IMT - Ahnenerbe testimony of Wolfram Sievers

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23540
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

IMT - Ahnenerbe testimony of Wolfram Sievers

Post by David Thompson » 21 Feb 2005 01:37

Here is the IMT testimony of Wolfram Sievers, Reich Manager of the Ancestral Heritage Society ("Ahnenerbe") and Director of its Institute for Military Scientific Research (Institut fuer Wehrwissenschaftliche Zweckforschung), given to the International Military Tribunal (IMT) on 8 August 1946. It is available on-line through the Avalon Project at the Yale University Law School, IMT Proceedings vol. 20, pp. 515-562 (Part 1 of 3).
THE PRESIDENT: The Prosecution wants to cross-examine the witness Sievers. We will call for Wolfram Sievers.

[The witness Sievers took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?

WOLFRAM SIEVERS (Witness): Wolfram Sievers.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me:


8 Aug. 46

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.

MAJOR JONES: You are Wolfram Sievers, and from 1935 on you were Reich manager of the Ahnenerbe (Ancestral Heritage Society), were you not?

SIEVERS: I was the Reich manager of the Ahnenerbe.

MAJOR JONES: You recollect that on 27 June you gave evidence before the
Commissioner appointed by this Tribunal?


MAJOR JONES: I am referring to the transcript of your evidence before the Commission.

Do you recollect that Dr. Pelckmann, the counsel for the SS, announced that he was calling you to show that this Ahnenerbe did not know of the biological experiments of the group by Dr. Rascher, performed on concentration camp inmates?


MAJOR JONES: And do you remember that when Dr. Pelckmann asked you: "Did you have any possibility of having an insight into the circumstances relating to or the planning of the methods or the carrying out of these scientific research works of the military scientific department," you answered "No?"

SIEVERS: I recall that.

MAJOR JONES: And when I cross-examined you upon your testimony do you recall telling the Commissioner that Himmler and Rascher were very close friends and you did not know exactly what went on? Do you remember that?

SIEVERS: I said that I was informed about these matters only in general but not in particular.

MAJOR JONES: In my final question to you in cross-examination I asked you: "How many people do you estimate were murdered in connection with Rascher's and other experiments carried out under the guise of Nazi science?" And to that question you gave this answer: "I cannot say because I had no insight into these matters."

Do you remember that?

SIEVERS: Yes, indeed.


8 Aug. 46

MAJOR JONES: Well now, I want to see whether or not you did have insight into these matters. Did you ever hear of Professor Hirt's skeleton collection?

SIEVERS: That is in connection with the anatomy at the University of

MAJOR JONES: I asked you, did you hear about it?

SIEVERS: Yes, indeed, I did hear of it.

MAJOR JONES: You played a very active part in the creation of that collection of skeletons, did you not?

SIEVERS: I did not understand the end of the question.

MAJOR JONES: You played an active part in the collection of these skeletons?


MAJOR JONES: I want you to look first at the Document Number 116. It is an insertion into the Tribunal's document book at Page 1901. It follows Page 19 in Your Lordship's document book. It win be Exhibit GB-573. [Turning to the witness.] Now we shall be able to test your ignorance of this collection. This is a letter from Brandt to the Reich Security Main Office, dated 6 November 1942. Brandt was Himmler's adjutant, was he not?

SIEVERS: He was his personal secretary.

MAJOR JONES: Now, this letter:

"Subject: Organization of a skeleton collection in the Anatomical Institute of Strasbourg.

"The Reichsfuehrer SS has ordered that everything necessary for the research work of the director of the Anatomical Institute Strasbourg, SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Professor Dr. Hirt, who is at the same time chief of a branch of the Institute for Scientific Research for Specific Military Purposes in the Amt Ahnenerbe, should be placed at his disposal. By order of the Reichsfuehrer SS, I therefore request you to make the organization of the planned skeleton collection possible. SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Sievers will contact you for details."

Now, that Sievers is you, is it not?


MAJOR JONES: Were you contacted for details?

SIEVERS: This refers to the organization of the Anatomical Institute of the University of Strasbourg which had recently been reopened by us, that is, to the reorganization of the so-called Anatomical Museum, an institution which exists in all universities.


8 Aug. 46

MAJOR JONES: This was just a piece of academic research, was it?


MAJOR JONES: Where were you going to get the skeletons from?

SIEVERS: Particulars were to be handled by Professor Hirt ...

MAJOR JONES: Now just answer my question, Witness, because you know perfectly well the answer to it. Where were you going to get those skeletons from?

SIEVERS: They were to be put at our disposal by Auschwitz.

MAJOR JONES: Now, I want you to look at a letter in furtherance of Brandt's communication which you sent to Brandt, containing suggestions as to where those skeletons should come from.

It is Document Number 085, which will be GB-574. It is at Page 11 of the document book, My Lord. It is at Page 14 and 15 of the German document book. Now, that is a letter headed Das Ahnenerbe, dated 9 February 1942, marked "secret." It is addressed to Brandt, Himmler's adjutant. It is your letter, Witness, is it not, it is your signature at the bottom of it?


MAJOR JONES: I will read it out.

"Dear Comrade Brandt:

"I am sorry I was not able to send to you before Professor Dr. Hirt's report, which you requested in your letter of 29 December 1941, because Professor Hirt was taken seriously

Then there follow details of his illness.

"Due to this, Professor Hirt was merely able to write a preliminary report which, however, I should like to submit to you. The report concerns:

"L His research in the field of microscopic living organs; the discovery of a new method of examination and the construction of a new research microscope.

'T. His proposal for securing skulls of Jewish-Bolshevik commissars."

Then there is your signature and you forwarded that letter and Professor Hirt's report and his suggestions, and this is Hirt's report:

"Subject: Securing of skulls of Jewish-Bolshevik commissars for the purpose of
scientific research at the Reich University of Strasbourg.


8 Aug. 46

"We have large collections of skulls of almost all races and peoples at our disposal. Of the Jewish race, however, only very few specimens of skulls are available, with the result that it is impossible to arrive at precise conclusions from examination. The war in the East now presents us with the opportunity to overcome this deficiency. By procuring the skulls of the Jewish-Bolshevik commissars, who represent the prototype of the repulsive, but characteristic, subhuman, we have the chance now to obtain scientific material.

"The best practical method for obtaining and collecting this skull material could be followed by directing the Wehrmacht to turn over alive all captured Jewish-Bolshevik commissars to the Feldpolizei. The Feldpolizei, in turn, would be given special directives to inform a certain office at regular intervals of the numbers and places of detention of these captured Jews, and to give them close attention and care until a special delegate arrives. This special delegate, who will be in charge of securing-the material (a junior physician of the Wehrmacht or the Feldpolizei, or a student of medicine equipped with a motor car and driver), will be required to take a previously stipulated series of photographs, make anthropological measurements, and, in addition, determine as far as possible descent, date of birth, and other personal data.

"Following the subsequently induced death of the Jew, whose head should not be damaged, the physician will sever the head from the body and will forward it to its proper point of destination in a hermetically sealed tin can especially made for this purpose and filled with a conserving fluid. Having arrived at the laboratory, the comparison tests and anatomical research on the skull, as well as determination of the race membership and of pathological features of the skull form, the form and size of the brain, et cetera, can be undertaken by photos, measurements, and other data supplied on the head and the skull itself."

That was the report which you forwarded to Brandt?

SIEVERS: Yes, that was the report of Professor Hirt.

MAJOR JONES: How did the collection of these skeletons from the living proceed?

SIEVERS: I cannot give you the exact details. In earlier interrogations I pointed out that Professor Hirt would have to be asked himself about this matter.

MAJOR JONES: Now, Witness, I want to give you another opportunity of telling the truth. Are you saying to this Tribunal


8 Aug. 46

that you do not know what happened with regard to the progress of that collection of skulls and skeletons?

SIEVERS: That may be seen from the report itself. Persons were then assigned for this task by order of Himmler.

MAJOR JONES: Who put the actions into operation; did you have anything to do with it, with the collection of the bodies?

SIEVERS: No, nothing at all, and I do not know either in what way this whole matter developed, since the direct correspondence and the conferences which had taken place previously between Himmler and Hirt are things I know nothing about, Hirt was an old ...

MAJOR JONES: Well now, Witness, I have given you an opportunity of protecting yourself from perjury. You have not taken it. Look at the next Document Number 086, which is on Page 13 of the document book. It will be GB-575. That is another of your letters. It is another letter of yours, again to Himmler's adjutant. It is marked "secret." It is dated 2 November 1942. Page 13 of your document book, My Lord.

"Dear comrade Brandt: As you know, the Reichsfuehrer SS has directed that SS
Hauptsturmfuehrer Professor Dr. Hirt be supplied with everything needed for his research work. For certain anthropological researches -- I already reported to the Reichsfuehrer SS on them --150 skeletons of prisoners, or rather Jews, are required, which are to be supplied by the Concentration Camp Auschwitz. The only thing that remains to be done is for the Reich Security Main Office to receive an official directive from the Reichsfuehrer SS. This however, can also be given by you, acting for the Reichsfuehrer SS."

You had already been discussing this with Himmler, Witness, had you not? You were his agent for collecting these living men to turn them into skeletons?

SIEVERS: That does not apply in this form. The entire matter covered such a long period of time that I am not able to reconstruct the entire connection on the spur of the moment, as I was concerned only with particulars.

MAJOR JONES: I am sure you are not in a hurry to reconstruct them, as I am sure you could do. For the second time in regard to this matter you have taken an oath, and I want you to give some indication that you know what an oath means. You are a man of education. Look at the next document, Number 089, to refresh your memory as to how distant you were from this matter. It becomes GB-576.

THE PRESIDENT: It came through as 089. Do you mean 089?


8 Aug. 46

MAJOR JONES: 089, Page 16 of Your Lordship's document book.
[Turning to the witness.] That is a letter from Brandt to the RSHA, dated 6 November 1942, marked "Secret." It is for the attention of SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann of the RSHA. Reference is "Establishment of a collection of skeletons at the Anatomical Institute at Strasbourg."


MAJOR JONES: "The Reichsfuehrer SS has issued a directive to the effect that SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Professor Dr. Hirt, who is the director of the Anatomical Institute at Strasbourg and the head of a department of the Institute for Scientific Research for Specific Military Purposes in the Office Ahnenerbe, be furnished with everything he needs for his research work. By order of the Reichsfuehrer SS, therefore, I ask you to be of assistance in bringing about the planned collection, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Sievers will get in touch with you to discuss the details."

Do you still say you know nothing of the details of this matter?

SIEVERS: I did not say that at all. Here we are concerned with the entire historical development of this matter, and in that connection I just cannot say from what moment on this matter started, for that can be traced back directly to conversations between Himmler and Hirt, which took place before Hirt became director of anatomy at Strasbourg University. In that capacity, he had the opportunity of carrying out his task of setting up a modern anatomical institute supplied with the necessary modern scientific facilities and collections.

