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 8 of 11)

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

[Page 95]

Q. Well, now, that is the defendant Hess. Now just look at Himmler's order of 10th August, 1943.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, your Lordship will find it on Page 89 and it is 116 or 117 of your document book.

Q. That is sent on 10th August, 1943. It is sent at Himmler's request by one Brandt, an SS Obersturmbannfuehrer, and you will see that again - look at the orders for distribution:

"At the request of the Reichsfuehrer SS I am sending you the enclosed order, with the request that the Chief of the Regular Police and of the Security Police be informed; they are to make this instruction known to their sub-ordinate offices verbally. In addition, the Reichsfuehrer SS requests that the Gauleiter concerned be informed verbally of this order. It is not the task of the police to interfere in clashes between Germans and English and American terror flyers who have bailed out."
Why, again - why were Gauleiter to be informed verbally if it was not that they were to connive at the murder of the airmen?

A. The intention by this order in its details is not clear to me. I too received the order through the Higher SS and Police Chief and I issued directions both to the Party, that is to say, to the Kreisleiter, with the request to have them transmitted to their subordinates, and to the head of the police, that, under all circumstances, the flyers should not be maltreated, but only seized and handed over.

Q. But that was not what the order said, you know, if you passed it on. The order said that the police were not to interfere in clashes between Germans and the flyers. In other words, they were to stand aside and let the flyers be lynched. If you passed that on, that meant that the leadership corps were going to assist and encourage no interference with lynching of Allied airmen. That is what it comes to, is it not? Well, now, I just want to remind you, that was not the end.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, if your Lordship turns to Pages 39 and 40 - that is 41, witness, in your document book. That is on 30th May, 1944.

THE PRESIDENT: Did not the witness say then that, according to his understanding, these terror flyers were to be seized and turned over?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord. That is quite different from the order.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but to whom were they to be turned over?


Q. Witness, to whom did you understand Were the terror flyers to be handed over according to your orders?

A. The political leaders, if they participated in the arrest, were to turn the captured flyers over to the police, and the police were to turn them over to the Luftwaffe authorities concerned.

Q. Your orders were that the political leaders who participated were to hand them over to the police. Was that the Ordnungspolizei or the Sicherheitspolizei?

A. To the Ordnungspolizei.

Q. Well, now the next order is one of Bormann's on 30th May, 1944, and you will find it on Page 41.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: It is Page 39 of your Lordship's.

[Page 96]

Q. You will see the first paragraph says:
"In the last few weeks low-flying English and American airmen repeatedly from a low altitude machine-gunned children playing in squares, women and children at work in the fields, peasants ploughing, vehicles on the highways, trains, etc., and have thus murdered defenceless civilians - particularly women and children - in the vilest manner. Several instances have occurred where members of the crews of such aircraft who have bailed out or have made forced landings were lynched on the spot immediately after capture by the populace, who were incensed to the highest degree. No police measures or criminal proceedings were invoked against the German civilians who participated in these incidents."
And you will see that that goes to Reichsleiter, Gauleiter, and Kreisleiter, and you will see that on the next page:
"The leader of the Party Chancellery " - that is Bormann - " requests that the local group leaders (Ortsgruppenleiter) be instructed concerning the content of this circular letter orally only."
A. That order of Bormann is well known to me. I had it stopped by the Gau Staff Chief, and beyond that, for safety reasons and in view of this letter, I repeated the order which, as I have already mentioned here, I issued to the Party and to the police or rather to the Chief of Police, although in Hamburg too casualties had been caused in the ways listed in this document.

Q. But you do not dispute, do you, witness, that the purpose of that order was to clicourage everyone down to Ortsgruppenleiter not to interfere with the lynching of airmen?

A. No, that is quite evident from the wording -

Q. I am not going to argue about a written document.

I prefer to show you how it was interpreted in another Gau. Would you turn to Page 27 -

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: if your Lordship will be good enough to turn to Page 25 you will find the Document L-154, Exhibit USA 335.


Q. That is the Gauleiter Service, 25th February, 1945, for Southern Westphalia: The Gauleiter and National Defence Commissioner of the Gau Westfalen-South signed by one Hoffmann, and there is a distribution to County Councillors, Kreisleiter, and Staff Chiefs of the Volkssturm. It says:

"Fighter-bomber pilots who are shot down are on principle not to be protected against the indignation of the people. I expect from all police offices that they will refuse to lend their protection to these gangster types. Authorities acting in contradiction to the popular sentiment will be taken to account by me. All police and gendarmerie officials are to be informed immediately of this my attitude." Signed, Albert Hoffmann.
It is quite clear that in some Gaue it was interpreted as a direct order to hold off and not interfere in any way if these airmen were being lynched.

