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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
29th July to 8th August 1946

One Hundred and Ninetieth Day: Tuesday, 30th July, 1946
(Part 7 of 11)

[SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE continues his cross examination of Karl Otto Kurt Kauffmann]

[Page 90]

Q. But it must mean, must it not, witness, your own denunciation must mean that on the Party Court there were a number of men who were completely devoid of any moral sense whatever; is that so?

A. I cannot accept this rather far-reaching characterization. Ipersonally never had anything to do with the Supreme Party Court, and I never had insight into its measures and judgments, particularly in these and similar cases.

Q. I do not want to take time in trying. to persuade you to condemn your old colleagues too highly, and therefore I will leave it at that, if you agree so far that you disapproved strongly of the action that was taken by that Party Court. I think you said that. If I understand you correctly, I shall not go into it further. Is that right?

A. I disapprove and reject the opinion of the Party Court as expressed in this document.

Q. Now, I just want to show you that that was not an isolated example, and, my Lord, if your Lordship would be good enough to turn to Page 45 of the same book - no, my Lord, it is Page 46, I am sorry; and my Lord, the document begins on Page 45, but actually what I would like your Lordship to look at is on Page 47 - it is either on Page 50 or 51, witness, in the German copies.

Now, that is a document dated the 7th of June, 1933, issued by the Gau propagandaleiter of the Gau Coblenz-Trier. You will see that it is issued to all Kreis directorates, and the subject is "Jew baiting" The first paragraph says that they will receive a list of Jewish firms and businesses, and the second paragraph says:

"Jew baiting.

The district directorate will set up a committee which has the task of directing and supervising the communities in the whole district. The strength of this committee will be determined by the district director. You are to inform the Gau propaganda directorate at once of the committees named. The Gau propaganda directorate will then contact these committees through you."

Then it goes on to suggest a considerable number of measures against Jews, including refraining from trading with them, and action against anyone who does trade.

Now, that just happens to be a document which we captured from the Gau Coblenz-Trier. I want you to tell us just how that fits into the Party machinery.

[Page 91]

That goes from Gau. propaganda to Kreis; then, I suppose, when the Party leaders in the various Kreise would set up their committees, they would employ the Ortsgruppenleiter or the Zellenleiter and the Blockleiter to form these cornmittees. Is that how it would work?

A. The document which I have before me is a copy of a radio message. I did not know that it was a common usage in the Gaue in 1933 to send such directives by radio, but assuming that this directive was actually issued, then it was a measure in the Gau Coblenz-Trier, which, to my knowledge, was not based on any order.

Q. But you are not suggesting that out of the 42 Gaue, Coblenz-Trier is the only Gau in which there was Jew baiting in 1933, are you?

A. No.

Q. But what I asked you was, assuming the instructions from the Gau were carried out by the Kreis, would these committees be formed out of the Zellenleiter and Blockleiter of the various parts of the Kreis?

A. I must assume so from the document, if I can take it to be correct.

Q. Yes, assuming that it is a verified captured document, am I right in assuming that the Kreisleiter of Coblenz-Trier carried out these instructions, did they form the Jew-baiting committees out of the Zellenleiter and Blockleiter?

A. Under no circumstances was that method, that measure, common usage throughout the Reich. Under no circumstances did the Reich authorities issue a directive to this effect, otherwise I would have known about it.

Q. If that is your answer I Till not occupy the time. I just wanted to show what happened in 1933 and 1938. We will now take something that happened during the war. My Lord, if you will be good enough to turn to Pages 27 and 28. Pages 29 and 30, witness.

A. Yes.

Q. You see that it is a document issued on 5th November, 1942, regarding jurisdiction over Poles and Eastern nationals, and you can see that the jurisdiction is to be placed over . . . if I may just read the first paragraph to you to explain it.

"The Reichsfuehrer SS has come to an arrangement with the Reich Minister of justice Thierack whereby the Courts will not ask for the usual legal procedure in the cases of Poles and Eastern nationals. These persons of alien race are in future to be handed over to the police. Jews and gipsies are to be treated in the same way. This agreement has been approved by the Fuehrer."
And then it goes on to explain that the reason for the handing over of the Poles and for not giving them a trial is, you see that in paragraph 2, because "Poles and Eastern nationals are alien and racially inferior people living in the German Reich territory."

I would like you to look at the end of it where it develops the fact that considerations for trying Germans do not apply to considerations for trying Eastern nationals. Then paragraph 3 says, " Above expositions are for personal information. In case of need, however, there need be no hesitation in informing the Gauleiter in suitable form."My Lord, it is the last sentence of the document, that " there need be no hesitation in informing the Gauleiter in suitable form."

Now, tell the Tribunal, witness, how were the Gauleiter connected with the denial to Eastern nationals of a trial and handing them over to the police? What had they to do with it?

