The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Under whom was the political police at that time and
which was the superior authority?

A. The political police was under one Rudolf Diels. He too
came from the old Prussian political police. He was a
professional civil servant and one might have expected him
still to retain the ideas of law and decency, but in a
brutal and cynical way he set his mind on making the new
rulers forget his political past as a democrat and on
ingratiating himself with his superior, the Prussian
Minister President and Minister of the Interior, Goering. It
was he who created the Gestapo office. He suggested to
Goering the issuance of the first decree for making this
office independent. It was Diels who let the S.A. and the
S.S. into this office. He legalised the actions of these
civil commandos. But soon it became evident to me that such
a bourgeois renegade could not do so much wrong entirely by
himself; some very important person must be backing him; and
very soon I also saw that somebody was taking a daily
interest in everything that happened in this office.

Reports were written, telephone inquiries were received.
Diels rendered reports several times daily, and it was the
Prussian Minister of the Interior,

                                                  [Page 209]

Goering, who considered this Secret State Police as his
special preserve. During those months nothing happened in
this office that was not known or ordered by Goering
personally. I want to stress this, because in the course of
the years the public formed a different idea of Goering when
he gradually retired from his official functions. At that
time, it wasn't the Goering who finally floundered in the
morass of Karin Hall. At that time he still looked after
everything personally and had not yet begun to busy himself
with the building of Karin Hall, or to don all sorts of
uniforms or decorations. It was still a Goering in civilian
clothes who was the real Chief of this office, who inspired
it, and who attached importance to being the Iron Goering.

Q. Witness, I believe you can describe some points more
concisely. As to what you said just now, do you know this
from your own experience or where did you get it from?

A. I heard and saw it myself and I also learned much from a
gentleman who, at that time, was also a member of the Secret
State Police and whose information will play an important
part in the course of my statements.

At that time a criminal expert had been called into the
Secret State Police, probably the best known expert of the
Prussian Police, Oberregierungsrat Nebe. Nebe was a National
Socialist. He had been in opposition to the former Prussian
police and had joined the National Socialist Party. He was a
man who sincerely believed in the purity and genuineness of
the National Socialist aims. Thus I saw for myself how this
man found out on the spot what was actually going on and how
he changed his views.

I can also state here - and it is important to know this -
the reasons why Nebe became a strong opponent of the system,
and later suffered death by hanging. In August, 1933, Nebe
was ordered by the defendant Goering to murder Gregor
Strasser, formerly a leading member of the National
Socialist Party, by means of a car or hunting accident. Nebe
was so shocked at this order that he refused to carry it out
and made an inquiry at the Reich Chancellery. The answer
from the Reich Chancellery was that the Fuehrer knew nothing
of this order. Thereupon Nebe was summoned to Goering, who
reproached him most bitterly for having made an inquiry.
Nevertheless, when he finished these reproaches he
considered it advisable to promote him, because he thought
he would thereby silence him.

The second thing which happened at that time and which is
also very important was that the defendant Goering gave the
political police so-called blank warrants for murder. At
that time there were not only so-called amnesty laws which
gave amnesty for atrocities, but there was also a special
law according to which investigations already initiated by
police authorities and by the public prosecution could be
quashed, but only on condition that, in these special cases,
the Reich Chancellor or Goering personally signed the
pertinent order. Goering made use of this law by giving
blank warrants to the Chief of the Gestapo, and to use these
all one had to do was to fill in the names of those who were
to be murdered. Nebe was so shocked by this, that from that
moment on he did his duty in the fight against the Gestapo.
At our request he remained in the criminal police, because
we needed one man at least who could keep us informed about
police conditions in case our desire to see its overthrow
should materialise.

Q. Witness, what did you do yourself when you saw all these

A. I, for my part, tried to contact those bourgeois circles
which through my connections were open to me. I went to
various ministries: to the Prussian Ministry of the
Interior, to State Secretary Grauert, and several
ministerial directors and counsellors. I went to the Reich
Ministry of the Interior, to the Ministry of Justice, to the
Foreign Office, and the Ministry of War. I spoke repeatedly
to the Chief of the Army, Colonel General von Hammerstein.
Among all the connections I formed at that time there was
yet another, who is particularly important for my testimony.
At that time I met in the newly

                                                  [Page 210]

founded Intelligence Department of the O.K.W., a Major
Oster. I gave him all the material which had accumulated up
to that time. We started a collection, which we continued
until 20 July, of all documents which we could get hold of;
and Oster is the man who from then on, in the Ministry of
War, never failed to inform every officer he could contact
officially or privately. In the course of time, through the
influence of Admiral Canaris, Oster became Chief
Intelligence of the Staff. When he met his death by hanging
he was a general. But I consider it my duty to testify here,
in view of all this man did, of his unforgettable fight
against the Gestapo and against all the crimes which were
committed against humanity and peace, that amongst the
inflated German field marshals and generals there was one
real German general.

