The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Testimony of Walter Huppenkothen (Part 2 of 2)

(7): As far as I know, the only reason why the offices were so scattered was that there was no possibility of housing them all together. I cannot confirm that there was any connection between the accommodation of Section IVB4 and its position.

(8): It is true that Mueller generally dealt directly with the Heads of Sections - in other words without the participation of the Group or Department Chief, so that in such cases the Group or Department Chief concerned would only be able to find out from the Section Heads concerned what Mueller had decided, or what was involved at all. It was Mueller's opinion that the intermediate appointments of Group or Department Heads between him and the Section Heads - this had been done without his agreement - impeded the proper running of official business. On various occasions, he said that he would have preferred for nobody at all to be in an intermediate position between him and the Section Heads. It was his nature to do everything himself wherever possible. This was particularly true of his special field of interest. As far as I was aware, this field was combatting Communism. He had worked in this field in the Bavarian criminal investigation service already after the First World War.

(9) When in the affidavit I made at the time, Prosecution Document 874, I said that the Accused's Section in Department IV was in a special position (Sonderstellung), I said by way of explanation that I would rather speak of a particular position (besondere Stellung). Unlike most of the other Section Heads, the Accused was not a civil servant, but was attached to the Department only as a member of the SS. That was probably because the Security Service was an SS organization and not part of the civil service.

In fact, the Accused was only part of Group IVB in formal terms. He had a special position in it, insofar as he had no dealings with the Group Leader but reported directly to the Department Chief, Mueller. I am unable to state whether he also reported directly to the Chief of the Head Office or to Himmler himself. I assume, however, that Mueller was thus not passed over. It seems to me that he was in this particular position only with regard to Mueller. However, I cannot say anything certain on this matter.

On being questioned by the Prosecution:

If it is true that the Accused had the right to report directly to Heydrich or Kaltenbrunner or to Himmler, thereby passing over Mueller, I would certainly deduce from that that he was in an extraordinary position (aussergewoehnlich).

I cannot say that I have any basis for concluding that the Accused's position was equivalent to that of Mueller. I saw him sitting in Mueller's anteroom far too often, when I appeared there in order to report, to be able to assume that he had any such position. I did not notice his having any special rights of reporting, as against the other section heads - for instance, a right of urgent admission. People were allowed to see Mueller in their order of appearance. I did not see the Accused to be in an exceptional position (Ausnahmestellung) in this respect. I can even state positively that he was not in fact in an exceptional position. Neither can I state whether, because he was a member of the SS and because of his career in this organization, the Accused had particularly favourable opportunities for access to his superiors. I know nothing about this. I am also not familiar with his career in the SS. I myself received my rank in the SS as an equivalent to that I held as a civil servant. Until then I had only been a member of the ranks or with the rank of non-commissioned officer (Unterscharführer).

(10): It is true that Mueller repeatedly assigned work on specific cases to Sections which functionally were not competent for them, or to individuals without the knowledge of the Specialist Officer responsible. This occurred in my Group as well as in others. The group leaders found such practices unpleasant, and they made representations to him about it. Such instances normally concerned his particular hobbyhorse of fighting Communism, but not only that. I do not know whether the Accused was also passed over as Specialist Officer in this fashion.

(11): In particular, I am not aware of any special assignments which Mueller gave to the Accused's deputy, SS Sturmbannführer Guenther.

(12): Mueller often insisted on deciding himself on matters of varying degrees of importance. Sometimes they were inconsequential routine matters. This would interfere time and again with the proper running of departments, and other Group Leaders also complained about this.

I also found that he was not particularly keen on taking decisions himself, and in non-routine matters would often obtain instructions for himself from his superiors in many cases. He was exaggeratedly cautious vis-a-vis his superiors. You could say he was over-anxious. The result of his behaviour was a considerable fettering of the departments under his control. Until I became aware of this idiosyncrasy of his, it also happened that when I had taken decisions on my own he would remonstrate with me. He would reproach me for having decided on my own initiative, rather than criticizing the substance of my decision.

