The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/23

Q. Did you, as a Reich Minister or in any other State or
Party post want this war; did you desire a war which meant
violation of treaties and agreements?

A. War is not a thing one wants. A war is something
terrible. We have lived through it; we did not want the war.
We wanted a great Germany and the restoration of the freedom
and welfare, health and happiness of our people. It was my
dream and probably the dream of every one of us to bring
about a revision of the Versailles Treaty by peaceful means,
as was provided for in that very treaty. But since also in
the world of treaties between nations only the one who is
strong is listened to, Germany had to become strong first
before she could negotiate. That was how I saw the
development: Strengthening of the Reich, reinstatement of
its sovereignty in all spheres, in order by these means to
free ourselves of the intolerable shackles which had been
imposed upon out people. I was happy, therefore, that Adolf
Hitler, after a most wonderful rise to power, unparalleled
in the history of mankind, succeeded by the end of 1938 in
achieving most of these aims; and I was equally unhappy when
in 1939 to my dismay I realised, more and more, that Adolf
Hitler appeared to be departing from the original policy and
to be following another.

THE PRESIDENT: This seems to have been covered by what the
defendant Goering told us and by what the defendant
Ribbentrop told us.

DR. SEIDL: The witness has already completed his statement
on this point.


Q. Witness, what was your share in the events of Poland
after 1939?

A. I bear the responsibility, and when, on 30 April, 1945,
Adolf Hitler ended his life, I resolved to reveal that
responsibility of mine to the world as clearly as possible.

I did not destroy the forty-three volumes of my diary, which
report on all these events and the share I had in them but,
of my own free will, I handed them voluntarily to the
officers of the American Army who arrested me.

Q. Witness, do you feet guilty of having committed crimes in
violation of international conventions or Crimes Against

THE PRESIDENT: That is a question that the Tribunal has got
to decide.

DR. SEIDL: Then I shall drop the question.


Q. Witness, what do you have to say regarding the
accusations which have been brought against you in the

A. To these accusations I can only say that I ask the
Tribunal to decide upon the degree of my guilt at the end of
my case.

I, myself, speaking from the very depths of my feelings and
after the experiences of the five months of this trial, want
to say that now, after I have gained a full insight into all
the horrible atrocities which have been committed, I am
possessed by a deep sense of guilt.

Q. What were your aims when you took over the post of
Governor General?

A. I was not informed about anything. I heard about special
action commandos of the S.S. here during this trial. In
connection with and immediately following my appointment
special powers were given to Himmler. My jurisdiction was
limited if not taken away from me, and economy, social
policy, food policy, and so on, were all matters which were
dealt with directly by a number of Reich offices. All I
could do was to lay upon myself the task of seeing to it
that, amid the conflagration of this war, some sort of an
order should be built up which would enable men to live. The
work I did out there, therefore, cannot be judged in the
light of casual and isolated events, but must

                                                  [Page 106]

be judged in its entirety, and we shall have to come to that
later. My aim was to safeguard justice without doing harm to
our war effort.

Q. Witness, did the police, and particularly the Security
Police and S.D., come under your jurisdiction in the
Government General?

A. The Higher S.S. and Police Leaders were, as a matter of
policy, subordinate to the Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler. The
S.S. did not come under my command, and any orders or
instructions which I might have given would not have been
obeyed. Witness Buehler will cover this question in detail.

The total structure was such that the Higher S.S. and Police
Leader was formally attached to my office, but in fact, and
by reason of his activities, he was purely an agent of the
Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler. This state of affairs, even as
early as November, 1939, was the cause of my first offer to
resign which I made to Adolf Hitler. It was a state of
affairs which made things extremely difficult as time went
by. All my attempts to gain control of police matters
failed. An administration without a police executive is
powerless and there were many proofs of this. The police
officers, so far as discipline, organisation, pay, and
orders were concerned, came exclusively under the German
Reich police system and were in no way connected with the
administration of the Government General. The officials of
the S.S. and police, therefore, did not consider that they
were attached to the Government General in matters
concerning their duty; neither was the police area called
"Police Area, Government General" and the Higher S.S. and
Police Leader did not call himself "S.S. and Police Leader
in the Government General" but "Higher S.S. and Police
Leader East." However, I don't propose to go into details at
this point.