Q. How did the work of the Gestapo develop according to your

A. At that time conditions in Germany were still such that
in many ministries there were still people who kept their
eyes open. There was still opposition in the bourgeois
ministries, there was the Reich President von Hindenburg,
and so it was that at the end of October, 1933, the
defendant Goering was forced to dismiss Diels, the Chief of
the State Police. At the same time a purge commission was
set up in order to re-organise thoroughly that institution.
According to the ministerial decree, Nebe and I were members
of that commission. But that purge commission never met. The
defendant Goering found ways and means to thwart this
measure. He appointed as chief to succeed Diels a still
worse Nazi, named Hinkler, who some time before had been
acquitted in a trial because of irresponsibility; and
Hinkler acted in such a way that before thirty days had
passed he was dismissed, and now the defendant Goering could
bring back his Diels to the office.

Q. Do you know anything of the events which led to the
Prussian law of 30 November, 1933, by which the functions of
the Gestapo were separated from the office of the Minister
of the Interior and transferred to the Minister President's

A. That was just the moment of which I am speaking. Goering
realised that it would not serve his purpose if other
ministries were too much concerned in his Secret State
Police. Though he was Prussian Minister of the Interior
himself, he was disturbed by the fact that the police
department of the Prussian Ministry of the Interior could
look into the affairs of his private domain, and he
therefore separated the Secret State Police from the
remaining police and placed it under his personal direction,
thereby excluding all other police authorities. From the
point of view of a proper police system this was nonsense,
because you cannot run a political police properly if you
separate it from the criminal police and the uniformed
police. But Goering knew why he did not want any other
police authority to look into the affairs of the Secret
State Police.

Q. Witness, did you remain in the police service yourself?

A. On that day when Goering carried out his little "Coup
d'etat" - I can't think of a better expression for it - by
assigning to himself a State Police of his own, this Secret
State Police issued a warrant for my arrest. I had expected
this and had gone into hiding. The next morning I went to
the Chief of the police department of the Prussian Ministry
of the Interior, Ministerial Director Daluege, who was a
high S.S. general, and said that it was really not quite in
order to issue a warrant for my arrest.

A criminal commissar of the Secret State Police came to
arrest me in the room of the Chief of the Prussian police.
Daluege was kind enough to allow me to escape through a back
door to State Secretary Grauert, and Grauert intervened with
Goering. As always, in cases of this kind, Goering was very
surprised and ordered a thorough investigation. That was the
usual expression when no further action was to be taken.
After that I was no longer accepted in the Secret State
Police, but I was sent as an observer to the Reichstag fire
trial at Leipzig, which was just drawing to an end. During
these last days of November

                                                  [Page 211]

I was able to get some insight into this obscure affair and,
having already tried, together with Nebe, to investigate
this crime, I was able to add to my knowledge there.

I assume that I shall still be questioned about that point
and, therefore, I shall now confine myself to the statement
that, if necessary, I am prepared to refresh defendant
Goering's memory concerning his complicity in and his joint
knowledge of this first "coup d'etat" and the murder of the

Q. On 1 May, 1934, Frick became Prussian Minister of the
Interior. Did you get in touch with Frick himself or his

A. Yes. Immediately after the Reichstag fire trial was over,
that is, at the end of 1933, I was dismissed from the police
service and transferred to a Landrat office in East Prussia.
I complained, however, to State Secretary Grauert, of this
obvious demotion. As he and Ministerial Director Daluege
knew of my quarrel with the Secret State Police, they got me
into the Ministry of the Interior and assigned to me the
task of collecting all these reports which were still being
incorrectly addressed to the Ministry of the Interior, and
forwarding them to the Prussian Minister President in charge
of the Secret State Police, who dealt with these matters.

As soon as Goering found out about this he repeatedly
protested against my presence in the Ministry, but the
Minister of the Interior stood firm and was successful in
keeping me in that post.

When Frick came I did not get in touch with him immediately,
as I was only a subordinate official. But I assume the
defendant Frick knew about my activity and my views, because
I was now encouraged to continue collecting all those
requests for help which were wrongly addressed to the
Ministry of the Interior, and a large number of these
reports I submitted through official channels to Daluege,
Grauert, and Frick. There was, however, the difficulty that
Goering in his capacity of Minister President of Prussia had
prohibited Frick, as his Minister of the Interior, to take
cognisance of such reports. Frick was supposed to forward
them to the Gestapo without comment. I saw no reason for not
submitting them to Frick all the same and as Frick was also
Reich Minister of the Interior, and in this capacity could
give directives to the provinces, and, therefore, also to
Goering, Frick took cognisance of these reports in the Reich
Ministry of the Interior, and allowed me to forward them to
Goering with the request for a report. Goering protested
repeatedly, and I know this resulted in heated disputes
between him and Frick.

Q. Is anything known to you about the fact that at that time
the Reich Minister of the Interior issued certain directives
to restrict protective custody?

