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-Fifth Day: Monday, 5th August, 1946
(Part 4 of 9)

[Page 272]

DR. PELCKMANN: Mr. President, I ask for permission to interrupt the reading of this document for a moment. I object to the use of these documents in the examination of this witness. The witness is to be examined as to his credibility by this prosecution. The submission of these documents does not serve this purpose. In his testimony the witness has said that he had no authority over concentration camp administration. Nevertheless, a document is shown to him concerning penal regulations in a concentration camp. He said he did not know it. Continuing on the same lines, the prosecution attempts to submit a document -

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal is perfectly well aware that -

DR. PELCKMANN: I did not understand, Mr. President. I beg your pardon.

THE PRESIDENT: I say the Tribunal is perfectly well aware that this is a new document and they will take into account everything that this witness says.

DR. PELCKMANN: I beg your pardon, Mr. President.

[Page 273]

THE PRESIDENT: I say, the Tribunal is perfectly well aware that this is a new document and that the Tribunal will take into consideration everything that the witness says and how far it appears that he has had anything to do with the document in considering the question of his credibility. Your objection is therefore rejected.

We had better adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

MR. ELWYN JONES: Reading a number of extracts, the total possessions of Jewish Poles were 26 million. For textiles, there were 462 wagons of rags, 251 wagons of bed feathers, 371 wagons of clothing and underclothing, and then follows a total of over one hundred million Reichsmarks. Pages 18 and I9, you need not trouble with them. Then, you turn to Page 20 of the German text, and, my Lord, Page 16a of the English text. You see a report on the exports of the slave labour from one of these camps which was set up for the benefit of the German armament industry. There are listed the various details of the work on various manufactured articles. "41 Aryan leading personnel ran 5,445 Jewish workers who worked 1,115,000 working days in the first 10 months of the year 1943, with 31,000,000 Zloty in the bank and till."

Then on the next page, Page 21 of the German text, dealing with the orders given to the slave camps. "83 per cent of the orders were for the Wehrmacht and 17 per cent for civilian concerns."

Next, turn to Page 23 of the German text, Page 19 of the English text. It is the provisional balance sheet of the Action 'Reinhardt' till, Lublin, dated 15th December, 1943. "The following money and values in kind were brought to the German Reich during the course of the Action 'Reinhardt,' Lublin, during the period 1st April, 1942, to 15th December, 1943, inclusive." The Tribunal will see from these figures that, in the meantime, additional loot had been obtained. "Cash in hand, 17,000,000; Reichsmark notes and coins, 3,900,000; to the Reichsbank, Berlin, Zloty notes and coins, 5,000,000; to the SS economist, Cracow, 50,000,000; loans for SS industrial concerns 8,218,000."

Then on the next page there is a table of the foreign currency that was looted currency and then notes, and then there comes, once more, a list of the private possessions of the Poles and Jews that were taken away. Rings, ladies' gold wrist-watches, gentlemen's gold pocket watches, ladies' watches with brilliants, ladies' watches of platinum, 29,391 spectacles, shaving equipment, pocket knives, alarm clocks, sunglasses, silver cigarette cases, clinical thermometers, all detailed to the last mark with a total of 43,662,000 Reichsmarks. Then the industry increased by 9,000,000 more workers. There were 1,901 wagons of clothing, underclothing, bed feathers and rags to an average value of 26,000,000 Reichsmarks. Total compilation of the total loot up to the end of December, 1943, 178,745000 Reichsmarks.

Then there follows, on Page 38 of the German text, Page 23 of the English text, an account from the Personal Staff of the Reichsfuehrer SS, which is an account of the national resettlement carried out by uprooting of farms to make room for German citizens, and the clearing of some villages. Paragraph 3, "All Poles, including those who are being brought into the labour programme in the Reich, are to be given certificates confirming what property they have left behind. They will be informed that they will receive a suitable compensation some time in the form of goods or cash."

Page 29 of the German text, 24 of the English text, paragraph 6. "The communications from persons previously sent to the Reich which report that they are getting on well there, and the people's realization of the fact that up to now nobody has been treated like the Jews, have already dispelled the feeling of dread which surrounded this system of grouping."

[Page 274]

Then I want you to turn to Page 31 of the German text, and 26 . .. the Tribunal will find it on Page 26 of the English text.

