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 Ninety-First Day: Wednesday, 31st July, 1946
(Part 4 of 11)

[DR. SERVATIUS continues his direct examination of Hans Wegscheider]

[Page 121]

Q. Did you not hear about the fact that these workers were to sleep in a barn and were to receive their food there as well?

A. I know nothing about a directive to that effect, that these workers were to sleep in a barn and were to receive their food there. The Labouroffice only gave each Polish worker a slip which was to be turned over to the farmer and which said that the Polish workers should not cat at the family table and that they must be at home at a certain hour. In discussing this matter with the Bauernfuehrer at that time, I told him this was not to be carried through within our Gau by the farmers. ' If the foreign worker involved behaved himself decently and did his work as well as a German worker, then he was to enjoy the same rights as the German worker.

Q. Witness, was it not the case that the comments which one heard among the farmers about the Party in the Reich were such that one would have liked to deviate from certain points, especially during the war?

A. No, I never noticed anything of that sort, for we on the land all believed in the Fuehrer's love of peace, for we knew that Hitler had lived through the horrors of the First World War and we were convinced of his desire for peace of which we were told time and again.

Q. Therefore, you dispute the fact that the political leaders in your district deliberately took part in a conspiracy to terrorize the population for the purpose of waging an aggressive war and committing war crimes?

A. No, that was not the case.

Q. If, today, an accusation is raised that these political leaders in your area were criminals, would you admit that?

A. No, that was not the case.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions to this witness.


LT-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I have two things about which perhaps. the Tribunal will permit me to ask a few very short questions. The first is EC 68, which is Document US 205 and the Tribunal will find it on Page 21 of their document book.


Q. Witness, I want to ask you about the Bauemfuehrer on your staff. The Bauernfuehrer was one of the so-called "non-political" political leaders, was he not? Can you hear me?

A. I do not understand you.

Q. Can you hear me now?

A. A little better.

[Page 122]

Q. I will ask you the question again. Was the Bauernfuehrer on the staff of the Gauleiter, Kreisleiter and Ortsgruppenleiter one of the "non-political" political leaders who were said to be merely expert advisers?

A. Yes, the Ortsbauernfuehrer was only indirectly active in the Ortsgruppen staff.

Q. Now, look at that document and explain to me the part that the so-called expert was playing in connection with slave labour. Do you see that document? It is a document addressed to all Kreisbauernschaften. Do you see that?

A. Yes.

Q. And it would be the duty of the Kreisbauernfuehrer to bring any regulations he received in connection with foreign workers to the notice of the Kreisleiter, would it not? Witness, please be kind enough to answer my question. Would it be the duty of the Kreisbauernfuehrer to bring to the notice of his Kreisleiter regulations and the instructions which he received in connection with foreign labour?

A. I do not believe so. I believe that was left to the discretion of the Kreisleiter or the Kreisbauernfuehrer and that things which could not be carried through were passed by.

Q. Are you really saying to this Tribunal that that expert whose duty it was to advise his Kreisleiter and keep his Kreisleiter informed, and who was continually conferring with his Kreisleiter, would never have drawn his Kreisleiter's attention to the instructions he had received about foreign labour?

A. I must mention that I still hear very poorly.

Q. But I am sure you can hear well enough to answer me.

A. Yes, now I can hear much better.

Q. We will not pursue that matter. We will just seethe part that this so-called non-political expert was expected to play himself. Do you see first of all that the "agencies of the Reich Food Administration, the Reichsnaehrstand, State Peasant Association, have received the result of the negotiations with a higher SS and police officer in Stuttgart with great satisfaction"? Do you see that?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you see that "the State Peasant Association and the Reich Food Administration have received the result of the negotiations with the higher SS and police officer in Stuttgart with great satisfaction"?

A. Yes.

Q. Let us just see what these results are that the Reich Food Association was receiving with such satisfaction,. You see on that document that Poles are not allowed to complain, they have no right to complain - Nos. 2-3 and 4 are not very important - 5, no form of entertainment - 6, no restaurants-no sexual intercourse - no use of public transport - is not allowed to change his employment. In no case may he be granted permission to leave his village -- and in no case may permission be granted if he wants to visit a public agency on his own, whether it is a labour office or the District Peasant Association. Why should he not be allowed to visit the District Peasant Association?

A. I see here that this letter comes from Karlsruhe. That is an entirely different Gau. These measures were not decreed in our region, or at any rate, not to such a large extent. As a matter of fact, the foreign workers during the summer had to be home at 9 o'clock in the evening, and during the winter they had to be home at 8 o'clock in the evening. . . .

Q. We are really not interested in that. Are you telling us that the care of foreign workers was different in your Gau from the Gau at Baden or KarIsrulie, and that the Bauemfuehrer had to carry out different tasks in the two different Gaue?

A. Yes.

Q. Very well. Let us just see exactly what they were carrying out in KarIsruhe.

[Page 123]

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Griffith-Jones, is that already in evidence?


Q. I just want to put one new document to you. Will you look at Document D-894? That is a report from the Kreis leadership in Kali dated 23rd September, 1944, subject: Foreigners. Polish youth in the Kali mining area, which has always shown an endeavour to stick particularly closely together, is being watched with especial care. The Ortsgruppenleiter reports that he noticed thirteen young Poles who had left Buggingen without permission and who were in possession of ,Inedical certificates. He had eleven of these Poles arrested and taken to the Gestapo at Muelhausen for re-examination. I just want to ask you one question on that. Was it a recognized duty of Kreisleiter and Ortsgruppenleiter to hand over Polish workers to the Gestapo when they saw fit?

