The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/07

Q. It is very difficult to follow these embarrassing parts
of the document, you know.

A. Yes, I have found the place.

Q. I will read the last sentence, in order to refresh your
memory as to these murders.

  "Hundreds of people in Zuman and its vicinity were shot
  down with the aid of an entire police company because
  they had Communist sympathies. None of the Ukrainians
  believed this and the Germans were also puzzled by this
  argument because, even if this was done for the security
  of the country, it would at the same time have been
  necessary to execute elements infected by Communism in
  other regions. On the contrary, it was stated all over
  the country, and in no uncertain terms, that those men
  were ruth-

                                                  [Page 169]
  lessly shot down without trial simply because the
  projected evacuation was too expensive and could not
  possibly be carried out in the short time at their
  disposal; and because, in any case, there was not enough
  space available at the new spot where the evacuees were
  to be settled."

Do you mean to say that after reading that report you did
not know that Koch was a murderer?

A. On receiving that report I did everything in my power.
The report was immediately submitted to the Fuehrer and if
it is true I admit it was murder; but I do not remember this
report just now. If he killed these people, he is a
murderer, but I am not Herr Koch's judge.

Rosenberg complained very bitterly about this matter and it
was immediately passed on to the Fuehrer.

Q. Rosenberg continued in office with this man as one of his
commissars, did he not?
A. The Fuehrer asked Bormann and myself to decide; and
Bormann tried to console Rosenberg. Rosenberg tried to
resign repeatedly but was not able to do so.

Q. I want to turn to another territory so that you can give
further information to the Court as to the conditions in the
occupied territories, because what I am putting to you
generally, you see, is that the battles that were going on
there were battles between ruthless men struggling for
power, and that there was totally absent from this scene of
Nazi control any person who was pressing for human decency,
pressing for human pity. You were not pressing for either of
those things, were you?

A. I did not hear; what would I not initiate? There are
continual disturbances on this channel. Will you please
repeat the question?

Q. You, in the situation in which you found yourself, were
not acting on the side of human decency in this regime, were

A. I was always on the side of human decency and pity. I
have always supported such things. I have saved the lives of
perhaps one to two hundred thousand Jews.

Q. All you did was to forward annihilation reports to the
Hammers and Barman's and Hitless, was that not so?

A. I never transmitted annihilation orders.

Q. There is one matter which went through your hands
relating to the defendant Keitel and the ruthless policy
that Terboven was carrying out against the Norwegian people.
I draw your attention to the document -

A. I only asked Herr Keitel to define his position and I
expressed to the Fuehrer my objections to the shooting of
hostages. My subordinates can vouch for that.
Q. I just want to draw your attention to Document 871-PS,
which will be Exhibit GB 322, which is a letter from Keitel
to yourself and is related to the report by Terboven in
Document 870-PS, which my learned friend Sir David Maxwell
Fyfe put in in connection with the defendant Keitel.

Now, you will see, that that letter, 871-PS, is a letter
from Keitel to yourself and, it says in the first paragraph:

  "In connection with the problem of checking sabotage in
  Norway I agree with the view of the Reich Commissar for
  occupied Norwegian territory to the extent that I expect
  results from reprisals only if they are carried out
  ruthlessly and if Reich Commissar Terboven is authorised
  to have the offenders shot."

A. I submitted that to the Fuehrer expressing at the same
time my views on the shooting of hostages; and my
representations to the Fuehrer were successful.

Q. You were successful in what respect?

A. The Fuehrer in a discussion, in which Terboven
participated, expressly stated that the shooting of hostages
was not to take place on the scale he and some others
wanted. Hostages were to be taken only from the offenders'
intimate circle.

                                                  [Page 170]

Q. So the effect of your intervention was that the murders
did not take place on the scale that Terboven wanted to
commit them?

A. Yes. Terboven wanted hostages shot on a large scale but
the Fuehrer did not approve of that and I objected to the
shooting of hostages. The gentlemen of the Reich Chancellery
know that and can vouch for it.

