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[The witness Meyer-Wendeborn resumed the stand.]
DR. SERVATIUS: Witness, did you consider the Blockleiter and the Zellenleiter as Hoheitsträger?
DR.SERVATIUS: Do you not know that in the Organization Book of the Party, the Blockleiter and the Zellenleiter are defined as Hoheitsträger?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: I read that, but I was never able to follow it because the Organization Book started from assumptions which were not given.
DR. SERVATIUS: What do you understand by the term Hoheitsträger?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: The Hoheitsträger is the leading representative of the Movement in his district. He is entitled to give orders to his subordinate Political Leaders and Party members. Moreover, his official and private bearing must at all times be such that non-Party members and State officials will respect him and will listen to him without any legal obligation to do so.,
DR. SERVATIUS: You spoke of the rights which the Political
Leaders have. Did the Blockleiter and Zellenleiter also have these rights?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: No, they did not have them and did not want them.
DR. SERVATIUS: Had the Blockleiter and Zellenleiter any authority to call on the SA, the SS, or the Police?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: No, they were powerless to do so.
DR. SERVATIUS: Then it is true that the Blockleiter and the Zellenleiter were only assistants to the Ortsgruppenleiter and had no powers of their own?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: The Blockleiter and the Zellenleiter -were the noncommissioned officer corps of the Ortsgruppenleiter.
DR. SERVATIUS: I have no more questions to put to this witness.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL J. M.G. GRIFFITH-JONES (Junior Counsel for the United Kingdom): I have certain new documents, two or three pages, in connection with other matters. If the Tribunal wishes it I could present these documents perhaps quickly in the way the Tribunal indicated to Sir David or I could put it in the form of cross-examination. Whatever the Tribunal thinks most convenient.
THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Griffith-Jones, if it does not interfere with your case or cross-examination, perhaps it would be better to put the documents in, simply indicating the page or subject.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: That will be done.
THE PRESIDENT: If there is anything particular with this witness you may have ...
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: The first matter with which I was intending to deal is the action taken by the Leadership Corps in connection with elections, and I would refer the Tribunal to Document D-34 which will become Exhibit GB-540. I understand the Tribunal has copies of that document. That is a letter from the NSDAP District Memel, dated 26 May 1936 and addressed to Kreisleiter and Organisationsleiter. It is from the NSDAP, Memel District, and translated from the German. It refers to the Reichstag elections of 29 March 1936 and states that in pursuance of an inquiry from the Reich Minister of the Interior, Party member Dr. Frick, a report is to be made on any civil servants who did not record their votes on 29 March 1936:
"As far as such cases are known within your Ortsgruppe or your Stuetzpunkt, you will report them to me by name, at the latest by 3 June of this year..."
The expression "Stuetzpunkt section"-this is a smaller organization than an Ortsgruppe and was eventually abolished but in 1936 still existed.
"...you will report them to me by name at the latest by 3 June of this year. The information will have to be correct under all circumstances."
Then the last paragraph, My Lord.
"This circular has to be destroyed immediately after the matter is settled."
My Lord, the next document is Document D-897, which becomes Exhibit GB-541, and that is a document in connection with the plebiscite of 1938. The first point I make on that is that it shows that the activity referred to in the letter I have just mentioned was not an isolated case. My Lord, the second point upon this document is that it shows the close co-operation between the Security Police and the Political Leaders.
On Page 1 of that document appears a special order, dated 4 April 1938, from the Security Service of the Reichsfuehrer SS at Erfurt, which is in Thuringia, the Gau of which Sauckel was Gauleiter. It is "top secret, strictly confidential," addressed to all heads of sections and to Stuetzpunktleiter:
"Stuetzpunktleiter are to report, not later than 1800 hours on 7 April 1938, all persons in their district about whom it is safe to assume (with 100 percent certainty) that they will vote "no" at the impending plebiscite. (Do not forget the International Jehovah's Witnesses.)
"Heads of sections are to support the Stuetzpunktleiter locally as much as possible in this matter.
"This matter is also to be carried out in closest collaboration with the Ortsgruppenleiter of the Party. The Ortsgruppenleiter will be instructed by the Aussenstellenleiter (head of the branch office) personally after 1800 hours on 5 April 1938."
I think I can omit the next paragraph and then I go on:
"The tremendous responsibility which the Stuetzpunktleiter have, in particular with regard to this report, is stressed once more. The Stuetzpunktleiter must have no doubts as to the possible consequences for the persons listed in their report. Special attention should be paid as to whether the persons who impart such information to the Stuetzpunktleiter and from whom the Stuetzpunktleiter make their inquiries are not motivated by personal reasons; even Political Leaders are not excepted from this.
"The confidential nature of this order is again emphasized.
"The order is to be minutely memorized and thereafter destroyed immediately. Every Stuetzpunktleiter is personally responsible to me for the complete destruction of this order."
The reasons for the necessity for accuracy appear from the following documents. On Page 2 there are set out certain sections of the population about whom inquiries have got to be made and who have to be particularly watched. It will be seen in the first paragraph:
"Increased attention is to be devoted to participation in and the results of the plebiscite on 10 April 1938, particularly in small towns and villages. It must, above all, be ascertained whether the opponents are to be found in Marxist and other circles of opposing ideologies."
Then under the heading "Catholicism," I draw the attention of the Tribunal to Number 2:
"Was any attitude expressed during church services and similar meetings?"
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[A recess was taken.]
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will, if it is convenient to the officers of the Court, not have any further recess before 1 o'clock.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: My Lord, I had reached Paragraph Number 2 under "Catholicism" on the second page of Document D-897: "Was any attitude expressed during church services and similar meetings?" Perhaps I might be allowed to ask one question of the witness upon that.
Witness, when the Ortsgruppenleiter is charged with making the report on these matters, would it be the Block- and Zellenleiter that he would ask for information as to what was expressed in the various church services throughout his Ortsgruppe?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Would you tell the Tribunal who it would be, if it would not be the Zellenleiter?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: The Ortsgruppenleiter himself would have asked for this confidential information, if it had been inquired for at all.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Do you think the Ortsgruppenleiter would be able to attend every church service in this Ortsgruppe himself? Do you think that is physically possible for any Ortsgruppenleiter?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: No, they would not have been able to do that, but for such information they would always have had special men from whom they would have obtained advice and information.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Those special men who provided them with advice and information are the Zellen- and Blockleiter, are they not?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: No, they are not.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well. Well, we will leave that. The next heading is "Protestantism." I again draw attention to Paragraph 2 under that heading:
"Was any attitude expressed about the Anschluss or the plebiscite during services?"
And the next paragraph:
"What comment did the Church press make?"
And again Number 5:
"Were the bells of all religious communities rung on the evening of 9 April 1938 following the Fuehrer's speech in Vienna?"
Witness, would it be the Block- and Zellenleiter who would report whether the church bells were rung on that evening in their districts?
MEYER-WENDEB0RN: They would have been able to say that, for if they had been rung, the Block- and Zellenleiter would have heard them too.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I turn to the next page of the document, the next to the ultimate paragraph:
"It is suggested that the election officials be contacted in a suitable manner where necessary. The exertion of any kind of pressure, however, must be desisted from."
I turn to the next page, Page 3 of the English translation, which is a report from the branch office of the Security Service of Weissensee, dated 25 April, and we begin to see how the instructions regarding the election were carried out:
"Prior to the election, Party member Paul Fritsche from Weissensee, Thuringia, completed a register of all persons suspected of voting 'no.' On the election day every person included on this list received from a specially selected official a voting paper which was marked with a number imprinted by means of a ribbonless typewriter."
Then it describes how the procedure worked.
The next page, I quote from the middle of the large paragraph:
"The election official ... did not throw the envelope into the voting I box immediately, but tried to push it under the cardboard which is placed on the voting box to cover the slit, so as to be able to open the envelope later at an opportune moment."
The next document, the next page, another report from another branch of the Security Service:
"To all Ortsgruppenleiter of the NSDAP of the Kreis of Erfurt-Weissensee:
"The below-mentioned persons on their appearance in your Ortsgruppen area for the purpose of carrying out their voting duty, are to be specially watched and the Kreisleitung of Erfurt (SD office) is to be notified immediately."
There are many names; and lastly:
"By order of the Kreisleiter, this matter is to be strictly confidential."
On the next page there is another report about a Jehovah's Witness, Robert Siering, and his wife, who appeared in a voting center on Sunday morning and deposited their votes after both had been advised of their duty to vote by the Police in Griefstedt and had been threatened with the removal of their child in case of nonparticipation.
My Lord, the next document, still on the same subject, is D-902, which will become Exhibit GB-542. On the first page of that exhibit we have a report sent to the Erfurt branch office of the Security Service, marked confidential. It is not clear by whom it is signed. It is dated 7 April 1938, and reads as follows:
"After thorough and most careful examination in the area of the Ortsgruppe of Melchendorf and in the closest co-operation with the Ortsgruppenleiter, we have come to the following conclusion:
"The following persons will in 9.11 probability vote 'no' at the forthcoming plebiscite."
Then, after setting out the names, it gives what they call "explanations" in the case of each:
"Explanation: 1) Wilhelm Messing, taken into protective custody in 1933 because of illegal activity for the Communist Party..."-and so on-"2) Walter Messing, also taken into protective custody in 1933 for slandering the SA."
I do not think I need bother with anything further on that page. I draw the attention of the Tribunal to the last three paragraphs on the next page:
"Guenther Hartung, 113 Johannesstrasse, entrance Wallstrasse, must be reported as being an enemy of the State and opposed to the plebiscite.
"Hartung must be described as morally totally degenerate and it is necessary to lock him up in spite of his advanced age (70 years).
"Among other things, he referred to the German troops on their entry into Austria as loafers. Sufficient witnesses testifying against Hartung are available."
My Lord, on the next page, another report in connection with the plebiscite, I draw the attention of the Tribunal to the penultimate paragraph:
"The wife of the Jew Bielschowski ... who was dragged along just before closing time of the plebiscite, voted 'no,' as can be proved."
Now, turn to some pages ahead, Page 7 of the English translation, which describes how the votes were screened in another area by a ribbonless typewriter, and then again on Page 9 of the translation, another report:
"The laborer Otto Wiegand ... was requested four times to record his vote on the day of the election and finally voted only under duress."
And the next report on the same page:
"The married woman Frieda Schreiner ... did not vote in spite of being repeatedly invited to do so. The above is a fanatic member of the former association of International Jehovah's Witnesses.
"The husband, who holds the same opinions and who was recently involved in criminal proceedings because of them, recorded his vote. To be sure, this was probably exclusively for fear of renewed arrest."
My Lord, the other portion of that document that I referred to is on Page 11, where there is shown an extract from the local newspaper recording the united German vote, which has been obtained by the Security Service with co-operation of the Leadership Corps in the way in which we have seen.
My Lord, again to emphasize that these were not isolated cases, I would refer the Tribunal to a document which has already been put in, and it will be found on Page 91 of the small document book that Sir David handed to the Tribunal yesterday, Page 91 of that book, Pages 118 and 119 of the German. It is Document R-142, Exhibit USA-481. That, it will be seen, is a report again from the Security Service, but this time in Koblenz. I read the second paragraph:
"The high percentage of 'no' votes and invalid votes in nearly all cases is due to the religious attitude of the population, whether they be Catholics or Protestants ... The district manager"-My Lord, that in the original is the "Kreisgeschäftsfuehrer," who is one of the staff officers of the Kreisleiter-"the Kreisgeschäftsfuehrer of the Kreis Kochem gave the assurance that it was mostly women who voted 'no' or whose votes were invalid. As became known here, a supervisory control was ordered at several of the..."
THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Griffith-Jones, this is already in evidence, is it not?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Yes, this is in evidence.
THE PRESIDENT: I do not think you need go into it.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I am much obliged.
I only drew the attention of the Tribunal to it. One further document which is also in evidence will be found at Page 55 of that same document book, at Page 55 and then 54, the documents being 849-PS, which is Exhibit USA-354, and 848-PS, Exhibit USA-353. The two documents together describe how the Party...
THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Griffith-Jones, I do not think you ought to comment upon documents which are already in evidence unless they are documents upon which the witness can throw light.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: It is a little difficult to make the point which I would have made in cross-examining the witness on these documents if I only confine myself to the new ones without drawing the attention of the Tribunal to other documents which relate to the same matter.
THE PRESIDENT: If they are not new documents and you want to cross-examine the witness about them, you can put them to the witness.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well, Sir. I will leave that particular subject now.
The other subject on which I had intended to cross-examine this witness is euthanasia, or merc
y killing, and the part the Political Leaders played in those matters. My Lord, this is a new document, D-906, which becomes Exhibit GB-543.
I would refer first of all to the second of the three documents which are printed on the first page of that exhibit; Number 2, Martin Bormann, 24 September 1940, a letter from the National Socialist German Workers' Party, the Fuehrer's Deputy, to the Gauleitung of Franconia, for the attention of Kreisleiter Zimmermann:
"Your letter of 13 September 1940 was given to me by Party member Hoffmahn. The commission which was working at Neuendettelsau is under the control of Reichsleiter Bouhler.
"The text of the notifications to relatives is being variously worded, as I was once more assured yesterday; naturally, however, it can happen sometimes that two families living close to each other receive letters with exactly the same text.
"It is natural that the representatives of Christian ideology denounce the commission's measures; it must be equally taken for granted that all Party offices support, as far as necessary, the work of the commission."
Then I go back to Number 1 on that page; Gaustabsamtsleiter for Franconia, Sellmer-that was another staff officer of the Gau staffhandwritten note from 1 October 1940:
"Justice. Visit from Party member Blankenburg, Berlin. Action begins in the near future. So far hardly any failures have occurred. 30,000 finished. Further 100,000 to 120,000 are waiting. The circle of those who are initiated to be kept very small. If necessary the Kreisleiter is to be notified in, good time."
Then it goes on:
"The Fiffirer gave the order; the law is ready. At present only clear cases, that is 100 percent ones, are being settled. Later an extension will take place. From now on, notification will be given in a... "-it is not clear here from the print. And then at the end of the document-"Kreisleiter Sellmer... is to be informed."
I go to Number 3 which, is a situation report by the Kreisleitung of Erlangen dated 26 November 1940, dealing with the elimination of mental patients:
"On orders from the Ministry of thp Interior, signed Schulz or Schultze, a commission consisting, among others, of a north German doctor and a number of students appeared some time ago in the local sanatorium and nursing home."
