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[The Defendant Seyss-lnquart resumed the stand.]
MR. THOMAS J. DODD (Executive Trial Counsel for the United States): Mr. President, I should like to clear up the matter that I raised yesterday with respect to the notes of the conference between this defendant and Hitler. I had the investigation made and I think these are the facts. Apparently, Colonel Williams of our staff, who interrogated this defendant late ~ October, was handed these notes by the defendant; and somehow or other they never did reach our files and have been misplaced. So the defendant was quite right in saying that he turned them over, but I think in error in saying that he turned them over to me.
DR. GUSTAV STEINBAUER (Counsel for Defendant Seyss-Inquart): Yesterday we had reached one of the most important points in the Indictment, the question of the evacuation of Jews from the Netherlands. Witness, what did you do when you learned of this removal of the Jews from the Netherlands? Did you write any letters?
ARTHUR SEYSS-INQUART (Defendant): Yesterday I stated that I had people sent from the Netherlands to the Auschwitz Camp in order to ascertain whether there were accommodations and, if so, what kind. I have given you the result of this inspection. I asked the Security Police, that is, Heydrich, whether it would not be possible for the evacuated Jews to keep up correspondence with the Netherlands. This concession was made. For about three quarters of a year or a year correspondence was maintained; not only short post cards but long letters were permitted. I do not know how the camp administration did this; but the letters were identified as authentic by the addressee. When the number of letters dropped off later-it never stopped completely-the Security Police told me that the Jews in Auschwitz now had fewer acquaintances in the Netherlands, meaning other Jews, because most of them were already in Auschwitz.
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, did you turn to Bormann, too?
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SEYSS-INQUART: Yesterday I stated that, after learning of Heydrich's order, I requested Bormann to inquire of the Fuehrer whether Heydrich actually had such unlimited power. Bormann confirmed this. I admit frankly that I had misgivings about the evacuation.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did you do anything to alleviate these misgivings?
SEYSS-INQUART: My misgivings-which increased in the course of the war-were that the hardships of the war would be a heavy burden, above all for the Jews. If there were too little food in the Reich, the Jewish camps in particular would receive little, while probably the Jews would be treated severely and for comparatively slight reasons heavy punishment would be imposed upon them. Of course, I also thought of the unavoidable tearing apart of families, to a certain extent, at least, in the case of labor commitment. That also was the reason why we brought forward difficulties for 3 or 4 months.
The decisive argument, however, was the declaration of the competent authority, the Security Police, that in case of a landing attempt the Jews were not to be in the immediate theater of operations.
I ask the Court to consider that the most important and most decisive motive for me was always the fact that the German people were engaged in a life-and-death struggle. Today looking at it from another perspective the picture looks different. At that time, if we told ourselves that the Jews would be kept together in some camp, even if under severe conditions, and that after the end of the war they would find a settlement somewhere, the misgivings caused by this had to be cast aside in view of the consideration that their presence in the battle area might weaken the German power of resistance.
In the course of 1943 I spoke with Hitler and called his attention to this problem in the Netherlands. In his own convincing way he reassured me and at the same time admitted that he was thinking of a permanent evacuation of the Jews, if possible, from all of Europe with which Germany wanted to maintain friendly relations. He wanted to have the Jews settled on the eastern border of the German sphere of interest insofar as they were not able to emigrate to other parts of the earth.
At the beginning of 1944 I spoke with Himmler, whom I happened to meet in southern Bavaria. I asked him in a determined manner about the Jews in the Netherlands. The fact that our Eastern Front was being withdrawn meant that the camps would be in the battle area in the course of time, or at least in the rear
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area. I was afraid that the lot of the Jews would become even more serious then. Himmler said something to the following effect: "Do not worry; they are my best workers." I could not imagine that the Jews capable of labor were working while their relatives were being destroyed. I believed that in that case one could expect nothing else than that every Jew would attack a German and strangle him.
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, so you did learn of these evacuations? In your capacity as Reich Commissioner did you help carry out these evacuations through your administration?
SEYSS-INQUART: Since the evacuation was a fact, I considered it proper to concern myself with it to the extent that was possible for me as Reich Commissioner. I gave my deputy in Amsterdam, Dr. Boehmke, power to carry out the evacuation, to exercise control, and to take steps if excesses occurred other than unavoidable difficulties, or to report such to me. Dr. Boehmke was in constant opposition to the so-called Central Office for Jewish Emigration. We had to intervene again and again, but I am convinced that we did not put an end to all hardships.
The Jews were collected in the Westerborg Camp. When the first transports left, I received a report that the trains were overcrowded. I vigorously remonstrated with the commander of the Security Police and asked him to see that the transport was carried out in an orderly manner. The Netherlands Report states that at the beginning the transports were made under tolerable conditions; later, conditions generally became worse. But that such excessive overcrowding of trains occurred as indicated in the report did not come to my knowledge. It is true that the Security Police made it very difficult to have the execution of these measures controlled. At the suggestion of some Dutch secretaries general, especially Van Damm and Froehlich, I effected an exception for a number of Jews. One could effect individual exceptions; the basic measures could not be changed. I believe that the number of exceptions is greater than indicated in the Netherlands Report, at least according to my reports.
These Jews were, in the final stage, in the Westerborg Camp. When the invasion began Himmler wanted to remove them. Upon my objections this was not done. But after the battle of Arnhem he removed them, as he said, to Theresienstadt; and I hope that they remained alive there.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did you also release property on this occasion?
SEYSS-INQUART: These Jews who were made exceptions retained control of their property.
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DR. STEINBAUER: In closing this chapter I should like once more to call the attention of the Tribunal to Document 1726-PS, USA-195,
in the document book of the Prosecution. This document sums up the whole Jewish problem in the Netherlands, and on Page 6 it gives all the agencies which dealt with the Jewish problem. Under Number 3 you will find the General Commissioner for Security, the Higher SS and Police Leader H. Rauter, General of Police. Under Number 4 is the Central Office for Jewish Emigration, Leader Aus der Funte-under the "General Commissioner," as under 3. The report says about this:
"Apparently an organization for Jewish emigration; in reality, an organization to rob the Jews of their rights, to segregate them, or to deport them."
This was the most important office, which was directly under Himmler's Higher Police Leader, and not under the defendant.
SEYSS-INQUART: I should like to point out that Rauter functioned as Higher SS and Police Leader in this case, and not as "General Commissioner for Security," for the measures were carried out by the German Police, and not by the Netherlands police.
DR. STEINBAUER: The witness in a speech also spoke about his views on the Jewish problem at one time The Prosecution has submitted a part of this speech.
THE PRESIDENT (Lord Justice Sir Geoffrey Lawrence): Dr. Steinbauer, you are putting this Document 1726-PS to the witness, which contains a historical statement, apparently. Does the witness agree that the historical statement is accurate?
Do you, Defendant, agree that this historical statement is accurate?
SEYSS-INQUART: May I see the document?
[The document was handed to the defendant.]
DR. STEINBAUER: It is Appendix 2. .
THE PRESIDENT: You see, Dr. Steinbauer, you put forward the document and it is for you to ascertain from the witness whether he agrees with the document or whether he challenges it.
SEYSS-INQUART: The presentation of facts is accurate, except for the addition of the correction which I made with reference to the "General Commissioner for Security."
THE PRESIDENT: There are certain passages in the document which your attention ought to be drawn to: February 1941, for instance. You have the document before you, Dr. Steinbauer?
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you look at the last entry under the heading February 1941? Do you see that?
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DR. STEINBAUER: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: You have to put that to the witness. He said that the facts are accurate.
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, you will find under "February 1941" a statement-I have only the English here-saying that Jews were arrested and then sent to Buchenwald and Mauthausen.
SEYSS-INQUART: I discussed this case yesterday. That was a measure at the direct order of Himmler, which only came to my knowledge after it had been carried out and against which I protested. To my knowledge, mass deportations to Mauthausen did not occur again after that.
THE PRESIDENT: Then what I understand the defendant to say is that that document is accurate except where you referred to under the Numbers 3 and 4, on the last page. Is that right?
SEYSS-INQUART: In my testimony yesterday I confirmed the orders contained in this document, but not all the details of the actual events.
DR. STEINBAUER: The presentation on Page 6 of the individual agencies is correct?
SEYSS-INQUART: The actual presentation, too, is basically correct. Yesterday I spoke also of the burning of synagogues and of the prevention of the destruction of synagogues in The Hague and Amsterdam.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well, Dr. Steinbauer. Go on.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now, I should like to refer to Document 79, Page 203, from Exhibit Number USA-708. That is a speech which Seyss-Inquart made on the Jewish question. The Prosecution submitted this document. Since it needs a little explaining I shall begin by reading the last sentence:
"The only thing we can discuss is the creation of a tolerable transitional state while maintaining our point of view that the Jews are enemies, and thus applying every precaution customarily observed against enemies. As regards the time when Germany will not be here as an occupational force to maintain order in public life, the Dutch people will have to decide for themselves whether they want to endanger the comradely union with the German people for the sake of the Jews."
Witness, I should like to ask you about this speech. Were you thinking of the complete elimination and destruction of the Jews?
SEYSS-INQUART: I never thought of that at all, and in this speech I was not even thinking of evacuation. At that time I held
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the point of view that the Jews should be confined in the Netherlands, as is done with enemy aliens, for the reasons which are given in the preceding part of this speech, which the American Prosecution has submitted. The idea still prevailed of treating them as enemy aliens, even though Englishmen, for example, were also transported to the Reich. I have already pointed out that that viewpoint later changed to conform to the measures against Jews, which were customary in the Reich.
DR. STEINBAUER: We now come to . . .
THE PRESIDENT: What is the date of the speech?
SEYSS-INQUART: This speech is of March 1941. Only once again did I express my point of view, and that was on 20 April 1943, when I made the somewhat, I admit, fantastic suggestion that all belligerent powers should pool 1 percent of their war costs in order to solve the Jewish problem from the economic standpoint. I we: thus of the opinion that the Jews still existed; incidentally, I never called the Jews inferior.
DR. STEINBAUER: I believe I can conclude this topic and go on to another charge which is made against you-violations of international law, the subject of spoliation.
Who confiscated raw materials and machinery in the Netherlands?
SEYSS-INQUART: The initiative for this, and the extent to which it was to be done, originated with the Reich offices. The operations were carried out either by my offices, by the Wehrmacht, by the armament inspection offices, or even by the Police and the Waffen-SS; but from the middle of 1944 on they were carried out in the main by the of lice of the Armament Minister, which was also my office, and by the field economic commands of the High Command of the Army. At that time control was extremely difficult.
DR. STEINBAUER: What was your own attitude toward this problem?
SEYSS-INQUART: I was of the opinion that the provisions of the Hague Convention for Land Warfare applying to this were obsolete and could not be applied to a modern war because the labor potential of the civilian population is at least as important as the war potential of the soldiers at the front. How much could be demanded seemed to me to depend on the conditions prevailing in one's own country. These doubtlessly varied in each country. I therefore endeavored to obtain a statement from Reich Marshal Goering to the effect that the Dutch were to live under the same conditions as the German people. This promise, to be sure, was not kept completely in the ensuing period.
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DR. STEINBAUER: How was the confiscation carried out? By what authorities?
SEYSS-INQUART: Until 1943, the Dutch offices carried out our assignments. The technical experts had to provide me with factual justification for confiscations, since I was not familiar with such matters. I took steps when complaints reached me. For example, I prevented the removal of margarine works in Dordrecht and of a brand new electrical works in Leeuwarden.
Reich Minister Speer issued an important order that only the machines from factories which delivered more than one-half of their total production to the Reich, for example, Phillips in Eindhoven, could be transferred to the Reich.
DR. STEINBAUER: The French Prosecution charges that you favored the black market. What do you have to say about this?
SEYSS-INQUART: We combated the black market from the beginning. It was therefore always a so-called "gray market" with us. I had prohibited the purchase of food from the current production and likewise of other important consumer articles on the black market. Every case was investigated by the competent offices in conjunction with the Dutch offices. If it was a business which had been forbidden by me, the goods were confiscated and turned over to the Dutch offices. These measures were 100 percent for the benefit of the Dutch, for what the German Reich wanted officially it got anyhow. I see from the document that the turnover in the Netherlands was the lowest anywhere. The figures are deceptive, though, since prices on the black market were several times higher than those on the normal market, so that the actual amount of goods was much lower.
DR. STEINBAUER: In Document 1321-PS the charge is made that you turned medical instruments over to the SS.
SEYSS-INQUART: That is true. Please judge that in connection with my general statements. The SS needed microscopes for its hospitals at the front, for all its hospitals which had been destroyed by bombings. In the laboratories of the University of Utrecht there were microscopes which were not being used. I had the case investigated by my office and what seemed dispensable confiscated. In this connection I refer to a case which was much more important for the Dutch. The Reich wanted to tear down the Kammerlingh Institute at Leyden, which is one of the most famous low temperature research institutes in the world. I believe only the Soviets and the Americans have one as well, especially suitable for atomic research. I prevented the tearing down of this institute which would have meant an irreparable loss for the Netherlands.
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Experiments which seemed necessary were carried out by Professor Heisenberg himself in Leyden.
DR. STEINBAUER Document 1988-PS, RF-130, charges that you had the rolling mill in Ymuiden removed.