Thereupon Hirt, in view of his previous conversations with Himmler, made the application as may be seen from the report. Then I received the order to help Hirt in this task assigned to him by Himmler. I do not know whether Himmler himself ...

MAJOR JONES: Just a moment, Witness. How many human beings were killed to create this collection of skeletons?

SIEVERS: 150 people are mentioned in this report.

MAJOR JONES: That was all you assisted in murdering, was it?

SIEVERS: I had nothing to do with the murdering of these people. I simply carried through the function of a mailman.

MAJOR JONES: You were the post office, another of these distinguished Nazi post offices, were you?

SIEVERS: If you wish to refer, as I gather from your question, to my interrogation before the Commission, I must point out that in the interrogation before the Commission only the group Rascher was under discussion.


8 Aug. 46

MAJOR JONES: I asked you quite clearly when I cross-examined you before the Commission: "How many people do you estimate were murdered in connection with the Rascher and other experiments carried out under the guise of Nazi science?" and you told me, "I cannot say, because I had no insight into these matters at all." Fortunately there are records of what you witnesses say available.

Now, just turn to the next document, Number ...

SIEVERS: Even today I cannot give definite dates, and I do not know the exact number of persons used by Rascher for experiments. Therefore I cannot tell you that there were a certain number, since I do not know.

MAJOR JONES: You swore to the Commissioner that you had no insight into these matters. Turn to Document 087, so that your memory may be refreshed. That will be GB-577. It is Page 14 of Your Lordship's document book. [Turning to the witness.] This is another of your letters. It is headed: "Amt Ahnenerbe," "Institute of Scientific Research for Military Purposes." You were the director of that institute, were you not?

SIEVERS: Yes. I was the Reich manager.

MAJOR JONES: Yes. This is dated 21 June 1943. It is marked "Top Secret," to the
RSHA, Department IV B 4, for the attention of SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann.

"Subject: Establishment of a collection of skeletons."

"Referring to your letter of 25 September 1942 ... and the personal conversations which have since taken place on this subject, I wish to inform you that our collaborator, SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Haagen, who was in charge of, the above special project ... broke off his experiments in the Concentration Camp Auschwitz on 15 June 1943 because of the existing danger of epidemics.

"Altogether 115 persons were experimented on..."

Let me just pause there for a moment. What form of experiments were going on on these human beings with a view to the collection of skeletons? What sort of experiments were they, Witness?

SIEVERS: Anthropological measurements.

MAJOR JONES: Before they were murdered, they were anthropologically measured?
That was all there was to it, was it?

SIEVERS: And casts were taken.


8 Aug. 46

MAJOR JONES: It does not take very long to make an anthropological measurement or to take a cast, you know, Witness. There were some other experiments than measurements and casts carried out on these unfortunate victims of your science, were there not?

SIEVERS: I am not familiar with this type of work in Auschwitz. I know only that anthropological measurements were taken, but I do not know how long these measurements took.

MAJOR JONES: I will continue your letter now, which makes it quite clear that there must have been something far more sinister than anthropological measurements.

"Altogether 115 persons were experimented on. 79 were Jews; 30 were Jewesses, 2 were Poles and 4 were Asiatics. At the moment these prisoners are segregated by sex and are under quarantine in two hospital buildings of the Concentration Camp Auschwitz.

"For further experimentation on these selected prisoners it will be necessary to have them transferred to the Concentration Camp Natzweiler. This transfer should be made as speedily as possible in view of the existing danger of an epidemic at Auschwitz. A list of the people selected is attached.

"It is requested to issue the necessary directives. Since this transfer of prisoners presents a certain amount of danger of spreading the epidemic to Natzweiler, we request that immune and clean prisoner clothing for 80 men and 30 women be sent from Natzweiler to Auschwitz immediately. At the same time lodgings should be prepared for the women at Natzweiler for a short time."

That is your letter. If your only interest in these unfortunate people was their anthropological measurements and the securing of their frail bones for skeletons, why did you not kill them straightaway? You must have made experiments on them, the results of which you wanted to discover, did you not?

SIEVERS: No, I know nothing whatever of experiments, and such experiments were not carried on.

MAJOR JONES: What happened to this collection of skeletons? Where was it assembled?

SIEVERS: It was taken to Natzweiler, and the further treatment was in the hands of Professor Hirt.

MAJOR JONES: After SS Professor Hirt and the other SS men had murdered these people, what happened to their bodies? Where were they sent?

SIEVERS: I assume that they were taken to the Anatomical Institute at Strasbourg.


8 Aug. 46

MAJOR JONES: Have you any doubt in your mind about that, Witness? You seem to be hesitant about admitting it. Have you any doubt?

SIEVERS: Well, I have seen no reports about that and did not receive any.

MAJOR JONES: Did you have anything to do with the disposal of those skeletons and those bodies ultimately? Did you have anything to do with the ultimate disposal of those bodies? I appreciate your difficulty in answering the question.

SIEVERS: No. That was in the hands of Professor Hirt. I was not at Strasbourg or Natzweiler in this connection at all.

MAJOR JONES: Did you make any suggestion as to what should happen to the collection at any time?

SIEVERS: It was much later, when questions arose concerning the occupation of
Strasbourg and where the collection was to be deposited.

MAJOR JONES: What did you do, then?

SIEVERS: I believe a conference took place -- I cannot exactly tell you with whom -- to obtain a decision on the part of Himmler as to where the collection was to be housed.

MAJOR JONES: Were you present at that conference?

SIEVERS: I did not talk with Himmler about that matter then.

MAJOR JONES: Did you make any suggestion as to what should happen and what should be done with the human bodies that you had assembled at Strasbourg? Did you have any suggestions to make?

SIEVERS: I cannot say any more. I no longer remember.

MAJOR JONES: Just try to recollect, will you? I'm sure you know. It was 1944. It's not very long ago. I'm sure it must be very vivid in your memory.

SIEVERS: I am sorry; I cannot give you an exact answer because I do not remember.

MAJOR JONES: Witness, when the Allied armies were approaching Strasbourg and the day of reckoning was coming for you, what suggestion did you make with regard to these bodies in Strasbourg? Tell the Court.

SIEVERS: I said that I asked Himmler to make a decision as to what was to become of this collection. This was an affair which originated from conversations and ideas between Himmler and Hirt, and I was drawn into it because of the administrative and technical dispatch of the matter; and therefore Himmler alone could decide what was to be done.


8 Aug. 46

MAJOR JONES: I've again given you an opportunity to protect yourself from perjury. Look at the Document Number 088 at Page 15 of Your Lordship's document book; it will be GB-578. This is another of the letters from your personal staff to Brandt, Himmler's adjutant; and it is addressed to the Reichsfuehrer SS, Personal Staff Department; and that's the Ahnenerbe. It was dated 5 September 1944. It is marked "Top Secret." The Allied armies were advancing towards Strasbourg, weren't they, by then?

SIEVERS: Yes, that is correct.

MAJOR JONES: The subject is "Collection of Jewish skeletons." "According to the proposal of 9 February.1942 and your approval of 23 February 1942 ... Professor Dr. Hirt has assembled the skeleton collection which was previously nonexistent. In view of the vast amount of scientific research connected therewith, the job of reducing the corpses to skeletons has not yet been completed. Since this requires some time for 80 corpses, Hirt requests directives as to what should be done with the collection stored in the morgue of the Anatomical Institute in case Strasbourg should be endangered.

"The corpses can be stripped of, the flesh and thereby rendered unidentifiable. This, however, would mean that at least part of the whole work had been done for nothing and that this unique collection would be lost to science, since it would be impossible to make plaster casts afterwards. The skeleton collection as such is inconspicuous. The flesh parts could be declared as having been left by the French at the time we took over the Anatomical Institute and would be turned over for cremating. Please advise me which of the following three proposals is to be carried out: 1) The collection as a whole to be preserved; 2) The collection to be dissolved in part; 3) The collection to be completely dissolved."

Why were you wanting to deflesh the bodies, Witness?

SIEVERS: In this connection I must say that this letter reached me as an inquiry from Professor Hirt and was passed on by me in this teletype letter. As I said previously, for this reason I could not exactly remember it, for as a layman the entire manner of treatment was totally unknown to me.

MAJOR JONES: Why were you suggesting that the blame should be passed on to the French? You knew there was murder in connection with this collection, didn't you? You knew it perfectly well, Witness.

SIEVERS: I just said that I transmitted an inquiry from Professor Hirt; and that explains that I could not put an inquiry of my own in this form, for I as a layman could have no opinion in this


8 Aug. 46

matter. I stated that this was an inquiry by Hirt which was passed on by me.

MAJOR JONES: Were you able to carry out the suggestion of the defleshing of these bodies?

SIEVERS: I cannot tell you anything about that, for I cannot quite imagine how
it was done.

MAJOR JONES: Happily, again there is a document which indicates the whole story.
Just look at it, because it is clear that you have no intention of telling the truth; Document Number 091, Exhibit GB-579. There are two following notes from Himmler's file. The first note, signed by SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Berg:

"On 12 October 1944 1 had a telephone conversation with SS Standartenfuehrer
Sievers and asked him if the Strasbourg skeleton collection had been completely dissolved as directed by SS Standartenfuehrer Baumert. SS Standartenfuehrer
Sievers could not advise me on that matter since he had not as yet heard anything further from Professor Hirt. I told him that in case the dissolution had not yet been carried out, a certain part of the collection should be preserved. However, every guarantee must be given that a complete dissolution could be made in time in case Strasbourg should be in danger. SS Standartenfuehrer Sievers promised me that he would find out about it and let me know."

And then the next entry, on 26 October 1944, a note for Dr. Brandt:

"During his visit at the operational headquarters on 21 October 1944, SS Standartenfuehrer Sievers told me that the collection in Strasbourg had been completely dissolved in the meantime in accordance with the directive given him at the time. He is of the opinion that this arrangement is for the best in view of the whole situation."

SIEVERS: The authenticity of my testimony can be seen from the remarks of
Hauptsturmfuehrer Berg, for he says "Standartenfuehrer Sievers could not advise
me on that matter since he had not as yet heard anything further from Professor
Hirt." So in every respect I was always dependent upon the statements, reports,
and proposals of Professor Hirt. My own attitude in these matters did not play
any role whatsoever. As I have already mentioned in the interrogations before
the Commission, I was not responsible for any action taken, nor could I prevent
any action.

MAJOR JONES: You were the business manager in this scientific experiment in
murder, weren't you. That was your function? You were a vital cog in the machine
of this "Ahnenerbe"?

