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 Seventh Day: Tuesday, 20th August, 1946
(Part 7 of 9)

[Page 299]


Documents 58, 58A, 58B and c deal with the assertion on the part of the prosecution that the SD had participated in the confiscation by force and partitioning of public and private property.

I shall quote one sentence from Document SD-58:

"The confiscation will be declared by the main offices of the State Police for the benefit of the Greater German Reich."
SD-59 and SD-60 deal with the third-degree methods during interrogations. In this connection I beg to draw the Tribunal's attention to filing reference Roman numeral IV which deals with the jurisdiction of Amt IV, Secret State Police.

In Document SD-60 the existing regulations applicable to the Security Police in the Government General are expressly specified.

Documents 60A to SD-64 deal with the charge against the SD according to which Crimes Against Humanity were committed. SD-60A to 63 deal with the persecution of Jews. In connection with Document SD-62 I beg to draw the attention of the Tribunal again to IVB and also to the signature "Muller, Chief of the Secret State Police."

Document SD-64 refers to the charge against the SD in reference to the persecution of the Churches (statement of evidence VIIB, Page 57). Documents SD-65 to 69 set forth the legal regulations on the strength of which during the war a large portion of members of the SD Amt III and VI were called up for compulsory and emergency service; I should like to draw the attention of the Tribunal to the following sentence in Document SD-65:

"As employers of labour" - and I shall omit a few words - "the SD sections can request the labour offices to place at their disposal replacement and supplementary manpower in accordance with the principles of allotment and use of the population during war time."
SD-60 contains the punishment decreed for those who have not complied with such regulations.

I now come to Document SD-70, regarding which I have been unable to agree with the prosecution. I ask, therefore, that first a decision be made as to whether or not I may introduce this document.

THE PRESIDENT: I have only got one document book.

DR. GAWLIK: It is in the appendix, your Lordship. May. I send up the original, your Lordship?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Will you tell the Tribunal what it is about?

DR. GAWLIK: With this document I want first of all to prove that the SD did not belong to the police and did not belong to the SS. Furthermore, I wish to establish that the SD in the Reich and the organization of the Security Police and the SD outside the Reich wore separate organizations, and I want to establish the tasks of Department III. I beg to draw the Tribunal's attention to the fact that in Section 4 the SD is mentioned under German Intelligence Service.

[Page 300]

THE PRESIDENT: This is a book produced by the Allied Command, is it not? Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces, and you are offering that, is that it?

DR. GAWLIK: The General Secretary

THE PRESIDENT: Has there been any formal application for this document?

DR. GAWLIK: Oh, yes. The document is contained in the appendix to the document book. But I have not been able to reach an agreement with the prosecution regarding the appendix of this book.

THE PRESIDENT: We will hear the prosecution about it.

LT.-COMMANDER HARRIS: May it please the Tribunal, we have no strong objection to this document. It is simply one of several which we discussed and we did not agree upon it. Our objection is primarily to its value in so far as evidence is concerned. It is an intelligence book and therefore what is said in that book relates exclusively to matters of intelligence. It is dated April, 1945, That is the date of its publication and quite obviously, as of that date, the information could not be available such as is now available to the Tribunal in a competent form.

DR. GAWLIK: Your Lordship -

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will admit the book for what it is worth.

DR. GAWLIK: First of all, I beg to draw the Tribunal's attention to the fact that in this book the organization of the State and the Party is subdivided into four parts and the Intelligence Service is given a section of its own - Roman numeral IV. Roman numeral I is the State and Party; Roman numeral II is Para-Military Units; Roman numeral III is the German Police, and Roman numeral IV is the German Intelligence Service; the organization of Offices 3 and 6.

I then beg to draw the attention of the Tribunal to the fact that in the case of the SS it states that the SS consists of (1) Waffen SS, (2) the General SS, and (3) the Germanic SS. The SD is not listed there. And I further beg to draw the Tribunal's attention to the fact that the Intelligence Service mentioned under Roman numeral IV is subdivided into SD III, the organization of the Security Police, and the SD outside the Reich, and thirdly into Offices 6 and 7.

