The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Twenty-Sixth Day: Thursday, 3rd January, 1946
(Part 10 of 15)

[Page 272]

BY DR. SERVATIUS (Counsel for the Political Leaders and for defendant Sauckel).

Q. Witness, with regard to the command channels at the disposal of the R.S.H.A. for the execution of their orders and measures and for the transmission of these orders to tactical organisations, such as the S.D. and the concentration camps, did the R.S.H.A. possess their own official channels or did they rely on the channels of the Political Leaders Organisation, i.e., were these orders forwarded via the Gauleitung and the Kreisleitung?

A. I know nothing at all about it. I consider it entirely out of the question.

Q. You consider it entirely out of the question that the Gauleitung and the Kreisleitung had been informed? How was it, for instance...

A. One moment, please. You asked me whether the channels passed their way; you did not ask me whether they had been informed.

Q. Were these offices informed of the orders?

A. The Inspectors, the Gestapo, or the S.D. Leaders were considered as police or political reporters (Referenten) of the Gauleiter or the Reichsstatthalter, and these official chiefs had to report to the Gauleiter on their respective fields of activity. Just how extensively this was done, I am unable to judge. It depends on the activities and on the nature of the co-operation between the Gauleiter and these offices, but it is, in any case, inconceivable that the State Police could carry on these activities, for any length of time, without the knowledge of the responsible Party Organisations.

[Page 273]

Q. Does this also refer to reports from lower to higher units, i.e., to the activities of the concentration camps?

A. The concentration camps were not subordinate to the State Police; I am convinced -- since these were purely affairs of the Reich -- that there was no such close connection between the Gauleiter and the concentration camps as there was between the Gauleiter and the permanent activities of the State Police.

Q. I also represent the defendant Sauckel. Do you know of the impressment of foreign workers by the S.S.? Foreign workers who, as a matter of fact, came from the concentration camps?

A. Only superficially.

BY HERR BABEL (Counsel for the S.S. and the S.D.).

Q. Witness, this morning you mentioned the figures of 3,000 and 30,000 for the Security Service. I should now like to know for certain how these figures are to be understood. Do the 3,000 members of the S.D., whom you mentioned this morning, represent the entire personnel of the S.D. at that time, or did they only represent that part of the units which were employed in the field with the mobile units also mentioned by you this morning?

A. No, the figures represent the total personnel including employees and women auxiliaries.

Q. Including employees and women auxiliaries. And the 30,000, which we also discussed, were they honorary members (ehrenamtliche Mitglieder) employed only in the interior of Germany?

A. Yes, as a rule, in any case...

Q. And who, to a considerable extent, belonged neither to the S.S. nor to the Party?

A. Yes.

Q. How large were the mobile units of the S.D. employed in these executions?

A. The S.D. had no mobile units and only individual members of the S.D. were detailed to regional offices elsewhere. The S.D., as a separate entity, did not act independently anywhere.

Q. In your opinion and judging by your own experience, what figure did this detailed personnel attain?

A. The figure was quite a low one.

Q. Will you please give an approximate figure.

A. I place the figure at an average of about two to three S.D. experts per Einsatzkommando.

Q. I should like to be informed of the total number of the S.S. Do you know anything about that?

A. No, I have no idea at all.

Q. No idea at all. Did any units of the S.S. Armed Forces (Waffen S.S.) and other subordinate S.S. Groups in any way participate in the Einsatzgruppen?

A. As I said this morning, in each Einsatzgruppe there was, or rather there should have been, one company of the S.S. Armed Forces (Waffen S.S.).

Q. One company. And what, at that time, was the exact strength of one company?

A. I do not know about the Waffen S.S. serving with the other Einsatzgruppen, but I estimate that my particular group employed approximately 100 men of the S.S. Armed Forces.

[Page 274]

Q. Were "Death's Head Units" (Totenkopf Verbaende) also involved?

A. No.

Q. Was the "Adolf Hitler Bodyguard" (Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler) employed in any fashion?

A. That was purely a matter of chance. I cannot name a single formation from which these S.S. Armed Forces had been seconded.

