The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 17, 1945 to January 4, 1946

Twenty-Fifth Day: Wednesday, 2nd January, 1946
(Part 2 of 9)

[COLONEL STOREY continues]

[Page 203]

Now I offer Document 502-PS as the next exhibit, Exhibit USA 486. This document is a Gestapo directive of 17th July, 1941.

If you will recall, Lahousen said this conference was in the summer of 1941.

It is addressed to commanders of the Sipo and S.D. stationed in camps and provides in part as follows, and I read from the first page of the English translation.

Now, if the Tribunal please, our colleagues, the Soviet prosecutors, will present most of that document, and I am only going to read enough to show that the Gestapo were the ones that took part in it. From the beginning :

"The action of commandos will take place in accordance with the agreement of the Chief of the Security Police and Security Service and the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces as of 16th July, 1941. Enclosure I.

The commandos will work independently according to special authorisation and according to the general directive given to them in the limits of the camp regulations. Naturally the commandos will keep close contact with the camp commander and the intelligence officer assigned to him.

This mission of the commandos is the political investigation of all camp inmates, the elimination and further treatment:

(a) of all political, criminal, or in some other way undesirable elements among them;

(b) of those persons who could be used for the reconstruction of the occupied countries."

Now I pass to the beginning of the fourth paragraph:
"The commandos must use for their work as far as possible now, and even later, the experiences of. the camp commanders, which the latter have gathered from observation of the prisoners and examination of the camp inmates. Further, the commandos must make efforts from the beginning to seek out among the prisoners elements which would appear reliable, regardless whether there are communists concerned or not, in order to use them for intelligence purposes inside the camp, and, if advisable, later in the occupied territories also.

By using such informers, and by use of all other existing possibilities, the discovery of all elements to be eliminated among the prisoners must follow step by step. The commandos must learn for themselves in every case by means of short questioning of the informer and possible questioning of other prisoners. The information of one informer is not sufficient to designate a camp inmate to be a suspect without further proof. It must be confirmed in some way, if possible."

[Page 204]

Now I pass to Page 4, the 3rd paragraph of the English translation, quoting:
"Executions are not to be held in the camp or in the immediate vicinity of the camp. If the camps in the Government General are in the immediate vicinity of the border, then the prisoners are to be taken for special treatment, if possible, into the former Soviet territory."
And then the 5th paragraph:
"In regard to executions to be carried out and to the possible removal of reliable civilians and the removal of informers for the Einsatzgruppe in the occupied territories, the leader of the Einsatzkommandos must make an agreement with the nearest State Police Office, as well as with the commandant of the Security Police unit and Security Service, and beyond these, with the Chief of the Einsatzgruppe concerned in the occupied territories."
Proof that persons so screened out of the prisoner of war camps by the Gestapo were executed is to be found in Document 1165-PS, from which I do not intend to quote, and which has been previously introduced as Exhibit USA 244. Document 1165-PS shows that those that had been screened out were executed.

The first page of that document, is a letter from the Camp Commandant of the concentration camp Gross-Rosen to Mueller, who was the Chief of the Gestapo, dated the 23rd of October, 1941, referring to a previous oral conference with Mueller and setting forth the names of 20 Soviet prisoners of war executed the previous day.

The second page - I am still referring to Document 1165 but not reading from it, because it has already been quoted from - is a directive issued by Mueller on the 9th of November, 1941, to all Gestapo offices, in which he ordered that all diseased prisoners of war should be excluded from transports to concentration camps for execution, because 5 to 10 per cent. of those destined for execution were arriving in the camps dead or half dead.

I now offer Document 3542-PS, Exhibit USA 489, which is in the second volume. This is an affidavit of Kurt Lindow, a former Gestapo official, which was taken on the 30th of September, 1945, at Oberursel, Germany, in the course of an official military investigation by the United States Army, and I quote from that document from the begininng:

"I was Kriminaldirektor in Section IV of the R.S.H.A." -
I call your Honour's attention to the chart on the board that he was Director of Section IV and head of the Sub-section IV A I -
"from the middle of 1942 until the middle of 1944. I had the rank of S. S.-Sturmbannfuehrer.