A. Firstly, this document refers, in the beginning, to a directive of the Reichsfuehrer SS to his subordinate offices, that is, not to the Gauleiter. Secondly, it remained at the discretion of the persons who received this document whether they would instruct the Gauleiter in cases of need.

Q. That's what I want you to help us on. How did it become necessary for these police officers and the officers of the RSHA to consult the Gauleiter about refusing a trial? What I want you to tell the Tribunal is how the Gauleiter came

[Page 92]

into it, unless they were helping the police to perpetrate this injustice like many others. How did they come into it?

A. The Gauleiter did not have anything at all to do with these things. With the permission of the Tribunal, I would like to mention my own experience in this matter-

Q. I would rather you did not. I am not interested in your experiences. What I am interested in is why the police should be instructed to inform the Gauleiter if necessary. Tell us the sort of circumstances in which the police would go to the Gauleiter - that is what I want to hear.

A. I do not know that, the Gauleiter did not participate in these things.

Q. So it is your answer that you cannot tell the Tribunal. You cannot imagine any circumstances which would cause Herr Streckenbach to send these instructions to the High SS and Head of Police and one half-dozen police districts? You cannot think of anything that would cause that paragraph to come in?

A. I have already said that the writer of this document leaves it to the discretion of the recipients whether they will instruct the Gauleiter or not. I cannot judge in which cases the Gauleiter were instructed and in which cases they were not-

Q. All right, let us look at something else.

My Lord, if your Lordship will turn to Page 24. Witness, it is 26 - Page 26 in your book. Now, that is a report from Herr Abetz, who was the Reich Ambassador in Paris, and it has a very large distribution to the Foreign office and other places, and it is dealing with Jews who had left Austria and had not changed their Austrian passports for German passports, and also Reich German Jews who had not reported when they were abroad. I want you to look at the end of the first paragraph where Abetz says:

"Suggest for the future a collective expatriation procedure for the occupied territory of France based on lists made here in agreement with Holieitstraeger in which should be listed primarily the members of the following groups."
And then he has listed the ex-Austrians and Jews who have not reported.

A. May I ask where I can find the word Hoheitstraeger? e You see the number 1 - well, about three lines before that.

"Suggest for the future a collective expatriation procedure for the occupied territory of France based on lists made here in agreement with Hoheitstraeger (High Party Leaders) in which should be listed primarily the members of the following groups."
Now, is Herr Abetz suggesting that the Hoheitstraeger should make the lists of the Jews Who have not complied with the regulations, and therefore are to be expatriated from comparative safety in France and brought into the Reich where, in 1942, they would probably take a journey into the East and then be gassed? Now, is that a normal type of duty which the Hoheitstrdger did - to make lists of offending Jews for the Reich authorities?

A. Firstly, this is concerned, apparently, with the Hoheitstraeger of the Ausland Organization.

Q. Yes, that is evident from the word here.

A. I, as Gauleiter, have never been expected to perform such work or such services and if I had been asked to perform them I would have refused to do so.

Q. Just one other point on the Jews. Would you look at Die Lage?

(A document is handed to the witness.)

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, this will be Exhibit GB 534. MY Lord, there are copies of the relevant extracts. Die Lage is the situation report giving the military political situation of the day.

Q. You will see, if you will just look back at the beginning, witness, for a moment, if you will look back to the front, would you be good enough to look back to the front? You will see that it is for August, 1944, and it begins with an article by the defendant Doenitz on sea warfare. Now, you notice that at the front it is

[Page 93]

referring to Hoengen which, I understand, is somewhere near Aachen. NSDAP Hoengen. Now, did you get that? Did you get Die Lage?

A. Yes.

Q. Well, now, just look at Page 23, dealing with the Jewish problem in Hungary.

"It was a matter of course that the German offices in Hungary did everything possible after 19th March to eliminate the Jewish element as rapidly and as completely as was at all possible . . . In view of the proximity of the Russian front, they commenced with the cleaning up of the north-eastern area -- North Transylvania and the Carpathian province -- where the Jewish element was the strongest numerically. Then the Jews were collected in the remaining Hungarian provinces and transported to Germany or German- controlled territories. 100,000 Jews remained in the hands of the Hungarians to be employed in labour battalions."
And then it tells of the question of getting the command of the Hungarians and of the slight difficulty of the definition of "Jew" in Hungarian law.

It goes on to say, towards the end of the first paragraph:

"Up to the 9th July approximately 430,000 Jews from the Hungarian provinces had been handed over to the German authorities. The handing over takes place on the Hungarian national frontier, up to which the carrying out of the measures against the Jews, and with it also the responsibility for it, is a matter for the Hungarians."
Then I would like you to note the next paragraph, about Budapest. It says:
"As a last stage, the Jews from Budapest were to be deported. It is a question of approximatly 260,000. But in the meantime pressure from enemy and neutral countries (Hull " - I suppose that is Mr. Cordell Hull - "the King of Sweden, Switzerland, the Pope) had become so strong that those circles in Hungary that are friendly to the Jews attempted to influence the Hungarian Government to prevent any further measures against the Jews."
Now, witness, whoever else in Germany was ignorant about the action taken against Jews in Hungary, everyone who got Die Lage knew what the Germans were doing with regard to the Hungarian Jews, did they not?