However, you say that in the Gau Hamburg you gave orders that they were to be handed over to the police.

A. The document shows that the order was interpreted in that way in several Gaue - and I have to admit that in view of the experiences of the last months. But I am convinced that in some Gaue the order was handled in the same manner as in mine.

Q. Witness, there is one point there I would like you'to explain to the Tribunal, though it is not strictly on the leadership corps. Why would an SA Obersturmbannfuehrer initial that document in 25th February, 1945; why would he be initialing it?

A. I did not understand the question.

[Page 97]

Q. If you look at your Page 27, you will see that it is initialed by Buckemueller, SA Obersturmbannfuehrer and County Staff Chief of the Volkssturm; why would he be initialing it?

A. That I do not know.

Q. I will not trouble you. Now, I want to the the next subject and again, I hope, deal very shortly with what Dr. Servatius mentioned -- the Churches. Do you agree that it was the general policy of the Nazi Party to do everything in its power to weaken the influence of the Christian Churches?

A. No.

Q. Well, now, would you look at Page 1 of that last book? It is Page 7of your book and Page 1 of the English book. That is dated 12th December, 1941, and it deals with a secret decree of the Reichsleiter Bormann regarding the relationship of National Socialism to Christendom. If you would look at the first paragraph, that deals with the finding of this decree, a copy of a letter on the "relationship," in the papers of a Protestant priest called "Eichholz at Aix-la-Chapelle, which is supposed to originate from Reichsleiter Bormann and then the second paragraph says:

"As far as this document is concerned it does, in fact, as I have ascertained, represent a secret decree of the Party Chancellery signed by Reichsleiter Bormann, in which Reichsleiter Bormann clearly points out that National Socialism and Christendom are incompatible and that the influence of the Churches in Germany, including the Protestant Church, must be eliminated. The decree was addressed to Gauleiter Dr. Aleyer at Munster on the 6th of June, 1941."
And then it gives the reference.
"I have ascertained that on 7th June, 1941, the decree was also sent to the remaining Gauleiter. . . . "
and it says that since this first paragraph of the circular decree addressed to all Gauleiter is missing from the document in possession of Priest Eichholz; it appears it was known to the Church.

Now, do you remember getting the decree of Bormann about the 7th of June, 1941? If you cannot remember the decree, you will find it in the next two pages and I just remind you of one or two of the worst pieces in it. At the end of the second paragraph it says:

"Our National Socialist ideology is far loftier than the concepts of Christianity, which in their essential points have been taken over from Jewry. For this reason also we do not need Christianity."
And it says that if youth does not learn about it, Christianity will disappear and then there are some very odd utterances and - it talks about a vital force; and if you will look towards the end of Bormann's document, it says in the third from last paragraph:
"For the first time in German history the Fuehrer consciously and completely has the leadership of the people in his own hand. With the Party, its components and attached units the Fuehrer has created for himself and thereby the German Reich leadership an instrument which makes him independent of the Church."
And it goes on to develop that and if you will look at the penultimate paragraph, in the second sentence, it says:
"just as the deleterious influences of astrologers, seers and other fakers are eliminated and suppressed by the State, so must the possibility of Church influence also be totally removed."
Now that it is recalled to your memory, I should not think that you should have forgotten a decree couched in such, shall we say, extraordinary language as that; do you remember it?

A. Yes.

[Page 98]

Q. Do you still say that the National Socialist Party leadership was not doing everything in its power to attack Christianity?

A. Yes. This is a statement by Bormann which, to my knowledge, was withdrawn a few days later upon orders of the Fuehrer, as being merely a personal opinion of Bormann.

Q. That cannot be so, because, if you notice, the decree was issued on 7th June, and this decree after all is going to the RSHA, to Mueller, on 12th December, which is six months after the decree was opened and there is nothing in that decree about its being withdrawn. Surely, if it had been withdrawn on 14th June, the security service and intelligence office of the Reich would have enough intelligence and information to know that a decree had been withdrawn six months before.

