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-Third Day: Friday, 2nd August, 1946
(Part 1 of 10)

[Page 198]




Q. Witness, I request that you explain some of the testimony which you gave yesterday. Please give me very brief answers. First, you said yesterday that SD had nothing to do with the working out of the plans of aggression and was not even aware of such plans.

A. Yes.

Q. You further stated that the SD since 1934 and up to 1939, in other words during the period of the organization of the RSHA, was engaged in activities which were very far removed from carrying out any police functions and actually had the nature of a scientific research; is that correct?

A. I did not talk of scientific problems.

Q. No, I said of a scientific research nature.

A. I explained that the SD had two tasks, one was the work of ascertaining living conditions in Germany and the other was more of a statistical and research nature directed against other philosophies of life.

Q. You further stated that the SD had no relations whatsoever with crimes against peace and crimes against humanity; is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Mr. President, I would like the permission of the Tribunal to submit the original of a German document from the archives of the Central SD, which is a document captured by the Red Army in the Berlin district and refers to plans concerning the invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Will you kindly follow me, witness, while I quote from the document in the Russian translation?

"Communication. June, 1938. Berlin. Secret. Subject: employment of SD in Czechoslovakia." Text follows:

"The SD should prepare to start its activity in case of complications between the German Reich and Czechoslovakia ... The manifold planning and the preparation of the operational staff for mobilization should be effected on the basis of approval ..."

THE PRESIDENT: Stop - you read out a date of June, 1938. I cannot see that at the head of the document.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: June, 1938, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: It does not appear in the copy at the head of the document. Does it appear somewhere else?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Your translation probably does not have it, Mr. President. The original has it. We submitted copies of two different documents and I am afraid the mistake might have been caused by the fact that your translation is not the translation of the document which I am submitting now. We submitted copies of two different documents, two different translations.

[Page 199]

THE PRESIDENT: Either it is an entirely different document or else some parts are omitted. The date is not on the document. Go on. Go on.


"Dividing functions, the SD follows, wherever possible, directly behind the advancing troops and fulfils duties similar to those in the Reich which are the security of the political life, and at the same time, the security in as much as possible of all enterprises necessary to the national economy and so, also, to the war economy. In order to achieve this purpose, we suggest the division of the country into larger territorial units-Oberabschnitt, and smaller territorial units- Unterabschnitt. The latter are to be sub-divided into Aussenstellen so that the co- workers of the SD " (I draw your attention to the words " co-workers of the SD,") " intended for employment in Czechoslovakia can be immediately assigned to their tasks."
This document shows, therefore, that the SD was not only well informed of the plans but had also actively taken part in the elaboration of these plans of aggression. I am asking you, witness, this excerpt shows that the SD was not only aware of the plans of invasion and aggression, but also that it took an active part in working out the plans. Does it not?

A. May I first say something about the document?

Q. I would like you to answer briefly, first. Answer yes or no. Explain later, please.

A. From the document, it is obvious that it is only a draft -

Q. We will talk about that a little later. You will see, then, what the main point is. I refer to the excerpt which I read. Do you not see evidence there that the SD was both informed and took an active part in the plans of aggression?

A. I said yesterday that the interior and foreign information services are two different organizations. The interior -

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, we do not care what you said yesterday. We want to get your answer today. You were asked a question which can be answered by yes or no. You can explain afterwards.

A. The document has nothing to do with the interior information service.

Q. In that case, I would like you to look on Page 3 of the document. You testified yesterday that the SD had nothing to do with the staffing of the Einsatzkommandos. I am going to read an excerpt here. It is Item 2. Please pay attention to what I am reading now. "The staffing of the planned organizations of SD" (I draw your attention to the "organizations of SD") "should be effected with the following considerations: 1. According to the demands of the SD ... Does that not prove ..."

THE PRESIDENT: It is being read too fast. You know the translators do not have time.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Thank you, Mr. President.


Q. Does not the excerpt that was just read testify that the Einsatzkommandos were staffed according to the demands of the SD? It says here: "The staffing is effected according to the demands of the SD."

A. Excuse me. It was apparently translated incorrectly. Your question does not make sense to me.

Q. It seems to me the question is quite clear. It says here "The staffing of the agencies of SD should be effected with the following considerations." Please look at the text of the document.

A. In my text there is absolutely nothing concerning this.

Q. 202 (a), Page 3?

THE PRESIDENT: To which words are you referring now?

COLONEL SMIRNOV; I am referring to Section II, Mr. President.

[Page 200]

THE PRESIDENT: You must go slowly. You simply say Page 3. It happens not to be on Page 3, on our Page 3. It is on Page 2. How do you expect us to find it when you refer to it in that way? It is Paragraph 2, then, at the start.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: It is Section II, Mr. President; there is the Roman numeral II in front of the section.


Q. What answer will you give then, witness? What answer will you give me, with regard to manning the staffs? Were they not to be staffed according to the demands of the SD?

A. From the paragraph, it is only evident that it was requested that the SD should keep men in readiness, but not that the SD asked to have men kept in readiness.