A. I have to disappoint you, because I myself see this magazine today for the first time. I do not deny that it was sent to me but I never read it, maybe through lack of time. I do not know what other circles of the Party received it. I myself am hearing of the measures against the Jews in this form for the first time.

Q. Well, just let's get the distribution of Die Lage. It may have been bad luck that you did not read it - or good luck; but still, it went to all Gauleiter, it went to all Army and Navy and Air Force Commands. Did it go to the Kreis and the Ortsgruppenleiter?

A. May I ask you to tell me where it says so?

Q. I am asking you whether that is not right. You know it as well as I do, do you not, that it went to all Gauleiter and to Army Commands?

A. I said just now that it is for the first time . . . that it is possible that this booklet was sent to me, but that I see it here in this courtroom today for the first time. I have never read it and never seen it.

Q. You never read it at all, do you say?

A. I do not know this magazine Die Lage; I see it for the first time here today.

Q. So that you cannot say whether there was any distribution to Kreisleiter or Ortsgruppenleiter?

A. I think this distribution is improbable, because my attitude to the Jewish question was well known and my Kreisleiter would, I am sure, have drawn my attention to this article.

Q. But, as I understood you a few moments ago, you said that it was quite possible that you might have got Die Lage but you had not read it?

A. Yes, I am saying this under my oath.

[Page 94]

Q. Why did you think it was quite possible that you might have got it, if there was not a distribution to Gauleiter?

A. I did not claim that there was no distribution. I merely asked where it said that the Gauleiter received this magazine.

Q. Well, you see, I have referred you to the front page, to what was -- as put on the copy which we happened to capture. It has got "NSDAP Hoengen." It does not look as if it was a very restricted distribution if it got to the NSDAP at Hoengen. I am right, am I not, that Hoengen is a village near Aachen; is that not right?

A. I do not know whether it is a village near Aachen. I can only see a note in handwriting here, I do not know who wrote it. I see this for the first time today.

Q. All right. Well, we must not take up too much time. I will take you on to another point which Dr. Servatius referred to. I want to ask you just one or two questions about the lynching of Allied airmen.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, if your Lordship will look at Page 41 of the book.

Q. Witness, it is Page 43 for you. That is an order signed by the defendant Hess, of 13th March, 1940.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is Document 062-PS, Exhibit USA 696, and the subject is:

"Instructions to civilian population regarding appropriate behaviour in case of landings of enemy planes or parachutists in German territory."
It says:
"The French civilian population was directed officially and by radio how to behave in case of landings of German planes. On account of this fact the Commander in Chief of the Air Force has requested me to instruct the civilian population correspondingly by means of Party channels. The attached directions as to procedure are to be disseminated only orally via district leaders (Kreisleiter), local municipal leaders (Ortsgruppenleiter), cell leaders (Zellenleiter), block leaders (Blockleiter), leaders of the incorporated and affiliated organizations of the Party. Transmittal by official orders, posters, Press or radio is prohibited."
Then it says:
"Official Stamp: Top Secret."
And the various matters, instructions as to the treatment of top secret documents.

Now if you will look on to the next page where the document occurs, it says: 1. Planes to be put under protection; 2. The airmen are to be arrested at once and restarting or destruction prevented; 3. No looting or taking of souvenirs. Now look at Paragraph 4. "Likewise, enemy parachutists are immediately to be arrested or made harmless."

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I think that is a better translation of "unschadlich gemacht."


Q. Now, what was "making harmless" - murdering?

A. The expression "unschadlich machen" in this connection is, I think, a bad choice, a dangerous choice. Considering the situation at that time and the fact that this letter emanated from the deputy of the Fuehrer whose humane and decent attitude was well known.

Q. Well, you see it is used. You have already got "arrested." The "made harmless" must be something different from "arrested." Do you not think, on consideration, that the ordinary Blockleiter to whom this message was orally given would take it that he was to murder the parachutist if he could not arrest him? What is the purpose of all this secrecy if "unschsadlich gemacht " had not that meaning? Why have you got about fifteen different provisions as to the secrecy

[Page 95]

of this order if it did not mean murder? There is nothing else secret in the order, is there? Nothing else that you could not put in the hands of a Sunday school?

A. The order contains other points, too, apart from Point 4. In the situation of that time, the expression "unschadlich machen" meant that if there was any resistance, the person resisting should be made harmless; but I admit that without an explanation to those who received the order, the choice of words Was rather dangerous.

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