The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/23

Q. Under whose jurisdiction was the administration of
concentration camps in the Government General?

A. I don't know because I didn't know of the existence of
the camps. In August, on the occasion of a visit to the
reception camp at Pruszkow, I heard about the administration
of concentration camps in general. At that time I brought
some instructions from Himmler to the camp commandant,
according to which the transport of the inhabitants of
Warsaw, who had been removed from the city to concentration
camps, was to cease forthwith.

Q. Was that after the uprising in Warsaw?

A. It was during it; it must have been on or about 18 or 19
August, 1944. The camp commandant, whose name I have
forgotten, told me at the time that he did not know about
that order and that he could receive instructions only from
the Chief of Concentration Camps.

Q. Do you know whether the Governor General himself ever
sent a Pole, a Ukrainian, or a Jew to a concentration camp?

A. Nothing like that ever happened during my employ.

Q. Is it true that a large number of Jewish workmen who were
working in the castle at Cracow were taken away by the
Security Police against the wishes of the Governor General
and during his absence?

A. This Jewish workers' colony is known to me because I
lived in the Cracow castle. I also know that the Governor
General always took care that this colony be maintained. The
Chief of the Chancellery of the Government General,
Ministerial Councillor Keit, once told me that this group of
Jewish workers had been taken away by force by the police
during the absence of the Governor General.

                                                  [Page 146]

Q. I now come to the so-called A.B. action, this
extraordinary appeasement action. What were the
circumstances which occasioned it?

A. It may have been about the middle of May, 1940, when one
morning I was called from the government building where I
performed my official work to visit the Governor General in
the castle. I think I am right in saying that Reich Minister
Seyss-Inquart had also been called. There we met the
Governor General together with several gentlemen from the
police. The Governor General stated that in the opinion of
the police an extreme act of appeasement was necessary. The
security situation at that time, as far as I remember, was
this:, Certain remnants of the Polish Armed Forces were
still roaming about in deserted forest regions, causing
unrest among the population and probably giving military
training to young Poles. At that time, that is, May, 1940,
the Polish people had recovered from the shock which they
suffered because of the sudden defeat in 1939 and they began
openly, with little caution and without experience, to start
a resistance movement everywhere. This picture I remember
clearly because of the statement given by the police on that
and other occasions.

Q. May I interrupt you and quote from Frank's diary, an
entry of 16 May, 1940.

  "The general war situation forces us to examine the
  security situation in the Government General very
  carefully. From a number of symptoms and actions one can
  draw the conclusion that there exists in the country a
  large organised wave of resistance among the Poles.
  Thousands of Poles are believed to have banded together
  secretly and to have been armed, and it is rumoured that
  they are being incited to carry out acts of violence of
  all sorts."

Then the Governor General quoted some recent examples, as,
for instance, a civil uprising in certain villages under the
leadership of Major Kubala in the district of Radom, the
murder of families of German blood in Josefa, the murder of
the mayor of Krasienka, etc.:-

  "Illegal pamphlets, inciting to rebellion, are being
  distributed, and even posted, everywhere, and there can
  therefore be no doubt that the security situation is
  extremely serious."

Q. Did the Governor General express himself in that manner
at the time?

A. When I was at that meeting the Governor General spoke
about the situation for some time, but the details I cannot

Q. What happened thereafter?

A. I have only one impression. In the previous months the
Governor General had succeeded, by taking great pains, in
imposing on the police a procedure for drumhead courts-
martial which had to be observed in making arrests and
dealing with suspicious persons. Furthermore, the police had
to concede that the Governor General could refer the
sentences of the drumhead courts-martial to a reprieve
commission and that the execution of sentence could only
take place after the sentences had been confirmed by him.
The statements of the Governor General during this
conference in the middle of May, 1940, made me fear that the
police might see in them the possibility for evading the
drumhead courts-martial and reprieve procedure imposed on
them. For that reason I asked the Governor General for
permission to speak after he had finished his statement. The
Governor General cut me short at first and stated that he
wanted to dictate something to the secretary in a hurry
which the latter was then to dictate to a stenographer at
once and put it into the final version. Thereupon the
Governor General dictated some authorisation or order or
some such document, and with absolute certainty I remember
that, after he had finished dictating, the secretary and, I
think quite definitely, Brigadefuehrer Streckenbach, the
Commander of the Regular Police, left the room. I am saying
this first because it explains the fact that everything that

                                                  [Page 147]

happened afterward has not been recorded in the minutes. The
secretary was no longer present in the room. I expressed my
fears, saying that these requirements laid down for the
drumhead courts-martial procedure should be observed under
all circumstances. I am not claiming any particular merit in
this connection, because if I hadn't done it then this
objection would have been raised, I am convinced, by Reich
Minister Seyss-Inquart, or the Governor General himself
would have realised the danger which his statements might
have caused in this respect. At any rate, in reply to my
objection and without any debate the Governor General stated
at once that, of course, arrests and shootings could take
place only in accordance with the drumhead courts-martial
procedure, and that sentences of the drumhead courts-martial
would have to be examined by the reprieve commission.

