http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/08-01-46.htm and http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/08-02-46.htm
DR. GAWLIK: I have interrogated seven witnesses before the Commission. I do not have the complete transcript yet and will hand it in later. With the approval of the Tribunal I shall call the witness Hoeppner.
[The witness Hoeppner took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name?
ROLF HEINZ HOEPPNER (Witness): Rolf Heinz Hoeppner.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God -- the Almighty and Omniscient -- that I will speak the pure truth -- and will withhold and add nothing.
[The witness repeated the oath.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.
DR. GAWLIK: First, I shall put a few preliminary questions in order to prove that the witness has the necessary knowledge to answer questions on the subject. When were you born?
HOEPPNER: On 24 February 1910.
DR. GAWLIK: Since when have you been a member of the SD
HOEPPNER: Since the beginning of 1934.
DR. GAVILIK: What activity did you carry on before then?
HOEPPNER: Before that I studied and performed preliminary legal service.
DR. GAWLIK: What law examination did you pass?
HOEPPNER: I passed the first and second state legal examinations.
DR. GAWLIK: What was your position in the SD?
HOEPPNER: First I was an honorary assistant and adviser in an Oberabschnitt, later Stabsführer in a Leitabschnitt, then Abschnittsführer and finally Gruppenleiter in the Reich Security Main Office.
DR. GAVTLIK: What group did you head?
HOEPPNER: I directed Group III A, law administration and communal life.
DR. GAWLIK: In what other spheres of duty did you work in the SD?
HOEPPNER: In the beginning, during my honorary activity, I worked on press matters. Later, on personnel and organizational questions, and as Stabsführer and Abschnittsführer I was responsible for the entire sphere of duty of the Security Service in my jurisdiction.
DR. GAWLIK: Now I shall turn to my first topic. I want to prove that the SD as an intelligence organization and the SS formation in the SD were completely different organizations. What does the abbreviation SD mean?
HOEPPNER: The abbreviation SD means Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service).
DR. GAWLIK: What different meanings did the word have?
HOEPPNER: The word Sicherheitsdienst has two completely different meanings. First, it means the special SS formation SD, and second, the Security Service as an intelligence service.
DR. GAWLIK: Was the foreign intelligence service also characterized as SD?
HOEPPNER: Yes, it was also characterized as SD, and, indeed, as the SD-Ausland.
DR. GAWLIK: Was Amt VII known as SD also?
DR. GAWLIK: What was the activity of Amt VII?
HOEPPNER: Amt VII occupied itself with questions on archives and library matters and, as far as I know, it had a number of special scientific duties.
DR. GAWLIK: Was the SD as an SS formation completely different from the SD domestic intelligence service, and the SD foreign intelligence service?
DR. GAWLIK: To whom was the special SD formation of the SS subordinate?
HOEPPNER: The special SD formation of the SS was subordinate to the Chief of the Security Police and the SD.
DR. GAWLIK: Who belonged to this special formation?
HOEPPNER: This special formation consisted of, first the members of the intelligence branch of the Security Service, who came from the General SS. Secondly, there belonged to this special formation those who, after they worked in this intelligence service, were taken into Amt VII, and thirdly, there belonged to this special formation the SS members of the Security Police, that is the State Police and the Criminal Police, and finally, the members of formations who had a certain working connection with the Security Police.
DR. GAWLIK: Were there other persons as well who belonged to this special formation and who were not active with the Security Police or the SD?
HOEPPNER: Yes, by that I meant the fourth group which I just spoke of, who were taken into the SS as customs border guards.
DR. GAWLIK: Did this group of persons have any kind of common task?
HOEPPNER: No. The situation with respect to this group of persons was merely that they were first registered in the SD Main Office and later, after the Reich Security Main Office was founded in September 1939, in Amt I of this Reich Security Main Office.
DR. GAWLIK: Now, I come to the second topic: the relationship of the domestic intelligence service, Amt III, to the foreign intelligence service, Amt VI, and to Amt VII. Did Amter III, VI, and VII represent different organizations, or one unified organization of the SD?
HOEPPNER: They represented different organizations. I might give the reasons for that in a few words. First, the spheres of duty of these three offices were completely different. Amt III was concerned with the domestic intelligence service, Amt VI with the intelligence service abroad, and Amt VII with questions regarding libraries and archives.
Second, the set-up of these organizations was completely different. In Amt III, domestic intelligence service, the chief value of the organization lay primarily in the regional office (Aussenstelle) and in the sector (Abschnitt). The method of world [moderator -- work?] was therefore decentralized. Perhaps I might give the reasons for that in a few words: Amt VI, foreign intelligence service, involved a strong centralization of duties. Amt VII had nothing but a central office.