SIEVERS: It was by no means an important part, as may be seen from the Commission findings. The "Ahnenerbe" comprised more


8 Aug. 46

than 50 departments and had great research projects on a scientific basis in accord with its original intentions. It occupied itself with these projects so exclusively that these matters, in which I think it became unfortunately involved through Himmler, hardly played any part in it at all. In vain did I try to prevent this connection.

MAJOR JONES: You go as far as to admit that certain unfortunate matters did arise in connection with the work of the Ahnenerbe, do you?

SIEVERS: I never disputed that in the past.

MAJOR JONES: What was your connection with the experiments on human beings in connection with the poison gas or poisoned chemical "Lost," experiments on counteragents for wounds caused by your preparation, "Lost"?

SIEVERS: Professor Hirt developed a therapeutic treatment for the curing of "Lost" wounds. In the development of this method of therapy, he experimented on himself, an experiment which seriously damaged his health, as can be seen from the documents submitted here now.

MAJOR JONES: Did he experiment on anyone other than himself?

SIEVERS: I shall continue., Himmler was interested in these experiments and was quite excited when he heard that Hirt had done these experiments on his own person; and in this connection he referred to a Fuehrer decree that in the case of such experiments volunteers from among prisoners or criminals who had been sentenced to death should be chosen. Thereupon Hirt, and only at Himmler's request, made checks on 20 persons, that is, when he had already ascertained from his own experiments that lasting injury would not arise any longer. He further pointed out that it was much more important-and this was really our first working contact with Hirt-that sufficient experimental animals should be procured for the experiments, for at the outbreak of the war the supply of experimental animals had diminished to such an extent that necessary scientific experiments could no longer be carried out ...

MAJOR JONES: Just a moment, Witness. Can't you answer my questions without going into these lengthy speeches? Did you substitute human beings for animals for the purpose of these experiments?

SIEVERS: You mean in connection with Professor Hirt?

MAJOR JONES: Certainly.

SIEVERS: Yes, I just said that after the experiments on his own person he experimented on 20 people who volunteered for this experiment.


8 Aug. 46

MAJOR JONES: Did you write to Brandt in connection with the "Lost" experiments, explaining certain difficulties that you were getting with the Natzweiler Concentration Camp?

SIEVERS: I do not have the document before me.

MAJOR JONES: Don't worry yourself. Just try to answer my question. Don't worry whether you have the document before you. I appreciate it will be embarrassing if it is found. Just answer my question: Did you write to Brandt in connection with these "Lost" experiments, describing difficulties you were having from the concentration camp?

SIEVERS: I do not remember in detail what difficulties were involved. It may be that I wrote that.

MAJOR JONES: Try to recollect what you wrote about in connection with these
"Lost" experiments, will you?

SIEVERS: Well, I can only mention now as before that these things came to me on the basis of notes and reports from Hirt and that I transmitted these matters without being able to recall them in detail, because these were single incidents among the great mass of my work, so that details could no longer remain in my memory after this length of time.

MAJOR JONES: I appreciate the mass of work you were involved in. I have four or five other experiments in murder to draw your attention to. But just look at the Document Number 092, Page 19 of Your Lordship's document book, GB-580. That is a letter from Brandt to you. It is addressed to you, SS Standartenfuehrer Sievers, the Ahnenerbe society, dated 3 December 1942.

"I have your note of 3 November 1942 in front of me today. At the time I could only speak to SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl very shortly. If I remember correctly, he even sent me a letter informing me that he would have the deficiencies which you described taken care of, but I did not have time to enumerate them in detail. I had just received your letter the same morning on which I went to see SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl. Therefore, it was impossible for me to read it before hand. I only remembered what you had told me during our last conversation. If it should be necessary for me to take this matter up again, will you please let me know."

Now, what were those deficiencies which you had described in your note to Pohl? Just try to remember them.

SIEVERS: I cannot tell you what that dealt with in detail. Please show me the note.

MAJOR JONES: Can you not recollect at all what the difficulty was? Was it connected with the payment for the prisoners to be experimented on?


8 Aug. 46

SIEVERS: I do not recall that.

MAJOR JONES: In any event, these experiments in connection with the "Lost" went on as far as April 1944, didn't they?

SIEVERS: I cannot tell you that from memory.

MAJOR JONES: Try to recollect. Didn't they go on until April 1944? Just look at Document Number 015. You are being totally uncooperative. That would be GB-581.
That is another of your letters to the Reichsfuehrer SS. On Page 6 of your document book, My Lord. To the Reichsfuehrer SS, Personal Staff, Department A, your society. It is dated 11 April 1944. "Top secret." It is from you to Brandt.

"Subject: Fuehrer's order of 1 March 1944.

"Dear Comrade Brandt: In accordance with orders, I got in touch with SS Brigadefuehrer Professor Dr. Brandt and informed him in Beelitz on 31 March about the research work conducted by SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Professor Dr. Hirt. On this occasion I handed to him the plan for the treatment of L.-damage..."

That is "Lost" damage, is it not, Witness?


MAJOR JONES: ". . worked out by Professor Hirt, a copy of which I enclose for you for presentation to the Reichsfuehrer SS, if the occasion should arise. Professor Brandt tells me that he will be in Strasbourg in the first week in April and that he intends to discuss details with Professor Hirt then."

Now, you see that those experiments on human beings with this poison "Lost" went on right through to 1944, didn't they?

SIEVERS: No, it is not true that way. This letter goes back to the following: Professor Brandt was made commissioner general for questions pertaining to chemicals for warfare. I received a copy of this report appointing him, with instructions that now, since his appointment had taken place, I should have Hirt talk with Brandt. Hirt told me that he could not travel to see Brandt at Beelitz just for that. Therefore, at the request of Hirt, I went to see Brandt.

MAJOR JONES: All right, Witness. I want you to turn now to another aspect of your work, the Rascher experiments. You remember telling me that you had no insight into the Rascher experiments?

SIEVERS: I stated that I had a general insight, but knew nothing of particulars.

MAJOR JONES: I want you to look now at your diary for the year 1944, the Ahnenerbe Diary, Document Number 3546-PS. It has


8 Aug. 46

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23540
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Post by David Thompson » 21 Feb 2005 01:39

Part 2:

8 Aug. 46

already been marked Exhibit GB-551. Your Lordship will find a few extracts from it at Page 29 of the document book. Witness, I have made certain extracts from your diary, and it might be convenient for you to follow those extracts, and if you want to check them against your own diary, you will be able to do so. They show how in that year you were intimately connected with Rascher and all these other murderous activities. The first entry is for 6 January, 1830 hours. SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Rascher: Paragraph "c) Letter from Reichsfuehrer SS to Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl about assistance for scientific research work. d) Rooms for carrying through of freezing experiments."

They were at Dachau, weren't they?

SIEVERS: Yes, they were to be carried through, but as I have already said in the Commission interrogations, this was not done. These are notes about a conversation with Rascher in which he was reporting on these matters.

MAJOR JONES: Witness, are you saying that the freezing experiments at Dachau were not carried through?

SIEVERS: Rascher told me that he would not be able to carry through these experiments, that they would have to be carried through in a locality requiring constantly extremely cold temperatures, and so these experiments did not take place.

MAJOR JONES: But you actually saw some of these experiments yourself being carried out, didn't you, in Dachau? You were in Dachau from time to time?

SIEVERS: I am afraid that there is some confusion here between the freezing experiments by the Luftwaffe and the freezing experiments which were to be carried out later on in connection with the cold in the East. Here in the year 1944 we are concerned with the experiments in freezing ...

MAJOR JONES: Which are the freezing experiments that you used to watch?

SIEVERS: I know only the freezing experiments carried on under the Luftwaffe.

MAJOR JONES: Did you see any of them being carried on?

SIEVERS: I had the order to accompany Professor Hirt who, together with Rascher, was to work on this problem and to arrive at a solution. I was present at one of those experiments.

MAJOR JONES: Now we will go to the Document Number 3546-PS, a little further. I have selected some random entries from it to show your close association with this matter. "23 January,


8 Aug. 46

1130 hours, report to RFSS together with Obersturmbannfuehrer Dr. Brandt. 1. We shall receive the reports of Professor Schilling." Now, Professor Schilling is the man who has been sentenced to death for his malaria experiments at Dachau, isn't he?


MAJOR JONES: He was also part of your team of scientists, wasn't he?

SIEVERS: We had nothing to do with Schilling at this report...

MAJOR JONES: You only received his reports, that is all; was it?

SIEVERS: That was the first time that the work of Schilling was mentioned to me at all. And Himmler explained at this meeting that Schilling had arrived at results on immunization which attracted attention. This report was to be given to us so that the Entomology Institute could take cognizance of the results that Dr. May had obtained in malaria experiments with the anopheles mosquito.

MAJOR JONES: We will go on to the next entry in the diary, 28 January. Your own diary has a daily entry of all the details, but here is another extract:

"Co-operation with Institute R, Dachau, that is Rascher's institute at Dachau, is it not?


MAJOR JONES: Then, 29 January, "With Hauptsturmfuehrer Rascher and Dr. Pacholegg
to Dablem." Who was Dr. Pacholegg?

SIEVERS: Dr. Pacholegg was a prisoner whom Rascher was using as assistant.

MAJOR JONES: You knew him quite well yourself, I take it?

SIEVERS: I saw him perhaps two or three times.

MAJOR JONES: He was present at some of the experiments that you watched, was he not?

SIEVERS: They concerned work on a styptic preparation, Polygal...

MAJOR JONES: Just answer my question. Dr. Pacholegg was present at some of the experiments which you watched, was he not?

SIEVERS: He was a co-worker of Rascher's. Whether he was there all the time, I do not know.

MAJOR JONES: If you refuse to answer my question I shall not put it again. We will continue further in your diary:

"2 February. Ca-Research. First demonstration of live cancer cells and therapy. Hirt succeeded in demonstrating live cancer


8 Aug. 46

cells and proving that tripoflavine enters the core of the cells as a cancer-cell-destroying coloring matter.... Protective vaccination against typhus*) by Professor Haagen. Protective vaccinations against typhus are being conducted in Natzweiler with satisfactory results." Your Lordship, I have about half an hour of cross-examination.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

[The Tribunal adjourned until 9 August at 1000 hours.]

* The German term "Fleckfieber" has occasionally been given in English as "spotted fever." Since this term is also applied to other diseases, the medical term "typhus" has been given preference.


One Hundred and Ninety-Ninth Day
Friday; 9 August 1946

Morning Session

[The witness Sievers resumed the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: I think I said-at any rate I will say it again-that the Tribunal will sit in open session tomorrow until 1 o'clock.

MAJOR JONES: Witness, yesterday I was taking you through extracts of your diary for 1944. Have you a copy of those extracts in your possession at the moment? I am referring to the Document 35~46-PS, which is GB-551.

I want to make it clear, My Lord, that the extracts which are in this Document 3546-PS are only sporadic extracts taken from the diary relating to the medical experiments. There are numerous other entries in the diary referring to other aspects of the activity of the "Ahnenerbe".

