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 Fifth Day: Thursday, 11th April, 1946
(Part 5 of 10)

[DR. KAUFFMANN continues his direct examination of Ernst Kaltenbrunner]

[Page 253]

Q. It says in this letter that these correctional labour camps, so far as administration and orders were concerned, were under the State Police offices, and furthermore, under the commanders of the Security Police and the S.D. Did you have knowledge of that?

A. A so-called breach of labour contract in the Reich or an evasion of the Compulsory Labour Service by a German citizen is an offence which actually could have been dealt with by the law courts just as well. The law had provisions to that effect, but because of the enormous number of workers employed in the entire Reich - not only Germans, who numbered from fifteen to twenty million, but also eight million foreign workers, it would have been impossible to start hundreds of thousands of proceedings in courts in hundreds of thousands of cases for failure to work or breach of contract, or wilful desertion from the place of work, etc. Also it goes without saying that the police departments had no kind of prison accommodation extensive enough to give short-term sentences in such cases. For these reasons such correctional labour camps were established at the headquarters of the State Police or Criminal Police offices.

Q. Did you, in principle, approve of the establishment of such correctional labour camps?

A. Yes, in principle, I approved of them, although I myself had no part in issuing this order. I did, however, learn of it later and considered it proper in view of the conditions then prevailing in the Reich, and the labour shortage.

Q. Did you know anything about the treatment of the internees, for what period of time they were confined to these camps, what their food ration was, and how they were employed?

[Page 254]

A. As I said, these correctional labour camps were designed to impose confinement for a period not exceeding fifty-six days. This maximum period, I believe, was possible only after a man had previously been sentenced for three similar offences. Normally, confinement to correctional labour camps ...

THE PRESIDENT: The question was whether you knew the condition in the camps? You are not answering it at all.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Will you please answer my question?

THE WITNESS: I think you asked, me ...

DR. KAUFFMANN (continuing): I asked you whether you know anything regarding the treatment, the food and the employment of the internees in these correctional labour camps?

A. I only knew that correctional labour camps had the task of doing labour for public works, that is, public construction work like roads, railroad maintenance, and, in particular, for repair of damage due to air raids. The internees of correctional labour camps have been seen by the entire population when so employed. The impression which the appearance of these internees made ...

THE PRESIDENT: He still is not answering the question.

DR. KAUFFMANN: I put three exact questions to you. I want exact answers to these questions. Do you know anything about the treatment, the food rations, and the employment? Did you know anything about this, yes or no?

A. Yes, I did about the employment. I have already referred to this, but I knew nothing about the other two factors.

Q. Did officers of Amt IV ever report to you about these things?

A. Not officers of Amt IV; but this problem was, of course, discussed repeatedly within the political home intelligence service, and there were reports about the utilisation of such labour for emergency work.

Q. Did you see no cause to interfere?

A. I had no cause to interfere with these camps, since I knew of no cases of ill treatment of the internees.

Q. I am now coming to Document 2542-PS, Exhibit USA 489. This is a statement, an affidavit by Lindow. He states that until the beginning of 1943, and by order of Himmler, Soviet political commissars and Jewish soldiers were taken out of prisoner-of-war camps and transferred to concentration camps, there to be shot. Furthermore, he states that Muller, the Chief of Amt IV, had signed the execution order. If the Tribunal so desires I shall quote a few sentences from this document. What is your statement with reference to it?

A. This order of Himmler was not known to me, and may I point out that it refers to the period 1941-3, which means, in the main, the time when I was not in Berlin.

Q. I am now reading a particularly incriminating passage. Paragraph 4. Will you please make a statement regarding the question whether this report refers to the time after 1943 or to the time before 1943; or tell me what you can about the date?

A. I know the passage.

Q. "In the prisoner-of-war camps at the Eastern Front, there were small Einsatz Commandos which were led by members of the Secret State Police of lower rank. These commandos were attached to the camp commandant and had the task of selecting those prisoners of war who were to be executed in accordance with the orders issued, and of reporting their names to the Gestapo office."
A. About this, I ...

Q. One moment. From paragraph 2, I am quoting the last sentence:

"These prisoners of war were, first of all, discharged as a matter of form and then taken to a concentration camp for execution."

[Page 255]

Now I am asking you what you knew about these facts?

A. I knew nothing about these facts. Moreover, it is impossible that I could have known anything about them, about these orders which were issued in 1941 and which, as this witness says, continued to be in force until 1943; it is impossible that, in order to stop the execution of these orders, during the last days, I could have in time ...

Q. But actually, it cannot be denied that within the R.S.H.A. there was a Section IVA 1, i.e. a part of the Gestapo, and that this section functioned from 1941 until the middle of 1943, and that it carried out such orders. It can be assumed that you, too, must have been informed about this extremely grave situation, which was inhuman and prohibited by International Law?

A. I was not informed of it.

Q. I am now turning to the subject of concentration camps and the responsibility of the defendant in that sphere.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

(The defendant KALTENBRUNNER resumed the witness-stand.)

MR. DODD: Dr. Kauffmann has told me that he has been able to read two cross-interrogatories, which we wish to submit - the cross-interrogatories of Dr. Mildner and Dr. Hoettl. I told Dr. Kauffmann that it might be well, in order not to disquiet the defendant Kaltenbrunner, if they were read before he completed his examination.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you agree that it would be better that the cross-interrogatories should be read now, so that the defendant can deal with any points he wishes to deal with?

DR. KAUFFMANN: Yes, that will be satisfactory.