SEYSS-INQUART: This rolling mill in Ymuiden was built up after May 1941 by a German firm, which in exchange was given a partnership in the blast furnace joint stock company. The electrical installations of these works were repeatedly destroyed by the English, not without the aid of the intelligence service of the Dutch resistance movement. In my opinion the Reich Marshal was right in ordering that they be moved to the Reich. This was done. Why no indemnity was paid I do not understand, for I had issued an order that all such demands had to receive full indemnification, but perhaps the German concern relinquished its partnership.
DR. STEINBAUER: The charge is further made that you turned over the essential transportation means of the Netherlands to the Reich.
SEYSS-INQUART: I could not in substance dispose of the means of transportation; that was the concern of the transport command of the Armed Forces. Once I merely took part in demanding 50,000 bicycles-there were 4,000,000 bicycles in the Netherlands-for the mobilization of troops in the Netherlands themselves.
DR. STEINBAUER: Another charge is that you had art objects removed from public museums and collections.
SEYSS-INQUART: I most painstakingly took care that famous art objects, especially pictures, in the Dutch public museums of Amsterdam, Mauritshuis, and so forth were especially protected. But it is possible that loans to these museums which belonged to Jewish persons were claimed in connection with the liquidation of Jewish property. There was just one case. A Kruller Foundation existed in the Netherlands which was willed to the Netherlands State. Without my permission three pictures from this foundation were taken to the Reich, for which I later concluded a contract for sale with the museum authorities. I endeavored to replace these pieces for the museum. They procured some beautiful Van Goghs and a Corre from the German treasure list, and the head of the museum once told me that the new pictures fitted better into the museum than the old ones. The famous paintings were in a bombproof shelter on the Dutch coast. When the coast was declared a fortified area, I induced the Dutch authorities to have a new shelter built near Maastricht. The pictures were taken there, always under Dutch care. No German had anything to do with it. In the fall of 1944 Dr. Goebbels demanded that the pictures be taken to the Reich. I definitely refused this and had reliable guards placed at the
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shelter, and also sent an official from the Dutch Ministry who was authorized to hand over the pictures to the approaching enemy troops. I was convinced that the Dutch Government in England would see to it that these pictures remained in the Netherlands.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did you yourself acquire any pictures?
SEYSS-INQUART: I did not buy any pictures for myself in the Netherlands, except for two or three small etchings by a contemporary artist. As Reich Commissioner I bought pictures by contemporary artists at exhibitions when I liked them and when they seemed worth the price and were offered for sale. I also bought old pictures and gave them to public institutions in the Reich, especially to the Museum of Art History in Vienna and the Reich Governor's office in Vienna. They were all purchases on the open market, as far as I am informed. Among them was a picture attributed to Vermeer, although it was contested. On the other hand I acquired an authentic Vermeer for the Dutch State by preventing its sale to the Reich.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinbauer, there is no specific charge against this defendant of having bought pictures.
DR. STEINBAUER: It was mentioned in the trial brief. May I continue? Let us conclude this question.
THE PRESIDENT: We do not want details about it. It is sufficient if he told us that he paid for the pictures. He need not give us details about the pictures.
DR. STEINBAUER: I will go on to the next question. I submit to you Document RF-136. It describes the confiscation of the property of Her Majesty, the Queen of the Netherlands.
SEYSS-INQUART: To tell the full truth, I must add something to the previous question. Pictures and art objects from Jewish fortunes or from enemy fortunes, when there was a reason for it, were liquidated and sold in the Reich. In this connection a very lively free trade developed with the participation of the Dutch art dealers, doubtless favored by the free transfer of foreign currency.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now I should like to go on to the question of the royal property, RF-136. What do you know about the order for the liquidation of this property?
SEYSS-INQUART: I myself ordered this liquidation. In the Netherlands we, of course, had an order to confiscate enemy property, as in all occupied territories. When we came to the Netherlands, the royal property was merely placed under trusteeship, without any steps being taken to seize it. Right after the outbreak of the campaign in the East, the Queen of the Netherlands spoke personally on the radio in a very antagonistic manner, severely
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accusing the Fuehrer and making an express appeal for active resistance. In view of this state of affairs the property of any Dutch citizen might have been confiscated. I therefore decided to proceed in this case in the same way in order to prevent an excessive extension of this measure as had been demanded of me, while having the conviction that I could not make any exceptions. I myself, as I said, signed the order for confiscation, in order not to implicate anybody else.
DR. STEINBAUER: What instructions did you give in the course of the liquidation?
SEYSS-INQUART: I immediately issued liquidation orders which in practice prevented the liquidation being carried out. I ordered estates or castles to be turned over to the Netherlands State-with the exception of one apartment house, I believe-and likewise bonds and securities and archives, and that all historic or artistic or otherwise valuable furniture be selected by a Dutch commission so that the Netherlands State could take it over. The commission included almost everything at all possible in its list. I realized that and did not strike out one piece. In particular, I had the historical installations at Soestdyk and Huis ten Bosch turned over in full, although Berlin wanted the Huis ten Bosch installation as a memorial to the people of Brandenburg. Finally, even the personal things...
THE PRESIDENT: I do not think that the defendant need make this quite so detailed, Dr. Steinbauer. He has made the point that some of the things were turned over to the Netherlands State.
DRY STEINBAUER: Then I should like very briefly to ask in this connection: Do you know to what extent the property was actually liquidated?
SEYSS-INQUART: I had a survey given to me. It was reported to me that 3, or at the most, 5 percent of the property was actually liquidated.
DR. STEINBAUER: Thank you, that is enough.
SEYSS-INQUART: The proceeds were turned over to a fund for the repairing of war damages.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now I shall proceed to the question of the confiscation of factories and raw materials. Who undertook this confiscation?
SEYSS-INQUART: I may refer to my previous statements. From the late summer of 1944 on, this was done primarily by the economic field commands. There are individual documents available with notations referring to me. There were many unauthorized confiscations. People came from the Reich with trucks and began
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to take away machinery. Together with the Armed Forces commander and the Higher SS and Police Leader I ordered that the strictest measures be taken against these methods.
DR. STEINBAUER: In this connection I should like to refer to two documents which I submitted but which I shall not read in order to save time. These are Documents Number Wand 81, Pages 205 and 208. It can be seen from these that this was a task of the Armed Forces; that these confiscations were all carried out by the occupation forces.
In Document RF-137, Witness, the charge is made that the removal of furniture and clothing from Arnhem was sanctioned by you.
SEYSS-INQUART: The charge is correct. The situation was as follows: The front was directly south of Arnhem. There were three or four resistance lines built in Arnhem proper. The city had been completely evacuated. It was being shelled and installations and goods in Arnhem were gradually being ruined in the course of the winter. The Fuehrer ordered at that time through Bormann that textiles, particularly, be brought from the Netherlands for German families who had suffered bomb damage. Without any doubt the furniture and the textiles in Arnhem would probably either have been looted or would have been ruined by the weather or would have been burned in a battle at Arnhem. Although it was not in my territory but at the front and the executive power thus lay with the Armed Forces, I gave my approval that under the circumstances furniture and textiles be brought to the Ruhr area. I ordered at the same time that the items be listed for indemnification claims. I believe that Dr. Wimmer can confirm this as a witness.
DR. STEINBAUER: I believe we can conclude that.
SEYSS-INQUART: The charge is also raised against me that I blew up safes. I opposed this most strongly. When such a case was reported to me, I had my prosecuting authority issue the indictment and the order for arrest.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now I shall go on to the next question. How about the blowing up and destruction of ports, docks, locks, and mines in the Netherlands?
SEYSS-INQUART: Blastings were undertaken at the moment when the Netherlands again became a theater of war. As for port and dock installations and shipyards, the following is important: The port of Antwerp fell almost undamaged into the hands of the enemy. I believe that that was of decisive importance for the further development of the offensive. Thereupon the competent military authorities in the Netherlands began to blow up such installations as a precautionary measure. I am only acquainted
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with the fact, not with the details; and I refused to watch the explosions. But my commissioner and I intervened with the Armed Forces offices, and I believe that in Rotterdam half of the installations were not blown up. This is shown by the Dutch reports. I had nothing whatever to do with the matter, aside from this intervention.
When the English reached Limburg, an order was issued to blow up the mines as being vital for war. I inquired with Reich Minister Speer about this, and he issued an order not to blow them up but only to put them out of commission for 3 or 4 months. The orders were issued to this effect. I hope that they were not violated.
DR. STEINBAUER: We have heard in this Trial of "scorched earth" policy. Did that apply to the Netherlands also?
SEYSS-INQUART: I received a "scorched earth" order from Bormann. Without there being a military necessity for it, all technical installations were to be blown up. That meant, in effect, the destruction of Holland, that is, the western Netherlands. If explosions are carried out in 14 or 16 different places in Holland the country will be entirely flooded in 3 or 4 weeks. I did not carry out the order at first; instead I established contact with Reich Minister Speer. I had a personal meeting with him on 1 April in Oldenburg. Speer told me that the same order had been given in the Reich; but that he was frustrating it, that he now had full authority in this matter, and that he agreed that the order should not be carried out in the Netherlands. It was not carried out.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now, to another chapter. Floods did occur. Did you have anything to do with them?
SEYSS-INQUART: I know about this, and in a certain connection I did have something to do with it.
There were previously prepared floodings by the Armed Forces for defense purposes and there were so-called "battle" floorings, which suddenly became necessary in the course of battle. The prepared ones were carried out in closest contact with my office and the Dutch offices. Through their intervention, about half of the area demanded was spared and saved. The flooding was done mostly with fresh water so that less damage would occur, and the outer dikes were spared. There were two battle floorings in Holland, at the order of the commander of Holland. The Wieringer Polder was mentioned in particular. At that time there was great danger of a troop landing from the air which would outflank the Dutch defense front. I was not actually informed of the execution of the battle floorings. The commander had decided on it overnight.
When, on 30 April, I talked to Lieutenant General Bedell Smith, General Eisenhower's Chief of the General Staff, he told
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us: "What has been flooded so far can be justified from the military point of view; if you flood any more now, it is no longer justifiable."
After 30 April there were no more floorings.
DR. STEINBAUER: In this connection I should like to refer to Document 86, Page 221, without reading it. It shows that these floodings were of a purely military character.
Another charge which was made against you, Witness, is the question of the food supply for the Netherlands population. What measures did you take to maintain the food supply of the Dutch people?
SEYSS-INQUART: The food question in the Netherlands was doubtless the most difficult question of the whole administration; and I believe, because of the special aspects of the case, it was one of the most difficult in all the occupied territories.
In the Netherlands there is a density of population of 270 people per square kilometer, in Holland specifically there are more than 600 per square kilometer to be fed. The food economy is highly cultivated as a processing economy dependent upon the importation of hundreds of thousands of tons of food. With the occupation and the blockade all that had disappeared. The whole food economy had to be put on a new basis, as well as the production of food for immediate human consumption. It was certainly a great achievement of Dutch agriculture and its leadership that this was successful. However, I may say that my experts aided very effectively, and we got a great deal of support from the Reich.
Food distribution in the Netherlands was also very carefully regulated, more so almost than in any other occupied territory. The most important thing for me was to maintain this food system, although its leader, Generaldirektor Louwes, and his entire staff of helpers were definitely hostile to the Germans. Against the will of the Reich Central Office, I nevertheless retained him, because otherwise I would not have been able to bear the responsibility for the nourishment of the people.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did you also deliver food to the Reich?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, the troops, above all, claimed the right to live off the land, I believe, but grain was supplied from the Reich to an extent of 36,000 tons, vegetables being demanded in exchange. The Reich demanded in addition more vegetables and also the delivery of cattle, canned meat, seeds, and some other products. Vegetables and meat would not have made so much difference, but the seeds caused trouble. I am convinced that the Dutch food system did its utmost to prevent deliveries.
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DR. STEINBAUER: I believe that that is enough on this theme, and I should like to ask how the general food situation was in the fall of 1944?
SEYSS-INQUART: During most of the occupation period we had a caloric value at first of 3,000, and then of about 2,500 calories; and in 1944 about 1,800 calories. Experience today will show what that meant.
In September of 1944 the Netherlands became a theater of war again. At about the time that the first British airborne divisions landed at Arnhem, a general strike of the Dutch railroads began on order of the Dutch Government in England; and it was carried out almost completely. At the same time ships vanished from the internal waterways. It was not a formal strike, but it amounted to the same thing.
Through this situation the defense possibilities for the German Armed Forces were most severely endangered. The German Armed Forces then began to confiscate ships and, in effect, interrupted all traffic. I got in touch with the Armed Forces and was told that if the railroad strike stopped they would not have to proceed so rigorously. I reported this to Secretary General Hirschield and Generaldirektor Louwes. No result was achieved, and I had to consider how I could restore shipping. I discussed it with the Armed Forces, and I suggested that I would give them 3 or 4 weeks' time in which they could secure their necessary shipping space. Out of about 2 million tons available, they needed 450,000 tons. During this time I forbade all ship traffic, because the Armed Forces was confiscating all ships anyhow. I permitted traffic of small ships in Holland.
THE PRESIDENT: How is all this relevant to the charges made against the defendant?
DR. STEINBAUER: The Report of the Netherlands Government, which the Prosecution also mentioned, states in great detail that the defendant, as Reich Commissioner, is responsible for the famine which began in September of 1944 and lasted until the spring of 1945 and for the great mortality, especially of children-whole tables of statistics have been submitted-because, on the occasion of the shipping and railroad strike, he prohibited the importing of food. That is one of the most important and serious charges made against him. I have asked for witnesses on this subject, and perhaps I might cut it short now so that the witnesses may speak about it.
SEYSS-INQUART: I should like to be allowed to comment on this matter. This is the charge which seems the most serious to me, too.
