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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
9th August to 21st August 1946

Two Hundred and Third Day: Wednesday, 14th August, 1946
(Part 4 of 6)

[Page 174]

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, in the interest of saving time, would it be sufficient if two of these affidavits were used and two of the witnesses were called for cross-examination?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I suggested three, since it covers three towns, Vilna, Kaunas and Schaulen. I shall willingly restrict myself.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will allow these affidavits to be used in cross-examination provided the three deponents are called for cross-examination. It would be most convenient if they should be called directly after this witness has been cross-examined and re-examined.

[Page 175]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I see that I am in a slight difficulty about Schaulen, because both deponents who had to go are to deal with the Schaulen episode. My Lord, I have a witness - I am so sorry, it is my fault, I must admit, I said Schaulen, it should have been Kaunas. I will do that, my Lord, I will put the facts in the affidavit and I will only use the affidavits in regard to Vilna and Schaulen; and both the deponents are here.

THE PRESIDENT: Then the Marshal will have those witnesses ready when the evidence of this witness is finished in order that they may be called for cross-examination if Dr. Boehm wants to question them.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, we will do so. They will be here. I want to question the witness here with regard to Vilna.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, I see it is now twenty-five minutes to twelve. Before you do that, we had better recess.

(A recess was taken.)

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I have selected three of these witnesses each to cover one of the towns: Szloma Gol, who will deal with Vilna, Sigall who will deal with Kaunas, and Kibart, who will deal with Schaulen.

My Lord, they are out of Court, so that they will not hear the cross-examination, and are available when the time comes.

DR. BOEHM: Mr. President, I can waive the examination of these witnesses. I have no objection if these affidavits are used, because in this connection I can clarify the facts of the case with the witness Kibart in cross-examination. These people had nothing whatever to do with the SA, and the witness Juettner will clear up the matter. They were officials in the Ministry for Eastern Affairs, and they were no more regarded as SA men there than one could regard a soldier in the Wehrmacht, for example, as an SA man, once he is a soldier in the Wehrmacht, although he had formerly been in the SA. Therefore, I attach no importance to the examination of these witnesses.

I shall waive the examination of these witnesses.


Then, Sir David, we do not think they need be called if Dr. Boehm does not want them.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I am of course, entirely in Dr. Boehm's hands, and those of the Tribunal. I want it known that the prosecution has no objection to calling them, and that they are ready to give evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: You can use the affidavits.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If your Lordship pleases.


Q. Witness, have you a copy in German of D-964?

[Max Juettner] A. D-964; yes.

Q. That is the affidavit of a Mr. Gol. I have read the first and second paragraphs. If you will look at the third paragraph, it says:

"In December, 1943, 80 Jews from the ghetto, including four women and myself and my friend Josef Belie, were ordered by an SA Sturmfuehrer, whose name I forget, to live in a large pit some distance from the town. This pit had originally been dug for an underground petrol tank. It was circular, 60 metres in diameter, and 4 metres deep. When we lived in it the top was partially covered with boarding, and there were two wooden rooms partitioned off, also a kitchen and lavatory. We lived there six months altogether before we escaped. The pit was guarded by SA guards about whom I give details below."

[Page 176]

You will see in paragraph 5 that he says that the "SA men threw chains into the pit, and the Sturmbannfuehrer ordered the Jewish foreman (for we were a working party) to fasten the chains on us. The chains were fastened round both ankles and round the waist. They weighed 2 kilos each, and we could only take small steps when wearing them. We wore them permanently for six months. The SA said that if any man removed the chains he would be hanged. The four women were not chained."

Then, before we come to the work, I would just like you to look at paragraph 10, because that describes the guards:

"The work of digging up the graves and building the pyres was supervised and guarded by about 80 men. Of these, over 50 were SA men, in brown uniforms, armed with pistols and daggers and automatic guns (the guns being always cocked and pointed at us). The other 30 guards consisted partly of Lithuanians and partly of SD and SS. In the course of the work, the Lithuanian guards themselves were shot, presumably so that they should not say what had been done. The commander of the whole place was the SA officer Murer (the expert on Jewish questions) but he only inspected the work from time to time. The SA officer Legal actually commanded on the spot. At night our pit was guarded by 10 or 12 of these guards."
Then he says that the guards "hit us and stabbed us" and that he was knocked over a pile of bodies and that they were only allowed to go sick for two days; if they went sick for more than that they were shot. Then he says in paragraph 12, that "of 76 men in the pit, 11 were shot at work."