And then it describes how he examined the patients who were to be transferred to another institution on orders from the Reich Defense Commissioner and that:
". . . a Berlin transport company was to carry out the transfer and the head of the institution was to follow the directives of this company, which was in possession of the list of names."
In this way three transports with a total number of 370 patients were in the meantime transferred to Sonnenstein near Pirna and to the Linz district. It goes on:
"A further transport - is to leave in January of next year. The
head of the institution ...
And then it goes on for a few lines, and starts again:
"Strangely enough various relatives received notification after the transportation that the patients had died. In some cases pneumonia and in others an infectious disease were given as the cause of death.
"At the same time the relatives were further informed that it had been necessary to cremate the body and that, if they were interested, they could have the clothing of the deceased sent to them. The registry office of Erlangen was also informed by the institution of the various cases of death, and again either pneumonia or an infectious disease was given as the cause-illnesses which had no connection with the previous medical history so that it is to be assumed that false indications were given. The population is terribly disturbed about the transfer of patients, because they connect it with the cases of death which are becoming known in rapid succession. They speak in part openly, in part secretly, of an elimination of patients for which there is no kind of legal justification. Just now,, in war times, such unrest among the population has a doubly unfavorable effect. Moreover, the events described above give the Church and religious circles cause to revive their attitude against National Socialism."
THE PRESIDENT: Under which part of Article 6 of the Charter does this come?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: It would come under Crimes against Humanity with respect to ...
THE PRESIDENT: Are they connected with war?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: In some respect, yes, because the purpose of this extermination of old people was to rid the Reich of unproductive elements. My Lord, I cannot for the moment give you the exact reference where that appears, but it does appear upon one of the documents. That is a handwritten addition to that document in the handwriting of the-I beg your pardon, it is an original extract of the situation report from the Kreisleitung of Erlangen.
The next document, My Lord, need not be dealt with at length. The point is that a Kreisleiter is again involved and that it was general knowledge that there were mistakes in the notification of deaths, for instance, one family receiving two urns for one patient.
Number 5 on the next page is much the same. I draw the Tribunal's attention to the middle of the large paragraph, toward the end: "The doctor also informed me that it was well known that the commission consisted of one SS doctor and several subordinate doctors."
My Lord, the next document is on Page 10, Number 12, where we have a protest, or rather, an inquiry about the death of a relative. It is from a Mrs. Marie Kehr and I mention that because it is also referring to another Document 1969-PS. No, it is a new document. It will become Exhibit GB-544, Document 1969-PS. I would ask you to look at the second page of that document where you have a letter from the Reich Minister of the Interior to the Gaustabsamtsleiter in Nuremberg. He forwards Mrs.Kehr's letter and the importance of that document is at the bottom, in ink: "Ortsgruppenleiter, Party member Popp, is of the opinion that one
can inform Mrs. Kehr. She is calm and sensible." The document also bears the stamp of the Kreisleiter who has been informed.
I My Lord, if I might return quite briefly to the document we were looking at, D-906, Page 6 of that document. The Ortsgruppenleiter in Absberg is writing about incidents which occurred on the occasion of the latest removal of mentally defective persons from an institution in that town, a sanatorium in that town. He writes to the Kreisleiter and refers to a report of an incident which took place and I can only emphasize that there was public knowledge of what was happening.
And then again on Page 8, another Kreisleiter, this time in Weissenburg, Bavaria, writes about the same disturbances and you see that that goes to the Gau staff office in Nuremberg.
The next document, Number 11, is from a Kreisleiter in Ansbach and he is writing about the removal of patients from yet another sanatorium in another town; and on the top of the following page the Ortsgruppenleiter is involved:
"Ortsgruppenleiter Reuschel is furthermore of the opinion that he should speak about the removal of the inmates, if possible at the next meeting of Party members, in order to give the facts and above all to dispel the rumors that have arisen that the inmates would very soon be put out of the way, done away with, or poisoned."
Then at the bottom you see another handwritten note: The Organisationsleiter, that is, the Political Leader on the staff of the Hoheitsträger, is to be informed.
My Lord, that concludes the evidence that I was going to ask this witness about. There is one general matter which perhaps the Tribunal will allow me to ask a few questions about.
[Turning to the witness.] Well, perhaps first of all I might ask you this on that evidence, Witness. In view of the documents that you have seen, did you yourself ever have any knowledge of this so-called mercy killing that was going on?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: Once I heard a rumor that somewhere in southern Germany mental patients were being done away with. Thereupon, as was my duty, I immediately inquired of my Gauleiter and after a short time I received the information that this was not true and that in the future I was not to make such inquiries, which were senseless as I ought to be able to see.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Why did you have to make such inquiries?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: Because I had heard such rumors from the population.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Did you know that colleagues of yours in the Corps of Political Leaders were co-operating in that system of murder?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: No, I never knew or suspected that.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Now let me ask you about one other matter. You told the Tribunal yesterday that there was no "Corps of Political Leaders," is that right?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: That is not correct, is it? They were recognized officially as "the Corps of Political Leaders," were they not?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: The "Corps of Political Leaders" was spoken of with the intention of teaching people better manners on their appearance in public, and for that reason officers and students' corps were pointed out as examples. There was no official "Corps of Political Leaders" and there could not be any such corps because the men changed constantly and had to come from all parts of the population.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: They were called a "Corps of Political Leaders" because on becoming a political leader you became a member of that corps, isn't that the position?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: Since there was no real "Corps of Political Leaders," when one was appointed one could not become a member of it.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: And the Political Leaders are referred to as a "Corps of Political Leaders" in the official Organization Book of the NSDAP, are they not?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: I am convinced that you can refer to them as such. You have the book. Upon the oath that I have taken I again want to say that I have not had time until now to read this book carefully because my actual tasks were more important than the lectures of this wishful dream-for I cannot call it by any other name.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I have no further questions.
DR. SERVATIUS: [Turning to the witness.] I have a question on Document D-897, the first one that was submitted, a letter from the Reich Security Service, subsidiary branch Erfurt, signed by an officer of the branch office. It is addressed to all consultants and Stuetzpunktleiter (base or operational point leaders). The prosecutor said that the Stuetzpunkt, which is here referred to, is a Party agency. Is this opinion correct if you read that the letter is addressed to all consultants and Stuetzpunktleiter and is a letter of the SS?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: I noticed that immediately, too, and I would have referred to it myself. It can only have been a Stuetzpunktleiter of the SD, for at that time within the political leadership there were no more Stuetzpunkte but only Ortsgruppen. Moreover, further down in this letter., in the second place, the Ortsgruppenleiter is specially mentioned.
DR. SERVATIUS: Yes. It says there, "This matter is also to be carried out in close co-operation with the Ortsgruppenleiter of the Party." Is this letter addressed to a subordinate Party agency from a subordinate SS agency?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: At the moment I do not have the letter here, but I recall that it was addressed to the subordinate offices of the branch agency and states that they should contact the Ortsgruppenleiter. It strikes me, at any rate, that the Ortsgruppenleiter was to be informed only 1 day before, while those who received the letter were informed 2 days beforehand and given the necessary information. The confidence in the Party cannot have been very great then.
DR. SERVATIUS: Was the Ortsgruppenleiter here informed through the customary channels of the Party or were the higher Party agencies skipped?
MEYER-WENDEBORN: In this case the information was not passed on in the official way; for it should have been done through the higher Party agency.
DR. SERVATIUS: Therefore I can draw the conclusion then that it is possible that the higher Party agencies knew nothing of this action of the lower SS agencies?
DR. SERVATIUS: I have no more questions to put to the witness.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire. Will you call your next witness, Dr. Servatius?
DR. SERVATIUS: With the permission of the Court, I call the next witness, Wegscheider, an Ortsgruppenleiter.
[The witness Wegscheider took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?
HANS VVEGSCHEIDER (Witness): Hans Wegscheider.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the pure truth-and will withhold and add nothing.
[The witness repeated the oath.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.
DR. SERVATIUS: Witness, when were you born?
WEGSCHEIDER: On 30 October 1885.
DR. SERVATTUS: You were Ortsgruppenleiter out in the country for 12, years, from 1933 to 1945, in Hirschdorf, near St. Lorenz?
DR.SERVATIUS: That is in the Kreis Kempten-Allgäu?
WEGSCHEIDER: No, that is in the Kreis Kempten-Land.
DR. SERVATIUS: And there you were also mayor from 1933 on? WEGSCHEIDER: Yes.
DR. SERVATIUS: You were a blacksmith and veterinary at the same time?
DR.SERVATIUS: And, as such, you moved about a great deal in Allädu?
DR.SERVATIUS: Did you then have insight into conditions in the other Ortsgruppen in Allädu?
WEGSCHEIDER: Yes, I knew the 36 Ortsgruppen in the Kreis Kempten-Land fairly well.
DR. SERVATIUS: How many people were there?
WEGSCHEIDER: There were about 40,000 inhabitants.
DR. SERVATIUS: When did you enter the Party?
WEGSCHEIDER: On 28 March 1933.
DR. SERVATIUS: How did you become an Ortsgruppenleiter?
WEGSCHEIDER: On the occasion of the assembly at which the Ortsgruppen were founded on 28 March 1933, I was appointed Ortsgruppenleiter.
DR.SERVATIUS: Did you take an oath?
WEGSCHEIDER: Yes, as Ortsgruppenleiter I took an oath once.
DR.SERVATIUS: You said before the Commission that in 11 years you took the oath 12 times. Is that a mistake?
WEGSCHEIDER: That is a mistake.
DR. SERVATIUS: How did you become the local mayor?
WEGSCHEIDER: In April 1933 the new community council was set up. At about the end of this month the community council elected a mayor, and I had not only the votes of the NSDAP, but also four votes of the Social Democrat Party and one vote * of the Bavarian People's Party, and thus I was elected mayor.
DR. SERVATIUS: As Ortsgruppenleiter, did you receive a salary?
DR.SERVATIUS: And how about the Ortsgruppenleiter who were not mayors?
WEGSCHEIDER: They did not receive any salary either.
DR. SERVATIUS: For what reason was the office of Ortsgruppenleiter and mayor united in the hands of one man?
WEGSCHEIDER: In the Kreis Kempten-Land there were only country communities, peasant communities, and probably there was no suitable person available. Thus in 10 communities of our Kreis, the mayor and Ortsgruppenleiter were the same person, and in the last analysis it was more expedient.
DR.SERVATIUS: How was your Ortsgruppenleitung made up?
WEGSCHEIDER: First came the Ortsgruppenleiter, then the propaganda and organization, then the treasurer, a press office leader, and later an auxiliary office leader, then two Zellenleiter and about eight Blockleiter.
DR. SERVATIUS: What was the activity of the Block- and Zellenleiter?
WEGSCHEIDER: The activity of our Zellenleiter in the small country communities proved to be futile so that in most of the Ortsgruppen they were abolished. But the activity of the Blockleiter can be considered purely technical in that they did only auxiliary work.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did you consider the Block- and Zellenleiter as Political Leaders and Hoheitstrdger?
WEGSCHEIDER: No, s
ince the work of the Blockleiter in the small country communities was meaningles;3, politically, they could in no wise be called Hoheitsträger.
DR. SERVATIUS: Why did you enter the Party and when did you take over your office as Ortsgruppenleiter?
WEGSCHEIDER: In 1929 I believe. In the following years of 1930, '31, and '32, as I was a blacksmith by profession and as I had very close contact with the peasants, I saw with my own eyes how German agriculture declined year by year. In our district of Allädu the majority of us had joined the Bavarian Peasant League; a few, the minority, were with the Bavarian People's Party, and the few workers who were in the community joined the Social Democrat Party, while a very small number were Communists.
DR. SERVATIUS: We would like to hear your personal reasons for entering.
WEGSCHEIDER: I have already emphasized how I personally suffered in my own district through the decline.
DR. SERVATIUS: Then it was on account of social reasons?
WEGSCHEIDER: Purely social reasons.
DR. SERVATIUS: What was the attitude of the other Political Leaders in Allädu? Did they have other reasons for joining, perhaps the fight against the Jews or the acquisition of Lebensraum?
WEGSCHEIDER: The misery was equally great in all agricultural regions and so the attitude might well have been the same.
DR. SERVATIUS: What was the attitude of the Kreisleiter and the Gauleiter?
WEGSCHEIDER: The Gauleiter and Kreisleiter were both patriots and probably they considered -their activity and their work in the Party as beneficial to the welfare of our people and our country.
DR. SERVATIUS: Witness, in the Party program other aims are set forth outside of the purely social ones, such as the solution of the Jewish problem. What was the attitude of the Political Leaders toward that question?
WEGSCHEIDER: Since there were no Jewish businesses in our district and therefore no Jewish people lived there,, this question was not a burning one for us and hardly came into consideration.
DR. SERVATIUS: Were there no Jewish cattle dealers?
WEGSCHEIDER: No, not in the country. Only in the town of Kempten there was a wholesale firm of cattle dealers, Loew Brothers, and our peasants sold and exchanged cattle there.
DR. SERVATIUS: Were not steps taken against this and voices of protest raised?
WEGSCHEIDER: No, for a long time after the assumption of power our farmers traded with this wholesale farm of cattle dealers.
DR. SERVATIUS: The Party program also contained a demand for settlement space. Could this be done only through conquest and did you receive directives which indicated a preparation for war?
WEGSCHEIDER: I did not receive any directives to that effect and we in the country saw the solution of this settlement and living space problem in the return of our colonies and we were of the firm conviction that this could be achieved by peaceful means.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did not the Political Leaders also see that a large rearmament program was in progress?
WEGSCHEIDER: We in the country saw but little of the rearmament. Only at a Reichsparteitag-I do not recall the exact year-did we see that there were somewhat more airplanes and more tanks. We became convinced that a country and a people like Germany would have to protect her borders for the sake of her own internal reconstruction and we considered this rearmament a necessary evil.
DR. SERVATIUS: Were there not aims which could be realized only through wars of aggression., such as characterized by the slogans, "Away from Versailles" and "Germans Unite"?
WEGSCHEIDER: We discussed this point of the program as well and we saw the union of all German-speaking peoples based on a plebiscite and on the self-determination rights of the German-speaking peoples.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did not trouble arise with the Church soon because of the Party's attitude toward the same? There were attacks on the Church, you know.
WEGSCHEIDER: No, not in the country, especially as among the Party members, Ortsgruppenleiter, and Blockleiter no discrimination was made as to whether they were Catholics or not. We went to church and in my particular Ortsgruppe I and my eight Political Leaders sang in the church choir. The other church musicians and singers, about 30 in all, were also Party members, and belonged to some organization, such as the National Socialist Women's Organization, the BDM, and the Hitler Youth. That applied in my district and I believe more or less it was the same case in other districts as well.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did not the clergymen protest against the steps being taken by the Party in the Jewish question and did not this lead to disputes?