DR. GAWLIK: Was there any discernible connection between these offices, III, VI, and VII, with a general common purpose?
HOEPPNER: No. The aims of these offices were far too varied for that. The members of these offices hardly had any connection with each other.
DR. GAWLIK: Now I come to the third topic, the development of the SD until the establishment of the Reich Security Main Office and particularly to the question, whether during this time it was one of the duties of the SD to collaborate with others on a common plan and conspiracy. When was the SD domestic intelligence service established?
HOEPPNER: The SD was established in 1931-32.
DR. GAWLIK: From its formation up to the end of the, war did the SD have the same duties, the same purpose, and the same activities?
HOEPPNER: One could not say that by any means. The duties and objectives varied -- even changed very much according to the political alignment. While the Security Service had the task of helping the General SS up, to about 1933 or the beginning of 1934, there was no longer any reason for this task after the parties 'with which the National Socialist Party had competed were dissolved and, therefore, there was no longer a legal opposition party, and the combating, that is, observation or repelling, of an illegal opponent became the task of the Gestapo.
DR. GAWLIK: What different periods are there to be distinguished from its establishment until the end of the war?
HOEPPNER: I just mentioned one period, the one from 1931 to about 1933 or 1934. The second period began in 1934. As an event, or perhaps better, as a sample of particular importance, I should like to begin with the order of the Führer's deputy that the Security Service ...
DR. GAWLIK: Witness, first of all just give us the various periods. I will then question you briefly about specific periods.
HOEPPNER: The first period was from 1931 to 1934, the second was from the middle of 1934 until the formation of the Reich Security Main Office, and the third comprises the period from the establishment of the Reich Security Main Office to the end of the war.
DR. GAWLIK: What was the aim -- what was the aim, the duties, and the activity of the SD in the period from 1931 to 1934?
HOEPPNER: The task of the Security Service from -1931 to 1934 was that of a formation of the Party, namely, that of assisting the SS in their task of guarding the Führer and protecting public meetings, by supplying the SS with as much information of rival opposition parties as possible from its intelligence service. For instance, what measures were being planned by other parties, and whether speakers were going to be attacked, or whether any meetings might be disturbed, and so forth.
DR. GAWLIK: At this time had the SD already been developed into a powerful, professional, thoroughly trained espionage system by its leader Heydrich?
Mr. President, in this connection I should like to refer to the trial brief against the SS, Page VIII B of the English text, VIII B at the top, Lines 1 and 2.
[Turning to the witness.] Please answer the question.
HOEPPNER: In answer to this question I have to start with my own observations which I made when I entered the Security Service in the beginning of 1934 and with what I learned from my comrades then and later about the preceding period.
Before 30 January 1933 the Security Service represented a very small organization which had hardly more than 20 or 30 regular members and not many more honorary members, so that one cannot assume central direction and professional training, that is a real espionage network.
DR. GAWLIK: You spoke of 20 to 25 regular members-for what area?
HOEPPNER: For the area of the entire Reich.
DR. GAWLIK: Were there other members -- honorary members?
HOEPPNER: The number of honorary members was not much larger.
DR. GAWLIK: Did the members of the SD make a general agreement among themselves to participate in crimes against peace, against the laws of war and against humanity?
HOEPPNER: No. If you speak of any agreement at all -- since they hardly knew one another -- they merely had the intention of helping the Party which was legally contending for power by defending it against rival opposition parties.
DR. GAWLIK: During the years 1933 and 1934 did the members of the Security Service pursue the aim of supporting any persons whatsoever who had undertaken a general and common plan to commit crimes against peace, against the laws of war, or humanity?
DR. GAWLIK: During the years 1931 to 1934, did the members of the SD know anything at all about such a plan?
HOEPPNER: I believe the case of the members of the SD was not very different to that of the overwhelming majority of the German people. Nothing was known.
DR. GAWLIK: Now I come to the second phase.
What was the aim and task of the SD during the period from 1934 until the creation of the Reich Security Main Office in the year 1939?
HOEPPNER: After a legal opposition party was no longer in existence, and there was merely an illegal political opponent, the combating of which, as I have already mentioned, was the task of the State Police which had been evolved from the Political Police department, the task of the Security Service had to change.
First, it changed in this way, that other ideological and political forms and other ideological groups ...
DR. GAWLIK: Witness, can you perhaps state the tasks and aims more briefly?
HOEPPNER: Well, to name a few examples, Freemasons, Marxists, Jews -- all these groups were classified in a more scientific and statistical way so that the Party would have material for training and other tasks.
