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 5 of 9)

[Page 276]

THE PRESIDENT: Doctor Pelckmann, do you want to re-examine?

[Page 277]


Q. Witness, the prosecution has submitted to you the regulations for punishment that applied to Dachau Concentration Camp. I should like to ask you once more as a matter of principle, did you have anything to do with the administration of Dachau Concentration Camp or with the bringing in and the release of inmates at this camp?

[Friedrich Karl Freiherr von Eberstein] A. I can only repeat that neither I nor other Higher SS and Police Leaders had anything to do with sending people to or releasing them from concentration camps. At all times, up to the very end, that was the competence of Amt IV of the RSHA, of the Gestapo.

Q. Did you notice, witness, that on the copy of this Document D-922 these regulations bear no date, nor is there any mention of the validity of this punishment order?

A. The photostatic copy?

Q. Yes, the first one you received, D-922.

A. Yes, I should like to remark that it has neither heading, nor signature, nor date.

Q. On my copy I can only see that a letter dated 29th May, 1933, written by a Herr Winterberger, was attached. I ask you, witness, were you in Munich on 29th May, 1933?

A. I was in Weimar, in Thuringia, at that time.

Q. The prosecution called you a confidential agent of the SS, and a personal deputy of Himmler. Were you the personal representative of Himmler?

A. I think the statement I made on Saturday must have been misunderstood. I should like to repeat once more: according to the decree of the Reich Minister of the Interior in the year 1938, we Higher SS and Police Leaders were the representatives of the Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police. However, as far as their authority and the power as regards orders were concerned, according to the text of this decree, the actual superiors of the police were the Heads of the Main Offices of the Uniformed Police and the Security Police in the Reich Ministry of the Interior. The Higher SS and Police Leaders, according to the wording of the decree, had only the right, not the duty, to carry out inspections, and they were merely permitted to make suggestions.

Q. Did the inspections apply to concentration camps as well?

A. No. The concentration camps were subordinate only to Amtsgruppe D of the Administration and Economics Main Office. They had their own services and their own transport. It was only possible to enter the camp with the permission of that office.

Q. Regarding the Document 4045-PS, affidavit of Pohl, did you ever discuss with Pohl problems concerning the concentration camps?

A. No, never. Only once did I go to see Pohl in his office at Berlin-Lichterfelde. The conversation dealt purely with the acquisition of a piece of ground in Munich for an SS office - an office for the General SS - which was under me. We discussed the buying of this property. I believe this conversation took place in the year 1940. I did not speak to him about concentration camps or any other topics. Besides, I did not know him well and had nothing in common with him.

Q. You saw the reports of Herr Globocnik, Document 4024-PS, and you said that the reports were completely unknown to you. But did you give out similar decrees or decrees which even remotely resembled them. Did you give directions like that to offices subordinate to you or did you receive such directions from offices over you?

A. I have never received orders from the offices over me dealing with actions of that kind. At no time in my official capacity was I given an order like that. These peculiar business deals are new to me, and I should like to repeat that my

[Page 278]

comrades and I were horrified when we heard about these things in the camps where we were being held.

Q. You just mentioned your official capacity. Did you mean in your capacity as a leader of the General SS as well as Police Chief and Higher SS and Police Leader?

A. Yes. I am including all the offices which I have ever held.

Q. When you look at the documents of Herr Globocnik, can you, from your general knowledge, tell us whether Globocnik was a leader of the General SS and whether in that capacity he might have done these things?

A. Globocnik was an SS leader from Austria, as far as I can remember. As I have already said, I only saw him and talked with him once in my life. As can be seen from this document, he was - the document bears the heading 'Higher SS and Police Leader of "Kustenland"' which would appear to be the Adriatic Coast Region - Higher SS and Police Leader in occupied territory. I have already stated that the activity of the Higher SS and Police Leaders in the occupied territories differed entirely from the activity of the Higher SS and Police Leaders in the Reich. As far as I am informed, the Higher SS and Police Leaders in the occupied territories received their orders from Himmler according to local conditions. This order or the report on the carrying out of an order, as shown in this document, is misleading and not in line with the tasks which were set us. All these things had to do with economic measures and we in Germany had nothing whatever to do with them.

