The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Did the reports to Keitel mention the forced enslavement
of millions of foreign workers and their deportation or
importation into Germany?

A. Yes, indeed.

Q. And those enslaved labourers are the displaced persons of
today who are now a menace in Germany; are they not?

A. Yes, indeed. In this connection I would also like to say
that in our reports it was mentioned just what
responsibility the Wehrmacht would have to bear if these ill-
treated people should be freed some day. We had an idea of
what was to come, and those who made the reports at that
time can understand what has now taken place.

Q. Did the reports to Keitel mention the persecution of the
churches in the occupied countries?

A. Yes, they did. I would like to cite as a special example
how we even once sent leading churchmen to Norway in the
guise of agents. They established contact with Bishop
Bergrad, and brought back very detailed reports of what
Bishop Bergrad thought about the persecution of the churches
in Norway and other countries. I can still see this report
before me, because Keitel also wrote one of his well known
National Socialist Party phrases on this document.

Q. Now, these reports consisted both of information
furnished by Canaris and Oster and of the reports coming in
from outside under this plan?

A. Yes.

Q. I want to ask you a few questions about the S.A. and the
S.S. organisa-

                                                  [Page 276]

tions. In your book, which you have been asked about, I
think you have characterised the S.A. as a private army of
the Nazi organisation. Is that a correct characterisation?

A. Yes, certainly.

Q. During the early part of the struggle for power the S.A.
constituted a private army for carrying out the orders of
the Nazi Party; did it not?

A. Yes.

Q. They took in a good many people in the S.A. and it grew
steadily in numbers, and there came a time when there was
some danger it would break away from the Party. Is that the

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. And the murder of Roehm and his associates was a struggle
for power, was it not, between Goering and Himmler and the
Nazi crowd associated with them on one hand and Roehm and
his associates on the other?

A. Yes, indeed.

Q. After the murder of Roehm, this S.A. organisation, which
was very big at the time, rather lost importance, didn't it?

A. Yes, completely.

Q. And the S.S., which was a smaller and more compact
organisation, came in to take its place as a private army,
didn't it?

A. Yes, as the decisive private army.

Q. Now, let's go back to the S.A. during the period before
the struggle for power resulting in the Roehm purge. What
part did the S.A. play in the battle for power, the seizure
of power?

A. As is said in the song, "it cleared the streets for the
Brown Battalions," and without a doubt the S.A. played a
dominant role in the so-called seizure of power. Without the
S.A. Hitler would undoubtedly never have come to power.

Q. Now, let's examine their methods. Perhaps I can shorten
this by quoting from your book. I think you say that:
  "Whoever had not entirely made up his mind, had it made
  up for him unequivocally by the S.A. Their methods were
  primitive, therefore all the more effective. For
  instance, one learned the new Hitler salute very quickly
  when, on the pavements, beside every marching S.A. column
  - and where were there no parades in those days - a few
  stalwart S.A. men went along giving pedestrians a crack
  on the head right and left, if they failed to perform the
  correct gesture at least three steps ahead of the S.A.
  flag. And these Storm troopers acted the same way in all

Is that a correct account of their activities and influence?

A. I hope so.

Q. Well, you know it to be so, don't you?

A. Yes, yes, of course, for it is my own description. I
cannot criticise it.

Q. Yes. But you saw these things yourself, did you not? You
were in Germany at that time?

A. Yes, certainly.

Q. You see, it is very difficult for us, with all the
documents we have, Doctor, to get the picture of the day to
day events. You were there, and we were, not.

Now, let me make another quotation:
  "The chronicle of that private army is colourful and
  stirring. It teemed with beer hall brawls, street fights,
  knifings, shootings, and, fist-fights, altogether a mad
  rough and tumble affair, where naturally there was no
  question of crises of leadership or of mutinies. In this
  brotherhood of the wild men of German nationalism there
  was undoubtedly much idealism, but at the same time the
  S.A. was the repository for political derelicts. The
  failures of all classes found refuge there. The
  discontents, the disinherited, the desperados streamed to
  it wholesale. The core, the paid permanent group, and
  particularly the leaders, were recruited, as time went
                                                  [Page 277]
  on, more and more from the riffraff of a period of
  political and social decay."

Is that a correct statement of your observations of the S.A.
at that time?

