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 6 of 6)

[MR. ELWYN JONES continues his cross examination of Wolfram Sievers]

[Page 405]

Q. Why were you suggesting that the blame should be passed on to the French? You knew there was murder in connection with this collection, did you not? You knew it perfectly well, witness.

A. I just said that I transmitted an inquiry from Professor Hirt; and that explains that I could not put an inquiry of my own in this form, for I as a layman could hake no opinion in this matter. I stated that this was an inquiry by Hirt which was transmitted by me.

Q. Were you able to carry out the suggestion of the de- fleshing of these bodies?

A. I cannot tell you anything about that for I cannot quite imagine how it was done.

Q. Happily, again there is a document which indicates the whole story. Just look at it because it is clear that you have no intention of telling the truth. Document No. 091, Exhibit GB 579. There are two following notes from Himmler's file. The first note, signed by SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Berg:

"On 12th October, 1944, I had a telephone conversation with SS Standartenfuehrer Sievers and asked him if the Strassburg skeleton collection had been completely dissolved as directed by SS Standartenfuehrer Baumert. SS Standartenfuehrer Sievers could not advise me on that matter since he had not as yet heard anything further from Professor Hirt. I told him that in case the dissolution had not yet been carried out, a certain part of the collection should be preserved. However, guarantee should be given that a complete dissolution could be made in time in case Strassburg should be in danger. SS Standartenfuehrer Sievers promised me that he would find out about it and let me know."
And then the next entry on 26th October, 1944, a note for Dr. Brandt:
"During his visit at the Operational HQ on 21st October, 1944, SS Standartenfuehrer Sievers told me that the collection in Strassburg had been completely dissolved in the meantime in conformance with the directive given him at the time. He is of the opinion that this arrangement is for the best in view of the whole situation."
A. The authenticity of my testimony can be seen from the remarks of the Hauptsturmfuehrer Berg, for he says "Standartenfuehrer Sievers could not advise

[Page 406]

me on that matter since he had not as yet heard anything further from Professor Hirt." So in every respect I was always dependent upon the statements, reports and proposals of Dr. Hirt. My own attitude in these matters did not play any role whatsoever. As I have already mentioned in the interrogations before the Commission, I was not responsible for any action taken nor could I prevent any action.

Q. You were the business manager in this scientific experiment in murder, were you not? That was your function? You were a vital cog in the machine of this "Ahnenerbe"?

A. It was by no means an essential part, as may be seen from the Commission findings. "Ahnenerbe" comprised more than fifty branches and had great research projects on a scientific basis in accord with its original intentions. It occupied itself with these projects so exclusively that these matters which, I think, were very unfortunately brought into relationship with it by Himmler, hardly played any part in it at all. In vain did I try to prevent this connection.

Q. You go as far as to admit that certain unfortunate matters did arise in connection with the work of the "Ahnenerbe," do you?

A. I never disputed that in the past.

Q. What was your connection with the experiments on human beings as regards poison gas or poisoned chemical "Lost," experiments on counter-agents for wounds caused by your preparation, "Lost"?

A. Professor Hirt developed a therapeutic treatment for the curing of "Lost" injuries. In the development of this method of therapy, he experimented on himself, an experiment which damaged his health, as can be seen from the documents submitted here now.

Q. Did he experiment on anyone other than himself?

A. Himmler was interested in these experiments and was quite excited when he heard that Hirt had done them on his own person; and in this connection he referred to the Fuehrer decree that in the case of such experiments volunteer from inmates or criminals who had been sentenced to death should be chosen. Thereupon Hirt, and only at Himmler's request, conducted controlled experiments on twenty persons, that is, when he had already ascertained from his own experiments that lasting injury would not occur. Himmler further pointed out, and this was his first contact with Hirt in the work, that it was much more important that animals should be procured for the experiments, for, at the outbreak of war the supply of these had diminished to such an extent that the necessary scientific work could no longer be carried out.

