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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Two Hundred and Fourteenth Day: Thursday, 29th August, 1946
(Part 7 of 14)

[Page 273]


You have the evidence of Kurt Schmidt, Minister of Economics and member of the Reich Cabinet until January, 1935:

[Page 274]

"I have to say that the SA gained a more and more disastrous influence as a destructive element in economic and Jewish matters."
You have the evidence of their own witness, Freiherr von Waldenfels, who was asked:
"Did the SA take an active part in the persecution of the Jews after 1934?"
and answered:
"As far as I have been told stories - yes. I myself saw the looting of shops in Munich, but whether that was done by order or whether it originated with individuals, I cannot say."
He tried to minimize the significance of the SA after 1934, but his evidence was quite clear.
"Q. In their less important role, did they continue the policy and practice that they had been carrying out before, the persecution of the Jews?

A. There is no doubt."

Goebbels, speaking to the SA in October, 1935, reminded them that they were the "strongest strong arm of the movement" and that the Nazi Government was an "anti-Jewish go vernment."

If the active persecution of the Jews was not a continuing role of the SA after 1934, why should Lutze, Chief of Staff of the SA, speaking to the Diplomatic Corps and deputies of the foreign Press in January, 1936, have had to explain away the title with which the foreign Press so often branded the SA - "The bearer of a barbaric and uncivilized race struggle"? (18.) Why should all those articles have been appearing in the SA Mann almost monthly during the years 1935-1939 in wording so similar to that favoured by Der Sturmer? (19.) The titles are sufficient to indicate their nature:

"Finish up with the Jew."

"The Jewish world danger."

" Jews are not wanted here."

"God save the Jew."

" Jews, Blacks and Reactionaries."

"The Camouflaged Benjamin - Jewish Cultural Bolshevism in German music."

"The Jewish Assassination."

"Murder - the Jewish slogan."

"Gravediggers of world culture."

"Jewry is a birth error."

"Why still German Jews?"

"The poor Jew - Well! Well!"

"Jewish world revolution-out of the USA."

"Friends of world Jewry - Roosevelt and Ickes."

[Page 275]

If the members of the SA were not in fact continuously and actively persecuting the Jews after 1934, how is it possible to account for the part they played in the demonstrations of November, 1938? You will remember the instructions received by the SA 50th Brigade at Darmstadt in the early morning of 10th November:
"On the order of the Gruppenfuehrer all the Jewish synagogues within the 50th Brigade are to be blown up or set on fire immediately .... The action is to be carried out in civilian clothes."
You will remember also the reports of the different SA Fuehrers to the SA Group HQ of the electoral Palatinate - in the area of the 50th Brigade; 35 synagogues blown up, destroyed by fire or wrecked; in Mannheim, 21 synagogues, churches or meeting houses; in the area of Standarte 174 of 151st Brigade, all the synagogues destroyed and Jews taken into protective custody; in the area of Standarte 250, 11 synagogues destroyed, all shop windows of Jewish stores broken, the Rabbi and several prominent Jews taken into protective custody by the Gestapo "for their own safety"; the "infamous Rabbi Neuburger" who was known because of his foreign connections, taken into protective custody "by the instigation of the SA," together with all male Jews from various villages; in the area of Standarte 17, 2 synagogues completely burnt down and several Jewish stores demolished; and the report from the 51st Brigade - "Completion of the matter of the synagogues. Everything has been carried out up to Roelsheim."

Those events in the Mannheim district cannot have been, as the defence would have you believe, an exception to the policy of the SA leadership and to the general behaviour of SA members in the rest of Germany. Altogether 267 synagogues were destroyed that night. We can properly ask: Why should the 50th, 51st and 151st Brigades alone have received instructions to destroy all synagogues? Why should Juettner himself have issued to all SA units the orders from Hess that all offices of the Party and its branches which had safeguarded valuable property were to hand it over to the nearest office of the Gestapo?

We ask you to say that that evidence is in itself conclusive. Nevertheless, you have in addition the report of the proceedings of the Supreme Party Court in connection with the murders of Jews which took place during those demonstrations. Fifteen SA men committed murder. They did so all over Germany: in East Prussia, in Dessau, in Hanover, in Bremen, in Saxony, and in Munich. Were they too, all isolated incidents?

