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 6 of 10)

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

[Page 321]

Q. For the purposes of discipline and promotion, the Waffen SS came under Himmler, did it not?

A. Only in juridical matters. The appointing authority for military courts was the divisional commander, but sentences beyond a fixed maximum were subject to Himmler's confirmation.

Q. Listen to what the Leader of the SS, Himmler, says about the unity of his own organization, this armed SS. This is when he was addressing the officers of the Leibstandarte of Adolf Hitler:

"This armed SS will live only if our entire SS is alive, if the entire corps is actually an order which lives according to these laws and realizes that one part cannot exist without the other. You are not imaginable without the general SS; and the latter is not imaginable without you. The police is not imaginable without the SS, nor are we imaginable without this executive branch of the State which is in our hands."
That is an extract from 1918-PS.

Then he said again in 1943:

"It must so come about that this SS organization with all its branches, the general SS, which is the common basis of all of them, the Waffen SS, and the regular uniformed police, the Sipo, with the whole economic administration, schooling, ideological training, the whole question of kindred, is under the Tenth Reichsfuehrer SS one bloc, one body, one organization."
That is from Document 1919-PS.

Is not that a true picture of the SS?

A. He does not say it was so, he says it must be so, and it should be so, because he knew that unity did not exist.

Q. Then finally I want to put to you Hitler's ideas about the Waffen SS, Document D-665, Exhibit GB 280, which I referred to this morning.

[Page 322]

THE PRESIDENT: You did not give us the number for that document which you said took place in 1943.

MR. ELWYN JONES: That is the famous 1919-PS, my Lord, Exhibit USA 170.

Q. These are Hitler's ideas on the Waffen SS. He says that the Greater German Reich in its final form would not include within its structures anything but national entities who are from the very beginning well disposed towards the Reich. "It is therefore necessary to maintain outside the corps of the Reich a State military police capable of representing and imposing the authority of the Reich within the country in any situation."

Then he goes on, "Having returned home in the ranks of the Army, having proved themselves in the field, the units of the Waffen SS who possessed the authority to execute their tasks as State police - " That again is a picture of the unity of the SS by the leader of the Nazi State. Are you saying that he is wrong and that you were right in this matter?

A. No, those are his ideas for the future, ideas which had not yet been realised, but which he intended to have realised after the war.

MR. ELWYN JONES: I have no further questions.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I would like to put only a very few questions to this witness, as supplement to the detailed cross-examination which was conducted by my British colleague. I am submitting to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 520 -

THE PRESIDENT: Have you fresh matters to go into, or fresh documents to put in?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I have a few fresh documents which I would like to submit, and in connection therewith I have a few questions to put to the witness, only three or four questions.

I am submitting to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 52o a summarised statement of the Yugoslav State Commission, which deals especially with the actions of the SS Division "Prinz Eugen." Mr. Elwyn Jones has already quoted documents referring to this division. This is a summarised document.



Q. I would like the witness to pay attention to Pages 3, 4 and 5 of the document, a list of the persons annihilated during one single action; these are not only the names of single persons but the names of the families which were killed by this division. Now I would like the witness to follow me while I read two paragraphs from this voluminous document. I quote Page 5 of the Russian text:

"After the murder had been carried out, these SS groups went in the direction of the villages of Srijane, Bisko, Gornji, Delac and Putisic in order to continue their mass murder and arson - "
THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell us which page it is in the English?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Page 6, my Lord, Page 6. It is the fourth paragraph from the bottom, from the last paragraph. May I continue?



Q. "After the termination of the massacre, these SS troops proceeded in the direction of the villages Srijane, Bisko, Gornji, Delac and Putisic in order to continue their mass murder and arson. All the cattle they found in the burnt- down villages were taken with them.

"The entire series of these crimes, which were committed in March, 1944, in the district of Split, stands out distinctly, because it is the climax of a brutal

[Page 323]

cynicism, which till now was unknown in the history of criminality: The criminals locked women and children in stables filled with hay and straw, delivered speeches to them and thereafter burned them alive." I am asking you, witness, are not these crimes against humanity in sharp contradiction to your description of the SS?
A. Of both these paragraphs I can only say that they are concerned with the Balkans. More than that, I do not know. I do not know which units are meant here. I cannot comment on the document at all.

Q. I want to submit to you another document, a statement by one of your old acquaintances. I think you will remember the name August Schmidthuber. Do you remember the name of this general?

A. Yes, I know that name.

Q. Maybe you will recall that he commanded a battalion of the division "Das Reich" in the period when you were the commander of that division.

A. He was in the division before I commanded it, and that is why I remember him, but for a long time he served in the Balkans.

Q. I would like to quote only one sentence from the statement of this major general of the Waffen SS; you will be shown this passage at once. I submitted the original to the Tribunal. Please listen to this paragraph, Page 3 of the Russian text:

"An officer responsible for the entries in the war diary told me that the commander of my first battalion, Kasserer, had a large number of citizens locked up in a church in Krivaya Reka - I emphasize 'in a church' - and then ordered the church to be blown up. I do not know how many persons perished." Do you consider this action as a very serious crime against humanity or not?
A. This appears to be hearsay, it is not the testimony of an eyewitness.

Q. No, this is the statement of the division commander, who speaks about an official report of an officer responsible for the entries in the war diary. [NB. "Officer responsible for the entries in the war diary" was translated as "war correspondent."] It is a statement of a general of the Waffen SS, a first-hand statement and not hearsay.

A. This is a statement of a war correspondent who is apparently quoting a battalion commander. But I cannot comment on this, because I was not there, and this division was never under my command.

