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

Ninety-Seventh Day: Tuesday, 2nd April, 1946
(Part 1 of 11)

[Page 261]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, your Lordship will have noticed that I did not deal with the question of Jews. That will now be taken up by my learned friend, M. Faure, of the French Delegation.

DR. KAUFFMANN (Counsel for defendant Kaltenbrunner):

Mr. President, may I say a few words on an important question? A map was discussed here yesterday, the map which is now visible in Court. From that map the prosecution concludes that a large number of concentration camps were distributed all over Germany. The defendants are contradicting this statement as energetically as possible. In the treatment of my case, the case of the defendant Kaltenbrunner, I hope to adduce evidence to the effect that only a very few of the red spots on this map are in order. I wish to make this statement here and now, in order that the impression does not arise over and over again, in the subsequent cases, that this map is a correct one.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kauffmann, this is only a reproduction of what has already been put in evidence.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Yes, but I am at liberty to adduce proof to the contrary?

THE PRESIDENT: Of course you are, but it is not necessary for you to say so now. The fact that the evidence was put in by the prosecution at an earlier date, of course, gives you every opportunity to answer it, but not to answer it at this moment.




Q. Defendant, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, you were the Head of the Diplomatic Personnel, were you not?

A. Yes.

Q. The personnel followed your instructions, did they not?

A. Yes.

Q. You declared yesterday that you were responsible for the acts of your subordinates?

A. Yes.

Q. Would you please tell me if Dr. Best, Plenipotentiary for Denmark, was a member of your Ministry?

A. Yes.

Q. Dr. Best told you, did he not, that Hitler had given an order to assassinate Danes when there were acts of sabotage?

A. May I ask you to repeat the question?

Q. Dr. Best, according to the documents that were produced before the Tribunal, saw you on 30th December, 1943, and told you that Hitler had given the order to assassinate Danes when there were acts of sabotage in Denmark; is that so?

A. Yes, that was to be done against saboteurs. Hitler had ordered it.

Q. The order, according to the terms employed by Dr. Best in the document was to "execute persons, terrorists or non- terrorists without judgement." Can that not be considered as assassination?

A. From the beginning I strongly opposed these measures, and so did Dr. Best. We went so far as to ...

[Page 262]

Q. Defendant, I am not trying to say that you were pleased with this state of affairs. I am merely asking you if you were informed thereof. Is that correct?

A. Yes, the Fuehrer wanted that. I do not know the details.

Q. But I am not asking for details.

A. And what was ordered afterwards I do not know because, so far as I am aware, it did not go through us, but through another department.

Q. I note that you actually were informed of the Fuehrer's order given that day to permit assassination. You therefore considered it normal to belong to a government, the Head of which was a murderer.

A. No, the exact opposite is true, the exact opposite.

Q. All right, all right, just answer, please.

A. ... for I told him that I had taken my stand and that I held divergent views. The Fuehrer was dissatisfied with Dr. Best and had the matter handled through other channels, since Dr. Best was against it and so was I.

Q. I am merely asking you to answer my question simply. You can give details through your counsel later.

With regard to Denmark, there was action against the Jews in that country in order to deport them. Did you have anything to do with that?

A. I cannot tell you anything about matters relating to the Jews in Denmark, since I know nothing.

Q. Did you never hear anything about it?

A. The question - I remember once discussing the question with Best - and we decided that it was of no significance in Denmark. He was, therefore, not proposing to do anything in particular about the Jewish question there, and I declared myself in complete agreement with him.

Q. I ask that you be shown Document 2375-PS.

M. FAURE: This document has not yet been submitted to the Tribunal. I would like to submit it as Exhibit RF 1503.

Q. I would like to read with you the second paragraph of this document. It is an affidavit from a commander of the Police in Denmark.

"As commander, I was subordinate to the Plenipotentiary, Dr. Best. Since I was opposed to the persecution of the Jews, on principle and for practical reasons, I asked Dr. Best to give me the reasons for the measures that were ordered.

Dr. Best declared to me that the Reich Foreign Minister, Ribbentrop obviously knew Hitler's intention to exterminate the Jews in Europe. He had furnished to Hitler a report about the Jewish problem in Denmark and proposed to deport the Jews from Denmark.

Dr. Best declared furthermore that Ribbentrop was afraid of being held responsible in case the Jews remained in Denmark.

Dr. Best was also obliged to carry out the measures that were proposed to Hitler by Ribbentrop.

From the discussion with Dr. Best I gathered that he must have had a discussion or a telephone conversation with Ribbentrop."

You read that, did you not?

A. What is written in this document is pure fantasy. It is not true.

Q. Very well; I ask then that you be shown Document 3688-PS, which I wish to deposit as Exhibit RF 1502. It is an order Of 24th September, 1942, from Luther, addressed to his collaborators. I wish to read with you the first, two paragraphs of that document.

"The Minister for Foreign Affairs has instructed me today by telephone to expedite as much as possible the evacuation of the Jews from different countries in Europe, since it is certain that the Jews rouse up feelings against us everywhere and must be made responsible for acts of sabotage and attacks. After a short report on the evacuations of Jews at present in process in

[Page 263]

Slovakia, Croatia, Roumania and the occupied territories, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has now ordered us to approach the Bulgarian, Hungarian and Danish Governments with the aim of getting the evacuation started in these countries."
I suggest that this second document confirms the first as regards your participation in the deportation of Jews in Denmark. Do you agree?