[Turning to the witness.] I had taken you yesterday to 2 February. Now, will you look at the entries for 22 February? You will see that you had a conference with a Dr. May, and there is an entry relating to co-operation with Dr. Plotner and Professor Schilling. What work was Dr. Plotner on at that time?

SIEVERS: I cannot hear the German translation. I can hear now.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you heard the question?


Dr. Plotner was working together with Professor Schilling. This refers to a communication from Himmler dated i3 January, according to which Schilling's reports were to be passed on to Dr. May. These reports actually were not passed on, because Schilling refused to collaborate.

MAJOR JONES: Now turn to the entry for 25 February.

THE PRESIDENT: Is it a separate document, or is it in this book?

MAJOR JONES: It is in the document book, My Lord, Page 29 of the document book, Document 3546-PS.


9 Aug. 46

[Turning to the witness.] On 25 February you make an entry regarding:

"The order of the RFSS about his work in Dachau in cooperation with Rascher was made known.

"22 March, 1830 to 2100 hours, SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Rascher ... preparations for the freezing experiments for the winter half-year 1944 to 1945."

You were at Dachau with Rascher on that date, were you not?

SIEVERS: These are experiments which, as I already testified before the Commission, Himmler wanted to have carried through on account of casualties from cold in the East. These experiments, however, could not be carried through at Dachau. This was reported to Himmler, and he ordered that they were to be carried through during the following winter. But they were never carried through, because Rascher was already arrested in April.

MAJOR JONES: For whom were you carrying through these experiments? Was it for the Army?

SIEVERS: These experiments were to be carried through together with the Reich Physician of the SS, Grawitz.

MAJOR JONES: He was the SS chief surgeon, was he not Grawitz?


MAJOR JONES: So that these experiments were for the benefit of the Waffen-SS, were they?

SIEVERS: Grawitz personally refused to carry through these experiments and due to pending discussions they were not carried through in the winter of 1943-44, as Himmler had wished. Grawitz held the view that if these experiments were to be carried through, Herr Rascher should go to the front and work in the hospitals there.

MAJOR JONES: You have not answered my question, Witness. For whom were these experiments being carried out? Was it for the Waffen-SS?

SIEVERS: The order for the execution of these experiments was never transmitted. The arrangements were made between the Reich Physician of the SS and the Wehrmacht, but I do not know the particulars.

MAJOR JONES: If you please ... if you would look at the next entry: "14 April, station Rascher; situation of work; further work; orders for provisional carrying on; Hauptsturmfuehrer Plotner introduced."

Now, that was the time when Rascher was arrested, was it not?


9 Aug. 46

SIEVERS: Yes, after Rascher had been arrested.

MAJOR JONES: And Hauptsturmfuehrer Plotner succeeded Rascher, did he not?


MAJOR JONES: And the experiments continued in Dachau and elsewhere? The removal of Rascher made no difference?

SIEVERS: These experiments were completely different from those carried out by Rascher.

MAJOR JONES: You had attended some of the Rascher experiments, had you not?

SIEVERS: I was at Dachau several times, yes.

MAJOR JONES: And you were there with Himmler on several occasions when Rascher was carrying out his experiments, were you not?

SIEVERS: No, I never went to see Rascher at Dachau with Himmler.

MAJOR JONES: I want you to look at the Document Number 2428-PS, which will be GB-582, which is an affidavit of Dr. Pacholegg, of whom you spoke yesterday. Your Lordship will find it at Page 20 of the document book, Page 25 of the English document book, Page 32 of the German document book. [Turning to the witness.] You will see this question and answer put to Pacholegg after he had described the experiments of the throwing of victims into cold water and of the experiments on prostitutes to recover... to restore the warmth of these people:

"Question: Who was present at such an experiment?

"Answer: Heinrich Himmler and his staff generally witnessed these important experiments here at Dachau, or any new experiment. Standartenfuehrer Sievers was always present with Himmler."

SIEVERS: That is not true.

MAJOR JONES: These experiments were hideous experiments, weren't they, Witness?

SIEVERS: I have just said that I was not present at those experiments when Himmler was there.

MAJOR JONES: Were you ever present when Himmler was not there?

SIEVERS: I saw two experiments; one I already mentioned yesterday, an experiment which I saw in part when Professor Hirt


9 Aug. 46

was present; the other was an experiment in the low-pressure chamber.

MAJOR JONES: I want you to turn to Page 30 of the German document book, Page 22 of the English document book, so that your memory may be refreshed as to what sort of suffering these victims had to suffer under these so-called low-pressure experiments. [Turning to the President.] It is in the last answer on Page 22 of the English document book, My Lord.

Pacholegg states there:

"I have personally seen, through the observation window of the chamber, when a prisoner inside would stand a vacuum until his lungs ruptured. Some experiments gave men such pressure in their heads that they would go mad and pull out their hair in an effort to relieve the pressure. They would tear their heads and faces with their fingers and nails in an attempt to maim themselves in their madness.

They would beat the walls with their hands and head and scream in an effort to relieve pressure on their eardrums. These cases of extremes of vacuums generally ended in the death of the subject. An extreme experiment was so certain to result in death that in many instances the chamber was used for routine execution purposes rather than as an experiment. I have known Rascher's experiments to subject a prisoner to vacuum conditions or extreme pressure conditions, or combinations of both, for as long as 30 minutes. The experiments were generally classified into two groups, one known as the living experiments, and the other simply as the 'X' experiment, which was a way of saying execution experiment."

Those were the sorts of experiments that were being carried on by Rascher for the Luftwaffe, weren't they?

SIEVERS: Those are low-pressure experiments, and I hear of the method of carrying them through here for the first time. The experiments which I witnessed ...

MAJOR JONES: Just answer my question. Those experiments of that type were being carried out by the Luftwaffe ... for the Luftwaffe, weren't they?


MAJOR JONES: What was the participation of G6ring in these experiments?

SIEVERS: That is unknown to me, because the experiments at Dachau started in the year 1941 and I only learned of them after they had already begun. Connection with the Luftwaffe was established through the medical inspection offices of the Luftwaffe.


9 Aug. 49

To what extent Goering was informed of these matters, I do not know.

MAJOR JONES: Through whom was the connection with the Navy maintained in connection with these scientific experiments?

SIEVERS: That I do not know.

MAJOR JONES: And the Army?

SIEVERS: That I do not know either.

MAJOR JONES: You see, you were the director of this Institute of Scientific Research for Military Purposes. You must have had liaison with each of the arms of the services, didn't you?

SIEVERS: The channels with regard to these Luftwaffe matters went via Obergruppenfuehrer Wolff to General Milch.

MAJOR JONES: The Luftwaffe surgeon working on these Rascher experiments was Weltz, wasn't he? W-e-l-t-z, Oberfeldarzt of the Luftwaffe? That is so, isn't it?

SIEVERS: That may be. Several gentlemen were mentioned whom I did not know. Official letters were also written by others on behalf of Rascher. But without data X can no longer recall names. I gave evidence on these matters already last year.

MAJOR JONES: Does the name of Dr. Holzlohner convey anything to you? He signed the report on the Schilling experiments.


MAJOR JONES: He was professor of physiology of the Medical School at the University of Kiel, wasn't he?

SIEVERS: Yes. I mentioned before the Commission that Professor Holzl6hner worked together with Dr. Rascher on experiments in Dachau.

MAJOR JONES: Was he the representative of the Navy in these experiments?

SIEVERS, No, he was an Air Force surgeon.

MAJOR JONES: Do you remember the experiments that were carried out for making sea water, drinkable?

SIEVERS: Yes, I have heard of them.

MAJOR JONES: They took place in -- they started in May of 1944, didn't they?

SIEVERS: Yes, that may be; in May.

MAJOR JONES: And you remember that you attended a conference on 20 May 1944 in the Air Ministry, to which members of the Navy and the Luftwaffe were invited; you remember that occasion?


9 Aug. 46

SIEVERS: I do not remember any conference in the Air Ministry.

MAJOR JONES: Do you remember a conference anywhere else where you had a discussion on these experiments to make sea water drinkable?

SIEVERS: Yes. It was a conference with Dr. Grawitz, Reichsarzt SS. In this connection, I must explain that after the arrest of Rascher, his successor, Dr. Plotner, refused to carry through experiments on human beings. Only with the arrest of Rascher did the cruel way in which he experimented, and the manner in which he exceeded his orders by fat, come to light. Himmler said ...

MAJOR JONES: Well -- just a moment. I will test you on that in a moment, but I just want you to try to apply your mind to these experiments for making sea water drinkable. Do you remember that there was a conference in which representatives of the Air Force and of the Navy attended? That is all I want you to deal with at the moment. You can give your explanation later.

SIEVERS: I have already said that I do recall a conference with Dr. Grawitz; and later a conference at Dachau with gentlemen of the Luftwaffe did take place. Whether gentlemen of the Navy were present, I do not recall.

MAJOR JONES: But I want you to try to remember, because it is important, you see. These were experiments on sea water. One would assume that the Navy would be interested. They were interested, and they sent a representative, didn't they?

SIEVERS: I do not think that a representative of the Navy was present.

MAJOR JONES: Do you know Dr. Laurenz, connected with U-boats at Kiel; L-a-u-r-e-n-z?

SIEVERS: No, I do not know him.

MAJOR JONES: Was it decided, in connection with these sea water experiments, to use Gypsies for the purpose of experiments?

SIEVERS: In this connection, I must continue the explanation which I started to give a little while ago, because this is a very decisive point. Dr. Plotner refused to continue the experiments on human beings, and Himmler did not demand them of him. Consequently, Grawitz received the order to devote himself to these matters. It is clear, therefore, that each experiment on human beings depended upon the willingness of the physician. Grawitz said that the Luftwaffe, that is, a professor from Vienna, had requested that camp inmates should be made available, and it is possible that Gypsies were mentioned in connection with the experiments to make sea water drinkable. I know nothing about


9 Aug. 46

the details of the experiments. It was ordered at that time that the chemical and physiological experiments be carried through, and for this purpose the institute of Dr. May had to make two rooms available for a period of 3 weeks, and in these rooms the Luftwaffe physicians worked. Otherwise, these experiments ...

MAJOR JONES: You had a staff working in Dachau on these experiments consisting of a supervisor, three medical chemists, one female assistant, and three noncommissioned officers, didn't you, in connection with these sea water experiments for Grawitz?

SIEVERS: Yes, that may be. That was under the supervision of Grawitz and his directives; how these directives were carried out, I did not know. We just confiscated the rooms; everything else was arranged by Grawitz. I do not know who worked there, or whether personnel of the SS worked there with the gentlemen of the Luftwaffe from Vienna.