WEGSCHEIDER: As I have already mentioned, there were no Jews living in the country. Therefore, this problem was hardly dealt with at all.
DR: SERVATIUS: Was there not unrest because of the seizing of political opponents and their being taken to concentration camps?
WEGSCHEIDER: In our Kreis Kempten-Land I do not know of anyone having been taken to a concentration camp. Only in my community, and this probably happened right after the assumption of power, two individuals were sent to Dachau, but what the cause and the reason for this was I do not know for at that time I was neither Ortsgruppenleiter nor mayor. My attention was called to this matter when in the year 1933 a woman, Frau Bär, from Rottach near Kempten, came to me and asked me to make an application for the release of her husband who had been interned at Dachau for some months, as it was not possible for her to cultivate her large vegetable garden ...
DR.SERVATIUS: You need not give us the details. Just tell us what steps you took and what information you gave.
WEGSCHEIDER: I made an application and for several months heard nothing more about it.
DR. SERVATIUS: Was the man released?
DR.SERVATIUS: Did you speak with him?
DR. SERVATIUS: What did he tell you?
WEGSCHEIDER: He told me, "I was treated fairly well, the food was good and the treatment too."
DR. SERVATIUS: Did the Kreisleiter and Gauleiter tolerate this more or less easy attitude or did they demand severe measures against all who were not Party members or people who had interests other than those of the Party?
WEGSCHEIDER: Both Gauleiter and Kreisleiter adopted the same attitude. They both rejected severe measures and both of them at meetings always repeatedly made clear to us that we must gain the good will and the confidence of the people by setting a good example.
DR.SERVATIUS: Were not SA and SS units formed in your community so that political opponents could be terrorized?
WEGSCHIEIDER: No. There- were only very few groups of the SA in the country districts. Those close by were attached to the units in Kempten, and in remote communities, such as Oberguenzburg, for instance, the members of these two organizations were united into smaller units. Their activity was purely propagandistic.
DR. SERVATIUS: Was there a unit of the SS there too?
WEGSCHEIDER: In Kempten there was a small SS cavalry unit but you can hardly call it a unit for this group had only eight or ten horses. It also served propaganda purposes.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did not the Party press make known to you the extensive Party demands, as, for instance, on the Jewish question through Der Stfirmer or on other 4uestions through Das Schwarze Korps? You know both of these newspapers?
WEGSCHEIDER: Both of these newspapers went far beyond the ordinary Party program in this point. The Party program merely specified that the Jews were to be removed from influential positions. Apart from that these papers were hardly read in the country.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did you not have to realize that activity of that sort would lead to an aggressive war and to war crimes, such as are the basis of the Indictment today?
WEGSCHEIDER- No; the activity of an Ortsgruppenleiter or of a Blockleiter in the country was of such a nature that it could
hardly give grounds for such a supposition. Our work was purely social.
DR. SERVATIUS: During the war instructions were given regarding the lynching of aviators who had made emergency landings. There was a letter of Bormann and Goebbels which gave directives over the radio and through the press. Did you learn of such directives from the Kreisleiter?
WEGSCHEIDER: Directives of that sort never reached my hands.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did aviators make emergency landings in your territory and were they lynched?
DR.SERVATIUS: What happened to them?
WEGSCHEIDER: I, myself, had the opportunity to take in an American flier who had landed about 100 meters behind my home. I took him into my house and fed him and after perhaps a quarter of an hour he was sent for by the Kempten police in an auto. In March 1945-I cannot tell you the exact day- four American prisoners of war who had escaped from a camp at Eidrunk near Kaufbeuren were captured after 12 o'clock by the guard who had been stationed on the Iller bridge at Hirschdorf and brought to me.
DR. SERVATIUS: Was that the general attitude toward this question and the ordinary way of procedure in your region of Allädu? .
WEGSCHEIDER: Yes, that was generally so. The population of Allädu are very good Catholics and we were all of the opinion that such prisoners of war must actually be treated as prisoners of war.
DR. SERVATIUS: In your Ortsgruppe and in your Kreis, foreign workers were employed. Did you receive directives concerning the treatment of these workers which were contrary to human dignity?
WEGSCHEIDER: No, I cannot say that I received such directives, for the assignment of foreign workers- there were about 60 of them, Polish and Ukrainian civilian workers-was handled by the Orfsbauernfuehrer only, and in our area it was customary for the Bauernfuehrer to discuss all matters of this kind with me.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did you not hear about the fact that these workers were to sleep in a barn and were to receive their food there as well?
WEGSCHEIDER: I know nothing about a directive to the effect that these workers were to sleep in a barn and were to receive their food there. The Labor Office only gave each Polish worker a note which was to be turned over to the farmer and which said that the Polish workers should not eat at the family table and that they must be at home at a certain hour. In discussing this matter with the Bauernfuehrer at that time, I told him that this could not be done with our peasants in the Allädu. If the foreign worker involved behaved decently and did his work as well as a German worker, then he was to enjoy the same rights as the German worker.
DR. SERVATIUS: Witness, was it not the case that the comments which one heard among the farmers about the Party in the Reich were such that one would have liked to deviate from certain points, especially during the war?
WEGSCHEIDER: No, I never noticed anything of that sort, for we on the land all believed in the Fuehrer's love of peace, for we knew that Hitler had lived through the horrors of the first World War, and we were convinced of his desire for peace of which we were told time and again.
DR. SERVATIUS: Therefore, you dispute the fact that the Political Leaders in your district deliberately partook in a conspiracy to terrorize the population for the purpose of waging an aggressive war and committing war crimes?
WEGSCHEIDER: No, that was not the case.
DR. SERVATIUS: If, today, an accusation is raised that these Political Leaders in your area were criminals, would you admit that?
WEGSCHEIDER: No, that was not the case.
DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions to this witness.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I have two things about which perhaps the Tribunal will permit me to ask a few very short questions. The first is Document EC-68, which is Exhibit USA-205, and the Tribunal will find it on Page 21 of their document book.
Witness, I want to ask you about the Bauernfuehrer on your staff. The Bauernfuehrer was one of the so-called "nonpolitical" Political Leaders, was he not? Can you hear me?
WEGSCHEIDER: I do not understand you.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I will ask you the question again. Was the Bauernfuehrer on the staff of the Gauleiter, Kreisleiter, and Ortsgruppenleiter one of the "nonpolitical" Political Leaders who were said to be merely expert advisers?
WEGSCHEIDER: Yes, the Ortsbauernfuehrer was only indirectly active in the Ortsgruppen staff.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Now, look at that document and explain to me the part that the so-called expert was playing in connection with slave labor. Do you see that document? It is document addressed to all Kreisbauernschaften. Do you see that?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: And it would be the duty of the Kreisbauernfuehrer to bring any regulations he received in connection with foreign workers to the notice of the Kreisleiter, would it not?
Witness, please be kind enough to answer my question. Would it be the duty of the Kreisbauernfuehrer to bring to the notice of his Kreisleiter, regulations and instructions which he received in connection with foreign labor?
WEGSCHEIDER: I do not believe so. I believe that was left to the discretion of the Kreisleiter of the Kreisbauernfuehrer and that things which could not be carried through were passed by.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Are you really saying to this Tribunal that that expert whose duty it was to advise his Kreisleiter and keep his Kreisleiter informed and who was continually conferring with his Kreisleiter, would never have drawn his Kreisleiter's attention to the instructions he had received about foreign labor?
WEGSCHEIDER: I must mention that I still hear very poorly.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: But I am sure you can hear well enough to answer me.
WEGSCHEIDER: Yes, now I can hear much better.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: We won't pursue that matter. We will just see the part that this so-called nonpolitical expert was expected to play himself. Do you see first of all that the:
"... agencies of the Reich Food Estate, Baden State Peasants Association ... have received the result of the negotiations with the Higher SS and Police Leader in Stuttgart with great satisfaction."
Do you see that?
WEGSCHEIDER: This point?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Do you see that "the Baden State Peasants Association and the Reich Food Estate have received the result of the negotiations with the Higher SS and Police Leader in Stuttgart with great satisfaction!"?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Let us just see what these results are that the Reich's food association was receiving with such satisfaction. You see on that document that Poles are not allowed to complain- they have no right to complain, Number 2; 3 and 4 are not very important; 5, no form of entertainment; 6, no restaurants, no sexual intercourse, no use of public transport, is not allowed to change his employment. In no case may he be granted permission to leave his village and in no case may permission be granted if he wants to visit a public agency on his own, whether it is a labor office or the district peasant association. Why shouldn't he be allowed to visit the district peasant association?
WEGSCHEIDER: I see here that this letter comes from Karlsruhe. That is an entirely different Gau. These measures were not decreed in our region, or at any rate, not to such a large extent. As a matter of fact, the foreign workers during the summer had to be at home at 9 o'clock in the evening, and during the winter they had to be at home at 8 o'clock in the evening ...
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: We're really not interested in that. Are you telling us that the care of foreign workers was different in your Gau, to the Gau at Baden or Karlsruhe, and that the Bauernfuehrer had to carry out different tasks in the two different Gaue?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well. Let us just see exactly what they were carrying out in Karlsruhe.
THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Griffith-Jones
, is that already in evidence?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Yes.
ITurning to the witness.] I just want to put one new document to you. Will you look at Document D-894? That is a report from a Kreis leadership dated 23 September 1944, subject:, Foreigners. Polish youth in the Kali mining area, which has always shown an endeavor to stick particularly closely together, is being watched with especial care. The Ortsgruppenleiter reports that he noticed 13 young Poles who had left Buggingen without permission and who were in possession of medical certificates. He had 11 of these Poles arrested and taken to the Gestapo at Muelhausen for re-examination. I just want to ask you one question on that. Was it a recognized duty of Kreisleiter and Ortsgruppenleiter to hand over Polish workers to the Gestapo when they saw fit?
WEGSCHEIDER: I know nothing at all about such cases in Kreis Kempten-Land and in the town of Kempten.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Nothing like that happened in your Kreis at all?
THE PRESIDENT: Is that a new document?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: It is a new document and will be Exhibit GB-545.
I have no further questions to ask this witness.
Perhaps I might supplement my answer to the question raised, I think, by the American judge on the euthanasia point as to how it became a war crime. If I might refer the Tribunal to Page 31 of the document book which they have, which is the protest from Bishop Wurm to Frick and which is familiar to the Tribunal. If the Tribunal will look at the first paragraph of that letter it will be seen that the Bishop states that this action is taking place on orders from the Reich Defense Council. And again, if the Tribunal would turn to Page 36 of their document book, which is another letter which has, already been put in, it is a second letter that Bishop Wurm wrote to Frick, this time in September-the first in July of 1940-and now in September he writes again. And in the middle of the paragraph it will be seen he states, "If the leadership of the State is convinced that it is a question of an inevitable war measure, why does it not issue a decree with legal force?" I have no further questions.
THE TRIBUNAL (Major General I. T. Nikitchenko, Member for the U.S.S.R.): Witness, you were a member of the Nazi Party from 1933 on, is that correct?
WEGSCHEIDER: Yes, beginning with 1933.
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): Did you join the Party voluntarily or under constraint?
WEGSCHEIDER: I joined the Party voluntarily.
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): Were you well acquainted with the program of the Party, the tasks, the aims of the Party?
WEGSCHEIDER: Yes, in the course of the years I familiarized myself with the various points of the Party program.
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): And did you completely agree with the program, the tasks, and aims of the Party?
WEGSCHEIDER: Well, perhaps not 100 percent on all points, but an the whole we have seen here that Hitler ...
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): What was the percentage of your agreement with the aims of the Party?
WEGSCHEIDER: Especially in this matter-that is, the way the Jewish question developed according to the program-it was then spreading, as I have already mentioned, and the people and I myself were no longer quite in agreement with this policy.
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): It was only on the question of the persecution of the Jews that you did not agree with the Party, is that correct?
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): And with all the rest you agreed?
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): And now do you still have the same convictions that you had before? Do you agree with the aims and tasks of the Party?
WEGSCHEIDER: Yes. Of course, if action had always been taken in accordance with the program, then we surely would not have had the war. War of itself, which we had experienced as veterans of the first World War...
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): I did not ask you what it might not have come to. Did you understand my question? I am asking you: Do you still share the opinion of the Nazis?
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): You renounce them?
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): That is incomprehensible, you do not agree and you do not renounce.
WEGSCHEIDER: I beg your pardon.
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): My question is quite simple and clear. Do you still agree with the views of the Nazis?
WEGSCHEIDER: No, that is no longer possible.
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): Why?
WEGSCHEIDER: Because the confidence of the people was abused in many respects.
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): And now do you consider the program of the Nazi Party as correct or incorrect from your point of view? Did you hear the question?
WEGSCHEIDER: No, I did not hear it.
THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): I am asking whether now you consider the program and views of the Nazi Party correct or incorrect?
WEGSCHEIDER: No, not any longer.
THE PRESIDENT: Witness, you had a document from Karlsruhe, stating the effect of a certain decree with reference to Polish farm workers. You said that that decree had not been enforced in your Gau. But you said that certain decrees had been in force. To what degree were restrictions placed upon foreign workers in your district?
WEGSCHEIDER: Solely, as I have already mentioned, that in the summer they had to be at home at 9 o'clock in the evening, and in the winter at 8 o'clock. Any other restrictions were not imposed on them, for when I was mayor I received directives from the Landrat to designate a special inn in the community, where the Polish and Ukrainian farm Workers could gather in the afternoon.
THE PRESIDENT: Could they have bicycles?
WEGSCHEIDER: Yes, in Allädu it is even necessary to have a bicycle. A large part of the meadows and farmland lay at quite a distance from the farmhouse and under these conditions it was not possible for the farmer and his servants to ride bicycles while Polish workers had to walk for perhaps an hour. Most of the Polish workers...
THE PRESIDENT: That is quite enough. Now you say that the only restrictions upon them were that they had to be in at a certain time at night?
VIEGSCHEIDER: Yes, because other matters and other directives were simply not carried through. Polish workers slept in the same rooms as the Germans, they ate at the family table, and they received much clothing from the farmers themselves, for they arrived in rags.
THE PRESIDENT: Who was it who decided where they had to be employed?
WEGSCHEIDER: The Labor Office.
THE PRESIDENT: And whom did the Labor Office communicate with?