From 1941 until the middle of 1943, there was attached to Subsection IV A i (which is not shown on this chart, but was described in the beginning) a special department that was headed by the Regierungsoberinspektor, later Regierungsamtmann, and S.S.-Hauptsturmbannfuehrer Franz Koenigshaus. In this department were handled matters concerning prisoners of war. I learned from this department that instructions and orders by Reichsfuehrer Himmler, dating from 1941 to 1942, existed, according to which captured Soviet political Commissars and Jewish soldiers were to be executed. As far as I know, proposals for execution of such P.W's. were received from the various P.W. camps. Koenigshaus had to prepare the orders for

[Page 205]

execution and submitted them to the Chiet of Section IV, Mueller, for signature (Milller being the Head of the Gestapo). These orders were made out so that one order was to be sent to the agency making the request, and a second one to the concentration camp designated to carry out the execution. The P.W's. in question were at first formally released from P.W. status, then transferred to a concentration camp for execution.

The Department Chief, Koenigshaus, was under me in disciplinary questions from the middle of 1942 until about the beginning of 1943, and worked, in matters of his department, directly with the chief of Group IV A, Regierungsrat Panzinger. Early in 1943 the department was dissolved, and absorbed into the departments in Sub-section IV B. The work concerning Russian P.W's. must then have been done by IV B 2a. Head of Department IV B 2a was Regierungsrat and Sturmbannfuehrer Hans Helmut Wolf.

There existed in the PM. camps on the Eastern Front small screening teams (Einsatzkommandos), headed by a lower ranking member of the Secret Police or Gestapo. These teams were assigned to the camp commandos and had the job of segregating the P.W's. who were candidates for execution, according to the orders that had been given, and to report them to the Office of the Secret Police."

I will not read the remainder of that affidavit.

Passing from that phase of the case : The Gestapo and S.S. sent re- captured prisoners of war to concentration camps, where they were executed, that is, prisoners of war who had escaped and were recaptured. The Tribunal will recall that in a document heretofore introduced, 1650-PS, was an order in which the Chief of the Security Police and S.S. instructed regional Gestapo offices to take certain classes of recaptured officers from camps, and to transport them to Mauthausen. Concentration Camp, under the operation known as "Kugel." That, if your Honour recalls, means "Bullet." That is the famous "Bullet " Decree that has been previously introduced. On the journey the prisoners of war were to be placed in irons. The Gestapo officers were to make semi-annual reports, giving numbers only, of the sending of these prisoners of war to Mauthausen. On the 27th of July, 1944, an order was issued from the VI Corps Area Command on the treatment of prisoners of war. That is Document 1514-PS in the second volume, which I offer as Exhibit USA 491. This document provided that prisoners of war were to be discharged from prisoner of war status and transferred to the Gestapo under certain circumstances, and I quote from the first page:

"Subject : Delivery of prisoners of war to the Secret State Police."
Enclosed is the decree (I) referred to :
"The following summarising ruling is issued with respect to the delivery to the Secret State Police :

1. (a) According to the decrees (2) and (3), the commander of the camp has to deliver Soviet prisoners of war in case of punishable offences to the Secret State Police and to dismiss them from imprisonment of war, if he does not believe that disciplinary functions are sufficient to prescribe punishment for violations committed. Report of the facts is not necessary.

[Page 206]

(b) Recaptured Soviet prisoners of war have to be delivered first to the nearest police office in order to ascertain whether punishable offences have been committed during the escape. The dismissal from imprisonment of war takes place upon suggestion of the police office (Section A6 of the decree No. 4) regarding the compilation of all regulations on the Arbeitseinsatz of prisoners of war who have been recaptured and refuse to work.

(c) Recaptured Soviet officers who are prisoners of war have to be delivered to the Gestapo and to be dismissed from imprisonment of war. (Section C1 of Decree No. 4 and Decree No. 5.)

