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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
16th April to 1st May, 1946

One-Hundred-and-Eleventh Day: Thursday, 18th April, 1946
(Part 7 of 10)

[COLONEL SMIRNOV continues his cross examination of Hans Frank]

[Page 125]

Q. Perhaps I can recall to you another sentence, in order that you may judge the results of this action. Perhaps you can recall this part which I will put to you. You stated the following:
"We need not bring these elements into German concentration camps, for in that case we would have difficulties and an extensive correspondence with their families. We must simply liquidate them in the country, and in the simplest way."
What you mean is that this would simply be a question of "liquidation in the simplest form," is that not so?

A. That is a terrible word. But, thank God, it did not take place in this way.

Q. Yes, but these persons were executed. What do you mean by saying that this was not carried out? Obviously this was carried out, for the persons were executed.

A. When they were sentenced they were killed, if the right to pardon them was not exercised.

Q. And they were condemned without application of the right of pardon?

A. I do not believe so.

Q. Unfortunately these persons are no more and therefore obviously they were executed.

A. Which people?

Q. Those who were arrested under the A.B. operation. I will remind you of another excerpt connected with this A.B. operation. If you did not agree with the police in regard to certain police actions it would be difficult to explain the celebrations in connection with the departure of Brigadefuehrer S. S. Streckenbach when he left for Berlin. Does this not mean that you were at least on friendly terms with him?

A. In connection with political relations many words of praise are spoken which are not in keeping with the truth. You know that as well as any other person.

Q. I will allow myself to remind you of only one passage of your speech addressed to the Brigadefuehrer Streckenbach, one sentence only. You said:

"What you, the Fuehrer, and your people have done in the Government General must not be forgotten and you need not be ashamed of it."
That testifies, does it not, to quite a different attitude toward Streckenbach and his people?

A. And it was not forgotten either.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I have no further questions to put to the defendant.

THE PRESIDENT: Does that conclude the cross-examination?

MR. DODD: I have only one or two questions, if your Honour pleases.


Q. In the course of your examination I understood you to say that you had never gathered to yourself any of the art treasures of the Government General.

[Page 126]

By that I do not suppose you to mean that you did not have them collected and registered; you did have them collected and registered, is not that so?

A. Art treasures in the Government General were officially collected and registered. The book has been submitted here in Court.

Q. Yes. And you told the Tribunal that before you got there one Duerer collection had already been seized, before you took over your duties.

A. May I ask you to understand that as follows:

These were the Duerer canvases which were removed in Lemberg before the civilian administration was set up there. Herr Muehlmann went to Lemberg at the time and took them from the library.

I had never been in Lemberg before that. These pictures were then taken directly to the Fuehrer H.Q. or to Reich Marshal Goering, I am not sure which.

Q. They were collected for Goering, that is what I am driving at. Is that not a fact?

A. State Secretary Muehlmann, when I asked him, told me that he came on orders from the Reich Marshal and that he had taken them away on orders from the Reich Marshal.

Q. And were there not some other art treasures that were collected by the Reich Marshal and also by the defendant Rosenberg at the time you told the Tribunal you were too busy with war tasks to get involved in that sort of thing?

A. I know of nothing of that sort in the Government General. Rosenberg's Special Action Staff (Einsatzstab Rosenberg) had no jurisdiction in the Government General, and apart from the collection of the composer Elsner and a Jewish library from Lublin I had no official obligation to demand the return of any art treasures from Rosenberg.

Q. But there were some art treasures in your possession when you were captured by the American forces.

A. Yes. They were not in my possession. I was safeguarding them but not for myself. They were also not in my immediate safe-keeping; rather I had taken them along with me from burning Silesia. They could not be safeguarded any other way. They were art treasures which are so widely known - they are numbers one to ten in the list in the book - that no one could have appropriated them. You cannot steal a Mona Lisa.

Q. Well, I merely wanted to clear that up.

I knew you had said on interrogation there were some in your possession. I am not trying to imply you were holding them for yourself if you were not. However, I think you have made that clear.

A. I should like to remark in this connection, since I attach particular importance to the point, that these art treasures with which we are concerned could be safeguarded only in this way. Otherwise they would have been lost.

Q. Very well. I have one other matter I would like to clear up and I will not be long.

I understood you also to say this morning that you had struggled for some time to effect the release of the Cracow professors who were seized and sent to Oranienburg soon after the occupation of Poland. Now, of course, you are probably familiar with what you said about it yourself in your diary, are you?

A. Yes, I said so this morning. Quite apart from what is said in the diary, what I said this morning is the truth. You must never forget that I had to speak among a circle of deadly enemies, people who reported to the Fuehrer and Himmler every word I said.

Q. Well, of course, you recall that you suggested that they should have been retained in Poland and liquidated or imprisoned there.

A. Never, not even if you hold this statement against me - I never did that.

On the contrary, I received the professors from Cracow and talked to them I quietly. Of all that had happened I regretted that most of all.

Q. Perhaps you do not understand me. I am talking about what you wrote

[Page 127]

in your own diary about these professors and I shall be glad to read it to you and make it available to you if you care to contest it. You are not denying that you said they should either be returned for liquidation in Poland or imprisoned in Poland, are you? You do not deny that?

A. I have just told you that I did say all that merely to hoodwink my enemies in reality I liberated the professors. Nothing more happened to them after that.

Q. All right.

Were you also talking for special purposes when you gave General Krueger, the S.S. and Higher Police authority, that fond farewell.