Now I would like you to look very shortly at paragraphs 6, 7, 8 and 9, which describe the work. Paragraph 7 says that "the work consisted of digging up mass graves and piling up bodies on to funeral pyres and burning them. I was engaged in digging up the bodies. My friend Belic was engaged in sawing up and arranging the wood."

Paragraph 8 says:

"We dug up altogether 68,000 bodies. I know this because two of the Jews in the pit with us were ordered to keep count of the bodies by the Germans; that was their sole job. The bodies were mixed, Jews, Polish priests, Russian prisoners of war. Amongst those that I dug up I found my own brother. I found his identification papers on him. He had been dead two years when I dug him up because I know that he was in a batch of 10,000 Jews from Vilna ghetto who were shot in September, 1941."
And then he describes the procedure for making a funeral pyre of layers of wood and bodies and throwing oil over it and burning it.

Are you telling the Tribunal that you never heard of what had gone on at Vilna or that there were any SA personnel concerned in it?

A. I have the following statement to make about this. With the guarding of the ghetto -

Q. First of all, before you make a statement, will you answer my question: Do you say that you never heard of these happenings in Vilna or that the SA were concerned in them?

A. I maintain that most decidedly. I heard about them today for the first time. Moreover, I had nothing to do with these things and we had no SA in Lithuania. We had tried to build up the SA only in the former Government General, from SA candidates and Germans. We did not organize any SA in Lithuania. Neither the SA leadership nor the SA organization ever had anything to do with guarding ghettoes and these atrocities, if they are supposed to have taken place and must be stigmatised as such. But I could well imagine that a misuse of SA uniforms and membership was practised here too, namely by Lithuanians.

Q. I see. Your explanation is that they have mistaken somebody wearing a brown shirt. Is that your explanation? Probably wearing a swastika on his arm

[Page 177]

just to make it more difficult. You are really telling the Tribunal, who have been sitting here for nine months listening to what has happened in these territories, that your explanation is that somebody has mistaken other people wearing brown shirts. Is that your explanation?

A. It is one of the explanations which I gave before.

Q. I only want to put in - I need not occupy time by putting it to the witness in view of what he said - Document 975 as an additional declaration of Mr. Gol. It will therefore become Exhibit GB 598, and it explains the procedure by which the gold teeth were taken out of corpses. My Lord, I do not think it is necessary to go into detail because your Lordship has heard in detail of how that procedure was carried out, how it was done normally. We will just say that the man Murer personally took the boxes with him. Now I am going to come to Kaunas or Kovno. I want you just to tell me: Do you say that you do not know an SA Brigadefuehrer called Kramer, who was Governor of Kaunas?

A. We have not previously mentioned SA Brigadefuehrer Kramer. Mr. Prosecutor, I know an SA Brigadefuehrer -

Q. We are mentioning him now and I am asking you, do you say or do you not say that you do not know an SA Brigadefuehrer called Kramer who was Town Governor of Kaunas or Kovno, a very well-known place?

A. Kovno is thoroughly well known to me, I agree with you, there. But the name - I should like to know whether you said Kahmer or Kramer?

Q. Kramer. He was the German Town Governor and an SA Brigadefuehrer - Kramer.

A. I know a Brigadefuehrer Kramer. Whether he was the Town Governor of Kovno I do not know.

Q. Do you know an SA Hauptsturmfuehrer called Jordan?

A. No.

Q. And do you not know that the Town Governor's office in Kaunas was exclusively staffed by SA, even the girls in the office belonging to the SA women's section, wearing SA brown shirts with swastika? Do you say that you never heard of that?

A. We had no SA in Kaunas. I do not know of any SA offices there, either. If somebody named Kramer, who was supposed to be an SA leader, was working there, then he was not working as an SA leader. The SA had nothing to do with the whole matter. I should particularly like to emphasize that once more very strongly.

Q. Well, now, let me put two more of these names to you. Do you know an SA Brigadefuehrer called Lenzen?

A. A Brigadefuehrer Lenzen formerly worked with the Reich Sports Leader. I became acquainted with him there.

Q. Did you know that Lenzen was Commissioner for the Rural District around Kaunas?

A. If Lenzen was Commissioner for Rural Districts he was not used there by the SA, as an SA leader, but came within the organization of the Ministry for Eastern Affairs, and so was not under the SA, if he was working there.

Q. I see. Do you say that you had not an SA section, I do not know whether it would be a company or a smaller unit, guarding prisoners of war near Kaunas? You have told us, you see, that you had these units who were supporting the Wehrmacht in these territories. Are you answering that there was not an SA unit guarding prisoners of war near Kaunas?