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DR. STEINBAUER: Perhaps we can have a brief recess now, if Your Honor agrees.
10E PRESIDENT: Very welt
[A recess was taken.]
DR. STEINBAUER: In the Government Report it is asserted that at the time 50,000 Dutch people died of starvation; and, therefore, I should like to ask you what reason you had for establishing this traffic embargo at that time?
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe I have already explained that in the main. The traffic situation was such that the Wehrmacht had to make sure of its shipping space. As long as it did that there was no ship traffic as such possible. I wanted to limit this to as short a period of time as possible so that afterwards ship traffic could again be assured and Holland regularly supplied with food. Ship traffic was not interrupted primarily by my embargo, but rather-the witnesses will confirm this-by the fact that all ships that could be found were confiscated. Naturally, I asked myself whether the Dutch food supply would be endangered; and I said to myself that the Dutch people themselves were responsible for this state of emergency, and that the military interests of the Reich were, anyhow, equally important. I thought that if in the second half of October I could establish an orderly ship traffic, then, according to my experience, I would have 2 months' time in which to take care of the food supply for the Dutch people. Then I could bring in between 200,000 and 250,000 tons of food. And that would be sufficient to maintain rations of 1400 to 1800 calories. I believe I can recollect that between 15 and 20 October I gave the order to establish ship traffic again.
DR. STEINBAUER: And what did you do?
SEYSS-INQUART: Ship traffic was not established because the Dutch traffic authorities, for the most part, had disappeared, perhaps because they were afraid that they would be made responsible for the general railroad strike. For weeks on end our efforts were fruitless; and finally I talked with Secretary General Hirschfeld and gave him complete authority, particularly...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinbauer, the Tribunal does not think that this matter can be gone into extreme detail like this.
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, perhaps you can be very brief about this and tell us what you did to alleviate conditions.
SEYSS-INQUART: I am practically finished. I gave Secretary General Hirschfeld full authority in the field of transportation. He
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then, although very hesitantly, re-established traffic. He will confirm that I supported him in every possible way. Food supplies were brought into Holland. But many weeks had passed in vain. Within my sector, I then provided additional aid, about which witness Van der Vense and, I believe, witness Schwebel can give you information in their interrogatories.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now, I should like to submit as the next document an affidavit deposed by the witness Van der Vense. It has just arrived, but the translations are already finished and will probably be given to the Tribunal this afternoon or tomorrow morning. I shall now submit the original I do not believe it necessary to read this document which has been translated into four languages. It describes exclusively the food situation in this critical period of time.
SEYSS-INQUART: May I also call your attention to the fact that the Dutch Government...
THE PRESIDENT: What is the number of it?
DR. STEINBAUER: Number 105.
SEYSS-INQUART: . . . that the Dutch Government changed the figure of 50,000 deaths to the correct one of 25,000.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now I shall turn to the last period of your activity as Reich Commissioner. I should like to ask you, when did you realize that military resistance in the Netherlands was in vain?
SEYSS-INQUART: That we had to reckon with the possibility that Germany might not win the war will be seen in my letter to the Fuehrer in 1939. Actual fear that this might happen arose at the time of Stalingrad. Therefore one had to consider that possibility, and in due time I feared that things would take this turn; I definitely and reliably knew it through a statement which Reich Minister Speer made to me on 1 April 1945...
DR. STEINBAUER: 1945?
SEYSS-INQUART: April 1945. Up until that time I did not want to believe it; but faced with the prospect of an unconditional surrender and complete occupation, I naturally believed that in every respect I should have to prepare for the worst because the consequences were unpredictable. Speer at that time told me that the war, for Germany, would end in a relatively short period of time because armament production simply could not be kept up. He said 2 to 3 months.
DR. STEINBAUER: When you realized this fact, what did you do?
SEYSS-INQUART: I decided to end the defensive occupation of Holland without violating my duties to the Reich and to the Fuehrer.
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I went to The Hague and discussed the methods with Secretary General Hirschfeld. We agreed to get in touch at once with the confidential agents of the Government in The Hague-which was illegal for me-and to ask them to start negotiations on the basis that the Allied troops should not advance against Holland, in which case no further destruction would occur and the Allies could take over the feeding of the Dutch population through direct contact with the Dutch authorities for food supply. Then we would wait for the end of the war.
DR. STEINBAUER: Was this not an arbitrary act on your part as far as the German Government was concerned?
THE PRESIDENT: What was the date of this?
DR. STEINBAUER: What was the date of this?
SEYSS-INQUART: This conversation with Secretary General Hirschield took place on 2 April 1945. Then the negotiations dragged on, and on 30 April I had the conversation with Lieutenant General Bedell Smith. I purposely did not ask for authorization from Berlin in order to avoid a refusal or be prohibited from carrying out my intention. I did this on my own. General Blaskowitz, the commander of the Netherlands, was very apprehensive. He called me during the night, because his superiors had asked him just what was going on. Nevertheless, I was determined to carry through this matter, for it seemed the only reasonable step I could take in this situation. I stated that I would assume all responsibility. On 30 April the conference took place and the result that I had desired in effect materialized-the giving up of the military defense of Holland.
DR. STEINBAUER: Then what did you personally do?
SEYSS-INQUART: Admiral Doenitz, as head of State, called me to Flensburg. I went by speedboat across the North Sea and reported to him, and the Admiral will confirm this as my witness; I succeeded in having the demolition decree rescinded and tried my very best to return to the Netherlands. Finally I plunged ahead and was arrested in Hamburg.
DR. STEINBAUER: Just why did you want to return to the Netherlands? ~
SEYSS-INQUART: First of all, I wanted to take care of my co-workers; in the second place, I always was of the opinion that I should answer for my administration there; and finally, I was of the opinion that since we had been out in front in the hour of triumph we could lay claim to being out in front in the hour of disaster as well.
DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, I have concluded my examination of the witness.
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DR. CARL HAENSEL (Counsel for SS): Did you belong to the SS?
SEYSS-INQUART: I had an honorary position in the General SS. As such I was not a regular member of the General SS, but I was very much interested in the SS as an ideological and a political formation.
DR. HAENSEL: Did you exercise any functions in the SS, or did you just have a title?
SEYSS-INQUART: De jure I had only a title. Politically I tried to exert a certain influence on the SS in the Netherlands, insofar as it was not the Waffen-SS, the Security Police, and so on; and in April of 1945 I believe I can say that de facto I was the foremost SS Fuehrer in the Netherlands.
DR. HAENSEL: Did you have the impression that the SS was a closed, unified organization, or were there great divergences within the organization itself?
SEYSS-INQUART: To outward appearances it was an extremely closed system. Internally there were two factions. One wanted the SS to be just a political training unit. Obergruppenfuehrer Heissmeyer belonged to this school. The other faction wanted to make a state executive organ out of the SS. Heydrich belonged to this group. At first Himmler vacillated, but later he went over completely to Heydrich's camp. The SS ideal disappeared, because Himmler misused it for executive powers.
DR. HAENSEL: Can you limit that as to time? When approximately, in what year, did this ideal die out?
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe the first signs were evident in 1938. The process continued with giant strides at the time of the Eastern campaign.
DR. HAENSEL: Did not the General SS come a little to the fore ever since 1939, whereas only the executive office groups or the Waffen-SS were active?
SEYSS-INQUART: In any event from this time on Himmler transferred people from the General SS and put them into his various executive organizations. The General SS, for me anyway, did not come to the fore after that time.
DR. HAENSEL: Do you think that the SS man could know about the struggle for power in the leadership, that he had insight into this at all; or was he unconscious of this?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not believe that the ordinary SS man knew this, but there were many SS men who felt very uncomfortable and who remained with their organization only because they felt it was their duty.
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DR. HAENSEL: You said in your interrogation that a decree of Heydrich's caused you to have Jews transported from Holland. Did you see Hitler's decree to Heydrich?
SEYSS-INQUART: I think so-a decree from Hitler to Heydrich alone would not have been for Heydrich.
DR. HAENSEL: You picture the situation as if Heydrich had told you that he had this decree.
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, he told me that, and a few weeks later he sent me this decree.
DR. HAENSEL: Was it in writing?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, it was in writing.
DR. HAENSEL: And what did the decree say?
SEYSS-INQUART: That he had complete charge of the final solution of the Jewish question as well as other matters dealing therewith.
DR. HAENSEL: And when was this? 1941? 1940?
SEYSS-INQUART: It was at about the time when the evacuations started. That was in 1942.
DR. HAENSEL: That must be wrong. It was 1941, not later.
SEYSS-INQUART: Perhaps he showed me the decree later. I do not know the date of the decree.
DR. HAENSEL: That must be the case. But this decree, you said, was conceived in general terms?
SEYSS-INQUART: General terms.
DR. HAENSEL: It could be interpreted one way or another? I mean, you know...
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, I had the impression that in the occupied territories Heydrich was to carry through the evacuation, and at that time I was not quite sure whether that was to be a final evacuation-which, however, was possible. The most extreme possibility was that the Jews would be collected in camps and after the end of the war settled somewhere.
DR. HAENSEL: I beg your pardon, Witness, the most extreme possibility would certainly be that the Jews would be destroyed, is that not so?
SEYSS-INQUART: I am speaking of the most extreme possibility which I thought of at the time.
DR. HAENSEL: And which you could imagine according to the words of the decree?
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DR. HAENSEL: Now, the question is: Is there a possibility that Heydrich went beyond Hitler's decree, that Himmler himself did not want these acts which Heydrich committed?
SEYSS-INQUART: I cannot testify to that.
DR. HAENSEL: Did you talk with Hitler before 1943?
THE PRESIDENT: I do not think the witness can tell what the possibility was as to what Heydrich would do any better than we can. He cannot give evidence about that sort of thing.
DR. HAENSEL. Yes
[Turning to the defendant.] Before 1943 did you discuss these problems with Hitler?
SEYSS-INQUART: I was merely present when Hitler talked about these problems. It was always along this line, to eliminate the Jews from the German population and to send them somewhere abroad.
DR. HAENSEL: But there was no talk at all about destruction of the Jews?
DR. ROBERT SERVATIUS (Counsel for Defendant Sauckel): Witness, did Sauckel cause raids in the Netherlands, and did he have churches and motion picture houses surrounded?
SEYSS-INQUART: He could not have done that. I would not have allowed that, and he did not ask to have that done.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did Sauckel have anything to do with the operations of the Army in 1944?
SEYSS-INQUART: No, he did not know anything about that. When he heard about it, one of his men arrived so that he could in any case recruit skilled workers on this occasion; but this actually did not take place, for the Armed Forces sent these men into the Reich right away.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did the regular worker transports to Germany, in connection with the recruitment of workers by Sauckel, take place under normal transport conditions or under very bad conditions?
SEYSS-INQUART: Whether the recruitment was voluntary or compulsory, transport conditions were always normal. The same as for everybody else in the Netherlands. They were not accompanied by Police, but by officials of the Labor Employment Office, with the exception of the 2,600 whom the Police had arrested and who were sent to a camp of Sauckel's in the Reich.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did Sauckel have anything to do with the transporting of internees or Jews?
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SEYSS-INQUART: Not at all.
DR. SERVATIUS: Do you know what the working conditions were for the workers who came from Holland to Germany?
SEYSS-INQUART: I knew about them in the main. They were the same conditions as applied to workers in the Reich. But difficulties arose. First of all, the employers in the Reich asserted that the Dutch people had in part given false information at the time of their recruitment and did not meet with requirements. Secondly, these labor contracts were for a certain duration and the employers wanted to have the Dutch people remain in the Reich for a longer period.
I saw to it that nothing was written into these labor contracts which would not actually be observed in the Reich, no matter what one might find out in the Reich.
DR. SERVATIUS: Then I have no further questions to put to the witness.
DR. HANS LATERNSER (Counsel for General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces): Witness, I wanted to put one question to you regarding the floodings. What did you, your offices, or the Commander, West undertake in order to prevent the pump stations from being flooded and so avoid a great flooding of Holland?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not quite understand the question. The pump stations could not be flooded, only the polder area.
DR. LATERNSER: Yes.
SEYSS-INQUART: There were two dangers. One was that of blowing up, and in that case the pump stations would not have been of any use; anyway it was not done, as is known, but was prevented. The second danger was lack of coal and oil. We tried, as long as possible, to supply the pump stations with coal. This coal was listed as a top priority need. It was thus placed in the same category as every other Armed Forces requirement. When we received less and less coal, we allowed certain very low-lying reclaimed areas to run full, so that others would not be flooded. There was completely frictionless co-operation with the Dutch offices; and a deputy of the Dutch Government in England, with whom I spoke later, to whom I sent my expert, said that from the technical point of view our flooding measures were not objectionable.
DR. LATERNSER: Now, a second point. In answer to a question from your counsel, you said that you intervened against the destruction in the harbor of Rotterdam. With whom did you intervene?
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SEYSS-INQUART: With General Christians, who was then commander-in-chief and Wehrmacht commander, who took my side immediately.
DR. LATERNSER: Then you found him in agreement at once with regard to your intervention with this military office?
DR. LATERNSER: I have no further questions.
DR. HANS FLACHSNER (Counsel for Defendant Speer): Witness, you mentioned yesterday the protected industries (Sperrbetriebe). Can you tell me when these industries were established in Holland and how they aimed to affect the labor employment program, that is, the transportation of workers from Holland to Germany?
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe the protected industries were established during 1943, if I remember correctly in the second half of 1943. The workers in these industries were protected. Thus, the recruiting and transporting of Netherlands workers to the Reich was partly slowed down and partly prevented altogether.