The ultimate aim was to become the Party's sole political intelligence and counterintelligence service, from about July 1934 onward, something which, by the way, was never achieved, since there continued to be an enormous number of information services and sources of information, up to the end.
Even this task of scientific research work with regard to other political groups or other ideological organizations was not permanent either, for after a short time it became obvious that this research work, too, belonged to the sphere of activity of the Secret State Police because in the long run such an investigation of opponents could not be separated from the executive branch, from the information acquired in the daily interrogations, and so forth.
Therefore, these tasks were changed when a very clear division of duties was made between the Security Service and the State Police, a division which, starting in the middle of 1938, was carried through especially in the year 1939 and practically ended with the creation of the Reich Security Main Office in September of 1939. After this division of duties the task of the Security Service would have been quite superfluous if it had not been for the fact that out of this Security Service, beginning with the so-called intellectual SD in 1933 and 1934, through a special advisory section for "culture" and a central department for "spheres of life, intelligence service" -- I said that out of this Security Service there developed a specific task for the domestic intelligence service, namely, the task of investigating the spheres of life of the German people according to developments and informing the executive offices about these developments as a whole.
THE PRESIDENT: As I said to the other counsel, we do not want these witnesses to go over exactly the same ground that they have gone through before the Commission.
We have got that evidence. We only want you to present them here in order that we may see what credibility is to be attached to their evidence and to deal with any particularly important or new subject which has not been dealt with before the Commission.
Now this witness seems to be going over exactly the same ground which he has gone over before the Commission and at great length. It is simply doing the same thing twice over.
DR. GAWLIK: My understanding, Mr. President, was that I would briefly summarize once more the results of everything which had been taken up in the Commission for longer than 2 days. And that is what I am doing. I am now bringing -- the witness has been examined before the Commission for 2 days and now perhaps I shall present that material in 1 to 1 1/2, or 2 hours. But I thought that it was precisely these various objectives of the Security Service for each year that would be of interest to the High Tribunal.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, will you try to present the summary within reasonable limits?
DR. GAWLIK: Yes, indeed, Mr. President.
[Turning to the witness.] What can you say about the significance of the work of the SD during this period?
HOEPPNER: The work of the SD during this period was of almost no importance. It was primarily concerned with finding its own proper task, with establishing an intelligence network, and with locating the necessary, basic material. Particularly important is the fact that during this time the Security Service hardly appeared in public.
DR. GAWLIK: The Prosecution has declared that the SS and likewise the SD were elite groups of the Party, the most fanatical adherents of the Nazi cause, who assumed the obligation of blind loyalty to the Nazi principles and were ready to carry them out unswervingly, at any cost. In this connection I should like to refer to the trial brief against the SS, Page 7, A and B.
I ask you, Witness, were the regular and honorary workers in the SD selected according to those principles?
HOEPPNER: The regular and honorary workers were selected on the basis of being capable in some professional capacity and were men of decent character.
DR. GAWLIK: Please answer the question first of all with "yes" or ("no.")
DR. GAWLIK: And now please give your reasons.
HOEPPNER: I have already said that the regular and honorary members were selected because they were capable in some professional capacity and were of good professional character. It was not a prerequisite for either regular or honorary cooperation that anyone had to be a Party member or a member of the SS.
DR. GAWLIK: Did the SD do things for which no government office or political party, not even the Nazi Party, was willing to bear the full responsibility in public?
I should like to call the attention of the High Tribunal to the trial brief against the SS, Page 7, second paragraph.
DR. GAWLIK: Did the SD work secretly behind the scenes in the period which you described, from its establishment until 1939?
HOEPPNER: No. One could give a whole list of examples. First of all, the regular members wore uniforms. They had the SD insignia on their sleeves. The offices had signs and were listed in the telephone directory, et cetera.
DR. GAWLIK: During the period from 1934 to 1939 did the members of the SD make a common and general agreement to participate in crimes against peace, against the laws of war, or against humanity?
THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off?
[A recess was taken.]
DR. GAWLIK: During the period from 1934 until 1939 did the members of the SD pursue the aim and task of supporting any individuals who had made a general and common plan for committing crimes against peace, the laws of warfare, and against humanity?
DR. GAWLIK: Did not the SD also support this sort of thing by obtaining information on actual or possible opponents of the Nazi leaders and so contribute to the destruction and neutralization of the opposition?
DR. GAWLIK: Can you give reasons for your answer to the question?
DR. GAWLIK: But please be brief.
HOEPPNER: It was the task of the Security Service to investigate failures in all spheres of life. Individual cases were examples. It was not its task to institute proceedings with any other offices against individuals.