A. I know nothing at all about such cases in Kreis Kemptenland and in Kempten city.

Q. Nothing like that happened in your Kreis at all?

THE PRESIDENT: Is that a new document

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: It is a new document and will be Exhibit GB 545. I have no further questions to ask this witness. Perhaps I might supplement my answer to the question raised, I think, by the American judge on the euthanasia point, as to how it became a war crime. If I might refer the Tribunal to Page 31 of the document book, which they have, which is the protest from the Bishop Wurm to Frick, and which is familiar to the Tribunal. If the Tribunal will look at the first paragraph of that letter it will be seen that the Bishop states that this action is taking place on orders from the Reich Defence Council. And again, if the Tribunal would turn to Page 36 of their document book, which is another letter which has already been put in, it is a second letter that the Bishop Wurm wrote to Frick, this time in September, the first in July of 1940, and now in September he writes again. And in the middle of the paragraph it will be seen he states, "If the leadership of the State is convinced that it is a question of an inevitable war measure, why does it not issue a decree with legal force?" I have no further questions.


Q. Witness, you were a member of the Nazi Party from 1933 on, is that correct?

A. One moment, I did not understand the question.

Q. You were a member of the Nazi Party from 1933 on, is that correct?

A. Yes, beginning with 1933.

Q. Did you join the Party voluntarily or under constraint?

A. I joined the Party voluntarily.

Q. Were you well acquainted with the programme of the Party, the tasks and aims of the Party?

A. Yes, in the course of the years 1 familiarized myself with the various points of the Party programme.

Q. And did you completely agree with the programme, the tasks and aims of the Party?

A. Well, perhaps not 100 per cent. with all points, but in general one could see that Hitler . . .

Q. What was the percentage of your agreement with the aims of the Party?

A. Especially in this matter - that is, the way the Jewish question developed according to the programme - there were further happenings, and then, as I already mentioned, the people and I myself were no longer quite in agreement with this policy.

Q. It was only on the question of the persecution of the Jews that you did not agree with the Party, is that correct?

[Page 124]

A. Yes.

Q. And with all the rest you agreed?

A. Yes.

Q. And now do you still have the same convictions that you had before? Do you agree with the aims and tasks of the Party?

A. Yes.of course, if action had always been taken in accordance with the programme, then we surely would not have had the war. War of itself, which we had gone through as participants in the World War . . .

Q. I did not ask you that Did you understand my question? I am asking you: have you now the same point of view that you had before?

A. No.

Q. You renounce them?

A. No.

Q. That is incomprehensible, you do not agree and you do not renounce.

A. I beg your pardon.

Q. My question is quite simple and clear. Do you still agree with the views of ilie Nazis?

A. No, that is no longer possible.

Q. Why?

A. Because the confidence of the people was abused in many respects.

Q. And now do you consider the programme and the tasks of the Nazi Party as correct or incorrect from your point of view? Did you hear the question?

A. No, I did not hear it.

Q. I am asking whether now you consider the programme and views of the Nazi Party correct or incorrect?

A. I do not, today, consider them correct.

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, you had a document from KarIsruhe, stating the effect of a certain decree with reference to Polish farm workers. You said that that decree had not been enforced in your Gau. But you said that certain decrees had been in force. To what degree were restrictions placed upon foreign workers in your district?

A. Solely, as I have already mentioned, that in the summer they had to be home at 9 o'clock in the evening - and in the winter at 8 o'clock. Any other restrictions were not imposed on them, for when I was Mayor I received directives from the Landrat to designate a special inn in the community where the Poles and Ukraine farm workers could gather in the afternoon.


Q. Could they have bicycles?

A. Yes, in Allgau it is even necessary to have a bicycle. A large part of the fields and farmland lay at quite a distance from the farmhouse and under these conditions it was not possible for the farmer and his servants to ride bicycles while the Polish workers had to walk for perhaps an hour. Most of the Polish workers . . .

Q. That is quite enough. Now you say that the only restrictions upon them were that they had to be in at a certain time at night?

A. Yes, because other matters and other directives were simply not carried through. Polish workers slept in the same rooms the Germans did, they ate at the family table and they received much clothing from the farmers themselves, for they arrived in rags.

Q. Who was it who decided where they had to be employed?

A. The Labouroffice.

Q. And whom did the Labouroffice communicate with?

A. The Labouroffice communicated with the Kreisbauernschaft and with the Bauernfuehrer.

Q. So that the Labouroffice communicated to you and to the Bauernfuehrer?

[Page 125]

A. In this matter chiefly with the Bauernfuehrer.

Q. Then the Bauernfuehrer told the Labouroffice how many labourers they wanted, was that the wa it was done?

A. Yes, that is the way it was done.

Q. How did he allot them?

A. This allotment was left to the Bauernfuehrer. The farmers in the district stated how many workers they needed and, depending on the allotments, they were supplied with workers.

Q. Was the Bauernfuehrer subject to the orders of the Kreisleiter? Or the Ortsgruppenleiter?

A. The Bauernfuehrer was subordinate only to the Reich Food Administrator - that is the Kreisbauernfuehrer.

Q. You mean that he was not at all under the orders of the Ortsgruppenleiter?

A. No.

Q. But directly under the Food Office, was he?

A. Yes, he was under the Food Administration, the Reichsnaehrstand.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness may retire.

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