The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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DR. KAUFFMANN, Continued:

M. de Menthon has tried to make an intellectual analysis of
National Socialism. He speaks of the "sin against the
spirit", and sees the deeper causes of this system in
estrangement from Christianity.

I wish to add a few words. Hitler was not a meteor, the fall
of which was incalculable and unpredictable. He was the
exponent of an ideology which was in the last degree
atheistic and materialistic.

There is every reason to reflect that, although National
Socialism is eliminated through the complete defeat of
Germany and although the world is now as all nations
proclaim free from the German threat, there has been no
decisive change for the better.No peace has filled our
hearts, no rest has come to any corner of human existence.
It is true that the collapse of a powerful State with all
its physical and spiritual forces will be felt a long time,
just as the sea is stirred into motion when a large stone is
thrown into the calm water. But something much more is
happening at present in Europe and in the world - something
quite different from the mere ebbing away of such a wave of

To maintain the metaphor, the waves rise anew from the deep;
they are fed by mysterious forces which constantly emerge
anew. They are those restless ideas, aiming at the disaster
of nations, of which I spoke. And nothing can disprove the
truth of my words when I maintain that victor and vanquished
alike live in the midst of a crisis which disturbs the
consciences of individuals and of nations like

                                                  [Page 228]

a monstrous and apparently inevitable nightmare and which
causes us to look beyond the punishment of guilty
individuals towards those ways and means which can spare
humanity an even greater catastrophe.

In his Confessions of a Revolutionary, the clear-sighted
Socialist Proudhon wrote the memorable words: "Every great
political problem contains within itself a theological one."
He coined this phrase one hundred years ago. It is most
timely that the American General MacArthur, at the signing
of the Japanese surrender agreement, is said to have
repeated the essential meaning of these profound words by
saying: "If we do not create a better and greater system,
death will be at our door. The problem is, fundamentally
speaking, a religious one".

History is determined by changes in religious values. They
constitute the strongest motive power in the cultural
progress of humanity. Permit me to show you in a few bold
strokes the intellectual and historical forebears of
National Socialism.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kauffmann, it is one o'clock, and I must
say that the last two pages which you have read seem to me
to have absolutely nothing to do with crimes against
humanity or with any case with which we have got to deal. I
suggest to you that the next pages, headed "Renaissance,
Subjectivism, French Revolution, Liberalism, National
Socialism" are equally completely unlikely to have any
influence at all upon the minds of the Tribunal.

The Tribunal will now adjourn.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

DR. KAUFFMANN: Mr. President, I am going to leave out the
section headed "Renaissance, Subjectivism, French
Revolution, Liberalism, National Socialism." The gist of
those remarks can be summarised in two or three sentences
and I merely beg you to take cognizance of them. I have
pointed out that the cause of all these disastrous movements
is the spiritual attitude which Jacques Maritain described
as anthropocentric humanism.

I then continue on Page 13 of the German copy.

In the midst of this whole spiritual situation stands the
figure of the defendant Dr. Kaltenbrunner. The fatherland
was already bleeding from a thousand wounds dealt at its
sensitive soul and its gigantic power. Is this man guilty?
He has pleaded not guilty and guilty in the same breath. Let
us see which is the truth.

As I have already emphasized, up to the year 1943
Kaltenbrunner was, in comparison with the other defendants
at this trial, hardly known in Germany; at any rate he had
hardly any associations with either the German public or the
high officials of the regime. In those days when the
military, economic and political fate of the German people
was already swinging with great velocity towards the abyss,
hate and abhorrence of the executive powers were at their
peak, the more so as the paralysing sensation of the
hopelessness of any resistance against the terror of the
regime began to disappear, for people had then finally
turned away from the legend of invincibility preached by
propaganda. Up to that point Kaltenbrunner had led a retired
life and, in spite of the Austrian Anschluss, his record was
clear of offences against International Law. I should like
to say here that he was an Austrian - I might almost say, a
bona fide Austrian. Suddenly, so to speak, and not on
account of any special aptitude, much less through any
efforts of his own, he was drawn into the net of the
greatest accomplice of the greatest murderer. Not of his own
free will; on the contrary, he repeatedly attempted to
resist and to have himself transferred to the fighting

I can well understand that I might be told that I should, in
view of the sea of blood and tears, refrain from
illuminating the physiognomy of this man's soul and
character. But deep in my heart - and I beg you not to
misunderstand me - while exercising my profession as
counsel, even of such a man, I am moved by the universal
thesis of the great Augustine which is hardly intelligible
to the present generation: "Hate error, but love man." Love?
Indeed, in so far as it should pervade justice; because
justice without this virtue becomes simple revenge,

                                                  [Page 229]

which the prosecution explicitly disavows. Therefore, for
the sake of justice, .I must show you that Kaltenbrunner is
not the type of man repeatedly described by the prosecution,
namely the "little Himmler", his "confidant", the "second

