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 4 of 12)

[DR. DIX continues his direct examination of Hans Heinrich Lammers]

[Page 152]

Q. This resulted, of course, in Bormann's influence in the various ministries?

A. Yes, he had that influence, for all departmental matters which I could not settle by reporting them to the Fuehrer directly or by asking for his decision had to be made in writing and had to go through Bormann. I would then receive word from Bormann saying this or that is the Fuehrer's decision. The possibility of a personal report, which would have enabled me to speak on behalf of the minister for whom I was reporting, was lacking. They were not matters which concerned me directly; they were always complaints or protests or differences of opinion among the members of the Cabinet which I could then no longer take to the Fuehrer personally.

Q. Thank you, that is enough.

And what you say about Bormann, does that not apply to some extent to the Gauleiter too, who also interfered in the ministries?

A. Gauleiter, as such, had, of course, to go through the Party Chancellery; that was the prescribed channel for them. Since the Gauleiter as a rule, however, were at the same time heads of Prussian provinces or governors of Reich provinces (Laender) these two positions were, of course, somewhat confused. And a number of matters, instead of going through the prescribed channels from the minister concerned and through me, went directly from the Gauleiter to Reichsleiter Bormann. There are, in fact, cases where this channel was chosen deliberately.

Q. Thank you.

Regarding the position of Himmler in the same respect, that of the appointment of a third person with authority, you made statements yesterday in connection with the cases of Frank and Frick. Can't your statement be extended in fact to all leading ministries, with reference to the increased power given to Himmler and the S.S. and his police?

A. I did not quite understand the question.

Q. You did not hear the question?

A. I did not understand the question completely.

Q. Well, under the heading "Interference with other Departments" you have talked about Bormann and you have talked about Gauleiter; yesterday you talked about Himmler, his police and his S.S. with reference to the cases of Frick and

[Page 153]

Frank. I am now asking you whether this increasing power of Himmler and the S.S. did not similarly affect the other ministries?

A. To a considerable extent in the various sectors.

Q. That exhausts that question.

I am now coming back to Schacht. We have talked about the applications for resignation. Now we come to the actual dismissal. Ministers who were dismissed were usually given a letter of dismissal by Hitler?

A. Yes.

Q. And this letter of dismissal, I assume, was drafted by you and discussed with Hitler?

A. Yes.

Q. Was considerable attention paid by Hitler to the wording of this letter of thanks on the occasion of a dismissal?

A. Hitler usually looked at it carefully and he frequently made his own improvements, a sharper or a milder wording.

DR. DIX: The two letters of dismissal, your Honours, which concern Schacht's dismissal from his office as President of the Reichsbank and as Minister without Portfolio are included in my document book as evidence. Therefore I do not propose to put them to the witness to any extent. There are only two sentences I propose to quote in the letter of dismissal from Hitler to Schacht on the occasion of his dismissal from his position as President of the Reichsbank:

"Your name particularly will always be connected with the first period of national rearmament."
Schacht considered that this sentence was written deliberately and that it contained a slight reprimand, a limitation of the praise be was getting. What is your view, as the one who drafted that letter of dismissal, on this point?

A. As far as I can recollect I drafted the letter in such a way that a general expression of thanks was made to Schacht. This additional sentence is due to a personal insertion by the Fuehrer, as far as I can recollect, because it was not like me to make such a subtle difference.

Q. In a later letter of dismissal of 22nd January, 1943, it says, this is not signed by Hitler, but by you by order of the Fuehrer:

"The Fuehrer, with regard to your general attitude in this present fateful struggle of the German people, has decided to relieve you temporarily of your office as Reich Minister."
Herr Schacht's feeling regarding his personal safety could not have been exactly pleasant when he read that sentence.

May I ask you, since you drafted this letter on Hitler's orders, was Schacht's anxiety unjustified?