Q. Another question that was touched upon this morning: When was the S.D. created and what, at first, were their duties?

A. As far as I know, the S.D. was created in 1932.

Q. And what were their duties at that time?

A. They constituted, so to speak, the I-C [Intelligence Corps] of the Party. They were supposed to give information about Party opponents and, if necessary, to deceive them.

Q. Did these duties change in the course of time. and, if so, when?

A. Yes, after the seizure of power, the combating of political opponents was, in certain spheres, one of their principal duties, and supplying the required information on certain individuals was considered their main task. At that time an Intelligence Service, in the true sense of the word, did not yet exist; the real evolution of the S.D. machine within the field of the Home Intelligence Service only followed as from 1936-1937. From that time onwards the work changed, from the observation of individuals to technical matters. With the 1939 reorganisation, when the Main Office of the S.D. was dissolved, the handling of political opponents was completely eliminated from the work of the S.D., which work was thereafter limited to technical matters. Its duties now consisted in observing the effects of the measures carried out by the leading authorities of the Reich and the States (Laender) and in determining how the circles affected reacted to them; in addition, they had to determine what shape the moods and attitude of the people and various classes of society assumed during the course of the war. It was, as a matter of fact, the only authority supplying criticism within the Reich and reporting facts on objective lines to the highest authorities. It should also be pointed out that the Party did not, at any stage, legitimise this work until 1945. The only legal recognition of this critical work came from Reichsmarshal Goering, and that only after the beginning of the war, since he could, in this way, draw the attention of the other departments, at meetings of the Reich Defence Council, to faulty developments. This unbiased and critical work became, in fact, after 1939 the main function of the S.D. Home Intelligence Service.

Q. Another question. To what extent were units of the S.D. committed for duty in the concentration camps?

A. I would ask you, at all times to distinguish between the Home Front S.D. (Inland) working under the Head Office (Amt III) and the Foreign S.D. (Ausland). I cannot give you any information about the Foreign S.D. (Ausland), but their Chief, Schellenberg, is present in this courthouse. As far as Amt III is concerned, I know of no single case in which the representatives of the Home Front S.D. (Inland) had anything at all to do with concentration camps.

[Page 275]

Q. Now, a question concerning you personally. From whom did you receive your orders for the liquidation of the Jews and so forth? And in what form?

A. My duty was not the task of liquidation, but I did head the staff which led the Einsatzkommandos in the field, whilst the Einsatzkommandos themselves had already received this order in Berlin, on behalf of Himmler and Heydrich, from Streckenbach. This order was renewed by Himmler at Nikolaiev.

Q. You personally were not concerned with the execution of these orders?

A. I led the Einsatzgruppe, and therefore I had the task of seeing how the Einsatzkommandos executed the orders received.

Q. But did you have no scruples in regard to the execution of these orders?

A. Yes, of course.

Q. And how is it that they were carried out regardless of these scruples?

A. Because to me it is inconceivable that a subordinate leader should not carry out orders given by the Leaders of the State.

Q. This is your own opinion. But this must have been not only your point of view but also the point of view of the majority of the people involved. Did not some of the men appointed to execute these orders ask you to be relieved of such tasks?

A. I cannot remember any one concrete case. I excluded some whom I did not consider emotionally suitable for executing these tasks and I sent some of them home.

Q. Was the legality of the orders explained to these people under false pretenses?

A. I do not understand your question; since the order was issued by the superior authorities, the question of legality could not arise in the minds of these individuals, for they had sworn obedience to the people who had issued the orders.

Q. Could any individual expect to succeed in evading the execution of these orders?

A. No, the result would have been a court martial with a corresponding sentence.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Amen, do you wish to re-examine?

COLONEL AMEN: Just a very few questions, Your Honor.



Q. What organisation furnished the supplies to the Einsatz Groups?

A. The Reichssicherheitshauptamt furnished supplies.

Q. What organisation furnished weapons to the Einsatz Groups?

A. The weapons were also furnished through the R.S.H.A.

Q. What organisation assigned personnel to the Einsatz Groups?

A. The Organisation and Personnel Department of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt.

Q. And all these activities of supplies required personnel in addition to the operating members?

A. Yes.

COLONEL AMEN: I have no more questions.

THE PRESIDENT: That will do; thank you.

(The witness withdrew.)

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