MAJOR JONES: Why was this staff working in Dachau? Why was Dachau chosen as the place for the scientific experiments for making sea water drinkable? It was because you had the human guinea pigs there, wasn't it?

SIEVERS: I have already- said that the Luftwaffe contacted Himmler for the purpose of obtaining camp inmates for these experiments; consequently, these experiments were arranged by Grawitz to take place in Dachau.

MAJOR JONES: I want you now to go back to your diary, Page 30 of the British document book, My Lord. You will see an entry for 14 April, "Political department about escape of Pacholegg." This prisoner Pacholegg escaped, didn't he?

SIEVERS: Yes, at any rate he had disappeared.

MAJOR JONES: Why did you go to the political department about it?

SIEVERS: Because I had been in Vorarlberg together with Rascher and Pacholegg, and I was accused of aiding Pacholegg to escape. All the circumstances of the arrest at the time when the Rascher affair was suddenly uncovered were at issue.

MAJOR JONES: You must have been extremely anxious when Pacholegg escaped; he knew a lot of the facts about your work, didn't he? You must have been most anxious to secure his recapture.

SIEVERS: I was mainly anxious about myself, for it is not hard to imagine what would have happened to me, since Pacholegg knew much-if it had been proved that I had favored his escape, as was being maintained.

MAJOR JONES: If you look at the entry for 23 May, you will see that you had a conference with the Reichsarzt SS Grawitz,


9 Aug. 46

Poppendiek, and Plotner. Then you had "Division as to the work of Dr. Schilling." Then, in the afternoon, you had a 2-hour conference with Plotner.

That was about these experiments to make sea water drinkable, wasn't it?

SIEVERS: No, this concerned Plotner's desire to discontinue his work with Schilling. Plotner complained bitterly about the type of work carried on by Schilling and said thathe could not longer follow him. Plotner had been ordered there as a Waffen-SS physician.

MAJOR JONES: You yourself must have been feeling pangs of conscience at this time about the use of inmates because your military situation was rather delicate, wasn't it?

SIEVERS: I did not have a conflict of conscience at that late date only, but I felt pangs of conscience already much earlier. In view of the documents which are being submitted now and the accusations which are raised against me personally in that connection, I am forced to make a personal confession, a fundamental statement, and I should like to ask the Tribunal for permission to do so now.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks that you may say anything you wish in that regard.

MAJOR JONES: I would like to say, My Lord, that I have a number of other matters to put to this witness. If he cares ...

THE PRESIDENT: You can put it to him first.

MAJOR JONES: If he cares to reserve his statement to the end, he can do so, but it might be convenient to my course, if he makes his confession now. I am at the disposal of the Court for this matter.

THE PRESIDENT: Let him make it now, then.

MAJOR JONES: If your Lordship pleases. Then will you make your confession to the Tribunal?

SIEVERS: Before the Commission on 27 June I had to make factual statements in direct answer to the questions put to me, and I was repeatedly asked to be brief. I therefore had to limit myself to a statement of the relevant facts and to disregard my own person and my personal attitude to these questions. I note that in consequence my credibility has been doubted, and it has been said that I personally participated in these incriminating experiments and did not wish to tell the truth. In view of this, I must, in my own defense, say the following:

I entered the Party as well as the SS as a leading member of .a secret organization of the
resistance movement and on its orders.


9 Aug. 46

Indeed, this position in the Ahnenerbe afforded us special opportunities of working illegally against the Nazi system ...

MAJOR JONES: Witness, when you say "resistance movement," I did not quite understand you. What is the "resistance movement" that you were leading?

SIEVERS: The secret organization led by Dr. Hielscher, who in connection with the 20th of July was arrested and kept imprisoned by the Gestapo for a long time. I repeatedly protested against the experiments, with the result that finally Himmler issued an order, also included in these documents, that resistance against these experiments would be regarded as high treason, and would therefore be punishable by death. Among other things, he told me that no one would ask me to carry out the experiments personally, and that he himself would have the full responsibility for them. Besides -- as I myself read later -- he said that such experiments on human beings had taken place repeatedly as part of medical research and were necessary, as was proved by the famous experiments on human beings carried out in 1900 by Dieth, and later by Goldberger, in America. Nevertheless my conflict of conscience ...

MAJOR JONES: If Your Lordship pleases, I do not know whether the Tribunal wants to hear more of this material. It seems to me to be more an avoidance than a confession, and I have numerous matters that I desire to put to this witness.

SIEVERS: Well, I am just going to make a confession.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Elwyn Jones, the Tribunal thinks you had better go on with your cross-examination. If the witness wants to add something at the end he may do so.

MAJOR JONES: Now, just look back again at your diary. On 27 June you had a conference with SS Stabsfuehrer Dr. Brandt and SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Berg on the "creating of a scientific research station in a concentration camp. Information about conference on 15 June 1944 with SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl." That was 27 June 1944, you know. On 25 July, you had a conference with SS Stabsfuehrer Maurer, Oranienburg, about the "use of inmates for scientific purposes." That was when you were leading the resistance movement. On 26 July: "SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Fischer by phone. Order in accordance with conference with SS Stabsfuehrer Maurer, dated 25 July 1944, to visit quickly all concentration camps in order to make the final selection of the persons."

In October-on 21 October you were having another conference. "Proceeding of research of SS Sturmbannfuehrer Professor Dr. Hirt. Renewed release of Staff Surgeon Dr. Winimer for


9 Aug. 46

duty and making preparations for the assignment of the chemist, SS Obersturmfuehrer Martinek..."

On 23 October, you were having a conference with Poppendiek. On that day you record in your diary: "Taking over of biological research by SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Plotner in Dachau."

Witness, do you remember your experiments on the quickness of coagulation of blood?


MAJOR JONES: Did you take part in any such experiments?

SIEVERS: I never participated in these experiments, because I am not a research man. But I remember this work very well. Dr. Plotner, as I said, refused to carry out experiments on human beings. The means of quickening the coagulation of blood...

MAJOR JONES: I am sorry to interrupt you, but I would like you to say what you personally knew about these experiments. What was the form of them, for instance?

SIEVERS: Experiments for quickening the coagulation of blood were conducted in the University Clinic of Innsbruck by Professor Breitner, and in the University Clinic of Vienna by Professor Denk.

MAJOR JONES: What happened was that bullets were fired into prisoners, into concentration camp detainees. That was the form of the experiments, wasn't it?

SIEVERS: This experiment was carried out by Rascher, not by Dr. Plotner, and it came to light only after Rascher's arrest.

MAJOR JONES: I am not concerned with who carried them out. You knew the form they took, and that was the form that bullets were fired into detainees of concentration camps and then efforts were made to stop the flow of blood, that was the form of the experiments, isn't that true?

SIEVERS: That only came to light after Rascher's arrest. Before that, he maintained that these experiments among others were carried out at the hospital in Schwabing.

MAJOR JONES: Just look at Document Number 065, Page 8 of the English document book. That will become GB-583, and it is an affidavit of Oswald Pohl, the head of WVHA (Economic and Administrative Main Office), and I want you to look at Paragraph 4, Page 11 of the German document book, Paragraph 4, in which he gives some testimony about you. I only want to read some of that in Paragraph 4.

"Sievers came to find out from me about the possibilities for the manufacturing of medicine. I mentioned the Deutsche Heilmittel Limited in Prague, which belonged to the Deutsche


9 Aug. 46

Werke, managed by Oberfuehrer Baier of my staff. I recommended Sievers to go to him. The medicine was manufactured later in Schlachters (Black Forest). Sievers told me that the 'Ahnenerbe,' whose manager Sievers was, had developed in Dachau a medicine which quickly brought coagulation of blood. It was enormously important for our combat troops because it prevented profuse bleeding. It was the result of experiments in Dachau during which a prisoner was fired upon. A prisoner in Dachau, a specialist in this field, is said to have taken an important part in the discovery of this medicine."

Now, those facts are true, aren't they?

SIEVERS: Yes, but the account is quite incomplete. When this discussion took place, Rascher had already long ago been arrested, and it was known that he himself had carried out this experiment. Since it was Dr. Plotner who had perfected this medicine, I told Pohl about the experiments in detail and submitted to him the expert opinion of Professor Breitner and Professor Denk from Vienna. The picture presented in this document is completely misleading.

MAJOR JONES: Witness, Rascher is dead. It is convenient to cast all the blame on to him, isn't it?

SIEVERS: The point in this case is to clarify the facts, and I can only say what is true and what I know exactly.

MAJOR JONES: Did you have anything to do with the experiments into the cause of contagious jaundice?

SIEVERS: No, I do not know anything about them.

MAJOR JONES: I want you to look at Document Number 010, Page 4 of the English document book, My Lord, Exhibit GB-584. That is a letter, as you see, from Grawitz to Himmler. It is dated I June 1943 and headed "Top Secret. Subject: Investigation into the cause of contagious jaundice."

THE PRESIDENT: What is the signature?

MAJOR JONES: That is the signature of Grawitz, is it not, the Reich Physician of the SS and Police?


MAJOR JONES: "Reichsfuehrer: The Fuehrer's Commissioner General, SS Brigadefuehrer Professor Dr. Brandt..." -- pausing there for a moment -- he was the Reich Commissioner for Health and Sanitation, wasn't he?



9 Aug. 46

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23540
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Post by David Thompson » 21 Feb 2005 01:40

Part 3 (final):

9 Aug. 46

MAJOR JONES: "The Fuehrer's Commissioner General called on me with the request that I should assist him by placing prisoners at his disposal for research work into the cause of contagious jaundice which he was furthering considerably.

"The work has been carried out up to now by a Stabsarzt Dr. Dohmen, within the framework of the Research Institute of the Army Medical Inspectorate, and with the participation of the Robert Koch Institute. It has up to now led to the result, in agreement with the findings of other German research workers, that contagious jaundice is not carried by bacteria but by a virus. In order to increase our knowledge, which is based up to now only on vaccination experiments from men to animals, the reverse way is now necessary, namely, the vaccination of the cultivated virus into humans. One must reckon on cases of death.

"The therapeutic and above all the prophylactic results are naturally largely dependent on this last experimental step. Eight prisoners condemned to death would be required, if possible of fairly young age, within the prisoners' hospital of Sachsenhausen concentration camp. I respectfully ask for a decision, Reichsfuehrer, as to:

"1. Whether I may start the experiments in the prescribed form;

"2. Whether the experiments may be carried out in the Sachsenhausen prison hospital by Stabsarzt Dr. Dohmen himself.

"Although Herr Dohmen does not belong to the SS (he is an SA leader and a Party member), I would recommend this as an exception in the interests of the continuity of the series of experiments and thus of the accuracy of the results.

The practical importance of the question raised for our own troops, especially in southern Russia, is shown by the fact that this illness has been very common in the past years, both amongst us in the Waffen-SS and Police and in the Army, so that companies have been reduced by 60 percent for periods of up to 6 weeks."