And then I beg to draw the attention of the Tribunal particularly to the following statements regarding the activities of Office 3. There it says:

"The information supplied by intelligence agents is digested into situation reports and ..." it goes on to say ... "these reports are extraordinarily frank and sincere" - I translated that myself - "and contain a complete and unvarnished picture of the attitude and frame of mind in Germany."
I now pass on to my last document. That is a letter from an assistant master (Studienassessor) Wolfarts, and I submitted the letter because I had only just. received it and I could not get an affidavit. The letter refers to Document 142. It is the well-known document from Koehem, where the SD is supposed to have supervised the voting ... and this letter mentions the evangelical clergyman Alferich Wolfarts, who voted "no," and the vote is attached to the report. The daughter's letter shows that no measures were taken either by the Gestapo or the SD against the father, who has since died.

I have finished.

Your Lordship, should I read to the Tribunal a list of the documents or should I submit a written statement as to where the documents are to be found? Most of the documents have already been submitted.

THE PRESIDENT: I think we have got that. Have we not got it at the beginning of your document book? We have an index.

[Page 301]


THE PRESIDENT. You mean to make a separate document of it?

DR. GAWLIK: I only have part of the documents, some of them are documents of the prosecution, of course.

THE PRESIDENT: If you think it would serve a useful purpose, by all means submit your index under a separate number and deposit it with the Tribunal.

DR. GAWLIK: Very well.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, when you were dealing with the witnesses did we deal with the Reich Cabinet next? Are you prepared to go on with your documents?

DR. KUBUSCHOK (counsel for the Reich Cabinet): Altogether I have four affidavits. They have been submitted to the Commission. They are being translated. However, the translations are not yet ready. I shall submit them at a later stage, and I shall confine myself today to reading into the record a few very important passages from these affidavits.

Affidavit 1 was given by the State Secretary Dr. Otto Meissner, who later became minister. I shall read the following passages from this affidavit:

First of all, Meissner deals with the work of the Cabinet, particularly during the first period, after Hitler had formed his Government: and he states in this connection:

"It - that is the Reich Government - worked according to previous custom; that is to say, draft laws were decided upon at meetings of the Cabinet, during which procedure objections could be raised. Right from the beginning the superior and uncontested leader of that Government was Hitler, who likewise based his actions, formally speaking, on the Reich Constitution, according to which the guiding principles of policy should be decided by the Reich Chancellor. These guiding principles did not differ from those which he publicly proclaimed in the many speeches which he made during that period."
A little farther on he says that all the important political decisions, such as the annexation of Austria, the march into the Sudetenland, the signing of the pact with Italy, the march into Bohemia and Moravia, and the attack against Poland and the neutral countries, took place without previous resolutions being passed by the Cabinet, and even without the members of the Government being informed of them beforehand. Except where they had been informed by Hitler personally, they learned of these events just like every other citizen through the radio and the Press. The members of the Cabinet were thus forced out of any political activity, against their will and without any guilt on their part, and they were limited to the management of their departments. They were merely leading civil servants in their departments.

Therefore these ministers could not know that Hitler had any intention to begin a war or that he intended to misuse his power to commit acts of violence and make attacks in violation of International Law.

The affidavit further deals with the lam, of the 3rd of July after the end of the Roehm Putsch. Finally, the affidavit goes on to state as follows:

"The fact that members of the Reich Cabinet, in spite of the increasing brutality of the course pursued, remained in their offices, is, according to my own observation - apart from the fact that the Fuehrer as a matter of principle would not accept resignations and particularly in war time considered them as acts which undermined the country's defence - because they, at least the middle- class (burgerlichen) ministers, believed that if they resigned their posts would only be filled by more extreme and untrained successors. Thus they would not only have abandoned the intrinsic interests of their departments but also the personal interests of their employees."

