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-Sixth Day: Tuesday, 6th August, 1946
(Part 2 of 10)

[MR. ELWYN JONES continues his cross examination of Paul Hauser]

[Page 303]

MR. ELWYN JONES: If your Lordship pleases.


Q. The first document, D-419, is a report by a General of Artillery named Detail, dated 23rd November, 1939, with regard to the internal situation in the Warthegau, Western Poland, incorporated into the Reich as the document describes it.

I need not trouble you with the first page of the document, the report of 2nd December and the letter of 30th November, but if you read the letter of General Detail dated 23rd November, 1939, the second paragraph runs:

"The great work of construction in all spheres is not furthered by the intervention of SS formations which are given special racial political tasks and which are not subordinate to the Reichsgovernor in this. Here the tendency makes itself felt of interfering decisively in all spheres of administration beyond the framework of these tasks, and of forming a 'State within the State.'

This phenomenon does not fail to have its effect on the troops, who are indignant about the way the tasks are carried out and thereby generally become opposed to administration and Party.

I shall exclude the danger of serious differences by strict orders. The fact that this makes a serious demand on the discipline of the troops cannot be dismissed without further ado."

Then, the next paragraph:
"In almost all large towns, public shootings have been carried out by the aforementioned organizations, the selections varied enormously and were often incomprehensible, the executions frequently unjust.

In some districts all the Polish estate owners were arrested and interned with their families. Arrests were almost always accompanied by looting.

In the towns, evacuations were carried out, during which blocks of houses were cleared at random, the inhabitants loaded on to lorries at night and then taken to concentration camps. Here also looting was a constant accompanying phenomenon. The quartering and feeding in the camps was such that the Corps Chief Medical Officer feared the outbreak of epidemics which would be a danger to the troops.

In several towns actions against the Jews were carried out which turned into the most serious excesses. In Turck three SS cars under the leadership of a Higher SS Leader drove through the streets, on 30th October, 1939, while the people in the streets were hit on the heads at random with horse-whips and long whips. Amongst the victims were also people of German blood. Finally a number of Jews were driven into the synagogue; there they had to crawl in between the benches whilst singing, during which time they were continuously whipped by the SS men. They were then forced to take down their trousers in order to be hit on the bare behind.

[Page 304]

A Jew who out of fright had dirtied his trousers was forced to smear the excrement into the faces of the other Jews.

In Lodz it has become known confidentially that SS Oberfuehrer Melhorm has issued the following orders:

(1) From the 9th November no unemployment relief may any longer be paid to Poles and Jews, only forced labour is paid for. (This measure has already been confirmed.)

(2) From 9th November, Jews and Poles will be excluded from the distribution of ration foodstuffs and coal.

(3) Unrest and incidents are to be created by provocation in order to facilitate the carrying out of the racial political work."

The rest of the document I need not trouble you with.

That is an insight into the activities of the SS in Poland in November, 1939.

The next German document is the Document D-578.

MR. ELWYN JONES: My Lord, my attention has been drawn to another sentence in Document D-419, to which I should like to draw the Tribunal's attention, the last paragraph but one:

"As the military commander of Posen has already reported to the High Command of the Army, the men feel very strongly about the disproportion between their pay and the many times higher daily rate of pay of other formations."
Document D-578 is a report by a German Brigade Commander of the 1st Mountain Brigade, Colonel Pericic. It is dated 26th September, 1943. This document, my Lord, will be Exhibit GB 553. It is a report on the activities of the SS units in the area of Popovaca in Bosnia. I only want to trouble you with the first two paragraphs:
"On 16th September, 1943, an SS unit of 80 men marched from Popovaca to Osekovo for the compulsory purchase of cattle. I was not notified by anybody about the arrival of this unit in the technical operational area of the 1st Mountain Brigade and about the activity of this unit in the area, for which I alone am responsible.

A short time after their arrival in Osekovo this unit was attacked by partisans. Under the pressure of the numerically superior partisans, this unit had to retreat in the direction of the railway station, which they succeeded in reaching, but they had four men seriously and several lightly wounded, among them the unit commander. One man missing, and they also lost an armoured car. The unit commander then reported from Popovaca by telephone that when he had to retreat, he had killed all persons who were in the open because he had no chance to distinguish between the loyal population and the partisans. He himself said that he killed about 100 persons in this incident."

Now I want to put in some documents from the victims of some of these atrocities, first from the Yugoslav Delegation, the Document D-945.


