The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/23

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DR. SEIDL (Counsel for the defendant Frank): Mr. President,
I shall dispense with the hearing of the witness Strube,
Chief of the Central Department for Agriculture and Food in
the Government General. With the permission of the Tribunal
I am now calling witness Dr. Joseph Buehler.

JOSEPH BUEHLER, took the stand and testified as follows


Q. Will you state your full name, please?

A. Joseph Buehler.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will
speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeats the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.



Q. Witness, how long have you known defendant Dr. Hans
Frank, and what were the positions in which you worked with

A. I have known Herr Frank since 1 October, 1930. In
official State service I worked with him from the end of
March, 1933. I served under him officially when he was
Minister of Justice in Bavaria, later when he was Reich
Commissioner for Justice, and still later when he was a
Reich Minister. From the end of September, 1939, on Herr
Frank employed me officially in the Government General.

Q. In what capacity were you working in the Government
General at the end?

A. Since about the second half of 1940 I had been State
Secretary in the Government of the Government General.

Q. Were you yourself a member of the Party?

A. I have been a Party member since 1 April, 1933.

Q. Did you exercise any functions in the Party or any of the
affiliated organisations of the Party, particularly in the
S.A. or the S.S.?

A. I never held an office in the Party. I was never a member
of the S.A. or the S.S.

Q. I now come to the time during which you were the State
Secretary of the Chief of the Government in the Government
General. Will you please tell me what the relations were
between the Governor General on the one side and the Higher
S.S. and Police Leader on the other side?

A. I might say in advance that my sphere of activity did not
touch upon police matters, matters relating to the Party or
military matters in the Government General.

The relations of the Governor General to the Higher S.S. and
Police Leader, Obergruppenfuehrer Kruger, who was attached
to him by the Reich Fuehrer S.S. and Chief of the German
Police were, right from the beginning, made difficult by
essential differences of opinion. These differences of
opinion concerned the conception of the task and position of
the police in general in an orderly State system, as well as
the conception in particular of the position and tasks of
the police in the Government General. The Governor General
represented the view that the police must be the servant and
the organ of the executive of the State, and that,
accordingly he and the State offices should give orders to

                                                  [Page 142]

police and that as a result, the latter's sphere of activity
would be limited to some extent.

The Higher S.S. and Police Leader Kruger, on the other hand,
represented the view that while the police in general had,
of course, to fulfil certain tasks originating with the
executive of the State, it was not, in so doing, bound by
the instructions of the administrative authorities; that
this was a matter of technical police procedure and involved
decisions which administrative authorities could not make
and were not in a position to make.

Regarding the power to give orders to the police it was
Kruger's view that, because of the effectiveness and unity
of police activity in all occupied territories, such power
to issue orders had to rest with the central office in
Berlin and that he and only he could issue orders.

As far as the scope of tasks of the police was concerned, it
was Kruger's opinion that the Governor General's view
regarding the limitations thereof was unfounded for the very
reason that he, as Higher S.S. and Police Leader, was, at
the same time, the deputy of the Reichsfuehrer S.S. in the
latter's capacity as Reich Commissioner for the
strengthening of Germanism.

As far as the relation of the police to the question of
Polish policy was concerned, it was Kruger's view that in
connection with work in non-German territory, police
considerations would have to play a predominant role, that
with police methods everything could be achieved and
everything could be prevented. This overestimation of the
police led, for instance, to the fact that during later
arguments between the police and the administration
regarding respective spheres of influence, matters
concerning non-German groups were listed among the tasks of
the police.

Q. Do you know that as early as 1939 the Reichsfuehrer S.S.
Himmler issued a restricted decree, according to which the
handling of all police matters was his own concern or the
concern of his Higher S.S. and Police Leader?

A. That this was the case became clear to me from the
actions taken by the police. I did not see a decree to this
effect, but I can state this much: The police in the
Government General acted exactly according to the directives
which I have described before.

Q. Witness, in 1942, by decree of the Fuehrer a State
Secretariat for Security was instituted. At whose
instigation was this instituted and what was the position
taken by the Governor General in that connection?

A. This decree was preceded by a frightful campaign of
hatred against the person of the Governor General. The
institution of the State Secretariat for Security was
considered by the police a step, an important step, in the
fight for the removal of the Governor General. Most of the
matters covered by that decree, were not being handed over
to the police for the first time; what had actually been
happening up to the time of the issue of this decree had, in
fact, conformed to it.