Q. Witness, did the concentration camps in the Government
General come under you, and did you have anything to do with
their administration?

A. Concentration camps were entirely a matter for the police
and had nothing to do with the administration. Members of
the civilian administration were officially prohibited from
entering the camps.

Q. Have you yourself even been in a concentration camp?

A. In 1935 I participated in a visit to the Dachau
concentration camp, which had been organised for the
Gauleiters. That was the only time that I have entered a
concentration camp.

Q. Witness, in 1942, by a decree of the Fuehrer, a State
Secretariate for Security in the Government General was
created. The date is 1 May, 1942. What was the reason for
creating that State Secretariate?

A. The establishment of this State Secretariate was one of
the many attempts to solve the problem of the police in the
Government General. I was very happy about it at the time,
because I thought now we had found the way to solve it. I am
certain it would have worked if Himmler and Krueger had
adhered to the principle of this decree, which was co-
operation and not working against each other. It was soon
evident, however, that this renewed attempt was merely a
camouflage, and the old conditions continued.

Q. On 3 June, 1942, and on the basis of this Fuehrer decree,
another decree was issued regarding the transfer of the
official business to the State Secretary for Security. Is
that true?

A. I assume so, if you have the document. I cannot remember
the details of course.

Q. In that case I shall ask the witness Bilfinger about this

A. But I would like to add something to that. Wherever the
S.S. is discussed here, the S.S. and the police are regarded
as a body of men of one type. It would not be right of me if
I did not correct that wrong conception. I have known during
the course of these years so many honest, clean and soldier-
like men among the S.S. and especially in the Waffen S.S.
and the police, that when judging here the problem of the
S.S. in regard to the criminal nature of their

                                                  [Page 107]

activities, one cannot generalise any more than in the case
of any of the other social groups. The S.S., as such,
behaved no more criminally than any other social groups
would behave in similar circumstances when taking part in
political events. The dreadful thing was that the
responsible chief and a number of other S.S. men who,
unfortunately, had been given considerable powers, were able
to abuse the unquestioning loyalty, typical of the German
soldier, of the rank and file.

Q. Witness, another question. In the decree concerning the
creation of the State Secretariate for Security, it is
ordered that the State Secretary - who in this case was the
Higher S.S. and Police Leader - before making basic
decisions, had to ask you for your approval. Was that done?

A. No, I was never called upon to give my approval and that
was the reason why before long this, my last attempt, proved
to be a failure.

Q. Did the Higher S.S. and Police Leader, and the S.S.
Obergruppenfuehrer Krueger in particular, obey orders which
you had given them?

A. Please, would you repeat the question? It didn't come
through too well. And please, Dr. Seidl, do not speak quite
so loudly.

Q. Did the Higher S.S. and Police Leader Krueger, who at the
same time was the State Secretary for Security, obey orders
which you gave him in your capacity as Governor General?

A. Not even a single order. On the strength of this new
decree I repeatedly gave orders. These orders were
supposedly communicated to Heinrich Himmler, and since his
agreement was necessary, these orders were never carried
out. Some special cases can be quoted by the State Secretary
Buehler when he is here as a witness.

Q. Did the Reichsfuehrer S.S. and Chief of the German
Police, before he carried out security police measures in
the Government General, ever obtain your approval?

A. Not in a single case.

Q. The prosecution has submitted a Document, L-37 as Exhibit
USA 506. It is a letter from the Commander of the Security
Police and S.D. of the District Radom, addressed to the
executive office at Gomachow. This document contains the

  "On 28 June, 1944, the Higher S.S. and Police Leader East
  issued the following order:
  The security situation in the Government General has
  deteriorated so much during the recent months that the
  most radical means and the most severe measures must now
  be employed against these saboteurs. The Reichsfuehrer
  S.S., in agreement with the Governor General, has given
  orders that in every case of assassination or attempted
  assassination of Germans, not only the perpetrators shall
  be shot when caught, but that, in addition, all their
  male relatives shall also be executed, and their female
  relatives above the age of sixteen put into a
  concentration camp."

A. As I have said that I was never called upon by the
Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler to give my approval to such
orders, your question has already been answered. In this
case, I was not called upon either.

Q. Witness, were you at least informed of such orders from
the Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler or from the Higher S.S. and
Police Leader before they were carried out?