WEGSCHEIDER: The Labor Office communicated with the Kreisbauernsdiaft and with the Bauernfuefirer.
THE PRESIDENT: So that the Labor Office communicated to you and to the Bauernfuehrer?
WEGSCHEIDER: In this matter chiefly with the Bauernfuehrer.
THE PRESIDENT: Then the Bauernfuehrer told the Labor Office how many laborers they wanted; was that the way it was done?
WEGSCHEIDER: Yes, that is the way it was done.
THE PRESIDENT: How did he allot them?
WEGSCHEIDER: This allotment was left to the Bauernfuehrer. The farmers in the district stated how many workers they needed and, depending on the allotments, they were supplied with workers.
THE PRESIDENT: Was the Bauernfuehrer subject to the orders of the Kreisleiter or the Ortsgruppenleiter?
WEGSCHEIDER: The Bauernfuehrer was subordinate only to the Reich Food Estate-that is the Kreisbauernfuehrer.
THE PRESIDENT: You mean that he was not at all under the orders of the Ortsgruppenleiter?
THE PRESIDENT: But directly under the food office, was he?
WEGSCREIDER: Yes, he was under the Reich Food Estate.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness may retire.
IThe witness left the stand.]
DR.SERVATIUS: As my next witness, with the permission of the High Tribunal, I should like to call Dr. Hirt, a Bloddeiter.
[The witness Hirt took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?
ERNST HIRT (Witness): Dr. Ernst Hirt.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the pure truth-and will withhold and add nothing.
IThe witness repeated the oath.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.,
DR. SERVATIUS: Witness, when were you born?
HIRT: On 25 June 1896.
DR. SERVATIUS: You are at liberty?
DR. SERVATIUS: You are a Landgerichtsrat and during the war, from 1942 to 1945 you were Kriegsblockleiter here at Nuremberg?
DR. SERVATIUS: Outside of your block, did you know about the political activities and attitude of the Block- and Zellenleiter?
HIRT: Yes, I had contact with a number of other Block- and Zellenleiter and as a judge I had a further opportunity to get an insight into the activity of Block- and Zellenleiter.
DR.SERVATIUS: Witness, please pause a little between questions and answers so that the interpretation can follow. In taking office as a Blockleiter during the war did you become a Political Leader through that step?
HIRT: No, I never became that. We were merely entrusted with tasks connected with this office.
DR. SERVATIUS: Were there many such Block- and Zellenleiter during the war who were not Political Leaders?
HIRT: The majority of the Block- and Zellenleiter who were appointed during the war were not Political Leaders, that is, they were not nominated or confirmed by the Kreisleiter, they received no certificate and had no right to wear a uniform.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did the Block- and Zellenleiter take over their office voluntarily?
HIRT: The majority of the Block- and Zellenleiter during the war did not take over their office voluntarily.
DR. SERVATIUS: And how was it in peacetime?
HIRT: In peacetime I rather assume that the larger part of
Block- and Zellenleiter took over this activity voluntarily.
DR. SERVATIUS: Was not each Party member obligated to take such an office, and do you understand by that that they did not come in voluntarily?
HIRT: Per se, each Party member was obligated to work in the Party or for the Party; but in peacetime it could readily be managed to avoid taking over office, while during the war, in the majority
of the cases, this was quite impossible. A number of Block- and Zellenleiter had been called to the colors; the Ortsgruppenleiter ordered Party members who were still left to take over this or that office and it was impossible to refuse without running the risk of some serious consequences.
DR. SERVATIUS: Why did Party members frequently refuse to take over such offices?
HIRT: Well, an activity like that brought with it in many cases considerable work and during the war each man who was fit for work was already additionally burdened in his main occupation.
DR. SERVATIUS: Were not political reasons often the cause for refusal?
HIRT: Yes, a large part of the people who were supposed to take over an office like that were less and less in agreement with various measures taken by the Party and especially measures taken during the war.
DR. SERVATIUS: What was the task of the Political Leaders?
HIRT: The tasks of the war Block- and Zellenleiter were first of all chiefly duties of a social nature. Aside from collecting money
and running errands, the Blockleiter above all had to take care of the population as the misery due to the war grew greater, to carry out protective measures against air raids, to supervise collections for the needs of the Armed Forces, and perform other services for the common good.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did the office which you took over correspond with your position as judge?
HIRT: In no way. I considered this work somewhat undignified, for the running of errands, the collection of funds, the systematic keeping of files and similar services were in no way commensurate with my training and with the profession.
DR. SERVATIUS: If you had been nominated a Political Leader then you would probably have been accorded a higher position?
HIRT: Yes, I must assume that, but as war Blockleiter I was not concerned with political activity in any way.
DR. SERVATIUS: Then it was just a matter of carrying out practical work?
HIRT: Yes, we war Block- and Zellenleiter did purely practical work as helpers in the Ortsgruppe.
DR. SERVATIUS: From what stratum of the population did the Block- and Zellenleiter come?
HIRT: The Block- and Zellenleiter, for a large part, were taken from the simple people, the working classes, among manual laborers and people who had rather insignificant positions.
DR. SERVATIUS: And what was the point of view according to which these people were chosen?
HIRT: It was important to find people of good character who were reliable, for money matters were involved, and the honesty of the person had to be beyond doubt.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did the Block- and Zellenleiter not have a staff at their disposal, which would emphasize their importance as Hoheitsträger?
HIRT: I never knew about such a staff, but I do know from various conversations that I had with other Block- and Zellenleiter, people who were active in former years, that there were block helpers where large blocks were involved. I myself did not have a helper of that kind in my block. On the other hand, there was a so-called house warden in each house.
DR. SERVATIUS: And how about the title "Hoheitsträger"? What did it mean?
HIRT: The Block- or Zellenleiter, in any event, could not consider himself a Hoheitsträger, for he had no political authority to issue orders. In our opinion, a Hoheitstrdger started with the Ortsgruppenleiter.
DR. SERVATIUS: Conversations took place with the Ortsgruppenleiter. Did the Blockleiter receive directives at these conferences for the combating of political opponents?
HIRT: At these so-called conversational evenings, an assignment to combat question, or spy political opponents was never given.
DR. SERVATIUS: Now, as a judge and because of your dislike for taking over this office, you probably looked at these things very critically.
HIRT: Yes, that is something I can say about myself.
DR. SERVATIUS: How about the spying upon people for the purpose of sending them to concentration camps. Did you receive directions along that line?
HIRT: At no time did such a directive go out. In my opinion, a Block- or Zellenleiter could not seriously.
DR.SERVATIUS: Witness, please pause longer; otherwise the interpreters will not be able to keep up with you.
HIRT: I shall repeat. Such a directive was never given to, us. In my opinion, a Block- or Zellenleiter could not, even on his own initiative, conceive of spying on the population or on individuals for the purpose of denunciation, for otherwise his entire position in the Block or in the Zelle, a position which presupposed and necessitated a relationship of confidence with the people, would have been rendered impossible immediately.
DR. SERVATIUS: In the Organization Book of the NSDAP it states that people spreading detrimental rumors were to be reported to the Ortsgruppe by the Blockleiter so that the competent authorities could be advised. Did you not act according to this book?
HIRT: The Organization Book of the NSDAP was as unknown to me in times gone by as it was unknown to the other Block- and Zellenleiter.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Servatius, you realize that the Tribunal has got a very full summary of the evidence which this witness gave to the Commission. In addition to the actual evidence, we have got a summary, which consists of 6 pages of folio, and therefore I think it would be convenient to the Tribunal if you could summarize the evidence as much as possible and take it as shortly as you can, as we have the opportunity of seeing the witness and forming our opinion on the credence to be attached to him.
DR. SERVATIUS:. Mr. President, my examination will not take very long.
[Turning to the witness.] Did not the Blockleiter keep files in whic
h they recorded the names of those who were politically suspicious?
HIRT: Only a general card registration file was kept of the inhabitants. A special file for people who might be particularly suspicious, politically, is absolutely unknown to me.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did the Blockleiter have police authority?
HIRT: In no wise.
DR. SERVATIUS: For what reasons did the Political Leaders in general join the Party?
HIRT: Well, at the assumption of power by the Party, there was widespread unemployment in Germany, which could be alleviated only in the course of years, but there were also other social needs, and most of the Block- and Zellenleiter with whom I had contact hoped by entering the Party to receive general support in their efforts to eliminate the German emergency. ,
DR.SERVATIUS: Now, Witness, wars actually were fought, which according to the Prosecution were wars of aggression. The persecution of the Jews is well known. The trade unions were dissolved. Did not the Block- and Zellenleiter have to recognize these incidents as aims of the Party which were set down in the Party program and in the book Mein Ka7npf?
HIRT: I consider that possible. I personally was more critical of all of these things than many others, -but the Party program, as well as the accompanying propaganda which was very strong in the press and over the radio, could not disclose to the German people the real aims and intentions Hitler had at the time he took over the power.
DR. SERVATIUS: Were not the things which are set up today as crimes under the Indictment so well and widely known that each Block- and Zellenleiter would of necessity have to know them?
HIRT: The Block- and Zellenleiter as such did not learn any more than any other simple German or member of *the Party could gather from the Fuehrer's speeches, from newspaper articles and publications, and from radio reports.
DR. SERVATIUS: You saw many mistakes and you rejected them. You saw the practices followed by the Party. Why did you remain in office?
HIRT: At that time I personally, as an official, could neither refuse to take over the office nor could I seriously consider resigning from/ my office later on. As enough examples have already shown, that would have meant for me the loss of my position, the end of my livelihood, and possibly something worse.
DR. SERVAT.TUS: I have no further question to put to this witness.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
THE PRESIDENT: In accordance with the Tribunal's orders on procedure for the organizations entered on the 25th of July, several applications have been made to the Tribunal for an extension of time for the closing speeches by counsel for the organizations. These applications are made, the Tribunal thinks, under some misapprehension as to the meaning of the order of July 25. It is not intended that the closing speeches should deal at length with the documents. When offering the documents, or during the examination of witnesses, or at the conclusion of the evidence, as counsel prefers, he may make brief references to the documents to explain their nature and the points to which they refer. All the material matters will thus be before the Tribunal. This will enable the closing speeches to be devoted to summarizing the evidence and commenting on any matters of law, and one-half day will be ample for that purpose. That is all.
DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, I have a question on the ruling given. I submitted my documents and written evidence to the Court without comment, according to the ruling as I understood it. May I then comment on this written evidence at the end of the total admission of evidence, and ask the Court to look through the documents? It was not possible then, as they were not available.
THE PRESIDENT: Certainly, Dr. Servatius.
DR. SERVATIUS: Thank you.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Witness, I want to ask you one or two questions on general matters. Am I right in saying that in towns and villages in many parts of the country there were glass cases exhibiting Der Stuermer?
HIRT: In many places there were so-called "Stuermer cases"; that is right.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Were they set up by the Party?
HIRT: I knew nothing whatever about that.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: You cannot tell me, can you, whether those Stuermer cases were set up on the instructions of either the Kreis- or Ortsgruppenleiter?
HIRT: At times, I personally had the impression that the local SA was responsible for setting up the Stuermer cases.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: There were also, were there not, both in towns-particularly holiday resorts-and all over the countryside, notices saying that Jews were undesirable (Juden unerwuensdit)?
HIRT: I have seen such notices in various parts of Germany.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Do you know whether they were set up on the instructions and by the authority of the local political leader?
HIRT: I do not know.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well.
My Lord, I have one new document, which was put to this witness before a commission. Perhaps I might draw the Tribunal's attention to it now and to -the relevant parts. It is Document D-901 (a), which will become Exhibit GB-546.
Your Lordship will see that that is a circular issued in the Gau Cologne-Aachen on the 31st of January 1941, and it contains instructions to all Kreis- and Ortsgruppenorganisationsleiter regarding the installing and keeping of card indexes of households.
Under Paragraph 1, "The sense and purpose of card-indexing households," it is stated that the purpose is as a basis for statistical inquiries and, combined with the entries on the back of the card index of households, for the political judgment of the members of a household.
Then a few lines farther on, the information contained on them must enable the Ortsgruppenleiter to give at any, moment a judgment of the household member concerned which is sufficient in all respects.
Then, My Lord, under Paragraph 5:
"The Blockleiter must be in possession of lists which contain the same printed text as the household card index, and which are to be provided with the necessary entries by the Blockleiter (family status, Party membership, membership of an organization, affiliated body, et cetera)."
On the next page, the second paragraph in Number 10 sets out the information which is to be obtained. Halfway down that paragraph it says:
"It is thus to be recorded how long the Völkischer Beobachter has been subscribed to, whether the family already possessed a swastika flag before the 1935 flag law, and what wireless apparatus is available in the household ... It is easy to obtain this data from a conversation of the Blockleiter with the members concerned."
The next paragraph deals with the political judgment of the inhabitants. I quote the last three lines:
"The political judgment of every compatriot is to be found by the Ortsgruppenorganisationsleiter in co-operation with the competent Block- and Zellenleiter, as well as in agreement with the Ortsgruppenleiter."
Then in the last paragraph, Number 14 on the next page, it describes how this information can be obtained:
"It is prohibited on principle to give compatriots and Party members lists or index cards to fill in themselves. Owing to their frequent visits to the individual households, the Blockleiter have sufficient opportunity to obtain the required data for the index by means of conversations with compatriots. The Blockleiter must make sure of the accuracy of the data supplied to him by looking through membership papers and such like. The Blockleiter is responsible for the accuracy of the data supplied to the Ortsgruppenorganisationsleiter."
Your Honor, I have no further documents and no questions.
My Lord, General Raginsky has three documents which he desires to put in.
STATE COUNSELLOR OF JUSTICE M. Y. RAGINSKY (Assistant Prosecutor for the U.S.S.R.): Mr. President, with your permission I would like to submit three documents which characterize the role of Kreisleiter and Blockleiter in the participation of such crimes as the Germanization of occupied territories and their populations.
The first document I am submitting is Document USSR-143. This document was discovered in the archives of the Kreisfuehrer of the town of Pettau in Yugoslavia in May 1945. I would ask the Tribunal to pay attention to the fact that the document begins with the following phrase: "...with the instruction to inform at once all the Blockfuehrer, down to the last one, at the next roll call."
The document is signed by the Kreisfuehrer. Point Number 1 of this document states as follows:
"In the course of my tours of inspection through the various Ortsgruppen I ascertained that there are still some Slovenian inscriptions on the houses principally signs of insurance companies ... and so on. I -request the Blockfuehrer once more to see to it immediately that all these Slovenian inscriptions, billboards, posters, et cetera be removed.... I, therefore, charge the Ortsgruppenfuehrer to see to it, that through personal conversation with the responsible priests, the Slovenian inscriptions are also removed immediately, without exception, from all church images (ikons), chapels, and churches."
