The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/13

Q. I am calling your attention to two paragraphs. We have
already covered 2, and now we will read 4:

  "To my knowledge no chief of office or any of the
  officials of the R.S.H.A. authorised to sign had the
  right to sign in any fundamental affairs of particular
  political significance without consent of the Chief of
  the Security Police - not even during his temporary
  absence. From my own experience I can furthermore declare
  that particularly the chief of Amt IV, Muller, was very
  cautious in signing documents concerning questions of a
  general nature and in some cases of greater importance,
  and that he put aside events of such nature in most cases
  for the return of the Chief of the Security Police,
  whereby, alas, often much time was lost.
  Signed: Kurt Lindow."

A. Yes. I would like to make two statements: First, this
assertion is completely contrary to the testimony of several
witnesses who spoke of the extraordinary authority and
independence exercised by Muller and testified to it.

Second, Lindow's statements are applicable to that period of
time in which Heydrich was active - that is, the time
between 1938 and 1940, in which Lindow could observe the
procedure, but not to the period in which Himmler gave
direct orders to Muller. That was Himmler's prerogative, for
my tasks were of such scope that it was almost impossible
for one man to handle the work that I did.

Q. I don't want to spend too much time on it now, defendant,
but the paragraphs

                                                  [Page 298]

which I read you conform to the testimony of Ohlendorf
before this Tribunal, do they not?

A. The testimony as given by Ohlendorf was shown to me
yesterday by my counsel, but his testimony leads us clearly
to see that any executive order, even for protective custody
- and he used the term "down to the last washerwoman" -
needed Himmler's signature, and that the latter could
delegate this authority only to Muller. He did add, however,
he did not know whether my authority suffered any such
restrictions and whether perhaps I might not have had such
powers, but he could not state that with certainty. And the
rest of his testimony contradicts the assumption that I had
such broad authority.

Q. We all know what Ohlendorf's testimony was. I merely want
to ask you if you accept it. You told us in the course of
interrogatories that you had the most contact with Ohlendorf
and that you would trust him to tell the truth before any of
your other associates, is that not correct?

A. I do not recall the last statement. The first statement,
that he was one of my chief collaborators, is justified and
is proved by the fact that he was chief of the intelligence
within Germany, which became a part of my Intelligence
Service. All domestic political reports - reports about all
German spheres of life - I received mostly from this Amt
III, in addition to the news from the other departments
which I organised myself.

Q. Shortly after Easter, 1934, you were under arrest in the
Kaisersteinbruch detention camp?

A. What year did you say, please?

Q. Thirty-four.

A. Yes; from 14th January until the beginning of May.

Q. Did you ever, in company with other S.S. functionaries,
make an inspection of the Mauthausen camp?

A. With other S.S. officials, no. To my recollection I went
there alone and had to report to Himmler there, who, as I
stated yesterday, was conducting an inspection tour through
Southern Germany.

Q. And you only went in the quarry? Right?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you acquainted with Karwinski, the State Secretary
in the Dollfuss and Schuschnigg Cabinets from September,
1933, to October, 1935 - Karwinski?

A. I saw Karwinski once. I believe he visited us in the
Kaisersteinbruch detention camp at the time of our hunger
strike. Otherwise I never saw him. It might be that one of
his representatives visited us. That I can't say.

Q. I ask that the defendant be shown Document 3843-PS, which
will be Exhibit USA 794. I would like to say to the Tribunal
that there is rather objectionable language in this exhibit
but I do feel that in view of the charges against the
defendant, it is my duty to read it. If you will turn to
Page 3, defendant.

A. On Page 3 there are just a few lines. May I read the
entire document first, please?

Q. It would take much too much time, defendant. I am only
interested in the paragraph which is on Page 3 of the
English text, and begins "Shortly after Easter." Have you
got it?