And then there follows some more comment about the illness, and that is signed by Grawitz. Grawitz was the vice president of the German Red Cross, wasn't he?


MAJOR JONES: I want to turn to the Document Number 011 on Page 5 of the English document book-Exhibit GB-585. That is the reply of Himmler to the letter of Grawitz. It is dated


9 Aug. 46

16 June 1943. "Subject: Research into the cause of contagious Jaundice," and Himmler says:

"I give permission for 8 criminals condemned to death in Auschwitz (8 Jews of the Polish resistance movement who have been condemned to death) to be used for the experiments.

"I agree to Dr. Dohmen carrying out these experiments at Sachsenhausen. Like you, I am of the opinion that a real combating of contagious jaundice would be of inestimable value."

-- And then it is signed by Himmler with a note at the bottom:

"SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, Berlin. Copy sent with a request that note be taken."

Those experiments into the cause of contagious jaundice were done for the Waffen-SS and for the Army, weren't they?

SIEVERS: I hear of these things for the first time today. I know nothing about them and I cannot see what connection I can have with them.

MAJOR JONES: If you please, I want you to deal next with your experiments into typhus vaccine. Perhaps you may be a little more familiar with the nature of those experiments. Have you any knowledge of those? Professor Haagen might give you a clue.

SIEVERS: Yes, Professor Haagen did carry out vaccinations against typhus at Natzweiler, at the request of the camp where this disease had broken out.

MAJOR JONES: Who delegated Haagen for this work?

SIEVERS: He was not delegated at all. He was the hygienist at the University of Strasbourg.

MAJOR JONES: But I asked you who delegated him for this work, and not what his qualifications were for it.

SIEVERS: As far as I recall, these experiments were carried through by Haagen on order of the Medical Inspectorate of the Wehrmacht and of the Luftwaffe.

MAJOR JONES: He was commissioned by Goering, wasn't he?

SIEVERS: I do not know who commissioned him on behalf of the Luftwaffe.

MAJOR JONES: Well, just look at your own letter on this subject, Document Number 008, the first document in the English document book, Exhibit GB-586. It is headed

"Institute of Scientific Research for Military Purposes", dated 19 May 1944. That was after Rascher had been removed from the scene. It is to:


9 Aug. 46

"SS Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Waffen-SS Pohl, Chief of the VFVHA.

Subject: Production of a new kind Of typhus serum."

"Dear Obergruppenfuehrer:

Following our application of 30 September 1943, you gave your authorization on 25 October 1943 for the carrying out of experiments with a view to producing a new kind of typhus serum and transferred 100 suitable prisoners to Natzweiler for this purpose. It has been possible to carry out the experiments very satisfactorily so far with the help of the chief of Department D III, SS Standartenfuehrer Dr. Dolling, commissioned by you."

Then there follows a number of sentences dealing with the medical aspects and
scientific aspects of it. Then a few lines down:

"I therefore request you to detail persons to Natzweiler again for the purpose of inoculation. In order to obtain results which are as accurate as possible and can also be utilized for statistical purposes, 200 persons should be placed at our disposal for inoculation this time; it is also again necessary that they be as far as possible in the same physical conditions as is encountered among members of the Armed Forces. If imperative reasons should demand that 200 persons should not be transferred to Natzweiler for the experiments, the experiments could be carried out in another concentration camp, although it would entail great difficulties.

The overcoming of these difficulties would, if necessary, have to be accepted by the scientists employed -- although the latter are at the same time very much tied down to the University of Strasbourg owing to their lecturing activities-as the results which will certainly be achieved are of the most far-reaching importance for maintaining the health of our soldiers. As I have informed you, the direction for carrying out the experiments is in the hands of the director of the Hygienic Institute of the Reich University of Strasbourg, Professor Dr. Haagen, Oberstabsarzt and consulting hygienist to an air fleet, who was commissioned with this task by the Reich Marshal as President of the Reich Research Council. In accordance with his instructions, Dr. Haagen has to report about his work to the chief of the Luftwaffe medical services; in doing this he has to mention with whose support the work is carried out; that is, first, the Reich Research Council and secondly, the SS. I request your decision which of the following is to be mentioned as the supporting authority of the SS; a) the Reichsfuehrer SS; or, b) Economic and Administrative Main Office; or, c) the Institute of Scientific Research for Military Purposes of the Waffen-SS."


9 Aug. 46

Are you still saying that Goering didn't commission Haagen?

SIEVERS: Yes, I still maintain that. It says here, "Reich Marshal, President of the Reich Research Council." That does not at all mean that Herr Goering had knowledge of all these commissions of which tens of thousands were given in his name and on his stationery. The various authorized persons and offices concerned were competent in this respect, and that is evident from this document which lists the chief of the Luftwaffe medical services.

MAJOR JONES: The Tribunal has this document before it, so I am not going to argue with you on it.

THE PRESIDENT: Who signed the letter?

MAJOR JONES: The letter is signed by you, isn't it?


MAJOR JONES: And you mentioned G6ring specifically by name, not simply Reich Research Council. Now just look at the Document Number 009 which is further to that letter of yours. It will be GB-587. It is Page 3 of the document book. That deals with the question as to who is to have the honor of having taken the lead in these experiments. It is to the "Reichsfuehrer SS, Personal Staff." Whose signature is at the bottom of that letter?

SIEVERS: The personal secretary of the Reichsfuehrer, Dr. Brandt.

MAJOR JONES: It is dated 6 June 1944, subject:

"Production of a new kind of serum against typhus.

"Dear Comrade Sievers, Thanks very much for sending the copy of your letter of 19 May 1944 to SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl. I have informed the Reichsfuehrer SS, as the matter seemed to me to be sufficiently important. In answer to the question as to who is to be designated as the supporting authority of the SS, the Reichsfuehrer SS said that both the SS Economic Administrative Main Office (WVHA) and the Institute of Scientific Research for Specific Military Purposes should be mentioned. In addition, there is no objection to saying straight out that the Reichsfuehrer SS has also personally supported the experiments."
Now what was your connection with the experiments into sterilization? Witness, I will just remind you that they were of three kinds. There were the experiments with the juice of a plant Caladium Siguinum, experiments with X-ray sterilization, and Klauberg's experiments on sterilization without operation. I have no doubt you remember them?

SIEVERS: No, I do not remember them. I do not know them.

MAJOR JONES: Do you know who was carrying them out?


9 Aug. 46

SIEVERS: No, I do not know.

MAJOR JONES: Look at the Document Number 035, which will be GB-589, Page 7 of
Your Lordship's English document book. Page 8 of the German document book. That is a letter to the Reich Plenipotentiary for the Consolidation of German Folkdom, Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler, Chief of Police, Berlin. That was another arm of the SS that was interested in these medical experiments, was it not? Did you hear my question?

SIEVERS: Yes. The address is completely wrong. It should just read: The Reich
Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Folkdom.

MAJOR JONES: I asked you whether it was another branch of the SS that was involved in these medical experiments?

SIEVERS: No, it had nothing to do with it.

MAJOR JONES: I'll just read the letter in that case. It has the initials of Himmler on the top, has it not, "H. H." You are extremely familiar with them.


MAJOR JONES: The letter reads:

"I beg you to direct your attention to the following statements. I have asked Professor Hohn to hand this letter to you and have thus selected the direct path to you in order to avoid the slower official channels and to eliminate the possibility of an indiscretion, bearing in mind the enormous importanc4, under certain circumstances, of the idea submitted. Prompted by the thought that the enemy must not only be conquered but exterminated, I feel obliged to submit the following to you as the Reich Plenipotentiary for the Consolidation of German Folkdom. Dr. Madaus is publishing the results of his research into sterilization by medicaments (I enclose both studies). In reading this article, I was struck by the enormous importance of this medicament in the present struggle of our people. Should it be possible to produce as soon as possible as a result of this research, a medicament which, after a comparatively brief period, would cause an unnoticed sterilization in individuals, we would have at our disposal a new and very effective weapon. The thought alone that the 3 million Bolsheviks now in German captivity could be sterilized, so that they would be available for work but precluded from propagation, opens up the most far-reaching perspectives. Madaus discovered that the juice of the plant Caladium Seguinum, swallowed or injected, produces after a certain time, particularly in male animals, but also in females, a lasting sterility. The illustrations which


9 Aug. 46

accompany the scientific work are convincing. Provided that the idea expressed by me meets with your approval, the following path could be followed: (1) Dr. Madaus should not publish any more studies of this kind (the enemy is listening in!); (2) Cultivation of the plant (easily raised in greenhouses!); (3) Immediate experiments on humans (criminals) in order to ascertain the dose and the duration of treatment; (4) The quickest possible discovery of the formula of the composition of the effective chemical agent in order; (5) To produce the same synthetically if possible. I myself, as a German physician and a retired Oberarzt of the reserve in the medical corps of the German Armed Forces, undertake to observe complete silence on the use to which the subject raised by me in this letter is to be put. Heil Hitler:" -- signed -- "Dr. Ad. Pokorny, specialist on skin and venereal diseases."

Do you know that subsequent to that, greenhouses were erected and these plants were cultivated?

SIEVERS: No, I do not know that. I only remember in this connection that this publication of Dr. Madaus, but without reference to this rather strange suggestion of Dr. Pokorny, was sent for comment to Dr. Von Wunzelburg, who was an authority on tropical plants, and who told us immediately that such a plant could not be raised here and was not even available.

MAJOR JONES: I appreciate the difficulties of growing these tropical plants in
Germany, but an attempt was made to grow them, was it not?

SIEVERS: I do not know whether an attempt was made.

MAJOR JONES: Grawitz, the Reich Surgeon of the SS, was in charge of these sterilization experiments, was he not?

SIEVERS: I do not know that, either. It may be.

MAJOR JONES: Now, apart from these experiments, scientific murder, the "Ahnenerbe" was used for political purposes, was it not?

SIEVERS: Political purposes? What do you mean by that in this connection?

MAJOR JONES: Fifth column activity abroad, for instance. The penetration of the scientific thought of other countries as a method of political influence.


MAJOR JONES: Just look at the Document Number 1698-PS, will you? It is inserted before Page 20 of the English document


9 Aug. 46

book. There is just one page of it. 1698-PS will be Exhibit GB-589. It is an annual report dated 17 November 1944.

"Das Almenerbe (The Heritage of the Ancestors), Germanic Scientific Mission, Outpost Flanders, SS-Obersturmfuehrer (F) Dr. Augustin. Annual report.

"The work is aimed at an intellectual deepening and broadening especially in the intellectual circles of Flanders and the Walloon district. In following the Germanic line which the SS represents, 1. The liberal-humanistic educational front must be invaded by winning over occupants of intellectual key positions; 2. Combating the great German myths with the idea of the Great-Germanic Reich community; 3. To promote the revival of the consciousness of German culture and German folkdom with the exceedingly effective -- though neutrally camouflaged -- political propaganda agent of science, bearing in mind the arrogant French assumptions of culture and the Flemish inferiority complex."