DR. FLACHSNER: When the protected industries began to function and work was taken up, were raw materials brought from Germany to Holland, coal in particular, so that the orders could be fulfilled?
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe all raw materials, with the exception of coal. Coal was brought in from Limburg.
DR. FLACHSNER: You mentioned yesterday the Organization Todt. Do you know to what extent this Organization Todt in Holland used Dutch construction firms for construction work there on the Atlantic Wall and to what extent this construction was carried out by Dutch construction firms?
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe that the bulk of construction work in Holland, Northern France, and Belgium was done by indigenous construction firms. This is definitely true of Holland; and Dutch construction firms also carried out work in Belgium and in Northern France. These firms brought their workers along with them. In this manner some 35,000 to 40,000 Dutch workers who were not drafted by compulsion were working in Belgium and Northern France in the middle of 1942.
DR. FLACHSNER: Can you tell us what results this procedure had generally on the recruitment of native labor?
SEYSS-INQUART: The indigenous workers naturally preferred to go into the protected industries or the firms of the Organization
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Todt, for there they were at least more certain of not being transported to the Reich. And in addition, while they were with the Organization Tort they received special food rations.
DR. FLACHSNER: Witness, when in August or September 1944, because of enemy bombings on the distribution system, production in Holland was hampered or even paralyzed, what measures were taken in order to protect the unemployed workers of the protected industries?
SEYSS-INQUART: Three courses were open to us: First of all, to bring the workers into the Reich; secondly, to dismiss these workers and give them unemployment relief; and, thirdly, to retain these workers and to pay them their wages even though they did little or no work.
I believe it was because of a decree issued by Reich Minister Speer that the third course was chosen. The workers in those industries received their pay, and I took care that the factory owners received a certain compensation for wages which they paid those workers.
DR. FLACHSNER: Witness, you mentioned before a discussion which you had on 1 April 1945 with Codefendant Speer. Can you tell us what the purpose of this discussion was?
SEYSS-INQUART: I mentioned already that I, for my part, wanted to talk with Minister Speer about the unscorched earth" decree. But Minister Speer also had a purpose in mind. He wanted us to transport potatoes from north Holland into the Ruhr region and in exchange to bring coal from the Ruhr area into the Netherlands. In view of the potato supply in north Holland this could readily have been done, but we did not have enough transportation means at our command to carry out this plan.
DR. FLACHSNER: Did Speer tell you about precautionary measures for the securing of food supplies during the period after the occupation?
SEYSS-INQUART: Minister Speer told me that behind the Ruhr area he had stored trainloads of food and that he had appropriated the means of transportation from the armament program, so that if the Ruhr area were invaded there would be trains with food for this area available.
DR. FLACHSNER: Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: Does Counsel for the Prosecution wish to cross-examine? I am sorry, Dr. Kubuschok, did you have something to say?
DR. EGON KUBUSCHOK (Counsel for Defendant Von Papen): The Defendant Kaltenbrunner has asked me, as the defense counsel
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sitting nearest him, to state that he had discussed with his attorney a number of questions which he would like to put to Seyss-Inquart. I just tried to reach Dr. Kauffmann, Kaltenbrunner's defense counsel; at present and probably all this afternoon it will not be possible for us to reach him. The Defendant Kaltenbrunner asks for permission to have these questions asked of Seyss-Inquart tomorrow.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will expect some explanation from Dr. Kauffmann as to why he is not here to cross-examine. He must have known that the time was about to arrive for him to cross-examine. But the Tribunal will assent to the suggestion that those questions may be put at a later date, tomorrow, if possible.
Now, do Counsel for the Prosecution wish to cross-examine?
M. DELPHIN DEBENEST (Assistant Prosecutor for the French Republic): Defendant, you have studied law, and you have told us that you had even obtained the degree of Doctor of Law at the University of Vienna in 1917?
M. DEBENEST: You were a lawyer from 1929 to 12 February 1938, at which date you became Minister for the Interior?
SEYSS-INQUART: From 1921.
M. DEBENEST: Very well. Now, was not your clientele mainly composed of Jews?
SEYSS-INQUART: No, not mainly, but there were some among them.
M. DEBENEST: And yet you told us yesterday that you had been an anti-Semite ever since the first World War.
SEYSS-INQUART: My clients knew that. It was widely known.
M. DEBENEST: Yes. But it did not, at the same time, cause you to despise Jewish money.
SEYSS-INQUART: Neither did it prevent the Jews from coming to me.
M. DEBENEST: Were you a Catholic?
SEYSS-INQUART: What do you mean by that?
M. DEBENEST: I am asking you whether you were a Catholic.
SEYSS-INQUART: I am a member; that is, I belong to the Catholic Church.
M. DEBENEST: Were you not also a member of a Catholic fraternity when you were a student?
SEYSS-INQUART: I never belonged to any student organization, Catholic or national.
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M. DEBENEST: Very walk You were appointed Reich Commissioner for Holland by a decree of Hitler's dated 18 May 1940; is that correct?
M. DEBENEST: Your orders, on reaching the Netherlands-as you told us yesterday-were: To maintain the independence of the Netherlands and to establish economic relations between that country and Germany. You added that these orders were never afterwards modified by the Fuehrer; is that true?
SEYSS-INQUART: I did not quite understand one word, the reference to economic relations.
M. DEBENEST: I said that you had arrived in the Netherlands with the following orders: 1) to maintain the independence of the Netherlands and 2) to establish economic relations between that country and Germany. Is that so?
SEYSS-INQUART: I would not put it that way exactly; rather, I was to try and bring about as close an economic relationship between Holland and Germany as possible. The economic stipulations, too, were, in the long run and apart from war necessities, not intended to be dictatorial
M. DEBENEST: But you did say that you had not come with the intention of giving a definite political outlook to the people of the Netherlands. Is that correct?
SEYSS-INQUART: Well, I would not put it that way. It was my intention to further National Socialist policy wherever possible in Holland; not to decree it, but to promote it as much as possible.
M. DEBENEST: Was it also your intention not to introduce but to impose it?
SEYSS-INQUART: No, for one cannot force a political ideology on anyone.
M. DEBENEST: Very wed. I am going to have a Document, Number 997-PS, handed to you. This document has already been submitted both by the Prosecution under Number RF-122, and yesterday by the Defense.
Will you kindly turn to Pages 7 and 8 of the German text? It is Page 7 of the French text, at the paragraph "Measures." This document, as you will note, is a report which you yourself made.
M. DEBENEST: You write:
"In view of this state of affairs it was necessary first of all to eliminate Winkelmann's influence, which was done in the following manner: The secretaries general were expressly
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informed that from now on they would take orders only from the Reich Commissioner, which they expressly agreed to. The offices of secretaries general were retained and the same persons kept in office, since in the event of their resignation it would probably be impossible to find Dutch people who would be willing to take over the administration. In the rightist parties there were hardly any people qualified to do this; but it seemed necessary, from a political point of view, that a certain number of measures, above all economic measures, and indirectly, police measures as well, signed by the Dutch secretaries general, be made known to the Dutch nation."
In short, according to this document, it appears that if you decided to retain the secretaries general, it was because you needed them for imposing certain measures on the Dutch people? Is that correct?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, but what has that to do with politics? This is a matter of administration.
M. DEBENEST: As far as I know, this refers to political as well as to economic questions.
SEYSS-INQUART: No, in the German text it says "police question." Economic and police questions, not political; there is a difference.
M. DEBENEST: In that case, I will re-read the sentence, bearing your answer in mind.
"But it seemed necessary, from a political point of view..."
Now is that "political" or "police" which we see?
SEYSS-INQUART: Just a moment, please. Yes, that is correct. But that does not mean politics in the sense of party politics, but political in respect to the treatment of the Dutch people as such. Whether they thereby became National Socialists or not was quite immaterial to me.
M. DEBENEST: Was it in the interests of Dutch or of German policy?
SEYSS-INQUART: Well, I admit without any hesitation at all that I followed a German policy. That was part of my task.
M. DEBENEST: But the German policy of that day was surely the policy of the National Socialist Party?
SEYSS-INQUART: The German policy was, at that time, the policy of a fight for existence on the part of the German people, and this struggle was led by the National Socialist Party. But the basic concern was not the carrying out of the 25 points of the Party
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program, but rather the carrying through of our fight for existence, and that is what I think this means.
M. DEBENEST: In your administration, in the Netherlands, you were helped by four Commissioners General: Wimmer in Administration and Justice, Fischbock in Finance and Economy, Rauter for Public Security, and Schmidt for Special Questions.
The Commissioner General for Public Security, Rauter, was directly subordinate to you, was he not?
SEYSS-INQUART: The four Commissioners General were immediately subordinate to me; Rauter, insofar as he, as Commissioner General for Security, headed the Dutch police, and not insofar as he was chief of the German Police.
M. DEBENEST: You had decided to rule and administer the Netherlands alone; to accomplish this you dissolved the two Assemblies which then existed; and by the same decree, you restricted the powers of the State Council to the juridical field.
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not remember this decree, but it may very well have been that way.
M. DEBENEST: You also seized control over the finances, and over the Treasury of the Netherlands. For this purpose you issued a decree on 24 August 1940 authorizing you to appoint the president of the Bank of Holland.
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not recall the date exactly, but I did issue such a decree.
M. DEBENEST: When you arrived in the Netherlands, Mynheer Trip was president of the Netherlands Bank and Secretary General for the Treasury?
M. DEBENEST: For what reason did you have him replaced?
SEYSS-INQUART: Mr. Trip was replaced because he objected to the lifting of the existing foreign currency and clearing limitations. I put it to him that he could resign if he did not want to carry out my measures.
M. DEBENEST: And by whom did you replace him?
SEYSS-INQUART: By Mynheer Rost van Tonningen.
M. DEBENEST: You had known Mynheer Rost van Tonningen for a very long time?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not believe I knew him-only by name at the most. He obviously had been judged capable of holding the same office for Austria-in connection with the League of Nations in Vienna.
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M. DEBENEST: Since when did you know his name?
SEYSS-INQUART: Most probably since the time when he assumed his office in Vienna. I do not know the date.
M. DEBENEST: You were not associated with him when he was in Vienna?
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe that I never saw him.
M. DEBENEST: Was Mynheer Rost van Tonningen not a member of the Dutch National Socialist Party?
M. DEBENEST: Was that the reason why you appointed him?
SEYSS-INQUART: That was one of the reasons. Not so much the fact that he was a member but rather that he represented our views.
M. DEBENEST: Will you kindly look again at the document which I have just shown to you, 997-PS, Page 5 of the German text, and Page 5 of the French text. This is what you say about Mynheer Rost van Tonningen:
"Ross van Tonningen: Meets perfectly ale the ideological requirements, is in line with the Germanic idea and National Socialism, speaks effectively and animatedly, has a strong desire to be active, does not find his strength in himself but seeks the support and backing of other people."
As far as I can see, we do not find in what you write here about Rost van Tonningen that he was particularly competent in financial matters.
SEYSS-INQUART: In reference to the other gentlemen as well, I never described their technical qualifications but merely their political attitude. I did not say that Mr. Mussert was really a recognized engineer in the Netherlands and so forth. I described merely their political attitude..
M. DEBENEST: Thank you. Therefore, you set up in the Netherlands a civil government, a German civil government.
SEYSS-INQUART: My four Commissioners General could not be considered as having the same offices as ministers normally have. Certain functions, however, had been delegated to the secretaries general. But these secretaries general did not represent a government or a ministry. I mentioned yesterday that I took over the Government.
M. DEBENEST: But the secretaries general did represent the Government of the Netherlands, did they not?
SEYSS-INQUART: No; the secretaries general were the supreme heads, officials of certain ministries; but they were not what we call
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the bearers of sovereignty in the State. Those gentlemen were in England.
M. DEBENEST: But you knew, nevertheless, that they had been left in the Netherlands by the Government in order to carry on the duties of the Government in its place?
SEYSS-INQUART: What intentions the Government which had gone to England had in making this appointment, I do not know. I assumed that they remained there in order to direct the administration technically. It is within the jurisdiction of an occupying power, in the case of complete occupation of a country, to determine just how the government is to be carried on.
M. DEBENEST: But did you consider that the creation of a German civil government in an occupied country was in conformity with international conventions?
DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, I object to this question. In my opinion, it is a question which should be solved by the High Tribunal
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks the question may be asked. The defendant has already given his views of international law in his examination-in-chief. We allow the question.
M. DEBENEST: Then answer me, please.
SEYSS-INQUART: May I please have the question repeated?
M. DEBENEST: Do you consider that the creation of a German civil government in an occupied country is in conformity with international convention?
SEYSS-INQUART: In the way in which it took place in Holland, certainly.
M. DEBENEST: And why?
SEYSS-INQUART: Because, as a result of the complete occupation, Germany had assumed responsibility for the administration of this country and, therefore, had to establish a responsible leadership in this country.
M. DEBENEST: You yourself created the secretariats general, particularly the Secretariat for Information and Fine Arts?
SEYSS-INQUART: We call it the Propaganda Ministry.
M. DEBENEST: Yes.
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, I did that.
M. DEBENEST: And whom did you put at the head of this Secretariat?
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe Professor Goedewaagen first. He, too, was a member of the Dutch National Socialist Party.
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M. DEBENEST: That is true. Was not the staff of the General Secretariat mainly composed of members of the Dutch National Socialist Party?
SEYSS-INQUART: I am convinced of that, but I did not know them individually.