Q. Just a moment, witness. Can you not answer my questions without going into these lengthy speeches? Did you substitute human beings for animals for the purpose of these experiments?

A. You mean in connection with Professor Hirt?

Q. Certainly.

A. Yes, I just said that after the experiments on his own person he experimented on twenty people who reported voluntarily for this purpose.

Q. Did you write to Brandt in connection with the Lost" experiments, explaining certain difficulties that you were meeting with at the Natzweiler concentration camp?

A. I do not have the document before me.

Q. Do not worry yourself. Just try to answer my question. Do not worry whether you have the document before you. I appreciate it will be embarrassing if it is found. Just answer my question. Did you write to Brandt in connection with these "Lost" experiments, describing difficulties you were meeting with concentration camp?

A. I do not remember in detail what difficulties were involved. It may be that I wrote that.

[Page 407]

Q. Try to recollect what you wrote about in connection with these "Lost" experiments, will you?

A. Well, I can only mention now, as before, that these things came to me on the basis of notes and reports from Hirt and that I transmitted these matters without being able to recall them in detail, because these were single incidents among the vast amount of my work, so that I could no longer remember after this length of time.

Q. I appreciate the mass of work you were involved in. I have four or five other experiments in murder to draw your attention to. But just look at Document No. 092, Page 19 of your Lordship's document book, GB 58. That is a letter from Brandt to you. It is addressed to you, SS Standartenfuehrer Sievers, the Ahnenerbe Society, dated 3rd December, 1942. "I have your note of 3rd November, 1942, again in front of me today. At the time I could only speak to SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl very briefly. If I remember correctly, he even sent me a letter informing me that he would have the deficiencies which you described taken care of, but I did not have time to enumerate them in detail. I had just received your letter the same morning on which I went to see SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl. Therefore, it was impossible for me to read it beforehand. I only remembered what you had told me during our last conversation. If it should be necessary for me to take this matter up again, will you please let me know." Now, what were those deficiencies which you had described in your note to Pohl? Just try to remember them.

A. I cannot tell you what was involved in particular here. Please show me the note.

Q. Can you not recollect at all what the difficulty was? Was it connected with the payment for the prisoners to be experimented on?

A. I do not recall that.

Q. In any event, these experiments in connection with the "Lost" went on as far as April, 1944, did they not?

A. I cannot tell you that from memory.

Q. Try to recollect. Did they not go on until April, 1944? Just look at Document No. 015. You are being totally uncooperative. That would be Exhibit GB 581. That is another of your letters to the Reichsfuehrer SS. On Page 6 of your document book, my Lord. To the Reichsfuehrer SS Personal Staff: Department A. It is dated 11th April, 1944. Top secret. It is from you to Brandt. Subject: Fuehrer's order of 1st March, 1944.

"Dear Comrade Brandt. In accordance with orders, I got in touch with SS Brigadefuehrer Professor Dr. Brandt and informed him in Beelitz on 31st March about the research work conducted by SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Professor Dr. Hirt. On this occasion I handed to him the plan for the treatment of L.-injuries ..." That is "Lost" injuries, is it not, witness?
A. Yes.
Q. "... worked out by Professor Hirt, a copy of which I enclose for you for presentation to the Reichsfuehrer SS, if the occasion should arise. Professor Brandt tells me that he will be in Strassburg in the first week in April, and that he intends to discuss details with Professor Hirt then."
Now, you see that those experiments on human beings with this poison "Lost" went on right through to 1944, did they not?

A. No, it is not true that way. This letter refers to the following: Professor Brandt was made General Commissar for questions pertaining to fighting material. I received a copy of this report appointing him, with instructions that now, since his appointment had taken place, I should get Hirt to talk with Brandt. Hirt told me that he could not travel to Mr. Brandt at Beelitz just for that. Therefore, at the request of Hirt, I went to see Brandt.

