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-Second Day: Thursday, 1st August, 1946
(Part 6 of 11)

[M. MONNERAY continues his cross examination of Karl Heinz Hoffmann]

[Page 173]

Q. Is it correct that most of the officers of the police came from the police?

A. The leaders of the detachments (Kommandos) and the staff were mostly police officials, and as far as I can remember, mostly officials from the Criminal Police.

M. MONNERAY: With the permission of the Tribunal I will hand in two documents, which are Affidavits F 964, and F 965, which become Exhibits RF 1535 and RF 1536. These documents indicate, for two regions of France, that the great majority of the officers of these military police came from the police originally.


Q. Is it correct that hostages in the occupied territories were handed over to Sipo?

A. I did not understand that question.

Q. Is it correct that in the occupied territories hostages were handed over by the Army to Sipo?

A. That varied in the different territories. As far as I know, hostages in France were shot by the armed forces; in Norway, upon order of the Reich, Commissioner Terboven, as far as I know, by Sipo. I could not say of my own knowledge how it was in Belgium.

Q. Did you receive any reports on third-degree interrogations, indicating how rigorous these interrogations were?

A. You mean reports during my term of office?

Q. That was in Berlin.

A. No, I have said that as an official basis of information we only found out what had been printed in the Norwegian White Book. Apart from that nothing was known to me.

M. MONNERAY: I should like to submit to the Tribunal a report from the Commander of Sipo and SD at Marseilles, of 6th July, 1944, concerning arrests of members of the French resistance, of the interrogation of these members, and of deaths which ensued. This is Document F 979, which becomes Exhibit RF 1537. With the permission of the Tribunal I would like to read an extract of this document.

"The arrested men, Nos. 1 to 16, were killed - "
THE PRESIDENT: What page of the document?

M. MONNERAY: On Page 2 of the French translation, Mr. President, an extract.

"The arrested men, Nos. 1 to 16, as well as the forty- three prisoners named, were killed while attempting to escape on a large scale on 13th June, 1944. Several others were killed in the neighbourhood of Salon on 15th June, 1944 in an attempted escape. No. 17 is still required by special section AF."
And farther on,
"No. 21 died at our office."

Q. Concerning the "Nacht und Nebel" decree, you said to us that the Gestapo services in Berlin were opposed to it.

A. Yes.

Q. I would like to submit to you Document PS-668, which has already been submitted as Exhibit USA 504.

A. I have explained that the State Police, for technical reasons, were against that decree. But since it was a decree which had been issued by the German

[Page 174]

Government, the decree had of course to be carried out by the State Police as well as by other offices.

Q. And your office, IV-D-4, which signed this document, chose the most rigorous solution?

A. The solution which was indicated by the decree.

Q. The Army had asked your office to suggest the solution, had it not?

A. Do you mean the solution in this special case, or the decree in general?

Q. I ask you; witness, whether it is correct that the Army requested you to give a solution to the problem of knowing whether the relatives of a deceased Frenchman should be advised of his decease or not. Is it true that you chose the most rigorous solution?

A. From this document I can only gather that apparently an inquiry was sent by the OKW, and that the Gestapo office gave the answer, stating what was required by the terms of this decree.

Q. Is it correct that on Page 2 the Army answers you that it agrees with your proposal?

A. Apparently.

Q. Did you yourself give instructions, personal instructions, concerning the application of the "Nacht und Nebel" decree?

A. That was not my task. I had as ministerial agent only to pass on the terms of the decree to the competent offices, and the rest was done by the local offices.

Q. Did you have any connection with the concentration camp services?

A. I only had connection with the concentration camps from the time when I was charged with the care of the French ministers, because Prime Minister Reynaud and M. Mandel first lived in cells at Oranienburg, and I had to see them there frequently in order to find out what they needed. And the same happened later with the concentration camp at Buchenwald where Prime Minister Blum and M. Mandel were quartered in a small house, a cottage, in the settlement where the management was quartered. And concerning the castle of Gitter, the guards posted there were taken from units of the concentration camp at Dachau. Those were the only cases in which I had indirect contact with the administration of concentration camps.

THE PRESIDENT: It is time to adjourn.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

THE PRESIDENT: It will perhaps be convenient to counsel for the organizations to know that the Tribunal proposes to take all the oral evidence, the witnesses for the organizations, first, and then that they should comment upon their documents afterwards, because some of the documents, namely affidavits, have not yet been got ready. I think that will probably be convenient to counsel for the organizations.

And the Tribunal proposes to sit on Saturday morning in open session until one o'clock.




Q. You told us a while ago that, except for the protection of certain French political persons, you had nothing to do with the control of the concentration camps?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you establish regulations for the concentration camps?

A. No.

Q. Did you send instructions to the concentration camps?

A. I cannot remember.

[Page 175]

M. MONNERAY: I should like to show the witness, with the permission of the Tribunal, Document PS-2521, which will become Exhibit RF 1538. This document is not in the document book, it is a new item.


Q. On Page 2 of this document, we find an extract of the "Nacht und Nebel" decree for the use of the concentration camp offices. This document is dated 4th August, 1942, and comes from Office IV-D-4.