M. DEBENEST: Do you also know that in one of the offices a member of the SS even acted in an advisory capacity?
SEYSS-INQUART: The Dutch SS?
M. DEBENEST: No, the German SS.
SEYSS-INQUART: Then he was a consultant?
M. DEBENEST: He was a consultant for national education and national development.
SEYSS-INQUART: I did not quite follow you-he was a consultant for...
M. DEBENEST: For national education.
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes; I did not know him. I consider it possible; but I do not believe that he was there as an SS man in particular, but rather for other reasons.
M. DEBENEST: You ordered the dissolution of the municipal and provincial assemblies; why?
SEYSS-INQUART: I cannot say the dissolution of the administration. I eliminated merely the elected representatives of the communities and the provinces. I not only kept the administration itself, but also strengthened it in its functions.
M. DEBENEST: You even turned out the mayors of the more important municipalities?
SEYSS-INQUART: Certainly; and I am convinced, with the full right of an occupying power. The burgomaster of Amsterdam did not prevent the general strike but rather promoted it.
M. DEBENEST: But was that the same reason that made you turn out all the mayors, or at least a certain number of them?
SEYSS-INQUART: I did not remove any mayors from office until they became unbearable for me because of their actively hostile attitude. Otherwise their political attitude was of no significance to me. Up to 1945 I kept Herr Boraine's brother as mayor in a Dutch city, even though he was a very bitter enemy of National Socialism and of us Germans.
M. DEBENEST: Very well. And by whom did you replace all these mayors?
11 June 46
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe that until the year 1943, at least, the posts were filled in agreement with Mr. Fredericks, the Secretary General of the Interior, who was left behind for me by the Dutch Government to administer interior affairs. There were National Socialists; there were those who were not National Socialists. For instance, the son of the province commissioner of Holland was a firm enemy of National Socialism and of Germany, and yet I appointed him mayor of one of the largest Dutch cities, Zwolle.
M. DEBENEST: You are not exactly answering my question. I am asking you to tell me by whom you replaced all the mayors whom you had turned out? Were they members of the NSB?
SEYSS-INQUART: In part they were members of the Dutch National Socialist Party. In part they were nonpolitical men; and in part they were members of political trends which were absolutely against National Socialism and against Germany. In time there were more and more people of the Dutch National Socialist Party, for other people did not put themselves at our disposal any longer. That was the greatest success of the Dutch resistance movement that politically it resisted us so completely. That was Holland's significance in this war.
M. DEBENEST: You therefore assert that it was the Dutch resistance movement which led you to put a great number of NSB people in all the important positions?
SEYSS-INQUART: No, that would be going a bit too far. The Dutch resistance movement merely induced the population not to co-operate with the occupying power at all, so that outside of the members of the Dutch National Socialist Party there was no one who wanted to work with us.
'1~; PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off?
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
11 June 46
M. DEBENEST: Defendant, in the larger towns and in the provinces of the Low Countries, you installed agents who were directly subordinate to you and to whom you gave full powers. Were those agents not members of the NSDAP?
SEYSS-INQUART: Will you please tell me what you mean by "agents"? I had German representatives in the provinces and in the big cities. Do you mean the German or the Dutch ones?
M. DEBENEST: No; I meant to speak of the Beaufiragten (delegates).
SEYSS-INQUART: They were Germans, and I assume that all were Novembers of the NSDAP. I do not know for certain, but it is quite possible and I believe that was the case.
M. DEBENEST: Well, then, in order to refresh your memory, will you please take Document 997-PS, which I had handed to you this morning. I refer to Page 9, in the French and German texts.
I would like to inform the Tribunal that I gave an incorrect reference this morning. The document was submitted under the Number USA-708, but it is RF-122.
[Turning to the defendant.] At the top of Page 9 you write:
"Delegates have been provided for the provinces which have a far-reaching independent administration. The creation of these posts was delayed due to the necessity of making a preliminary examination of the situation. It has now been shown that it must be less a question of administrative officers than of men who have had political experience. Therefore, through Reichsamtsleiter Schmidt, Reichsleiter Bormann (Hess' staff) was asked for men who, coming mostly from the Party, are now on their way and can be installed in their functions in the provinces in a few days"
That was true, wasn't it?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, and I find my assertion confirmed that they were not all from the Party.
M. DEBENEST: Very well, but I also notice that these men were specially selected.
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, they were politically experienced men for I did not want any administrative bureaucrats but men who were experienced and skillful in public political life, not Party political life.
M. DEBENEST: On what basis did you organize the municipal councils and the regional councils?
11 June 46
THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, it seems to the Tribunal-I don't know whether we are right-that it would be better if you would pause after the sentence rather than after each word.
M. DEBENEST: Yes.
SEYSS-INQUART: Will you please tell me what you mean by municipal and provincial councils? According to our concept, the word "council" means a corporate body, but I did not establish any such bodies, I appointed individual men to direct the administration.
M. DEBENEST: In the communes, in the Netherlands, there were municipal councils and in the provinces provincial councils, however differently you may have termed them.
SEYSS-INQUART: Thank you. I understand. In 1941 I dissolved the provincial and community assemblies which had previously existed. I provided for such councils in the community regulations which I issued then, but never actually appointed such councils because the Netherlands population did not co-operate and as a result these community councils would have been only artificial bodies. This provision of my community regulations did not go into effect.
M. DEBENEST: But on what basis did this regulation establish this organization?
SEYSS-INQUART: I cannot recall any certain basis. I assume that it was established by law, if it was provided for at all.
M. DEBENEST: Well, I will put the question in a different manner and perhaps you will be able to answer it. Did you introduce, by means of your regulations, the Fuehrer Principle?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes. I called it the "one-man responsibility," and I am of the opinion that in times of crisis a "one-man responsibility" is the correct thing.
M. DEBENEST: That was, in fact, the system which was also applied in Germany?
SEYSS-INQUART: That is true. Perhaps it was not exactly the same, but under the circumstances I considered it correct.
I repeat what I said yesterday: We committed an error here. We committed the error of considering the order imposed by the occupational forces better than that already existing in the occupied territory.
M. DEBENEST: Well, the introduction of this principle had a particular importance, did it not?
SEYSS-INQUART: I certainly thought it did; especially in these territorial districts I had to have a man who was responsible to me
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for the administration and not an anonymous majority of a representative body.
M. DEBENEST: I am having Document F-861 handed to you, which I submit under Number RF-1524. From the last paragraph you will see the importance which was attached to that in the Reich. It is a letter of the Minister of the Interior dated 6 September 1941. It reads as follows:
"Particular importance must be accorded' to the decree because it contains detailed regulations concerning the introduction of the Fuehrer Principle in the municipal government of the Netherlands."
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes. The Minister of the Interior was interested in this. I should only like to point out, to get things straight, that the Reich Minister of the Interior exerted no influence, and in the second place that these larger powers were given in 1941 to at least 80 percent of the mayors, who belonged to the democratic party and were therefore my political opponents.
MR. PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, haven't you established, by the questions that you have put to this defendant, that he did alter, to a considerable extent, the form of government in the Netherlands, and that he introduced a different form of government? Isn't that all that you really require for the argument which, no doubt, you intend to present? The details of it don't very much matter, do they?
M. DEBENEST: Mr. President, I simply wish to demonstrate that, contrary to what the defendant said, he had sought to impose the National Socialist system upon the people of the Netherlands.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, to a large extent, I think he had admitted that. He said just now that he introduced what he called "oneman responsibility," which is another phrase for the Fuehrer Principle, and that he had dissolved various organizations of the Netherlands Government. All I am suggesting to you is that, having got those general admissions, it isn't necessary to go into details about the exact amount that the Government of the Netherlands was interfered with or the exact way in which it was replaced. Isn't it really all stated in a document drawn up by the defendant, namely, the document you have been putting, 997-PS?
M. DEBENEST: More or less, Mr. President, but not entirely.
THE PRESIDENT: Well the only question is whether the details are really very important for the Tribunal
M. DEBENEST: I thought that those details might have a certain importance, since the governors of the Reich itself attached a great deal of importance to it and, in fact, the whole was part of a plan which had been definitely laid down.
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THE PRESIDENT: Welt, the Tribunal is inclined to think that you have got all that is necessary for the argument which you are indicating that you would present. If there are any particular details that you think important to us, no doubt you can bring them out.
M. DEBENEST: Quite so, Mr. President.
[Turning to the defendant.] For what purpose had you centralized the police into a police directorate?
SEYSS-INQUART: I will repeat my testimony of yesterday. The Netherlands police was under three or four different agencies, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice, I believe the Army Ministry, and so forth. For the sake of a clear police administration, I thought it necessary to combine these various police organizations in one and to place it under the Ministry of Justice.
M. DEBENEST: Did you not appoint as chief of this police a National Socialist?
M. DEBENEST: In short, the end that you had in view-was it not to place the Netherlands in the hands of the NSDAP and thus adapt the internal organization of the Netherlands to that of the Reich? In other words, to do something similar to what you had done in Austria?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not believe that one can say that. In particular, the policy of the NSB was not that of the NSDAP. The NSB was different in many respects. In the second place, if I had wanted to do that, I would have been able to make Herr Mussert Prime Minister; that would have been less complicated. The simple explanation is that I used, possibly in a somewhat schematic way, the example of the Reich as a model in setting up an administration in the Netherlands, which, at least in part, made it possible for me to carry out my task of watching over safety and order. Yesterday I only asserted that I forced no Dutch citizen to become a National Socialist. I did not deny that a certain co-ordination was undertaken due to the mistakes which I have repeatedly admitted.
M. DEBENEST: But you placed members of the NSB in all the administrative bodies, the higher offices?
SEYSS-INQUART: Not exclusively, but I did it because in the last analysis I could rely only on them; all others sabotaged my orders.
M. DEBENEST: You told the Tribunal yesterday of the dismissal of the magistrates of the court of Leeuwarden. Would you tell us again the exact causes of this dismissal?
11 June 46
SEYSS-INQUART: They were not the magistrates but the administrators of the court. This court of Leeuwarden had said in a public judgment that those Dutch citizens who were condemned by Dutch courts and sent to a Dutch prison would be transferred to German concentration camps, maltreated, and executed. As a result, the court no longer felt in a position to sentence a Dutch citizen.
This statement of the court was wrong in my opinion. In my opinion Dutch citizens have not been sent from Netherlands prisons to German concentration camps to be executed there.
In the meantime I cleared up the situation at the suggestion of the Amsterdam judges, and through the Secretary General for Justice I had the court in Leeuwarden requested to continue passing sentence. The court in Leeuwarden did not do so. Thereupon, I dismissed this court.
M. DEBENEST: Well, I have here the document "Verdict of the Court of Appeal of Leeuwarden" and there is no question of Dutch prisoners being sent to concentration camps or being tortured or otherwise put to death. All that is mentioned is that the magistrates of that court do not wish that the detainees be sent to concentration camps after they have served their sentence.
I shall hand you the original of this document so that you can check it. The document has already been submitted under Number RF-931.
SEYSS-INQUART: I did not receive a German translation or the original German.
M. DEBENEST: Then I shall read you the translation of the judgment; you may check it:
"Considering that the court wishes to take into account the fact that for some time past various terms of imprisonment have been imposed by the Dutch judges upon the people contrary to the intentions of the legislation, and the penalties of the judges have been executed in a manner which aggravates those penalties to such an extent that it is impossible for the judge to foresee or even to suppose the penalty to be inflicted . . ."
THE PRESIDENT: Why not summarize the document to the witness, do it in that way? You can give the effect of the judgment.
M. DEBENEST: Certainly, Mr. President.
This judgment sets out in detail that the judges no longer wish to pronounce a penalty which might result in preventive detention.
THE PRESIDENT: Did you hear the question?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, Mr. President, but why did they not want to pass sentence? I had the German translation here in my
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hands, and I took this translation as my basis in this matter because I did not recall this judgment. I read it here, and I remember that it stated there that these Dutch prisoners were to go to German concentration camps to be tortured and executed.
THE PRESIDENT: It doesn't appear to say anything about that in the judgment before us. There is nothing about that in the judgment, is there?
M. DEBENEST: Mr. President, the defendant claims that the judges did not wish to pronounce any such judgment any more so that people would not be sent to concentration camps to be tortured or executed. There is no question of that in the judgment. The only thing that is mentioned is that the court did not want to inflict any penalty which would result in the people being sent away to concentration camps. I do not see that there is anything in this judgment which the defendant might consider as a personal insult or injury.
SEYSS-INQUART: Now I have the German text. It reads:
"The court wishes to take into consideration the fact that for some time judges have imposed penalties and that Dutch criminals of male sex, contrary to legal prescription and contrary to the intention of the legislator and the judge, have been executed and are being executed in the camp in a manner which"-and so forth.
Those are the concentration camps which the court meant. It concerns the fact that prisoners were sent from Dutch prisons to German camps.
THE PRESIDENT: Go on, M. Debenest.
M. DEBENEST: As regards education, did you not bring about very extensive changes?
SEYSS-INQUART: I introduced the supervision of the curriculum of the schools, and I made my influence felt in the appointment of teachers, particularly in the very numerous private schools in the Netherlands. Two-thirds of the Netherlands schools were private. I felt it necessary because in these schools there was definitely an anti-German tendency which was taught to the students. The Netherlands Education Ministry had the supervision of these matters.