A. The reason why this was not done was always the same, I
was told that since Poles were living not only in the
Government General but also in those territories which had
been incorporated into the Reich, the fight against the
Polish resistance movement had to be carried on by unified
control from a central office and this central office was
Heinrich Himmler.

Q. Witness, what jurisdiction did you have in the general

A. I think it would accelerate the proceedings if the
witness Buehler could

                                                  [Page 108]

testify to these details. If the Tribunal so desires I will
of course answer this question now. In the main I was
concerned with the setting up of the usual administrative
departments, such as food, culture, finance, science, etc.

Q. Were there representatives of the Polish and Ukrainian
population in the Government General?

A. Yes. The representation of the Polish and Ukrainian
population was regional, and I united the heads of the
bodies of representatives from the various districts in the
so-called sub-committees. There was a Polish and an
Ukrainian sub-committee. Count Roneker was the head of the
Polish sub-committee for a number of years, and at the head
of the Ukrainian sub-committee was Professor Kubiowicz. I
made it obligatory for all my offices to contact these sub-
committees on all questions of a general nature, and this
they did. I myself was in constant contact with both of
them. Complaints were brought to me there and we had free
discussions. My complaints and memoranda to the Fuehrer were
mostly based on the reports from these assistant committees.

A second form in which the population participated in the
administration of the Government General was by means of the
lowest administrative units, which throughout the Government
General were in the hands of the native population. Every
ten to twenty villages had as their head a so-called "Voyd."
This Polish word Voyd is the same as the German word "Vogt"
-V-o-g-t. He was the, so to speak, lowest administrative

A third form of participation by the population in the
administration was the employment as government officials or
civil servants in the public services, including postal and
railway services, of the Government General of about 280,000
Poles and Ukrainians.

Q. In what numerical proportion did the German civil
servants stand to the Polish and Ukrainian civil servants?

A. The proportion varied. The number of German civil
servants was very small. There were times when in the whole
of the Government General, the area of which is 150,000
square kilometres - that means half the size of Italy -
there were not more than 40,000 German civil servants. That
means to one German civil servant there were on the average
at least six non-German civil servants and employees.

Q. Which territories did you rule as Governor General?

A. Poland, which had been jointly conquered by Germany and
the Soviet Union, was divided, first of all, between the
Soviet Union and the German Reich. Of the 380,000 square
kilometres, which is the approximate size of the Polish
State, approximately 200,000 square kilometres went to the
Soviet Union and approximately 170,000 to 180,000 square
kilometres to the German Reich. Please don't tie me down to
exact figures, at any rate that was roughly the proportion.

That part of Poland which was taken over into Soviet Russian
Territory was immediately treated as an integral part of the
Soviet Union. The border demarcations in the East of the
Government General were the ordinary Reich border
demarcations of the Soviet Union as from 1939. That part
which came to Germany was divided thus: 90,000 square
kilometres were left to the Government General and the
remainder was incorporated into the German Reich.

THE PRESIDENT: I don't think there is any charge against the
defendant on the ground that the civil administration was
bad. The charge is that crimes were committed, and the
details of the administration between the Government General
and the department in the Reich are not really in question.

DR. SEIDL: The only reason, Mr. President, why I put that
question was to demonstrate the difficulties with which the
administration had to cope right from the beginning in this
territory, for an area which originally represented one
economic unit, was now split into three different parts. I
am coming now to the next question. Did you ever have
hostages shot?

                                                  [Page 109]

A. My diary contains the facts. I myself have never had
hostages shot.

Q. Did you ever participate in the annihilation of Jews?

A. I say yes, and the reason why I say yes is because having
lived through the five months of this trial, and
particularly after having heard the testimony of the witness
Hoess, my conscience does not allow me to throw the
responsibility solely on these small people. I myself have
never installed an extermination camp for Jews or supported
the existence of such camps; but if Adolf Hitler personally
has laid that dreadful responsibility on his people, then it
is mine too, for we have fought against Jewry for years; and
we have indulged in the most horrible utterances, my own
diary bears witness against me. Therefore, it is no more
than my duty to answer your question in this connection with
"Yes." A thousand years will pass and this guilt of Germany
will still not be erased.

Q. Witness, what was your policy for the recruiting of
labourers for the Reich when you were Governor General?

A. I beg your pardon?

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