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 Fifth Day: Friday, 16th August, 1946
(Part 2 of 10)

[Page 216]

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Boehm, the translation we have got says: On the occasion of my presence at the training of the SA Armies Staff on 2nd June, 1940, I established that the primary military physical training of the SA Staff, especially under difficult conditions through about the present time, has been practised by all concerned with great zeal.

[N.B. Document 4011: The correct translation of the passage contained in the original German text reads:

When I was present during the training of the "Wehrmannschaften" (militiamen) on the 2nd June, 1940, I was able to see that the basic military, physical training of the SA was carried out under military conditions and was pursued with great zeal.]

DR. BOEHM: Yes, of course, Mr. President, I should like to make a distinction between the term "SA Wehrmannschaften," if there were any such, and the term "Wehrmannschaften," if they did not belong to the SA.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think it is any good arguing the point. I was only asking what the meaning of the word was. The witness has now explained to me that according to the Hitler decree of January, 1939, certain men called "Wehrmannschaften" were to be set up in the Reich, as he says, ready for defence. If you can confirm that, it would be useful perhaps.

DR. BOEHM: If the explanation of this term is sufficient, I can continue.



Q. An affidavit of Rudolf Schoenberger is, supposed to show that according to orders the Supreme SA Leadership was in charge of the guarding of forced labour camps. This is the first affidavit given in this connection. I should like to ask you under whom the forced labour camps were operated? Can you clarify this point, Herr Guettner? Did you ever detail men as SA-Mannschaften or as SA units to the Auxiliary Police or to any other authority to be employed or used in these labour camps?

A. At no time did the duties of the SA include police tasks. The guarding and supervision of forced labourers is also a police task. If SA men were used for this, they were seconded for this duty on a legal basis and were no longer under the authority of the SA as regards orders. They fulfilled their police tasks there,

[Page 217]

the same as anyone else fulfilled his task in some other profession. He remained an SA man but, during the time he was occupied in police tasks, he was on leave from the SA and was no longer under the authority of the SA leadership.

Q. Not for orders either?

A. Not for orders either.

Q. Another document which I should like to show you is Document 3661-PS. The prosecution also wants to use this document, which is signed by a certain Gewecke, to show the part of the supreme SA leadership or the organization in attacks on Jews in Ostland. Therefore, I should like to ask you, does not the letter heading of the District Commissar in Schaulen show that this was the affair of the Reich Commissariat Ostland? This letter was written on 8th September, 1941, and the letter heading reads "The District Commissar in Schaulen." Was the District Commissar in Schaulen ever in any way subordinate to you?

A. I have repeatedly said that the Commissars in the occupied Eastern territories as well as the forces allocated and employed in the occupied territories were in no way under the SA leadership, and as a result did not receive and could not receive any instructions from the SA leadership. This District Commissar was not under the authority of the SA either.

Q. That makes the matter clear. The letter was signed by a certain Gewecke. He was actually an SA man, but it is interesting to point out in this connection that the contents of this document show that this Gewecke complains about attacks on Jews committed by the SS leadership.

The next document was submitted under D-970 and refers to the Commander of the Security Police and the SD in the Government General. In connection with this prosecution document I should first like to state that Kattowitz or the outpost Ilkenau is not in the Government General but in Upper Silesia.

Now I should like to ask you, if you will pay attention to the following sentence which I will quote:

"Therefore, the Construction Staff at Kattowitz detailed a special detachment of 12 SA men to round up workers in the villages."
Does this not show that the office giving the order was not an SA office but an official agency, namely, the Construction Staff Kattowitz, which by coincidence chose SA members amongst others? Did you understand me, witness?

A. Yes. Which question should I answer first?

Q. Was a Construction Staff at Kattowitz ever under your jurisdiction?

A. No. Construction Staffs - presumably by these is meant Construction Staffs of the Organization Todt - were never under the SA leadership. If a Construction Staff brought in SA men for such tasks, it no doubt took them from its own personnel, who in this case were SA members. If they brought in SA men who were not directly under their orders, that was outside the powers of the SA leadership. If such men have been guilty of illegal actions in this connection they deserve just punishment. In any case, the SA leadership, as the document shows, had no power over such employment. They were employed by the Construction Staff, which was not subordinate to the SA leadership.