"Measures for the further Transfer of Populations." That carried the heading of the Personal Staff, Reichsfuehrer SS.

"As many quarters express themselves against the transfer of populations on the grounds that it causes too much unrest among the foreigners, thus disturbing production, the following measures have been decided upon:
(1) Verbal propaganda will spread news about the discontinuation of these transfers.

(2) No authority will announce anything before the actual moment when the transfer of the population is to be carried out. Planning will be done secretly.

The time for immigration will be fixed to take place after the spring tilling of the fields, so that the foreigners will carry out the cultivation of the land, and the new settlers will be able to make use of the harvest. This has the advantage that, the conditions being as mentioned above, the foreigners will till their fields in all districts, while the German settlers will not run the danger, in view of the short time available, of being hindered in their spring work.

The transfer of Poles should be carried out in such a manner that the good elements are put, as far as possible voluntarily, in districts cleared by the Security Police, and the transfer should be called 'The Establishment of Security in Partisan Districts.' The bad elements, if they are not employed as auxiliary workers, will be taken away gradually.

The announcement of the time of resettlement will be made only on the day of the transfer of the population.

All the organizations formed by settlers in all the villages will be occupied in advance by the 'Landwacht' (Country Guard) who, having received previous training, are to save the use of our own SS forces."

Then on the next page there follows a memorandum by Globocnik, setting out the details of the technique of resettlement, and I turn to the next document, Page 34 of the German text, 29 of the English text. That is Globocnik's final letter forwarding this report in dealing with the Reinhardt action. It is dated the 4th of November, 1943, when, as the Tribunal sees, Globocnik was the Higher SS and Police Chief in the Operational Zone of the Adriatic Coastal Area. It is addressed to Himmler: "Reichsfuehrer: I concluded Action Reinhardt, which I have been directing in the Government General, on the 19th of October, 1943, and have dissolved all camps."
The last paragraph but three: "During a visit, you, Reichsfuehrer, held out to me the prospect that a few Iron Crosses might be awarded for the special performance of this hard task after the work had been concluded. Please advise me, Reichsfuehrer, whether I may submit suggestions in this connection.

I beg to point out that such an award to the forces of the local SS and Police Chief was authorized for the work in Warsaw, which formed a comparatively small part of the total work."

In the final document, Himmler sends a letter to Globocnik, saying:
"I express to you my thanks and my acknowledgement for the great and unique services which you have performed for the entire German people by carrying out the Action Reinhardt."

Q. Witness, do you still say that you had no knowledge of the use of the SS for the collection of loot, for the use of resettlement, for the driving of people from their homes and for the enslavement of Poles and Jews?

[Friedrich Karl Freiherr von Eberstein] A. No, I had no knowledge of these things.

[Page 275]

Q. When did you first discover that Jewish and other people were being exterminated in concentration camps?

A. I already testified to that a little while ago, that these destructive actions were known to me only after I was arrested.

Q. Your connection with the Rascher case in the spring of 1944 must have given you a very clear idea that extermination was going on. I repeat my question: Did not your contact with the Rascher case in the spring of 1944 warn you clearly that extermination and killings were going on in concentration camps?

A. I can refer only to my personal experience and observation, when for the first time, in the case of Rascher, I received proof that these things had occurred. I should like to repeat again that in Reich territory, inside Germany, it was quite impossible to get to know of such things as are revealed by the documents before me.

Q. You arrested Rascher on the charge of fraud, did you not?

A. Rascher, as I already testified on Saturday, was suspected first of all -

Q. Just a moment. Are you going to answer my question directly? Did you arrest Rascher on a charge of fraud?

A. I can only repeat that he was already under arrest, and after we learned of this crime we kept him in custody until the end. It was a coincidence that we were holding him for the other crimes - the two crimes for which he had been charged - and, of course, he was closely guarded.

Q. You knew that Rascher had been carrying out experiments on humans and, in the course of those experiments, that he had been killing them, did you not?

A. That I learned from my conversation with the camp commandant and the physician.

Q. Was Rascher ever charged with murder?

A. I already testified to that on Saturday - unfortunately he was not accused by Himmler. Himmler was the only one who could accuse him, as he was the supreme judge at the Court.

Q. Although you knew in the Spring of 1944 that Himmler's organization was not only criminal but murderous, you continued to serve it for another year?