A. The same applies also in this case. Permit me to say, Sir, that I admit without reservation what can be admitted, but I have also sworn to add nothing. No one can admit any more than I have done by handing over these, diaries. What I am asking is that you do not ask me to add anything to that.

Q. No, I'm not asking you to add anything to it; rather, I was trying to clear it up, because you've made a rather difficult situation, perhaps, for yourself and for others. You see, if we can't believe what you wrote in your, diary, I don't know how you can ask us to believe what you say here. You were writing those things yourself, and at the time you wrote them I assume you, didn't expect that you'd be confronted with them.

THE PRESIDENT: Does he not mean that this was a record of a speech that he has made?

MR. DODD: In his diary, yes. It is recorded in his diary.

THE PRESIDENT: When he said, "I did that to hoodwink my enemies?"

MR. DODD: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: I presume that that particular record is a record of some speech that he made.

MR. DODD: It is. It is entered in the diary.

A. (Continuing) May I say something about that. It wasn't that I put myself in a difficult position; rather the changing course of the war made the situation difficult for every administrative official.

Q. Finally, do you recall an entry in your diary, in which you stated that you had a long hour and a half talk with the Fuehrer and that you had ...

A. When was the last conference, please?

Q. Well, this entry is on Monday, 17 March, 1941 ...

It's in your diary.

A. That was probably one of the very few conferences; whether I was alone with him, I don't know.

Q. In which you said you and the Fuehrer had come to a complete agreement and that he approved of all the measures, including all the decrees, especially also the entire organisation of the country. Would you stand by that today?

A. No, but I might say the following: The Fuehrer's approval was always very spontaneously given, but one always had to wait a long while for the actual execution.

Q. Was that one of the times you complained to him, as you told us this morning?

A. I constantly complained. As you know, I offered to resign on fourteen occasions.

Q. Yes, I know; but on this occasion did you make many complaints and did you have the approval of the Fuehrer, or did he turn down your complaints on this occasion of 17 March, 1941?

A. The Fuehrer took a very simple way out at the time by saying, "You'll have to settle that with Himmler. "

Q. Well, that isn't really an answer. You've entered in your diary that you talked it out with him and that he approved everything, and you make no mention in your diary of any disappointment over the filing of a complaint. Surely, this wasn't a speech that you were recording in your diary; it seems

[Page 128]

to be a factual entry on your conversations with the Fuehrer. And my question is simply, do you now admit that that was the situation or are you saying that it was a false entry?

A. I beg your pardon, I didn't say that I made false entries. I never said that, and I'm not going to argue about words. I am merely saying that you must judge the words according to the entire context. If I emphasised in the presence of officials that the Fuehrer received me and agreed to my measures, then I did that to back up my own authority. I couldn't do that without the Fuehrer's agreement. What my thoughts were, is not made clear from this. I should like to emphasise that I'm not arguing about words and have not asked to do that.

Q. Very well, I don't care to press it any further.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, do you wish to re-examine?



Q. Witness, the first question put to you by the Soviet prosecutor was whether you were the chief of the N.S.D.A.P. in the Government General, and you answered yes. Did the Party have any decisive influence in the Government General on political and administrative life?

A. No. The Party as an organisation in that theatre was, of course, only nominally under my jurisdiction, for all the Party officials were appointed by Bormann without my being consulted. There was a special Fuehrer decree covering the spheres of activity of the N.S.D.A.P. in the occupied territories, in which it says that these spheres of activity are directly under Reichsleiter Bormann's jurisdiction.

Q. Did the activity of the N.S.D.A.P. in the territory of the Government General have anything at all to do with any Security Police affairs?

A. No, the Party was much too small to play any important part; it had no State function.

Q. The next question: The Soviet prosecution showed you Exhibit USSR-335. It is the Decree on Drumhead Court Martials of 1943. It states in paragraph 6:-

"Drumhead Court Martial Sentences are to be carried out at once."
Is it true if I say that no formal legal appeal against these sentences was possible, but that a pardon was entirely admissible?

A. Certainly, but, nevertheless, I must say that this decree, looking back, is incredible.

Q. What conditions in the Government General occasioned the issuing of this decree of 2 October, 1943? I'm thinking in particular of the security situation?

A. Looking back from the peaceful conditions of the present time, I can't think of any reason which might have made such a demand possible; but if one calls back to memory the events of war, the universal conflagration, then it must have been, definitely, a measure of desperation.

Q. I now come back to the A.B. measure. Is it true that in 1939 a Drumhead Court Martial Decree was issued providing for considerably greater legal guarantees than that of 1943?

A. Yes.

Q. Is it correct that those people arrested in the A.B. operation were, on the strength of this Drumhead Court Martial Decree, sentenced or acquitted?

A. Yes.

Q. Is it also true that all sentences of these courts were, as you decreed, to be passed on to the competent Reprieve Committee under State Secretary Buehler?

A. Yes.

Q. The prosecutor of the United States has laid it to your charge that in

[Page 129]

Neuhaus, where you were arrested after the collapse of the German Armed Forces, various art treasures were found, not in your house, but in the office of the Governor General. Is it true that you sent State Secretary Dr. Buehler with a letter to Reich Minister Dr. Lammers and that this letter contained a list of these art treasures?

A. Yes, not only that, I at once called the attention of the head of the Pinakothek in Munich to the fact that these pictures were there and that they should at once be safeguarded against bombing. He also looked at the pictures and then they were put in a bombproof cellar. I'm glad I did so, for who knows what might otherwise have happened to these valuable articles.

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