The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Now, there came a time when everybody connected with your
group knew that the war was lost.

A. Yes.

Q. And it was before these plots on Hitler's life and,
apparently, before the Schwabendorf plot and before the 20
July plot, that the war was lost, was it not?

A . I should like to make it quite clear that there was no
one in our group who did not already know, even when the war
started, that Hitler would never win.

Q. But it became very much more apparent as time went on,
not only that

                                                  [Page 262]

the war could not be won by Germany but that Germany was
going to be physically destroyed, as a result of the war; is
that not true?

A. Yes.

Q. Yet, under the system which the Nazi regime had
installed, you had no way of changing the course of events
in Germany except by assassination or a revolt; is that

A. Yes.

Q. And so you resorted to those extreme measures, knowing
that Hitler could never make peace with the Allies; is that

A. Yes.

Q. And your purpose in this was to save Germany the last
destroying blows which, from the point of view of the
Germans, she was unfortunate enough to receive; is that not
a fact?

A. I should like to say that actually since the beginning of
the war, we no longer thought only of Germany. I think that
I may say that we felt a heavy responsibility not only
towards Germany but towards the whole world too.

Q. Well, what you were trying to do was to bring the war to
an end, since you had not been able to stop its beginning,
were you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And you were convinced that this was impossible as long
as Hitler was at the head of the government, and this group
of men were behind him?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, there was another plot on Hitler's life that you
haven't mentioned. Was there not a bomb that was later found
to have been a communist bomb?

A. Yes! This was on 9 November, 1939, in the
Burgerbraukeller (the beercellar) in Munich. It was a brave
communist who acted independently.

Q. Now, by a strange coincidence, at none of these times
when Hitler's life was endangered, was Goering or Himmler
ever present; is that not true?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you attach any importance to that fact?

A. We sometimes regretted this; for instance, if the attempt
at assassination had been successful, if Goering and Himmler
had been with Hitler on the 17 July .... but, as years went
by, the members of this clique separated to such an extent
and protected themselves so much, that they could hardly be
found together anywhere; and Goering gradually became so
absorbed in his transactions and art collections at Karin
Hall that he was hardly ever to be found at a serious

Q. Now, the assassination of Hitler would have accomplished
nothing from your point of view, if the number two man had
stepped into Hitler's place, would it?

A. That, for a long time, was a debatable problem because
Brauchitsch, for instance, imagined that we could create a
transition regime with Goering. Our group refused to go in
with that man even for an hour.

Q. How did you plan - if you were successful - to deal with
the other defendants here, with the exception of the
defendant Schacht, all of whom, I understand, you regard as
a part of the Nazi government?

A. These gentlemen would have been behind lock and key in an
extremely short time and I think they would not have had to
wait long for their sentences.

Q. Now, does that apply to every man in this dock with the
exception of Schacht?

A. Yes, every man.

                                                  [Page 263]

That is, you recognised them, your group recognised them all
as parts and important parts of the Nazi regime - a Nazi
conspiracy. Is that a fact?

A. I should not like to commit myself to the words "Nazi

We considered them the men responsible for all the
unspeakable misery which that government had brought to
Germany and the world.

Q. I should like to ask you a few questions about the
Gestapo. You testified generally in reference to the crimes
which were committed by that organisation, and I ask you to
state whether that included the torturing and burning to
death of a large number of persons?

A. The question does not seem to have come through

Q. I am asking you as to the crimes committed by the
Gestapo, and I am asking if it included the torturing and
burning to death of thousands of persons?

A. Yes.

Q. Did it involve the unlawful detention of thousands of
innocent people?

A. Yes.

Q. The throwing of them into concentration camps where they
were tortured and beaten and killed?

A. Yes.

Q. Did the Gestapo engage in wholesale confiscation of

A. Yes, to a very large extent; they called it "property
hostile to the State.

Q. And did it practice extortion against Jews and others?

A. In masses and by the millions.

Q. Did the Gestapo hinder and molest the public officials
who were too prominent to be murdered, until they resigned
or were driven from office?

