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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
4th April to 15th April, 1946

One Hundred and Third Day: Tuesday, 9th April, 1946
(Part 3 of 12)

[Page 148]

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, doesn't the whole point turn upon the date at which those documents were submitted to the translating department? Because what Dr. Thoma says is that in consequence of the translating department being ready to accept documents, he handed them in before they were actually denied by the Tribunal. And if that is so, it would be obvious, would it not ...

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: My Lord, I don't know what he said. I did not understand that they were handed in before 8th March, 1946. But in any event, even if they were translated, the order to us to print is dated 8th April, 1946, and was delivered with them on 8th April. Now certainly there was time after the denial to have stopped our spending this amount of money and effort printing things that had been prohibited, and which were prohibited twice. I won't characterise it; the facts speak for themselves.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Thoma, can you help us about the dates at all? Can you help us as to this? Mr. Justice Jackson has stated that after these three documents had been refused in the first instance, you then renewed your request for them on 10th March, 1946, and that on 23rd March, 1946, they were finally denied. Well now, when did you send the documents to the translating room?

DR. THOMA: The documents, I believe, were given to the translating department before 8th March. There was a session regarding the admissibility of documents, and it was about that time, before a decision had been made, that the translating department had got in touch with my secretary and asked her to hand in the document book, since they had heard that it was ready.

I then struggled in this court-room to have the philosophy admitted and had the impression that the Tribunal would not want to agree to these documents. Thereupon I once more submitted a written application to the Tribunal in order to have these documents admitted. When I was then informed that the anti-Semitic books would not be permitted - and that was a few days after the date of this decision - I informed the Tribunal that I wanted to draw its attention to the fact that books which had not been approved were being translated.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Thoma, quite naturally, you aren't able to give us the exact dates at this moment, but we will look into this matter fully.

DR. THOMA: I should like once more to draw your attention to the fact that I myself pointed out that there are excerpts in the document book which had been refused. I beg you to draw from that the conclusion that I was not trying to do anything which was not permissible.

THE PRESIDENT: I think, if the document had been denied, the proper course would have been to withdraw the documents or to communicate with the translating division notifying them that they should be withdrawn.

However, the Tribunal thinks that the best course in this matter would be for the Tribunal to consider Mr. Justice Jackson's suggestion. That is, in order to relieve the prosecution of the task of deciding or objecting to the documents which are to be submitted to the translating rooms, that matter should be considered by somebody deputed by the Tribunal as a Master.

The Tribunal thinks that Mr. Justice Jackson, or the Prosecutors' Committee, should apply in writing to strike out all the irrelevant documents which are complained of in the document book which has been submitted on behalf of the defendant Rosenberg.

Third, for the present, the Tribunal would adhere to the system which it has established with the consent of the prosecuting counsel.

[Page 149]

The only thing I need add to that is that I find that I was right in saying that the Court Contact Committee of the Prosecutors did apply to the Tribunal on 29th March, 1946 - I have the document before me - requesting the Tribunal to vary the ruling which it had made, namely, Ruling 297, made on 8th March, 1946.

DR. THOMA: I actually visited the officer and told him that the documents must be taken out, that they must not stay in. However, it transpired that hundreds of copies had already been bound and prepared and I was told, "Well, after all, they aren't going to be quoted, so they might as well stay in, since they aren't going to be quoted." I expressly made the request to have them taken out of the document book.

THE PRESIDENT: Of course, I didn't mean that the Tribunal was asking the prosecution to apply in writing to strike out documents which have already been rejected. Those documents, of course, will go out without any application; but if and in so far as there are other documents contained in the Rosenberg document book to which the prosecution objects, then it might conveniently apply, although, of course, that matter will have to be discussed in open court.

As I have already pointed out, the granting of any documents is expressly provided to be provisional, and the application for the final admission of the documents has to be made in open court.

The Tribunal will have a report made to it by the General Secretary as to these dates and these matters. And now the Tribunal will adjourn for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has come to the conclusion that it will save time if the defendants are called first as the first witnesses in the case of each defendant; and, therefore, in the future the defendant must be called first unless there are some exceptional reasons, in which case defendant's counsel may apply to the Tribunal and the Tribunal will consider those reasons for calling the defendant in some position later than first witness.

Yes, Dr. Dix.




