The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/10

Q. This means you are trying to say that the use of your
signature was in fact a misuse?

A. Muller did not have authority to use it.

Q. Was it known to you that protective custody was possible
at all, that it was admissible and that it has been carried
out very often?

A. I discussed the concept 'protective custody' with Himmler
as early as 1942. But I think even before that, on two
occasions, I had correspondence about this concept, once
with him and once with Thierack; I consider that protective
custody, as it was handled in the German Reich, was only in
a small number of cases a necessity in the interests of the
State, or rather a measure which was justified by the war.
Apart from that, I had declared myself against, and
protested against this concept and against the application
of any protective custody as a matter of principle, and have
often used profound legal historical arguments in support of
my opposition. On several occasions, I had reported on that
subject to Himmler and also to Hitler. In a meeting of
public prosecutors, I think it was in 1944, I publicly
voiced my views against it, since I have always been of the
opinion that a man's liberty must be counted among his
highest privileges and that only a judgement of a court,
firmly rooted in a constitution, should be allowed to
infringe on that liberty or to deprive him of it.

Q. I am now discussing with you the reasons stated in such
orders for protective custody. The following among others
were given as reasons: activities hostile to

                                                  [Page 250]

the Reich; spreading of atrocity rumours; assault; refusal
to work; religious propaganda.

Please, will you express your views on the reasons for these
protective custody orders? Are they to be approved of?

A. No. I consider these reasons for protective custody to be
wrong. I think I had better explain in detail. My attitude
is due to the fact that all the offences which have been
enumerated here might just as well have been dealt with by
due process of law in the State courts. For that reason, I
consider protective custody to be wrong if ordered for the
reasons mentioned.

Q. So that, if I understand you rightly I can summarise your
attitude as follows: You want to say that you had no
knowledge of the protective custody orders; that you had no
authority to issue them and that you did not sign them, but
since these protective custody orders were issued within the
Amt IV, you ought to have had knowledge of them. Is this
summary correct or is it not?

A. It is correct.

Q. We now come to another charge preferred against you. The
prosecution claims that you were the brain behind or
accomplice in the crimes committed when you, as the Chief of
the Security Police and the S.D., had civilians murdered and
ill-treated by the so-called "Einsatzgruppen" (Einsatz
groups). I am going to quote a few sentences from the
testimony given by the witness Ohlendorf here in this court-
room on 3rd January, 1946 - Ohlendorf's testimony
incriminates you. I wish to have your comment on it.
Ohlendorf says with reference to the Einsatzgruppen:

  "After his entry into service Kaltenbrunner had to
  concern himself with these questions and consequently
  must have known the background of the Einsatzgruppen
  which were under his authority."

He goes on to say with reference to the valuables taken away
from the executed persons, that these had been sent to the
Reich Ministry of Finance or to the R.S.H.A. and he finally
states that the officer personnel for these groups were
recruited from the leading personnel of the State Police and
only in a small percentage from the S.D.

What do you have to say in answer to the question whether or
not you knew of the existence and the significance of these

A. I had no idea of the existence of these Einsatz groups or
commandos as described by Ohlendorf. Later on I heard that
they existed, but this was many months later. With regard to
this point I want to say the following. It is known to the
Tribunal from Ohlendorf's testimony and from the decrees of
Hitler and Himmler which have been discussed here, that
orders for the killing of people had been given. These
groups had never been reorganised during the time when I was
in office. They had been active up to that time but were
dissolved before I took over the office, or else had been
put under different commands. I don't know whether the
witness Ohlendorf has stated here just when he returned from
his Einsatz group.

