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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Two Hundred and Thirteenth Day: Wednesday, 28th August, 1946
(Part 10 of 13)

[Page 227]

DR. BOEHM: Mr. President, your Honours, I just spoke of the points which were presented to refute the genuineness of Document 1721-PS. I continue.

This alone would not be conclusive if I did not have the affidavit of the Gruppenfuehrer of the Kurpfalz Group, Fust, and a member of the Group Staff, Zimmermann, who was present at the time, who testify that such an order as the one alleged by the prosecution was never given. If such an order was never given, then there can be no report on the completion of the mission. But it was also proved by virtue of the affidavits of the collective summarization that no order of the kind charged by the prosecution was issued to the Standarten of Brigade 50.

This we learn from Standarten 115, 221, 176, 168 and 145. All these Standarten were part of Brigade 50. None of these Standarten received any such ominous order as the prosecution has alleged. Furthermore, it was proved by the testimony of former Obergruppenfuehrer Mappes that Lutze countermanded Dr. Goebbels's order of the 9th November, 1938. Therefore, it was proved that the Supreme SA Leadership forbade participation in Goebbels's operation. It has been proved that this counter-order definitely reached the following Groups: East Prussia, Central, Highland, Hesse, Lower Saxony (General SA Affidavit No. 90). Lutze's reaction, when he learned of the events of 9th November, 1938, has likewise been proved by an affidavit (General SA No. 71). As shown by the testimony of Siebel, Lutze ordered, as a consequence of the happenings of 9th November, 1938, that in future orders of the political leadership were not to be carried out. He issued that order because he realized that various SA companies (Sturme), or SA members, had been misused on the occasion of 9th November, 1938 (SA Affidavit No. 80).

If excesses occurred in which members of the SA participated, this still does not provide the prosecution with grounds for condemning the SA as criminal. Since it has been proved that Lutze issued a counter-order, those events lie outside the organic body of the SA.

From the sworn evidence of Edgar Stolzner (General SS Affidavit No. 89), we see how individual SA leaders repudiated these occurrences. In this way many SA units kept their records clean. There are whole districts in which nothing occurred.

In the statistical collective summarization of the affidavits, I have shown that the following synagogues were protected from destruction by members of the SA: Bebra, Hochstedt, Waldburg, Saubern, Grossumstadt, Buckeburg. Furthermore, attempts to save synagogues were made in Marburg and Giessen by SA members. Moreover, the majority of the rural districts had no synagogues or Jews whatsoever. Absolutely no persecutions of Jews took place in these districts. The rural SA is thereby immediately excluded from this point of the Indictment. It appears superfluous to me to point out that these excesses were repudiated by the overwhelming majority of SA members.

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How the SA leadership regarded the Jewish question may be learned from the differences, already discussed, which the SA leadership had with the editors and the Eher Publishing House because of those articles in the SA Mann which it repudiated, although it lacked the power to make its views prevail. Its position with regard to the Jewish question is made completely clear by the fact that in various Groups Der Sturmer was expressly banned by the SA Leadership. This was the case, for instance, in the Nordmark Group (testimony of Klaehn and Juettner).

The position adopted by the Supreme SA Leadership in regard to the Church question is quite unequivocal. The testimony of the Vicar General Dr. David, Pastor Burgstaller, and Consistorial Councillor Dr. Ratlike shows that the prosecution charged the SA with religious intolerance without justification. The overwhelming majority of all SA members still belong to one of the Christian Churches today.

Protestant clergymen served within the ranks of the SA; for instance, Bishop Sasse, of Thuringia, from which it appears that the SA Leadership did not exert any pressure to force people to leave the Church. This fact is clearly proved in many affidavits. I may recall that Cardinal Count Galen was accompanied by SA members on his tours through the diocese, and that in many districts an order had been issued against holding SA services during church times and in the neighbourhood of churches. It is also a known fact that the SA held divine services in the field. In 1933 the SA furnished the guard of honour when the holy robe was exhibited in Trier (testimony of Dr. David). In the cross- examination of the witness Dr. David, the defence has proved that in the famous case in Freising when action was taken against Cardinal Faulhaber because of one of his sermons, the SA Leadership initiated proceedings to punish those who were guilty of these excesses of authority.

In regard to the activity of the SA in connection with the guarding of concentration camps and the employment of police and auxiliary police troops, the prosecution mentions only a few cases. The SA is thereby excluded, even according to the Indictment, from the charges concerning the large concentration camps of Auschwitz, Maidanek, Belsen, Dachau and Buchenwald. In the Vogel case the guilty persons were punished. The misunderstanding created by the Schellenberg affidavit was cleared up by the affidavit of Gontermann (General SA Affidavit No. 16). Schellenberg in London confused the concentration camp and police service with service in the town and country guards.