DR. GAWLIK: Should not the members of the SD have been convinced by the reports on public opinion and the reports on the different spheres of life, especially after the occupation of the Rhineland until the beginning of the second World War, that everybody in Germany was expecting war?
HOEPPNER: On the contrary ...
DR. GAWLIK: Please, will you first answer the question with "yes" or "no"?
DR. GAWLIK: Now give the reasons please.
HOEPPNER: I said already, quite on the contrary. During that period there was hardly anybody in Germany who expected a war, and it was precisely these reports on the situation in different spheres of life, in the spheres, perhaps, of food production, economy, and industry, which showed that we were going to have armament to a limited extent, but not to an extent -- but in no way gave any indications that we were working toward a war of aggression.
DR. GAWLIK: Now I come to the relation between the SD and the SS. Was the SD always an inseparable and important part of the SS?
I refer in this connection to the German transcript of 9 December where this has been alleged by the Prosecution.
Please answer my question.
HOEPPNER: No. I should like to give the following reasons for that: After the duty of the SS to help guard the speakers at meetings and to protect the Führer had ended, the new task was conceived and further developed by the staff of the SD, completely independent of the-SS and the Reichsführer SS.
DR. GAWLIK: The Prosecution has furthermore stated "the General SS was the basis, the root from which the various branches grew."
Will you comment on that with regard to the domestic intelligence service?
HOEPPNER: That could not be true for the domestic intelligence service because only about 10 percent of the regular workers had come from the General SS, and because at least 90 percent of all the honorary workers and confidential agents of the SD were neither members of the SS nor wanted to be members of the SS, nor, viewed from the standpoint of the organization, were they desired for membership in the SS.
DR. GAWLIK: Was there in the SS a uniform high command under which the individual main offices operated jointly, or worked together automatically in such a way that each branch of the SS fulfilled a special task within the scope of the whole?
I refer to the transcript of 19 December 1945. State your opinion on this.
DR. GAWLIK: Give me your reasons.
HOEPPNER: The only institution embodying the SS as a whole was the Reichsfuehrer SS. The main offices which were under him were in no way high commands. Outwardly they represented various points of view on the same questions. They competed with each other, they were frequently jealous of each other. It was not even true that each of these main offices represented a branch which was necessary for the whole, as their duties, their jurisdictions overlapped. For instance, four or five offices shared the responsibility in questions of folkdom, and it was not possible, although this very suggestion was made by the Reich Security Main Office, to grant jurisdiction to one office only. Among these different main offices there was no directing office. The so-called main directing office had only to perform functions of the Waffen-SS. If any office had claimed that leadership, all the others would have rebelled against it immediately.
DR. GAWLIK: What was the influence of Himmler on the development of the tasks of
the domestic intelligence service?
HOEPPNER: Himmler did not have a positive influence on the development of the specific tasks of the domestic intelligence service in the ordinary spheres of life. That task grew out of the work of the office, and it could have developed equally well in some other office. There were even a large number of cases in which the work suffered because it was entrusted to a man who was one leader among several, and, therefore, it was not always possible to send reports to the competent office via the Reichsführer.
DR. GAWLIK: In order to prove a uniform will and a planned collaboration of the SD and SS the Prosecution referred particularly to the book by Dr. Best, The German Police, and the speech by Himmler about the organization and objectives of the SS and the Police. This concerns Documents 1852-PS and 1992-PS. Do you know the book by Dr. Best and do you know that speech by Himmler concerning the organization and objectives of the SS and Police?
HOEPPNER: On broad lines, yes.
DR. GAWLIK: Please give your opinion as to whether the relation between the SS and SD is described correctly in that book by Dr. Best and in the speech by Himmler?
HOEPPNER: This question essentially involves the clarification of the concept which in many speeches and publications was designated as a corps for the protection of the State, (Staatsschutzkorps), and this idea of a corps for protection of the State was expressed by Himmler and Heydrich very early, a little after 1936. Its contents changed, but although it appeared again and again in speeches, it was never really carried out. However, the individual parts of this so-called corps for protection of the State of Himmler's grew independently, developed independently; they were not a unit, so that we can say here that although it was indeed Himmler's wish to create this corps for the protection of the State, this idea never materialized.
DR. GAWLIK: Did the Higher SS and Police Leaders also have authority to issue orders to the SD, and did they have to supervise the activity of the SD? In this connection I refer to the trial brief against the Gestapo and SD, Page 12 of the English edition, and the trial brief against the SS, also Page 12 of the English edition.
HOEPPNER: The Higher SS and Police Leaders had neither authority to issue orders nor did they have to supervise the SD. They were merely representatives of the Reichsführer within their territories without having any actual or disciplinary jurisdiction over the Security Service. Attempts made in that direction, in connection with the above-mentioned corps for protection of the State, were particularly averted by the domestic intelligence service.
