The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Twenty-Third Day: Wednesday, 19th December, 1945
(Part 6 of 8)

MAJOR FARR: May it please the Tribunal, the next organisation to be dealt with is the S.S. The document books in this case are lettered " Z." For convenience in handling the books, because of the bulk of documents, we have divided them into two volumes. I shall in referring to a document number, refer to the volume in which that document appears.

About a week or ten days ago there appeared in a newspaper, circulated in Nuremberg, an account of a visit by that paper's correspondent to a camp in which S.S. prisoners-of-war were confined. The thing which particularly struck the correspondent was the one question asked by the S.S. prisoners. Why are we charged as war criminals ? What have we done except our normal duty?

The evidence now to be presented to the Tribunal will, we expect, answer that question. It will show that just as the Nazi Party was the very heart -- the core -- of the conspiracy, so the S.S. was the very essence of Nazism. For the S.S. was the elite group of the Party, composed of the most thoroughgoing adherents of the Nazi cause, pledged to blind devotion to Nazi principles, and prepared to carry them out without any question and at any cost-a group in which every ordinary value has been so subverted that its members can ask " What is there unlawful about the things we have done?"

During the past weeks the Tribunal has heard evidence of the conspirators' criminal programme for aggressive war, for concentration camps, for the extermination of the Jews, for enslavement of foreign labour and illegal use of prisoners-of-war, for deportation and Germanisation of inhabitants of conquered territories. Through all this evidence the name of the S.S. ran like a thread. Again and again that organisation and its components were referred to. It is my purpose to show why it performed a responsible role in every one of these criminal activities, why it was -- and, indeed, had to be -- a criminal organisation.

The creation and development of such an organisation was, indeed, essential for the execution of the conspirators' plans. Their sweeping programme and the measures they were prepared to use and did use, could be fully accomplished neither through the machinery of the Government nor of the Party. Things had to be done for which no agency of government and no political party-even the Nazi Party-would openly take full responsibility. A specialised type of apparatus was needed, an apparatus which was to some extent connected with the Government and given official support but which, at the same time, could maintain a quasi-independent status, so that its

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acts could be attributed neither to the Government nor to the Party as a whole. The S.S. was that apparatus.

Like the S.A., it was one of the seven components or formations of the Nazi Party, referred to in the Decree on the Enforcement of the Law for Securing the Unity of Party and State, Of 29th March, 1935, published in the Reichsgesetzblatt for that year, Part I, Page 503. That decree will be found in our Document 1725-PS. I shall not read it. I assume that the Court will take judicial notice of it. The status of the S.S., however, was above that of the other formations. As the plans of the conspirators progressed, it acquired new functions, new responsibilities, and an increasingly more important place in the regime. It developed during the course of the conspiracy into a highly complex machine, the most powerful in the Nazi State, spreading its tentacles into every field of Nazi activity.

The evidence which I shall present will be directed, first, towards showing very briefly the origin and early development of the S.S. ; second, how it was organised-that is, its structure and its component parts ; third, the basic principles governing the selection of its members and the obligations they undertook; and finally, its aims and the means used to accomplish them, the manner in which it carried out the purposes of the conspirators, and thus was a responsible participant in the crimes alleged in the Indictment.

The history, Organisation and publicly announced functions of the S.S. are not controversial matters. They are not matters to be learned only from secret files and captured documents. They were recounted in many publications, circulated widely throughout Germany and the worldofficial books of the Nazi Party itself and books, pamphlets and speeches by S.S. and State officials published with S.S. and Party approval. Throughout the presentation of the case I shall frequently refer to five or six such publications, translations of which-in whole or in part-appear in the document books. Although I shall quote portions of them, I shall not attempt to read them all in full, since I assume that the contents of such authoritative publications may be judicially noticed by the Tribunal.

Now to take up the origin of the S.S. The first aim of the conspirators -- as the evidence already presented to the Court has shown -- was to gain a foothold in politically hostile territory, to acquire mastery of the streets and to combat any and all opponents with force. For that purpose they needed their own private, personal police Organisation. Evidence has just been introduced in the case against the S.A.-showing how that Organisation was created to fill such a role. But the S.A. was outlawed in 1923. When Nazi Party activity was again resumed in 1925, the S.A. remained outlawed. To fill its place and to play the part of Hitler's own personal police, small mobile groups known as protective squadrons (Schutzstaffel) were created. This was the origin of the S.S. in 1925. With the reinstatement of the S.A. in 1926, the S.S. for the next few years ceased to play a major role. But it continued to exist as an Organisation within the S.A. -- under its own leader, however -- the Reichsfuehrer S.S. This early history of the S.S. is related in two of the authoritative publications to which I have referred: the first is a book by S.S. Standartenfuehrer Gunter d'Alquen, entitled `Die S.S.' This book -- a pamphlet of some 30 pages -- is an authoritative account of the history, mission and Organisation of the S.S., published in 1939. As indicated on its frontispiece, it was written at the direction of the Reichsfuehrer S.S., Heinrich Himmler. Its author, S.S. Standartenfuehrer Gunter

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d'Alquen, was the editor of the official S.S. publication 'Das Schwarze Korps.' This book is our Document 2284-PS, I offer it in evidence Exhibit USA 438. The passage to which I refer will be found on Pages and 7 of the original, and on Page i of the translation.