Point 3 of this document is as follows:
"The Ortsgruppenfuehrer will, as before, be personally responsible to me to see that every officeholder down to the last Blockfuehrer learns to speak and to write German."
The next document, which I am presenting under Number USSR-449, is an excerpt from the speech of Reich Minister of the Interior Dr. Frick, dated 16 December 1941, in connection with the appointment of Gauleiter Dr. Friedrich Rainer. This document was seized in the archives of the Kreisleiter in Maribor by the Yugoslavian Army in May 1945. In the speech it is said:
"Dear Party Comrade Rainer:
"The Fuehrer has appointed you to be a Gauleiter.
I do not wish to read the whole excerpt, it is translated.
THE PRESIDENT: General Raginsky, have you got the original of this document?
MR. COUNSELLOR RAGINSKY: I beg your pardon, Mr. President, I did not get your remark.
THE PRESIDENT: It is all right. We have the original of the document now. Now can you explain to us what the document is; I mean, how it is certified, how it is proved?
MR. COUNSELLOR RAGINSKY: This document has been authenticated by the Yugoslav Government Commission for the investigation of crimes committed by the German occupants in Yugoslavia. The original of this document is to be found in the archives of this commission. The copy which I am submitting to this Tribunal has been authenticated by the president of the government commission, Dr. Nedelkovitsch:
"Your duty, Party Comrade Rainer, consists in seeing that this entire district is again made totally German.... The German language must be given more and more priority in public life. It is the only authorized language and the only one which may be used officially ... the youth in the schools must immediately be taught in German. Instruction must be given as soon as possible exclusively in German...
"When not only the outward appearances, such as official signs, official language and inscriptions are German, but when also all the young people will speak German, and when in the family circle the Slovene language is replaced by German-only then will we be able to, speak of the Germanization of the Upper Kranj."
Finally, the last document, which I am submitting under Number USSR-191. This document is an excerpt from the minutes of a staff conference of the Gauleiter of Lower Styria. The original of this document was seized by units of the Yugoslav Army in the archives of the Gauleiter of the town of Maribor in May 1945.
On the first page of this excerpt, Mr. President, we can see that on 12 November 1941, the Gauleiter held a conference with the Security Service. Members of the SS were present at this conference, and:
"SS Standartenfiffirer Lurcker states that approximately 2,000 persons had been removed to Serbia and 400 persons had been put into concentration camps ... As a reprisal for incidents which have recently occurred, some 30 other persons will be shot."
In the last paragraph on this page, an excerpt from the minutes of the conference of 5 January 1942, it also states:
"On 27 December 1941, as a reprisal for an attack, 40 persons were shot."
And further, in the report of a speech by Dr. Carstanjen, Deputy Gauleiter of Styria, it states:
"The resettlement into the old Reich is practically completed. Only about 10,000 persons remain to be resettled."
I do not wish to quote the following pages, which contain excerpts of a similar kind.
DR. SERVATIUS: Witness, you were not able to comment on the documents. I shall ask you a few brief questions about them. The first letter submitted was Document D-90.1(a). It was a circular letter issued by the Gau Cologne-Aacheri dated January 1941. It mentions a card index of households, Do you know whether such card indexes of households similar to those mentioned here were kept in your district?
HIRT: I know only of card indexes for inhabitants on which all inhabitants were listed according to their name, family status, birth, profession, and membership in the Party or its branches. No other essential questions were put on these cards, nor were they answered.
DR. SERVATIUS: Can this order here be considered an organizational exaggeration?
HIRT: Up to now, I have really had no knowledge of this order. I-lad it been universal for all local districts in Germany, it would have had to be promulgated and carried out by us, too. Since such a far-reaching order was issued in the Gau of Cologne-Aachen, it was certainly only the local Gauleiter and the executive officer of the Gau who was responsible for that, and it was certainly an exaggerated interpretation of the situation on their part.
DR. SERVATIUS: The next letter was a letter from the Styrian Heimatbund of Pettau dated 30 April 1942. It was addressed to an Ortsgruppenfuehrer and came from the Kreisfuehrer. It concerns the removal of Yugoslavian signs. Did you ever obtain any information at all about such matters abroad?
HIRT: No, they were completely unknown to me.
DR. SERVATIUS: Do you know that up to 1918 Pettau was an old German town, and that it only became part of Yugoslavia after 1918?
HIRT: I did not quite understand the name of the town.
DR. SERVATIUS: Pettau. Then you cannot give an answer?
DR. SERVATIUS: Then there has been submitted a speech by Dr. Frick to Reichsstatthalter Rainer. It refers to conditions in the new border Gau. Were you informed about these conditions which existed in the border Gau?
HIRT: No, I had no knowledge of them.
DR. SERVATIUS; The last document contained notes on staff conferences of Gauleiter Uiberreither, which also refer to the border Gau and the adjoining Yugoslavia. Can you also not testify about these things?
HIRT: Nothing whatsoever.
DR. SERVATIUS: I have no more questions to put to this witness.
THE PRESIDENT: Did you have anything to do with the deportation of foreign labor?
THE PRESIDENT: Who did?
HIRT: I do not know.
THE PRESIDENT: Did you not know anybody who was employing slave labor?
HIRT: I did not understand the question.
THE PRESIDENT: There was a great amount of foreign labor used in Germany, was there not?
HIRT: There were many foreign workers in Germany who were employed in factories.
THE PRESIDENT: And also in private houses?
HIRT: I know that foreign women were also employed in private homes as maids.
THE PRESIDENT: What I asked you was, did you have anything to do with the placing of that foreign labor either in factories, or in offices, or in workshops, or in private homes?
HIRT: I had nothing to do with it in any respect.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you know what officials did have to do with the placing of such labor?
HIRT: I do not know that. I was certainly never inte
rested in it.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness can-retire.
DR. SERVATIUS- With the permission of the Court I will call the last witness, Hupfauer. He is for the technical offices, especially the German Labor Front.
[The witness Hupfauer took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?
THEO HUPFAUER (Witness): Dr. Theo Hupfauer.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat-this oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will tell the pure truth-and will withhold and add nothing.
[The witness repeated the oath.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.
DR. SERVATIUS: Witness, when were you born?
HUPFAUER: On 17 July 1906.
DR. SERVATIUS: You were for 8 years, from 1936 to 1944, a Political Leader in the supreme office of the DAF, the German Labor Front, in the central bureau with Dr. Ley, and after that, up to 1945 you were the liaison official between the Ministry for Armament and War Production of Minister Speer and the German Labor Front, is that correct?
HUPFAUER: Up to 1944 I was office chief in the central bureau of the German Labor Front.
DR. SERVATIUS: And as such a Political Leader?
HUPFAUER: As such a Political Leader.-After my appointment I was from 1942 liaison official of the German Labor Front to the Ministry for Armament and War Production and from the end of 1944, 1 was chief of the central bureau in the Ministry for Armament and War Production.
DR. SERVATIUS: Was the German Labor Front an organization affiliated with the Party, while the political direction originated from the Party itself?
HUPFAUER: The German Labor Front was an organization with organizational, financial, and personnel independence. It was affiliated to the Party. The tasks of the political direction were, however, matters for the Party itself.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did the leaders of the DAF, who were political leaders, have political tasks and were they Political Leaders for that reason?
HUPFAUER: The leaders of the DAF had purely social-political tasks. Only those leaders of the DAF were Political Leaders who were appointed as such.
DR. SERVATIUS: The German Labor Front was represented in the Gau, Kreis, and local districts by so-called Obm5amer. Were these Obmänner Political Leaders with the Party staffs?
HUPFAUER: These Obmänner were Political Leaders only insofar as they were appointed as such.
DR. SERVATIUS: Were there, in the German Labor Front, Political Leaders who were not active in the Party staffs?
HUPFAUER: In the Party staffs only the local Obmänner were active. All other functionaries of the DAF who were Political Leaders had no office in the Party.
DR. SERVATIUS: Was the number of those who had no office, but were nevertheless Political Leaders in the DAF very large?
HUPFAUER: The majority of the functionaries who were Political Leaders held no office in the Party.
DR. SERVATIUS: Can you estimate approximately how many people there were?
HUPFAUER: I cannot give a figure nor can I give a percentage, but in the offices of which I was in charge, it was by far the majority.
DR.SERVATIUS: What was the occupation and duty of these Political Leaders who were not on the staff?
HUPFAUER: The Political Leaders who were not on the Party staff had the same duties as those who were on the Party staff, that is, social-political and technical tasks.
DR. SERVATIUS: All persons holding office in the DAF, the functionaries, were called Amtswalter, is that correct?
DR.SERVATIUS: Were all these Amtswalter appointed at the same time Political Leaders?
HUPFAUER: No, only part of the Amtswalter were appointed. For example, it could happen and it did happen that if there were two functionaries who directed equally important offices, one was a Political Leader and the other was not. It also happened that the superior did not have the rank of Political Leader, but his colleague, his subordinate, did.
DR. SERVATIUS: What was the purpose of appointing Political Leaders? Did such officials receive special political tasks and special rights?
HUPFAUER: Special tasks and special rights were not connected with the appointment as Political Leader.
DR. SERVATIUS: What was then the sense of appointing them as such?
HUPFAUER: That was essentially for representative purposes and may be attributed to the wish to show the authority of the Party abroad in the economy and in the State, but it had nothing to do with the office as such.
DR. SERVATIUS: What were the duties of the Political Leaders as Obmbnner in the Party staffs?
HUPFAUER: The Obm5.nner who were Political Leaders in the Party staffs had to advise the Hoheitstrdger with regard to their own specialized branch.
DR. SERVATIUS: What was the ratio of the Political Leaders of the DAF to the total number of all Political Leaders? Did they constitute a considerable part?
HUPFAUER: The DAF was a membership organization consisting of about 20 million. The organization, therefore, extended to the Ortsgruppen and even to private business. Thus it had a large number of functionaries and therefore a large number of these functionaries were Political Leaders. This explains the fact that the majority of the Political Leaders most certainly belonged to the DAF.
DR. SERVATITJS:, The DAF was a so-called affiliated formation. Are you in a position to testify on the position of the Political Leaders in any other professional or technical organizations?
HUPFAUER: As an Amtsleiter of the DAF, I was, of course, in contact with the functionaries of other organizations. I can, therefore, give information on these organizations in a general way but not in detail.
DR. SERVATIUS: Was the position of the Political Leaders in these professional and technical organizations and in the social organizations regulated in the same way as in the DAF?
HUPFAUER: It was essentially organized in the same way; that is, the local leaders of these formations were also bound up in the Party. They had no duties of political leadership, but as leaders of organizations they had to look after the interests of their members.
DR. SERVATIUS: Were these also Political Leaders within this specialized formation who were not active in the Party agencies, for example, in the NSV?
HUPFAUER: There also were Political Leaders who were not on the Party staff.
DR. SERVATIUS: Can you give us the most important of these specialized formations, professional organizations, and the corresponding offices in the Gau, Kreis, and Ortsgruppenleitung?
HUPFAUER: I can recall the following formations and their corresponding offices: The NSV was the office for peoples' welfare; the Lehrerbund was the office for education; the Beamtenbund was the office for civil servants; the Bund Deutschet Techniker was the office for technology; the Rechtswahrerbund was the legal office.
DR. SERVATIUS: Were these offices which you have added in each case, established in the Party offices, in the Party staffs?
HUPFAUER: These offices are established in the Party staffs, and were generally directed by the local leader of the organization of the affiliated group.
DR. SERVATIUS: What were the tasks of these Political Leaders?
HUPFAUER: The tasks of these Political Leaders were also specialized tasks and not political leadership tasks. It was their duty to look after the interests of their members.
DR. SERVATIUS: What was the numerical relationship of these Political Leaders of the specialized groups, those who sat on the Party staff as heads of these offices, and including those who were in the associations? Was that also a large number?
HUPFAUER: The number depended mainly on the size of the organization.
DR. SERVATIUS: What was probably the largest of those mentioned?
HUPFAUER: Of the organizations which I mentioned, apart from the DAF, the NSV was the largest.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did the German Labor Front destroy the trade unions in 1933?
HUPFAUER: The German Labor Front did not really exist on 2 May 1933. There were functionaries of the National Socialist Factory Cell Organization (Betriebszellen-Organisation), called NSBO, which did not destroy the unions at that time but took over their direction and continued their work.
DR. SERVATIUS: What was the purpose of this measure? Was it possibly to break the resistance of the workers against the Party and thus to remove the internal opposition against the policy of a war of aggression?
HUPFAUER: In May 1933 the first visible effects for the German worker were already felt by the elimination of unemployment for millions. The situation was such that the German workers were again sure of getting work and bread. Therefore, there can be no talk of any resistance of these workers against the Party. The foundation of the DAF served the following purposes: In the first place, in order to carry out economic reconstruction without interference and to regulate the labor market it was necessary to avoid any trouble through labor struggles which might interfere with social economy, such as strikes and lockouts. It was, therefore, necessary to find an equitable balance between the interests of employees and employers. This was best done in a joint organization of employers and employees.
DR. SERVATIUS: Then the employers' organizations were also dissolved at that time?
HUPFAUER: The employers' organizations were also dissolved with the view of creating a joint organization which would eliminate class struggle, thereby securing the essential prerequisites for the establishment of a really socialistic order.
DR. SERVATIUS: Were not the trade unions taken over by force with the help of the SA, SS, and Police, and were not the union leaders arrested?
HUPFAUER- On 2 May the trade union houses were in reality occupied by the Police, or through measures by the auxiliary Police in which SA and SS men and Stahlhelm men participated. For a short time the union leaders were also arrested. This measure served the purpose, at this moment, of preventing misuse of the available union funds so that the work in these organizations could be carried on.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did the National Socialist Factory Cell Organization (NSBO) then claim for itself the funds which had been taken over and what did it do with them?
HUPFAUER: These union funds were not claimed for the use of the NSBO as this organization financed itself from the dues of its members. The funds of the unions were used in order to carry on the social work and furthermore they were used to guarantee the long-standing legal claims of the union members; that is, to continue paying invalids, sick, death benefits, and so forth to these union members.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did the unions have large funds available at that time?