DR. GAWLIK: Now I come to the relation between the SD and the Party. What was the organizational relationship between the domestic intelligence service and the political leadership of 'the NSDAP?
HOEPPNER: The domestic intelligence service was an institution of the Party, but it did not belong to the organization of the political leadership. Therefore, no organizational connection existed. The proper and definite duties of the domestic intelligence service were not given to it by the Party either. The task assigned to it by the Party, as I have already mentioned, had already been essentially completed in the years 1938-39.
DR. GAWLIK: Did the SD have the task of maintaining the Nazi leaders in power?
HOEPPNER: The Security Service had the task of ...
DR. GAWLIK: Can you first answer the question with "yes" or "no"?
DR. GAWLIK: Now please give me your reasons.
HOEPPNER: The Security Service had a different task. It had the assignment of observing the effects of the measures taken by the leaders of the State, the Party, the economy and the autonomous corporations, to determine what the people were saying about these measures, whether their results were positive or negative, and then to inform the leaders about its findings.
DR. GAWLIK: Was the domestic intelligence service the espionage system of the NSDAP? Here I refer to the trial brief against the SS, Pages 8a and 8b of the English edition.
HOEPPNER: No. First, the Security Service was not an espionage service at all. Secondly, it sent its reports to all principal offices, not only to those of the Party, but also to the leading offices of the State.
DR.GAWLIK: Now I come to the next topic of evidence, the relation between the SD and the Gestapo. Were the Gestapo and the SD a uniform police system which became constantly more closely connected?
I refer to the trial brief against the Gestapo and SD. What was the connection between the Gestapo and SD organizations with respect to aims, tasks, activities, and methods?
HOEPPNER: First, in answer to the first question: it was not a question of a uniform police system, since the Security Service and a police system have absolutely nothing to do with each other. The Security Service and the Secret State Police were two entirely different organizations. While the Security Service had developed from an organization of the Party, the Secret State Police was a continuation of an already existing institution of the State. While the task of the Security Service was to get a general view of the various spheres of life or the specific forms of activity of other ideological groups, and regarded the individual cases merely as examples, it was the task of the Secret State Police on the basis of existing laws, ordinances, decrees, and so on, to deal particularly with individual cases and to take preventive or prosecuting measures in an executive police capacity in continuation of an already existing State institution. While the Secret State Police worked with executive means, such as interrogations, confiscations, and so on, the Security Service never had executive powers.
DR. GAWLIK: Was it the task of the SD to support the Security Police as has been stated in decrees and other announcements, particularly in the circular letter released on 11 November 1938; in this connection I refer to Document 1638-PS,
HOEPPNER: No, that was incorrectly expressed. Perhaps I may comment briefly on that circular letter of 11 November 1938.
We are concerned here with the fact that for the first time an agreement had been made between the Security Service and an office of the State. The chief purpose of this agreement was that the Security Service was thereby officially and publicly recognized by an office of the State and that officials who worked in it could not, on account of this collaboration, be prosecuted for breaking their oath of silence, as had happened repeatedly up to then. At that time the agreement was made dependent on the fact that any State duty could be referred to. As, first of all, the Security Service hardly appeared in the public eye at that time in 1938, and the work in the field of public life had not yet been officially recognized by the Party and could, therefore, not be mentioned in the decree, Heydrich quoted the support of the Security Police, because no one outside could check that.
DR. GAWLIK: Did the SD have the task of watching the members of the Gestapo?
DR.GAWLIK: Can we conclude from the fact that inspectors of the Security Police and SD were established that there was a connection between these two organizations?
HOEPPNER: No, the inspectors had a certain power of supervision over the organization in particular cases only. All directives, task assignments, and so forth, came from Berlin.
DR. GAWLIK: What was the relation of the Departments III with the offices of the commanders-in-chief and with the commanders of the Security Police and the SD?
HOEPPNER: I do not quite understand that question. Relation with whom?
DR. GAWLIK: With the Security Police.
HOEPPN'ER: The Departments III of the offices of the commanders and commanders-in-chief were departments in the same way as the Department IV. They worked on Security Service tasks, whereas Department IV worked on State Police tasks. They were departments of the office of the commander-in-chief, and not parts or establishments of Amt III of the Reich Security Main Office any more than the Department 4 were establishments of Amt IV of the Reich Security Main Office.
DR. GAWLIK: Now I come to a short discussion of the individual war crimes with which the SD is charged. First, the Einsatzgruppen.
I refer to VI A among the facts offered in evidence in the trial brief.