I shall not now read that passage.

The second publication is an article by Himmler, entitled " Organisation and Obligations of the S.S. and the Police." It was published in 1937 in booklet containing a series of speeches or essays by important officials of Party and the State -- known as "National Political Course for the Arm Forces from 15th to 23rd January, 1937." The article by Himmler, which I refer, appears on Pages 137-161 of that pamphlet. Large extra from it make up our Document 1992-A-PS. I offer the essay by Himml as Exhibit USA 439. The passage to which I referred appears on Page 137 of the original and Page 1 of the translation, our Document. 1992-A-PS. I shall have occasion to quote from both these publications, but with respect to this matter of history, I assume that these references to the pertinent passages in them are enough.

As early as 1929 the conspirators recognised that their plans required organisation in which the main principles of the Nazi system, specifically the racial principles, would not only be jealously guarded but would carried to such extremes as to inspire or intimidate the rest of the population -- an organisation in which, also, there would be assured complete freedom on the part of the leaders and blind obedience on the part of the members. The S.S. was built up to meet this need. I quote from d'Alquen's book 'Die S.S.', at Page 7 -- this passage appears in our Document 2284-PS, at Page 4 of the translation, paragraph 4:

"On 16th January, 1929, Adolf Hitler appointed his tested comrade of long standing, Heinrich Himmler, as Reichsfuehrer S.S. Heinrich Himmler assumed charge therewith of the entire Schutzstaffel, totalling at the time 280 men, with the express and particular commission of the Fuehrer to form this organisation into an elite troop of the Party, a troop dependable in every circumstance. With this day the real history of the S.S. begins as it stands before us today in all its deeper essential features, firmly anchored in the National Socialist movement. For the S.S. and its Reichsfuehrer, Heinrich Himmler, its first S.S. men, have become inseparable in the course of these battle-filled years."
Carrying out Hitler's directive, Himmler proceeded to build up out of this small force of men an elite organisation -- to use d'Alquen's words: " composed of the best physically, the most dependable, and the most faithful men in the Nazi movement." I read another passage from d'Alquen, at Page 12 of the original, Page 6 of the translation, paragraph 5:
"When the day of seizure of power had finally come, there were 52,000 S.S. men, who in this spirit bore the revolution in the van, marched into the new State which they began to help to form everywhere, in their stations and positions, in profession and in science, and in all their essential tasks."
The conspirators now had the machinery of government in their hands. The initial function of the S.S. -- that of acting as private army and personal police force -- was thus completed. But its mission had in fact really just begun. That mission is described in the Organisation Book of the N.S.D.A.P. for 1943. The pages from that book dealing with the S.S. -- Pages 417 to

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428 -- are translated in out Document 2040-PS. The organisation's book has already been offered in evidence as Exhibit USA 303. The passage to which I refer appears on Page 417 of the original, and on Page 1, paragraph 2, of the translation, our Document 2640-PS:

The most original and most eminent duty of the S.S. is to serve as the protectors of the Fuehrer.

By decree of the Fuehrer, the sphere of duties has been enlarged to include the internal security of the Reich."

This new mission -- protecting the internal security of the regime -- was somewhat more colourfully defined by Himmler in his pamphlet "The S.S. as an Anti-Bolshevist Fighting Organisation," published in 1936. It is our Document 185I-PS. I offer this document in evidence as Exhibit USA 440. The definition to which I refer appears at the bottom of Page 29 of the original, on the third page of the translation, middle of the paragraph:
"We shall unremittingly fulfil our task, the guaranty of the, security of Germany from the interior, just as the Wehrmacht guarantees the safety of the honour, the greatness, and the peace of the Reich from the exterior. We shall take care that never again in Germany, the heart of Europe, will the Jewish-Bolshevistic revolution of subhumans be able to be kindled either from within or through emissaries from without. Without pity we shall be a merciless sword of justice for all those forces whose existence and activity we know, on the day of the slightest attempt, may it be today, may it be in decades or may it be in centuries."
This conception necessarily required an extension of the duties of the S.S. into many fields. It involved, of course, the performance of police functions. But it involved more. It required participation in the suppres sion and extermination of all internal opponents of the regime. It meant participation in extending the regime beyond the borders of Germany, and, therefore, came to mean eventually participation in every type of activity designed to secure a hold over those territories and populations which, through military conquest, had come under German domination.