A. Yes, quite.

Q. May I call your attention to another quotation:-
  "The S.A. organised huge raids. The S.A. searched houses.
  The S.A. confiscated property. The S.A. cross-examined
  people. The S.A. put people in jail. In short, the S.A.
  appointed themselves permanent auxiliary police and paid
  no attention to any of the customs from the so-called
  'system period' (Weimar Republic). The worst problem for
  the helpless authorities was that the S.A. never returned
  its booty at all. Woe unto anyone who got into their
  From this time dated the 'Bunkers,' those dreaded private
  prisons of which every S.A. Storm Troop had to have at
  least one. 'Taking away' became the inalienable right of
  the S.A. The efficiency of a Standartenfuehrer was
  measured by the number of arrests he had made, and the
  good reputation of an S.A. man was based on the
  effectiveness with which he educated' - in quotation
  marks, the quotation marks being yours - 'educated' his
  prisoners. Brawls could no longer be staged in the fight
  for power, yet the 'fight' went on, only the blows were
  now struck in the full enjoyment of power."

Is that a correct statement of your observations of the

A. Yes, absolutely correct.

Q. I think you also used the term "Bunker," and it is a
slightly technical term with which some of us are not
familiar. Will you tell the Tribunal what this Bunker system
of the S.A. was?

A. Bunkers were those cellars, or other dungeons, with thick
walls, in which the poor prisoners were locked up, where
they were then beaten, often, indeed, beaten to death. They
were those private jails in which, during the first months,
the leaders of the leftist parties and of the unions were
systematically rendered harmless, which explains the
phenomenon that the leftist groups did not act again for so
long a time, for there, at the outset and most thoroughly,
the entire leadership was done away with.

Q. You also use the expression "'Taking away' became the
inalienable right of the S.A.," and "taking away" is in
quotation marks. Will you tell us about this "taking away,"
what it means?

A. That was the arbitrary arrest, whereby the relatives,
often for periods of weeks or months, did not know where the
poor victims had disappeared to, and had to be thankful if
they ever returned home.

Q. I think you also make this observation in your book:-

   "Every excess, pardoned as 'over-zealousness in the
   cause of the National Socialist revolution' was a
   demonstration of official sanction, and necessarily drew
   in its wake a new excess. It was the bestiality
   tolerated during the first months that later encouraged
   the sadistic murders in the concentration camps. The
   growth in brutality and insensibility of the general
   public, which toward the end of the revolution extended
   far beyond the domain of the Gestapo, was the
   unavoidable consequence of this first irresponsible
   attempt to give free rein to the Brown Shirts for their
   acts of violence."

Does that, too, represent your observation of the S.A.?

A. Yes - not of the S.A. alone but also of general
conditions in Germany.

Q. Now, will you tell us about - as I understand you, after
the Roehm purge the S.A. was rather abandoned as the private
army, and a more reliable and smaller and more compact
private army was created under Himmler.

A. A guard which had been established by Himmler long before
this time now actually came into action. I do not doubt that
Himmler and his closest

                                                  [Page 278]

circle for years had worked toward this very objective so
that one day, with their Schutztruppe (protective guard),
they could establish the terror system in Germany. But until
30 June the S.S. had been a part of the S.A., and Goering -
excuse me, Roehm - was also the chief of the S.S. The road
for Himmler to police chief in Germany, to police chief of
evil, was only open after Roehm had been eliminated with his
much larger S.A. But the will to power of the S.S., and all
the confused and unscrupulous ideas connected therewith must
be assumed to have existed in the leadership of the S.S. for
many years previous to that.

Q. Now, this S.S. organisation selected its members with
great care, did it not?

A. Yes, certainly.

Q. Will you tell us something about the qualifications for

A. The members had to be so-called Nordic types. Actually I
always considered these questionnaires as a good subject for
a humorous paper, and for that reason I am not in a position
today to give you exact particulars, except that, if I am
not mistaken, the distinguishing characteristics of men and
women went as far as underarm perspiration. I recall that
Heydrich and Himmler, in selecting S.S. men who were to do
police duty, decided only after a picture had been submitted
to them of the future victim who would be charged with
carrying out their evil commands. I know that, for example,
Nebe repeatedly saved officials in the criminal police force
(Kripo) from being transferred to the ranks of the Gestapo
by having poor photographs taken of these people so that, as
far as possible, they did not look Nordic. In that case, of
course, they were turned down immediately. But it would be
going too far afield to relate more about these dismal
things in this courtroom.