[Page 408]

All right, witness. I want you to turn now to another aspect of your work, the Rascher experiments. You remember telling me that you had no insight into the Rascher experiments?

A. I stated that I had a general insight, but knew nothing of particulars.

Q. I want you to look now at your diary for the year 1944, the Ahnenerbe diary, Document 3546-PS. It has already been marked Exhibit GB 551. Your Lordship will find a few extracts from it at Page 29 of the document book. Witness, I have made, certain extracts from your diary, and it might be convenient for you to follow those extracts, and if you want to check them against your own diary, you will be able to do so. They show how in that year you were intimately connected with Rascher and all these other murderous activities. The first entry is for the 6th January, 1830 hours. SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Rascher. Paragraph (c) Letter from RFSS to Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl about assistance for scientific research work. Rooms for carrying through of freezing experiments. They were at Dachau, were they not?

A. Yes, they were to be carried through, but as I have already said in the Commission interrogations, this was not done. These are notes about a conversation with Rascher in which he was reporting on these matters.

Q. Witness, are you saying that the freezing experiments at Dachau were not carried through?

A. Rascher told me that he would not be able to carry through these experiments, that they would have to be carried through in a locality requiring constant extreme temperatures, and so these experiments did not take place.

Q. But you actually saw some of these experiments yourself being carried out, did you not, in Dachau? You were in Dachau from time to time?

A. I am afraid that there is some confusion here between the freezing experiments by the Luftwaffe and the freezing experiments which were to be carried out later on in connection with the extreme cold in the East. Here in the year 1944 we are concerned with the experiments in freezing

Q. Which are the freezing experiments that you used to watch?

A. I know only the freezing experiments carried on under the Luftwaffe.

Q. Did you see any of them being carried on?

A. I had the order to accompany Professor Hirt, who, together with Rascher, was to work on this problem and to arrive at a solution. I was present at one of those experiments.

Q. Now we will go to Document 3546-PS, a little further. I have selected some random entries from it to show your close association with this matter. "Twenty-third January, 1130 hours, Lecture to RFSS together with Obersturmbannfuehrer Dr. Brandt. (1) We shall receive the reports of Professor Schilling." Now, Professor Schilling is the man who has been sentenced to death for his malaria experiments at Dachau, is he not?

A. Yes.

Q. He was also part of your team of scientists, was he not?'

A. We had nothing, to do with Schilling at this lecture

Q. You only received his reports, that was all; was it?

A. That was the first time that the work of Schilling was mentioned to me at all. And Himmler explained at this meeting that Schilling had arrived at results on immunisation which attracted attention. This report was to be given to us so that the Entomology Institute could take cognizance of the things that Dr. Mar had done in malaria experiments with the anopheles mosquito.

Q., We will go on to the next entry in the diary, the 28th of January. Your own diary has a daily entry of all the details, but here is another extract: "Co-operation with Institute R, Dachau." That is Rascher's institute at Dachau, is it not?

A. Yes.

[Page 409]

Q. Then the 29th of January, "With Hauptsturmfuehrer Rascher and Dr. Pacholegg to Dahlem." Who was Dr. Pacholegg?

A. Dr. Pacholegg was an inmate whom Rascher was using to work with him.

Q. You know him quite well yourself, I take it?

A. I saw him perhaps two or three times.

Q. He was present at some of the experiments that you watched, was he not?

A. They concerned work on a styptic preparation, Polygal -

Q. Just answer my question. Dr. Pacholegg was present at some of the experiments which you watched, was he not?

A. He was a co-worker of Rascher's. Whether he was there all the time, I do not know.

Q. If you refuse to answer my question I shall not put it again. We will continue further in your diary. Second February, CA-Work experiments, First pictures of living cancer cells. 21. Protectional vaccination for spotted fever by Professor Haagen. The protectional vaccination for spotted fever in Natzweiler goes on with good results.

Your Lordship, I have about half an hour of cross- examination.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 9th August, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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