A. As to the reasons which caused the Fuehrer to dismiss Schacht, I know merely that a letter from Schacht to Reich Marshal Goering caused the Fuehrer to dismiss Schacht from his position. The Fuehrer did not inform me of the actual reasons. He was very violent and wanted the letter to be worded accordingly. He wanted it to be worded still more sharply but I put it in the rather decent way in which you find it. The Fuehrer did not tell me, of course, about what further measures were intended against Schacht. But he had expressly ordered me to use the word "temporarily."

Q. A last question. Originally I had intended to ask you in detail, as the person best informed on these points, about the slow development from the year 1933 until Hitler's complete autocracy. The answers which you gave to my colleagues yesterday have in the main answered these questions. I don't want to repeat them. But two questions I should like to have clarified. The Enabling Act of 1933 - that is the law by which the Reichstag deprived itself of its powers - did, this law empower Hitler or the Reich Cabinet?

[Page 154]

A. This Enabling Act gave legislative powers and the right to alter the Constitution to the Reich Government, and the Reich Government in turn used this power to alter the Constitution, both expressly as well as by implication, by creating public law based on usage which ...

Q. Yes, thank you. You explained that yesterday. You don't need to go into that again. Yesterday you pointed out that this Reich Government consisted not only of National Socialists but that the majority of its members belonged to other parties. You mentioned only members of the German National Party, such as Hugenberg, Dr. Dorpmueller and Guertner, and you mentioned the Stahlhelm (Steel Helmet), the head of which was Seldte, but you forgot - and that is why I am asking you - to mention the Centre Party. Is it true that Herr von Papen came from the Centre Party?

A. Yes, I admit that is correct, but I don't know whether Herr von Papen was a member of the Centre Party or not.

Q. In my opinion you talk in rather scholarly and euphemistic terms about public law based on usage. I am going to give it a different name, but let's not discuss that. All I want you to tell me is whether during that gradual development toward complete dictatorship by Hitler there were some other laws which were important and of much significance?

Don't you consider the law after Hindenburg's death which unified the office of the Reich Chancellor and the Reich President - resulting in the incumbent of this office becoming the supreme military commander to whom the Wehrmacht swore its oath - don't you consider that law a further milestone in that development?

A. That law was one of the most important milestones in this development, particularly because, in accordance with a decree of the Reich Government, it was confirmed by a plebiscite of nearly 100 per cent of voters.

Q. And no further laws were issued to support this development?

A. No, I don't know of any.

Q. Nor do I. And the other question is whether a combination of terror and ruse can be called public law based on usage and whether one should want to call it that - that is a question I don't want to raise at the moment. I think we are of different opinions in that connection.

DR. DIX: Your Lordship, I have now finished my questions to the witness Lammers on behalf of my client. But my colleague Dr. Kubuschok is away on duty. I don't think the aeroplane took off yesterday; and therefore I don't think that he can be back. He asked me to put questions to the witness on behalf of Herr von Papen, and I wanted to ask the Tribunal whether I may ask the witness the question now - there's only one short question - or whether I should wait until Papen's defence comes up at the proper time.

THE PRESIDENT: No, now, because this witness will not be called again except for some very exceptional reason.

DR. DIX: No, I meant, did you want me to ask the question later today, when von Papen's turn comes in the proper sequence of defendants?

THE PRESIDENT: YOU may go on now. I think you had better ask it now.


Q. Please call to mind the Roehm Putsch. Papen's experiences during that revolt will be discussed later. But do you remember that von Papen, who was Vice-Chancellor at the time, demanded his dismissal from Hitler on 3rd July, 1934, and received this dismissal?

A. Yes, I can't tell you whether the date is right, but it happened about that time.

Q. Do you also remember whether a short time afterwards, probably only a few days afterwards, between the 7th and the 10th July, you went to see Herr von Papen by order of Hitler and asked him whether he was prepared to accept the position of ambassador to the Vatican?

A. I can remember that I visited von Papen, and, acting on the Fuehrer's order,

[Page 155]

was to give him the prospect of another position and that this concerned a position at the Holy See. But whether I had been ordered to make him a direct offer that I cannot recollect now.