A. We did not organize any SA units near Kaunas. I cannot say any more about that. We organized SA in the former Government General, but apart from that we organized no SA in the East except in West Prussia, and in what was formerly Posen. Consequently, no SA could have been there.

[Page 178]

THE PRESIDENT: For the sake of accuracy, Sir David, I do not think he said they had SA units supporting the Wehrmacht in these territories near Kaunas.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No, my Lord, I think "in the East" were the words, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: I thought he said "within the Reich area."

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: It was in this report. I will check it. I am so sorry, my Lord, if I have made a mistake. My Lord, what he said was

THE PRESIDENT: Have you got it there, Sir David? Referring to 23rd June, 1941, that is the report, he said: "That is the home country. We had 21 groups guarding prisoners of war in the German Reich area. I mean in what was Germany before the war. I know nothing of the Baltic Provinces."

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I agree entirely with that. Your Lordship will remember that he goes on to say in the report itself at the top of Page 127, that there were two groups, one at Danzig and another at Posen. Then he said the territory of Upper Silesia was assigned to unit Silesia and the territory of Memel and Suwalki to the Baltic Provinces (Ostland) unit. That was what I had in mind, that there was a Baltic Province Ostland.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, he said in the report

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord, I agree it was not quite the same before he put in the report. My Lord, in view of that I will just briefly indicate. the contents of this affidavit to your Lordship as the witness says that apart from knowing two of the people he does not know anything about it. First, the deponent says he lived in the ghetto of Kaunas during the German occupation and that he was on the Jewish council of the ghetto dealing with statistics and supplies. As . representative of the Jews -

THE PRESIDENT: We have not got this document.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Oh, have you not, my Lord, I am so sorry. It is D-968, Exhibit GB 599. I am very sorry, my Lord, it is my fault.

THE PRESIDENT: It is in the book, is it?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: It is in the book, it is 61.


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, he goes on to say: "As representative of the Jews for rations, etc., I had to deal directly with the Town Governor's Office (Hauptsturmfuehrer SA Jordan's section). The Town Governor's office was exclusively staffed by the SA, even the girls in the office wore brown SA uniforms." Then he says: "The German Town Governor was called Kramer, and he was a Brigadefuehrer SA. Jordan was the Adviser on Jewish Affairs to Kramer. I know their ranks and that they were in the SA, because they signed the orders which were posted on the ghetto." Then in paragraph 3 he describes the plundering operation. He says: "It was done exclusively by SA men, Jordan was with them. They all wore brown uniforms." They took their property and shot 27 people and then on 13th September, that is, in the middle of the raid, Jordan and Sturmfuehrer SA Kepen, with Brigadefuehrer Lenzen, who was Commissioner for the Rural District of Kaunas, standing by, shot three men in his presence. Then he says:

"On 21st or 22nd September, 1941, I was in a labour detachment. I saw about 30 SA men in uniform conducting a group of some 300 Russian prisoners of war. The Russians were quite exhausted, they could barely walk ... Two collapsed and the SA shot them. The SA were beating them all the time. My labour detachment had to bury these Russians."
Then, my Lord, paragraph 7 just shows a piece of what one might call silly, but organized brutality, making the men march out and carry weights for a distance.

[Page 179]

You will notice that there were about 100 SA men guarding the Jews, armed with automatic pistols.

Then, in paragraph 8:

"On 28th October, 1941, there was a big 'action' on, in which 10,500 people from the ghetto were shot. The ghetto population was first divided into two groups, those for execution and those who were allowed to stay. The sorting was supervised in the morning by a man called Rauka, who was, I think, in the Gestapo or the SD, and later in the day three prominent SA men, Jordan, Kepen and Poschl, came to help him. All these SA men were in uniform. I know the number of those who were shot because my job on the Jewish Council included the rationing for which we had tales a census of the Jews. A new census was taken after these executions."
And next it says how Jordan told him to go and get twenty bodies of the people he had just shot; and paragraph 10 says that Jordan asked for 530 intellectuals to work on archives; he was told they were not available. "Thereupon the SA (assisted by others in German uniform which I cannot identify for certain, but I think it was SD) seized and shot 530 people at random. The SA personnel present included Jordan, Poschl and Lenzen." My Lord, that is Kaunas.

Now, my Lord, the next town, the other one with which I wanted to deal, is Schaulen, which your Lordship will find in Document D-969 at Page 63 in the same document book. It becomes Exhibit GB 600, and is an affidavit by a deponent, Leib Kibart.

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