Goering's biographer wrote of the SA in 1937:

"The present reorganization of the Security Police is hardly noticed by the public. Their ranks are strengthened by the SA, the most reliable instrument of the movement."
Hardly could any organization have received a more damning testimony.


Immediately the Nazi Party came to power the SA became the embryo army with which the Nazis commenced their preparation for aggressive war. Geist tells you:

"Particularly through the years 1933 and 1934 hordes of SA stormtroopers were much in evidence practising military exercises. They were being converted into a military organization. I frequently encountered the Stormtroopers deployed in fields and forests engaged in military technical exercises. This was all part of a general plan to prepare Germany's manpower for war."
Geist's assumption is confirmed by Lutze himself writing in 1939:
"But as early as 1920, by the founding of the SA, the Fuehrer had established the extensive mission of this organization. The SA shall be the bearer of the military thought of a free people. In the same sense the Fuehrer said in his book, Mein Kampf:

[Page 276]

'Give the German nation six million bodies perfectly trained in sport, all fanatically inspired with the love of the Fatherland and trained to the highest intensive spirit, and a National Socialist State will, if necessary, have created an army out of them in less than two years.'
The men never forget the mission of the Fuehrer to require the military training of the German man and to reconstruct the military spirit in the German people."
What use is it for SA witnesses to come now and tell this Tribunal that:
"The SA did not have any military character ... and did not desire to have it . . . . "

"The SA always preserved the non-military character of its training programme."

There is abundant additional evidence of the military character and purpose of the SA, and of its intensive training and preparation for war.

Dr. Ernst Bayer, writing on the orders of the Supreme SA H.Q. in 1938, yet again describes the aims of the SA: "The SA was commissioned to obtain an increase and preservation of a warlike power and a warlike spirit as the expression of an aggressive attitude." (20.) As early as May, 1933, von Reichenau suggested that the Supreme Command of the SA should be represented on the Reich Defence Council. A regular officer was appointed to the SA to assist them in "military" training.

"For the purpose of camouflage he was to wear SA uniform." We know from the training directives and other documents - some issued by Lutze himself - the form which the training took from 1933 until 1939: shooting, grenade throwing, judging distance, map reading, and marching. We know also that as early as July, 1933, the SA had formed specialized units such as signal and motorized companies and separate air wings. The SA Command was anxiously stressing the need for secrecy in the case of any publications "which might give other countries an opening to construe German infringement of the terms of the Versailles Treaty."
The publication of pictures "enabling other countries to prove the alleged formation of technical troop units" was forbidden. It is hardly necessary again to quote Dr. Ernst Bayer to see the purpose of these technical units: -
"There originates in these technical units of the SA a trained crew whose capabilities and knowledge are not the last things of extraordinary value in the service for defence of the country."
Similarly he wrote of the Reiter Corps:
"At present the SA each year is able to furnish many thousands of young, trained cavalrymen to our Wehrmacht."
Can we doubt that every member of the SA knew to what end all this was leading when the Chief of Staff himself was saying publicly that the training principle of the SA was "always the spiritual, moral and physical culture of militarisation of the whole German nation?"

In March, 1934, permanent liaison had been established between the SA and the Reich Defence Ministry in connection with all "A" tasks. Juettner had explained what these "A" tasks were - "training and border protection." Did border, protection mean preparations for the military seizure of the Rhineland, Austria and Czechoslovakia?

[Page 277]

In that same month of 1934, the SA were in fact forming in the Rhineland an armed staff with a heavy machine-gun company.

Early in 1934 the SA were also making plans " ... for the Austrian formations in Bavaria to march into Austria around the 8th or 9th February. Then a military dictatorship would be proclaimed."

The account of the part the SA played in the abortive Dolfuss Putsch is before you. When the time eventually came for the Anschluss, SA units were among the first to enter Austria.

(A recess was taken until 14.00 hours.)