Q. Do you remember what Papen replied to that?

A. At that time he wasn't very much inclined to accept such a position.

Q. Thank you. I have no further questions.

DR. SERVATIUS (counsel for defendant Sauckel and the organisation of the Leadership Corps):


Q. Witness, on 21St March, 1942, Sauckel was appointed Central Plenipotentiary for Labour Employment. What were the reasons for Sauckel being chosen for this position?

A. The Fuehrer was of the opinion that Labour Employment had not been pushed by the Minister of Labour with the necessary intensity and that this task would, therefore, have to be transferred to a particularly energetic person.

Q. Did the Fuehrer demand the use of foreign labourers with particular emphasis?

A. He demanded that all labourers should be used who could possibly be found.

Q. Particularly with reference to foreign labourers?

A. Yes, foreign countries were also mentioned in that connection, because at home we had exhausted all possibilities.

Q. Did you receive the task of informing the highest offices in the occupied territories of the demand that they do their best to support Sauckel's task?

A. That happened very much later. First the appointment of the General Plenipotentiary for Labour Employment took place and was announced to all important offices. I don't think I added any particular demand to that. But, at the beginning of 1944, a conference took place at the Fuehrer's Headquarters dealing with the programme of labour employment for the year of 1944. At the end of that conference, during which Sauckel had been given a number of orders expressed in definite figures, I had the task of writing to all offices concerned and telling them that they should support the task Sauckel had just been given with all the strength at their disposal.

Q. You are talking about a meeting at the beginning of January, 1944. An extensive report on that is available which you prepared. According to this report, Sauckel said during that meeting that, with regard to the number of foreign labourers, he would find it difficult or perhaps even impossible to fulfil the demands made by the programme. What was the reason he gave for that?

A. The statement is correct, and the reason he gave was that the executive power necessary for the carrying out of that task was lacking in the various sectors. He said that if he was to fulfil his task, then he should, above all, not be referred to a foreign executive power, as, for instance, was the case in France, but that there would have to be a German executive power which supported his actions.

Q. Didn't he talk about the fact that fulfilment of the demand was impossible because of the danger of the partisans?

A. He pointed out this difficulty repeatedly, namely, the partisan danger; and it was regarded as self-evident that no recruitment of labour could be carried out by him in territories where the partisans were still fighting.

Q. Did he demand the pacification of these agitated partisan territories and demand executive powers in that connection?

A. Yes, that's correct.

Q. Did he wish to have the protection of the authorities against these resistance movements?

A. Yes, he wanted the local office to take action so that he would have a free hand to work.

Q. I am quoting one sentence from the report, and I want you to explain to me how that is to be understood. There it says:

[Page 156]

"The Reich Leader of the S.S. explained that the executive power at his disposal was extremely small, but that he would try by increasing it and using it more intensively to win success for Sauckel's actions."
How is that to be understood?

A. That referred mostly to the Russian territories, in which there were partisans, and Herr Sauckel thought that he couldn't be active there unless these territories were cleared up. Himmler, who was present, agreed that he would do his best, but he had misgivings as to whether enough police battalions or other forces would be at his disposal.

Q. Then it is right to say that it was a question of safeguarding the authorities, of safeguarding the territories, and not a question of the transfer of power to the S.S.?

A. A transfer of this power to the S.S. as such was not provided. The German executive power demanded by Sauckel referred in every case to whatever executive power was available. In France, for instance, it was not the S.S. but the field command who had to look after that, and in Russia it was necessary, in part, for the police battalions to pacify the partisan regions.

Q. Now, I have a question regarding the leadership corps. A document has been presented here under No. D-720. It bears the signature of Gauleiter Sprenger and has no date, but it appears to date from the spring or the beginning of 1945. In this letter there is mention of a new Reich Health Law, and it is supposed to contain a ruling on people suffering from heart and lung diseases, who are to be eliminated. It says that this law is to be kept a secret for the time being. On the strength of that law these families could no longer remain among the public and could not produce any offspring. Did you know anything about that law?

A. I did not understand the word. Did you say insane or what sort of sick people?

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