Q. Perhaps you can comment on the following document. I would like to show you USSR 513. Did I understand you correctly yesterday when you asserted that the SS troops did not murder hostages?

A. Yes, and moreover, I said that to my knowledge the divisions which were under my command did not even take hostages.

Q. I will read three sentences of a proclamation of Sturmbannfuehrer Breimaier, who was commanding a battalion of the "Prinz Eugen" division. Please follow me:

"On the 3rd of November, 1943, around 20.00 hours, a German soldier on the Valika Street in Sinj was ambushed and killed. Since, despite all efforts, the culprit has not been found and the population has not supported us in this matter, 24 civilian persons will be shot and one hanged. The sentence will be carried out on 5th November, 1943, at 5.30 hours.

Signed, Breimaier, SS Sturmbannfuehrer and Battalion Commander."

I omit what follows, it is of no importance. Is this not a typical example of hostage shooting carried out by the Waffen SS?

A. I am hearing the name Breimaier for the first time. I do not know whether these people were summarily tried beforehand. If this account here is correct, then he was not entitled to give this order.

Q. Very well. Perhaps I will succeed in convincing you by photographic evidence. Will you show the witness photograph No. 7 showing two decapitations?

[Page 324]

With the permission of the Tribunal I will read a very brief extract from the statement of the State Commission of Yugoslavia. The original which we have certified will be submitted to the Tribunal. It is now being submitted to the witness. Will you listen under what conditions these persons were beheaded?
"On 9th June, 1944, and on the following days the Waffen SS from Trieste committed atrocities and crimes against the Slovene population in the Slovene coastal area, as we have already stated above.''
I omit the next two sentences, which are cumulative.
"On that day Hitler's criminals captured two soldiers of the Yugoslav Liberation Army and the Slovene Partisan battalions. They brought them to Razorie, where they mutilated their faces with bayonets, put out their eyes and then asked them if now they could see their comrade Tito. Thereupon they called the peasants together and beheaded the two victims before Sedej's house. They then placed the heads on a table. Later, after a battle, the photographs were removed from a fallen German. From this it can be seen that they confirm the above described incident, namely the crime of bloodthirsty German executioners in Razorie."
Do you not consider these acts as a typical example of crimes against humanity?

A. If they were perpetrated by men of the Waffen SS, they are crimes, but that is not proved here, and moreover, the deeds of only one of thirty-five divisions in the Balkans would then be generalised as typical of the whole corps of the Waffen SS.

Q. Then I will show you an original German document which is Exhibit USSR 133, and which is a letter of information from the German High Command to the Italian High Command. I will quote only two sentences. You stated yesterday that the Waffen SS did not kill prisoners. Did I understand you correctly?

A. Yes.

Q. I will then ask you to listen to two sentences quoted from a German document. First, at the beginning of the page:

"The western group of the SS Division is near Ripac in front of barricades; which are being removed."
I omit two sentences, and continue:
"As a result of the successful engagement, twenty-three dead and thirty-four wounded and more than 100 enemy dead have been counted."
Please pay attention to the following words:
"Forty-seven captured soldiers have been shot, 363 provisionally apprehended."
Do you not think that when a letter of information, sent from one command to another, officially states that prisoners were shot, this is a very cruel example of what became a custom of the Waffen SS troops?

A. This is a statement of a first lieutenant on crimes which an SS detachment is supposed to have committed; but no details are mentioned of the unit to which it belonged. I cannot comment on this.

Q. I believe that the number of forty-seven soldiers shot is concrete evidence. Are you of a different opinion?

A. I have no proof that men of the Waffen SS did this.

Q. Then please answer a few other questions. Do you know where in the territory of the USSR the third SS Tank Corps was engaged?

A. The third tank corps? The third? Is that a corps, a Panzer corps? I believe it was used in the southern sector.

Q. No, it was engaged in Estonia. Do you know General Steiner?

A. Yes, the commanding general was General Steiner.

Q. Do you know where the "Totenkopf" division was engaged?

A. Yes, we discussed that today.

[Page 325]

Q. It was engaged at Demiansk, Pavlovsk and other districts of the Novgorod region, is that not right?

A. Did you say Demiansk? Did I hear that correctly?

Q. Yes.

A. Yes, one division was there.

Q. That division was commanded by Major-General Eicke, is that not right?

A. Eicke? Eicke, yes, indeed.

Q. Do you know where the "Adolf Hitler" division was engaged?

A. Do you mean at the time when the "Totenkopf" division was at Demiansk? I believe it was also in the southern sector at Demiansk - I believe that was in 1942, or 1941.

Q. This division was commanded by General Simon, is that not right?

A. Simon was the successor of Eicke, yes. That is the same division.

Q. All right. Then will you tell me when did Obergruppenfuehrer Dietrich command this division? . Was that later?

A. No, he was in command until the summer of 1943.

Q. Do you know where the 134th SS Division was engaged?

A. We did not have such high numbers.

Q. And the 97th SS Division, " Golden Lily "?

A. That did not exist, either. We had at the most thirty- five to forty divisions.

Q. But the "Golden Lily" was an SS division. Is that right?

A. I hear that name for the first time. What is the name?

Q. "Golden Lily."

A. No, that is entirely new to me.

Q. And the storm brigade "Langemarck," did you ever hear of that name or not?

A. There was a battalion "Langemarck," which must also have been a part of the third Germanic Tank Corps.

Q. Do you know Sturmbannfuehrer Sehling?

A. I did not catch the name.

Q. Sehling.

A. No. No, I do not know him.

Q. And do you know Lt.-General Lueneberg?

A. Lingeberg, yes.

Q. No, Lueneberg.

A. Oh, yes, he was the Commander of the SS Police Division.

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