I do not believe that he is the ice-cold being whom the
witness Gisevius described in such unfavourable terms,
although only from hearsay. The defendant Jodl has testified
before you that Kaltenbrunner was not among those of
Hitler's confidants who always gathered around him after the
daily situation conferences in the Fuehrer's headquarters.
The witness Dr. Mildner, on the basis of direct observation,
made the following statement, which was not shaken by the

  "From my own observation I can confirm: I know the
  defendant Kaltenbrunner personally. His private life was
  irreproachable. In my opinion he was promoted from Higher
  SS and Police Leader to Chief of the Security Police and
  of the SD because Himmler, after the death of his
  principal Heydrich in June, 1942, did not want any man
  near him or under him who might have endangered his own
  position. The defendant Kaltenbrunner was no doubt the
  least dangerous man for Himmler. Kaltenbrunner had no
  ambition to bring his influence to bear through special
  deeds and ultimately to push Himmler aside. He was not
  hungry for power. It is wrong to call him the "little

The witnesses Eberstein, Waneck and Dr. Hoettl have
expressed themselves in a similar manner.

And yet this man took over the office of the RSHA, indeed,
he took it over to the fullest extent despite his agreement
with Himmler. I know that today this man suffers a great
deal when thinking of the catastrophe that has overtaken his
people and from the uneasiness of his conscience; nothing is
more understandable than that Dr. Kaltenbrunner, knowingly
or unknowingly, can no longer face the fact that he actually
was in charge of an office under the burden of which the
very stones would have cried out if that had been possible.
The personality and character of this man must be judged
differently from the way the prosecution has judged it.

For the psychologist the question arises how a man, with,
let us say, normal civic virtues, could take under his
control an office which became the very symbol of human
slavery in the 20th century as far as Germany is concerned.
There may nevertheless be two reasons for his taking over
this office:

One is based on the fact that Dr. Kaltenbrunner, although
closely connected with the political and cultural interests
of his Austrian homeland, supported National Socialism in
its larger sense. Because, before he turned into the side
path with his secrets, he marched with thousands and hundred
of thousands of other Germans, who desired nothing else than
delivery from the unstable conditions prevailing at that
time, on that wide road into which the eyes of the entire
world had insight. For example, he was without a doubt a
disciple of anti-Semitism but only as regards the necessity
of putting an end to the flooding of the German race with
alien elements: but he condemned just as emphatically the
mad crime of the physical annihilation of the Jewish race,
as Dr. Hoettl definitely assured us.

Certainly Kaltenbrunner also found his ideas reflected in
Hitler's personality as long as it did not, little by
little, give expression to its absolutely misanthropic and
therefore un-German nature. Also he approved in principle,
as he himself admitted during his interrogation, measures
which implied more or less severe compulsion, for example,
the organization of labour training camps. For this reason
no sensible person will want to question the fact that he
deemed the establishment of concentration camps
fundamentally quite proper, at least as a provisional
measure during the war, as had been the case for a long time
on the other side of the German border.

The establishment of concentration camps, or whatever one
wishes to call those places at the mention of which the
listener involuntarily is reminded of the words of

                                                  [Page 230]

Dante, is unfortunately not unknown in many States. History
knows of them in South Africa some decades ago, in Russia,
England and America during this war, for the admission among
others, of persons who for reasons of conscience objected to
military service. In Bavaria, in the land in which the
Tribunal at present sits, this sort of camp is also known;
also known is the so-called "automatic" arrest category for
certain groups of Germans. Under the heading: "Political
Principles" in item B-5 of the text of the mutual
declaration of the three leading statesmen on the Potsdam
Conference of 17th July, 1945, is the statement that, among
others, all persons who are a threat to the occupation or
its aims shall be arrested or interned.

The necessity of camps of this sort is thereby recognized -
I myself hate these institutions of human slavery - but I
state openly that these institutions lie on the road which,
when followed to the end, can and does bring suffering to
persons holding different views to those desired by the
State. By this the crimes in the German concentration camps
are not in the least to be belittled.

As far as Kaltenbrunner is concerned, this man's character
and his attitude, apparent since 1943, according to my
conviction and as can be affirmed by many witnesses, is
basically that of a National Socialist leader who noted only
with repugnance the general trend of the continually growing
wave of terror and enslavement in Germany.

For this reason I deem it important to point to the
statement of the witness Eigruber to the effect that the
claim of the prosecution that Kaltenbrunner established
Mauthausen is wrong.

The second reason lies in the subject of the two
conversations with Himmler, about which Kaltenbrunner
testified. According to them Kaltenbrunner was prepared to
take over the offices of the Domestic and Foreign
Intelligence Service in the RSHA with the promise of Himmler
that he would be allowed to expand this service into a
central agency, with the aim of absorbing the Political
Intelligence Service and joining it with the hitherto
military one of Admiral Canaris. No doubt it is true, as the
witnesses Waneck, Dr. Hoettl, Dr. Mildner and Ohlendorf and
also the defendant himself have testified, that Himmler,
with Kaltenbrunner's wish in mind, after the murder of
Heydrich, intervened in the executive realm so that nothing
of any importance took place in any executive field in
Germany without Himmler having the final word and thus
issuing the decisive order.