(d) Soviet officer prisoners of war who refuse to work and those who distinguish themselves as agitators and have an unfavourable influence upon the willingness to work of the other prisoners of war, have to be delivered by the responsible Stalag to the nearest State Police office and to be dismissed from imprisonment of war. (Section C1 of Decree No. 4 and Decree No. 5.)

(e) Soviet enlisted prisoners of war refusing to work who are ring-leaders and those who distinguish themselves as agitators and therefore have an unfavourable influence upon the willingness to work of the other prisoners of war, have to be delivered to the nearest State Police Office and to be dismissed from imprisonment of war. (Section C2 of Decree No. 4.)

Soviet prisoners of war (enlisted men and officers), who with respect to their political attitude have been sifted out by Einsatzkonimando of the Security Police and the Security Service, have to be delivered upon request by the camp commander to the Einsatzkonimando and to be dismissed from imprisonment of war. (Decree No. 6.)

(g) Polish prisoners of war have to be delivered, if acts of sabotage are proven, to the nearest State Police Office and to be dismissed from imprisonment of war. The decision rests with the camp commander. Report on this is not necessary. (Decree No. 7.)

2. A report on the delivery and dismissal from imprisonment of war in the cases mentioned under paragraph 1of this decree to the Mil. District Command VI, Dept. of Prisoners of War, is not necessary.

3. Prisoners of war from all nations have to be delivered to the Secret State Police and to be dismissed from imprisonment of war, if a special order of the O.K.W. or of the Mil. District Command VI, Dept. for Prisoners of War, is issued.

4. Prisoners of war under suspicion of participating in illegal organisations and resistance movements have to be left to the Gestapo, upon request, for the purpose of interrogation. They remain prisoners of war and have to be treated as such. The delivery to the Gestapo and their dismissal from imprisonment of war has to take place only by order of the O.K.W. or of the Mil. District Command VI, Dept. of Prisoners of War.

[Page 207]

In case of French and Belgian prisoners of war and interned Italian military personnel, approval of Mil. District Command VI ' Dept. of Prisoners of War, has to be obtained -- if necessary by phone -- before delivery to the Gestapo for the purposes of interrogation."
This decree was known as the "Bullet Decree." Prisoners of war, sent to Mauthausen Concentration Camp under the decree, were executed. I now offer in support of that statement Document 2285-PS, Exhibit USA 490. It is in the second volume. Document 2285-PS is an affidavit of Lt.-Col. Guivante de Saint Gast, and Lt. Jean Veith, both of the French Army, which was taken on the 13th May, 1945, in the course of an official military investigation by the United States Army. The affidavit discloses that Lt.-Col. Gast was confined at Mauthausen from 15th March, 1944, to 22nd April, 1945, and that Lt. Veith was confined from 22nd April, 1943 until 22nd April, 1945. I quote from the affidavit, beginning with the third paragraph of Page 1, quoting :
"In Mauthausen existed several treatments of prisoners, amongst them the 'action K or Kugel' (Bullet action). Upon the arrival of transports, prisoners with the mention 'K' were not registered, and received no numbers, and their names remained unknown except to the officials of the 'Politische Abteilung.' (Lt. Veith had the opportunity of hearing upon the arrival of a transport the following conversation between the Untersturmfuehrer Streitwieser and chief of the convoy: 'How many prisoners?' '15 but two K.' 'Well, that makes 13 ').

The prisoners were taken directly to the prison, where they were unclothed and taken to the 'Bathroom.' This bathroom in the cellars of the prison building near the crematory was specially designed for execution (shooting and gassing). The shooting took place by means of a measuring apparatus. The prisoners being backed towards a metrical measure with an automatic contraption releasing a bullet in his neck as soon as the moving plank determining his height touched the top of his head.

If a transport consisted of too many 'K' prisoners, instead of losing time for the measurement they were exterminated by gas, laid on to the bathrooms instead of water."

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