In the ensuing period these instructions were followed. I
assume that it is certain that the reprieve commission
received all sentences pronounced by these drumhead courts-
martial and dealt with them.

Q. Another entry in Frank's diary, 12 July, 1940, leads one
to the conclusion that at first these leaders of the
resistance movement concerned were merely arrested. I quote
a statement of the Governor General:-

  "Regarding the question of what is to be done with the
  political criminals caught in connection with the A.B.
  action, a discussion is to take place in the near future
  with State Secretary Dr. Buehler, Obergruppenfuehrer
  Kruger, Brigadefuehrer Streckenbach, and Ministerial
  Councillor Wille."

Who was Ministerial Councillor Wille and what task did he
have in that connection?

A. I might say first that there is a gap in my memory, which
makes it impossible for me to say for certain when the
Governor General told Brigadefuehrer Streckenbach that in
any case he would have to observe the drumhead courts-
martial procedure and pay attention to the reprieve
commission. On the other hand, I think I can remember for
certain that at the time when this discussion took place
between Kruger, Streckenbach, Wille and me, only arrests had
taken place and no executions. Ministerial Councillor Wille
was the chief of the Main Department for Justice in the
Government and was the executive official for all reprieve
matters. The Governor General wanted these matters dealt
with by a legally trained, experienced man.

During the conference with Kruger, Streckenbach and Wille it
had been ruled that the persons who had been arrested up to
that time were to be subjected to the drumhead courts-
martial procedure, and that sentences had to be dealt with
by the reprieve commission. The police were not exactly
enthusiastic about this. I remember that Kruger told me
privately, after the conference, that the Governor General
was a jack-in-the-box with whom one couldn't work, and that
in the future he would go his own way.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, the Tribunal thinks that this has
been gone into in too great detail.

DR. SEIDL: Yes, I am coming to the end of my questions.


Q. Witness, during a police meeting in 1940 on 30 May, the
defendant Dr. Frank mentioned, among other things, that the
difficulties he had had with the Cracow professors were
terrible. "If we had handled the matter here," he said, "it
would have taken a different course."

Who arrested these professors, and to what extent was the
Governor General concerned with this matter?

A. On 7 or 8 November, 1939, when the Governor General
arrived in Cracow in order to begin his activities, all
professors of the University of Cracow were arrested by the
Security Police without his knowledge and taken away to
concentration camps in the Reich. Among them were also
acquaintances of the Governor General, with whom shortly
before he had had

                                                  [Page 148]

social and academic connections through the Academy for
German Law. The Governor General pressed ObergruppenFuehrer
Kruger persistently and uninterruptedly until he achieved
the release of the majority of these professors from
concentration camps.

This contradictory statement of his was made, in my opinion,
for the purpose of soothing the police, for the police did
not like to release these professors.

Q. What basically was the attitude of the Governor General
to the recruiting of labour?

A. The Governor General and the government of the Government
General were always attempting to get as many Polish workers
for the Reich as possible. It was clear to us, however, that
the employment of force in the recruiting of workers might
bring about temporary advantages, but that such recruitment
did not promise much success in the long run. The Governor
General gave me instructions, therefore, to make extensive
and intensive propaganda in favour of labour employment in
the Reich, but to oppose all use of force in the recruitment
of labourers.

On the other hand the Governor General wanted to make his
recruitment of workers for the Reich successful by demanding
decent treatment for the Polish workers in the Reich. He
negotiated for many years with the Reich Commissioner for
the Employment of Labour, Gauleiter Sauckel, and
improvements were in fact achieved. The Governor General
opposed in particular the identifying by means of armband of
Jews - of Poles in the Reich. I remember a letter from Reich
Commissioner Sauckel in which he informed the Governor
General that he had made every effort to insure the same
treatment of Polish workers as of other foreign workers, but
that his efforts were no longer crowned by success wherever
the influence of the Reichsfuehrer S.S. opposed them.

Q. Witness, I now come to another point. As Exhibit USA-275
the prosecution has submitted Document 1061-PS, which is a
report of Brigadefuehrer Stroop on the destruction of the
ghetto in Warsaw. Were you or the Governor General informed
beforehand about the measures planned by the Security

A. I was certainly not, nor do I know that the Governor
General was informed about any such plans.

Q. What did you learn afterwards about the events at the
ghetto in Warsaw in 1943?

A. I heard what practically everybody heard, that a long
prepared uprising had broken out in the ghetto, that the
Jews had used the building materials given them for the
purpose of air raid precaution to set up defence works, and
that during the uprising violent resistance was encountered
by the German troops.

Q. I now come to the Warsaw uprising of 1944. To what extent
did the administration of the Government General participate
in the quelling of that revolt?

A. Since our comrades were encircled in Warsaw by the
insurrectionists, we asked the Governor General to request
the Fuehrer for assistance to put down the revolt
immediately. Apart from that, the administration was active
in caring for the welfare of the population in connection
with the evacuation of the battle zone, the quarters that
were to be destroyed. But the administration did not
exercise any authority there.