Q. Witness, you appreciate that the Prinz Eugen Division was a division of the Waffen SS, do you not?

A. (No response.)

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, did you hear that question?


Q. Witness, I asked you -

A. Yes; this division belonged to the Waffen SS.

MR. ELWYN JONES: Document D-945, my Lord, will be Exhibit GB 554. It is an extract from a report to the Yugoslav State Commission for Ascertaining the Crimes of the Occupiers and their Accomplices. I want to read the second and third paragraphs:

[Page 305]

"In accordance with the order of the commander of the 118th German division, an SS battalion of the 'Prinz Eugen' Division and a battalion of the 'Teufel' Division under the command of the German Lieutenant-Colonial Dietsche carried out on 27th March, 1944, and on the following days a 'purge action' from Sinj in the direction of various villages whose names are set out.

On 28th March this SS battalion overran the villages of Otok Cornji, Ruda and Dolac Dolnji one after the other and carried out horrible massacres, destructions by fire and looting. They murdered on a single day in the three above-named Dalmatian villages 834 people - women and children as well as grown men - set on fire 500 houses and looted everything there was to be looted. They removed rings, watches and other valuables from the dead bodies. The mass slaughter was carried out in all the villages in the same horrible manner. The German soldiers gathered women, children and men in one place and they opened fire on the crowd with machine guns, threw bombs at them, looted their property and set them on fire. In the house Milanevic-Trapo 45 burned bodies were found. In another house in the same village of Otok 22 unburned corpses were found in a pile. In the village of Ruda they collected all the people in one place and killed all of them. Those who happened not to be collected were killed when they were found. Not even the smallest babies at their mothers' breasts were spared. In some places the victims were soaked in petrol and set on fire. They also killed those who offered them hospitality out of fear. They also killed those people who were forced to follow them to carry their ammunition and other things. According to the evidence of reliable witnesses, the massacres were prepared beforehand, and this must have been the case as the above mentioned villages gave no reason whatsoever previous to the 'purge action' for any kind of reprisals ..."

That report is signed by the President of the State Commission, Dr. Dusan Nedeljkovic, University professor.

Then the Document D-940, which will be Exhibit GB 555, which is another extract from the Yugoslav State Commission report signed by the same President of the State Commission, Dr. Dusan Nedeljkovic, on the crimes of the 7th SS Division, "Prinz Eugen," in Crna Gora (Montenegro); it reads:

"The various German divisions operating in the area of occupied Yugoslavia marked their path by traces of devastation and annihilation of the peaceful population which will testify to the criminal character of the German conduct of the war for many years to come. The operations of the German divisions were in reality punitive expeditions. They destroyed and burnt down whole villages and exterminated the civil population in a barbarous manner, without any military necessity whatsoever.

The 7th SS Division, 'Prinz Eugen,' is famed for its cruelty."

Then I go on to the next paragraph:
"Wherever it passed - through Serbia, through Bosnia and Herzegovina, through Lika and Banija or through Dalmatia - everywhere it left behind scenes of conflagration and devastation and the bodies of innocent men, women and children who had been burnt in the houses.

At the end of May, 1943, the division 'Prinz Eugen' came to Montenegro to the area of Niksic in order to take part in the fifth enemy offensive in conjunction with the Italian troops. This offensive was called the 'Black Offensive' by the German occupying forces. Proceeding from Herzegovina, parts of the division fell upon the peaceful villages of the Niksic district.

Immediately after its invasion, this formation, opening fire with all its arms, began to commit outrageous crimes on the peaceful villages for no reason at all. Everything they came across they burnt down, they murdered and pillaged. The officers and men of the SS division 'Prinz Eugen' com-

[Page 306]

mitted crimes of an outrageous cruelty on this occasion. The victims were shot, slaughtered and tortured, or burnt to death in burning houses. Where a victim was found not in his house but on the road or in the fields some distance away, he was murdered and burnt there. Infants with their mothers, pregnant women and frail old people were also murdered. In short, every civilian met with by these troops in these villages was murdered. In many cases, whole families who, not expecting such treatment or lacking the time for escape, had remained quietly 1n their homes were annihilated and murdered. Whole families were thrown into burning houses in many cases and thus burnt.

It has been established from the investigations entered upon that 121 persons, mostly women, and including 30 persons aged 60-92 years and 29 children of ages ranging from 6 months to 14 years, were executed on this occasion in the horrible manner narrated above.