Q. And as a result

A. Yes, it is true that I received this letter. Matters took
the following course. First I received Terboven's request
and then I wrote to Field Marshal Keitel and told him that I
intended to submit Terboven's request to the Fuehrer - I
asked him to comment on it. Then the teletype came from
Keitel and the request was submitted to the Fuehrer.

Terboven's request was watered down. The Fuehrer took the
position that the most important thing was to apprehend the
miscreants, and hostages were to be taken only in case of
necessity. There was no mention of shooting them.

Q. Witness, you know perfectly well that over all the
territory where Nazi power ruled hostages were taken,
fathers and mothers were killed for the actions of their
sons against the Nazi regime. Are you saying you do not know

A. No, I did not know that for I was not responsible for
supervising the people of the occupied territories, and I
have never been there myself.

Q. But you were receiving regular reports from there and you
were the link between the ministers of the occupied
territories and Hitler. Just a minute - you were the link
between the - now will you please listen to my question?

You were the link between the ministers of the occupied
territories and Hitler, were you not?

A. Not in all cases. A great many of them went through
Bormann, especially Terboven. My subordinates in the
Chancellery can vouch for that. Terboven constantly avoided
sending his reports through me and sent them through

Q. You were working hand in hand -

A. Of course some of them went through me.

Q. You were working hand in glove with Bormann, you know,
were you not?

A. Yes, I had to work with him.

Q. You had to work with him? You were the head of the Reich

A. In order to submit proposals to the Fuehrer I had to work
through Bormann. I had to work in close connection with him
in order to have the sanction of the Party in countless
instances where the sanction of the Party was prescribed,
and for that reason I was forced to work closely with

Q. Did you find it distasteful to work with Bormann?

A. I did not find it distasteful, It was my duty to work
with him.

Q. Of course I am suggesting to you, you see, that the power
which you and Bormann exercised was very great.

A. Yes; it was also exercised in a very one-sided manner;
for Bormann could see the Fuehrer every day and I could only
see him once in six or eight weeks. Bormann passed on to me
the Fuehrer's decision and had personal interviews with the
Fuehrer, but I did not.

Q. You were seeking to the very end to maintain your
collaboration with Bormann, were you not?

A. I had to work with Bormann; that was the only way in
which certain things could be brought to the Fuehrer's
notice at all. During these last eight months of the
Fuehrer's regime I had no interviews with him and I could
only accomplish through Bormann the things which I did

Q. You wrote to Bormann, you remember, as late as 1st
January, 1945, a letter, Document D-753, Exhibit GB 323.

A. Yes, I remember. The letter contains - I can tell you
that from memory without reading it - my complaints about
the fact that I was no longer admitted to the Fuehrer's
presence and said that this state of affairs could not go on
any longer.

                                                  [Page 171]

Q. And you say in that letter in the last paragraph but one:

  "For our former harmonious co-operation has for a long
  time been a thorn in the flesh of various persons who
  would like to play us off one against the other."

That is the last paragraph but one of your letter, right at
the end of it.

A. Where is the place?

Q. The last paragraph but one of your letter, the last
sentence but two.

A. The sentence before the last.

Q. The one before ...

A. "In conclusion I would like to say-" is that the
paragraph you mean?

Q. The sentence before that.

  "For our former harmonious co-operation - "

A. Yes, but I would like to add that at the end I repeated
my wish for our cordial personal relations and I repeat that
it was a New Year's letter, and when I write to someone
wishing him luck for the New Year, I cannot write that
things went badly the year before; so in order to maintain
cordial relations I say that everything went well.

Q. You were not seeking to shift responsibility in this
matter to Bormann. You were the link between the occupied
territories and Hitler?

A. I was; but not exclusively, only for matters of secondary
importance. The Reich Commissars were directly responsible
to the Fuehrer.