Q. Did you, as Higher SS and Police Leader, have anything to do in Germany with economic measures?

A. No, nothing at all.

Q. The prosecution asked you if the experiments were continued at Dachau. Here before the Tribunal, and before the Commission, you answered, that according to your conviction, "no." The reason you gave for this was that Rascher was under arrest. Look again at the document submitted under 3546-PS and tell me after what date the name Rascher no longer appears in the conversations with Sievers.

THE PRESIDENT: Can we not see that document for ourselves? You are referring to a document and we can read the document as well as he can.

DR. PELCKMANN: Yes. I am just calling the witness's attention to the moot point in the document, but I will turn to the next question, your Honour.


Q. What was your reason for assuming that the experiments were not being continued at Dachau? You said Rascher was under arrest?

A. Before seeing this copy here for the first time, I did not know that besides Rascher this Professor Schilling was active as well. I only learned about that from the proceedings in Dachau while under arrest. At that time I only knew about the research station of Rascher and that there was another man after Rascher, but I did not know his name. It is possible that it was the man mentioned in the document, namely Dr. Ploetner. That is quite possible. I did not know the name of this man. He was quite horrified when he reported on the activities of his superior, Rascher.

THE PRESIDENT: This is a waste of our time, an absolute waste of time. The witness said there were no further experiments and when the document is put to him, he says he assumes. What is the use of examining him about this?

DR. PELCKMANN: Witness, was there further reason for your assumption that the experiments were not being continued? Was it a result of your first protest to Himmler? Please remember Himmler's reaction to your report, and tell the Tribunal if Himmler's reaction led you to assume that now that he had been detected he would be very careful about continuing these experiments?

[Page 279]

THE WITNESS: When I reported to Himmler, he was very angry and he told me that these matters did not concern me. Moreover, that Rascher had rendered services to research and that I did not understand anything about those things. I contradicted him and said it was quite impossible, and Himmler then said he would use the documents and turn the case over to the Higher SS Court. Of course, at that time I could not assume that Himmler knew about the details.


Q. Witness, to summarize your statements and the statement you have just made, I should like to ask you in conclusion whether you are today convinced that the mass of the members of the General SS feel that they have been deceived by their highest leaders, who have outrageously abused their conception of loyalty?

A. Yes. I found after discussing this with my comrades, and I talked with many comrades during my arrest, that the mass of those men were bitterly disappointed when they learned of these things. They cannot comprehend how Himmler could have brought them into contact with such unspeakable things.

I am not only speaking of myself, but of all the men of the SS, and these men kept faith to the very last for the sake of the Fatherland. But the leaders did not keep faith with us. We followed the leaders in good faith and were inspired by pure idealism.


Q. What did you mean by the statement that the Allgemeine SS had ceased to exist in the last part of the war?

A. Your Honour, I only wanted to make it clear that no General SS were left in the country; it was practically dissolved. For instance, there were 10,000 SS men in my district in peace time and at the end of 1944, when the Volkssturm was called up - that was the first time we made a check on how many men were still there - there were only 1,200 men left, and even these were no longer able to serve, as they had all been brought into work connected with the war. They were working on the railways, in the postal services, on the land. It had to all intents and purposes been dissolved. Even in the offices the Sturmbann, the Standarte, had been dissolved. The following is proof that nothing remained. When a guard of honour was required for a memorial service, it was not even possible to muster one as all the men were with the colours. For all practical purposes, it was dissolved. For our social work we had to call in women, old people and others who were not members of the SS at all but only sympathisers.

Q. Are you saying there were no SS men employed in any of the concentration camps in Germany?

A. No, I do not assert that. There had been members of the SS with the commandants' staffs from the beginning, but they no longer received orders from the General SS. Their names had been struck off our lists, because they were no longer under us. They had worked in the concentration camps, I should say since 1934, and led their own lives there. It would have to be ascertained how many people like that there were in all. In proportion to the entire membership of the SS it was. only a very small number. I do not know the exact number, but I do not think I am going too far when I say that at Dachau perhaps there were fifty or sixty men on the staff of the commandants.