The expansion of S.S. duties and activities resulted in the creation of several branches and numerous departments and the eventual development of a highly complex machinery. Those various branches and departments cannot be adequately described out of the context of their history. That description I hope will emerge fully as evidence of the activities of the S.S. is presented. But it may be appropriate to anticipate, and at this point to say a word about the structure of the S.S.

For this purpose, a glance at a chart depicting the organisation of the S.S. as it appeared in 1945 may be helpful. There are being handed to the Tribunal small copies of this chart, two in English, one in French and one in Russian. In addition, there are handed eight larger copies of the chart in the original German, which bears on it the photostat of the affidavit of Gottlieb Berger, formerly Chief of the S.S. Main Office, who examined the chart, and stated that it correctly represented the organisation of the S.S.

I now offer in evidence the chart of the Supreme and Regional Command of the S.S. as Exhibit USA 445.

At the very top of the chart is Himmler, the Reichsfuehrer S.S., who commanded the entire organisation. Immediately below -- running across the chart and down the right-hand side, embraced within the heavy line -- are

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the twelve main departments constituting the Supreme Command of the S.S. Some of these departments have been broken down into the several offices of which they were composed, as indicated by the boxes beneath them. Other departments have not been so broken down. It is not intended to indicate that there were not subdivisions of these latter departments as well. The breakdown is shown only in those cases where the constituent offices of some department may have a particular significance in this case.

These departments and their functions are described in two official Nazi publications: the first is the Organisation Book of the N.S.D.A.P. for 1943 (our Document 2640-PS) already introduced in evidence as Exhibit USA 323. The description, which I shall not now read, appears on Pages 419-420 of the original and Pages 2 to 4 of the translation. The second is an S.S. manual, which bears the title: "The Soldier Friend -- Pocket Diary for the German Armed Forces -- Edition D: Waffen S.S." It was prepared at the direction of the Reichsfuehrer S.S. and issued by the S . S. Main Office for the year ending 1942. It is our Document 2825-PS. I offer it in evidence as Exhibit USA 441. The description to which I refer appears on Pages 20 to 22 of the original, and Pages 1 and 2 of the translation. I will later have occasion to read the description of the functions of some of the departments in full. But I assume that the Court will take judicial notice of the entire passages to which I have referred. In addition, the departments are listed in a directory of the S.S., published by one of the main departments of the S.S. This document was found in the files of the Personal Staff of the Reichsfuehrer S.S., the first department on the left of the chart. It is entitled "Directory for the Schutzstaffel of the N.S.D.A.P., 1st November, 1944." It is marked "Restricted " and bears the notation "Published by S.S. Fuehrungshauptamt, Kommandant of the General S.S.," which is the fifth box from the left. It is our Document 2769-PS. I offer it in evidence as Exhibit USA 442. It is simply a list of the names of the departments and offices with their addresses and telephone numbers, and corroborates the statements in the two earlier publications to which I referred.

Returning now to the chart -- following down the central spine from the Reichsfuehrer S.S. to the regional level, we come to the Higher S.S. and Police Leader, commonly known as H.S.S.P.F., the Supreme S.S. Commander in each region. I shall refer to his functions at a later point. Immediately below him is the breakdown of the organisation of the Allgemeine or General S.S. To the left are indicated two other branches of the S.S. -- the Death Head Units (Totenkopf Verbaende) and the Waffen S.S. To the right, under the H.S.S.P.F., is the S.D. All of these components, together with the S.S. Police Regiments, are specifically named in the Indictment -- Appendix B, Page 36 -- as being included in the S.S.

Now a word as to these components. Up to 1933, there were no such specially designated branches. The S.S. was a single group -- a group of 44 "volunteer political soldiers." It was out of this original nucleus that the new units developed.

The "Allgemeine " -- that is, General S.S. -- was the common basis, the main stem out of which the various branches grew. It was composed of all members of the S.S. who did not belong to any of the special branches.

It was the backbone of the entire organisation. The personnel and officers of the main departments of the S.S. Supreme Command were

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members of this branch. Except for high-ranking officers and those in staff capacities in the main offices of the S.S. Supreme Command, its members were part-time volunteers. As the evidence will show, its members were utilised in about every phase of S.S. activity. They were called upon in the anti-Jewish pogroms of 1938 ; they took over the task of guarding concentration camps during the war; they participated in the colonisation and resettlement programme. In short, the term "S.S." normally meant the General S.S.