[Page 302]

Affidavit No. 2 originates from the former Reich Minister Darre; and I quote:
"Basic questions of foreign policy were, as far as I remember, not discussed in the Cabinet. Never during any Cabinet meetings were there any utterances or even hints from which it could be inferred that an aggressive war was contemplated."
In another part of the affidavit he says:
"I emphasize that no aggressive plans against Poland were known to me, and that to this end no tasks were given to me in my capacity as Minister of Agriculture."
Darre then goes on to describe his differences with Hitler, and he states:
"During a discussion with Hitler about this subject which took place before the actual passing of the law - there had been arguments about a law which was to be introduced into the occupied territories - it came to a very serious clash, in the course of which I resigned. Hitler thereupon replied that I came under martial law, and that I would leave my post when it suited him, Hitler, and not when it suited me."
How Darre was finally eliminated from his position is shown in the last part of the affidavit. Hitler had given orders to Darre .... I quote:
"I was to give out to the outside world, that I was sick and it was desired that the public should get the impression that I was temporarily resigning my office for reasons of health. I refused to do this, and I was told to leave Berlin. Since then I have lived in a remote log- house in the Schorfheide. Nominally, E I remained a minister up to the collapse of the German Reich, although I asked Lammers repeatedly to relieve me from office, and Lammers had reported to Hitler on this point."
The third affidavit comes from the former minister of the Reich, Count Schwerin-Krosigk. Schwerin-Krosigk describes in one part of the affidavit a meeting with the former Reich Chancellor Bruening in 1932. I quote:
"I was to this extent in agreement with Bruening, who, a few weeks before his resignation, had told me at Badenweiler, where we were both taking a cure, that the time had now come to give responsible positions to the National Socialists. One could not continue to govern by means of the emergency laws published by the Reich President, and the strongest party could not permanently be left in the opposition. The only effective way of combating the unbridled agitation of the National Socialists was to force them to accept responsibility."
In another part of the affidavit Schwerin-Krosigk points out that he saw Hitler for the first time in his life on the 20th of January, 1933. I quote:
"My reason for joining Hitler's Cabinet was that I, together with all the other middle-class ministers, wanted to form a counterbalance in the Cabinet to the totalitarian claims for power put up by the Party."
Regarding the initial period of this Government, the affidavit deals with this at great length. I quote only one sentence:
"Moreover, the course that was followed at that time appeared a moderate one and objections raised by the middle-class ministers did, in fact, lead to less drastic measures, and in some cases certain legal rulings which had been proposed by him were even withdrawn."
Regarding the amalgamation of the office of the Chancellor and that of the Reich President, the affidavit states among other things:
"Hitler's demand to unite both offices in his person and thus complete the last step in forming a totalitarian regime could not be opposed by the middle-class ministers, because it was perfectly clear even at that time that such power in the hands of Hitler was completely in accordance with the will of the German people."

[Page 303]

The affidavit goes on to say with reference to this same question:
"I should like to remark in this connection that Hitler himself made his demand for uniting both these positions acceptable to the Cabinet by stating that he did not consider that to be the final solution, but made it quite clear that these two offices might again be separated later on."
In a summary the affidavit says:
"The Reich Cabinet as such had no political tasks as far as giving orders or leadership was concerned. It .did not even serve as adviser to Hitler, but a circle of persons chosen by him personally served in this capacity."
At the end of the affidavit Schwerin-Krosigk states:
"Upon retrospective reflection I must maintain that Hitler deceived his ministers no less than he deceived the German people, and, what is more, he deceived the world. The statements he used to make to us as his Ministers regarding his intentions were no different basically from those he made publicly. We could not suspect that he had other quite different intentions, so great was the power of his words to convince. This applies in particular to his will for peace, stressed by him so often.

If I am told today that as early as November, 1937, Hitler was thinking of war as a means of achieving his foreign policy aims, then this is diametrically opposed to what he, at the beginning of 1939, had expressly communicated to me through the State Secretary Reinhardt: 'I need no longer worry about armament expenditure since we had now before us a long period of peace, and therefore a reduction of these expenses would follow.' "

[ 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.