The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. I now come to Document 526-PS, Exhibit USA 502, which has
been used by the prosecution.

(Witness is handed document.)
This refers to the landing of an enemy cutter in Norway on
30th March, 1943. That report contains a sentence:

  "Fuehrer order carried out by S.D."?

The signature on that document is lacking. It is dated 10th
May, 1943. It is a secret command matter and the heading is

Please, will you make a statement regarding that sentence:

  "Fuehrer order carried out by S.D."?

A. The execution of such a Fuehrer order is unknown to me. I
want to point out that this note is obviously one made by a
military department regarding an event which took place
shortly after I had come into office but at a time before I
had come to Berlin. I could not have had knowledge of it at

Q. It says at the end of the document:

  "Armed Forces report dated 6th April, 1943."

It states further as follows:

  "In Northern Norway an enemy ship carrying sabotage
  troops was forced to fight when approaching the coast and
  was destroyed."

                                                  [Page 274]

Do you know anything about the connection of this army
report - as far as you knew of it at all - with the actual

A. No. Of course I read daily practically every incoming
army report. But from its composition I am unable to
determine any participation of any military agency within my

Q. I now turn to the next document, which has been held
against the defendant by the prosecution, L-37, Exhibit USA
506. This is the so-called "responsibility of relatives,"
that is to say, it refers to crimes committed against
relatives of the guilty persons. This document refers to a
letter from the commander of the Security Police to the S.D.
at Radom, dated 19th July, 1944, according to which male
relatives of saboteurs are to be shot and female relatives
to be sent to concentration camps.

What is your explanation to the Tribunal with reference to
that document and the whole matter?

The report commences with the words:

  "The Higher S.S. and Police Leader East has - "and so on
  and so forth, and then " - ordered" or "issued the
  following order."

The Higher Police Leader East is a department, which, as a
department in an occupied territory, is directly under the
jurisdiction of the Reichsleader S.S. and not under any
central department in Berlin. Therefore I could not have had
knowledge of that order. The police leaders in occupied
territories were immediately subordinate to Himmler.

Q. I now come to the next accusation of the prosecution. It
concerns the concentration camp at Dachau. A document exists
which has the number 3462-PS, it is Exhibit USA 528. It is a
statement by the Gaustabsamtleiter Gerdes.

The prosecution accuses the defendant of contemplating the
wiping out of the concentration camp at Dachau and its
adjoining camps at Muehldorf and Landsberg by bombs or
poison. I shall read a few sentences from that document.
They are on Page 2 of the German text, near the end of the

  "In December, 1944, or January, 1945, I was in the office
  of Gauleiter Giesler in Munich, Ludwig Street 28, and had
  the opportunity of learning about a secret order from
  Kaltenbrunner. Gauleiter Giesler received that order in
  my presence through a courier and, after I had been given
  permission to read it, it was destroyed in accordance
  with the remark on  the document: 'To be destroyed after
  cognisance has been taken.' The order, which was signed
  by Kaltenbrunner, was worded roughly as follows:
  'In agreement with the Reichsleader S.S. I have
  instructed all higher police departments that every
  German who participates in the future in the persecution
  and destruction of enemy airmen will remain unpunished.'
  Gielger told me that Kaltenbrunner was in constant
  contact with him since he was considerably worried over
  the attitude of foreign workers and particularly the
  inmates of the concentration camps at Dachau, Muhldorf
  and Landsberg, which were in the path of the approaching
  Allied Armies.
  On a Tuesday in the middle of April, 1945, I had a
  telephone call from the Gauleiter ordering me to keep
  myself available for a night conference. In the course of
  our conversation that evening Gauleiter Giesler disclosed
  the fact to me that Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrunner had
  given him instructions, in accordance with an order from
  the Fuehrer, that there should be made an immediate plan
  regarding the liquidation of the concentration camp at
  Dachau and the two Jewish work camps at Muhldorf and
  Landsberg. The instructions stated that these two Jewish
  work camps at Landsberg and Muhldorf were to be destroyed
  by the German Air Force, since the sites of those two
  camps had lately and repeatedly been affected by hostile
  bombing attacks. The action was given the camouflage name
  'Cloud A-1.'"

