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 9 of 9)

[LT. WHITNEY R. HARRIS continues]

[Page 236]

There follows in the affidavit a description of the order for execution issued by the R.S.H.A. to the commander of the concentration camp Mauthausen. I omit quoting that description and continue at the next paragraph:
"Orders for execution also came without the name of the court of justice. Until the assassination of Heydrich, these orders were signed by him or by his competent deputy. Later on the orders were signed by Kaltenbrunner, but mostly they were signed by his deputy, Gruppenfuehrer Mueller.

Dr. Kaltenbrunner, who signed the above- mentioned orders, had the rank of S.S. General (S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer) and was the Chief of the Reich Security Main Office.

Dr. Kaltenbrunner is about 40 years old, height about 1.76 to 1.80 metres, and has deep fencing scars on his face. When Dr. Kaltenbrunner was only a Higher S.S. and Police Officer, he visited the camp several times, later on as the Chief of Reich Security Main Office (R.S.H.A.) he visited the camp too, though much less frequently. During these visits, the commander usually received him outside the building of the camp headquarters and reported.

[Page 237]

Concerning the American military mission, which landed behind the German front in the Slovakian or Hungarian area in January, 1945, I remember when these officers were brought to Camp Mauthausen. I suppose the number of the arrivals was about 12 to 15 men. They wore a uniform, which was American or Canadian, brown-green colour shirt and cloth cap. Eight or ten days after their arrival the execution order came in by telegraph or teletype. Standartenfuehrer Ziereis came to me, into my office, and told me: 'Now Kaltenbrunner has given permission for the execution.' This letter was secret and had the signature ' signed Kaltenbrunner.' Then these people were shot according to martial law and their belongings were given to me by Oberscharfuehrer Niedermeier."
The fifth crime for which Kaltenbrunner is responsible as Chief of the Security Police and S.D. was the deportation of citizens of occupied territories for forced labour and the disciplining of forced labour.

I am sure the Tribunal will recall, without referring to it, Document 3012-PS. which has heretofore been received as Exhibit USA 190. That was the letter from the head of the Sonderkommando of the Sipo and S.D., which stated that the Ukraine would have to provide a million workers for the armament industry and that force should be used where necessary. That letter was dated 19th March, 1943.

Kaltenbrunner's responsibility for the disciplining of foreign labour is shown by Document 1063B-PS, which has heretofore been received as Exhibit USA 492. No part of this letter has been read into the record. This letter dated 26th July, 1943, was addressed to Higher S.S. and Police Leaders, Commanders and Inspectors of the Sipo and S.D., and to the Chiefs of Einsatz Groups B and D.

The Tribunal will recall that Einsatz Groups A, B, C, and D, operating in the East, carried out the extermination of Jews and communist leaders. This document proves Kaltenbrunner's control over Einsatz Groups B and D. It is signed "Kaltenbrunner." The first paragraph provides as follows:

"The Reichsfuehrer S.S. has given his consent that besides concentration camps, which come under the jurisdiction of the S.S. Economic Administration Main Office, further labour reformatory camps may be created, for which the Security Police alone is competent. These labour reformatory camps are dependent on the authorisation of the Reich Security Main Office, which can only be granted in case of emergency (great number of foreign workers, and so forth)."
I now offer Document D-473 as exhibit next in order, Exhibit USA 522. It should be right at the beginning of the Document Book. This letter signed " Kaltenbrunner " was sent by him under date of 4th December, 1944, to Regional Offices of the Criminal Police.

The Tribunal will recall that Kaltenbrunner's responsibility covered the Criminal Police as well as the Gestapo. It provides in part, and I quote, reading at the beginning of the letter:

"According to the Decree of 30th June, 1943, crimes committed by Polish and Soviet- Russian civilian labourers are being prosecuted by the State Police (Head) Offices, and even in those cases, where for the time being the Criminal Police had, within the sphere of its competence, carried on the inquiries. For the purpose of speeding up

[Page 238]

the process and in order to save manpower, the Decree of 30th June, 1943, is altered, and the Criminal Police (Head) Offices are authorised as from now on to prosecute, themselves, the crimes they are inquiring into, within the sphere of their competence, in so far as they are cases of minor or medium crimes."
I begin with the second paragraph:
"The following are available to the Criminal Police as a means of prosecution:

Police imprisonment.
Admission into a concentration camp for preventive custody as being anti-social or dangerous to the community."