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: In Czechoslovakia the SA provided the chief support for the Sudeten Free Corps. In October, 1938, a few weeks after the Munich crisis, the OKW Liaison Officer with the Free Corps reported:

"Supplies had been organized by the SA, arms supplied by the Austrian SA. With magnificent comraderie and unselfishness, the SA leadership had looked after the Free Corps materially. Equipping and feeding remained in the care of the NSDAP and the SA."
This support to the Free Corps was certainly included in "border control," as Juettner himself admitted. (21.) The crimes of the SA did not end with the outbreak of war. Again I quote from the witness Juettner:
"At the beginning of the war with Poland the SA Group Sudeten carried out transports of prisoners of war into the camp. Other SA groups in the East may have been used for similar purposes. Later on the SA Leadership and the SA as an organization had nothing to do with this question."
When you consider the evidence you have heard of the appalling conditions in which those prisoners from the East were transported into their camps, are you satisfied that that task of guarding transports was so innocent as it appears? (22.) Juettner has also left us a report dated June, 1941, describing the activity of the SA in the war. In the communicating zones its members gave assistance to the Political Leaders in their tasks of education and orientation. Twenty-one groups of SA men were being used for guarding prisoners. The organization of the SA groups in Danzig, Posen, Silesia and the Baltic Provinces is described:
"In these regions also as in the fight for power, the SA was the assault unit of the Party. In these regions also the SA service, practically speaking, is directed towards strengthening the defensive forces. It was therefore necessary to overcome the inferiority complexes of the racial Germans, the result of Polish suppression, and to bring their extraordinary appearance and bearing into keeping with SA standards."
How sinister these innocent words became in view of all the evidence of what was taking place in these Eastern and Baltic provinces!

[Page 278]

The administration of the ghetto of Vilna was in the hands of the SA, and its inmates were guarded by SA guards. (23.) Some of these Jews were made to live chained in deep pits, where the SA " ... fastened chains 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."

Their work consisted of digging up mass graves:

"We dug up altogether 68,000 bodies .... Amongst those I dug up I found my own brother."
At Vilna, too, SA guards were forcing the Jews to extract the gold from the teeth of their dead brothers with prongs, washing it in benzine and packing it into 8 kg. boxes which the SA officer in charge personally took away.

DR. BOEHM: Mr. President, I believe that the statements just made refer to Affidavit D-964, the submission of which by the prosecution was rejected by the Tribunal. It is Exhibit GB-597. The whole affidavit is reproduced in print here on Page 64, and the content of the statements just made have been taken from this affidavit, the submission of which is not approved.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I respectfully disagree with Dr. Boehm. I have the affidavit in front of me, D-964, which has the exhibit number GB-597. Paragraph 7 reads:

"Our work consisted in digging up mass graves and piling the bodies on the funeral pyres and burning them."
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. But, Sir David, what Dr. Boehm was saying is that we rejected the affidavit.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, not this affidavit. I distinctly remember reading it. It has an exhibit number.

I selected one affidavit dealing with each case, and this one of Szloma Gol was the affidavit I selected with regard to Vilna.

[Page 279]

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Boehm, what ground do you have for saying that it was rejected? If it was rejected, you must have some reasons for thinking so?

Where is the transcript? Do you have the transcript with you?

DR. BOEHM: I am of the opinion that this affidavit was among those affidavits the submission of which the Tribunal rejected. At the moment, I cannot look into this, but I shall be glad to do so after the session, in order to make sure that this is correct. I believe that this affidavit belonged to the affidavits which were rejected on account of the conclusion of the submission of evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: This was not one of the eleven affidavits which were rejected?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No, my Lord. Your Lordship will remember that I had about a half-dozen Jewish witnesses from the Baltic provinces, and the Tribunal said that I could call three, and that they were to be available for cross- examination by Dr. Boehm.

The deponent of this affidavit, Szloma Gol, was one of the three that I selected, and I put in this affidavit, which received the exhibit number GB-597.

My Lord, that is the recollection of myself, of Colonel Griffith-Jones and Major Barrington, who were helping me at the time. And - the fact that it has an exhibit number is prima facie evidence that the Tribunal accepted it.

THE PRESIDENT: I think you had better go on. If Dr. Boehm can produce evidence that it was rejected, it will be stricken from your speech and will be disregarded.

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