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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th May to 6th June, 1946

One Hundred and Thirty-Ninth Day: Monday, 27th May, 1946
(Part 10 of 11)

[DR. SERVATIUS continues his direct examination of Hartmann Lauterbacher]

[Page 40]

Q. Was no card index kept of Party opponents?

A. Not in the Party organization. As far as I know this card index was kept by the Secret Police, as was made known in connection with the plot of 20th July, 1944.

Q. Did the Party use confidence men for spying who may not have been Block Leaders but who worked for you in your capacity as Gauleiter?

A. No.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions.



Q. When did you join the SS, witness?

A. I was made an SS Brigadier-General (SS-Brigadefuehrer) on 2nd August, 1940, on the occasion of my appointment as Deputy Gauleiter.

Q. I am sorry I cannot get the answer.

A. I was made an SS Brigadier-General on 2nd August, 1940, on the occasion of my appointment as Deputy Gauleiter.

Q. I did not hear your answer as to when you first joined the SS. Would you repeat it, please.

A. On 2nd August, 1940.

Q. You had not belonged before that date to the organization at all.

A. I was not a member of the SS before that date; but I served in the Waffen SS as a soldier from 22nd May, 1940, to September, 1940.

Q. And then you later became an "SS-Obergruppenfuehrer," did you?

A. On 20th April, 1944.

Q. And when did you join the staff of Himmler?

A. I was never a member of Himmler's staff.

Q. Did you not join in January of 1944, or what would you say that you did join in the Reichsfuehrer SS Organisation? Perhaps I have used the wrong term "staff." There is some other name for it. Were you not affiliated in some way with Himmler?

A. No, I never had any SS assignments.

Q. Did you have any connection with the Reichsfuehrer SS from January, 1944, on?

A. In October, 1944, the Reichsfuehrer SS had gone in his special train to Bad Pyremont, on the occasion of a meeting of West German Gauleiter and Higher SS and Police Leaders. I had orders to be present at that function; and in the course of the meeting I had a talk with him.

Q. That is not what I asked; but I will pass it. Did you become an SA Obergruppenfuehrer in 1944, as well as an SS Obergruppenfuehrer.

A. I became an SA Obergruppenfuehrer, I think, in 1944 or 1943.

[Page 41]

Q. You were also a member of the Reichstag in 1936, were you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And a member of the Party, I think you said, since 1927; is that right?

A. Since 1927.

Q. And a member of the Hitler Youth, or NSDAP, since 1923?

A. I joined the Hitler Youth in 1927. The Hitler Youth was not established until 1927.

Well, whatever it was, the Youth Organization of the Party, that is what I mean. How many people did you have hanged publicly while you were the Gauleiter up in Hanover?

A. I did not understand the question.

Q. I said: How many people did you have hanged publicly while you were the Gauleiter up in Hanover?

A. I never hanged anyone publicly.

Q. Are you sure about this?

A. Yes.

Q. How many people did you send to concentration camps?

A. I might have handed over five to ten persons to ordinary Courts for violating war economy regulations. And in one case which I remember particularly well, there were two people who refused -

Q. Well, I do not care about the details. Just tell me how many you sent.

A. There were two. I do not know if they were sent to concentration camps, because I myself could not intern them. The internment was decided in Berlin.

Q. Do you know a man by the name of Huck, H-U-C-K, Heinrich Huck?

A. Huck, no. At the moment I cannot remember the name.

Q. The Police Commissar under your Gau, or in your Gau?

A. No, I do not know him.

Q. I want to ask, did you not have a foreign worker from one of the eastern countries hanged, publicly hanged in the market square, and to remain there a whole day, as one time while you were the Gauleiter there?

A. No, Where is that supposed to have happened?

Q. It is supposed to have happened in Hildeshein.

A. No.

Q. In March of 1945, just before the war ended.

A. No. That is unknown to me. I never gave any such instructions.

Q. Did you order 400 or 500 prisoners to be poisoned or shot just before the city was taken by an Allied army?

A. No, that was put to me in London, and I think I cleared up the matter.

Q. You know what I am talking about, then?

A. Yes, the penitentiary at Hameln.

Q. You know that your Kreisleiter says that you ordered them to be poisoned with either prussic acid or strychnine, or else they were to be shot?

You know about that, do you not?

A. I was told about that in London.

Q. And not only does your Kreisleiter say that, but Richard Rother, who was an inspector at the prison at Hameln, confirms that the order was passed on, that either they were to be poisoned or shot; do you know about that as well?

A. I never gave any such order.

Q. I am asking you if you know that these people associated with you have sworn under oath that you did. You have seen these affidavits, have you not?

A. I was told of it in London; but I was also told that the inmates of that penitentiary were neither poisoned nor shot, but sent back.

Q. Yes they were, but not because of you, but because your people refused to carry out your orders, is that so?

A. I know nothing about that, because I was no longer in Hameln and no longer a Gauleiter.

[Page 42]

Q. You have seen these affidavits, so I do not think there is any need to hand them to you, but I am going to offer them in evidence.

A. I received the statement of the Kreisleiter, Dr. Kramer, in London, and I replied to it.

Q. Very well. You know what he says then?

MR. DODD: I offer this Document D 861 as Exhibit USA 874, Mr. President. It is a document consisting of seven affidavits from persons associated with this witness when he was the Gauleiter, and having to do with his conduct while he was Gauleiter there.

THE PRESIDENT: How do you suggest that that evidence is relevant?

MR. DODD: I offer them in relation to this man's credibility, or rather lack of it. I do not think that they have anything to do directly with the case, other than they show the kind of individual he is, as we claim, and that the Tribunal should have this information before it when it considers the weight it will give to his testimony.