Were the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos which were used in the East a part of the SD?
HOEPPNER: No; these Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos were establishments of an entirely original type.
DR. GAWLIK: Was the organization of the domestic SD used for the activities of the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos? That is something important.
HOEPPNER: That question, in the way it has been put, must be answered by "no." It is not true that any units of that organization were transferred to the Einsatzgruppen. If individual members of the SD entered the Einsatzgrupppn or Einsatzkommandos, then it is comparable to military induction. Just as a civil servant who is drafted is assigned different tasks, or at least can be assigned them, this was likewise the case with the members of the SD. If the Einsatzgruppen had to perform Security Service tasks, such as making reports, the directives came to the Einsatzgruppen from Amt III.
DR. GAWLIK: Did the members of the SD and its subordinate offices obtain any knowledge about mass shootings and other crimes-war crimes or crimes against humanity-through the reports from the East, or by reports from the Einsatzgruppen?
HOEPPNER: Such reports from Einsatzgruppen were never forwarded to the subordinate offices in the Reich, so that the members of these offices could not have any knowledge, of these incidents, either.
DR. GAWLIK: Was the SD responsible for the establishment, arrangement, guarding, and administration of concentration camps?
DR. GAWLIK: Could you give me any reason for that answer?
HOEPPNER: There are no reasons for it. The Security Service never had anything to do with these matters because it lacked jurisdiction there.
DR. GAWLIK: Did the SD establish any concentration camps?
DR.GAWLIK: Did the SD organize any concentration camps?
DR.GAWLIK: Was the organization of the SD used for the guarding of concentration camps?
DR.GAWLIK: Did the SD have authority for the commitment and treatment of concentration camp inmates?
DR. GAWLIK: Did the domestic intelligence service receive an order from Himmler not to intervene in the case of clashes between Germans, and English and American fliers?
HOEPPNER: No, the Security Service could not have had any order, because it had no Police functions and there could have been absolutely no question of any intervention.
DR. GAWLIK: Did the domestic intelligence service set up summary courts martial in order to pass judgment on persons in special short proceedings?
This question refers to Item VI H of the trial brief.
HOEPPNER: Holding summary courts martial was not one of the functions of the SD at all, therefore not courts martial of this kind either, because that again would have been an executive measure which had nothing to do with the Security Service.
DR.GAWLIK: Did the domestic intelligence service, Amt III, execute people in concentration camps or keep them prisoners only on account of crimes which allegedly had been committed by their relatives? This question refers to Item VI J of the trial brief.
HOEPPNER: The Security Service had nothing to do with. that.
DR. GAWLIK: Did the SD hold any third-degree interrogations? This question refers to Item VI L.
HOEPPNER: The Security Service did not carry out any interrogations at all, consequently not any with the third degree.
DR. GAWLIK: Will you briefly describe the aims, tasks, activities, and methods of the Group III A of the Reich Security Main Office, of which you were in charge at times?
HOEPPNER: It was the task of Group III A to observe secondly, that the scope of the work had been increased in extent, and that therefore men and in part women auxiliary workers had to be sent for service in the occupied territories; thirdly, that the entire work of the Security Service grew during the war, and the personnel had to render compulsory emergency service and so on, according to the legal measures that had been passed for this purpose.
DR.GAWLIK: Mr. President, I have no further questions.
THE PRESIDENT: Does the Prosecution wish to cross-examine?
MAJOR HARTLEY MURRAY (Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States): If the
Tribunal please, Major Murray cross-examining for the United States chief prosecutor.
Witness, when did you become chief of Office III A in the RSHA?
HOEPPNER: In July 1944.
MAJOR MURRAY: Who was the chief of Amt III at that time and for some time prior thereto?
HOEPPNER: Amt III had only one chief, and that was the then Gruppenführer Ohlendorf.
MAJOR MURRAY: At times you substituted for Ohlendorf, did you not?
HOEPPNER: I believe the entire question did not come through. I heard only "at times you substituted."
MAJOR MURRAY: At various times during your career, you took Ohlendorf's place as chief of Amt III, did you not?
HOEPPNER: No. When I was in that office, Ohlendorf was always there. Moreover, there was no general deputy for him. When he was away on business the chiefs of the various groups represented him for their own spheres, but during the period while I was in Berlin, that happened very rarely.
MAJOR MURRAY: Do you know Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl, who was a member of Amt VI, RSHA?
HOEPPNER: May I ask for the name again, please? I did not understand the name.
MAJOR MURRAY: Perhaps I do not pronounce it properly: Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl, spelled H-o-e-t-t-l.
HOEPPNER: Hoettl? I met him here only for the first time.