COLONEL AMEN: The first affidavit, if it please the Tribunal, is the affidavit of Dr. Rudolf Mildner:

"I, the undersigned Dr. Rudolf Mildner, made the following affidavit in answer to cross-interrogations by representatives of the Office of United States Chief of Counsel, relating to my affidavit of 29th March, 1946, made in response to questions by Dr. Kauffmann for presentation to the International Military Tribunal:

Question No. 1: Confirm or correct the following biographical data:

Answer: December, 1939, I became Chief of the Gestapo Office in Chemnitz.

In March, 1941, I became Chief of the Gestapo Office in Kattowitz.

In September, 1943, I became Commander of the Sipo and S.D. in Copenhagen.

In January, 1944, I became Inspector of the Sipo and S.D. in Kassel.

On 15th March, 1944, I was made Deputy Chief of Groups IVA and IVB of the R.S.H.A.

In December, 1944, I became Commander of the Sipo in Vienna.

In December, 1944, I became Deputy Inspector of the Sipo in Vienna.

All of these appointments after January, 1943, were made by Kaltenbrunner as Chief of the Security Police and S.D.

Question No. 2: Is it not true that while you were Gestapo leader at Kattowitz you frequently sent prisoners to Auschwitz for imprisonment or execution; that you had contacts with the Political Department (Abteilung) at Auschwitz during the time that you were Chief of the Gestapo in Kattowitz with regard to inmates sent from the district of Kattowitz; that you visited Auschwitz on several occasions; that the Gestapo 'S.S. Standgericht' frequently met within Auschwitz and you sometimes attended the trial of prisoners; that in 1942 and again in 1943, pursuant to orders by Gruppenfuehrer Muller, Chief of Gestapo, the Commandant of Auschwitz showed you the extermination installations; that you were acquainted with the extermination installations

[Page 256]

at Auschwitz since you had to send Jews from your territory to Auschwitz for execution?

Answer: Yes, these are true statements of fact.

Question No. 3: With respect to your answer to Question No. 5 in your affidavit of 29th March, 1946, did all orders for arrest, commitment to punishment and individual executions in concentration camps come from R.S.H.A.? Was the regular channel for orders of individual executions from Himmler through Kaltenbrunner to Muller, then to the concentration camp commandant? Did W.V.H.A. have supervision of all concentration camps for administration, utilisation of labour, and maintenance of discipline?

Answer: The answer is 'yes' to each of the three questions.

Question No. 3(a): Is it true that conferences took place between S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrunner and S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, Chief of the W.V.H.A. and Chief of Concentration Camps? Was Dr. Kaltenbrunner acquainted with conditions in concentration camps?

Answer: Yes, and because of these conferences and on the occasion of discussions with the two Amt Chiefs, Gruppenfuehrer Muller, Chief of Amt IV, and Gruppenfuehrer Nebe, R.S.H.A., the Chief of Sipo and S.D., S.S. ObergruppenFuehrer Dr. Kaltenbrunner should be acquainted with conditions in concentration camps.

I learned from S.S. Gruppenfuehrer Muller, Chief of Amt IV, that regular conferences took place between R.S.H.A. and Amt Group D of W.V.H.A.

Question No. 4: Is it not a fact that in July or August of 1944, an order was issued to commanders and inspectors of the Sipo and S.D. by Himmler through Kaltenbrunner, as Chief of the Sipo and S.D., to the effect that members of all Anglo-American Commando Groups should be turned over to the Sipo by the Armed Forces; that the Sipo was to interrogate these men and shoot them after questioning; that the killing was to be made known to the Armed Forces by a communique stating that the commando group had been annihilated in battle; and that this decree was classified 'top secret' and was to be destroyed immediately after reading?

Answer: Yes.

Question No. 5: With respect to your answer to Question No. 7 of your affidavit of 29th March, 1946, is it not a fact that:

(a) After you sent a telegram to Muller requesting that the Jewish persecution be stopped, you received an order by Himmler that the 'Jewish actions' were to be carried out?

(b) That you then flew to Berlin for the purpose of talking with the Chief of the Sipo and S.D., Kaltenbrunner, personally, but that since he was absent you saw his deputy, Muller, Chief of Amt IV, of the R.S.H.A., who, in your presence, wrote a message to Himmler containing your request that the persecutions of the Jews in Denmark be stopped?

(c) That shortly after your return to Copenhagen you received a direct order by Himmler sent through Kaltenbrunner as Chief of the Sipo and S.D., stating that 'The Anti-Jewish actions are to be started immediately'?

(d) That for the purpose of carrying out this action the 'Special Commando Eichmann,' which was under the Gestapo, was sent from Berlin to Copenhagen for the purpose of deporting the Jews in two ships which it had chartered?

Answer: Yes, to each question (a), (b), (c), and (d).

Question No. 6: Is it not a fact that the action of 'Special Commando Eichmann' was not a success; that Muller ordered you to make a report explaining the causes for the lack of success in deporting Jews; and that you sent this report directly to the Chief of the Sipo and S.D., Kaltenbrunner.

Answer: Yes. That is right.

I have read the above questions and answers as written and swear they are true and correct," etc.

[Page 257]

And now, may it please the Tribunal, the cross-affidavit of Wilhelm Hoettl.

THE PRESIDENT: Did you want to say something?

THE DEFENDANT KALTENBRUNNER: I wanted to ask the High Tribunal for permission to answer to this interrogatory immediately so that I -

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, you will have an opportunity in a moment. The purpose of having it read now was that your counsel might ask you any questions about it, and then you can make any comment that you want to. Colonel Amen will go on and read the other cross-interrogatory, and then your own counsel will continue your examination-in-chief. Do you understand?

THE DEFENDANT KALTENBRUNNER: Yes, I understand. I merely wanted to suggest, since these two matters are treated separately and concern two different spheres, that I may express my views on this interrogatory first and then later -

THE PRESIDENT: We cannot have the matter interrupted in that way. You will be able to deal with it in a moment. Go on, Colonel Amen.

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