I have also just been reminded by my friend, Mr. Elwyn Jones, that, of course, it would have a bearing on the issue of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party, of which he is a member. That had not occurred to me. However, I do wish to claim it as a ground, also, for this document.

THE PRESIDENT: Where are the people who made these affidavits?

MR. DODD Mr. President, I will have to inquire. I do not know.

They are in custody, some of them at least, in the British zone here in Germany.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, you have just inquired where these people are who made these affidavits. Perhaps I can assist you in clarifying these questions. This Josef Kramer, whom the prosecution has just quoted as the leading witness against this witness Lauterbacher, was, some eight or ten days ago, sentenced to seven years imprisonment by an English Court and this for the same reason which the prosecutor has just mentioned. Herr Lauterbacher knows nothing about this matter, but quite accidentally I read a report of this trial in a German newspaper and I have the report here. In that article, dated 2nd May of this year, it is stated that the former Kreisleiter of Hameln, Dr. Josef Kramer, was sentenced by the Court of the Fifth British Division to seven years, imprisonment. I quote from that article: "Upon the approach of the Allied troops Kramer had given the order to liquidate the inmates of the penitentiary at Hameln. 'No dangerous prisoner and no foreigner is to be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy' was his order. 'They must all be poisoned with prussic acid or, if that is not possible, they will have to be shot.' " That was the wording of the order given by ex-Kreisleiter Josef Kramer; and he is now being used as a witness against the witness here. The report goes on to say that officials at the penitentiary, who appeared as witness, stated that in spite of this order from Dr. Kramer, they had refused to liquidate the prisoners. The rest is of no interest but I thought that perhaps it might be important for the Tribunal when dealing with this question, to see from a document how this former Kreisleiter behaved in reality. If you are interested, Mr. President, the newspaper clipping, although it is in German, can be submitted to you at once.

MR. DODD: May I say, Mr. President; that perfectly substantiates the document; that is, Kramer says in it that is what he did, that he passed orders on but that he got them from this man. If anything, it supports us. It does not weaken our case one whit in so far as the value of this document is concerned.

In looking them over, I think it is perhaps best if I only offer the first one and the last one. There are some others in this group that are not particularly helpful, I expect, for the Tribunal. I shall withdraw all but the first and last and offer only the affidavit of Kramer and the affidavit of Huck.

[Page 43]

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, the Tribunal does not think that these documents ought to be admitted. In the first place, so far as the credit of the particular witness is concerned, they do not think that his answers on questions of credit ought to be challenged by other evidence. So far as the Leadership Corps is concerned, they think that these documents are only evidence of one individual crime.

MR. DODD: Very well, Mr. President.


Q. Witness, I understood you to say that you never heard the defendant von Schirach say anything really derogatory of the Jewish people, and, on the contrary you heard him speak out quite openly after the events of 9th November, 1938. Did I understand you correctly?

A. Yes, he criticised the atrocities in no uncertain terms at the meeting of Gauleiters. He had no doubt that

Q. Don't go all through it again; I just wanted to be sure that I understood you correctly.

I suppose you read the Hitler Youth Year Book for the year 1938, as the Deputy to the Reich Youth Leader.

A. At the moment I do not remember this book. If I could have a look at it?

Q. Of course I do not expect you to. I merely wanted to ascertain that you did read it. I suppose you always read your year book?

A. No.

Q. What, you did not read it?

A. I cannot remember, no.

Q. Well, would it not be customary for you to read the year book? Let us put it that way.

A. The year book was compiled by the Press Department and I had no influence on the details of the journalistic make-up of our newspapers, periodicals or yearbooks. I do not remember this book at least as far as concerns demands for anti-Semitic atrocities, or a policy of force.

Q. Well, I will show it to you in any event, and call your attention to an article in the year book concerning the Jewish people. Do you know what I refer to? Where they were charged with having spilled the blood of millions of dead in history. That was published, I assume, after the brave statements by the defendant in November of 1938, since it is for the whole year of 1938. You will find the article that I refer to on page 192.

A. Yes.

Q. Have you seen that article before?

A. No. That year book had no official character; it was a private enterprise on the part of the publishers.

Q. Now, just a minute. What do you mean "it had no official character "? It was the year book of the Hitler Youth, was it not?

A. This year book was not officially edited by the Hitler Youth or by the Party. I never saw it until after it was published.

Q. It was published by the Central Publishing House of the NSDAP, was it not?

A. Yes, that is correct; I see that.

Q. It was called The Year book of the Hitler Youth, and you published it for a good many years consecutively, did you not? I do not mean you personally, but I mean the Party and the Hitler Youth.

A. No. This year book was compiled and published every year by the gentleman mentioned there, or by others, as the case might be.

Q. I know that. I am simply trying to establish this, that this was the year book of the Hitler Youth and the only one that was issued, and it was published each year. Now is that not so?

A. This book appeared every year, but I repeat again that it had no official character, nor do I believe that -

[Page 44]

Q. Well, what would you say would give it an official character?

A. If it said here, "Published by the Reich Youth Leader's Office," it would have an official character.

Q. And the fact that it said "Published by the Central Publishing House of the NSDAP " would not give it one, is that it?

A. Certainly not.

Q. You did not issue any other publications in the nature of a year book, did you, except this one?

A. A calendar was published every year.

Q. Well, I am certainly not talking about a calendar; I am talking about a report or a book.

A. No.

Q. And you are still telling this Tribunal that this was not the year book of the Hitler Youth and the only one that was published in Germany?

A. I repeat that this year book did not have any official character.

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