Q. 1942.

A. That is before I came into office. The Einsatz commandos
must later on have come under the charge of the Senior S.S.
and Police Leaders in the occupied territories, or, what is
even more probable, under the charge of the chief of the
anti-partisan units. I cannot answer your question
precisely, since I had, owing to my being imprisoned for one
year, no possibility at my disposal for re-examining the
organisational scheme. I think you also asked me whether it
is known to me that valuables, which had been taken away
from executed persons, had been sent to my office or the
Reich Ministry of Finance. I know nothing of such shipments
but I do know that Himmler had given an order to everybody -
not only to the Security Police but also to other
organisations in the occupied territories, be it the
Municipal Police or the anti-partisan units, or those
sections of the Armed

                                                  [Page 251]

Forces which were under his command - that all such property
was to be surrendered to the Reich Ministry of Finance.

Q. Were these Einsatz groups due to an order from Hitler or
to an order from the R.S.H.A.?

A. They could only have been due to an order from Hitler.

Q. You just said that in the course of time you heard about
the existence and significance of these groups. Can you say
exactly on which date you gained that knowledge?

A. I assume that this was at the time when I had my first
audience with Hitler or it may have been on the following
day when I reported to Himmler in November, 1943.

Q. 1943?

A. Yes.

Q. If you had knowledge at that time of the Einsatz groups
and their significance then the question arises what your,
attitude about them was and, in case you condemned them,
what you did to have them abolished? Did you have a
possibility to do so or did you not?

A. I said before that an Einsatz commando was never set up
under my direction or orders. The existence and the previous
activities of such commandos became known to me late in the
fall of 1943 and I knew that I would have to resist this
misuse of the men who were under the R.S.H.A. I think on
13th September, 1943, I saw Hitler, on the occasion of a
visit of Mussolini, who had just been liberated. However, my
attempt to talk to him failed, because of this State visit.
Consequently, in November - after Himmler had put it off
repeatedly - I had to go again to Headquarters to report
officially on my activities up to that time. And on that
occasion I talked to the Fuehrer about what I had learned
concerning the Einsatz commandos and also I had the first
opportunity to approach him about the entire Jewish problem,
and about the orders given by him and by Himmler against the
Jews which had also become known to me at that time.
However, I would like to make a detailed statement on this
subject, if you will go through that problem in detail with
me. I should like to add that the Einsatz commandos no
longer came into the picture so far as I was concerned,
because the entire personnel was transferred to the anti-
partisan units, I believe on exactly the same day that I
entered my office in Berlin. I can remember distinctly that
von dem Bach-Zelewski was appointed Chief of the anti-
guerrilla campaign on 30th January, 1943. This may also be
the reason for the fact that I did not see any reports from
the Einsatz commandos themselves.

Q. I am now turning to Document L-51, Exhibit USA 521. This
is an extremely incriminating document, on which I want to
have your comment.

Zutter is the adjutant of the camp commander of Mauthausen.
He reports  regarding a ...

A. Is this photostat copy the same?

Q. Yes, it is the same.

He is reporting regarding an execution order, referring to
twelve or fifteen American parachutists who were captured in

Will you please look through the document and state to the
Tribunal whether you issued this order, and whether you had
authority to do so?

A. Yes. You discussed this same document with me only
yesterday. Therefore it is known to me. I declare that this
incident and this order never did come to my knowledge until
this document was put before me, or until its presentation
by the interrogator.

Q. Do you know Ziereis?

A. As I have already said once, I have never had authority
to sign on my own initiative a so-called order for
execution, that is to say a death sentence. Apart from
Hitler, nobody in the whole Reich had such authority except
Himmler and the Reich Minister of Justice.

                                                  [Page 252]

Q. With regard to this point, I wish to mention that the
prosecution has also presented execution orders which bore
the signature of Muller. Do you want to say something about

A. If an execution order had Muller's signature, Muller can
have signed it only on the strength of an order from
Himmler, or on the strength of a sentence submitted by a

Q. One would suggest that if Muller had authority to issue
execution orders, then you ought to have had such authority
to a much higher degree? Is that right?

A. No, that is not so, because Himmler never gave me such
power; also the set-up of the chain of command - the State
police remained under Himmler after Heydrich's death even
after I took office - would have contradicted that.