Then in the next paragraph it says:

"Thereby those circles of intelligentsia can be reached which hitherto have not been affected by the official press and propaganda. In university, college, and scientific policies, in the promotion of students' interests and in the granting of scholarships, in the selection for college training and in the education and promotion of the talented, our work must make an effort. To control, influence, and bind the holders of intellectual key positions (for example college professors, associations of lawyers, tutors, students, artists), that is the mission . . ."

THE PRESIDENT: Well Mr. Elwyn Jones, are you submitting that this is a crime?

MAJOR JONES: Yes, My Lord, I am submitting that it is an essential part of the machinery of this last instrument. First of all the perversion of science, secondly of using that perversion to infiltrate other countries. But I won't press the matter at all. Now Witness, the "Ahnenerbe" was a component part of the SS, was it not?

SIEVERS: I gave detailed evidence on this matter before the Commission. The Germanic scientific mission was subordinate to the SS Main Office. Dr. Augustin was appointed as expert for this work which in itself was only a continuation of the activity of many previous decades. I cannot believe that this amounts to fifth column activity or misuse of science for political purposes.

MAJOR JONES: I was asking you generally as to the "Ahnenerbe"; that is, was it a department of the SS? Look at Document


9 Aug. 46

488-PS, Page 19a of the English document book. That is Himmler's order with regard to the "Ahnenerbe." I only want to draw your attention to the first paragraph.

"I, the undersigned Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler, hereby certify that the research and teaching society 'Das Ahnenerbe'... and the 'Ahnenerbestiftung' (Ancestral Research Institute) are parts of my personal staff and thus are departments of the SS."

The funds of the Institute for Scientific -Research, they came from the Waffen-SS funds, did they not?

SIEVERS: I testified on both of these points before the Commission. I said that
the "Ahnenerbe" became an office in the personal staff of the Reichsfuehrer SS in 1942 and that its status as a registered association was not affected thereby. I said that the funds of the "Ahnenerbe" came from the Ahnenerbestiftung, from funds of the German Forschungsgemeinschaft (Research Society), from fees of members, from funds of the Reich and from contributions of industry. Waffen-SS and Wehrmacht funds were, as I stated before, put at the disposal of the Institute of Scientific Research for Specific Military Purposes only.

MAJOR JONES: The members of the "Ahnenerbe" that. were carrying out these experiments were all SS men, were they not? I want you just to look at the nominal roll of the "Ahnenerbe." Document D-962 which is the last document I am putting to you. It will be GB-591. You see the names of Professor Dr. Walter Wust, SS Oberfuehrer Dr. Hans Brandt? And you see as you go down the whole of that list, that with one exception they are all officers of the SS, are they not?

SIEVERS: Yes but with the difference that it does not show for what purpose it is drawn up, because it merely lists the SS leaders in the "Ahnenerbe" with reference to their marital status and the number of their children. I have already said that approximately one-half of the colleagues belonged to the SS, the other half not at all.

MAJOR JONES: There are over 100 names there of professors and German doctors connected with your work. They were all with one exception members of the SS. Were they not?

SIEVERS: But they are not all scientists, the list also includes truck drivers. I have to go through the list before being able to answer the question.

MAJOR JONES: I don't want to go through the whole list, but they are all SS men, are they not, and they were all employed on the work of the "Ahnenerbe."


9 Aug. 46

SIEVERS: No, indeed they were not. The list includes also honorary members who only had a research commission.

MAJOR JONES: I have no more questions, My Lord.

SIEVERS: May I now be allowed to complete my statement?

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps we had better have the re-examination first.

HERR PELCKMANN: Witness, what was the purpose of the "Ahnenerbe" institute? Was its purpose medical research or any other research? Please be brief in your answer.

SIEVERS: Its purpose was to carry out research, in the Arts and Sciences, as set down in the statute of the "Ahnenerbe."

HERR PELCKMANN: Is it correct that the "Ahnenerbe" had about 50 different research commissions?

SIEVERS: The "Ahnenerbe" had 50 different research branches. These were institutes. Beyond that it carried out more than 100 extensive research projects.

HERR PELCKMANN: Did the Institute of Scientific Research for Specific Military
Purposes fall under the research projects and the various institutes which you have just mentioned?

SIEVERS: It was a separate group within the "Ahnenerbe." That may also be seen from the fact that it was financed ...

HERR PELCKMANN: Please do not answer that now. I am now asking you only if it was one of the institutes which you mentioned. I shall put other questions and you will have further opportunity of speaking.

SIEVERS: No, it was not one of the institutes I just mentioned.

HERR PELCKMANN: But you heard that the Institute of Scientific Research for
Specific Military Purposes carried out experiments; is that correct?


HERR PELCKMANN: How were the projects and the institutes of the "Ahnenerbe" financed?

SIEVERS: The Ahnenerbestiftung administered all the funds which it received, and made them available to the "Ahnenerbe."

HERR PELCKMANN: Where did the funds come from?

SIEVERS: From the means of the German Research Society, from membership dues, from funds of the Reich.

HERR PELCKMANN: What do you mean by membership dues? What members?


9 Aug. 46

SIEVERS: The inscribed members. Every German could become a member of the "Ahnenerbe."

HERR PELCKMANN: Were they SS members?

SIEVERS: No, everybody could become a member. Membership neither of the Party nor of the SS was a condition.

HERR PELCKMANN: You said that the money came from membership dues. Where else did the money come from?

SIEVERS: From contributions of industry.

HERR PELCKMANN: And where did the funds for the so-called Institute of Scientific Research for Specific Military Purposes come from?

SIEVERS: Solely from Wehrmacht funds which had to be separately accounted for according to the regulations...

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, I have got before me the Commission evidence about all this. This is all stated in the Commission evidence, is it not? I have it before me.

HERR PELCKMANN: Quite right, Your Lordship, but the Prosecution also raised the questions just now, and in such a way that the witness had, no chance to give an exhaustive reply.

THE PRESIDENT: It is not necessary to argue the point. Don't you think that you can make your re-examination shorter, in view of the fact that it is all given before the Commission which the Tribunal has before it?

[Turning to the witness.] What percentage of members, or rather of collaborators and of those who were charged with the research projects for the Ahnenerbe, belonged to the SS?

SIEVERS: About one-half.

HERR PELCKMANN: Were the rest Party members?

SIEVERS: That was not a condition.

HERR PELCKMANN: Then were there collaborators who were nonpolitical?

SIEVERS: There were even some who were rejected by the Party and by the State for political reasons.

HERR PELCKMANN: Was Professor Seibt, a Norwegian, one of the members who worked there?

SIEVERS: Yes, Professor Seibt received a research commission from the "Ahnenerbe," after I had effected his release from a concentration camp.


9 Aug. 46

HERR PELCKMANN: I have before me the original of your diary, parts of which were quoted to you in your cross-examination. 330 pages of this diary deal with the time on which you were questioned. The extracts, the parts which were presented to you, number only three pages. In view of this comparison, can you say that the matters which were discussed here constitute only a very small fraction of the work carried on by the "Ahnenerbe"? Please be very brief.

SIEVERS: Yes, I can confirm that, and therefore I am bent upon making my statement in this connection. I did not preserve my notes for the purpose of concealing things which should be truthfully clarified in the general interests of all.

HERR PELCKMANN: Witness, if fragments of this diary are presented to you as they were presented to you in your cross-examination, are you in a position to give exhaustive and correct explanations without going into the context and into the whole diary?

SIEVERS: This is quite impossible because the size of the diary already shows the considerable scope of my main work, and the comparative insignificance of the parts discussed here. And considering the period of time over which these matters extend, it is simply impossible to reconstruct them out of their context and to make complete and truthful statements on them. In my previous interrogations I again and again pointed this out, and asked for my secret notes and data so that I could give comprehensive accounts. For I myself, in view of my political attitude, was eager to uncover the wrongs done, and to aid in punishing them. But my requests were always in vain and my written application of 20 December remained unanswered. Relevant evidence has thus been passed over.

HERR PELCKMANN: That is sufficient, Witness.

I should like to mention just one example of the completely wrong picture which can result if the witness is limited to fragments of his diary. This is the entry on Page 103, Friday, 14 April, 1300 hours. "Station Rascher: stage of work, future work, orders for provisional carrying on Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Plotner initiated." The sentences which follow are not included in the extract.

Now, Witness, would you read those sentences and comment on them? Does this entry show, as the Prosecution maintains, that Dr. Plotner continued Rascher's work?

SIEVERS: The entry shows clearly that Dr. Plotner did not continue Dr. Rascher's experiments on human beings. On the basis of these notes I could now develop a comprehensive picture, but the time at my disposal is too short.


9 Aug. 46

HERR PELCKMANN: Please make your comments.

SIEVERS: In a dramatic way Dr. Plotner described ...

THE PRESIDENT: We don't want drama, we want the entry.

HERR PELCKMANN: Unfortunately I cannot read it, My Lord, because there is only one copy of the document.

THE PRESIDENT: Has not the witness got the document before him? Why can't he read it then?

SIEVERS: Yes, I shall read it.

"Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Plotner initiated.... Most important task: Polygal
tests." -- That was the coagulating agent.

HERR PELCKMANN: Please give your comments when you have read the entry.

SIEVERS: "Order for carrying on of work Putzengruber. Police Sergeant Neff reports that production of Polygal at Schlachters is assured for 3 months. Feix reports on production experience and submits first results from Schlachters. In Schlachters the accounting system is to be set up by Gau economic adviser. Purchase of machines."

HERR PELCKMANN: That means then that Dr. Plotner was initiated ...

SIEVERS: Initiated into all the administrative and economic matters connected with the manufacture of Polygal.

HERR PELCKMANN: Now you were going to describe what happened at that time.

SIEVERS: Yes. Dr. Rascher had begun the development of Polygal, but the medicament did not come up to expectations. Dr. Plotner, who ...

THE PRESIDENT: The question that you put to him was: "Does not this entry show that Dr. Plotner did not continue the investigations of Dr. Rascher?" How does the entry show it? He did not tell us how the entry shows it.

HERR PELCKMANN: Your Lordship, I did not, as far as I remember, put the question in that way.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann ...

HERR PELCKMANN: I wanted to know something quite different from this witness. May I please clarify this point after the witness has read these remarks and his memory has been refreshed?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, in my recollection and in the recollection of the
other members of the Tribunal the question


9 Aug. 46

you put was: "Does not this entry in your diary show that Dr. Plotner did not carry on the work of Dr. Rascher?" That was the question which you put. And we want an answer to it and no other answer.