HUPFAUFR: 1933 was the end of the economic crisis which began in 1930. This economic crisis, of course, also had a detrimental effect on the unions. It is certain that, owing to millions becoming unemployed, the union membership was constantly decreasing and old members of these unions were becoming unemployed in greater numbers, so that a great percentage of them could no longer pay their dues and a still greater percentage of them had to draw upon the union funds, thus depleting these funds.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did not Dr. Ley himself admit that he used the union funds illegally, and would have run the danger of being imprisoned had the Fuehrer not given legal sanction to the confiscation of the funds?
HUPFAUER: If I recall correctly, Dr. Ley made this statement at a Party rally here in Nuremberg in a report on the achievement of the German Labor Front. He wanted thereby to emphasize that he was interested in having this confiscation of the funds sanctioned legally, a confiscation which had been carried out through political action. In the same speech he speaks of the recorded achievements of the German Labor Front and points out that these funds were used in the interest of the German workers.
DR. SERVATIUS: Was not the purpose of the creation of the German Labor Front that of securing an instrument to fight against the pacific attitude of the workers?
HUPFAUER: The German Labor Front ...
THE PRESIDENT: Isn't this all contained in the summary?
DR. SERVATIUS: I did not see this summary; I do not know it.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it extends over six or seven pages.
DR. SERVATIUS: I did not see it.
THE PRESIDENT: No, but at any rate, isn't it all gone into in the evidence the witness gave before the Commission?
DR. SERVATIUS: It is unavoidable that certain things have to be brought up here once more. I have endeavored to summarize them, to give an over-all picture. I am through with the problem of the unions and I come to the subject of the cake for foreign workers.
Witness, did not the workers suffer disadvantages through the DAF; did they not protest against the change?
HUPFAUER: In one of the previous questions I already explained that the German Labor Front worked in the interest of its members and of German workers as a whole.
DR. SERVATIUS: That will suffice. Did the DAF receive instructions for the preparation of a war of aggression?
HUPFAUER: I do not know of any written or oral announcement whatsoever which brought the war of aggression to the notice of the DAY
DR. SERVATIUS: Was the German Labor Front entrusted with care of foreign workers during the war?
HUPFAUER: The German Labor Front, as far as I. can recall, voluntarily took over the care of foreign workers as early as 1938.
DR. SERVATIUS: Witness, we are interested here in the question of those foreign workers who came to Germany during the war and particularly those who came under compulsion.
HUPFAUER: The German Labor Front took over the care for all foreign workers during the war
DR. SERVATIUS: What did the task of the DAF consist of?
HUPFAUER: The task of the DAF consisted in the first place in supporting the factory managers who were legally responsible for the welfare of their workers. Furthermore, through its own special measures it endeavored to lighten the factory manager's task.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did the Labor Front perform this duty?
HUPFAUER: The conditions were particularly difficult during the war, especially in those districts which were the targets of enemy bombers. I may, however, state that the German Labor Front did everything humanly possible to care for these workers.
DR. SERVATIUS: During the severe air raids on the Ruhr in 1943 and 1944 you were sent there especially by the Labor Front in order to carry out the difficult task of taking care of the workers; is that correct?
HUPFALTER: About July 1943 I received an order to go to the Ruhr, in order to see that industrial production was maintained in spite of the air raids and to support the competent local authorities to this end.
DR. SERVATIUS: Do you know about the conditions at Krupp's firm in Essen at this period?
HUPFAUER: I do not know details of factory conditions at Krupp's but I can give information about essential matters since I, myself, visited the Krupp concern two or three times during this period; certainly not the whole plant, but part of it.
DR. SERVATIUS: What was undertaken there on the whole in the field of social welfare?
HUPFAUER: In the main, there were two things that had to be taken care of, that is, food for the workers and lodgings. Since Krupp's, as well as the city of Essen, were subjected to repeated, vigorous attacks by bombers, this concern was working under extraordinarily difficult conditions and it was often necessary for outside institutions to assist the works; that is, through the DAF, the State Economic Office; and similar institutions.
DR. SERVATIUS: A report of Dr. Jäger's was shown you in the Commission, a Document D-288. It mentions abuses in connection with the treatment of workers. Does this report correspond to the facts as you found them?
HUPFALTER: Personally, of course, I cannot verify to what extent this report of Dr. Jäger's corresponds to the facts. On the basis of my own experience, however, I am under the impression that in some
respects matters were described in a somewhat exaggerated form by Dr. Xiger, certainly with the good intention of influencing the administration offices which were to help him. I recall that Dr. Jäger once said that the foreign workers only received 1,000 calories. I would like to say in this connection that in Germany, even during the war, there was never a ration of only 1,000 calories a day, even for normal consumers.
DR. SERVATIUS: Can conditions as described by Dr. Jäger about a few camps be applied to all the camps of the Krupp firm?
HUPFAUER: Dr. Jäger, as far as I recall, describes the conditions in two camps and only describes individual incidents there. Conditions were difficult at Krupp's. In spite of that, these circumstances cannot be applied to all camps. If Dr. Jäger points out that for weeks, rain poured into one particular hut, then I can only say that in the city of Essen rain poured for weeks into thousands of houses, and the people who had any shelter at all were happy there, even if the rain did bother them a little.
DR. SERVATIUS: In the Commission other documents referring to the treatment of the workers at Krupp's were shown to you. Do these give an approximate picture of conditions throughout the Reich?
HUPFALTER: The following may be said about that: In the Reich we had tens of thousands of medium-sized and large concerns, and one cannot under any circumstances just generalize about the conditions found at Essen and consider them as normal with regard to the treatment of foreign workers in Germany.
DR. SERVATIUS: Were security measures taken so that no unqualified elements from the DAF would be entrusted with this welfare work?
HUPFAUER: The German Labor Front on the Reich, Gau, and Kreis level had an office which was the Office for the Allocation of Labor, which dealt exclusively with these problems of foreigners. All orders issued by this office to the administration offices and to the firms constantly reiterate in some form or another the necessity for correct and just treatment of the foreign workers for reasons of humanity as well as for reasons of production. To prevent men who had in any way misused their powers, from coming again into contact with the foreign workers, this Office for the Allocation of Labor issued to the Kreise and Gaue a black list of camp leaders. This list contained the names of all men who had misused their powers, listing the punishment they had received for doing so, and stressing the fact, that they were no longer to be used as camp leaders. Orders were even issued enjoining correct treatment, such as for instance, the prohibition of corporal punishment.
DR. SERVATIUS: Does this not show that such orders were necessary so as not to generalize such abuses?
HUPFAUER: In every organization there are antisocial elements and I do not deny that a functionary of the German Labor Front also sometimes misused his powers. This fact was the reason for such an order. On the other hand, this order is to be considered as a collection of the many decrees which had been issued up to that time. One can also say the following about7 it: In every civilized state there are laws prohibiting murder, robbery, and so forth, and with threats of punishment.
THE PRESIDENT: Is it necessary to go into all these details?
DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, it is only because the witness was repeatedly asked this question by the Commission, that I also wanted to present it to the Court. I do not see what special interest the Prosecution has in this question, but it. was repeated many times. I shall now proceed with the next question.
ITurning to the witness.] What measures were taken to safeguard the supervision and execution of the orders concerning social welfare?
HLTPFAUER: Besides the office for the Allocation of Labor which I have already mentioned and which was in itself competent, Dr. Ley set up a so-called "camp inspectorate" within the Labor Front, which was under the direction of a DAF functionary outside the jurisdiction of the Office for the Allocation of Labor, whose task was to inspect the camps for foreigners and on his part to remedy any irregularities. This arrangement also served the tactical purpose of preventing other organizations outside of the DAF from meddling in this problem.
DR. SERVATIUS: Were you yourself able to observe anything about inhuman treatment of the workers, or did you receive any reports to that effect? You visited many works all over the country. What was your general impression?
HUPFAUER: These things were not reported to me directly since I was not the competent official chief for these matters. However, as deputy for the production effort of German factories I have been in hundreds of factories and camps, and I must say that apart from individual cases things were in order there.
DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, I have no more questions put to this witness and I have examined all my witnesses.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[A recess was taken.]
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES. Witness, I want to ask you one question on the expert staff officers of the Gau-, Kreis-, and Ortsgruppenleiter. Did they all come under their respective Hoheitsträger in matters of discipline?
HUPFAUER: Yes. Every functionary of the German Labor Front came under the orders of his immediate superior, also for discipline. I personally, as office chief of the DAF, was subordinate to the leader of the German Labor Front. He alone could appoint me to aspost or remove me from office.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: The experts in the Gau staff, for instance the DAF representatives, received their technical instructions from the DAF chiefs. Is that correct?
HUPFAUER: I personally, as well as the other functionaries, received official instructions from the chiefs; for instance mine came from the DAF leader.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I am sure you can answer my question "yes" or "no." The point I am putting is this. Although you received your professional or expert instructions from your DAF superior, you were also subordinate, were you not, to the Hoheitsträger to whose staff you belonged, for all matters of discipline and matters connected with the Party?
HUPFAUER: If one was a Political Leader, of course, he was subject to Party discipline, and he was concerned only with those matters which belonged to his department and to his official sphere.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Now one question about the Political Leaders of the DAF. A Political Leader in the DAF-was he sworn in as a Political Leader in the same way as any other Political Leader was sworn in?
HUPFAUER: A Political Leader of the DAF took his oath to the Fuehrer.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Did he also receive a special certificate or identity card as issued to all other Political Leaders?
HUPFAUER: Yes, he did; he received a certificate on which his rank was recorded.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONBS: Now, My Lord, this witness was cross-examined before the Commission, and I would only draw the Tribunal's attention to one new document which was not put to him, and to two others which affect the DAF particularly. The first one is a new document, D-338, which will be handed up to the Tribunal. My Lord, it is a report of the conditions in the sick bay of one of the Krupp camps. My purpose in putting it in is that it is addressed to the KVD and the Gauamtsleiter, Doctor Heinz. Perhaps I might put one other question to the witness on that.
Witness, is the KVD the association of doctors and physicians?
HUPFALTER: That is a medical association for Germany, that is to say a relief fund. The organization for the doctors and physicians was the Arztebund (league of doctors and physicians).
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: It is an association of doctors. Now, is the Gauamtsleiter, Doctor Heinz-would you presume from that document, that he was the expert nonpolitical Leiter of the Gau staff concerned with medical matters?
HUPFALTER: The position that he held is not noted here, but I assume it concerns the Gauamtsleiter for the people's health.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: My Lord, the next document the Tribunal will find ...
THE PRESIDENT: What is the number?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I beg your pardon, Exhibit GB-547. The next document will be found on Page 19 of the Tribunal's document book.. My Lord, it is a document which has been put in and I am not certain whether or not it was read to the Tribunal, and I would particularly refer to the penultimate paragraph of the first page which is of considerable importance in connection with the DAF. It is a report by one of the Krupp offices or works managers. It is an original German document and it refers to a discussion which that gentleman had with three members of the DAF in connection with the food which he was trying to get for the starving Russian prisoners of war and Russian laborers.
My Lord, the Tribunal, I know, will stop me if it is familiar with the document, but perhaps I might be allowed to read the one paragraph describing that interview?
THE PRESIDENT: The document has been read,
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: My Lord, I will no more than draw the attention of the Tribunal to the remarks which were passed by the DAYs representative. My Lord, the other document to which I shall draw the attention of the Tribunal will be found on Pages 9 and 10, Document D-226, Exhibit USA-697. Perhaps I might ask the witness one question on this.
Witness, will you look at this document and the covering letter, which is dated November 10, 1944. Is that letter signed by you?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: On Page 10 you will see that it is a covering letter enclosing a decree on the employment of foreign labor, in which it says:
"It is of particular importance not only that the present good output should be maintained, but also that further working reserves should be freed which, without doubt, can still be obtained from these millions of foreign workers."
It then goes on to say in the Paragraph Number 2:
"All men and women of the NSDAP, its subsidiaries and affiliated bodies in the works will, in accordance with instructions from the Kreisleiter, be warned by their Ortsgruppen leaders and be put under obligation..."
My Lord, the document further states that the close co-operation between the Party, the State, and industry with departments of the Secret Police is absolutely necessary for this purpose.
I now read the last three lines of Paragraph 2b:
"Party members, both men and women, and members of Party organizations and affiliated bodies must be expected more than ever before to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner."
At the bottom of the page will be seen:
"The Gau trustee of the DAF will issue detailed instructions in co-operation with the Gau propaganda leader and the leader of the Gau department for social questions."
And then again in the next paragraph it will be seen that there is further evidence of co-operation between the Political Leaders, the Kreisleiter in particular-and the Gestapo.
I have no further questions.
THE PRESIDENT: If there are no further questions, the witness may retire. Dr. Servatius, would you like to make such comments as you think necessary on your documents?
DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, I do not have the documents here now and they have not yet been translated, so that they are not yet before the Tribunal. I would suggest first of all that all the witnesses be examined and by that time the documents will be ready and I will then submit them.
THE PRESIDENT: We have the books ourselves.
DR. SERVATIUS: It is not only the document books which have not been submitted, but it is the affidavits which I do not have yet. Nor could I present them now as I have not yet classified them, for I had assumed that I was to do so in my closing speech. That is the way I understood the decision. I could do it tomorrow morning.
THE PRESIDENT: Then, Dr. Servatius, would it be convenient to comment on some of these documents in these two document books now and leave the affidavits to a later time?
DR. SERVATIUS: I do not have them with me and am also not prepared. It would take up a lot of time and be in disorder. I would prefer to submit them some other time; I would prefer to be given a little more time.
TBE PRESIDENT: Then the Tribunal had better go on with the evidence for the next organization.
DR.SERVATIUS: Mr. President, when shall I submit this matter? After the hearing of witnesses for the next organization, or after all witnesses have been heard for all the organizations?
THE PRESIDENT: After the next one, I think.
DR.SERVATIUS: Very well.
THE PRESIDENT: What is the next organization we will deal with?
DR.RUDOLF MERKEL (Counsel for Gestapo): Mr. President, may it please the Tribunal, first of all I should like to submit documentary proof. For the first one, I am submitting my two document books, Document Book Number 1, containing Numbers 1 to 31, and Document Book Number 2, containing Numbers 32 to 62.
Mr. President, shall I give my opinion on the individual documents now or only after the conclusion of the hearing of witnesses?
THE PRESIDENT: When it is convenient to you.
DR. MERKEL: I should prefer to do so after the hearing of witnesses.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
DR. MERKEL: First of all, I would like to submit a list of 13 witnesses who have been heard before the Commission. Furthermore, I should like to submit a German copy of these 13 records and would ask you first of all to accept them as evidence. I will then deal with the argumentation myself at the conclusion of the hearing of witnesses. Finally, I should like to submit a list of the names and a summary of the affidavits given in the Commission, numbered 1 to 85, which I should also like to offer in evidence.