MAJOR MURRAY: You do know that he held a responsible position in the SD, now that you have met him here?
HOEPPNER: No, I have not spoken to Hoettl here, either.
MAJOR MURRAY: With the permission of the Tribunal, I should like to read briefly from the affidavit of Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl, Document 2614-PS, dealing with the activities of the SD. This will be Exhibit USA-918. Dr. Hoettl executed this affidavit on 5 November 1945. 1 quote:
"It was the task of the SD to inform its chief, Himmler, and through him the Nazi regime about all matters within Germany, the occupied territories, and the other foreign countries. This task was carried out in Germany by Amt III, domestic intelligence service, and abroad by Amt VI, foreign intelligence service."
Skipping a few lines:
"For the task in Germany proper Amt III had organized a large net of informers who operated out of the various regional offices of the SD. This organization consisted of many hundreds of professional SD members who were assisted by thousands of honorary SD members and informers. These informers and honorary collaborators of the SD were placed in all fields of business, education, State and Party administration, et cetera. Frequently they performed their duties secretly in their place of work. This information service reported on the morale of the German people, on all the important events in the State, as well as on individuals."
Do you consider that a fair statement of the task of the SD? [There was no response.]
THE PRESIDENT: Witness, answer the question, please. Witness, answer the question. Do you consider it a fair statement of the work of the SD? No, you need not go on reading the rest of the document. Answer the question.
HOEPPNER: It is a mixture of truths and untruths. I feel that the way and manner in which this report judges the Security Service is somewhat superficial. It does not give the impression, according to this document, that Hoettl worked in the domestic intelligence service very long.
MAJOR MURRAY: You know, do you not, Witness, that your chief, Ohlendorf, was, in 1941 and 1942, the head of Einsatzgruppe D in southern Russia? You were informed of that, were you not?
HOEPPNER: Yes, indeed.
MAJOR MURRAY: You knew also, did you not, that these Einsatzgruppen were made up from members of the SD and of the Gestapo and of the Criminal Police?
HOEPPNER: I knew that members of these organizations were detailed there for special service.
MAJOR MURRAY: You knew that they were commanded by SD members, did you not?
HOEPPNER: The Einsatzgruppen and Kommandos were commanded by members of widely different branches, by members of the State Police, Criminal Police, and also the Security Police. I myself, moreover, was never on special service.
MAJOR MURRAY: I would like to refer, if the Tribunal please, to the affidavit of Ohlendorf. This is Document Number 2620-PS, to become Exhibit USA-919. This affidavit has not been used in evidence before. This affidavit of Ohlendorf, which is very brief, states:
"The Einsatzgruppen and the Einsatzkommandos were commanded by personnel of the Gestapo, the SD, or the Criminal Police ... Additional men were detailed from the regular Police-"
and dropping down a few lines-
"Usually the smaller units were led by members..."
HOEPPNER: May I interrupt you? Excuse me, please.
It does not say here in the document that they were led by members of the regular Police. It says only that additional personnel was provided by the Order Police and the Waffen-SS.
MAJOR MURRAY: Yes, I skipped that. Skipping down a few lines:
"Usually the smaller units were led by members of the SD, the Gestapo, or the Criminal Police."
So that actually members of the SD were leading these Einsatzgruppen in the East, were they not?
HOEPPNER: The affidavit states that members of the Security Service as well as the State Police and the Criminal, Police were in charge of units of this kind.
MAJOR MURRAY: Now, as a matter of fact, the Einsatzgruppen officers wore SD uniforms in the performance of their tasks, didn't they?
HOEPPNER: Excuse me. I understood only a few words. The Einsatzgruppen wore these uniforms?
MAJOR MURRAY: The Einsatzgruppen officers wore the uniform of the SD while performing their duties in the East, is that true?
HOEPPNER: All members of the Einsatzgruppen wore field grey uniforms and wore the SD insignia on the sleeve. That was one of the main reasons for the many misunderstandings which occurred, because members of the Security Police also wore this SD insignia. That applies to the special SS formation of the SD which was mentioned right in the beginning of today's examination. This confusion also arose because, beyond that, even those members of the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos wore uniforms who were not SS members at all and who in peacetime had never wore a uniform in Germany proper. They were sent for special service as so-called uniformed personnel and received a service rank corresponding to their civil service grade.
MAJOR MURRAY: In any event, many members of the Einsatzgruppen were members of the SD and many of those officers wore the uniform of the SD while killing these people in the Eastern Territories; isn't that true?
HOEPPNER: I do not quite understand the meaning of the question. There were very few people from the SD detailed to these Einsatzgruppen or Einsatzkommandos, least of all from the three branches mentioned, and during their entire period of service these men and leaders wore the uniform with the SD on the sleeve.