The witness Waneck confirmed the subject of those two
conversations of Kaltenbrunner with Himmler in the following
words, which I shall quote because of their importance:

  "When material problems arose Kaltenbrunner frequently
  remarked that he had come to an understanding with
  Himmler to work rather in the field of the Foreign
  Political Intelligence Service and that Himmler himself
  wanted to exert more influence in executive functions. To
  my knowledge Himmler agreed to these adjustments, all the
  more so since he believed that he could depend on
  Kaltenbrunner's political instinct in foreign affairs, as
  was apparent from various remarks made by Himmler."

Various witnesses have testified that Kaltenbrunner
predominantly and from inward conviction actually dedicated
himself to the Domestic and Foreign Intelligence Service and
more and more approached the influence on domestic and
foreign politics he was hoping for. I call attention again
to Waneck and Dr. Hoettl, and then also to the defendants
Jodl, Seyss-Inquart and Fritzsche. Dr. Hoettl testified:

  "In my opinion Kaltenbrunner never was completely master
  of the large Reich Security Office and, from lack of
  interest in police and executive problems, occupied
  himself far more with the Intelligence Service and with
  exerting influence on policy as a whole. This he
  considered his real domain."

From the testimony by General Jodl I am stressing the
following sentences:

  "Before Kaltenbrunner took over the Intelligence Service
  from Canaris he sent to me, from time to time, very good
  reports from the South-eastern

                                                  [Page 231]

  territory, through which I first noticed his experience
  in the Intelligence Service... I had the impression that
  this man knew his business; I now received constant
  reports from Kaltenbrunner, just as from Canaris earlier;
  not only the actual reports from agents but from time to
  time he sent to me, I might almost say, a political
  survey on the basis of his individual reports from
  agents. I noticed these condensed reports on the entire
  political situation abroad especially because they
  revealed, with a frankness and sobriety never possible
  under Canaris, the seriousness of our entire military

The results therefore, which I must deduce from the
evidence, are as follows:

Kaltenbrunner, on the basis of the separation of the
Intelligence Service from the executive police function in
the Reich Security Office as desired by him, actually held a
position the main interest of which was the Intelligence
Service and its continuous development. I add: This
Intelligence Service covered more than Europe: it went from
the North Cape to Crete and Africa, from Stalingrad,
Leningrad to the Pyrenees. Kaltenbrunner was the most
zealous of all those who in Germany tried to get the pulse
of the enemy nations.

That was the life work of this man as he himself wished it
to be for the duration of the war. He lived in modest
circumstances and it is the truth when I say that he steps
off the stage of political life just as poor as when he
ascended it. The witness Waneck once quoted a statement by
Kaltenbrunner which is characteristic of him, that he,
Kaltenbrunner, would retire completely from office after the
war and return to the land as a farmer.

Only with deep regret will the spectator see that under the
pressure of political and military events this man did not
observe the limitations desired by himself. His obedience to
Hitler and, therefore, also to Himmler made him submit to
the apparent necessity, in the years 1943-45, of
guaranteeing the stability of conditions inside Germany
through police compulsion. Thereby he became involved in
guilt: for it is clear that he might count on a milder
judgement on his guilt before the conscience of the world
only if he could have produced evidence that he actually
undertook a sharp separation from Section IV of the Secret
State Police, rightly called demoniacal; if he had in no way
participated in the ideas and methods which, I believe,
eventually led to the institution of this whole trial. I
cannot deny that he did not undertake this separation.
Nothing is clearly proved in this direction, even his own
testimony speaks against him. Thus his statement at the
beginning of his examination before the Tribunal may be
explained, which I should like to define as the thesis of
his guilt:

  "Question: You realize that a very special accusation has
  been brought against you. The prosecution accuses you of
  crimes against the peace as well as of your role of an
  intellectual principal or of a participator in committing
  crimes against humanity and against the rules of war.
  Finally the prosecution has connected your name with the
  terrorism of the Gestapo and with the cruelties in the
  concentration camps. I now ask you: Do you assume the
  responsibility for these points of accusation in such
  manner as they are outlined and familiar to you?"

And Kaltenbrunner answers:

  "First of all I should like to state to the Court that I
  am fully aware of the serious nature of the accusations
  brought against me. I know that the hatred of the world
  is directed against me, since I am the only one here to
  answer to the world and to the Court, because a Himmler,
  a Muller, a Pohl are no longer alive .... I want to state
  at the very beginning that I assume the responsibility
  for every wrong which, from the time of my appointment as
  chief of the Reich Security Office, was committed within
  the jurisdiction of that office as far as it occurred
  under my actual command, and I thus knew or should have
  known of these occurrences."

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