A. The Gestapo used every means from murder to the extortion
which has just been described.

Q. Now, the question arises here as to whether the members
of the Gestapo knew what the Gestapo was doing, and will you
please tell the Tribunal what the situation was as regards
the members of that organisation and their knowledge of its

A. I have already stated in the beginning of my testimony
that from the first or second day every member of the
Gestapo really could not help seeing and knowing what took
place in that institution.

Q. Now, there were some people who were taken into the
Gestapo at the beginning, who were transferred from other
branches of the civil service, were they not, who were in a
sense involuntary members of the Gestapo?

A. Yes; these members were eliminated in the course of the
first year as being politically unreliable.

Q. And the transfers had taken place at the time Goering set
up the Gestapo, had they not?

THE PRESIDENT: What did the witness mean by "eliminated?"

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think eliminated from the Gestapo.

THE WITNESS: Gradually they were released from the service
of the Gestapo.


Q. Now, after the purge of 30 June, 1934, were special pains
taken to see that no one was permitted in the organisation
who wasn't in sympathy with its programme?

A. This practice started after 1 April, 1934, when Himmler
and Heydrich took over affairs. Actually, from that date, no
official was allowed into the

                                                  [Page 264]

Gestapo any longer unless Himmler and Heydrich considered
that his attitude was in keeping with their desires. It may
be that during the first months some officials, who had not
yet been screened by the S.S., got in. The Gestapo was, of
course, a large organisation and, naturally, it was a
considerable time before the S.S. had educated and trained
their own criminal officials.

Q. However, did there come a time, and if so, will you fix
it as nearly as possible, after which every member of the
Gestapo must have known the criminal programme of that

A. For many years I have considered that question myself and
discussed it with Nebe and my friends. The reply entails
very great responsibility and in the knowledge of that
responsibility, I would say that from the beginning of 1935,
at the latest, everyone must have known what sort of
organisation he was joining and the type of orders he might
have had to expect.

Q. You have testified as to the investigations which you
made when you were connected with the police administration
and you mentioned the Reichstag fire, but you did not tell
us what were your findings. Will you please tell us?

A. To speak briefly and to begin with the facts, we
ascertained that Hitler had openly expressed the wish for a
large-scale propaganda campaign. Goebbels undertook to
prepare the necessary proposals and it was he who first
thought of setting the Reichstag on fire. He discussed this
with the leader of the Berlin S.A. Brigade, Carl Ernst, and
he suggested in detail how it should be done.

A certain chemical known to every fireman was chosen. After
spraying it ignites after a certain time - hours or minutes.
In order to get inside the Reichstag, one had to go through
the corridor leading from the palace of the Reich President
to the Reichstag itself. Ten reliable S.A. men were
employed, and then Goering was informed of all the details
of the plan. Quite by chance he did not make an election
speech on that particular evening, but at a late hour was
still at his desk in the Ministry of the Interior in Berlin.

Goering gave assurances that he would put the police on a
false trail after the fire was over. From the very beginning
it was intended that the communists should be accused of
this crime, and the ten S.A. men who had to carry out the
crime were instructed accordingly.

That is, in a few words, the story of the events. To tell
you how we got hold of the details, I have only to add that
one of these ten who had to spray the chemical was a
notorious criminal. Six months later he was dismissed from
the S.A., and when he did not receive the payment which he
had been promised, he decided to tell what he knew to the
Reich Court, sitting in Leipzig at the time. He was taken
before an examining magistrate who made a record of it, but
the Gestapo heard of it and the letter to the Reich Court
was intercepted and destroyed. The S.A. man, named Rall, who
betrayed the plan, was murdered in a vile manner with the
knowledge of the defendant Goering, by order of Gestapo
Chief Diehls. Upon finding the body we picked up the trail
of the whole story.