Q. Has it escaped you that in Kattowitz there were SA Einsatzkommandos of which you knew nothing? Would that have been possible?

A. I said emphatically yesterday and I repeat today that the term "Einsatzkommando" was completely foreign to the SA, as we never formed Einsatzkommandos for such purposes. If Einsatzkommandos existed and there were SA members in their ranks, then that was not due to any instructions of the SA and did not mean that it was approved of by the SA.

Q. The prosecution submitted a letter yesterday from the Reichsfuehrer SS Office to the Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police in Berlin, in this case the Inspector of Concentration Camps, dated 21st February, 1940. Unfortunately I do not remember the exhibit number given yesterday, but there can be no doubt about this letter because I have a photostatic copy of it here.

[Page 218]

I should like to ask you, Herr Guettner, whether the supreme SA leadership had a labour camp for drunkards and shirkers, as was asserted yesterday by the prosecution and as this document might be interpreted to indicate.

Regarding the camp Frauenberg near Admont, it says:

"About twenty men of the SA guarded the camp."
What do you have to say about the document submitted by the prosecution about the labour camp Frauenberg in Styria, concerning the labour camp in which twenty SA men are said to have been used as guards? Would you like to see the document? Have you seen the document?

A. No.

(Witness handed document.)

Q; You will find this statement on the second page of the document.

A. I must say, your Lordship, that after the Reichsfuehrer SS took over the concentration camps, which as far as I know was at the end of 1933, the SA as an organization had nothing to do with concentration camps and the guarding of concentration camps. If SA men were in fact used as guards, then they were drafted by the authorities as auxiliary police or something similar in order to carry out this task. But in that case they were completely removed from the responsibility and the authority of the SA.

Q. Another document which was submitted is Document 4013-PS, which says:

"This morning I had an inquiry from very reliable English quarters whether it would be possible for Austrians in Germany; behind the backs of Hitler and Habicht, to break into Austria. My informant added that so far the Austrian attacks had been ignored, but this information had come from such a reliable source that they simply had to contact us. I am afraid of a possible provocation by hired elements which, if announced to the world just at that time, could produce conflicts."
I should only like to ask you, is this one of the usual hoaxes which in the past have been very frequent? Do you know the document?

A. No. I do not know the document.

(Witness handed document.)

I may say that until yesterday I knew nothing about this affair. I could not have helped hearing about it. The refugee or expelled Austrians, the so-called Austrian Legion, which was later Auxiliary Labour Camp North-West, was purposely located a long way from the Austrian border, several hundred kilometres, on the Rhine. This alone should indicate that any border incidents or what the author of this report suspected to be such, were quite out of the question. In any case, I knew nothing about the affair until now.

Q. Then the prosecution submitted another document yesterday, D 951. On the second page of the document it says:

"According to the report of the VI Military District Headquarters, the SA Brigadefuehrer are also said to be considering forming such a staff guard and to be engaging SA men for one to one and a half year's service for this purpose. Numerically this would mean from six to eight thousand SA men permanently armed with rifles and machine guns in the area of the VI Military District alone."
The letter is apparently dated 6th March, 1934. The second letter says:
"The training is to be carried out with gun 98."
Have you seen this document?

A. No, but I heard of this yesterday.

(Witness handed document.)

Q. Do not these documents refer to the People's Militia which Roehm intended to set up and in which he failed? Please describe Roehm's plans for the People's Militia in its political connection, and please be brief.

[Page 219]

A. First as to the staff guard: there were staff guards, in part armed, to protect the offices and to set up quite openly guards of honour and other guards. That six thousand men were to be included in the staff guards in Hoechst on the Main is quite out of the question. Herr von Blomberg repeatedly made mistakes and apparently he did so in this case too. These mistakes are especially clear from an exchange of correspondence after the death of Roehm, in which he attacked me personally because of an order of 8th May, 1934, and in which he presented the facts quite wrongly. When I and the Chief of Staff Lutze objected he excused himself with the explanation that in such turbulent times such mistakes could occur.