And next to the last paragraph:
"Their stay in the concentration camp is normally to be for the duration of the war. Besides this, the Criminal Police (Head) Offices are authorised to hand over Polish and Soviet-Russian civilian labourers in suitable cases and with the agreement of the competent State Police (Head) Offices to the Gestapo's penal camps for the 'education for labour.' Where the possibilities of prosecuting an individual case are insufficient because of the peculiarity of the case, the case is to be handed over to the competent State Police (Head) Office.

Signed: Dr. Kaltenbrunner."

In addition to sending foreign workers to Gestapo labour camps, Kaltenbrunner punished foreign workers by committing them to concentration camps. I offer Document 2582-PS as the exhibit next in order, USA 523.

This is a series of four teletype orders committing individuals to concentration camps. I invite the attention of the Tribunal to the second order dated the 18th of June, 1943, under which the Gestapo at Saarbrucken was ordered to deliver a Pole to the concentration camp Natzweiler as a skilled workman, and to the third teletype dated the 12th of December, 1944, in which the Gestapo at Darmstadt was ordered to commit a Greek to the concentration camp Buchenwald because he was drifting around without occupation, and to the fourth teletype dated the 9th of February, 1945, in which the Gestapo at Darmstadt in Benslein was ordered to commit a French citizen to Buchenwald for shirking work and insubordination. All of those orders are signed, Kaltenbrunner.

I offer document 2580-PS as Exhibit next in order, USA 524. This document contains three more of these red-form orders for protective custody, all signed Kaltenbrunner. The first one shows that a citizen of the Netherlands was taken into protective custody for work sabotage, and the second one shows that a French citizen was taken into protective custody for work sabotage and insubordination, both under date 2 December, 1944.

The sixth crime for which Kaltenbrunner is responsible as Chief of the Security Police and S.D. is the executing of captured commandos and paratroopers and the protecting of civilians who lynched Allied fliers.

The Tribunal will recall, I am sure, without referring to it, the Hitler Order of 18 October, 1942, which was introduced this morning, Document 498-PS, Exhibit USA 501, to the effect that commandos, even in uniform, were to be exterminated to the last man, and that individual members captured by the police in occupied territory were to be handed over to the S.D.

[Page 239]

I now offer document 1276-PS as Exhibit next in order, USA 525. This is an express top secret letter from the Chief of the Security Police and S.D. signed "Mueller, by order," to the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, in which the Chief of the Security Police and S.D. states, and I quote from the third paragraph of the second page of the English translation:
"I have instructed the 'Befehlshaber' of the Security Police and the S.D. in Paris to treat such parachutists in English uniform as members of the commando operations in accordance with the Fuehrer's order of 18 October, 1942, and to inform the military authorities in France that there must be corresponding treatment at the hands of the armed forces."
This letter was dated 17th June, 1944. That executions were carried out by the S.D. pursuant to the said Hitler order of 18th October, 1942, while Kaltenbrunner was Chief of the Security Police and S.D., is indicated by Document 526-PS heretofore received as Exhibit USA 502 ; that was the order introduced this morning; I am sure the Tribunal recalls it.

The policy of the police to protect civilians who lynched Allied fliers was effective during the period that Kaltenbrunner served as Chief of the Security Police and S.D. I now offer Document 2990-PS as Exhibit next in order, USA 526. This is an affidavit of Walter Schellenberg, the former Chief of Amt VI of the R.S.H.A., and provides in paragraph 7 - this is all I am going to read from the affidavit:

"In 1944, on another occasion but also in the course of an Amtschef conference, I heard fragments of a conversation between Kaltenbrunner and MulIer. I remember distinctly the following remarks of Kaltenbrunner:
'All officers of the S.D. and the Security Police are to be informed that pogroms of the populace against English and American terror fliers are not to be interfered with. On the contrary, this hostile mood is to be fostered.'"
The seventh crime for which Kaltenbrunner is responsible as Chief of the Security Police and S.D. is the taking of civilians of occupied countries to Germany for secret trial and punishment and the punishment of civilians of occupied territories by "summary methods." The fact that this crime continued after the 30th of January, 1943, is shown by Document 835-PS, which is offered as Exhibit next in order, USA 527. This is a letter from the High Command of the Armed Forces to the German Armistice commission under date 2nd September, 1944. The document begins, and I quote:
"Conforming to the decrees, all non-German civilians in occupied territories who have endangered the security and readiness for action of the occupying power by acts of terror and sabotage or in other ways, are to be surrendered to the Security Police and S.D. Only those prisoners are to be accepted who were legally sentenced to death or were serving a sentence of confinement prior to the announcement of these decrees. Included in the punishable acts which endanger the security or readiness of action of the garrison power, are those of a political nature."
The eighth crime for which Kaltenbrunner is responsible as Chief of the Security Police and S.D. is the crime of executing and confining persons in concentration camps for crimes allegedly committed by their relatives.