The three records of the Commission sessions in which these affidavits were discussed I shall submit later, as soon as I have them.
Further, I have still about 1,500 affidavits to submit which I would like to hand over in one collective affidavit. As the summary has not yet been completed, I should like to ask permission to submit this after the conclusion of the hearing of witnesses.
With the permission of the Tribunal, I should like to call the witness, Dr. Best.
THE PRESIDENT: Bring on the witness.
[The witness Best took the stand.]
Will you state your full name?
KARL RUDOLF WERNER BEST (Witness): Dr. Karl Rudolf Werner Best.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the pure truth-and will withhold nothing.
[The witness repeated the oath.]
DR.MERKEL: Witness, please describe your professional career.
BEST: I am a jurist and a professional civil servant. I have been a judge since the beginning of 1929, and since 1933 I have been an administrative official, and since 1942 I have been a diplomat.
DR.MEAKEL: When and how did you join the Gestapo?
BEST: From 1 January 1935 I was employed as Oberregierungsrat and departmental chief for administration and law in the Gestapo office in Berlin, from 1936 until 1940 in the Department of the Security Police within the Reich Ministry of the Interior. From 1940 and until 1942 I was a military administrative official, and since 1942 Reich Plenipotentiary in Denmark.
DR. MERKEL: Was the Gestapo a union of people?
DR.MERKEL: What was the Gestapo?
BEST: The Gestapo was a group of State authorities.
DR.MERKEL: However, the Prosecution seems to consider the Gestapo as a union of people joined together voluntarily in order to realize certain aims. What have you to say about it?
BEST: An organization has members. The officials of the Secret State Police were officials employed by the State, and they occupied a public position. Am organization sets its own aims. The officials of the Secret State Police received their orders from the State and from the State leaders.
DR. MERKEL: Did the Gestapo belong in any way to the NSDAP or to the National Socialist organization?
BEST: No, the officials of the Gestapo were purely and simply State officials.
DR. MERKEL: Was there- a uniform Secret State Police set up in January 1933 throughout the territory of the German Reich?
BEST: No. In the individual German states, political police systems were set up which were created by the various state governments concerned.
DR. MERKEL: Were these police authorities set up entirely new?
BEST: No, they were brought about through the regrouping and reorganization of the political police systems which already existed.
DR. MERKEL: How was this done?
BEST: Through the orders or decrees of the state governments
DR. MERKEL: For what reasons were these new authorities created by the state governments?
BEST: I can state from my own personal experience that in the state of Hesse a state police office was created, as the authority of the police had been shaken by the events that occurred before 1933, and the authority of these officials had to be restored once more through a new kind of political police, especially in relation to the members of the National Socialist movement. I assume that this motive also carried weight in other German states.
DR. MERKEL: Were these new authorities charged with new tasks?
BEST. No. No, they were charged, with the same duties as the political police had been given in the past.
DR. MERKEL: What were these duties?
BEST: On the one hand, the prosecution of political crimes, that is to say, for actions which were committed for political reasons or motives in violation of the criminal law, and, on the other hand, the taking of police measures for the prevention of such crimes.
DR. MERKEL: What do you understand by "police preventive measures"?
BEST: Police preventive measures are those which serve to deter groups of perpetrators or individual perpetrators so that they do not undertake the impending criminal act.
DR. MERKEL: When and how did Himmler become the commander of the political police of the German states?
BEST: Between March of 1933 and March of 1934 Himmler gradually came to an agreement with the governments of the various German states regarding his appointment as chief of political police of each individual state in Germany.
DR. MERKEL: Did Himmler's power arise from his police work or from his political work as a whole?
BEST: No, he had never had anything to do with the police, and he never became familiar with police theories or methods.
DR. MERKEL: Were the authorities and the officials of the various political police responsible for Himmler's coming to power?
BEST: No, they were notified of the appointment as a fait accompli.
DR. MERKEL: When and how were the political police systems of the various German states formed into a uniform German Secret State Police?
BEST: After Himmler's appointment in 1936 as Chief of the German Police in the Reich Ministry of the Interior, the political police systems of the various German states were formed into a uniform Secret State Police, by means of several orders and decrees issued by the Reich Ministry of the Interior.
DR. MERKEL: Did the NSDAP establish a political police anywhere in the German Reich?
BEST: No, nowhere.
DR. MERKEL: Was there anywhere an establishment or an organization of the Party taken over by the State as a political police system?
BEST: No, nowhere.
DR. MERKEL: Were the political police posts of the German states occupied by Party members in 1933?
BEST: No, those posts were occupied by former police. Only a few officials were newly taken on at that time.
DR. MERKEL: Were the leading officials members of the Party?
BEST: That varied in the various states. There were even in part officials who had formerly held quite different views and belonged to other parties.
DR. MERKEL: Can you give an example of this?
BEST: There are several well-known examples. It is well known that Herr Diels, the chief of the Prussian Secret State Police, had formerly held other political opinions; the closest collaborators of Himmler and Heydrich from Munich, who were then assigned to the office of the Secret State Police in Berlin-such as Mueller, who later was head of Amt IV; Huber, Fresch, Beck-they were formerly adherents of the Bavarian People's Party, and even the chief of my small Hessian state police office was a former democrat and Freemason, whom I considered qualified for this post.
DR. MERKEL: Why then did these officials continue in the police service under National Socialist rule?
BEST: For a German official it was a matter of course to keep on serving the State, even though the government changed-as long as he was in a position to do so.
DR. MERKEL: Were these officials removed and later on replaced by National Socialists?
BEST: No, these gentlemen had mostly a very successful career and obtained good posts.
DR. MERKEL: How did the additional recruiting of personnel for the political police take place in the years that followed?
BEST: Officials from the German police agencies were transferred to the offices of the political police. In the course of time new candidates were also enlisted and were trained to become officials according to the general rules which were applicable for the appointment and the training of officials.
DR. MERKEL: Were people taken on from the Party, from the SS, and the SA?
BEST: Only relatively few, as service in these police agencies was not highly paid and therefore was not very much sought after.
DR. MERKEL: Did the officials volunteer to enter the political police?
BEST: The officials were transferred from one office to another.
DR. MERKEL: Did the officials have to comply with these transfers?
BEST: Yes, according to civil service laws they were bound to do so.
DR.MERKEL: What would have been the consequence of a refusal?
BEST: Disciplinary action, with the result that they would have been dismissed from office, with the loss of their acquired rights, for instance, their right to a pension.
DR. MERKEL: Do you know of any such refusal?
BEST: No, I have not heard of any.
DR. MERKEL: Was the political police completely separated from the general administrative set-up of the state?
BEST: No, on all levels there was a close connection with the general interior administration. The chiefs of the state police agencies were at the same time the political experts of the district presidents. The inspectors of the Security Police were personally responsible to the district presidents or to the ministers of the interior of the states and had to comply with their instructions.
DR. MERKEL: Besides the Gestapo authorities were there still other authorities also carrying out political police duties?
BEST: Yes, the district and local police authorities also carried out political police duties.
DR. MERKEL: In what way?
BEST: The district and local police authorities, that is, the Landräte (the chief magistrates of the district), the gendarmerie, and the municipal police administration carried out these duties, either on the basis of information which they received, or they carried out the orders of the competent political police, that is to say the state police authorities.
DR. MERKEL: What part of the entire political police work did the district and local police agencies carry out?
BEST: As far as the volume is concerned, the district and local police authorities handled the major part of the individual state police cases as the state police offices only sent out their officials for their own information in special cases, above all, in cases of treason and high treason.
DR. MERKEL: Did the district and local police agencies also receive the general decrees issued by the Secret State Police?
BEST: Yes, they received these decrees unless they were excluded in some cases by special request.
DR. MERKEL: From what point of view did the officials of the political police take up certain cases?
BEST: Almost without exception on the basis of reports which were sent in from private persons or other agencies outside the Police.
DR. MERKEL: And to which spheres did this apply?
BEST: These charges applied to all spheres which might have interested the political police. The Police, therefore, were not in a position to investigate these cases and to check whether they actually existed. A special information service was only created where organized groups were suspected of carrying out their activities, such as the illegal Communist Party or in the case of espionage of enemy intelligence. In these cases they tried to track down these groups and to expose them through agents or by similar means.
DR. MERKEL: If the Gestapo did not have its own information services. how did arrests and other measures come about against people who had made subversive political statements or the like?
BEST: It is not true, as it often has been and still is being asserted, that the Gestapo had a net of spies and information agencies which kept track of the entire people. With the few officials who were always busy, anything like that could not be carried out. Such individual charges about inopportune political remarks came to the Police from outside, and were not sought for, for 90 percent of these cases were not worth dealing with.
DR.NERKEL: Please speak a little slower. Was there a special class of Gestapo officials which was completely different from the other classes of officials?
BEST: No. The officials of the Gestapo belonged to the same categories as the corresponding officials of other police authorities.
DR. MERKEL: What categories of officials were there in the Gestapo?
BEST: First of all, a clear distinction must be made between administrative officials and executive officials.
DR. MERKEL: How did these categories differ?
BEST: They differed in their tasks, in their legal status, and in their training.
DR. MERKEL: To what extent did their legal status differ?
BEST: The administrative officials were subordinate to the Reich civil service laws and to the general civil service law. But for executive officials there was a special law created within the framework of the police civil service law.
DR. MERKEL: How did they differ in training?
BEST: The administrative officials were trained according to their career, as higher, or lower, or medium administrative officials, in keeping with the rules prevailing in the general and internal administrative agencies and in the police administrative agencies, headquarters, directorates, and so forth. The executive officials, on the other hand, were trained only in the so-called Fuehrerschulen of the Security Police and in the agencies of the Gestapo and the Criminal Police.
DR. MERKEL: What tasks did the administrative officials in the Gestapo have?
BEST: The same tasks as may be found in all other administrative agencies, especially police agencies. That is, dealing with personnel records, with internal economic matters concerning the budget, supplies and on the other hand, the handling of legal problems, such as in my department, for instance, German passport laws or the police laws concerning foreigners.
DR. MERKEL: Could the administrative officials look into and control the activities of the executive officials?
BEST: No, only if there was an administrative official appointed to keep a card index of an executive agency. For the rest they were neither concerned with the handling of records nor with any executive measures.
DR. MERKEL: Could they receive knowledge about the executive tasks in any other way?
BEST: No. That was almost impossible, for each official was bound to keep the matters which he dealt with secret, which by the way was a traditional practice of the police. Individual cases being dealt with were not discussed.
DR. MERKEL: Did the administrative officials join the Gestapo voluntarily?
BEST: NG. Administrative officials were transferred from other internal administrative agencies or from other police agencies to the Secret State Police.
DR. MERKEL: Did all executive officials of the Gestapo carry out the same activities?
BEST: No. Each one carried out the tasks dealt with by the department to which he had been assigned.
DR. MERKEL: What departments were there?
BEST: Besides the Political Police, strictly speaking, there were the Defense Police and the Border Police; later the defensive part of the military Counterintelligence (Abwehr) and the Customs Frontier Service were incorporated into the Gestapo so that they also became an integral part of it.
DR. MERKEL: Were the special tasks of these various departments assigned to the Gestapo after 1933 for the first time?
BEST: No. Even before 1933 they existed. They were mainly dealt with by the same officials who were later on transferred to the Gestapo, and who previously had been employed by the so-called central police agencies and the offices of the Border Police.
DR. MERKEL: You mentioned the Abwehr Police as a part of the Gestapo. What were the tasks of the Abwehr Police?
BEST: The criminal investigation of treason cases, and all of these cases, without exception, were handed over to the courts for judgment.
DR. MERKEL: And you mentioned also the-Border Police. What were their tasks?
BEST: The Border Police were active at the border, checking passports. They controlled the so-called small border traffic. They lent legal assistance to the neighboring foreign police by receiving expelled people, they repressed international traffic of narcotics and carried out searches for criminals and goods at the border.
DR. MERKEL: What were the tasks of the so-called military Abwehr, which was also a part of the Gestapo?
BEST: As I have already said, the defensive part of the military Abwehr, which was assigned to the Gestapo during the war, had the task of gaining information about the enemy intelligence service which was directed against the German Armed Forces and of rendering it harmless through their reconnaissance.
DR. MERKEL: A further part of the Gestapo was the so-called Customs Frontier Service. What were its tasks?
BEST: The Customs Frontier Service, before and after it was assigned to and incorporated into the Gestapo, had the task of patrolling the so-called "green border," that is, all the borders and the crossing points; at the border points where no Border Police was stationed it took over the tasks of the Border Police,
DR. MERKEL: Beyond the executive and the administrative officials, were there other categories of Gestapo members?
BEST: Yes; there were technical officials, and beyond that there was a large number of people, employees who worked in the offices and on the technical staffs.
DR. MERKEL: What percentage of the entire personnel was made up of these employees?
BEST: Depending on the particular year, this percentage varied from 35 to 45 percent.
DR. MERKEL: Did the employees know what tasks were carried out by the executive members?
BEST: As far as the employees, for instance typists, drivers and such, were needed in the course of an executive action, they learned only of this individual action without being told the facts and reasons.
DR. MERKEL: Did the Gestapo pay especially high salaries to its employees?
BEST: No; the salaries were in accordance with the various civil service wage laws and tariffs, and they were so low that it was hard to replace officials and employees.
DR. MERKEL: And where did you get the replacements for the Gestapo?
BEST: According to the law, 90 percent of the candidates for the executive and administrative services had to be taken from regular police candidates who wanted to make police work their life work. Only perhaps 10 percent of the new officials, according to the law, could be taken from other sources, professions, et cetera.
DR. MERKEL: Did the candidates from the regular police choose to work for the Gestapo of their own will or not?
BEST: The members of the regular police had their names put down on a list at Potsdam, and without their being asked, they were assigned
either to the Secret State Police or to the Criminal Police.
DR. MERKEL: How were the candidates for the executive positions trained?
BEST: These candidates were trained in the so-called Fuehrerschule, which was a school for experts of the Security Police. The training courses, to a large extent, were the same for the Criminal Police and the Gestapo, and they received practical training in the various offices and agencies as well.
DR. MERKEL: Were the officials who were in office indoctrinated and influenced politically?
BEST: No. It may well have been a plan of Himmler in 1939 or so for the Main Office for Race and Settlement of the SS to undertake a unified political training program for all the agencies and departments subordinate to Himmler. As long as I was in office, that is, until 1940, this was not done however.