If the Tribunal wishes I can go into more detail.

Chief of Staff Roehm as he repeatedly said at Fuehrer discussions, wanted to create in addition to the Reichswehr a militia from the ranks of the SA amounting to 300,000 men. He repeatedly emphasized that the State leadership had to keep the word they had given to the old gentleman, meaning Hindenburg, that is, that the Reichswehr could not be touched.

He spoke quite openly with the military attaches of the Western Powers about his militia plans. I myself was twice a witness, and gained the unequivocal impression that particularly the military attache of France in no way objected to these plans.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not believe that we need to prolong this discussion. The witness says, as I understand it, that this document refers to a militia which Roehm wanted to set up. Is that right?

DR. BOEHM: Yes, those were the plans of Roehm.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that is all we need there.

DR. BOEHM: Then I should like to add a short question: with the death of Roehm were not these plans completely shelved, that is, did they fall through?

A. To my knowledge these plans were not followed up in any way. On the contrary, the comparatively few arms which the staff guards had were called in and delivered up after 30th June, 1934.

Q. Now I come to the next document, 3050-PS, the first page. This document was submitted in cross-examination yesterday and contains a collection of articles from the SA Mann, which was commented on adequately before the Commission and it was made sufficiently clear just what the SA Mann meant to the individual members of the SA and what the influence of the supreme SA leadership was upon this paper. However, since these things have been brought up again, it is necessary to comment on them again, even if only briefly. It is fundamentally wrong, if one quotes articles, to quote only excerpts.

THE PRESIDENT: You do not seem to understand. You are not here to comment; you are here to ask questions of the witness. If you want to ask questions of the witness, ask them.

DR. BOEHM: Yes, Mr. President. I should like to quote an article which has not yet been read, Document 3050-A. This article must be quoted by me, Mr. President, because I should like to ask a question about it, because - and I ask that this be officially recognized - the article from the SA Mann as submitted by the prosecution does not read as it appears here.

The article reads:

"Since marching is in the last analysis a sport exercise, the same principles are true of it as for any other sport. Health and hardening of the body are conditions for successful march training. This includes foot care which is especially important for those marching."
This article then goes on to describe foot care. I will not take up your time with that. Then it points out that marching is not only important for the soldier in the Army but also for the political soldiers, the SA men. A completely unmilitary

[Page 220]

matter in my opinion. In Document 3050-C, I see there is an article also from the SA Mann of 24th March, 1934, with the heading, "Off to the Land." It is the third article submitted to the Tribunal under Document 3050. This is supposed to prove that the SA had a military attitude. Therefore the article should be submitted.

THE PRESIDENT: I have already told you that what you are doing is making an argument on the document, 3050-PS; and what you ought to do is to ask the witness a question as to the document.

DR. BOEHM: Herr Guettner, the document which I read to you now, in which I have pointed out mistakes should, according to the prosecution, prove to you the military character of the SA, because it speaks of foot care and because this article appeared in the SA Mann. Did you order this article?

A. The supreme SA leadership did not order the articles in the SA Mann. The editors were responsible for them. The SA was not military in character and never attempted to be. If, as was said yesterday, the paper SA Mann was to be used to help in the education and training of the SA, that was because -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Boehm, we do not want that argument over and over again. We know perfectly well that you say these documents about training were simply for sports; and the witness has said it at least twenty times in the course of the examination.

DR. BOEHM: Very well, Mr. President. Since these documents were submitted yesterday, the witness must in some way comment on this matter; and I must ask him about it and inform him of the contents of these documents if he is to comment on them in giving evidence. There is no other opportunity.

THE PRESIDENT: He had ample opportunity to get familiar with the documents. The documents were put to him yesterday.

DR. BOEHM: They were not put to him, Mr. President. No questions were asked.

THE PRESIDENT: He stated yesterday that that was a lecture by Lutze.

[ 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.