A. I am speaking here under oath and I say that this decree of May was not only withdrawn, but had actually to be sent back.

Q. Well, how do you account for the fact that the Security Police never heard about its being withdrawn - and we discuss it in detail - let us take it in that way. I do not know if you had heard or you may have read that the defendant Fritzsche here said that "even Goebbels was afraid of Bormann," so is it not correct that Bormann was a man who had great influence, especially in the last years?

A. That is correct, but it is not correct that there was nobody who was not afraid of him.

Q. But there would be many who would be influenced if Bormann were to give an anti-Christian lead to the National Socialist Party, would there not?

A. Only the younger of the Party leaders, possibly.

Q. Well, I will only take two examples and we will try to take thern well spaced out. I suggest to you that yours is typical. Let me take one - in 1935.

My Lord, it is Document PS-1507 and it is a new document.

I cannot remember, witness, whether you are a Catholic or a Protestant. I have no ulterior motive. I am going to deal with an incident in a Catholic church.of which are you?

A. I was a Catholic.

Q. I feel quite sure you will follow it. You will know who the people are and so forth. This is an incident on 27th March, 1935, when Cardinal Faulhaber was preaching in the cathedral at Freysing, and the local branch of the Party wanted to take a record of the sermon in case His Eminence was saying anything which might offend the Party; and they did so by breaking one of the windows of the church and inserting a cable which would pick up the sound so that a record could be taken, and there were various happenings and a lot of discussion with which I shall not trouble the Tribunal, but one of the priests of the cathedral brought the incident to the attention of the local Wehrmacht commander and it is with regard to what he says in relation to the functioning of the leadership corps that I want to draw your attention. You may take it from me that that is the general incident which is described at great length and which has accusations of exaggeration on both sides and, therefore, I am only going to take you to the passage in which the local commandant deals with the situation.

My Lord, it is at the bottom of Page four. My Lord, it says "Page 5, continued at the top." Has your Lordship got that?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is in the bottom paragraph on Page 5. This is after the occurrence when the Welirmacht officer is making his report; he says:

"On Monday, 18th February, the Kreisleiterin leader of the district of the Nazi Party Women's Organization -- Dr. Kreis -- came to the house of paymaster official Grueber and asked his wife to come immediately with her to the Dom to listen to the sermon of Cardinal Faulhaber, implying that this was Frau Grueber's duty as a member of the Party and the Nazi Party Women's Organization. Frau Grueber's objection that she was a Protestant was

[Page 99]

rejected as unimportant; and it was ordered that every member of the Nazi Women's Party Organization must attach herself to a Storm Trooper dressed as a civilian, so that they would be considered as members of the congregation and not as Party members sent out for a purpose. There is no doubt that this measure shows the intention of disturbing the service and of causing uproarious incidents."
And on that, the Wehrmacht officer, very wisely you may think, told her to rely on the fact that Herr Grueber was a paymaster or something of that sort and he need not be mixed up with the Party matters. But what I want to ask you about is this: The Kreisleiterin leader of the district women, she would be the women's leader on the Kreis staff of the Party, would she not? If I am wrong, correct me. Was that her position?

A. Yes.

Q. And she wouldn't have taken that action of collecting the women of Munich to come and, form a group, When Cardinal Faulhaber was preaching, without the orders of the Kreisleiter, would she? She would not, would she? It must have been on the Kreisleiter's orders; is that not so?

THE PRESIDENT: Answer the question, please.

THE WITNESS: The incident described here is completely unknown to me and I really, cannot imagine that a serious man - in this case a Kreisleiter - would order a measure which in its effects must turn against the Party.


Q. What I am referring to, you see, is this: Here is a report of a responsible officer in the Wehrmacht. I think he is regimental commander, and it is counter-signed by his adjutant. He is saying that the Kreisleiterin - who is the women's leader - came to this paymaster's wife and got her to do it. What I am putting to you is: Assuming that Grueber and this, regimental commander are correct - it must do for the moment - assuming they are correct, the Kreisleiterin would not have acted without orders from the Kreisleiter, would she?

A. That is probable. In my Gau, this Kreisleiter would have been dismissed.

Q. But are you telling the Tribunal that -

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, I think this document speaks for itself.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If your Lordship pleases, I think so. My Lord, I am only going to give one other example. I have to deal with just the points raised by Dr. Servatius and limit the examples as much as I can.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps we had better adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

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