A. I have already stated the cogent reasons why it was not possible for me to go against the order of my superiors.

Q. When you gave the evidence before the Commission on this Rascher matter, do you remember saying - it is recorded on Page 2216 of the transcript for the 6th of July, 1946 - that when you discovered that Rascher was the responsible person for the experiments on living human beings, you saw to it that this crime was not carried out any more? Did you say that?

A. Yes, indeed - inasmuch as this man was not released from arrest as he otherwise probably would have been - the other cases having been settled in the meantime. There was no longer any danger of his evading justice and he would therefore have had to be released. Instead, we continued to hold him, because we had received knowledge of this new crime.

Q. Did you take any steps to see to it that Rascher was not succeeded by another SS murderer?

A. I do not understand what you mean by that question.

Q. I will explain myself. The Rascher experiments on human beings were continued in Dachau after Rascher was arrested for fraud, were they not?

A. No; the physician with whom I talked and who was the deputy - he was brought to me by the camp commandant - did not carry out any further experiments of that nature. He was the man who had reported on those things that Rascher had done, and he told me that he refused to go on working.

Q. Are you telling the Tribunal that the experiments and biological research on human beings in Dachau stopped after the dismissal of Rascher?

A. Yes, indeed. I am firmly convinced of that fact.

Q. I want you to look at the Journal of the Ahnenerbe, the Ancestral Research Organization, for 1944, which was kept by Sievers, the Reich Manager of that

[Page 276]

organization. It is Document 3546-PS, which will be Exhibit GB 51. I have made certain extracts from the relevant passages for the convenience of the Tribunal. Now, if you confine your attention to the extracts, you can check them against the original if you wish to do so. You will see that Rascher's name appears in January, the conferences with him on the 28th of January, on the 29th of January, and then over on the next page in March and then in April there is a conference at Rascher's station.

Now, when exactly was it that you had Rascher arrested, what month was it?

A. What month?

Q. What month was it that you had Rascher arrested?

A. I cannot tell you. But surely you will find it in the files. On Saturday I testified that it was in the spring of 1944. I cannot give you the exact date; however, I do know for certain that at the beginning of May, after the preliminary proceedings of this case were concluded, I went to see Himmler and took the documents, so that these things must have ceased as Rascher was under arrest.

Q. In looking at the extract for May, you will see the conferences of the Reichsarzt SS, in which Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Ploetner took part. Did you know that Dr. Ploetner took over from Rascher in Dachau?

A. I do not know the names of the various physicians.

Q. In the entry for the 27th of June, the extract of 31st of May - first, you see that Sievers had a conference with SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Ploetner - first of all, with regard to Professor Schilling. I take it that you know who Professor Schilling is, do you not? Do you know Professor Schilling?

A. Yes, indeed.

Q. He has recently been condemned to death for his experiments in Dachau, has he not?

A. I read that in the papers.

Q. In May, you see, he was having a conference with Dr. Ploetner; the 27th of June there is a conference with regard to the creation of the scientific research station in the concentration camp. The 25th of July, conference with SS Staf. Mauer, in Oranienburg, about the use of inmates for scientific purposes; and then on the same page, the 26th of July, Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Fischer goes on a quick journey through all concentration camps in order to fix finally the persons; and then the 21st of October, the proceeding of research of SS Staf. Prof. Dr. Hirt, and then the final entry for the 23rd of October, 1944, SS Sturmbannfuehrer Dr. Poppendieck, taking over of biological research by SS Staf. Dr. Ploetner in Dachau. Are you still saying to the Tribunal that all experiments on human beings in Dachau stopped after Rascher went from there?

A. I can only state that the name Rascher does not appear here and that I said under oath that he remained under arrest. I do not know what else went on there. Anyhow, when I learned of the happenings, I did everything to have the matter brought to court. What other experiments were made in the camp, as indicated in this report, I cannot know.

Q. Witness, you told the Tribunal that these experiments did not go on any more after the dismissal of Rascher. You told that to the Commission, did you not, and is it not untrue?

A. I can only repeat that Rascher was under arrest and thus I assumed that these experiments had ceased.

MR. ELWYN JONES: If your Lordship please, I am not attempting to cross-examine this witness with the matters discussed before the Commission. The Tribunal is in possession of all the documents with regard to the general matters I dealt with in the cross-examination.

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