I do not know whether - and if so to what extent - this behaviour was true of his attitude to the Accused's Section as well. There were general complaints about it, but I cannot remember whether the Accused also complained.

Frequently Mueller would not accept the decisions submitted to him as they stood, but would modify them or refer to a higher authority.

Mueller was extremely hard-working; he spent long hours in his office and also took large numbers of files home with him. He could also work very efficiently. It was difficult to get to him in order to report.

(13): It is true that the tasks of the Gestapo were laid down by law, and that there was a large number of ordinances and decrees describing with great accuracy the manner and form of its activities. The decrees in particular went into very great detail. It took a lot of time to become familiar with all these provisions, but, on the other hand, these led to a considerable degree of specialization. I am unable to say whether there were special decrees for the Accused's Section.

The individual section heads were not permitted to exceed the limits set by the decrees. At least the permission of the department chief would have been required for that.

(14): If in my affidavit, document No. 874, page 6, I said that, apart from his Section, the Accused was in charge of an office in Prague, the only thing I remember today is that I know that he often had business in Prague. I am unable to say whether the Accused had this position at the same time as his Section, or whether he was in charge of this office earlier. I cannot today say whether the office in Prague was the Central Office for Jewish Emigration. I know there was such an office. I know that the Accused was often away. However, I know nothing about this having been in connection with any business in branch offices.

(15): I know nothing as to whether the Accused received any orders from Himmler himself. The same applies also to Heydrich and Kaltenbrunner.

The witness was then asked the questions relating to the specific subject of proof, on page one of the request for legal assistance. In this connection he stated:

(1): On this question I can only state what appears in my testimony so far and my sworn affidavit No. 874, and I am unable to give any further details.

(2): I was not particularly familiar with the conditions existing in the Accused's Section. In this respect I am only able to draw conclusions from the conditions existing in Department IV, about which I heard in my own Group, and from the conversations of other group leaders and heads of sections. I was not in any way close to the Accused, and I also hardly had any official contacts with him. The only time I remember getting to know him slightly better was when we travelled together - I believe to Prague. If I am not mistaken, we were going to Heydrich's funeral. I travelled in the Accused's official car, because I had no car of my own.

The witness was then shown the questions of the Prosecution on page three of the request for legal assistance.

In this connection he stated:

(1): It was not customary for members of Department IV to live in their office buildings. This must have occurred after bombing raids on Berlin, with the consequent destruction of dwellings.

(2): I believe I remember that the Accused lived in the office building of Group IVB, and that at least part of his staff also lived there. I am unable to say what was the particular reason for that. I remember that the family of the Accused lived in Vienna or in Prague.

(3): There were no actual social gatherings of the personnel of Department IV in the residence of the department chief. However, on rare occasions Mueller invited the group leaders and some heads of sections to his residence for consultation and also entertained them there.

(4): This has already been answered. It is possible that the Accused also participated in such gatherings. He certainly did not attend every such gathering. I took part in such gatherings something like half a dozen times. However, I really only vaguely remember the precise figure.

(5): Mostly organizational questions were discussed.

(6): I am unable to say whether there were any special regulations for secrecy about the activities of the Accused's Section, since I myself did not work in that Section. I do not remember there being any special regulations for the other members of the Head Office with regard to maintaining secrecy about this Section. I can only add as an example that in the Research Office, which inter alia listened to foreign news, there were special provisions on secrecy, which all staff of this office had to observe. I do not know whether there were similar conditions in the Accused's Section.

I am unable to say why, unlike other personnel of the Security Service, the Accused was assigned specifically to Department IV.