A. Yes. That is a factual transmission of the "Nacht und Nebel" decree to the Inspectors of the KL (concentration camps). I can no longer remember from when they started carrying out the "Nacht und Nebel" decree in concentration camps.

Q. The document is signed by yourself, is it not?

A. It says: signed, Dr. Hoffmann, and there is a stamp there, too. I must have signed it at some time.

Q. Is it a document that was drawn up in your office?

A. From its appearance, I must assume so.

Q. Was it your office that gave instructions and explanations about this decree?

A. Yes. That is quite clear, and was never disputed.

Q. You told us this morning that the State and the State leadership did not act according to the ideas of the police?

A. Yes, that was so in many cases.

Q. Do you consider that the subject matter of the "Nacht und Nebel" decree conforms to police conceptions?

A. No.

Q. That is to say, you think that this decree is contrary to police conceptions?

A. Yes. I have stated that this decree was given out without any suggestion by the police, and in my statements concerning our conception of the origin and set-up of the military organizations, I declared that this decree was not in conformance with it. If, however, this decree was issued by the supreme State leadership, then, of course, the police had to act according to these principles and could only try to put through their own views within the framework of this decree.

Q. In other words, whether the Gestapo approved of the measures taken or not, they co-operated in carrying them out?

A. Yes, indeed.

Q. Had the Gestapo the right to proceed to carry out executions?

A. No. However, I did hear that in one sector, which did not come under my jurisdiction, regulations of that sort did exist.

Q. What sector?

A. As far as I know, the branch dealing with Polish questions.

Q. Did your office IV-D receive any information on the right of the Gestapo to carry out executions?

A. I cannot remember whether we received decrees of that sort.

Q. I should like to show you Document PS-1715, which will become Exhibit RF 1539. It is a document signed by Kaltenbrunner which was sent to all the offices of the Gestapo for their information and to your office, IV-D.

A. I should like to call your attention to the fact that my department, IV-D was the group in which all occupied countries were comprised. This document is addressed to the Gruppenleiter IV-D, not to Department 4, Dora IV. This document, therefore, was not sent to my department. Since no executions were carried out in the Western sector, the document was not sent to my department.

Q. But the documents correspond to the reality. The Gestapo could carry out executions.

A. From my own knowledge, I cannot give you any further details about the handling of this problem in practice.

Q. Were you acquainted with Eichmann?

[Page 176]

A. I know that Eichmann was in charge of the Jewish branch in the Main Reich Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt).

Q. Your office received no information about anti-Jewish activities in occupied territories, did it?

A. My office received the monthly reports from the commanders in the occupied territories. In these, for example, the deportation of Jews was reported on and I have already explained that I learned the fact of the Jewish deportations for the first time from them, and I talked to Eichmann on this matter and asked why these facts were riot previously made known to the department, and he refused to reply because he said that he acted only on the basis of superior orders.

Q. Did Eichmann have deputies in the occupied territories?

A. I know that he had his special deputies with the various BDS commanders.

Q. Did these deputies have the right to give orders to the Gestapo offices?

A. I cannot give you any information from my own knowledge about the exact position of these deputies of Eichmann's. Eichmann was theoretically a part of the Gestapo office.

Q. A part of Office No. IV, was he not?

A. Theoretically he belonged to Office IV, but conducted ... but he conducted a very intense activity of his own and I also emphasized that this may be traced back largely to the fact that he did not ... that he did not come from the police.

Q. Were you kept constantly posted on Eichmann's deputies in the various occupied territories?

A. Only from the monthly reports of the commanders.

Q. And these reports told you, for instance, the number of deportations?

A. Yes.

Q. Did the forces of the commanders of the Gestapo or the Sipo in the occupied territories assist in these deportations?

A. As far as I know, yes.

Q. What were the functions of Office II of the RSHA?

A. Department II of the Main Reich Security Office dealt with administrative and economic questions as well as, from the beginning until, I believe, 1944, questions of passports and the interning of foreigners, as well as the justiciary [sic].

Q. Were the office officials chiefly officials from the executive or administrative branch of the police?

A. Office II consisted mainly of administrative officials and lawyers.

Q. According to you, this office was very poorly informed as to what happened in the executive branch?

A. Yes, because essentially they dealt with legal and administrative questions.

Q. Do you know what were the functions of Office II?

A. If I am not mistaken, it was questions of jurisdiction.

Q. I should like to show you a document which has already been submitted as PS-501, Exhibit USA 288. According to this document, the gas vans which were intended to exterminate populations in the Eastern territories, especially Jews, were supplied by this Office II, which according to this document was perfectly aware of the extermination. Was it in this way that the separation between these offices and the executive offices was established?

A. As far as I can see from the document, Office B II was the technical section which dealt with motor vehicles, and as far as the contents are concerned, it deals with special motor vehicles, and it is obviously a report on the serviceability of the vehicles to the central office for the management of motor vehicles in Berlin.

Q. You admit that this is a document which speaks of certain special vehicles intended for extermination?

[Page 177]

A. So far as I can see from running over the document rapidly, you could draw that conclusion from the contents.

Q. Dr. Hoffmann, one last question -

THE PRESIDENT: M. Monneray, I think the document speaks for itself.

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