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 10 of 10)

[DR. SEIDL continues his direct examination of Dr. Kurt von Burgsdorf]

[Page 136]

Q. According to your observations what was the economic situation like in the agricultural and industrial sector of your district, and is the statement justified that allowing for war-time conditions the administration of the Government General had done everything to promote economy?

[Page 137]

A. Economy in my district was going full force in 1944 both in industry and in agriculture. Some industries had been transferred from the Reich to the Government General, and, as far as agriculture was concerned, the administration imported large quantities of fertilisers and seeds and the like. Horse breeding was also greatly promoted in my district.

Q. The defendant Dr. Frank is accused of not having done everything that was necessary with regard to public health and sanitary conditions. What can you say about this point?

A. I can say that in my district - again speaking of 1944 - hospitals were improved and new ones installed. A great deal was done especially in the fighting of epidemics. Typhus, dysentery, and typhoid were greatly reduced by inoculation.

Q. The defendant Dr. Frank is also accused of having neglected higher education. Do you know anything about what the conditions in the Government General were in regard to this?

A. When I came into the Government General there was no longer any higher education at all. On the basis of other experiences I suggested immediately that Polish universities be opened again. I contacted the President of the Main Department for Education, who told me that the government was already entertaining such plans. In every one of my monthly reports I pointed out the necessity for Polish universities, because within a short time, or more correctly in a few years time, there would be a shortage of technicians, doctors and veterinary surgeons.

Q. Now, one last question. There was a so-called labour sphere (Arbeitsbereich) of the N.S.D.A.P. in the Government General; you were the District Standartfuehrer in the Government General?

A. Yes.

Q. Witness, what, according to your observations, were the relations between the Governor General and the Head of the Party Chancellery, Bormann?

A. I believe I can say without exaggeration that they were extremely bad. As District Standartfuehrer I combined this office with that of district Governor and witnessed the last great struggle of the Governor General against Bormann. The Governor General held the view, and in this he was justified, that it was wrong to combine the Party office with the government office. He was afraid there would be too much interference not only by the police but also by the Party, and he wanted to prevent that. Bormann, on the other hand, wanted to establish the predominance of the Party over the State in the Government General as well. That led to the most serious conflict.

DR. SEIDL: I have no further questions for the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other defence counsel wish to ask any other questions?

DR. FREIHERR OTTO VON LUDINGHAUSEN (Counsel for defendant von Neurath):-


Q. Witness, you were at one time Under State Secretary in the Government of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia? When was that?

A. From the end of March, 1939, until the middle of March, 1942.

Q. And to whom were you directly subordinate as Under State Secretary? The State Secretary Frank or the Reich Protector?

A. State Secretary Frank.

Q. How did you come to know about the activity of von Neurath as Reich Protector?

A. From conferences with him and personal conversations.

Q. What kind of work did you have to do as Under State Secretary?

A. I was in charge of the administration proper.

[Page 138]

Q. Were the Police and the various S.S. and Police offices subordinate to you?

A. No.

Q. To whom were they subordinate?

A. To State Secretary Frank.

Q. What was State Secretary Frank's attitude to von Neurath?

A. You mean officially?

Q. Officially, yes, of course.

A. Herr von Neurath tried at first to get along with Herr Frank; but the stronger Frank's position became, the more impossible that became. State Secretary Frank, later Minister Frank, had behind him the entire power of the S.S. and the Police and at the end Hitler also.

Q. From whom did Frank get his orders directly?

A. As far as I know, from Himmler; however, I saw that on one, two or three occasions he received direct orders from Hitler.

Q. And that happened mostly without von Neurath being consulted?

A. That I cannot say, but I assume so.

Q. Was it possible for Frank to perform his political functions independently within his sphere of activity, or did he have to have the approval of Herr von Neurath?

A. Whether he was able or allowed to do so, I should not like to decide but at any rate he did so.

Q. Were Herr von Neurath and Herr Frank of the same opinion concerning the policy towards the Czech people?

A. I did not understand your question.

Q. Did Herr von Neurath agree with the policy toward the Czech people pursued by Frank or his superior, Himmler?

A. No.

Q. Could he carry through his aims?

A. He could not do anything, confronted as he was by Himmler's and Hitler's immense power.

Q. What was Herr von Neurath's own policy and attitude?

A. At the beginning I spoke very often about these things to Herr von Neurath. On the basis of the decree of 15 March he hoped and believed he could get the Germans and Czechs in the Protectorate to live together reasonably and peacefully.

Q. But as Frank's position became stronger, that became more and more difficult?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember that in the middle of November, 1939, serious disturbances broke out among the students in Prague?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you also remember that on the day after these incidents Herr von Neurath and Frank flew to Berlin?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember that Frank returned from Berlin alone on the same day?

A. I believe I can recall that Frank returned on the same day, but I do not know whether he returned alone.

Q. You don't know if Herr von Neurath returned with him?

A. No.

Q. Do you know anything else about the incidents connected with the disturbances by students and what the consequences were?