[Page 240]

That this crime continued after the 30th January, 1943, is indicated by Document L-37, heretofore received in evidence as Exhibit USA 506. That was received this morning. It is the letter of the Konimandeur of Sipo and S.D. at Radom, dated the 19th of July, 1944, in which it was stated that the male relatives of assassins and saboteurs should be shot and the female relatives over 16 years of age sent to concentration camps. I refer again to Document L- 215, which has heretofore been received in evidence as Exhibit USA 243, and specifically to the case of Junker, who was ordered by Kaltenbrunner to be committed to Sachsenhausen concentration camp by the Gestapo "because as a relative of a deserter, he is expected to endanger the interest of the German Reich if allowed to go free."

The ninth crime for which Kaltenbrunner is responsible as Chief of the Security Police and S.D. is the clearance of Sipo and S.D. prisons and concentration camps. I refer the Tribunal to Document L-53, which was received in evidence as Exhibit USA 291. This was the letter from the Kommandeur of the Sipo and S.D. Radom, dated 21St July, 1944, in which it is stated that the Kommandeur of the Sipo and S.D. of the Government General had ordered all Sipo and S.D. prisons to be cleared and, if necessary, the inmates to be liquidated. I now offer Document 3462-PS as Exhibit next in order, USA 528. This is the sworn interrogation of Bertus Gerdes, the former Gaustabsanitsleiter under the Gauleiter of Munich. This interrogation was taken in the course of an official military investigation of the U.S. Army. In this interrogation Gerdes was ordered to state all he knew about Kaltenbrunner. I am only going to read a very small portion of his reply, beginning on the third paragraph of page 2:

"Giesler told me that Kaltenbrunner was in constant touch with him because he was greatly worried about the attitude of the foreign workers and especially inmates of concentration camps Dachau, Muehldorf and Landsberg, which were in the path of the approaching Allied armies. On a Tuesday in the middle of April 1945, I received a telephone call from Gauleiter Giesler asking me to be available for a conversation that night. In the course of our personal conversation that night, I was told by Giesler that he had received a directive from Kaltenbrunner by order of the Fuehrer, to work out a plan without delay for the liquidation of the concentration camp at Dachau and the two Jewish labour camps in Landsberg and Muehldorf. The directive proposed to liquidate the two Jewish labour camps at Landsberg and Muehldorf, by use of the German Luftwaffe, since the construction area of these camps had previously been the targets of repeated enemy air attacks. This action received the code name of ' Wolke A- I.' "
I now pass to the second paragraph on page 3, continuing quoting from this interrogation:
"I was certain that I would never let this directive be carried out. As the action 'Wolke A-I ' should already have become operational for some time, I was literally swamped by couriers from Kaltenbrunner and moreover I was supposed to have discussed the details of the Muehldorf and Landsberg actions in detail with the two Kreisleiter concerned. The couriers who were in most cases S.S. officers, usually S.S. lieutenants, gave me terse and strict orders to read and initial. The orders threatened me with the most terrible punishment, including execution, if I did not comply with them. However, I could always

[Page 241]

excuse my failure to execute the plan because of bad flying weather and lack of gasoline and bombs. Therefore, Kaltenbrunner ordered the Jews in Landsberg to be marched to Dachau in order to include them in the Dachau extermination operations, and the Muehldorf action to be carried out by the Gestapo.

Kaltenbrunner also ordered an operation - 'Wolkenbrand' - for the concentration camp at Dachau, which provided that the inmates of the concentration camp at Dachau were to be liquidated by poison with the exception of Aryan nationals of the Western Powers.

Gauleiter Giesler received this order direct from Kaltenbrunner an discussed, in my presence, the procurement of the required amounts poison with Dr. Hartfeld, the Gau Health Chief. Dr. Hartfeld promise to procure these quantities when ordered and was advised to await my further directions. As I was determined to prevent the execution this plan in any event, I gave no further instructions to Dr. Hartfeld.

The inmates of Landsberg had hardly been delivered at Dachau when Kaltenbrunner sent a courier declaring the action Wolkenbran was operational.

I prevented the execution of the Wolke A-I and Wolkenbrand by giving Giesler the reason that the Front was too close and asked him transmit this on to Kaltenbrunner.

Kaltenbrunner therefore issued directives in writing to Dachau transport all Western European prisoners by truck to Switzerland an to march the remaining inmates into the Tyrol, where the final liquidation of these prisoners was to take place without fail."

THE PRESIDENT: The Court will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 1000 hours on 3rd January, 1946)

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