It was organised on military lines, as will be seen from the chart, ranging from district (Oberabschnitt) and sub-district (Abschnitt) down through the regiment, battalion, company, to the platoon. Until after the beginning of the war it constituted numerically the largest branch of the S.S. In 1939 d'Alquen, the official S.S. spokesman, said, and I quote from his book, our Document 2284-PS, Page 9, paragraph 3, of the English translation, and Page 18 of the original document:

"The strength of the General S.S., 240,000 men, is sub-divided today into 14 corps, 38 divisions, 140 infantry regiments, 19 mounted regiments, 14 communication battalions and 19 engineer battalions as well as motorised and medical units. This General S.S. stands fully and wholly on call as in the fighting years . . ."
Similar reference to the military organisation of the General S.S. will be found in Himmler's speech "Organisation and Obligations of the S.S, and the Police," our Document 1992-A-PS, at Page 4 of the translation. and in the Organisation Book of the N.S.D.A.P. for 1943, our Document 2460-PS, at Pages 4 and 5 of the translation.

Members of this branch, however, with the exception of certain staff personnel -- were subject to compulsory military service. As the result of the draft of members of the General S.S. of military age into the Army, the numerical strength of active members considerably declined during the war. Older S.S. men and those working in or holding high positions in the main departments of the Supreme Command of the S.S. remained. Its entire strength during the war was probably not in excess of 40,000 men.

The second component to be mentioned is the Security Service of the Reichsfuehrer S.S., almost always referred to as the S.D. Himmler described it in his speech, "Organisation and Obligations of the S.S. and the Police " -- our Document 1992-A-PS. I quote a passage from Page 8, last paragraph of the translation, Page 151 of the original, paragraph 3:

"I now come to the Security Service (S.D.) ; it is the great ideological Intelligence Service of the Party, and, in the long run, also that of the State, During the time of struggle for power it was only the Intelligence Service of the S. S. At that time we had, for quite natural reasons, an Intelligence Service with the regiments, battalions and companies." -- He refers there to the regiments, battalions and companies of the General S. S. -- " We had to know what was going on on the opponents' side, whether the Communists intended to hold a meeting today or not, whether our people were to be suddenly attacked or not, and similar things. I had already separated this service in 1931 from the troops " (I note that it appears in the mimeographed translation as 1941, but, as will appear from a passage on the next pages of the translation, it was 1931 to which he was referring) "from the units of the General S.S., because I considered it to be wrong not to

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do so. For one thing, secrecy is endangered, then the individual men, or even the companies, are too likely to discuss everyday problems."
Although, as Himmler put it, the S.D. was only the Intelligence Service of the S.S. during the years preceding the accession of the Nazis to power, it became a much more important organisation shortly thereafter. It had been developed into such a powerful scientific espionage system under its chief, Reinhard Heydrich, that on 9th June, 1934, just a few weeks before the blood purge of the S.A., it was made, by decree of the defendant Hess, the sole Intelligence and Counter-intelligence agency of the entire Nazi Party. I refer in support of that statement to d'Alquen's book, Die S.S., our Document 2284-PS, at Page 11 of the translation. I shall not pause to quote that passage. The Organisation and numbers of the S.D., as they stood in 1937, were thus described by Himmler --I quote again from his article "Organisation and Obligations of the S.S. and the Police," our Document 1992-A-PS, at Page 9 of the translation, second paragraph, Page 151 of the original, paragraph 4:
"The Security Service had already been separated from the troop in 1931 and separately organised. Its higher headquarters coincide today with the Oberabschnitte and Abschnitte " (I refer to the "Abschnitte" and "Oberabschnitte" indicated on the chart) "and it has also field offices, its own organisation of officials, and a great many command posts, and is approximately three to four thousand men strong, or at least it will be when it is built up."
Up to 1939, its headquarters was the S.S. Main Security Office (Sicherheitshauptamt), which, as I shall shortly show, became amalgamated in 1939 in the Reich Main Security Office (R.S.H.A.) one of the S.S. main departments shown on the chart before you -- the sixth box from the left. The closer and closer collaboration of the S.D. with the Gestapo and Criminal Police -- which eventually resulted in the creation of this R.S.H.A. -- and the activities in which the S.D. engaged in partnership with the Gestapo, will be taken up in the presentation of the case against the Gestapo. The S.D. was, of course, at all times an integral and important component of the S.S. But it is more practicable to deal with it in connection with the activities of the whole repressive police system with which it functioned.

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