A. They resulted, as far as I remember, in the execution of several students and in the closing of the Universities.

Q. Do you know whether the Universities were closed on Himmler's orders?

A. Yes.

[Page 139]

Q. Do you know anything about the attitude of Herr von Neurath towards the Catholic and Protestant Churches?

A. His attitude was always above reproach and there were no difficulties with the churches during the time that I was in the Protectorate.

Q. Do you know that Herr von Neurath was in contact with the Archbishop of Prague until the latter's death?

A. No, I don't know anything about that.

Q. Do you know anything about whether, during the term of office of Herr von Neurath, with his approval or upon his orders, art treasures of any kind, pictures, monuments, sculptures, libraries, or the like, belonging either to the State or to private owners, were confiscated and removed from the country?

A. It is certain, absolutely certain, that he did not order anything of the sort. Whether he consented in any way to this I do not know, but I do not believe so. I remember one incident in the Malteser Palace, to which some Reich office - I don't remember today which it was - removed art treasures. Herr von Neurath immediately did everything in order to make good this damage.

Q. Do you know that the Customs Union, which had been ordered by Berlin from the very beginning between the Protectorate and Germany, was not established for a long time because of Herr von Neurath's intervention?

A. Yes. I definitely know about that. However, in the interest of the truth, I have to add that State Secretary Frank also was against the Customs Union, because, like Herr von Neurath, he believed that the economy of the Protectorate would be damaged by the stronger economy of Germany.

Q. While von Neurath was Reich Protector, was there any compulsory deportation of workers?

A. I am convinced that that did not happen. Workers were recruited, but in an entirely regular manner. That was the case while I was in the Protectorate.

Q. Do you know whether von Neurath made travel in or out of the Protectorate dependent on official approval?

A. Whether or not von Neurath did that, I do not know.

Q. Do you know anything about the closing of the secondary schools?

A. Yes.

Q. What do you know about them?

A. I remember that the closing of the secondary schools was a necessary consequence of the closing of the universities. There were too many secondary schools in the Protectorate. Not all of them were closed by any means. On the other hand trade schools were greatly expanded and new ones established. I can't remember anything more exact about it.

Q. Do you know anything about von Neurath's attitude towards the Germanisation of Czechoslovakia as intended by Himmler?

A. Yes, I remember the memorandum which von Neurath sent to Hitler about this whole affair. That memorandum was intended to defer Himmler's plans for a forced Germanisation. Von Neurath expressed the view, which he had frequently mentioned to me, that in the interest of peace in the Protectorate he did not advocate these attempts at Germanisation.

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN: I have no more questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the prosecution wish to cross-examine?



Q. Tell us, please, when you first joined the National Socialist Party?

A. 1 May, 1933.

Q. And did you achieve office in any of its affiliated organisations?

A. I was an honorary S.A. Gruppenfuehrer.

Q. Any other honours?

[Page 140]

A. Then for a few years, just as I had been during the democratic regime, I was legal adviser to the administration of Saxony.

Q. Weren't you also an Oberbannfuehrer in the H.J., the Hitler-Jugend?

A. I once became Oberbannfuehrer on the occasion of the Reich Youth Leader's visit to Prague. But that was purely a gesture of courtesy, which had no consequences.

I should like to mention again, since you speak of Party offices, that, as was said before, I was District Standartfuehrer from the middle of January, 1944, until the end, that is, the middle of January, 1945, because of my office as Governor in Cracow.

Q. You also received the Golden Badge of the Hitler Youth, did you not?

A. No.

Q. Weren't you in some way associated with Reinhard Heydrich when you were in Prague?

A. I was with Heydrich until the middle of 1942. Then, as is generally known, because of the course pursued by Heydrich, I left the Protectorate and at the age of fifty-five I went into the army.

Q. What position did you occupy with relation to Heydrich?

A. The same as under Herr von Neurath; I was Under State Secretary.

Q. Let me put it to you this way: you told us that you never heard of Maidanek, the concentration camp?

A. Yes.

Q. And you never heard of Auschwitz?

A. Of Auschwitz, yes.

Q. Had you heard of an installation known as Lublin?

A. Of Lublin? Not of the concentration camp but of the city of Lublin, of course.

Q. Did you know of a concentration camp by the name of Lublin?

A. No.

Q. You did know, I assume, of many other concentration camps by name?

A. Only of German camps, yes - of Dachau and Buchenwald.

MR. DODD: That is all.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you any questions?

DR. SEIDL: I have no more questions for the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Who is your next witness?

DR. SEIDL: The next witness would be the former secretary of the Governor General, Fraulein Kraffezyk. However, if I understood the Tribunal correctly yesterday, this session will end at 16.30 hours.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now until Tuesday morning.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 23 April, 1946, at 10.00 hours.)

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.