It is true that after 30th January, 1933, a number of policemen and auxiliary policemen were employed for various purposes in certain provinces. They were taken in part from the ranks of the SA:

(a) Because it was desirable to have some proof of political reliability;

(b) Because among the many unemployed in the SA, there were recruits for police or auxiliary police work.

To the extent that the SA members concerned selected a new occupation, for instance, that of policeman, these were only men who actually worked at this vocation. To the extent that they were temporarily employed as auxiliary policemen, which was frequently done for a probation period before being definitely employed as regular policemen, they were not any longer subordinate to the SA, but to the competent police authority. Then occasionally they still wore the SA uniform for a while, but only because there was a shortage of uniforms, and in such cases they wore an arm band marked "Auxiliary Police." They received an appropriate identification card issued by the police, the Landrat, or other authorities. The SA placed them on leave status for the duration of service of this kind, so that outwardly, too, they were separated from the SA and the latter was deprived of any opportunity to influence them. In such cases, therefore, the individual concerned never acted as an SA man. The uniform, which he often still kept for a while with the arm band, was his sole, exclusively outward connection

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with the SA, and cannot alone decide the issue. This adoption of the uniform of an organization for a purpose and service alien to itself occurred frequently in the SA and other organizations; for example, as Wehrmacht attendants or Volkssturm members. According to recognized principles of International Law, the arm band gave the uniform, or even a civilian suit, the sole stamp of the new service, which deviated from the original meaning of the SA.

The individual charges raised against the SA in connection with concentration camp, police, and auxiliary police service can deal with such purely superficial matters, which are unjustly charged against the SA, only on the basis of the uniform. For the commanding agency was not the SA Leadership, but the State.

The prosecution tried to refute this argument in the cross-examination of Juettner by introducing documents which were supposed to prove that the SA had participated in the atrocities in the occupied territories, and in the concentration camps and forced labour camps.

It did not succeed in this.

It was clearly established that the Supreme SA Leadership was forbidden to set up SA units in the so- called Reichskommissariat Ostland, that is Lithuania, Latvia and Esthonia. Here the prosecution is confusing the SA Gruppe Ostland, which was set up in East Prussia, with the later Reichskommissariat Ostland. Moreover, the prosecution has already charged another organization with the Schaulen, Kovno, and Vilna cases. District Commissioners, Provincial Commissioners, and officials of the Reichskommissariat Ostland were no more under the Supreme SA Leadership than the SA Obergruppenfuehrer Killinger and Kasche, who were engaged as ministers. The defendant Ribbentrop has explained this clearly. The affidavit of the defendant Frank has solved the Ilkenau case in favour of the SA.

A special role in the cross-examination of Juettner was played by the question of the so-called abuse of justice, which Sir David emphasized. It has nothing to do with the SA, but rather with the competent ministers.

Moreover, the case of Hohenstein concentration camp came to the fore. In re-examination it was possible to prove that this concentration camp was not a concentration camp for political opponents alone. Old guard Nazis were interned there. Moreover, the business of Hohenstein concentration camp became the subject of prosecution by the officials of the Ministry of Justice because of information supplied by SA Obergruppenfuehrer Killinger, when he was still in charge of the SA Gruppe Sachsen. It is something new to charge the SA with cases which they themselves reported for punishment. In this connection it is an interesting fact that the prosecution submitted an incomplete document which does not contain the letters of Lutze and Hess, from which the SA defence, according to the information which it had received, might have been able to derive only favourable material.

In order to be able to prove the criminal character of the SA, the prosecution obtained affidavits from former political opponents of the NSDAP. Among them are the affidavits of Minister President Dr. Wilhelm Hoegner and Advocate General Dr. Staff, of Brunswick. They were given on orders of the Military Government, as appears from the affidavit of Dr. Staff. The two latter ones were submitted by the defence. It has already been established before the Tribunal that Dr. Hoegner was frequently mistaken. His description of the march on Coburg is completely wrong.

In reality, things happened in the following way, as testified by witness Juettner and the affidavit of Zoeberlein (Affidavit General SA No. 21):

A German association, the "Schutz- and Trutzbund" was compelled by the municipal government of that time to hold a closed session. The NSDAP stressed the right of freedom of assembly which was guaranteed to all by the constitution. Therefore, a protection squad went to Coburg. Upon leaving the railroad station, it was attacked in the street by members of the leftist organization who were armed with lead pipes, spiked wooden boards, etc. Above all, it was also proved that the

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observations of Dr. Hoegner that in Bavaria the SA was trained by the Reichswehr cannot be correct. It was the Munich Reichswehr General von Lossow who caused the collapse of the Hitler Putsch. As the witness Juettner has testified, the arsenals which had been opened by permission of the Inter-allied Commission were available to all organizations except the SA. It is equally wrong to allege that Ludendorff was selected to unleash a national war against France at a time when Communist revolts were raging in Saxony, and when Ludendorff had already made efforts in 1921 to reach an understanding with France, which at the end of 1923 led to the so-called Foch Plan. When we consider that there were arsenals belonging to leftist organizations in the Munich Trade Union House, then the occupation of the Trade Union House takes on a totally different aspect. Dr. Hoegner asserts that the SA had a share in the persecution of the Jews, whereas the prosecution witness Diels emphasized that the SA was not anti- Semitic. Dr. Hoegner also puts himself in contradiction to Pastor Burgstaller who had particularly emphasized the indifference of the SA in racial matters. It can definitely be admitted that excesses did occur when the Munich post office was occupied. But such things occur during any revolution; we need only recall some of the things that happened between 1918 and 1920.

