No, we did not have any such transmission or wireless stations. Reports either came through courier in special cases or were brought by individuals to Germany.

Q. After the war started did your organizations continue in neutral countries?

A. Yes.

Q. Did they never have wireless sets reporting back information?

A. I do not know anything about that. I do not believe they had them, for I would have had to know about it.

Q. Now, I want just to ask you about one or two documents. Would you look at Document 3258-PS-My Lord, that is Exhibit GB 262; I have copies of the extract for the Tribunal and members of defence counsel. I expect you read English - the book itself is coming.

A. Yes.

Q. There you have before you a copy of some extracts from it. Would you look at the bottom of the first page, last paragraph commencing "In 1938 ..." Did you have a Landesgruppenleiter in the Netherlands of the name of Butting?

[Page 24]

A. Yes.

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