Q. Well, was the membership of the S.S. recruited only from
what we may call fanatical Nazis, reliable Nazis?

A. I think we must make a distinction. In the first years,
many decent German people, especially farmers and people in
the country, felt drawn to the S.S., because they believed
Himmler's assurance that the S.S. was to bring order to
Germany and to be a counter-balance to the S.A. terror. In
that way, to my knowledge, some people in the years before
1933, and even in 1933 and 1934, entered the S.S., because
they hoped that here would be a nucleus standing for order
and right, and I believe it is my duty to point out the
tragedy of these people. Each and every case should be
examined before deciding whether, later on, a member was
guilty or whether he remained decent.

But from a certain period of time on - I believe I specified
yesterday 1935 - no one could have any doubts as to the real
S.S. objectives. From then on only fanatical National
Socialists, that is, "super" National Socialists, entered
the S.S.

Q. And from 1935 on, in your judgement as one who was on the
spot, those who entered the S.S. must have known what its
actual activities were?

A. Yes: what he was entering into and what orders he had to

Q. Now, the Tribunal has asked me to inquire in reference to
the incident referred to, in connection with what you heard
Dr. Stahmer saying to Dr. Dix. Was there anything further,
in reference to the threat made. Is there anything that you
wish to add about that incident in order to make it clear to
the Tribunal, anything that hasn't been told about it?

A. I would like to make clear that Dr. Dix informed me about
a discussion he had with Dr. Stahmer. That morning I arrived
in the counsels' room, and I do not wish to state further
particulars, but the atmosphere there was not exactly
cordial to begin with. Then I went up to Dr. Dix to report
something else. Dr. Stahmer approached, obviously very
excited, and asked Dr. Dix for an immediate interview. Dr.
Dix refused, on the ground that he was talking to me. Dr.
Stahmer said in a loud voice that he must speak to Dr. Dix

                                                  [Page 279]

mediately and urgently. Dr. Dix took only two steps aside
and the conversation that followed was carried on by Dr.
Stahmer in such a loud voice, that I was bound to hear most
of it. I did hear it and said to attorney Dr. Kraus who was
standing nearby: "Just listen how Dr. Stahmer is carrying
on." Dr. Dix then came over to me, very excited, and after
all this fuss, in response to my questions as to what
precisely was the demand of the defendant Goering, he told
me what I had already half heard anyway. I would like to
underline that if I had had the opportunity to tell the
story first in my own way I would have emphasised that I was
under the impression that Dr. Stahmer had merely transmitted
a statement, or rather what I would call a threat, by the
defendant Goering.

Q. Now, in this Nazi regime, after Hitler came to power,
will you state whether there was, as far as you could see, a
systematic practice of the Nazi ministers and Nazi officials
enriching themselves by reason of their confiscation of
property of Jews and others?

A. Yes. This became more cynical from year to year, and we
kept lists as to which of the civil ministers and above all
which of the generals and field marshals participated in
this system. We planned to inquire of all the generals and
ministers at a later date whether these donations had been
put into a bank account or whether they had possibly used
this money for their own personal interests.

Q. And will you state to the Tribunal which of the
defendants were engaged in self-enrichment in the manner
that you have indicated?

A. I am sorry I am only able to give a negative reply. We
repeatedly asked the defendant Schacht -

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps this will be a good time to adjourn
for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken.)


Q. Dr. Gisevius, I have just a few more questions which I
would like to put to you in reference to the war and the
resistance movement of which you were a part.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, there is just one
question I should like to ask the witness. You said that you
kept lists of the ministers and generals who participated in
this system of spoils. What was your source of information?

THE WITNESS: We had information from the various ministries,
from ante-chambers of ministries, and from the Finance
Ministry. But I did not finish the answer before. I said
that I could answer the question as to which of the
defendants had enriched himself only in the negative.

Concerning the defendant Schacht, I wanted to continue
saying that I personally did not look into these lists, and
that I questioned only the defendant Schacht on the matter,
and that he personally had not enriched himself. I did not
intend to say in any sense, therefore, that all the
defendants, especially defendants von Papen or von Neurath,
to name only those two, had enriched themselves. I do not
know. I only wanted to say that about Schacht we know, or
rather I know, that he did not take part in that system.

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