M. DEBENEST: You thereby prevented a large number of clergymen from taking part in public education.
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not believe so. I ordered, or agreed to the order, that clergymen should not be heads of schools. As for clergymen who were teachers, I agreed to have their pay reduced by one-third. They were able to continue to teach with two-thirds of
11 June 46
their income, and with the money which was saved I gave positions to 4,000 young teachers out of work.
M. DEBENEST: Talking of teachers, did you not cause the creation of a special school for teachers?
SEYSS-INQUART: No. I believe you mean courses which were given in Amersfoort or for those who volunteered for them.
M. DEBENEST: No. What I mean is those teachers who were compelled to take a course for a few months in Germany before their appointment.
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not recall the case. It might be those who were to teach German in the Netherlands schools. In that case, it is possible that I demanded that they first spend a certain time in Germany in order to be employed.
M. DEBENEST: You did, as a matter of fact, make the study of the German language in certain classes obligatory?
SEYSS-INQUART: In the 7th grade, and also in the 8th grade which I newly introduced. But at the same time, I also had instruction in the Dutch language increased in order to prove that I did not want to germanize the Dutch, but only wanted to give them an opportunity to study the German language.
M. DEBENEST: But they already had that opportunity. German was taught simultaneously along with English and French. You imposed the teaching of the German language at the expense of the other two foreign languages.
SEYSS-INQUART: I spoke of the elementary schools in which the study of German had not yet been introduced. It is conceivable that in the secondary schools instruction in German was increased at the expense of instruction in English and French.
M. DEBENEST: Did you not order the closing down of several universities? And why did you do so?
SEYSS-INQUART: I recall only the closing of the University of Leyden. When, according to my instructions, Jewish professors of the faculty were dismissed, the students of the University of Leyden went on strike for an extended period of time, and I thereupon closed its doors. I do not recall having closed any other universities. The Catholic University in Nijmegen and the Calvinistic University in Amsterdam, as far as I can recall, closed of their own accord.
M. DEBENEST: And the Polytechnic Institute at Delft? You did not order it to be closed either?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes. That was a temporary measure. It was reopened, as far as I recall.
11 June 4;
M. DEBENEST: How about the Catholic Commercial College at Tilburg?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not remember that.
M. DEBENEST: It was in 1943.
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not remember. It is quite possible that for some reason or other it was closed, probably because it seemed to me to endanger the interests of the occupation forces.
THE PRESIDENT: It is not necessary to investigate this in detail, is it? If the defendant said that he closed one school without giving an adequate reason why, isn't that sufficient for you to develop your argument?
M. DEBENEST: Certainly, Mr. President.
[Turning to the defendant.] Later on you attempted to turn the University of Leyden into a National Socialist university?
SEYSS-INQUART: If you consider the appointment of 2 or 3 professors out of some 100 or 50 professors as such, I should have to say yes. I cannot recall any other measures. Once it was suggested to me to establish a university in Leyden at which German and Dutch students could study, and that studies there should find suitable recognition in Germany. This did not come about.
M. DEBENEST: Anyway, you admit that you had the intention of creating this school?
SEYSS-INQUART: "Intention" is a little too strong. These ideas were discussed. There was another idea. In the Netherlands, in the German Wehrmacht, we had a number of university students who had not been able to continue their studies for understandable reasons. It was considered at that time to hold courses at Leyden for these university students in the Wehrmacht, which would be a sort of continuation of their studies.
M. DEBENEST: I shall have Document F-803 presented to you, which I submit under the Number RF-1525. This is a report from the Ministry of National Education of the Netherlands. It is on Page 23 of the French version and Page 16 of the German version.
I shall read the passage:
"Attempts were made to make the University of Leyden a National Socialist university by appointing National Socialist professors. However, these attempts failed as a result of the firm attitude taken by the professors and by the students. Certain professors even..."
THE PRESIDENT: Is that on Page 15?
M. DEBENEST: That is on Page 23 of the French text, in the last paragraph.
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THE PRESIDENT: What is it?
M. DEBENEST: It is F-803.
THE PRESIDENT: I did not ask what document it was. I asked what is the nature of the document.
M. DEBENEST: I pointed out to the Tribunal that it was a report of the Minister for Education in the Netherlands.
THE PRESIDENT: Was he appointed by the defendant, or appointed before the war?
M. DEBENEST: It is the present Minister for Education. I would point out to the Tribunal that I am obliged to go into a certain amount of detail, because when the French Prosecution presented its case, we did not have all the documents at our disposal, and the Dutch Government is anxious to have these facts presented in as detailed a manner as possible.
I might add that today I am producing documents which emanate from the Dutch Government.
THE PRESIDENT: That is Page 23?
M. DEBENEST: Page 23 of the French text, six lines before the end of the last paragraph.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
M. DEBENEST "Attempts were made to make the University of Leyden a National Socialist university by appointing National Socialist professors. However, these attempts failed as a result of the firm attitude taken by the professors and by the students. The professors even presented their collective resignation in May 1942, and as there was no reaction to it, they presented it a second time in September of the same year."
THE PRESIDENT: Surely, the defendant has already said this, has he not? This is Leyden University that you are speaking about, is it not? ,
M. DEBENEST: Yes, Mr. President. If I understood correctly, I believe the defendant said that there had been question of creating a National Socialist school in Leyden but that he had not put this project into effect. On the other hand, it appears from this document that it did not depend upon him but that it was a result of the attitude of the teachers. That is what I wanted to bring out.
SEYSS-INQUART: May I comment on that?
M. DEBENEST: Certainly.
SEYSS-INQUART: The fact that there was an attempt to make Leyden a National Socialist university is stated only in this document. I repeat my assertion that I appointed two, or at the most
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three, professors who were National Socialists, and this document shows clearly what my attitude was. I did nothing at all against the demonstrative gesture of resignation of the professors. The second attempt was also unanswered. The fact that arrests occurred then is connected with the fact that part of the professors were otherwise suspected, and these professors were sent to St. Michelsgestel. That is this concentration camp where the inmates played golf.
M. DEBENEST: Then that was a coincidence?
SEYSS-INQUART: I would not say that. Certainly after the second attempt we checked up on the gentlemen a little.
M. DEBENEST: Did you not take measures to oblige the students to do forced labor?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not think that this was done as long as they were studying, for I had issued express orders for the exemption of all students. Advanced technical students were given exemption and university students who were actually studying or had fulfilled the requirements for study were not forced to work, either, as far as I remember.
M. DEBENEST: Well, I shall give you briefly an account of Paragraph 2 of your regulation. It is the Ordinance of 11 March 1943, Number 27.
"Any student who, after the present relation has been put into effect, has successfully passed the final examination or a similar test in one of the studies mentioned in Paragraph 1 and specified as such by orders of the Secretary General in the Ministry for Education, Science, and Culture, is compelled to work for a determined period within the scope of the allocation of labor."
Is that your ordinance?
SEYSS-INQUART: Does it say labor service?
M. DEBENEST: I have not got the German version in front of me. It is Ordinance Number 27.
SEYSS-INQUART: Ordinance Number 27. May I ask what paragraph it is?
M. DEBENEST: Second paragraph.
SEYSS-INQUART: That is correct. It says, "Students who have taken the final examination," that is, who are no longer studying but have finished their studies. Members of the same age groups were meanwhile drafted for labor commitment, and those exempted by me now had to make this up. But their study was not disturbed or interrupted.
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M. DEBENEST: Therefore, the students were able, freely, to continue their studies?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not recall any obstacles.
M. DEBENEST: Good. Will you please look at the next decree, that is, Number 28, which is a decree of Secretary General Van Damm. This decree forces the students to make a declaration of loyalty.
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, that is correct.
M. DEBENEST: What were the consequences?
SEYSS-INQUART: I could not understand the consequences. The universities were, at that time, the seat of anti-German activities. I demanded from the university students a declaration promising they would uphold the laws in effect in the occupied Netherlands territories, that they would abstain from any action against the German Reich, the Wehrmacht, and the Netherlands authorities, and that they would not interfere with public order in the university.
I cannot understand why a university student could not make such a statement. Those who did make it were able to continue their studies without any hindrance. But the Dutch professors, by way of sabotage, refused to give them any instruction.
M. DEBENEST: Well, then, those who did not subscribe to this declaration, what happened to them?
SEYSS-INQUART: They were no longer university students, and if they belonged to the age groups which I had called up for labor commitment, they were drafted.
M. DEBENEST: Did you not apply the Fuehrer Principle to the universities?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not believe quite as strictly as in the community administrations. But I gave the president of the university greater power because I demanded greater responsibility from him.
M. DEBENEST: Very well. Was not a certain National Socialist propaganda made in the universities?
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe that could not be entirely prevented.
M. DEBENEST: In particular, did not the students have to visit certain exhibitions and be present at lectures organized by the Party or even by the Reich offices?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not know, but it is possible.
M. DEBENEST: In short, you interfered in the administrative domain, in the realm of teaching, and you also interfered in a similar manner in the cultural life of the Dutch people?
l1 June. 46
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes' to the extent which I stated yesterday.
M. DEBENEST: You did, in fact, create various professional syndicates, is not that what you told us?
M. DEBENEST: You alleged that the acceptance into these syndicates was not obligatory and that you never imposed payment of dues?
SEYSS-INQUART: That is not correct. Membership in these syndicates was obligatory. I am also convinced that the head of the syndicates required the members to pay their dues. I refused to conclude from the failure to pay dues that a person was no longer a member of the syndicate, and consequently could no longer practice his trade, or that his dues could be collected by way of court action.
M. DEBENEST: However, do you not recall the difficulties which arose in this manner with the medical profession?
SEYSS-INQUART: I was just thinking of the Medical Syndicate. Certain circles therein desired that the members who did not pay their dues should be prohibited from carrying out their profession, or that at least the dues should be collected through court pressure. I told these gentlemen that if it was not possible to persuade the members to pay their dues, I, for my part, would not assert any force.
M. DEBENEST: What were these circles?
SEYSS-INQUART: Perhaps you can tell me, then we shall save more time.
M. DEBENEST: Was it not the NSB for instance?
SEYSS-INQUART: In what connection?
M. DEBENEST: Did you not yourself say that certain circles had demanded the payment of dues? I am asking, what circles?
SEYSS-INQUART: Do you mean what friends or co-workers of mine urged me to insist on payment? The question is not very clear to me.
M. DEBENEST: I am just asking you to say exactly what you mean by "circles." You yourself used the word-unless it is a mistranslation.
THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, the Tribunal thinks really that you are spending too much time on these various small subjects. We have spent the whole afternoon on these various measures which the defendant introduced in the Netherlands. It is perfectly clear according to his own admission that he was altering the whole force of administration in the Netherlands.
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M. DEBENEST: Did you not also take part in the persecution of the churches?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not know whether the measures could be called "persecution of the churches," but I took measures concerning the churches.
M. DEBENEST: What measures in particular? What measures?
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe that the most serious, in your eyes, would be the confiscation of various Netherlands monasteries. One of them was turned into a German school and the church building was torn down.
M. DEBENEST: You alleged yesterday that priests or at least one priest could visit concentration camps? Is that correct?
SEYSS-INQUART: No, I did not say that. I said only that in the Jewish camp at Westerborg there were Catholic and Protestant Jews, who were visited on Sundays by a clergyman from outside. I do not believe that clergymen were allowed to pay visits to the concentration camps under the control of German Police or were able to enter them.
M. DEBENEST: Just one question as regards the press. Did the press retain a certain-I repeat, a "certain"-liberty during the time of the occupation?
SEYSS-INQUART: From my point of view, much too little. The press was under fairly strict control by the Propaganda Ministry. The editors were employed after being judged suitable by the Netherlands Propaganda Ministry. I believe that it is a matter of course for an occupying power that for such an important instrument one takes only people who have a certain positive attitude. I would have wished that these men could have been given much more freedom of speech, and I believe that I can say that so far as I exerted any influence, this was the case; but even the Reich Commissioner in the Netherlands was not almighty.
M. DEBENEST: Were there not reprisal measures taken against certain newspapers?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not know...
THE PRESIDENT: We might get on a little bit more quickly. There is a very long pause between the question and the answer.
SEYSS-INQUART: I must first recall the circumstances. If unexpectedly I am questioned about something which happened 5 years ago I must think over carefully what actually happened in individual cases. For example, I can say "no" immediately, but I am sure that the answer is wrong.
Now, for instance, reprisals-I know that once in The Hague the editor's office of a newspaper was blown up. That was a measure
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taken by the Security Police. It was the seat of an illegal propaganda group.
M. DEBENEST: You spoke yesterday of the sterilization of the Jews in Holland. Who introduced this measure?
SEYSS-INQUART: If you say "introduced," I believe that I can answer the question correctly. The Security Police informed me that a number of Jews had themselves sterilized by Jewish doctors and that thereupon these Jews were freed of all restrictions and could dispense with the wearing of the Jewish star. These were not Jews who otherwise would have been evacuated, but who would have remained in Holland subject to certain restrictions.
I asked the head of my health department to investigate the matter. He informed me that this was a very serious operation in the case of women, and thereupon I asked the Higher SS and Police Leader to forbid this action, at least in the case of women. Then the Christian churches protested to me. I answered the Christian churches-I assume you have the letter in your files-describing the state of affairs and pointing out expressly that no compulsion must be exerted here. Shortly thereafter this action was finished. As I heard, the Christian churches informed the Jews, and when they were sure that no compulsion would be exerted on them they no longer submitted themselves to this operation.
I myself returned their property to the Jews in question, and the matter was ended; although I must say today that the further away one is from this period of time, the less understandable it is.