A. Yes,

  Q. "Shortly after Easter, 1934, I received the news that
  the prisoners in the Kaisersteinbruch detention camp had
  gone on hunger strike. Thereupon I went there myself, in
  order to learn the situation. While comparative calm and
  discipline prevailed in most of the barracks, one barrack
  was very disorderly. I noticed that one tall man seemed
  to be the leader of the resistance. This was
  Kaltenbrunner, at that time a candidate for attorney-at-
  law, who was under arrest because of his illegal activity
  in Austria. While all the other
                                                  [Page 299]
  barracks gave up, their hunger strike after a talk which
  I held with representatives of the prisoners, the one
  under Kaltenbrunner persisted in the strike. I saw
  Kaltenbrunner again in the Mauthausen camp, when I was
  severely ill and lying on rotten straw with many hundred
  other seriously ill persons, many of them dying. The
  prisoners, suffering from hunger-oedemata and from the
  most serious intestinal sicknesses, were lying in
  unheated barracks in the dead of winter. The most
  primitive sanitary arrangements were lacking. The
  latrines and the washrooms were unusable for months. The
  severely ill persons had to relieve themselves on little
  marmalade buckets. The soiled straw was not renewed for
  weeks, so that a stinking liquid was formed, in which
  worms and maggots crawled around. There was no medical
  attention or medicines. Conditions were such that ten to
  twenty persons died every night. Kaltenbrunner walked
  through the barracks with a brilliant suite of high S.S.
  functionaries, saw everything, must have seen everything.
  We were under the illusion that these inhuman conditions
  would now be changed, but they apparently met with
  Kaltenbrunner's approval, for nothing happened

Is that true or false, defendant?

A. I can refute this document, evidently presented in order
to surprise me, in every point.

Q. I ask you - first, I ask you to state whether it is true
or false?

A. It is not true and I can refute each detail.

Q. Make it as brief as possible.

A. It is not possible to me to take less time in refuting
it, Mr. Prosecutor, than you took in reading it. I have to
refute each word which is incriminating me. Here Karwinski
maintains ...

Q. Just a moment. Perhaps you will wait until I have read to
you two more exhibits I have along the same line. Then
perhaps you can make your explanation of all three at the
same time. Is that satisfactory to you?

A. As you wish.

Q. I ask that the defendant be shown Document 3845-PS, which
will become Exhibit USA 795. You have already denied, I
believe, having visited or gone through the crematorium at
Mauthausen, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know Tiefenbacher, Albert Tiefenbacher?

A. No.

Q. If you have the document you will note that he was at
Mauthausen concentration camp from 1938 until 1st May, 1945,
and that he was employed in the crematorium at Mauthausen
for three years as carrier of dead bodies. You note that?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, passing to the lower half of the first page, you
will find the question:

   "Do you remember Eigruber?
   Answer: Eigruber and Kaltenbrunner were from Linz.
   Question: Did you ever see them in Mauthausen?
   Answer: I saw Kaltenbrunner very often.
   Question: How many times?
   Answer: He came from time to time and went through the
   Question: About how many times?
   Answer: Three or four times.
   Question: On any occasion when he came through, did you
   hear him say anything to anybody?
   Answer: When Kaltenbrunner arrived most prisoners had to
   disappear, only certain people were introduced to him."

                                                  [Page 300]

Is that true or false?

A. That is completely incorrect.

Q. Now I will show you the third document and then you can
make a brief explanation. I ask that the defendant be shown.
Document 3846-PS which will become Exhibit USA 796.

I might ask you, witness, do you remember ever having
witnessed a demonstration of three different kinds of
executions at Mauthausen at the same time? Three different
kinds of executions?

A. No, that is not true.

Q. Are you acquainted with Johann Kanduth who makes this

A. No.

Q. You will note, from the affidavit, that he lived in Linz;
that he was an inmate of the concentration camp at
Mauthausen from 21st March, 1939, until 5th May, 1945; that
besides the work in the kitchen, he also worked in the
crematorium from 9th May, and he worked the heating for the
cremation of the bodies. Now, if you will turn to the second
page, at the top.