A. It was the Fuehrer's plan, at the time, to deport the Jews from Europe to North Africa - and Madagascar was also mentioned in this connection. He ordered me to approach various governments with a view to encouraging the emigration of the Jews, if possible, and to remove all Jews from important Government posts. I issued instructions to the Foreign Office accordingly and, if I remember rightly, certain governments were approached several times to that effect. It was a question of persuading the Jews to emigrate to certain parts of North Africa. That is true. May I return to this affidavit. This, sworn affidavit is pure fantasy and quite out of keeping with Colonel Mildner's character.

Q. But, in any case, you admit ...

A. Best once discussed the Jewish question with me, and he said that as far as Denmark was concerned, the question was of no particular importance, since there were not many Jews left there. I explained to him that he would have to let matters take their own course there. That is the truth.

Q. You admit, therefore, that this document signed by Luther is correct, and that you did give the order to evacuate the Jews of Denmark? It is in the letter.

A. No, not in Denmark. I do not even know this document of Luther's. This is the first time I have seen it.

Q. Please, answer my questions; otherwise we shall waste a lot of time.

In your opinion, both these documents are incorrect, you said so; let us pass on. The German Embassy in Paris ...

A. No, I did not say so. That is incorrect. I said that I did not know Luther's document. It is, however, true that the Fuehrer gave me instructions to tell the Foreign Office to approach certain foreign governments with a view to solving the Jewish problem by removing the Jews from government positions and, wherever possible to favour Jewish emigration.

Q. The German Embassy in Paris was under your orders, was it not?

A. The German Embassy in Paris - that is, the Ambassador to the Vichy Government, naturally received orders from me.

Q. Exhibit RF 1061 has already been read to the Tribunal and in this document you defined the functions of Ambassador Abetz. It is document 3614-PS.

In this document, which has already been read to you twice here, I would remind you that you commissioned Abetz to put in a safe place the public and private art treasures, particularly those belonging to Jews, on the basis of special instructions mentioned here. Abetz executed this mission by pillaging art collections in France?

A. It is not true.

Q. I would ask that you be shown Document 3766-PS, which has not yet been produced, and which I should like to put in as Exhibit RF 1505. I will merely go over a few lines of this document with you. It is a report from the military administration of which 700 copies were distributed. It is entitled: "Report on the removal of French works of art by the German Embassy and the Einsatzstab Rosenberg in France."

If you will look at page No. 3a, you will see that the title in the margin is very significant: "Attempt reported by German Embassy to remove objects from the Louvre."

Page 4, I will read the first sentence at the top of the page ...

A. When may I refer to the individual points? Not at all or here and now?

Q. When I ask you a question you will answer. I am reading a passage to you:

"Ambassador Abetz, disregarding the prohibition pronounced by the

[Page 264]

military authorities, undertook to send to Germany a whole series of works of art from the Louvre which had been placed in safety."
A. I declare that this is absolutely untrue. Not a single work of art was taken out of the Louvre by Ambassador Abetz. That would have been contrary to the Fuehrer's express orders, and he had strictly forbidden it. The report is incorrect.

May I mention that on one occasion the French Government wanted to present me with a work of art from the Louvre, a painting by Boucher. I returned this picture to the Louvre. I do not possess anything and the Foreign Office never even saw a single work of art from the Louvre.

Q. You state that this report is incorrect?

THE PRESIDENT: What is this report you are putting to him?

M. FAURE: It is Document 3766-PS.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I know, but what is this document?

M. FAURE: It is a report from the German Military Administration, which is amongst the American documents in the P.S. series. The Tribunal received a general affidavit referring thereto.

THE PRESIDENT: Captured documents?

M. FAURE: Yes, captured documents. I indicate to the Tribunal that this captured report contains numerous other passages relating to Abetz's actions, but as the defendant declares that the report is inexact as regards one of its passages, I shall not continue reading the document, in order to save time. In addition -

THE WITNESS: But this is not a captured document.


Q. Please, answer my questions. We are not going to carry on a controversy. Your counsel can interrogate you later on.

DR. HORN (counsel for the defendant Ribbentrop): I must ask your permission to inquire into the nature of the documents submitted to the defendant. If it is stated that it is a captured report and then, that it is not a captured report, the matters should be put right, here and immediately.

M. FAURE: I have already indicated that this document belongs to the P.S. series of captured documents. The Tribunal has a large number of such documents and I do not think that their authenticity will be disputed.


Q. I would now like to ask you the following question:

THE PRESIDENT: Are you going to ask further questions upon this document?

M. FAURE: No, Mr. President.

Apart from the questions of art treasures, Abetz also dealt with the question of the treatment of Jews in general, did he not?

A. Abetz received no order. As far as I know he also had nothing to do with the Jewish question. This question was handled by other departments.

Q. Is it not true that in October, 1940, Abetz communicated with you with a view to settling the situation of Jews of German or Austrian descent who were residing in France?

A. I do not know, it did not interest me.

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