M. DEBENEST: But was it you who had the idea of this sterilization?
SEYSS-INQUART: No, the matter was reported to me by the Security Police.
M. DEBENEST: Very well, I shall have Document 3594-PS handed to you, which I shall submit under Number RF-1526. It is an affidavit by Hildegard Kunze, an agent of the RSHA. Third paragraph:
"I remember that either in this report or in another report
he"-that is, Seyss-Inquart-"suggested that all Jews who
were privileged to remain in Holland should be sterilized."
There is no question of police agencies there.
SEYSS-INQUART: This involves the correctness of the memory of a stenographer. In the third point, moreover, she does not even assert that the report in the third paragraph is the one she mentions in Paragraph (2), and which she ascribes to me. It is out of the question that she saw any report from me wherein I made such a suggestion. The case was reported to me as a fact by the Security Police, as an already existing fact or one in process of realization.
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M. DEBENEST: So you contend that it was not you but the Police. In any case, you tolerated it?
SEYSS-INQUART: As far as the male Jews were concerned I tolerated it for a time; that is true. It was made clear to me that no direct compulsion was exerted on these Jews, no threat to their disadvantage.
THE PRESIDENT: We might adjourn for 10 minutes.
[A recess was taken.]
M. DEBENEST: Defendant, do you claim that you forced no one to go and work in Germany?
SEYSS-INQUART: On the contrary, I believe I enrolled 250,000 Dutch people to work in Germany, and I testified to that yesterday.
M. DEBENEST: Good. I shall not dwell on that point.
Did you not also introduce certain legislative clauses as far as nationality was concerned?
SEYSS-INQUART: You mean the nationality of Dutch citizens?
M. DEBENEST: Yes.
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, I did that.
M. DEBENEST: Did you take part in the arrest, interning, and deportation to concentration camps in Germany of Dutch citizens, and in what way?
SEYSS-INQUART: I should like to explain briefly the matter of citizenship.
M. DEBENEST: Certainly.
SEYSS-INQUART: Quite a few Dutch enlisted in the Waffen-SS. It was the intention of the Fuehrer to give them German citizenship. However, with that they would have lost their Dutch citizenship, and that was something they certainly did not want to happen. Therefore, I issued a decree that upon the acquisition of German citizenship, the Dutch citizenship would not be lost for a year, during which time the person involved could make his decision.
This should serve to clarify the purpose and the object of this decree of mine.
M. DEBENEST: I am going to put to you again the question which I put to you a few minutes ago. Did you take part in arresting, interning, and deporting to concentration camps Dutch citizens, and under what conditions?
SEYSS-INQUART: Bringing anybody into and keeping him in a concentration camp was exclusively a matter for the Police. I do not
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recall instance in which I requested the Police to put any Dutchman into a German concentration camp. It may have happened that I ordered the German Police to take Dutchmen to Hertogenbosch or Amersfoort. Especially at the time when the Netherlands courts were very lenient with black-market operators and slaughterers who supplied the black market, I did demand their internment in a concentration camp for 2 or 3 months.
However, if you have specific cases in mind, please mention them and you may be assured that I will tell you everything exactly as I remember it.
M. DEBENEST: No, your answer is sufficient.
Did you participate in the seizure of hostages and in their execution?
SEYSS-INQUART: I stated yesterday that I recall only one actual hostage case, which took place in 1942, and I told you what I had to do with it. The so-called shooting of hostages, beginning with July 1944, was not actually shooting of hostages, but rather executions carried out by the Police on the basis of a Fuehrer decree.
I myself never ordered a single shooting. But I would like to repeat: If, for instance, I called the attention of the Police to the fact that in any certain locality of the Netherlands an illegal resistance movement was causing much trouble, and gave the Police instructions to investigate the case, it was perfectly obvious to me that the leaders of the resistance movement could be arrested by the Police who, on the basis of the Fuehrer decree, would shoot them.
But I must repeat: I had to meet my responsibility, even in the face of a difficult situation whereby those who were guilty-that is,
legally guilty and not morally, because morally I probably would have acted the same way as they did-those who were guilty were not put before a court.
M. DEBENEST: As far as the facts which you mentioned yesterday are concerned, this deals with hostages who were shot following an attempt upon the railroad at Rotterdam?
M. DEBENEST: Who selected those hostages?
SEYSS-INQUART: Hostages were selected by the Security Police, and the Higher SS and Police Leader submitted this list to me. As I testified yesterday, I asked why he selected the people that he did and he explained that to me. Then, in checking the matter over, I crossed off the names of fathers who had several children. I returned the list to the Higher SS and Police Leader and asked him to take my attitude into consideration in the execution of this decree.
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Therefore, through my direct intervention, I saved fathers of several children from being shot.
M. DEBENEST: How many hostages were selected in this manner?
SEYSS-INQUART: I cannot recall that today, perhaps 12 or 15. Out of that number, 5 remained. That was the number finally arrived at after cutting doom on the original figure of 50 or 25.
M. DEBENEST: I am going to have you shown a document concerning the seizure of these hostages. It is Document F-886, which becomes RF-1527. This is a statement made by General Christiansen, or rather, it is a copy of a statement made by General Christiansen, which was taken from an affidavit by the head of the Dutch Delegation. Will you please look at the fourth paragraph before the end of the first statement?
THE PRESIDENT: Have you got the original? \
M. DEBENEST: Mr. President, I just said that this was only the copy of a statement which comes from an affidavit of the head of the Dutch Delegation. If the Tribunal desires, we can certainly have the original submitted as soon as we have received it.
THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, there is no certificate at all identifying the copy, is there?
M. DEBENEST: I thought, Mr. President, that an affidavit of the representative of the Dutch Delegation existed in Nuremberg. On the original-I beg your pardon; it was not reproduced, but the original does contain the affidavit.
THE PRESIDENT: What are you going to prove by this affidavit? About the hostages?
M. DEBENEST: Yes, Mr. President. It says that the defendant himself selected these hostages.
THE PRESIDENT: In what proceedings was the affidavit made?
M. DEBENEST: Mr. President, it was during the proceedings which were taken against General Christiansen in the Netherlands.
THE PRESIDENT: How do you say it is admissible under the Charter?
M. DEBENEST: Mr. President, I believe that we have already submitted documents of this nature-that is, copies-to the Tribunal, copies which have been certified as being copies of an original which is being kept in the country where it originated.
THE PRESIDENT: If the original from which the copy was taken were a document which is admissible under the Charter, that would probably be so, if there were an authentic certificate saying it was a true copy of a document which is admissible under the Charter. But is this document admissible under the Charter?
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M. DEBENEST: Mr. President, I believe that it is admissible because it is purely and simply an affidavit. It is an affidavit which has been legally received in the Netherlands.
THE PRESIDENT: And you haven't got a German edition of it?
M. DEBENEST: Yes, Mr. President, this document has been translated into German. I have had it translated into German.
THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, this appears to be a document which is in Dutch, and General Christiansen, who gave the evidence, was a German, was he not?
M. DEBENEST: No, Mr. President, the original affidavit is in Dutch.
THE PRESIDENT: The original is in Dutch, is it?
M. DEBENEST: The original is in Dutch, yes. That is according to the information that I have. Yes, the original is in the Dutch
THE PRESIDENT: And what was the affidavit given in, what proceeding?
M. DEBENEST: In Dutch, with interpreters.
THE PRESIDENT: I mean what proceeding, before what court?
M. DEBENEST: I suppose before a Dutch Military Tribunal. Yes, before a Dutch Military Tribunal.
M. CHARLES DUBOST (Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the French Republic): May it please the Tribunal...
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, M. Dubost.
M. DUBOST: This document is an excerpt from criminal proceedings in the Netherlands taken against General Christiansen upon the request of the Dutch Government. The Minister of Justice of the Netherlands has let us have an extract of the minutes which were taken in the Netherlands in legal form during the proceedings which were carried on against General Christiansen. The text was, therefore, made in the Dutch language.
red; PRESIDENT: This deposition, this affidavit is in Dutch. Now, General Christiansen, is he a Dutchman?
M. DUBOST: General Christiansen is a German.
THE PRESIDENT: If he is a German why does he give his evidence in Dutch? If he did not give it in Dutch, why isn't the German copy here? You see, we have a certificate here from a colonel, who is said to represent the Government of the Netherlands, that this document is a true copy of General Christiansen's evidence. Well, the document which we have here is in Dutch, and if General Christiansen gave his evidence in German, then it can't
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be a true copy and it is subject to the translation in Dutch. What do you say to that?
M. DUBOST: The deposition made by General Christiansen was received through an interpreter in conformity with Dutch procedure and was transcribed in Dutch. It is not possible for a Dutch Tribunal to receive minutes in a foreign language. The minutes are taken in the Dutch language.
THE PRESIDENT: I see.
DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, may I just say a few words in this connection, please? I know, for I am in contact with the defense counsel for General Christiansen, that there was a court-martial proceeding on the part of the English instituted against him. I have misgivings about this document, since it is not confirmed,
and we cannot judge whether the interpreter who interpreted from German into Dutch was a suitable and' adequate interpreter; and also, since in this manner I do not have the opportunity, as defense counsel, to cross-examine General Christiansen. It seems to me that through the mere submission of this document the rights of the Defense have been greatly infringed upon.
M. DEBENEST: Mr. President, I have just been informed that General Christiansen is right now imprisoned at Arnhem by the Dutch authorities.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Mr. Debenest, the Tribunal will admit the document if you get a certificate from the court who tried General Christiansen. But the only certificate you have at present that this is a true copy is from a Colonel Van-some name that I can't pronounce. There is nothing to show, except his statement, that he is an official on behalf of the Dutch Government. We don't know who he is.
M. DEBENEST: Certainly, Mr. President, but we will get the original for the Tribunal later on.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you will submit an original later on.
M. DEBENEST: Van-is the accredited representative of the Dutch Government with the French Delegation.
DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, I have only a French translation in front of me which reads as follows:
"Christiansen is not here as a witness, but rather as a defendant, and he was interrogated as such, and he is not bound by oath to tell the truth. He can say whatever he pleases without being held responsible for what he says."
For that reason alone, I believe the document is to be refused.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinbauer, the reason why the Tribunal is prepared to admit the document, when it is certain that it has got
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the document, is that Article 21 provides that reports, including the acts and documents of the committees set up in the various Allied countries for the investigation of war crimes and the reports and findings of military or other tribunals of any of the United Nations, shall be taken judicial notice of. It is for that reason that the document is, in the opinion of the Tribunal, admissible when the authentic document is before it.
[Turning to M. Debenest.] Now, you undertake then to produce a properly certified copy of the document.
M. DEBENEST: Certainly, Mr. President.
SEYSS-INQUART: May I please comment on this document?
M. DEBENEST: Will you kindly wait until I read to you the passage which I wish to submit to you.
It is on Page 4 of the French text, the fourth paragraph before the end of the first statement, the second paragraph of the page:
"I think that I can recall that already upon that occasion Seyss-Inquart said that five hostages would be shot. I didn't know any one among these hostages. I did not select these five men, and I had nothing whatsoever to do with their execution. It was a case of a purely political nature in which I became involved in my capacity as commander." Now you may give us your attitude if you choose to do so.
SEYSS-INQUART: The picture which is given here by General Christiansen as a defendant, not as a witness, completely coincides
with the picture that I gave. In the beginning of this record General Christiansen says that Field Marshal Von Rundstedt and the OKW
gave him the order through his chief of staff to take the hostages, and he says further that through his legal department he had issued a proclamation that the hostages would answer with their lives if further sabotage acts should take place. He then says that they did take place, and he contacted the Commander, West or the
OKW and received the answer that the hostages were to be used. Then he goes on to relate that he advised me of this order, indicating that the original ruling with regard to the hostages still applied, and so I said that 5 of them were to be executed. That is what I have always maintained, and I also said that 25 were to have been killed and that I negotiated for the lives of the remaining 20.
The report, therefore, is fundamentally correct and agrees with what I have said.
M. DEBENEST: But in this document no mention is made of 25 hostages. We are only dealing with the fact here it was you who chose these 5 hostages.
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Take the following page of the statement of 5 March 1946. General Christiansen declares:
"I remember now that Lieutenant Colonel Kluter also took
part in this conference. There were thus seven participants
in all. I therefore transmitted the order to use hostages and
Seyss-Inquart said immediately that five men were to be
apprehended. You are asking why it was as simple as all that.
Obviously Seyss-Inquart had authority to do this."
It was therefore you, in fact, who designated and chose these hostages?
SEYSS-INQUART: The repetition of these words in no wise changes the fact that 25 hostages were demanded, as the witnesses will confirm to you tomorrow, and that I intervened so that only 5 were demanded, and that altogether the entire matter was in the hands of the Army and the Higher SS and Police Leader; the proclamations were issued in the names of both of them. As Reich Commissioner I assumed the right to reduce the number of hostages as much as possible. The final figure was determined by the Commander and the Higher SS and Police Leader.
THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, did you read the last paragraph in the affidavit, Page 4 at the bottom?
M. DEBENEST: That is right, Mr. President, I did not read it. I am going to read it.
"I will ask you to note that at this conference with Seyss-Inquart he expressly reserved the right to appoint hostages."
SEYSS-INQUART: I can say nothing more than what I have already said. The selection of hostages was probably made by the Higher SS and Police Leader according to directives which he had received from the Armed Forces commander, or, rather, from his superiors. I myself asked to be shown this list, for I, as Reich Commissioner, was interested in knowing who was to be selected, and I tried to exert influence to the effect, as I have already said, that the fathers of many children were crossed off this list.