(8): I cannot say anything about this. The only thing I seem to remember is the Accused holding the rank of Obersturmbannführer. I am not aware of his being promoted to this rank when I was already with the Head Office. As far as I remember, Hartel and Roth were Sturmbannführer. It was not at all unusual for a head of section holding a higher rank to be subordinate to a group leader of lower rank. Hartel was not a civil servant either, but Roth was.

(9): Today, I am unable to say who were the Accused's predecessors. I seem to remember that they were civil servants. I also no longer remember exactly what the duties of these predecessors were. I also can no longer remember when the Accused was transferred to the office.

(10): This has already been answered.

(11): The only reasons for the Accused's Section being transferred to Group IVA were organizational measures. The external reason was that to some extent the Security Police took over military counter-espionage.

The incorporation took place as from 1 April or 1 May 1944 and was due to the replacement of Admiral Canaris. The group leader of IVA was SS Oberführer and Police Colonel Panzinger. I do not believe that the Accused was functionally subordinate to Panziger. I assume that nothing at all changed as far as his position vis-a-vis the group leader was concerned.

(12): In February 1940 I was appointed Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in the Lublin District, a post which I held until July 1941, i.e., when I was transferred to the Head Office for Reich Security.

(13): The structure of this office was somewhat analogous to that of the Head Office for Security. Thus it also had its equivalent Department IV. Its head was Detective Superintendent Schmeer.

(14): Who was the head of Group IVB, I cannot say right now. I assume that it was a Commissioner of Police (Kriminalkommissar).

(15): In Lublin there was no actual Jewish Affairs section as such, as the SS and Police Leader Globotschnik* {*The reference is to Odilo Globocnik} considered dealing with these matters as his own preserve. It is true that in my office there was an official whose duties were to deal with Jewish affairs. However, there was no section as such. When I was there, it was not called IVB4 either.

This official in question dealt with very minor matters, certainly not with such matters as are relevant to this trial. For example, he had to maintain contact with the Judenrat, which existed by virtue of Jewish self-government. He also had to deal with, or pass on, any notices received in this context. He had nothing to do with resettlement. As long as I was in Lublin, at least, there was no ghetto there.

(16): I do not remember specific instructions from the Head Office for Reich Security with reference to Jewish affairs. At that time, resettlement and employment of labour were dealt with solely by the SS and Police Leader, who had set up a special office to deal with them. I am unable to say what orders he received, if any, from the Head Office for Reich Security.

(17): The replies to 15 and 16 make this inapplicable.

My transfer from Lublin to the Head Office for Reich Security was not due to any initiative of mine. It is true that I had been very interested in counter-espionage matters, and Berlin was also aware of this interest.

The background had been a certain amount of tension between Globotschnik and myself which resulted, inter alia, from the treatment of Jews.

I had objected to Globotschnik's extending his competence and encroaching on mine. I also disagreed with his measures in substance, particularly those measures for dealing with Jews.

I first went to see him in person, and when I was not successful, I submitted a report to my superiors.

When Heydrich came to Lublin, he had a discussion with Globotschnik. I was not present for most of this discussion. The discussion concerned the tension between us. I made my complaints to Heydrich in person, and I also gave him documents.

My transfer cannot have been directly related to this, as it did not come about for a year. However, my relationship with Globotschnik remained strained. Heydrich had decided in favour of Globotschnik. So I was unable to do anything more.

My representations about Globotschnik's behaviour did not do me any harm professionally.

My transfer to the Head Office for Reich Security was probably not as a direct result of this state of affairs.

The witness was also shown his affidavit, Document No. 874, for further perusal. He declared:

"The statements contained in this document are correct, together with the additions and explanations contained in my testimony today. I reconfirm their correctness."

Read out, approved, signed
(-) Walter Huppenkothen

The witness took the oath.

One copy each of the Record was handed over to Advocate Wechtenbruck and Mr. Shimron

(-) Stamp of the Court of First Instance, Cologne
(-) (Meller) Amtsgerichtsrat (Judge of First Instance)
(-) (Weise) Justizangestellte (Court Official)

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