Q. Are you saying there were fifty or sixty men at Dachau who had ceased to be members of the SS?

A. No, I do not really mean that. They still wore our uniform and were attached to the commandants of the concentration camp, but they actually had nothing in common with us for we hardly had any more contact with them. We only met them occasionally.

Q. Had you no responsibility for them?

A. No, I was not responsible.

[Page 280]

Q. Well, another question. Had the Waffen SS any contact with or any relation to the Allgemeine SS except through the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler?

A. Only at the outset when the Verfugungstruppe (Emergency Troops) were formed. That was the organization from which the Waffen SS originated. Men who wanted to become soldiers enlisted in the General SS. This is a topic on which a general of the Waffen SS will testify as he is more informed on this point than I am.

We were merely on friendly terms; we visited each other. To issue orders -

Q. After that first stage you agree that the Waffen SS, except through Himmler, had no connection with the General SS?

A. No, your Lordship, they had no connection. They wore the same uniform and politically they held the same views. But, as I have said already, I am not in a position to testify as I never served in the Waffen SS myself, but only received the rank of a Waffen SS general when the Prisoner-of-War Department was turned over to us.

Q. Do you know whether any of the Waffen SS were used in concentration camps?

A. There were special guard troops. In peace time they were the Death's Head Units and they wore their own insignia. Instead of the two lightning flashes which the Waffen SS had on their collars they had a death's head. They were, so to speak, another troop unit and because they were made up of young people they were replaced during the war by older men.

Q. Are you answering my question, which was, were any members of the Waffen SS used in concentration camps? You are telling me about the Totenkopf.

A. During the war those who were wounded, perhaps those members of the SS who were not fit for service at the front, were probably transferred to the guard units. Those who came out of hospital, I assume. If you can call that having a connection, then I suppose it is so.

Q. Turning to another matter, this Gauleiter and Reich Commissar for the Munich and South Bavarian district, how long had he been in office?

A. The Reich Defence Commissar Giesler, I assume that is the man you mean, your Honour, was in office from the summer of 1942 until the end.

Q. And you were in close contact with him, I suppose?

A. Yes, I had to take orders from him regarding matters of home defence. My official relationship, if I may put it that way, as I have already testified, consisted in my being Commissioner of Police and thus a Bavarian administration official, and as Giesler was the Reich Defence Commissar and also Bavarian Minister of the Interior, as such he was my superior.

Q. Was there any other superior police officer over you?

A. I did not understand the last part of the question. There seems to have been a technical disturbance.

Q. Was there any police officer in Munich over you?

A. No.

Q. What police had you under you?

A. As Commissioner of Police up to 1942 - I was no longer Commissioner of Police after 1942, I was replaced by someone else - up to 1942 I was in charge of the Schutzpolizei (Municipal Police). In every large city of Germany there was a commander of the Schutzpolizei who assisted the Commissioner of Police in the regulation of traffic and other tasks connected with the streets. In addition to that, there was at Police Headquarters a criminal police office. The Commissioners of Police had no contact with the political police, the Gestapo, or the Security Service. These were offices which worked independently.

Q. Was the Gestapo under you?

A. No.

Q. The SD?

A. No.

[Page 281]

Q. Well, then, what police were under you?

A. As Commissioner of Police -

Q. There is no answer coming through.

A. As Commissioner of Police I was responsible for the city of Munich and of all other

Q. Will you tell me what police there were under you?

A. Which police were subordinate to me? I have already stated as Commissioner of Police and only as Commissioner of Police I had command of the Schutzpolizei with about 1,700 officials and I could use them just as they were needed in the city. In addition, I had the supervision of the criminal police; I could give directions to them in my capacity as Commissioner of Police but not in my capacity as Higher SS and Police Leader. My other colleagues who were not Commissioners of Police, who were not higher officials, could only carry out inspections and make suggestions.

It is very hard to explain these matters but those are the facts.

THE PRESIDENT: That is all. The witness can retire.

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