Q. In the decree issued in respect of the carrying out of
this Fuehrer decree and dated 3 June, 1942, all spheres of
activities of the police which were to be transferred to the
State Secretary were listed in two appendices, in Appendix
A, the tasks of the Regular Police, and, in Appendix B, the
tasks of the Security Police. Were these police matters at
that time transferred completely to the State Secretariat
for Security and thus to the police?

A. The Administration didn't like giving up these matters,
and so, where the police hadn't already obtained control of
them, they were not given up without opposition.

Q. You are thinking first of all of the spheres of the so-
called administrative police, health police, etc., aren't

A. Yes, that is to say, communications, health, food, and
such matters.

Q. If I have understood your statements correctly, you want
to say that the entire police system, Security Police as
well as S.D. and Regular Police, was

                                                  [Page 143]

directed by the central office, either by Himmler himself or
by the R.S,H.A. through the Higher S.S. and Police Leader?

A. Yes: thus, in general, the channel of commands, according
to my observations, was such that it was possible for the
Security Police to receive direct orders from Berlin,
without their going through Kruger.

Q. And now another question: Is it correct that
resettlements were carried out in the Government General, by
Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler in his capacity as Reich
Commissioner for the Strengthening of Germanism?

A. Resettlements, in the opinion of the Governor General,
even if carried out decently, always caused unrest among the
population. We had no use for that in the Government
General. Also, these resettlements always caused a falling
off of agricultural production. For these reasons, the
Governor General and his Government did not, as a matter of
principle, carry out resettlements during the war. In so far
as any resettlement was carried out, it was done exclusively
by the Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of

Q. Is it correct that the Governor General, because of this
arbitrary resettlement policy, had repeated serious
arguments with Himmler, Kruger and S.S. Gruppenfuehrer

A. That is correct. The intention of preventing such
resettlements always led to arguments and friction between
the Higher S.S. and Police Leader and the Governor General.

Q. The defendant Dr. Frank is accused by the prosecution of
the seizure and confiscation of private and industrial
property. What basically was the attitude of the Governor
General to such questions?

A. The legal provisions prevailing in this sphere of the law
originated with the Trustee for the Four-Year Plan.
Confiscation of private property and possessions in the
annexed Eastern Territories and in the Government General
was subject to the same provisions.

The decree of the Trustee for the Four-Year Plan provided
for the creation of the "Haupttreuhandstelle Ost" (Main
Trust Office East), with Berlin as the seat of central
administration. The Governor General did not want to see the
affairs of the Government General administered in Berlin,
and therefore he opposed the administration of property
matters in the Government General by the Trust Office East.
Without opposition from the Trustee for the Four-Year Plan,
he established his own rules for confiscations in the
Government General and his own Trust Office. That Trust
Office was headed by an experienced higher civil servant
from the Saxon Ministry of Economy.

Q. What happened to the industrial plants which were in the
Government General and which had formerly been the property
of the Polish State?

A. Industrial plants, in so far as they were included in the
armament programme, were taken over by the military sector,
that is to say, the Inspector for Armament, who was
subordinate to the O.K.W. and later to Minister Speer. As to
industrial plants outside the armament sector which had
belonged to the former Polish State, the Government General
tried to consolidate these into a stock company and to
administer them separately as property of the Government
General. The chief shareholder in this company was the
treasury of the Government General.

Q. That is to say, these plants were administered entirely
separately by the Reich treasury?

A. Yes.

Q. The prosecution submitted an extract from Frank's diary
in evidence, as Exhibit USA-281. This is a discussion of
Jewish problems. In this connection Frank said, among other

"My attitude towards the Jews is based on the expectation
that they will disappear; they must go away. I have started
negotiations in order to deport them to the East. This
question will be discussed at a large meeting

                                                  [Page 144]

in Berlin in January, to which I shall send State Secretary
Dr. Buehler. This conference is to take place in the
R.S.H.A. in the office of S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich.
In any case, a large-scale Jewish emigration will begin.

I ask you now, did the Governor General send you to Berlin
for that conference, and if so, what was its subject?

A. Yes, I was sent to the conference and the subject of the
conference was the Jewish problem. I might say in advance
that, from the beginning, Jewish questions in the Government
General were considered as coming under the jurisdiction of
the Higher S.S. and Police Leader and handled accordingly.
As far as the handling of these questions by the State
administration was concerned, this was done under the
sufferance and supervision of the police.