Q. I want to ask you some questions now, not about terror
which existed in the territory that Germany conquered but
about the terror in Germany itself. You have testified as to
the defendant Frick that, as Minister of the Interior, he
was in effect a man without power, a man of straw. That is
the rough meaning of your evidence, isn't it?

A. I said that he had no influence on the police.

Q. Did you not know that appeals against arrests in
concentration camps went to Frick?

A. Yes, many cases were referred to Frick.

Q. Do you know whether he exercised his power in any
substantial way for the victims who were in those camps? Did
you not hear my question?

A. I cannot hear it all; I can hear about half of what you
say. Other voices keep on interfering on my channel. Perhaps
I had better take the earphones off.

Q. No, put them on. Just try again, just put them on, will
you? Put your earphones on, will you, and just try
patiently, you see, a little patience.

Is it not a fact that Frick was the person to whom petitions
for release from concentration camps went?

A. Frick received such petitions, of course; but a great
many petitions of that kind came to me too; and I took care
of them. I treated them as petitions to the Fuehrer. They
were given careful attention and I frequently secured the
release of certain people in this way.

Q. But what did Frick do in his capacity as having authority
in these matters?

A. Frick often passed on such complaints to me to be
reported to the Fuehrer. It is impossible for me to know
what he did with all the other complaints.

Q. I want you to listen to an affidavit by a Dr. Sidney
Mendel, a Doctor of Law, which is Document 3601-PS, Exhibit
GB 324.

He says, that he is a Doctor of Law and that until the end
of 1938 he was a member of the Berlin Bar and admitted as an
attorney-at-law of the German courts. His legal residence is
now 88520 Elmhurst Avenue, Elmhurst, State of New York.

In his capacity as attorney he handled numerous
concentration camp cases during the years 1933-8. He
remembers distinctly that in the years 1934-5, with regard
to several cases, he approached Frick's Reich Ministry of
the Interior as the

                                                  [Page 172]

agency superior to the Gestapo for the release of
concentration camp inmates. Frick's Ministry had special
control functions over concentration camps.

The deponent further states that he informed the Ministry
about illegal arrests, beatings, tortures, mistreatment of
inmates, but the Ministry declined to release and upheld the
decisions of the Gestapo.

That was Frick's attitude towards these matters, wasn't it?

A. I really do not know what steps Frick took with regard to
complaints received. You will have to ask Dr. Frick.

Q. But you have testified on his behalf, you see, on behalf
of Frick. If you now say you know nothing about him, then I
shall not trouble you further with the case of the defendant
Frick; but you gave evidence for him, you know.

A. I could only speak generally on his attitude to the
police but I cannot possibly know what steps he took in
regard to letters which he received.

Q. You said that in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
Frick again was a man without power. That was the effect of
your evidence, wasn't it?

A. I said then that he was mainly decorative. That does not
mean that he received no petitions nor requests. But I do
not know what he thought fit to do.

Q. You say he was a decorative personality. That is a matter
of taste. But one of his functions, at any rate, was that he
was the person to decide whether death sentences in his
territory were carried out or not. That's not a small matter
for the human beings in the Protectorate of Bohemia and
Moravia, you know.

A. Yes, please cancel the word "decorative." I mean, more
decorative than active, like the head of a State, for
instance, who usually deals with certain matters only. Frick
was in that position. He was the head of the German
organisation and had authority to remit sentences. That was
a very important matter, of course; I do not doubt it.

Q. You know perfectly well, witness, that it was within
Frick's power to reprieve the death sentences that were
being carried out in the territory of Bohemia and Moravia,
don't you?

A. Yes, certainly that was in his power; there is no doubt
about it.

Q. And I suggest to you that Frick neither exercised
clemency nor was influenced by moderation, but, on the
contrary, enforced brutal action against the victims of Nazi
administration in that unfortunate part of Europe.

A. Frick was empowered to use his own judgement in the
matter of remitting sentences. I do not know on what
principle he based his actions.

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