How the situation actually was, seen objectively, is shown by the affidavit of Dr. Staff, Brunswick, in which he states:

"The SA behaved in a manner which, regarded from the legal standpoint of a civilized nation, must be called illegal, but it did not result in any excesses, going beyond these measures which were illegal in themselves."
I also submitted an affidavit of Dr. Priese as General SA No. 82. It shows that Dr. Priese as a member of the Communist Party of Germany was active as an expert of the denazification boards, and that he gave this affidavit with the approval of the Minister for Political Clearance. His judgment is to the effect that the SA cannot be considered a criminal organization within the meaning of Article 6 of the Charter.

Through the mass enrolment of members in the SA after 30th January, 1933, the so-called uniform whole of the NSDAP broke apart even more than had been the case before that date. Elements of the German population entered the SA, whose aims and aspirations had nothing to do with the goals of the SA.

The affidavit of Diels shows that in the Berlin SA Communists were admitted in large numbers. The collective summarization reveals that this was also the case in other cities. In this connection I must also refer to the incorporation of all the Protestant Youth Associations into the Hitler Youth in 1933, which were then transferred to the SA. Vicar-General Dr. David declared that this was also the case among many of the Catholic youth. The aims which the leading personages had in their minds when this transfer was made become clear from the quotation from the Akademische Monatsblatter, of June, 1933 (Document SA 317), which reads as follows:

"Realizing this, it is up to us to take a hand with sincere conviction in common honest work with all the constructive forces of our nation, in order to create new and better things and to prevent the worst. For this reason we want to place all our Catholic wealth of Christian conservative ideas as well as Christian evolutionary forces into the new Germany, to help in the formation and deepening of its spirit from our spirit."
If the SA were to be convicted, this declaration of criminality would also affect these men who were not concerned with the spirit of the National Socialist Party, and some of whom were to act as a brake against the radical elements in the movement.

The largest number of men joined when the Stahlhelm was transferred to the SA in 1933 and 1934. The original so- called "Traditions SA" had had only 300,000 members, as was stated some time ago. The Stahlhelm, on the other

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hand, comprised more than one million members, most of whom differed considerably from the SA men of the period of struggle, both as regards their general attitude and their outlook on life.

In the session of 28th February to 2nd March, 1946, the prosecution moved to except, among others, the SA Reserve from the declaration of criminality.

By an order of the Supreme SA Leadership (Hitler), dated 6th November, 1933, the SA Reserve 1 was formed from members of the Stahlhelm between 36 and 45 years of age. The SA Reserve was subsequently placed under the command of the SA Gruppenfuehrer in accordance with a directive issued by the same authority on 25th January, 1934, and was thereby transferred to the SA under the designation SA Reserve No. 1 (Exhibits Nos. 13 and 17 of the Document Book Stahlhelm SA). A part of the SA Reserve 1 remained in existence up to the end of the war and has thus been excluded from the declaration of criminality. A further part of this SA-Reserve No. 1 was attached as small reserve groups to active SA companies (Sturme) in the course of the last few years. The remainder was gradually incorporated in the active SA after 1934. Such reorganizations were carried out in accordance with lists, or by virtue of specially issued orders. The reasons for these transfers were partly technical considerations, such as local combinations, especially during the war, when SA Sturme shrank because of inductions into the armed forces. In many cases these reorganizations were also made in order to facilitate better control within the SA. It would thus be unfair and incomprehensible to give this latter group a different treatment to the former, to make coincidence the judge over the fate of the members of the Stahlhelm who remained in the SA up to the end of the war.

Those members of the Stahlhelm transferred into the SA by order of Hitler in 1933-1934 were transferred to the SA as a body. For that reason alone, according to the decision of the Tribunal of 13th March, 1946, under 6-a 2, and 6-b, they cannot be declared criminal. With reference to this I draw your attention to the plea of my honoured colleague, Attorney Klefisch, on 15th August, 1946, to the effect that those persons who had entered an organization involuntarily belong to the class of innocent camp followers who may be assumed not to have desired to support the aims and activities of the organization. Therefore, an accusation of guilt cannot apply to them, even if it had been possible for them to resign immediately.

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