MAJOR MURRAY: If the Tribunal please, I should like to bring into evidence another brief document, Document 2992-PS, Exhibit USA-494. This is a portion of that affidavit which has not previously been read into evidence. It is the affidavit of Hermann Friedrich Gräbe. I am sure the Tribunal will recall that affidavit where this German citizen recounted the SS and SD men shooting large numbers of helpless individuals, the document which was referred to by the Attorney General of Great Britain a few days ago.
In the first part of that affidavit Gräbe states:
"The SS man acting as the executioner on the edge of the pit during the shooting of Jewish men..."
THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. This document is in evidence already, isn't it?
MAJOR MURRAY: It is, My Lord, but not this particular portion of it referring to the SD. I did not intend to repeat the other portions but this portion refers specifically to the SD and it is only two sentences that I intend to read.
"The SS man acting as the guard on the edge of the pit during the shooting of Jewish men, women, and children, at the airport near Dubno, wore an SS uniform with a grey armband about 3 centimeters wide on the lower part of his sleeve, with the letters 'SD' in black on it, woven in or embroidered."
And dropping down to the last portion of the second paragraph: "On the morning of 14 July I recognized three or four SS men in the ghetto whom I knew personally and who were all members of the Security Service in Rovno. These persons also wore the armband mentioned above."
It is a fact, is it not, Witness, that many of the members of these Einsatzkommandos were members of, your SD organization?
HOEPPNER: I already said before that a few members of these Einsatzgruppen and
Einsatzkommandos were members of the Security Service. It is not said here in any way that the people to whom reference is made in this document had anything to do with the domestic intelligence service; and if there was one among them who belonged to it -- which is certainly not shown by the document, for it says merely that he wore a uniform with the SD insignia -- then he had been detailed for that special service just as anyone else may be drafted into the Armed Forces. That is precisely the chief reason for a large number of mistakes which were made with that term SD, that even the members who were on special service all wore the same uniform.
MAJOR MURRAY: In any event, Ohlendorf was a member of the SD, was he not?
HOEPPNER: Ohlendorf was chief of Amt III but that had nothing to do with the fact that he also commanded an Einsatzgruppe. That Einsatzgruppe could just as well have been commanded by the chief of Amt IV or V, or by an inspector or anybody else. That has nothing to do with the activity of Ohlendorf as chief of Amt III.
MAJOR MURRAY: Now, Ohlendorf has testified that frequent reports were compiled by the Einsatzgruppen and sent back to the headquarters. Did you see any of these reports while you were in the headquarters of RSHA?
HOEPPNER: No. That was not possible because at the time when I came up to Berlin most of the Einsatzgruppen from the East had been recalled. At any rate, no further reports were coming in, and I am entirely of the opinion that in Amt III, the domestic intelligence service, only a very few men saw the reports from the Einsatzgruppen.
MAJOR MURRAY: I would like to have shown to you a series of 55 weekly reports of the activities of the Einsatzgruppen, and, incidentally, the Einsatzgruppen are known as the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD.
HOEPPNER: No, no; there were no Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the Security Service, but rather there were only the Einsatzgruppen A, B, C, and D in the East; and, indeed, there were good reasons for that.
MAJOR MURRAY: Before submitting that document to you, Witness, I would like to have you examine Document Number 3876-PS, which has already been admitted in evidence as Exhibit USA-808; I call your attention to the title page of that document, signed by Heydrich, which reads as follows:
"I herewith enclose the ninth summary report concerning the activity of the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD in the U.S.S.R. This report will be sent continuously in the future. Signed, Heydrich."
Aren't you mistaken, Witness, in, saying that these were not known as Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and SD?
HOEPPNER: No. These Einsatzgruppen figured as Einsatzgruppen A, B, C, and D. They were commanded by a deputy of the Chief of the Security Police and the SD with the army groups in question, or with an army. The designation "Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD" is unfortunately wrong.
MAJOR MURRAY: Either Heydrich is wrong again, is he, and all the documents are wrong?
HOEPPNER: No, I do not want to say that the document is false, but I merely maintain that the expression is not correct. I ask you to look at the distribution list; it says there: "To the chiefs of Einsatzgruppen A, B, C, and D." Besides, the Einsatzkommandos were not called Kommandos of the Security Police and the SD, but, as far as I know, they had Arabic numerals from 1 to 12.
MAJOR MURRAY: This, of course, is a report of your chief, Heydrich, and I won't enlarge on the point. Turn now to Pages 31 and 32. It is at the bottom of Page 32 in Heydrich's ...