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-Eighth Day: Thursday, 8th August, 1946
(Part 3 of 6)

[DR. PELCKMANN continues his direct examination of Georg Konrad Morgen]

[Page 394]

Q. In all these investigations, witness, were you in danger of your life?

A. It was clear that the discovery of these horrible crimes was extremely unpleasant to those responsible for them. I knew that a human life meant nothing to these people and that they were ready for anything. As proof, I may cite the following: After I had arrested Grabner, the head of the political section in Auschwitz, and the investigating commission -

THE PRESIDENT: You are not forgetting that you said you were going to take forty-five minutes with this witness, are you, Dr. Pelckmann?

DR. PELCKMANN: No, your Lordship, I have not forgotten, and I regret exceedingly that it is taking longer than I expected, but I believe that I owe the Tribunal this explanation of these facts.

THE PRESIDENT: It seems of very little importance whether this man was in danger of his life or not.

DR. PELCKMANN: From the point of view of the defence, your Lordship, I am of a different opinion, since, for the conditions and the possibilities of opposing this system and for (1) the decision of the Tribunal of 13th March; and (2) compulsion and order, it is of decisive importance.

THE PRESIDENT: Go on, Dr. Pelckmann. The Tribunal does not think it is important.

THE WITNESS: May I add one more sentence on that subject: The investigating commission of the Reich Criminal Police Office at Auschwitz was quartered in barracks, and after it worked with success for some time, unknown persons at night destroyed the whole barracks by fire with all the documents. The investigations in Auschwitz were interrupted and made difficult for some time. You may see from that how ruthless was the opposition to us. I, myself, received enough warnings and threats, but whether I was actually in danger of my life I cannot say.


Q. Did the directing personnel of the concentration camp at Auschwitz in way justify the assumption that they knew of these exterminations? I emphasize again - if I understood you correctly - the concentration camp Auschwitz, wit its many labour camps, had nothing to do with and was separate from the extermination camp?

A. As I have already said, Hoess was simultaneously commandant of Auschwitz and Monowitz, he is to be considered the directing personnel chief apart from the Commander of the Monowitz troops. I dealt only with these two and these two knew about it.

Q. Did you speak to the doctor of the concentration camp Auschwitz?

A. Yes. When I arrived, the doctor showed me the mortality figures at the time he took over. He pointed out with enthusiasm how since his transfer to

[Page 395]

Auschwitz these huge figures had gone down precipitately through extensive hygienic measures and changes. With that he came to Grabner. Grabner had wanted him to kill pregnant Polish women. The doctor had refused, since it was irreconcilable with his professional duties. Then Grabner had said that he did not realize the importance of his, Grabner's, tasks. The doctor did not give in, and a quarrel arose which was carried on before the commandant, and neither Hoess not [sic] Grawitz said anything. Thus the doctor at the time when I met him by accident was in a troubled state of mind and said, "What shall I do?" I said, "What you did, absolute refusal, is quite right and tomorrow I will arrest Grabner."

THE PRESIDENT: What does this have to do with the SS unless the doctor was in the SS? Perhaps he was.

DR. PELCKMANN: It is well known that the doctors were SS doctors, and the witness is describing how an SS doctor in this concentration camp Auschwitz opposed the suggestion of Grabner. He is describing that as a typical case.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, the Tribunal thinks you have been quite long enough over this witness. You are going into matters too much in detail.


Q. You said previously that you had reported to the various agencies and named three of them, I believe. Please describe how Nebe reacted. What was Breithaupt's attitude? What did Kaltenbrunner and Muller say? What was Pohl's attitude, and how did the Reich Doctor Grawitz react?

A. First I reported to my immediate superior, SS Gruppenfuehrer Nebe, as chief of the RKPA. Nebe was an unexcitable man, but I could see that his hair literally stood on end when I made my report. He was absolutely silent. Then he said that I must immediately report this matter to Kaltenbrunner. The Chief of the Hauptamt SS Courts, Obergruppenfuehrer Breithaupt, also became very much excited. He said that he would immediately go to see Himmler and report this to him and attempt to have a personal interview with Himmler arranged for me. The Reich doctor SS did not know what to say. Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, however, took another attitude. Previously, or about the same time, I had had the commandant of the Concentration Camp Herzogenbusch arrested; he had caused the death of ten women through punishment he meted out. When I reported this to Pohl, he said this was a "bagatelle." He said, "What do the lives of ten women matter in view of the thousands of German women dying every night in the air raids?"

Q. Please be more brief on the others.

A. After I had already reported to Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrunner about the actual crimes - the killings which I discovered, were about six months later - a conversation took place in the presence of Nebe, Kaltenbrunner and Muller. This discussion was extraordinarily one-sided. Kaltenbrunner and Nebe were absolutely silent, while Muller, white with rage, fulminated against me and did not give me a chance to speak. When I looked at him calmly, he suddenly jumped up and rushed out of the room and left me alone, while the other two turned away from me. In the afternoon I went to see Muller again and personally told him my point of view once more, but Muller was still absolutely against it.

DR. PELCKMANN: Very well, did you -

THE PRESIDENT: What was the date of this conversation with Kaltenbrunner?

THE WITNESS: That was immediately after the charge was raised against Grabner. I assume in July or August, 1944.