Q. Witness, I had started to say that it had been pointed out to me that I had asked my questions too soon after you had completed your answers and that you were answering too soon after I had put the question. The interpreters can't follow, nor can the stenographers. I ask you, therefore - and I shall do the same - to pause after each question. I am sure that the Tribunal won't interpret these pauses as meaning that you are not sure of your answers.

Yesterday you made detailed statements to the Tribunal regarding the various applications for resignation which Schacht presented to Hitler, and regarding various moves and proposals for peace which Schacht made or wanted to make, orally or in writing, during the war, to be delivered by you to Hitler. We were speaking about such a memorandum of the summer of 1941, and I had the feeling that the Tribunal had procedural objections because I was putting the contents of the document to the witness and having him confirm them. The copy of this document is in the strong box which has already been mentioned repeatedly and which was confiscated on Schacht's estate by the Red Army when the Red Army marched in. Despite all efforts the Russian delegation had not yet succeeded in getting this strong box.

Although some rather good passages are contained therein, I am perfectly willing to break off here and to put these questions to Herr Schacht if the Tribunal would prefer that. May I have the Tribunal's decision on this question? If necessary I can cease to discuss the memorandum any further.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal had no objection to your asking this witness about it, but it thought you ought not to put a leading question and that you ought to

[Page 150]

ask the witness if he remembered the document and what the contents of the document were - not to put to him that it was such and such in the document or some other passage in the document, but just to ask him what the contents of the document were.

DR. DIX: The dividing line between leading questions and putting the contents of a document to the witness - a document which the witness does not remember exactly - is rather fluid. Therefore, I should prefer to have Herr Schacht give the rest of the contents of the memorandum; then we would avoid these difficulties. I shall therefore leave this point and proceed to another field.

Q. (continued). Witness, you quite correctly stated yesterday in answer to a question in connection with the defence of Funk by my colleague Dr. Sauter, how it was the practice in 1939 that Hitler simply decreed that the Reichsbank would have to give so much credit. I want to avoid a mistaken impression on the part of the Tribunal as to the former position of the Reichsbank in regard to this question.

You know that by decree of Hitler the Reichsbank in January, 1939, lost its former independence. In this decree Hitler ordered that he would decide what credits the Reichsbank would have to give; and this restricted decree of Hitler was announced and became effective as a law in June, 1939.

Therefore, in order that the Tribunal gets a proper impression of the general and also of the former position of the Reichsbank, I am asking you how the situation was before January, 1939, that is, during Schacht's term in office as Reichsbank President, which ended, as is known, in January, 1939. Was it possible at that time for Hitler simply to decree that so much credit was to be given, or was the Reichsbank still independent and could it refuse such credit or give notice about it?

A. I do not remember the legal regulations which existed in this connection to such an extent that I can give a complete answer as to when and how they were altered. I can confirm one thing, however, that is, that during the period when Herr Schacht was President of the Reichsbank he must have made certain difficulties for the Fuehrer with reference to these credits. I was not present at the discussions between the Fuehrer and Schacht, but I know from statements made by the Fuehrer that regarding those credits he met with considerable difficulties and restraints on Schacht's part - restraints which finally brought about Schacht's resignation from his position as President of the Reichsbank. On the other hand, I know that at the moment when Funk became President of the Reichsbank, these difficulties ceased to exist. These were obviously removed by legal regulations and also by orders which the Fuehrer had given; for when Funk became the President of the Reichsbank, these credits were simply handled in the way which I described yesterday, when I described the technical procedure. In the main, orders for credits and Reich loans from the Reichsbank were merely a simple matter of signature for the Fuehrer. They were a matter ...

THE PRESIDENT: I don't think he is able to answer your question, really. - I don't think he is able to answer the question which you put to him, which was as to the position before 1939, so I think you must rely upon the decrees and documents.

DR. DIX: One moment, Herr Lammers, I shall clarify that right away.


Q. You have just stated how things were handled in practice in 1939, in the books. Don't you remember that the Reichsbank had previously been independent as far as the Government was concerned?

A. Yes, I do remember. I also recollect that certain legal alterations were made, but I can't remember just when. Without seeing the law books I can't tell you exactly the contents of these legal regulations, just what the limitations were in terms of figures. All I do know is that the position of the President of the Reichsbank was later reduced considerably according to orders coming from the Fuehrer.