The villages" - and then follows the list of the villages - "were burnt down and razed to the ground."

Then it accounts for the destruction of furniture. Besides this the German soldiers drove all the cattle away from the villages and plundered jewels and money before burning these villages. Then over on the next page:
"For all of these most serious war crimes those responsible besides the actual culprits-the members of the SS division 'Prinz Eugen' - are all superior and all subordinate commanders as the persons issuing and transmitting the orders for murder and devastation.

Among others the following war criminals are known: SS- Gruppenfuehrer and Lieutenant-General of the Waffen SS Phleps, Divisional Commander, Major-General of the Waffen SS von Oberkamp, Commander of the XIII Regiment, later Divisional Commander, Major-General Schmidthuber, Commander of the XIV Regiment, later Divisional Commander, SS Standartenfuehrer Bachmann, SS Sturmbannfuehrer Diltsche, the Commander of the Italian 16th Regiment" - and then there follow the names of about another ten high-ranking German SS regimental and other commanders.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, should you not ask whether they are Waffen SS?


Q. Those men, witness, were members of the Waffen SS, were they not? Just look at the names.

A. I know some of these names. They were leaders in the Waffen SS.

Q. Let us take them in turn: Phleps, Divisional Commander?

A. Yes.

Q. He was a Lieutenant-General like yourself; was he not one of your colleagues in the Waffen SS?

A. Yes.

Q. Lieut.-General of the Waffen SS von Oberkamp Ritter Karl ... he was an SS, was he not?

A. I know the next two names: Schmidthuber and Diltsche. The rest of the names I do not know.

Q. But you do not deny from the description of them that they were officers in the Waffen SS?

A. I would assume so, even though I do not know the origin of this report. These are most likely reports which originated in an oral manner and were put, together somehow.

Q. I will not trouble you with the value of the reports as documents, witness. That is a matter for the Tribunal.

Now I want you to listen to documents which I am putting in on behalf of the Polish Delegation, again relating to the SS.

[Page 307]

The first series of documents relates to the shooting of hostages on the command of SS functionaries and by SS men. The first is Document 4041-PS, which will be Exhibit GB 556, which consists of 31 posters for the years 1943 to 1944, signed by the Chief of the SS and Police in Warsaw, or in some cases by the Commander of the Security Police and of the SD for Warsaw, announcing the killing of hostages.

MR. ELWYN JONES: The Tribunal will see that in those grim records of murder there are listed varying numbers of the victims of the Nazi occupation. In Poster No. 25, for instance, on Page 16, there is a list of 270 shot hostages.

Poster 29, Page 20, there are 200 shot hostages; Poster 31, Page 26, there are 100 hostages. These SS shootings were certainly not an original SS conception. I hand in the two documents, 4038-PS and 4039-PS, which are -

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Elwyn Jones, I think you should ask the witness whether ... or put it to him, whether there is any connection between the Waffen SS and this document.

MR. ELWYN JONES: If your Lordship pleases.

THE WITNESS: Unfortunately I have an English copy before me. I am not completely conversant with the English language and could not follow the question, but I gather that these are all measures which were taken in Warsaw. Just as in the case of the first document which dealt with the Warthegau, the Waffen SS had nothing to do with Warsaw. These were definitely things -

THE PRESIDENT: Wait until you are given the proper copy.

MR. ELWYN JONES,: I am not suggesting, naturally, my Lord, that all the documents I am putting in relate only to the Waffen SS branch of the SS organization. The whole prosecution's case on the SS is that there was a unity between the various sections of the SS.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but you should give him the opportunity of making his point if he wishes to.

MR. ELWYN JONES: Yes, your Lordship.


Q. Have you had an opportunity of looking at those posters now, witness?

A. I have seen that the signatures are only those of SS and Police Leaders, who had nothing to do with the Waffen SS, as I have already stated earlier today.

The same applies to the incidents in the Warthegau where, in November of 1939 there were no units of the Waffen SS. Documents 3 and 4 are the only ones that apply to the Waffen SS where they mention the "Prinz Eugen" SS Division. I cannot check the data on that since I have never been to the Balkans.

THE PRESIDENT: Was the "Teufel" Division also Waffen SS? Was it Keitel's division?

THE WITNESS: No. There never was a "Teufel" Division.


Q. You say there never was a "Teufel" Division in Yugoslavia?

A. Not in the Waffen SS, no.

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