  "Question: Have you ever seen Kaltenbrunner at Mauthausen
  on a visit at any time?
  Answer: Yes.
  Question: Do you remember when it was?
  Answer: In 1942 and 1943.
  Question: Can you give it more exactly, maybe the month?
  Answer: I don't know the date.
  Question: Do you remember only this one visit in the year
  1942 or 1943?
  Answer: I remember that Kaltenbrunner was there three
  Question: What year?
  Answer: Between 1942 and 1943.
  Question: Tell us, in short, what did you think about
  these visits of Kaltenbrunner which you described? That
  is: what did you see, what did you do, and when did you
  see that he was or was not present at such executions?
  Answer: Kaltenbrunner was accompanied by Eigruber,
  Schulz, Ziereis, Bachmaier, Streitwieser and some other
  people. Kaltenbrunner went laughing into the gas chamber.
  Then the people were brought from the bunker to be
  executed and then all three kinds of executions -
  hanging, shooting in the back of the neck, and gassing -
  were demonstrated. After the dust had disappeared, we had
  to take away the bodies.
  Question: When did you see the three different kinds of
  executions? Were those just demonstrations or regular
  Answer: I do not know if they were regular executions, or
  just demonstrations. During these executions, besides
  Kaltenbrunner, the bunkerleaders, Hauptscharfuehrer
  Seidel and Duessen, were also present. The last-named
  then led the people downstairs.
  Question: Do you know whether these executions were
  announced for this day or if they were just
  demonstrations or if the executions were staged just for
  pleasure of the visitors?
  Answer: Yes, these executions were announced for this
  Question: How do you know that they were set for this
  day? Did somebody tell you about these announced
  Answer: Hauptscharfuehrer Roth, the leader of the
  crematorium, always had me called to his room and said to
  me: 'Kaltenbrunner will come tomorrow and we have to
  prepare everything for the executions in his presence.'
  Then we were obliged to heat and to clean the stoves."

A. May I answer?

Q. Is that true or false, defendant?

                                                  [Page 301]

A. Under my oath, I wish to state solemnly that not a single
word of these statements is true. I might start with the
first document.

Q. Could you note, defendant, that none of these affidavits
were taken in Nuremberg, but that they all appeared to have
been taken outside Nuremberg in connection with an entirely
different proceeding or investigation. Did you note that?

A. No, but it is irrelevant as far as the testimony itself
is concerned. May I now start to talk about this document?

Q. Yes, go ahead.

A. The Witness Karwinski mentions having seen me in the year
1934 in connection with the hunger strike in the detention
camp Kaisersteinbruch. He singles out the barracks in which
disorders were taking place at which a tall man, meaning
myself, was present. According to him, I was interned there
because of my illegal activity. As far as these statements
are concerned, up to now, they are completely wrong.

First of all, I was not interned there because of National
Socialist activities. The sentence we had received in
writing, which must have been known to Karwinski, who was
then Austrian State Secretary, stated literally that we were
arrested "to prevent" us from performing National Socialist
activities. So there was no prohibited activity at this time
charged against me. Then, further, when Karwinski came, the
hunger strike was in its ninth day. We had not -

Q. May I interrupt you just a moment, defendant. I am
perfectly satisfied if you testify that these statements are
false. If you are satisfied, I am perfectly satisfied with
that answer. I do not need an explanation of all of these
paragraphs when we have no way of verifying what you say.

A. Mr. Prosecutor, I cannot be satisfied if the High
Tribunal and the world is presented with testimony and
documents which are pages long and which you contend are the
truth, and which incriminate me in the gravest manner. I
must certainly have the opportunity to answer with more than
"yes" or "no." I cannot simply just like some callous
criminal only -

THE PRESIDENT: You'd better let him go on. We do not want to
argue about it. Go on, make your comments on the document.

THE WITNESS: Karwinski arrived on the eighth day of the
hunger strike. He did not come into the barracks in which we
were, but we were brought on stretchers into the
administrative building of this Austrian detention camp.
None of us were even able to walk any more. And for this
fact, there are many more witnesses - 490 internees who had
been confined in these barracks with me. Karwinski talked
with us in this administration building and stated that if
the hunger strike were to stop the Government would be
willing to consider a release of all internees. We had been
interned without having committed any offence at all, and
the Government had already given their promise three times
to release us, but had never kept that promise.

Therefore, we requested a written statement from Karwinski,
either signed by him or signed by the Federal Chancellor. We
wanted this statement so that we could believe the promise,
then we would end the strike. He refused. The hunger strike
went on and we were taken to a hospital in Vienna. On the
eleventh day the hunger strike was stopped because even
water was refused to us that day. These were the facts and
not that we created disorder.

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