A. It is correct that at that time quite a number of such
directives were issued, but the very fact that a great
number of such directives were issued, goes to suggest that
generally they were not complied with by subordinate

The Reich Minister of the Interior was a minister with no
personal executive power and I will never forget how it
impressed me as a civil servant, whilst in training in the
Secret State Police, that we officials were instructed in
principle not to answer any inquiries from the Reich
Minister of the Interior. Of course, at intervals the Reich
Minister of the Interior sent a reminder. The efficiency of
a Gestapo official was judged by the number of such
reminders he could show his chief Diels, as a proof that he
did not pay any attention to such matters.

Q. On 30 June, 1934, the so-called Roehm putsch took place.
Can you give a short description of the conditions
prevailing before this putsch?

A. First I have to say that there never was a Roehm putsch.
On 30 June there was only a Goering-Himmler putsch. I am in
a position to give some information about that dark chapter,
because I dealt with and followed up this case in the police
department of the Ministry of the Interior, and because the
radiograms sent during these days by Goering and Himmler to
the police authorities of the Reich came into my hands. The
last of these radiograms

                                                  [Page 212]

reads: "By order of Goering all documents relating to 30
June will be burned immediately."

At that time I took the liberty of putting these papers into
my iron safe, and to this day I do not know whether or not
they survived the attempts by Kaltenbrunner to get them. I
still hope to recover these papers and, if I do, I can prove
that throughout the whole of 30 June not a single shot was
fired by the S.A. The S.A. did not revolt, but by this I do
not wish to utter a single word of excuse for their leaders.
On 30 June not one of the S.A. leaders died who did not
deserve death a hundred times, but after a regular trial.

The situation on that 30 June was that of a civil war; on
one side were the S.A. headed by Roehm, and on the other
side Goering and Himmler. It had been seen to that the S.A.,
several days before 30 June, were sent on leave. The S.A.
leaders had purposely been called by Hitler for a conference
at Wiessee on that day, and it is not usual that people who
want to march for a "coup d'etat" travel by sleeping car to
a conference. To their surprise they were
seized at the station and at once driven off to execution.

The so-called Munich putsch took place as follows. The
Munich S.A. did not come into it at all, and at one hour's
driving distance from Munich the so-called traitors, Roehm
and Heines, died completely ignorant of the fact that,
according to the description given by Hitler and Goering the
night before, a putsch bad allegedly taken place in Munich.

I was able to observe the putsch in Berlin very closely. It
took place without anything being known about it by the
public, and without any participation of the S.A. We in the
police office were unaware of it. However, it is true that
four days before 30 June one of the alleged ringleaders,
Berlin S.A. Obergruppenfuehrer Karl Ernst, came to
Ministerial Director Daluege looking very concerned and said
there were rumours going round in Berlin that the S.A. were
contemplating a putsch. He asked for an interview with
Minister of the Interior Frick, so that he, Ernst, could
assure him that there was no such intention.

Daluege sent me with this message to the defendant Frick,
and I arranged for this strange conversation where an S.A.
leader assured the Minister of the Interior that he did not
intend to stage a putsch.

Ernst then set out on a trip to Madeira. On 30 June he was
taken from the steamer and sent to Berlin for execution. I
saw him arrive at the Tempelhof airport. This struck me as
particularly interesting, because a few hours before I had
read the official report about his execution in the

That, then, was the so-called S.A. and Roehm putsch, and
since I do not want to withhold anything, I must add that I
was present when on 30 June the defendant Goering informed
the Press of this event. On this occasion Goering made the
cold-blooded remark that he had for days been waiting for a
code word which he had arranged with Hitler. He had then
struck of course with lightning speed and had also extended
the scope of his mission. This extension caused the death of
a large number of innocent people. To mention only a few -
there were the Generals Schleicher - who was killed together
with his wife - and von Bredow, Ministerial Director
Klausner, Edgar Jung and many others.

Q. Witness, you were in the Ministry of the Interior
yourself at that time. How did Frick hear about these
measures, and was he himself in any way involved in the
quelling of this so-called putsch?

A. I was present when at about half-past nine Daluege came
back after seeing Goering. He looked pale, for he had just
been told what had happened. Daluege and I went to Grauert
and we drove to the Reich Minister of the Interior Frick.
Frick rushed out of the room - it may have been about 10
o'clock-in order to drive to Goering to find out what had
happened in the meantime, only to be told by the latter that
he, as Police Minister of the Reich, should go home now and
not worry about what was still going to happen.

                                                  [Page 213]

In fact, Frick did go home, and during those two dramatic
days he did not enter the Ministry.

Once during this time Daluege drove over with me to see him.
For the rest, it was given to me, the youngest official of
the Reich Ministry of the Interior, to inform the Reich
Minister of the Interior on that bloody Saturday and Sunday
of the atrocious things which in the meantime had happened
in Germany.

Q. Witness, you just told us of an instruction Frick had
received not to worry about these things. Who gave him this

A. As far as I know, Goering gave or conveyed to him an
instruction by Hitler. I do not know whether there was a
written instruction. Neither do I know whether Frick had
asked about it. I should think that Frick, on that day,
considered it would not be wise to ask too many awkward

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