Q. The incident referred to in this document is of such
importance, particularly since foreign parachutists are
involved, that one must suppose that it was known in the
high offices in Berlin, that means also in the R.S.H.A. Did
you receive no knowledge of the matter afterwards?

A. I wish to state definitely that the incident did not come
to my knowledge.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you finished with Document L-51?

DR. KAUFFMANN: No, I am still concerned with Document L-51,
but I have nearly done with it.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, ought you not to refer him to the
particular incident which is mentioned towards the end of
the document, where it says "Concerning the American
military mission which landed behind the German front in the
Slovakian or Hungarian area in January, 1945"? It goes on,
then, to say that the, I think it was Adjutant, of the Camp
said: "Now Kaltenbrunner has given the permission for the
execution. This letter was secret and had the signature,
'signed, Kaltenbrunner."'

I think you should put that to him.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Yes, certainly. He knows the document, I
believe he knows every single word of it - but I will put it
to him again.


It says here:

  "I estimate the number of those persons captured to have
  been twelve to fifteen. They were wearing a uniform which
  was either American or Canadian, brown-green in colour,
  and a beret. Eight to ten days after their arrival, the
  order for their execution was received by means of a
  radio message, or a teletype. Standartenfuehrer Ziereis -
  that is the Camp Commandant - came to see me in my office
  and said: 'Now, Kaltenbrunner has approved of the
  execution.' The letter was secret, and had the signature,
  'signed, Kaltenbrunner.'
  These men were then shot and their valuables were given
  to me by Oberscharfuehrer Niedermeyer."

Would you, very briefly, go into this?

A. It is completely out of the question that this incident
could ever have been brought to my knowledge, or that it
happened with my sanction. This is not only plainly a crime
against the laws of warfare, but it is in particular an
action which would and indeed was bound to produce the most
serious foreign political consequences.

Certainly, in such a proceeding it is out of the question
that either Muller, or even I myself, as his superior, could
have taken action. In such a case thorough discussions must
definitely have taken place previously between Himmler
himself and the Fuehrer.

It is to be assumed, furthermore, that, quite definitely,
some one - maybe the competent section for International Law
- would have been consulted on the subject first, and that
such an action, of course, would have been decreed either

                                                  [Page 253]

by the Fuehrer or by Himmler. In any case, it would need an
order from one of these two persons. However, even that is
unknown to me.

If, therefore, this man Zutter relates here that the order
bore my signature, then this can only have been an order
which, as I have described before, bore my name falsely
since I never had authority to issue an order for execution.
Therefore, the signature should have been "Himmler" or, "by
Himmler's order, Muller."

Q. So that you attribute this signature to a misuse?

A. No, I believe that it does not concern my signature at
all here, but that Ziereis should have said "Himmler." It
cannot be assumed that Miller would have signed his or my
name in such a way.

Q. We are now coming to another subject. I am referring now
to Document 1063-B, Exhibit USA 492, which is a letter from
the R.S.H.A., dated 26th July, 1943. It has the signature,
"Signed, Dr. Kaltenbrunner," and the letter is addressed to
all Senior S.S. and Police-Leaders. It refers to the
establishment of correctional labour camps

Will you please look through the letter? The prosecution
charges you with the establishment of correctional labour
camps. Please explain what your attitude really was, and
state whether that letter originated from you.

A. With regard to this point I have to make the following
statement. I conclude from the fact that my name is
typewritten that this order had not been shown to me before
it went out. Otherwise, I would have signed it in

Q. Do you know of a Himmler order?

A. As far as I can remember, I learned of it only later on.

Q. What is a correctional labour camp? Is it identical with
a concentration camp?

A. No, correctional labour camps were camps in which men
were put - either Germans, who had dodged the compulsory
labour service in spite of repeated reminders, or foreign
workers who had left their place of work without permission,
and had been arrested; or workers who were caught during
round-ups on trains, railway stations and roads, and who had
no permanent labour contract. Confinement to such
correctional labour camps covered a period of fourteen to
fifty-six days.

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