Q. On 4 November, 1945, you made an affidavit. The affidavit
bears the Document number 2476-PS. I shall now read to you
that affidavit, which is very brief, and I shall ask you to
tell me whether the contents are correct. I quote:-

  "In the course of the quelling of the Warsaw revolt in
  August, 1944, approximately 50,000 to 60,000 inhabitants
  of Warsaw were taken away from the Polish ghetto to
  German concentration camps. As a result
                                                  [Page 149]
  of a demarche by the Governor General at the office of
  Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler, the latter prohibited further
  deportations. The Governor General tried to bring about
  the release of the 50,000 to 60,000 inhabitants of Warsaw
  who had already been taken to concentration camps in the
  Reich. The Chief of the R.S.H.A., ObergruppenFuehrer
  Kaltenbrunner refused this request in writing, as well as
  verbally on the occasion of a visit of mine to Berlin in
  September or October, 1944, on the grounds that these
  inhabitants of Warsaw were being used in the secret
  armament manufacture of the Reich and that therefore a
  general release was out of the question. However, he
  would, he said, be willing to examine individual
  applications favourably. Individual applications for
  release from concentration camps were granted by
  Kaltenbrunner during the subsequent months.
  Contrary to the Polish estimate, the number of persons
  taken from Warsaw to concentration camps in the Reich was
  estimated by Kaltenbrunner to be small. I myself reported
  to my office Kaltenbrunner's statement regarding the
  number of internees, and after a renewed investigation I
  found that, the above-mentioned figure of 50,000 to
  60,000 was correct. These were the people who had been
  taken to concentration camps in Germany."

A. May I ask you to repeat the last two sentences please?

Q. "I myself reported to my office Kaltenbrunner's statement
regarding the number of internees, and after a renewed
investigation I found that the above-mentioned figure of
50,000 to 60,000 was correct. These were the people who had
been taken to concentration camps in Germany."

I now ask you, are the contents of this affidavit, made
before an American officer, correct?

A. I can supplement it.

THE PRESIDENT: Before he supplements it, is it in evidence?
Has it yet been put in evidence?

DR. SEIDL: It has the number 2476-PS.

THE PRESIDENT: That doesn't prove it has been put in
evidence. Has it been put in evidence? Dr. Seidl, you know
quite well what "put in evidence" means. Has it been put in
evidence? Has it got a USA Exhibit number?

DR. SEIDL: No, it hasn't got a USA Exhibit number.

THE PRESIDENT: Then you are offering it in evidence, are

DR. SEIDL: I don't want to submit it formally in evidence;
but I do want to ask the witness about the contents of this

THE PRESIDENT: But it is a document, and if you are putting
it to the witness, you must put it in evidence and you must
give it an exhibit number. You can't put documents to the
witness and not put them in evidence.

DR. SEIDL: In that case, I submit this document as Exhibit
Frank No. 1.


Q. I now ask you, witness, whether the contents of this
affidavit are correct, and, if so, whether you can
supplement this affidavit.

A. Yes, I should like to supplement it briefly. It is
possible that I went to see Kaltenbrunner twice about that
question - not only once - and after Kaltenbrunner had
refused to release these people the second time I had, on
the strength of my experiences with the camp commandant in
the Camp Pruszkow, the impression that it was not in
Kaltenbrunner's power to order such a release. He didn't
talk to me about that.

Q. But from his statements you had the impression that
perhaps he too did not have the power to release those

A. During those conferences I had brought up questions about
the Polish policy and from these conferences I had the
impression that I might gain Kaltenbrunner's interest in a
reasonable Polish policy, and win him over as an

                                                  [Page 150]

ally in negotiations with Himmler. At any rate, when talking
to me, he condemned the methods of force used by Kruger. I
gathered from these statements that Kaltenbrunner did not
want to see methods of force employed against the Poles and
that he would have helped me if he could.

Q. The Soviet prosecution has submitted a document as
Exhibit USSR-128. It is a teleprinted letter from the
intelligence office of the Higher S.S. and, Police Leader
East addressed to the Governor General and signed by Dr.
Fischer, then Governor of Warsaw. It reads as follows:-

   "Obergruppenfuehrer von dem Bach has, been given the new
   task of pacifying Warsaw, that is to say, of levelling
   Warsaw to the ground during the war, except where
   military considerations of its value as a fortress are
   involved; all raw materials, all textiles, and all
   furniture should be cleared from Warsaw first. The main
   task will fall to the civil administration. I herewith
   inform you that this new Fuehrer decree regarding the
   levelling of Warsaw is of the greatest significance for
   the new Polish policy of the future."

As far as you can recollect, how did the Governor General
regard that teleprinted letter? And to what extent was his
basic attitude altered on the strength of that letter?

A. This teleprint referred to instructions with
Obergruppenfuehrer von dem Bach had received from the
Reichsfuehrer S.S. The administration in the Government
General did not welcome the destruction of Warsaw. On the
contrary, I remember that the Governor General discussed the
ways which might be used to avoid the destruction of Warsaw.
Just what was really tried I cannot recollect. It may be
that further steps were not taken because of the
impossibility of achieving anything.

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