Q. In that case, I should like to ask you to turn to Section III.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Mr. President, please turn to Section III. It is Page 4 of the Russian text. I refer to Roman III, Item 1. Special "Einsatz" groups from the Reich (pay attention to the words "Einsatz groups" which appear for the first time in this document) will be collected with a view to their prospective work in distributing centres, etc., where they will receive equipment and instructions. Then I refer to the next page of the Russian text which follows right after the list of cities. It is Page 4 of the English Text.

"As soon as any district is free from the enemy, that is when it is occupied, the allocated groups are immediately sent to the District Administration following the advancing troops. At the same time, the groups which are intended for the next district still in enemy hands will follow along."
Will you deny after this that it was precisely the SD which staffed the first Einsatz groups?

A. From this document it can only be seen that the head office at that time of the SD had prepared this group.

Q. If this does not convince you, then I would like you to turn -

THE PRESIDENT: You must go more slowly. We will not hear what the witness says, if you interrupt him during the time it takes for the translation to come through. It is impossible for us to understand it.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I beg your pardon, Mr. President. I stated that if this does not convince the witness, that it was precisely the SD that helped to staff these operational groups, then I would be obliged -

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. Then the witness said something about Einsatz groups. What did you say about Einsatz groups?

THE WITNESS: The question was whether I am now convinced that the Einsatz groups were being prepared beforehand, and I answered that -

THE PRESIDENT: No, you were not asked about Einsatz groups at all. You were asked about the SD.

THE WITNESS: I was asked whether the SD was preparing the Einsatz groups beforehand, and I said that from the document it is evident that the head office of the SD had prepared these groups.


Q. Please look at Paragraph V - Section V - entitled "Preparatory Measures." Page 5 of the English text.

A. Yes.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I want to quote Section V, "Preparatory Measures."

"Preparatory Measures; Demarcation of the spheres of activity of the SD under the Gestapo

[Page 201]

(a) in Germany

(b) in occupied territory.

Suggestion: Measures in Germany are carried out under the guidance of the Gestapo and with the assistance of the SD. Measures in the occupied regions are carried out under the leadership of the senior officer of the SD. Gestapo officials are assigned to certain operations staffs. It is important that, as far as possible, similar preparations, training and the use of materials, should be conducted in the Gestapo as in the SD."


Q. Would you not say that this shows that it was precisely the SD that took the leading part in preparing Einsatz kommandos and that the Einsatz groups carried on their criminal activity under the guidance of SD officials?

A. I read nothing here about criminal activity. And as far as the SD is concerned I would like to refer to the first answer that it had nothing to do with the Domestic Information Service.

THE PRESIDENT: The man had not yet finished his answer. We do not know what his answer is. Now repeat your answer.

THE WITNESS: I said that I read nothing about criminal measures in the document, and I said previously that the document had nothing to do with domestic information services.


Q. It says there SD. Can you argue about the term used by the document? Can you deny that?

A. The word "SD" means many things.

Q. But it seems to me that in this connection the term is used in precisely the sense in which the authorities in Germany had used it. The German officials understood the terms they used, did they not?

A. Yes, but it is about the Foreign Information Service.

Q. I would like you to look at the continuation of the same quotation, Number 2, entitled, "Establishment of Files in Section III, 225 of the Central Administration of the SD

(a) Collection and utilization of all available materials of the SD Oberabschnitt is concentrated in Section III, 225.

(b) In establishing duplicate local files for each region, one copy remains with the central department while the second is sent to the operations staff appointed to the region."

I am stopping there and would like you to pay special attention to Item (c):

"Files must have notations such as these: 'to arrest,' 'to liquidate,' 'to remove from work', 'to place under observation', 'to confiscate,' 'police surveillance,' 'deprivation of passport', etc."
Do you not think that when the filing department of the SD made a note like these on the cards of specific persons, such as to liquidate, to arrest, that the SD was participating in crimes against humanity?

A. I can only repeat that the document has nothing to do with the Domestic Information Service of the SD.

Q. Did I understand you correctly yesterday to say that you deny that there was any liaison or relationship between the SD and the SS units?

A. Yes.

Q. I would like you to look at the end of this plan, the last paragraph, Number VII:

"It is necessary that an SS unit or Totenkopf unit be ready for disposal for special purposes."
After seeing that, do you still deny that there was any direct relation between the SD and the SS units and the organization of the activity of the Einsatz groups?

A. From this paragraph, in any case, it is not evident.

[Page 202]

Q. In that case, how should we interpret the sentence which I just read?

A. From this paragraph one can only deduce that if such an Einsatz group was put to use and a special SS troop was to be present whenever a unit of some other civilian agency marches into a civilian territory, then from that one cannot conclude that there was some sort of a liaison between this military unit and the civilian agency. But I should like to repeat once more that this document shows only that it is a draft project of an expert - of an assistant expert who did not even ... I stress that this is a draft of an assistant expert (Hilfsreferent) which was not even countersigned by the expert, not to mention the department head, the central department head, office head or main office head.

Q. In that case, it appears that you claim that the document just shown you is merely a plan?

A. It is only the plan of the assistant expert chief of Department III, 225, and the head of Department III, 22, did not countersign it, nor did the head of Division III, 2 do so, nor did the chief of Office III countersign it.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Mr. President, to show that the witness's testimony is not correct, I would like you to turn to a document signed by Schellenberger, Chief of the Central Division I, and to the chart which you will find in the original.

It shows that even the chiefs of the Einsatz commands were appointed -

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.