HERR PELCKMANN: Then I did not express myself correctly, Your Lordship.
[Turning to the witness.] I wanted to know if now, after reading this entry, your memory was refreshed as to the happenings at that time?


HERR PELCKMANN: Then please describe them.

SIEVERS: The activities of the institute ...

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. Dr. Pelckmann, in the first place you realize, or you should realize, that the object of reexamination is to make clear or to contradict anything which has been put in cross-examination, and that is the only purpose of re-examination. In the second place, the Tribunal does not assume from the fact that the witness has been cross-examined to show that certain brutal and illegal experiments were made by this institution, that the institution did nothing else, and we do not propose to sit here for a prolonged time to hear everything else that this institution did. The only object of your redirect examination should be to contradict the fact that illegal experiments were made, or to clear up any doubts which may arise upon those illegal experiments, not to show us that they did other things.

HERR PELCKALANN: Witness, were further inhuman experiments carried out after Rascher's arrest, as far as you know?



SIEVERS: No. Dr. Plotner, as I have already testified, expressly refused to carry them out.

HERR PELCKMANN: Did you, after that time, hear of any other inhuman experiments?

SIEVERS: No, not in connection with the Institute of Scientific Research for Specific Military Purposes, into which I had insight.

HERR PELCKMANN: You say that you had insight into the Institute of Scientific Research for Specific Military Purposes. What personalities of the SS had insight into these experiments?

SIEVERS: Only those who had been charged with these matters by Himmler personally, and there were very few ...

HERR PELCKMANN: How many approximately? Five or ten more or less do not matter.


9 Aug. 46

SIEVERS: At a high estimate, 10 to 20.

HERR PELCKMANN: Were these directives secret or strictly secret? Did they fall into the category "Secret?' or "Top Secret"?

SIEVERS: Yes, they fell into these two top secret categories.

HERR PELCKMANN: Can you therefore from your own knowledge say whether you consider it possible that the mass of the SS men knew about these things?

SIEVERS: It is quite impossible that they knew or could have known about these things.

HERR PELCKMANN: Do you recall that Freiherr von Eberstein was quite indignant when he learned of Rascher's experiments and horrified that anything like that could happen? Do you have any personal recollection of that?.

SIEVERS: Yes, because I had to report to him personally in this matter. He was extremely angry during this conversation and spoke about the things which he had heard in connection with the arrest of Rascher, and which shocked me, too, very deeply. In his excitement he began to accuse me and was then very astonished to hear that Himmler alone had been in closest personal connection with Rascher and that all instructions had come directly from Himmler.

HERR PELCKMANN: That is sufficient. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Now, can you conclude your ... the observation you want to make, in 5 minutes?

SIEVERS: Yes, not longer.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, go on then.

SIEVERS: In the cross-examination I was accused of course of having had no personal misgivings whatsoever regarding these experiments on human beings. I . must contradict this emphatically. My conflict of conscience was very great and it was not appeased by the assurances which, as I mentioned earlier, I had received from Himmler. I therefore spoke with the leader of our secret organization, and we came to the conclusion that further resistance would -- in the first place -- have cost me my head, since an open demonstration would have been the only choice left to us, and secondly, that the people affected by the experiments would not in any way have been protected or helped thereby. These experiments would have been carried through in one way or another in any event. But wherever possible I did secretly what no other person would have done, or dared to do. I prevented, through silent sabotage, whatever could possibly be prevented. My repeated offers to elaborate on this point with the help of my secret data and records,


9 Aug. 46

which go into several hundred pages, as Dr. Pelckmann has just shown, were in vain.
Even now, time does not permit me to give a more comprehensive picture of the background of events and of the events themselves. I personally rejected these experiments and did not support them. I played a role similar to that of a syndic at a university, who must be at the disposal of all professors and heads of institutes in all financial, economic, and administrative affairs. Therefore, I repudiate doubts cast on my credibility and my personal attitude. The documents submitted show exactly what I said about these matters in my interrogations before the Commission, which Dr. Pelckmann again mentioned just now. If my credibility is doubted with regard to my alleged illegal activities, then the leader of the secret organization, Dr. Hielseher, who is now in Nuremberg, is at the Tribunal's disposal in this matter. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[A recess was taken.]

MAJOR JONES: Your Lordship, I have three brief documents to put in on the SS case. The first is the Document 4043-PS, which I hand in on behalf of the Polish Delegation; it will be GB-606. It sets out the names of the 846 Polish priests and monks of the Polish clergy murdered at Dachau Concentration Camp.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that a State report or what?

MAJOR JONES: It is an affidavit by a Polish priest, attaching the names of the priests to his statements; the names appeared in a Polish publication, a Polish newspaper. I see that it is a statement by the undersigned Roman Catholic priest, giving the following statement on oath. I am wrong in saying that it is a statement on oath; but it does attach a list of the priests from a publication of the section "Press and Culture" which was published in the Catholic weekly Polska Wierna. If the Tribunal is uneasy about the document, I shan't press it. I am asked by the Polish Delegation to submit it. If Your Lordship pleases, the Document Number 007, which will be GB-592, in place of the last document, that is an order from Himmler to the Higher SS and Police Chief for the Ukraine in Kiev, dated 7 September 1943. It reads:

"Dear Prutzmann, General of the Infantry Staff has special orders with regard to the Donets area. Get in touch with him immediately. I order you to co-operate as much as you can. The aim to be achieved is that when areas in the Ukraine are evacuated, not a human being, not a single head

9 Aug. 46

of cattle, not a hundredweight of cereals and not a railway line remain behind; that not a house remain standing; not a mine which will not be unworkable for years to come; not a well which is not poisoned. The enemy must really find completely burnt and destroyed land. Discuss these things with Staff straight away and do your absolute best. Heil Hitler, Yours," signed, "Himmler."

There is a note attached to it: "SS Obergruppenfuehrer Berger has received the copy with the request that the Reich Minister for the East be informed." There are copies to the chief of the Regular Police, chief of the Security Police and SD, SS Obergruppenfuehrer Berger, chief of the partisan-combating units, copies sent with a request that they be noted.

Finally, the Document Number 022 refers to instructions of Himmler.

THE PRESIDENT: Who was the Reich Minister at the time?

MAJOR JONES: As I understand it, My Lord, it was Rosenberg.

Then, finally, there is a Document Number 022, which will be GB-593. That is an instruction of Himmler dated 10 July 1943, to the chief of units for combating partisans, the higher SS and Police chiefs in the Ukraine, higher SS and Police chiefs in Russia, central sector.

The first paragraph:

"The Fuehrer has decided that the whole population has to be evacuated from partisan-ridden territories of the northern Ukraine and of the central Russian sector.

"2. The whole male population fit for work will be directed to the Reich Commissioner for the Allocation of Labor according to regulations which are yet to be laid down, but under the conditions of prisoners of war.

"3. The female population will be directed to the Reich Commissioner for the Allocation of Labor for work in the Reich.

"4. Part of the female population and all children who have no parents will be sent to our collecting points.

"5. The evacuated territories are to be taken over and run by the Higher SS and Police Leaders, as much as possible in accordance with an arrangement still to be made with the Reich Minister of Food and with the Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. They are to be planted partly with Kok-Sagys and as far as possible agricultural use is to be made of them. The camps for children are to be established on the edge of these territories in order that


9 Aug. 46

the children may be available as labor for the cultivation of Kok-Sagys and for agriculture.

"Final proposals are to be submitted to me as soon as possible." Signed, "H. Himmler."

There are the names of Berger and Backe below.

HERR PELCKMANN: Your Lordship, may I put a formal ...

THE PRESIDENT: Just one minute.... Yes, Dr. Pelckmann.

HERR PELCKMANN: May I put a formal question with regard to the proceedings? The witness is still in the court-room: Are these documents to be submitted to him?

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has some questions to put to the witness.

HERR PELCKMANN: If these documents are not put to the witness, then I should like to object to their being used, for the reasons given before that the submission of evidence by the Prosecution is closed.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has already ruled that new documents may be put in in this way.

DR. LATERNSER (Counsel for the General Staff and the OKW): Mr. President, may I be permitted to put one question to this witness to clarify a name which he used?
[Turning to the witness.] Witness, you mentioned the Institute for Scientific Research for Specific Military Purposes. Is that the full name of the institute? Will you give the full name?

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat your answer.

SIEVERS: Institute for Scientific Research for Specific Military Purposes of the Waffen-SS and Police.

DR. LATERNSER: Thank you.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Witness, you said that the Luftwaffe contacted Himmler for getting inmates from the concentration camps. Who in the Luftwaffe made that contact?

SIEVERS: I did not say that the Luftwaffe contacted concentration camps on Himmler's orders.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Wait, Witness, wait, listen to the question. I didn't suggest that you said that. I said that you said that someone in the Luftwaffe had made a contact with Himmler in order to get inmates from the concentration camps. Did you say that?

SIEVERS: No, I didn't say that either. But Dr. Grawitz, the Reich Physician of the SS, informed me that the Luftwaffe-I do not know which department of it-had applied for the sea water


9 Aug. 46

experiments to be carried out and had asked that detainees be made available for that purpose.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): You mentioned the name of General Milch in your testimony. What connection, if any, did General Milch have with any of these experiments?

SIEVERS: Only with the high-altitude and the freezing experiments which were started in 1941 and carried out by medical officers of the Luftwaffe, that is, by Professor Holzlohner, by Stabsarzt Dr. Rascher, by Stabsarzt Dr. Finke, and by a third gentleman of the Aeronautical Research Institute at Adlershof, whose name I have forgotten.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): And what connection did General Milch have with these experiments? Did he make the arrangements for them?

SIEVERS: No, as far as I know the technical arrangements were made by the Medical Inspectorate of the Luftwaffe.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): What connection did General Milch have with this matter? Did he contact Himmler?

SIEVERS: That is apparent, from the exchange of letters between Field Marshal Milch and Obergruppenfuehrer Wolff, which were shown to me here in previous interrogations.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): You then have no other knowledge about General Milch except from the correspondence that has been submitted?

SIEVERS: No, I do not know more than that.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): In how many camps besides Dachau were there experiment stations or stations for biological research?

SIEVERS: That I cannot say, because I only know of the experiments of Rascher and Hirt, and no others, that is, experiments which were conducted in the field of the Reich Physician SS. Of these nothing could be learned, because they too ...

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): You don't know?


THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): One last question. You said that after Dr. Rascher's arrest there were no more illegal experiments that were connected with the institute. Do you know of any others that were not connected with the institute?

SIEVERS: That is connected with the previous question. One did hear, for instance, of the work of Professor Schilling; but I never became acquainted with it in detail.


9 Aug. 46

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

LT. COMDR. HARRIS: May it please the Tribunal, during the examination of the witness, Dr. .

THE PRESIDENT: You are not wanting me to keep the witness, are you?


Return to “Holocaust & 20th Century War Crimes”