DR.MERKEL: Were not the officials of the Gestapo to carry through their tasks along political lines?
BEST: No; it would have been most undesirable if a minor executive official, such as a Criminal Police assistant, used political judgment in the course of his duty and took his own political decisions. The executive official was to act only according to the general official directives and the orders of the superiors without interfering in politics himself in any way.
DR.MERKEL: And what is meant by the co-ordination of the Gestapo officials with the SS?
BEST: That meant ...
THE,PRESIDENT: Dr. Merkel, are you summarizing the evidence that has been given before the Commission? I ask that because, you see, we do not want to have it all over again. We have ourselves a written summary. We have the evidence taken before the Commission, and all we want you to do is to bring out the really important points and to call the witnesses before us so that we may see them and form our opinion of their credit and hear them cross-examined insofar as it is necessary. We do not want to go through all the evidence over again that has been given before the Commission.
DR.MERKEL: Yes, indeed, Mr. President; and for that very reason I asked at the outset for only two witnesses. I directed the examination of this witness in such a way that now an essential summary will be given by the witness of those points on which he has already been questioned.
MR. THOMAS J. DODD (Executive Trial Counsel for the United States): Mr. President, I think we have gone into much more detail than we went into before the Commission, into matters that have been inquired about here before the Tribunal. I think counsel may be under some kind of a misunderstanding, because before he started his examination, I asked him about how long he thought he would
be. I thought he was being whimsical when he told me between 4 1/2 and 5 hours and he took only 2 hours or so before the Commission. I fear that if he has in mind a 4 1/2 or 5 hour examination when he took only 2 or 2 1/2 hours before the Commission, then he must be under a misunderstanding as to what is in the minds of the Tribunal.
THE PRESIDENT: I hope, Dr. Merkel, I have made it quite clear what we want. You have only got two witnesses. We shall no doubt read the evidence before the Commission of these two witnesses. We want to see the witnesses in order to see what credit is to be attached to their evidence, and we want to give you the opportunity of bringing out any particularly important points. We do not want you to go through the whole thing over again.
DR. MERKEL: Yes, indeed, Mr. President.
[Turning to the witness.] What is meant by the co-ordination of the Gestapo officials with the SS?
BEST: That meant that the official, because he was an official of the Gestapo, was taken over into the SS and received SS rank commensurate with his position.
DR. MERKEL: Was only the Gestapo to be co-ordinated?
BEST: No, the officials of the Criminal Police were to be co-ordinated as well.
DR.MERKEL: When and how did the Reich Security Main Office originate?
BEST: The Reich Security Main Office was first created in September 1939, when the then Chief of the Security Police, Heydrich, in exploiting the situation caused by the war, merged these various departments into one. Up to that time, the Reich Ministry of the Interior and the SS, too, had opposed this unifying move.
DR. MERKEL: Did the concentration camps fall under the jurisdiction of the Gestapo?
DR. MERKEL: Were there no legal directions in this regard?
BEST: In a Prussian decree dealing with the application of the Police decree of 1936 concerning the Prussian Gestapo there was a sentence to the effect that the Secret State Police office was to administer the concentration camps. That was one of the aims of the then chief of the Gestapo office, Heydrich. Himmler, however, never carried out this decree, for he wanted the same situation to prevail as before, that is, that the inspector of the concentration camps remained directly subordinate to him.
DR.MERKEL: Did the officials of the Gestapo have to assume that in the concentration camps the health and life of the inmates was being endangered?
BEST: I can speak only for the time up to the war, and I remember that during that time, the officials of the Secret State Police did not think that the life and health of the inmates were being endangered in the concentration camps. The officials were constantly occupied both with the inmates' families, who were looked after by the Secret State Police, and with released internees for whom work was procured, so that they were in a position to obtain an over-all picture of the experiences and life of the internees in the concentration camps.
DR. MERKEL: Did the officials of the Gestapo have to assume that a criminal purpose was aimed at in the concentration camps?
BEST: No; for the Gestapo had no final aim whatever to achieve. They only carried out and fulfilled the orders or regulations and the tasks which were assigned to them from day to day.
DR. MERKEL: Now, did not the Gestapo also carry out actions which were not demanded of it through the general police directives?
BEST: As far as the Gestapo had to carry out actions which were not provided for in their general instructions, they were an instrument for the carrying out of matters which were alien to the Police sphere. I might say they were misused and abused along these lines. As the first case of this type, I remember the arrest of about 20,000 Jews in November 1938. This was a measure which was not necessary from the police point of view, and would never have been carried out by the Secret State Police on their own initiative, but they had received this order from the Government for political reasons.
DR. MERKEL: Did the leadership of the Gestapo participate in the decision to arrest 20,000 Jews?
BEST: No. From my own experience I know that Heydrich, who was then the Chief of the Security Police, was completely surprised by these measures for I was with him when, but a few meters from the hotel where we were staying, a synagogue went up in flames. We did not know anything about it. Thereupon, Heydrich rushed to Himmler, and received orders there which he transmitted to the agency of the State Police.
DR. MERKEL: And how did the so-called third-degree interrogations take place?
BEST: Concerning the third-degree interrogation methods, Heydrich issued a decree in 1937, which I saw only after it had already been issued, for I was not called in on such matters, being an administrative official. Thereupon I questioned him about it.
DR.MERKEL: What reason did Heydrich give for this decree?
BEST: At that time Heydrich gave me the reason that he had received permission from higher authority to issue this decree. This measure was thought to be necessary to prevent conspiracy activity on the part of organizations hostile to the State and thus prevent actions dangerous to the State; but confessions were in no way to be extorted. He called attention to the fact that foreign police agencies widely applied such methods. He emphasized, however, that he had reserved for himself the right of approval on every individual case in the German Reich; thus he considered any abuse quite out of the question.
DR.MERKEL: From 1933 until 1939 did the Gestapo participate in a conspiracy to plan, prepare, and unleash a war of aggression?
BEST: No. I believe I can say that, for if I, as head of a department in the central office, did not know anything about it, then the minor officials could not have known it either.
DR. MERKEL: Was the Gestapo prepared for the eventuality of a war?
BEST: No. On the one hand they were not prepared with regard to material. They especially lacked arms, vehicles, and signal material, et cetera, for use in occupied territories. There was, on the other hand, no possibility of calling in police reserves, a possibility which the regular police had. The whole work of organizing the Gestapo was still in its initial state, directives for careers were formulated, office buildings were built and it can, therefore, not be said that the Secret Police or the Security Police were ready for a trial of such dimensions.
DR. MERKEL: For what purpose were the Einsatzkommandos set up?
BEST: The Einsatzkommandos were set up on the basis of an agreement with the High Command of the Armed Forces so that in occupied foreign countries the fighting units would be protected and also so that in the occupied countries the most elementary security measures could be taken.
DR. MERKEL: And to whom were they subordinate?
BEST: During the military operations the Einsatzkommandos were subordinate to the military commanders with whose units they marched. After the operations were concluded, their subordination varied according to the administrative system in operation in the area. That meant, depending upon whether the office of a Mlitary Commander or of a Reich Commissioner were set up, the Higher SS and Police Leader was subordinate to this administrative chief, and the Einsatzkommandos were subordinate to the Higher SS and Police Leaders.
DR. MERKEL: And how were these task force commands composed?
BEST: When operation began the task force commands were made up of members of the Gestapo, the Security Service, and of the Criminal Police. During the war, however, the personnel had to be supplemented in great numbers partly by members of the regular police, partly by emergency drafting, by members of the Waffen-SS, and by employees from the areas concerned, so that finally the officials of the Secret Police made up at -most only 10 percent of the entire force.
DR. MERKEL: Were the Einsatzkommandos constituent parts of the Gestapo?
BEST: No, they belonged neither to the central office nor to the Gestapo offices, but they were Security Police units of a special kind.
DR. MERKEL: From your own experience, do you know about the activities of the Einsatzkommandos?
BEST: Yes, especially in Denmark, I had the opportunity to watch the activities of one of these Einsatzkommandos and through friendly relations I was also informed about conditions in Norway as well.
DR. MERKEL: What do you know of the activities of these Einsatzkommandos in Denmark and Norway, for instance?
BEST: I should especially like to emphasize that the forces which were employed there very frequently objected to the measures they were ordered to carry out by the central agencies, measures which would have led to a severe treatment of the local population. For instance, they were against the application of the "Night and Fog Decree," against the application of the "Bullet Decree," and against the Commando Decree, and they rejected and fought against other measures as well. For instance, the Security Police and I severely protested against the deportation of Danish Jews. In Norway the commander of the Security Police, as he and the Reich Commissioner, Terboven, both told me, fought against the severe measures which Reich Commissioner Terboven ordered time and again, and sometimes with the help of the central office in Berlin even prevented some of these measures. This finally caused a break between Terboven and the commander of the Security Police.
DR. MERKEL: Did you yourself suggest the deportation of Jews from Denmark as has been mentioned here occasionally?
BEST: No. In frequent reports in the course of 1943, I strongly rejected these measures. On 29 August 1943, when a state of military emergency was proclaimed in Denmark against my will, the deportation of Jews was ordered apparently by Hitler himself and then, once more, I objected. But when the Foreign Office confirmed that the order had definitely gone out, then I demanded that the state of military emergency be maintained as long as the action was going on, for I expected trouble and riots, and this demand of mine that the action was to take place under the state of military emergency was misinterpreted to the effect that I had wanted it. The best proof that I actually sabotaged the action may be gathered from the fact that I informed certain Danish politicians of what was going to take place and when, so that the Jews could flee, and in reality 6,000 Jews were able to flee, while only 450 were arrested. The Security Police also helped me in this matter. The commander of the Security Police could have reported me because he knew about my actions, and this would have cost me my life.
DR. MERKEL: Did the Security Police in the occupied countries participate in the deportation of workers to the Reich?
BEST: Not a single worker left Denmark, or rather, was deported from Denmark to the Reich. As far as I knew, the Security Police did not assist in deportations from other areas either.
DR. MERKEL: Who was responsible for the shooting of hostages in France? Was that the Police, or who was it?
BEST: From my own experience I know that the orders for the shooting of hostages in France came regularly from the Fuehrer's headquarters. The military commander, who had to carry out these decrees until 1942, was himself strongly against these measures, and General Oito von Stuelpnagel, because of his conflicts with the Fuehrer's headquarters, had a nervous breakdown and had to leave the service. Also the new Higher SS and Police Leader, Oberg, when taking over office, assured me that he was against these measures, too.
DR. MERKEL: From your own experience and observations, can you tell me who ultimately decreed the harsh treatment in the occupied territories?
BEST: According to my experience, it was Hitler himself who in each case issued the decrees.
DR. MERKEL: And what was the characteristic point in Hitler's decrees?
BEST: I found this to be especially characteristic in Hitler's decrees that in the most astonishing way they dealt with details which normally would not occupy the head of a state and supreme commander of armed forces, and that these decrees, so far as they applied to occupied territories, were always intended to have a deterring effect, containing intimidations and threats for some purpose or another without taking into consideration that the opposite side also showed a fighting spirit which could not so easily be daunted.
DR. MERKEL: And how did he react to objections of his subordinates?
BEST: Mostly by outbursts of rage and by a 9tiffening of his attitude. On the other hand he retained those in office who had asked to resign.
DR.MERKEL. Does your book, The German Police, have an official character?
BEST: No, it is a purely private piece of work.
DR. MERKEL: Does your book deal only with definite and actual facts?
BEST: No. In parts the tendencies which were prevalent at the time it was written were pictured as already having obtained their fulfillment.
DR. MERKEL: Why did you do that?
BEST: Partly because I anticipated the tendencies to be realized in a very short time and partly because the book would otherwise have met with difficulties at the time of its publication.
DR. MERKEL: Does not the following fact confirm that certain arbitrary action was taken by the Security Police, namely, that certain directives said that the Chief of the German Police
could order measures beyond his ordinary authority?
BEST: If this was specified in two decrees dealing with the occupation of Austria and the Sudetenland, it meant that the Chief of the German Police would legally have the authority to issue Police decrees in these regions which might deviate from the laws already existing there. This was a transfer of legal authority but no single acts were to be taken either illegally or arbitrarily.
DR.MERKEL: What was the existing police law according to your theory?
BEST: In speaking about police law in my book, I started from the National Socialist conception of the State and from the development of State laws at that time in Germany. When after 1933 the legislative power was transferred to the Government, it gradually became customary law of the State that the will of the head of the State automatically established law. This principle was recognized as law, for one cannot characterize the rules and regulations governing a great power for years on end as anything else but customary law. On the same basis, the State's police law developed, too. An emergency law issued by the Reich President, on 28 February 1933 removed the barriers of the Weimar Constitution, and thus the Police was given much wider scope. The activities and the authority of the Police were regulated through numerous Fuehrer decrees, orders, directives, and so forth, which, since they were decreed by the highest legislative authority of the State, namely, the head of the State himself, had to be considered as valid police laws.
DR. MERKEL: What would be your judgment concerning the orders to the Gestapo or parts of it, to carry out actions, deportations, and executions?
BEST: I have already said that these were measures quite alien to the Police, as they had nothing to do with the ordinary activities of the Police and were not necessary from the Police point of view. But, if the Police received such orders from the head of the State or in the name of the head of the State, then, of course, according to the prevailing conception each individual official had to take it upon himself as an obligation to carry out the decree.
DR.MERKEL: Did you wish to justify this conception when you wrote in your book.
THE PRESIDENT: It is 5 o'clock now. Can you tell the Tribunal how long you think you are going to be with this witness?
DR.MERKEL: I have just two more questions. Perhaps just a few more minutes, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
DR. MERKEL: Did you wish to justify this opinion and this attitude when you said in your book that it was not a question of law but a question of fate that the head of State was setting up the proper law?
BEST: No. In that passage of my book, I meant to give a political warning to the State leadership, that is, that this tremendous amount of power to set law arbitrarily at that time we could not foresee an International Military Tribunal-would be subject to the verdict of fate, and that anyone transgressing against the fundamental human rights of the individual and of nations would be punished by fate. I am sorry to say that I was quite right in my warning.
DR. MERKEL: But if the members of the Gestapo had recognized the orders which they received as criminal, how would you judge their actions then?
BEST: In that case I have to state that they have acted in an express state of emergency, for during the war the entire Police was subject to the military penal code and any official who refused to carry out a decree or order would have been sentenced to death in a court-martial for reason of military insubordination.
DR. MERKEL: I have no further questions.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 1 August 1946 at 1000 hours.]