Q. Did you report these things to other circles of the SS?

A. No. I wanted to inform and win over those people to my point of view, those who really had something to say. Nothing else counted. In addition, I was bound by Basic Order No. 1, concerning secrecy on State affairs, and could only

[Page 396]

approach the chief of the main offices personally. Any mistake I made in contacting other offices would have had serious results for me, would have given my enemies a pretext and thus have delayed the investigation.

THE PRESIDENT: Doctor Pelckmann, he said he did not report it. Surely that is sufficient. We do not want to know more about it. He did not report. We are not trying the witness.

DR. PELCKMANN: Pardon, I believe it is a mistake, if I understood your Lordship correctly. He said he did report.

THE PRESIDENT: He said he made no other report, as I understood it, except this that he has spoken of.

Q. Witness, will you comment on that?

A. That is true. Apart from the chief of the main office of the SS, no one else was informed.

Q. Did you not consider it your duty to inform the public or to clear your conscience somehow, to cry "murder"?

A. I would have needed access to technical means for that - the Press and radio - which I did not have. If I had screamed it from the roof-tops, no one would have believed me, because this system was beyond human imagination. I would have been locked up as insane.

Q. The camp at Dachau was here described as an extermination camp by the prosecution and by certain witnesses. Is that true?

A. I believe that from my investigation from May to July, 1944, I knew the concentration camp Dachau rather well. I must say that I had the opposite impression. The concentration camp Dachau was always considered a very good camp, a rest camp, among the prisoners, and I actually did gain this impression.

Q. Did you see the internal arrangements, the hospital, and so forth?

A. I examined all these facilities carefully, and I must say the hospital was in excellent order. I went through all the wards. There was no noticeable overcrowding, and remarkably enough the number of medical instruments which were at the service of the prisoners was astonishing. Prisoners with special professional abilities were there, too.

Q. Very well. You want to say that conditions were good. Then you contradict the testimony of the witness Doctor Blaha, which was made the subject of evidence here. Do you know his testimony?

A. I read the testimony of Doctor Blaha in the Press, and here I had the opportunity to look through the record of the trial. I must say that this testimony amazes me. I am of the opinion that Blaha, from his own knowledge, cannot make such statements. It is not true that prisoners in a concentration camp can move about freely and have access to the different sections and installations.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks he can say that he disagrees with the evidence of Blaha, but not that Blaha was not telling the truth. He disagrees, he said it. We think you might get on. How much more time do you anticipate that you will take.

DR. PELCKMANN: Five minutes, your Lordship.

Q. You were just about to say, witness, why you did not agree with the testimony of Blaha?

THE PRESIDENT: He has given his own evidence about the matter, and he says he is in contradiction with Blaha. We do not want further details about it.

DR. PELCKMANN: Mr. President, if I understood correctly, it is for the witness to give credible testimony. If he does not say that to such and such points of the testimony of Blaha he has such and such an objection, the prosecution can say

[Page 397]

he did not comment on it. That is my point. Please instruct me, your Lordship, if I am mistaken.

THE PRESIDENT: He has given his account of the camp at Dachau. The Tribunal has before it the evidence and testimony of Blaha. The Tribunal can see for itself if the evidence is inconsistent. That is sufficient.

DR. PELCKMANN: I attempted to give the reasons, but if the Tribunal does not wish to go into it further, I will withdraw the question.

Q. I will go on to the next question which is of importance to your credibility. Did you give this testimony once before as you have given it here?

A. Yes. At the time of the collapse I was chief justice in Breslau. When I later came to Germany, I heard the CIC was looking for me on account of my knowledge about concentration camps. I reported to the CIC Headquarters Mannheim-Seckenheim, 7th Army, and said I was ready to help to clear up the question of the crimes. I gave my testimony as I have attempted to do today. I went to the CIC Headquarters, Oberursel, and after I had given my testimony I was put in a bunker in Dachau, together with the accused people I had previously arrested myself.

Q. Very well. Do you know the document "SS Dachau" which I submitted to the Tribunal yesterday, and which I should like to designate as Exhibit SS 4? Do you know this document? Answer yes or no.

A. Yes.

Q. On Page 46, there is the testimony of a Mrs. E. H. Was this testimony made before you as the investigating judge?

A. Yes, this was a Mrs. Eleanore Hodis, a prisoner in Auschwitz; I questioned her under oath.

Q. And did you examine the document and make certain this was the evidence which the woman gave? Yes or no.

A. Yes.

Q. When was that?

A. In the autumn of 1944.

Q. The testimony is against Hoess?

A. Yes.

Q. Were proceedings then instituted against Hoess?

A. Yes. The testimony was submitted to Hoess in the original.

Q. The testimony concerns conditions in Auschwitz. Is that true?

A. Yes.

Q. It is not true that it concerns the situation in Dachau?

A. No.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will take a recess.

(A recess was taken).

DR. MERKEL: Mr. President, I should like to be permitted to put three brief questions to this witness, concerning non- participation and ignorance on the part of the Gestapo as far as the mass extermination is concerned.



Q. Witness, if I understood you correctly, the crimes of Kriminalkommissar Wirth in Lublin were discovered because of a report of the Security Police in Lublin.

A. Yes.

Q. So, did the Security Police in Lublin participate in these crimes in any way?

A. No. As I saw it that was not the case.

Q. The witness Best stated the camps at Treblinka and Maidanek were under the supervision of the Security Police. Is that correct?

A. I know nothing about that. Wirth explained that he had four extermination camps. I believe the name Treblinka was mentioned in that connection.

[Page 398]

Q. According to your conviction, this camp as well was under Wirth?

A. I assumed that.

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