Q. That is enough. Now, as to the same subject: It is difficult, even for a

[Page 151]

German who has lived here the whole time, but particularly difficult for a foreigner, to understand the powerful machine of the Third Reich. I think that in spite of the statements that you made yesterday in answer to the questions which my colleague Sauter put to you, not everything has yet been said, and that you can say still more to inform the Tribunal. If I did not know what you know, if I were an outsider, then your statements of yesterday would give me that impression:
"Well, it was like this: the Minister of the Interior couldn't give orders to the police; the Minister of Economy didn't direct economy independently; all ministers in the Reich were without official authority and couldn't give instructions as far as the Reich commissioners for the occupied territories were concerned."
MR. DODD: If your Honours please, I respectfully suggest that Dr. Dix is really testifying here. I think perhaps he could put his questions more simply and we can get along faster and get the answer better.

DR. DIX: I shall put my questions more precisely, but I can't put that question precisely unless I first of all ascertain by means of statements what has not yet been said. Otherwise the most precise and shortest question cannot be put, for the Tribunal wouldn't understand what I am aiming at. I can assure Mr. Dodd, I shall not ask anything of an uncertain nature; rather I shall put a very precise question. Let us proceed at once.


Q. We have already talked about the office of the Reichsbank President. Now I should like to ask you: If all these ministers were so hampered in respect to their authority, who were the men and who were the authorities who could interfere in departmental jurisdiction and who held the real power?

That is my question. And I might mention that, as far as Frank is concerned, Himmler's interference has already been mentioned. But we must go into that question more deeply so that the Tribunal can see clearly what we are talking about.

A. The infringement on the authority of the individual ministers arose because of the number of institutions which the Fuehrer had created, obviously quite consciously, as counter figures - I might put it - to the various ministers. That is one factor. Secondly, it was done through offices created on a higher level, which, in the interest of a certain unity in particular fields, were to have sole authority. In the last category the typical example is, above all, the Four-Year Plan. In this connection the Fuehrer desired a comprehensive unified direction which was not to depend on the wishes of the ministers of the departments, and, consequently, he created the Four-Year Plan. In other sectors, in some way or other, the minister was confronted with a counterpart; for instance, through the appointment of Herr Ley as Reich Commissioner for Housing, the Minister for Labour lost his jurisdiction in the important field of housing, was relieved of one of his main tasks by the appointment of the General Plenipotentiary for Labour Employment, Herr Sauckel, in the field of labour employment. As far as economy was concerned, the Minister of Economy, as I have already mentioned, was considerably limited in his powers by the setting up of and the powers given to the Four-Year Plan and later in addition to that, by the powers which were transferred to the Minister for Armament and War Production. In the Ministry of the Interior the actual authority of the Chief of the German Police ...

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, the Tribunal thinks that once the general aspect of the matter has been explained by this witness the matter can be explained by the defendants themselves from their particular point of view. I mean the witness is now explaining to us, and probably indicating he will do it at some length, that with reference to the Four- Year Plan, for instance, there was to be a unified command which was not to be interfered with by individual ministers. That explains the general system, and when it comes to the individual defendants they

[Page 152]

can explain how it applied to them, and, therefore, we do not want this dealt with it any great length or in any great detail.

DR. DIX: I shall take that into consideration and ask merely a few more concrete questions.

It is not merely a question, your Lordship, of the ministers having had to hand over certain fields in their departments to third persons. There is also the fact that third persons because of their authority actually interfered in a field which was really under the jurisdiction of the minister. And now I shall give the witness a leading question. What was, for example, the position of Reichsleiter Bormann?

THE WITNESS: The Reichsleiter Bormann was the successor to Reich Minister Hess.

Q. And as far as interference in the ministries is concerned?

A. He was appointed Secretary to the Fuehrer by the Fuehrer and was thereby directly included in the State sector. As Chief of the Party Chancellery he was merely the successor to Reich Minister Hess, who was supposed to represent the wishes and ideas of the Party. The fact that he was appointed Secretary to the Fuehrer, which meant that in the State sector a considerable number of things would have to go through Bormann's hands, brought about his strong position in the State sector. I had to experience this personally to a large extent, since I, who originally had at least been able on occasions to report to the Fuehrer alone, could no longer do that and could get to the Fuehrer only by way of Bormann. Most of my reports were given in Bormann's presence and everything which I formerly had been able to dispatch to the Fuehrer directly, even pure and simple matters of State, had now to go through the Secretary of the Fuehrer, through Bormann.

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