Q. What happened to the other nine S.A. men who carried out
the Reichstag fire? Are any of them alive now?

A. As far as we can find out none of them are still alive.
Most of them were murdered on 30 June under the pretext of
the Roehm revolt. Only one, a certain Heini Gewaehr, was
taken over by the police as a police officer, and we
followed his trail as well. He was killed in the war as a
police officer on the Eastern Front.

Q. I think you testified that you also investigated not only
the entire Roehm affair but also the murders that followed.
Didn't you so testify?

A. I cannot actually say that I carried out the
investigation, since we, of the

                                                  [Page 265]

Ministry of the Interior, had actually been excluded from
the entire affair. However, matters were such that after 30
June, all cries for help and all complaints of the people
who were affected reached us in the Ministry of the Interior
and during 30 June, through the continual radio messages,
the occasional visits to Goering's palace, and the
information from Nebe, we discovered all the details.

Q. Now, about how many people were killed in that purge?

A. We have never been able to establish that figure exactly,
but I estimate that 150 to 200 persons lost their lives,
which, at that time, was an incredible figure.

I, myself, together with Minister of Justice Guertner,
compared the lists of the number of the dead which had been
given him by Hitler and Goering, and we ascertained that the
list which contained the names of 77 dead, who had
supposedly been killed justly, was exceeded by nearly 100
per cent. This we ascertained through those names which we
had received from the prosecuting authority or through calls
for help coming from relatives through the Ministry of the

Q. Now, did you ascertain who selected the men who were
killed in that purge?

A. To begin with, we ascertained that Himmler, Heydrich and
Goering had compiled exact lists of those to be murdered,
because I myself heard in Goering's palace, and this was
confirmed by Daluege who was present, and also by Nebe who
was present from the very first second, that no one of those
who were killed was mentioned by name; all that was said
was: "Number so and so is now gone," or: "Number so and so
is still missing," or "It will soon be number so and so's

There is, however, no doubt that Heydrich and Himmler also
had a special list. On that official list there were several
Catholics - Klausner and others - and so I cannot, for
example, say under oath in this courtroom whether Schleicher
was murdered by order of Goering, or whether he was a man
who was on Heydrich's and Himmler's special list.

Q. Now, was the defendant Frick fully informed as to the
facts which you knew about the illegal conduct of the

A. Yes. I had to submit to him every bit of material which
arrived which was important, and I have already described
how we reported all these matters to the Secret State Police
or to the Interior Ministers of the provinces. It was true
that I could, of course, submit only the most important
material to Frick personally. I estimate that I received
several hundred complaints daily, but the most important had
to be submitted to Frick because he had to sign them
personally, since Goering always complained if he saw that
such a young official had signed reports or complaints to
the Ministry of State and to himself.

Q. Now, was Frick informed of your conclusions about the
Roehm purge?

A. Yes. On Sunday, while the murders were continuing, I
spoke to Frick about the murder of Strasser, Klausner and
Schleicher, and many others, and Frick was particularly
disgusted about the murder of Strasser, because he
considered that an act of personal revenge by Goering and
Himmler. Likewise, Frick was extremely indignant about the
murders of Klausner, Bose, Edgar Jung, and the many other
innocent men.

Q. But when Frick signed the decree, along with Hitler,
declaring these murders legitimate and ordering no
prosecutions in connection with them, Frick had learned from
you exactly what had happened, is that the fact?

A. He knew it from me, and he had seen it himself. The story
of 30 June was undoubtedly known to Frick.

                                                  [Page 266]

Q. Now, did Frick ever talk with you about Himmler and
Heydrich as being bad and dangerous, cruel persons?

A. On that Sunday, I July, Frick said to me: "If Hitler does
not very soon, do with the S.S. and Himmler what he has done
with the S.A. today, then he will experience with the S.S.
many things worse than those he has now experienced with the S.A."

I was greatly struck by that prediction at that time, and
the fact that Frick should say that so openly, before me.

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