In the course of the years 1940 and 1941 incredible numbers
of people, mostly Jews, were brought into the Government
General in spite of the objections and protests of the
Governor General and his administration. This completely
unexpected, unprepared for, and undesired bringing in of the
Jewish population from other territories put the
administration of the Government General in an extremely
difficult situation.

Accommodating these masses, feeding them and caring for
their health - fighting epidemics for instance - almost or
rather definitely overtaxed the capacity of the territory. A
particular threat was the spread of typhoid, not only in the
ghettos but also amongst the Polish population and the
Germans in the Government General. It appeared as if that
epidemic would spread even to the Reich and to the Eastern

At that moment Heydrich's invitation to the Governor General
was received. The conference was originally supposed to take
place in November, 1941, but it was frequently postponed and
I think it did take place in February, 1942.

Because of the special problems of the Government General I
had asked Heydrich for a personal interview and he received
me. On that occasion, among many other things, I described
in particular the catastrophic conditions which had resulted
from the arbitrary bringing in of Jews into the Government
General. He replied that for this very reason he had invited
the Governor General to the conference. The Reichsfuehrer
S.S., so he said, had received the order from the Fuehrer to
concentrate all the Jews of Europe and to settle them in the
North-east of Europe, in Russia. I asked him whether this
meant that the further arrival of Jews in the Government
General would cease, and whether the hundreds of thousands
of Jews who had been brought into the Government General
without the permission of the Governor General would be
moved out again. Heydrich promised me both. Heydrich said
furthermore that the Fuehrer had given an order that
Theresienstadt, a town in the Protectorate, would become a
reservation in which old and sick Jews and weak Jews who
could not stand up under the strains of resettlement were to
be accommodated in the future. This information left me
definitely convinced that the resettlement of the Jews, if
not for the sake of the Jews, then for the sake of the
reputation and prestige of the German people, would be
carried out in a humane fashion. The removal of the Jews
from the Government General was subsequently carried out
exclusively by the police.

I might add that Heydrich demanded particularly that he, his
office and its branches, should have exclusive jurisdiction
and the right to issue orders in this matter.

Q. What concentration camps did you know about during your
activity as State Secretary in the Government General?

A. The publications in the Press during the summer of 1944
called my attention to the camp Maidanek for the first time.
I did not know that this camp, not far from Lublin, was a
concentration camp. It had been installed as an economic
unit of the Reichsfuehrer S.S., in 1941, I think. Governor

                                                  [Page 145]

Zoerner came to visit me at that time and he told me that he
had objected to the establishment of this camp when he
talked to Globotschnik, since it would mean a danger to the
power supply of the city of Lublin and since there were
certain objections, too, on the part of the police. I
informed the Governor General of this and he in turn sent
for Globotschnik. Globotschnik told the Governor General
that he had had certain workshops erected on that site for
the needs of the Waffen S.S. at the front. He mentioned
workshops for dressing furs and also mentioned a timber yard
which was located there.

In these fur-dressing workshops the furs were altered for
use at the front. At any rate Globotschnik stated that he
had installed these workshops in compliance with Himmler's

The Governor General prohibited the erection of any further
installations until all questions had been settled with the
police in charge of building, and until blueprints had been
submitted to the State offices, in other words until all
rules had been complied with, which were applicable to the
construction of buildings. Globotschnik never submitted
these plans. With regard to the events inside the camp no
concrete information ever reached the outside. It surprised
the Governor General just as much as it surprised me when
the world Press released the news about Maidanek.

Q. Witness, the prosecution has submitted Document 437-PS,
as Exhibit USA-610, which is a memorandum from the Governor
General to the Fuehrer, dated 19 June, 1943. I think you
yourself drafted that memorandum. On Page 35 a report of the
commander of the Security Police is mentioned and quoted in
part verbatim. This report of the Security Police mentions
also the name Maidanek.

Did you at that time realise that this Maidanek was
identical or probably identical with that camp near Lublin?

A. No. I assumed that, like Auschwitz, it was a camp outside
the territory of the Government General, because the
Governor General had repeatedly told the police and the
Higher S.S. and Police Leader that he did not wish to have
concentration camps in the Government General.

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