Furthermore, I do not wish to be polemic in face of the subjective descriptions of General Christiansen. We got along very well together in our work. The Court will decide whether I am not telling the truth or whether he is mistaken in this case.
M. DEBENEST: That is exactly what I was thinking. You therefore do contend that this is the only case in which you intervened as far as the seizure and execution of hostages is concerned?
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe so, yes.
M. DEBENEST: Did you know about the execution of hostages following the assassination attempt made on Rauter?
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SEYSS-INQUART: I stated the extent of my information yesterday. I did not know the exact figure. It was known to me, however, that shootings were taking place, the shooting of those men who, on the basis of their demeanor and actions, were to be shot under the decree of the Fuehrer by the Security Police. The actual figure was made known to me later.
M. DEBENEST: Consequently, you did not intervene in this question of the shooting of hostages at all?
SEYSS-INQUART: No, I cannot say that, for I discussed at length with the deputy of the Higher SS and Police Leader what should be done in such a case-for after all it was a very grave matter-and whether he should carry out these executions; I said yesterday that I agreed. I declared yesterday that I could not contradict him in his decision actually to carry out the executions at this point.
M. DEBENEST: Who was this Police Leader?
SEYSS-INQUART: Dr. Schongarth.
M. DEBENEST: What do you think of Dr. Schongarth?
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe that Dr. Schongarth was not a man who was especially harsh and very eager to deal with this matter. He must certainly have found the matter unpleasant.
M. DEBENEST: But was he a man whom one could trust?
SEYSS-INQUART: I always had confidence in him.
M. DEBENEST: Very well. In that case, I am going to have a document shown to you, Document F-879, which I submit under Number RF-1528.
I wish to inform the Tribunal that once again this is a copy of proceedings which was received at Amsterdam by the War Crimes agency. It is signed by people who were questioned, and it also comes with an affidavit as in the preceding case. Here again, if the Tribunal wishes it, I shall obtain the original for the Tribunal later on.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, you will submit the original as before.
M. DEBENEST: Certainly, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Or else get it from somebody in the Government.
M. DEBENEST: Very well, Mr. President.
Defendant, will you kindly look at Dr. Schongarth's statement on Page 5 of the French document; it is the third statement, the fifth paragraph. Have you found it?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, I have.
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M. DEBENEST: This is what Dr. Schongarth says:
"After the investigation, I personally went to see Dr. SeyssInquart, the Reich Commissioner in Holland, with whom I discussed the matter. Seyss-Inquart then gave me the order to take increased measures of reprisal by executing 200 prisoners, who were condemned to death, at the place where the assassination attempt had been made.
"This execution was aimed at intimidating the population. It was announced by a public notice that a large number of persons would be executed because of this assassination attempt."
M. DEBENEST: Well?
SEYSS-INQUART: In any event, it is confirmed that we are concerned here with the shooting of Dutchmen who, as this man says, had been condemned to death for having participated in some sort of sabotage or other matter; they were, in line with the Fuehrer decree, to be shot anyhow. That is the first and most important point. The question is whether the figure of 200 was mentioned; and the question further is whether I demanded that number. I still maintain what I have already said in reply to the testimony of former collaborators; but I also maintain my own declaration to the effect that I never even would have had the power to give an order like that to Dr. Schongarth. He was not at all my subordinate in such things. I certainly did state that we must act with severity in this case. That is quite right. The figure of 200-I even believe it was 230-only came to my knowledge later. The public notice which he mentions here is signed by Dr. Schongarth.
M: DEBENEST: You did not say "severe measures"; you said "stricter measures of reprisal." It's not quite the same thing.
SEYSS-INQUART: I did not understand the question.
M. DEBENEST: I repeat: You did not say "severe measures," but "stricter measures of reprisal."
SEYSS-INQUART: The severe measures which were to be taken would, of course, serve to intimidate. But we were not concerned with reprisals; that is, the shooting of people whom otherwise one would have had no reason to shoot.
M. DEBENEST: But it seems to me that this document is extremely clear. It deals with "measures of reprisal" following the assassination attempt against Rauter.
SEYSS-INQUART: Which were to be carried through in such a way that Dutchmen were executed who would have been executed
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in any event; for he confirms here that the people had been condemned to death.
M. DEBENEST: Will you kindly repeat the explanation. I did not get the translation.
SEYSS-INQUART: Here we were concerned with the shooting of men who would have been shot in any event, for it says specifically here that they had already been sentenced to death, as it says in the next paragraph.
THE PRESIDENT: I already wrote it down 5 minutes ago. You have said it already. He has said it already. The document speaks for itself, M. Debenest.
M. DEBENEST: Very well, Mr. President.
You stated yesterday as well that no hostage had been shot at the hostage camp of Michelsgestel
SEYSS-INQUART: That is unknown to me.
M. DEBENEST: Nevertheless, you stated that yesterday. Or are you still claiming that none had been shot at that time?
THE PRESIDENT: Will the defendant answer, please? Don't just nod your head. It does not come through the sound system.
SEYSS-INQUART: I wanted to say only that I know of no case. Perhaps on some occasion such a case did occur, but I do not remember.
M. DEBENEST: Nevertheless, you are not denying that some may have been shot?
SEYSS-INQUART: There might have been reasons which necessitated such a shooting. But I do not recall a single case.
M. DEBENEST: The hostages who were executed in this manner, were they all people who had been sentenced to death?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not know because I do not know whether anyone was shot at all.
M. DEBENEST: In the case of the execution of hostages at Rotterdam, was not one of the hostages arrested the day before the execution, and shot the very next day?
SEYSS-INQUART: I am not informed on that point. I can see from this document that we are talking about hostages from Michelsgestel. I do not recall that hostages were taken from this camp. But in the circumstances it may have been possible, for this was an actual hostage case.
M. DEBENEST: No. I am not asking you whether hostages were taken from the camp of Michelsgestel. I am asking you, in the case of the execution of the hostages of Rotterdam, whether one was not arrested on the eve of the execution and shot the next day?
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SEYSS-INQUART: I do not know.
M. DEBENEST: I will give you the name. Maybe that will help you remember the case: Baron Schimmelpennink.
SEYSS-INQUART: As far as I recall Baron Schimmelpennink came from Zeeland. But I do not know any more than that.
M. DEBENEST: You do not know under what conditions he was arrested, and why?
SEYSS-INQUART: No; I know only that a Baron Schimmelpennink was among those five hostages who were shot.
M. DEBENEST: You therefore do admit that numerous executions followed the setting up of the summary justice courts in the Netherlands by you?
SEYSS-INQUART: No. That is certainly not the case. For these shootings, from the middle of 1944 onward, cannot be traced to my directives and my summary justice courts, but rather to a direct decree of the Fuehrer.
M. DEBENEST: You therefore claim that there was not a single case of execution as a result of your order of 1 May 1943?
SEYSS-INQUART: The executions did not come about on the basis of summary courts which I had provided for in this decree against violations of this decree. It is possible that the Higher SS and Police Leader used this decree as the basis for his decisions.
M. DEBENEST: But you are still contending that you had no power over this Police Leader?
SEYSS-INQUART: I did not have the power to command him, but we certainly worked together in a close understanding.
M. DEBENEST: He therefore consulted you about all reprisal measures?
SEYSS-INQUART: No. How do you mean?
M. DEBENEST: Were not the reprisal measures which were taken or which were announced by him applied with your agreement?
SEYSS-INQUART: The reprisal measures and his announcements were made in his domain. In many cases I myself did not learn of these announcements at all, or not until afterward. There was no directive which I gave for these measures. I again and again refer to the fact that this resulted from the Fuehrer decree given by Himmler to the Police.
M. DEBENEST: Very well. Were you in favor of these measures of reprisal?
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SEYSS-INQUART: I fully approved of action being taken against members of the resistance movement who committed sabotage and other acts. There were no other means for taking steps except arrest by the Police, passing of judgment on the part of the Higher SS and Police Leader, and shooting on the part of the Police. I could not oppose these measures. You may interpret that as agreement, if you want to. I would have preferred it if courts had given the judgment.
M. DEBENEST: Yes, certainly.
I am going to have you shown Document F-860, which is a letter which I am submitting under Number RF-1529. This is a letter written by you, dated 30 November 1942 and addressed to Dr. Lammers. I will pass over the first part.
I am sorry. I forgot to tell the Tribunal that the originals are not here; they are just photostat copies. But I have in my possession an affidavit which I shall submit to the Tribunal.
THE PRESIDENT: It is all right, M. Debenest. You need not bother to give us an affidavit. We have the photostat copy.
M. DEBENEST: I will pass over the first two pages of the French copy, and will pass on to the second paragraph.
"The drafting of the special police law (Polizeistandrecht) was effected in accordance with the views expressed in a letter of the Reichsfuehrer SS. I believe that I have conformed with all the wishes which are contained in it, only I would not like to appoint the Higher SS and Police Leader as court administrator, for, from the point of view of the Dutch, this would mean a curtailment of the authority of the Reich Commissioner, particularly in view of the fact that the Reich Commissioner is designated in the Fuehrer decree as the guardian of the interests of the Reich. However, in the decree I have assigned to the Higher SS and Police Leader all the powers which a court administrator needs. I believe that this special police law may be a useful instrument and to a certain extent an example for all further regulations."
You did, therefore) have authority over the Police Leader?
SEYSS-INQUART: I had the authority over the special police court, but not over the Higher SS and Police Leader. I remained the top court administrator, even for the police court in an emergency state. All the same I could not give executive orders to the Police. Anyway, this police law existed in the Netherlands for
two weeks at the most.
M. DEBENEST: It . is nevertheless certain that we here find special tribunals and that you entrusted them to the Police Leader.
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SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, that is correct, but only within the scope of police courts in an emergency state, and what the police courts did at that time I assume responsibility for. This was on occasion of the general strike in May 1943.
M. DEBENEST: Well, we quite agree then. You did entrust these emergency courts to the Police.
Very well, I will now have you shown Document 3430-PS. This document is a collection of all the speeches which you made during the occupation of the Netherlands. Will you please take...
THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, is that the only reference you are making to this Document Number 860?
M. DEBENEST: Yes, Mr. President, I am only concerned with the second part. The first part concerns the Police.
THE PRESIDENT: Don't you think it is imposing a very heavy burden on the Translation Department? There are 18 pages of it.
M. DEBENEST: Mr. President, I quite agree with you. I intended to use this document for the police organization, which is in the first part. But I did not think it was necessary to do so right now because I wished to save time.
THE PRESIDENT: I only mean this: If you are only going to use a small part of the document it does not seem necessary to make the Translation Department, who have a very great deal of work to do, translate 18 pages of it.
Here's another one-F-803, which has got many more than 18 pages in it, and of which very little use has been made. But go on.
M. DEBENEST: I know, Mr. President. I did not use more of it because the Tribunal considered that it dealt with details which it did not consider important. That is the only reason.
THE PRESIDENT: You have passages on each of these 18 pages? I am very much surprised.
M. DEBENEST: Certainly not, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Go on, anyway.
M. DEBENEST: Very well, we will now pass to another subject.
When you arrived in Holland, didn't that country possess very considerable stocks of foodstuffs and of raw materials?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, a great many supplies were on hand. An extraordinary amount.
M. DEBENEST: Were not important requisitions made during the first years of the occupation?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, in accordance with a decree within the scope of the Four Year Plan all supplies were requisitioned and a
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6 months' reserve supply was set up in the Netherlands with the
obligation on the part of the Reich to supply all further needs as required.
M. DEBENEST: You therefore claim that these stocks were to be reserved for the Dutch population?
M. DEBENEST: Certainly? Very well. Will you take the document which I have shown to you this morning, 997-PS, Pages 9 and 10.
SEYSS-INQUART: Do I have the document before me?
M. DEBENEST: Page 12 of the French text and Page 11 of the German. You write:
"The stocks of raw materials have been collected and with the agreement of the Field Marshal have been distributed in such a manner that a quota sufficient to keep Dutch economy running for 6 months will be left behind. Raw material quotas and food rationing, et cetera, will be assigned the same
way as in the Reich. Considerable stocks of raw materials have been guaranteed for the Reich, such as, for example, 70,000 tons of industrial fats which represents about one-half of the amount which the Reich still needs."
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe that coincides with the description I have just given you.
M. DEBENEST: But I thought you said that the stocks were at the disposal of the Dutch people and not for the Reich?
SEYSS-INQUART: No, that is an error in transmission. I said that the supplies were confiscated and enough left there for only 6 months and that future needs would be supplied by the Reich in the same proportion as the Reich was supplied. But primarily these stocks were confiscated for the Reich.
M. DEBENEST: Very well, the translation did not come through. You received numerous complaints about these requests, didn't you?
M. DEBENEST: And what measures did you take?
SEYSS-INQUART: The attention of the gentlemen who were with me, that is, Secretary General Hirschfeld and the other secretaries, was called to the fact this was a strict directive in the framework of the Four Year Plan. In some cases I may have transmitted the complaints to the Delegate for the Four Year Plan, if the stocks were taken away in what seemed to me excessive quantities.
M. DEBENEST: In addition to these requests, were there not mass purchases made by the Reich?
11 June 46
THE PRESIDENT: Shall we adjourn now? Will you be much longer, M. Debenest?
M. DEBENEST: Mr. President, everything will depend upon the length of the answers which the defendant will make, but I think that in half an hour or three-quarters of an hour at the most I shall have finished.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well, then we will adjourn.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 12 June 1946 at 1000 hours.]