                                                  [Page 275]

A. May I say something to that?

Q. First please, do you know Gerdes?

A. I do not know Gerdes and I have never seen him.

Q. Do you know Giesler?

A. The last time I saw Giesler was in 1942, in September.

Q. Was an order of Hitler in existence regarding the
destruction of concentration camps?

A. No.

Q. Will you give a reasonable explanation regarding this

A. To give a reasonable explanation for that document is
almost humanly impossible, because from A to Z it is an
invention and a fake. I brand this document a complete and
utter lie coming from Gerdes, and I can only refer you to
the deposition supporting my statement by the Higher S.S.
and Police Leader who was the sole competent authority in
Bavaria, Count Eberstein, who himself calls Gerdes's
statement completely incredible. I would like to refute
these accusations in detail as follows:

He says:

  "On a Tuesday, in the middle of April, 1945, I received a
  call from the Gauleiter to be available for a night
  conference. He disclosed that he had received an
  instruction from Kaltenbrunner, in accordance with an
  order of the Fuehrer," and so on.

Nobody knew better in the Reich who was responsible for
concentration camps, and how he had to give an order, than
Hitler. He would never have given me such an order and he
could not have given it to me because I was, on Hitler's
personal instructions, in Austria from 28th March until 15th
April. As to the time from 10th April until 8th May, when I
was captured, including the few days when I was in Berlin, I
can state exactly just where I had been and what I had done,
so that the question of giving an order in this connection
is impossible. And, anyway, it must have happened earlier,
if the witness is talking about the middle of April, which
would mean that I would have had to talk to Hitler about
this before the middle of April, since otherwise Gerdes
couldn't have been asked to be available for a night
conference at that time.

The existence of a Jewish concentration camp in Dachau was
completely unknown to me, and I am asking you to recognise
the absurdity of my sponsoring in April of 1945 such an
order, when I had tried as recently as the previous month to
start discussions with the President of the International
Red Cross, Burckhardt, regarding the release and help to be
given to all Jews, and when I had made every effort to
arrange for him to look after the Jewish camps in person -
efforts which were successful.

Q. Did you have any possibility at all of exerting influence
on the German Air Force in this respect?

A. I could not have given the Air Force orders - I could
only have asked the Chief of the Air Force to give them. In
any case, of course, Cloud A-1 would have been turned down,
because you must realise that, at this time, when everyone
knew that the war had come to an end, the Air Force wouldn't
have lent its hand to a terrible crime.

Q. And now, with the permission of the Tribunal, and because
it is a terrible accusation, I am quoting a few more
sentences from this document, because the prosecution, too,
has read these sentences into the record. The document goes
on to say:

  " I was aware that I would never carry this order out." -
  This is Gerdes talking - "Since the action 'Cloud A-1'
  was supposed to have been carried out already couriers
  from Kaltenbrunner kept arriving, and I was supposed to
  have discussed the details of the Muhldorf and Landsberg
  action with the two district leaders (Kreisleiter)
  concerned. The couriers, who in most
                                                  [Page 276]
  cases were S.S. officers, mostly S.S. Untersturmfuehrers,
  made me read and initial brief and sharp orders. I was
  threatened with severe punishment, even execution, in
  case of disobedience. I could always excuse the failure
  to carry out the plan because of bad flying weather or
  lack of petrol or lack of bombs.
  Therefore, Kaltenbrunner ordered that the Jews should be
  marched from Landsberg to Dachau, so that they would be
  included in the extermination which was going on in
  Dachau, whereas the action at Muhldorf was to be carried
  out by the Gestapo. For the concentration camp Dachau
  Kaltenbrunner ordered the action 'Cloud Fire' which
  stipulated that the inmates of the concentration camps at
  Dachau, with the exception of the Aryan members of the
  Western Powers, were to be liquidated with poison.
  Gauleiter Giesler received that order directly from
  Kaltenbrunner and in my presence he discussed with the
  Health Officer, Dr. Harfeld, the procurement of the
  necessary amount of poison. Dr. Harfeld promised that the
  necessary quantity, in accordance with the order, would
  be obtained, and he received instructions to wait my
  further orders. Since I wished to prevent this action
  from being carried out in any event, I gave no further
  instructions to Dr. Harfeld. The inmates of the camp at
  Landsberg had hardly arrived at Dachau when a courier
  from Kaltenbrunner brought the order for the action
  'Cloud Fire' to be carried out. I prevented the execution
  of the two actions, 'Cloud A- 1' and 'Cloud Fire,' by
  telling Giesler that the front line was too near and to
  convey that reason to Kaltenbrunner.
  Kaltenbrunner gave written instructions to Dachau that
  all detainees who were members of the Western European
  Powers were to be loaded on lorries and transported to
  Switzerland, whereas the remaining inmates were to be
  marched afoot into the Oetztal territory (Tyrol), where
  their final liquidation was to be carried out in one way
  or the other."

Perhaps you can explain in a few words and without going
into detail whether or not this document contains the truth.

A. This document is completely untrue.

Q. It is completely untrue?

A. But, Doctor, I must have an opportunity to define my
views. I must be given an opportunity to clarify the

Q. You have already defined your attitude. If you have to
say anything important in addition to that, you can state it

A. The following appears to be important to me: According to
his statement, I must have had dozens of couriers during my
stay in Austria. I had two persons only with me: my driver
and my administrative adjutant. The latter's name was
Scheitler, and he had nothing to do with Intelligence and
Police. There were just the three of us, and so I had no
means of dispatching so many couriers. Secondly, as far as
Bavaria was concerned, there was no need for me to carry out
any preparations, not even under pressure from Himmler. Why?
Because, as far as Bavaria is concerned, plenipotentiary
powers were given to Obergruppenfuehrer Berger on the same
day as I was given plenipotentiary powers for Austria. So
that there was no reason for me to take such action.
Thirdly, I couldn't even have had in mind such insane orders
regarding a concentration camp when, at the same time, I was
ordering exactly the opposite. I'm thinking of Mauthausen. I
had given an order to Mauthausen that the camp was to be
completely handed over to the enemy. If you can put yourself
in Himmler's place, then this would have been completely
wrong, since the real criminals were in Mauthausen, whereas
the people in Dachau had nothing or little against them. So
that, even if you thought as Himmler - that the exact
opposite would have been necessary - from that point of
view, too, it is completely insane to accuse me of any such

Q. Finally, the prosecution holds you responsible for the
fact that you, as Chief of the Security Police and the S.D.,
tolerated the persecution of the Church, particu-

                                                  [Page 277]

larly the Catholic Church, by the Gestapo. I recall to you
in this connection that the Department B-2 of Amt IV was
concerned with education and Catholic confessional
questions; and Department I of Amt IV with political
Catholicism. Do you know anything regarding the fact that
within that department there was a two-fold policy regarding
the churches, a policy with a so-called "immediate goal" and
a "distant goal"? By "immediate goal" was meant that the
churches would not be allowed to regain a single inch of
ground; "distant goal" signified the final destruction of
the churches in Germany at the end of the war. What do you
know about these aims?

A. All I can say to these theoretical statements is that
they were completely unknown to me. The church policy of the
Reich, as I had to recognise in 1943, was different. In
1943, it was Hitler's policy to maintain a covert truce with
the churches, for the duration of the war at any rate; that
is, to refrain as much as possible from attacks and only to
proceed against individual misdemeanours by the clergy if
express authorisation had been forthcoming.

Q. May I interrupt you? I am asking you: Did you in the
spring of 1943 ...

A. Yes, I want to come to that.

Q.  . . . did you undertake anything with Hitler, and what
was the result?

A. Well, I just wanted again to give you a picture of the
state of affairs which I found. In spite of Hitler's policy,
I found that Bormann was actively continuing the fight
against the churches. Therefore as early as March, I wrote
to Hitler, and later verbally requested a full clarification
of the church policy. I asked him to alter it with a view to
effecting a rapprochement. Above all I wanted to bring about
a different policy toward the Vatican.

Q. I don't think there is any need for you to go into too
much detail.

A. But I was blocked; first of all, Himmler opposed the idea
to Hitler, and, secondly, I met with the strongest
resistance from Bormann, who even went so far as to
undermine completely the reputation of the German
representative to the Vatican, Weizsaecker, by sending a man
to shadow him.

Q. That's enough about that.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Mr. President, do you want me to go on? It is
now five o'clock.

THE PRESIDENT: If you can finish in a short time, we would
like you to go on. How long are you going to be?

DR. KAUFFMANN: I would say it would take me about another
hour, since I must discuss those documents which have been
submitted by the prosecution.

THE PRESIDENT: Before we adjourn, I will say that the
Tribunal will sit on Saturday in open session until one

(The Tribunal adjourned until 12th April, 1946, at 10.00 hours.)

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