- Forum Staff
- Posts: 23586
- Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
- Location: USA
At the Nuernberg trials, the prosecution asked the IMT judges to declare the entire SS a criminal organization. This is the SS response to the prosecution's charges:
The argument is taken from the IMT Proceedings, vol. 21, pp. 345-72 and 562-617. The proceedings are available on line at:
from The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: Nuremberg Trial Proceedings
20 Aug. 46
* * * * *
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann.
HERR HORST PELCKMANN (Counsel for the SS): Your Lordship, High Tribunal. First of all I refer to the transcript of the testimonies of the witnesses before the Commission which are, no doubt, known to the Tribunal. There are 29 witnesses. I then begin by dealing with the documents. I have broken them down into different groups and hope that the presentation will thus take very little time. First, Documents Numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, and 84 in one group. The first three documents deal with the so-called "ideals" of the SS; they state the ideals of the fraternity. Something is said about kinship (SippengemeinWiaft) and such like, and proof is given that this was the basis of the training. Document 5 says that the members of the General SS carried out their normal civil occupations, and that the SS Service was only supplementary. Document 84 makes it clear once more that the General SS was a branch of the Party and in contrast to the other SS formations, which I shall present later, was represented by the NSDAP in case of complaints. In Document Number 6, USA-441, which I submit once more, the principles of the SS are again referred to and for the individual man these were quite decent requirements: sanctity of property, the precept of thrift, et cetera. I must present that briefly because it is important for my final plea. Documents 4 and 103 belong together. Document 4 shows that the, SS men swore an oath which did not differ from that of the civil servants, although it did differ from that of a soldier, for strangely enough the soldier swears absolute obedience, while the SS man does not.
Document 103 deals with the fact that this oath was made in God's name, and Himmler says in reference to that: "I look upon person who does not believe in God as being presumptuous, megalomaniac, and stupid. Such a person is not suitable for us."
Document SS-84, which I just quoted, shows once more that the SS Verfugungstruppe (Special Units) and the SS Totenkopfverbande (Death's Head Units) did not belong to the General SS. They
20 Aug. 46
did not have any civil occupation, but were state employees, and in case of complaints against these members or these formations, that is, the SS Verfugungstruppe or the Totenkopfverbande, the complaint had to be made against the Ministry of the Interior; this is very important for the concentration camp question.
Then there follow Documents 8, 9, 10, 11, and 42. The Waffen-SS was created during the war. Its members were instructed to fight decently and chivalrously and not make themselves guilty of punishable actions against the civilian population in enemy countries, and to respect the prisoners of war and the fallen.
For the members of the Waffen-SS-this is shown especially by Document 42-the basic rules of the SS apply only when the individual Waffen-SS men were at the same time members of the General SS. For example, that is true even for the so-called marriage order. This ideology is not applicable to the Waffen-SS men, so that even the voluntary Waffen-SS men were not subject to the special laws of the SS.
Documents 13, 14, 15: The SS is accused of the legal plundering of the Occupied Eastern Territories. These documents show that the laws in this respect were issued by the Delegate for the Four Year Plan, Goering, or the Minister of the Interior, Frick. The Reich-Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood and the Office for Racial Germans (Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle) were entrusted with the resettlement and bringing back of Germans. This is shown by Documents 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, and 23. Documents 25, 26, 30, 33, 34, 40, and USA-674 I submit as evidence that the civil service law, the emergency labor regulation, the constitution for German students, the agreements between the Reichsfuehrer SS and the Reich Youth Leader, the Reich Labor Leader, and the Reich Finance Minister, were coercive measures which made it possible for Germans to be allocated to the General SS, the Waffen-SS, SS Verfugungstruppe and the SS Totenkopf units. Even the women police staff assistants were forcibly placed in the SS Women's Auxiliary Corps. Documents 28, 30, 31, and 32 can be lumped together. They give a number of examples of the kind of compulsory service just mentioned, or of men being drafted into the General SS, the Waffen-SS, and the SS Verfugungstruppe. Documents 29, 36, 38, and 39 show that citizens of foreign states, in so far as they were of German descent, were not forcibly drafted into the army of their respective countries, but into the Waffen-SS. This was on the strength of state agreements.
The documents show further how whole groups were forcibly placed under SS jurisdiction without being SS members. They continued under the name of their old occupation but with the addition of "SS".
20 Aug. 46
Document Number 3 treats the question of the so-called patron members, which has still not been settled by the Prosecution. These patron members were only linked with the SS from the financial standpoint. Their subscriptions flowed into the coffers of the General SS. Membership as a so-called patron member in no case meant that a person belonged to the active SS.
Documents 48, 53, 54, 57, 59, and 60 deal with the more or less pronounced pressure exerted on police officials to join the SS. The request to join was worded: "I therefore expect that the person whom this concerns ... will join." Continuous inquiries followed as to whether the person had joined. Even members of the Order Police, the Ordnungspolizei, were more or less forced to join. Court officials, doctors, all young officers and constables were also pressed to join the SS. On the other hand, Documents 52 to 55, and 56, show that the members of the Police who joined the SS in this way did not perform any SS service. They were not obliged to attend SS training either. The only sign that they were members of the SS was that when they were promoted they were also promoted in the SS.
Finally, in Documents 65, 66, 67, and 68, 1 have to deal with purely external SS designations in police units. The battalions and regiments, as well as fire-fighting police units, that is, units of the fire service, all received the designation SS as an external sign of recognition, as it says in the decrees. As an example, I refer in this document to the Second Gendarmerie Battalion which became the Second SS Gendarmerie Battalion; or the Police Regiment "Alpenland," which became the SS Police Regiment, and so forth.
The documents show further that, in spite of all this, these SS police regiments remained with the Ordnungspolizei, that they received their equipment from the Ordnungspolizei, and everything else was attended to by the Ordnungspolizei. The individual policeman of these regiments did not become a member of the General SS or a member of the Waffen-SS, even though his unit had this SS designation. Finally, the following documents deal with the question: to what extent did the members of the SS know of and desire the crimes with which the Prosecution charges them?
Documents 70, 71, 73, 75, 76, and 79 are lumped together. Hitler was constantly making speeches in which he simulated a firm will for peace. The Reich Government also stated that they wanted to preserve peace at all costs. The paper Das Schwarze Korps, believing these statements, wrote that the SS did not like war, a statement made in January 1937; and it goes on to explain this antipathy to war.
20 Aug. 46
Documents 77 and 78 show that in this connection even outsiders like the Austrian bishops and the British Government were deceived in 1938. The German-British Peace Declaration of 30 September 1938 is well known. It expresses the will of both peoples never again to wage war against each other. In Document 80, containing some official statements on the nature and character of the SA and the SS, it is shown that neither the SA nor the SS was armed, neither were they given any training with arms or otherwise trained for military purposes. I am asserting this only for the case of the SS. The supplement to Document 81 says that on 16 April 1934 the German Government offered to prove to the British Government that the SS and the SA had no arms and were not trained for any military purposes. This was not only maintained outwardly; it was actually the case within the SS. This is shown by Document SS-82, which is the secret Fuehrer Decree of 17 August 1938, stating that the SS as a political organization of the NSDAP is not a military organization, and that it needs no training and is unarmed. It says further in this decree that the members of the General SS, being unarmed, in case of war, in accordance with the provisions of the National Defense Law, are at the disposal of the Wehrmacht, not of the Waffen-SS.
Document SS-92 is a small example of how the masses were deceived about peace aims. According to this-it is a law of the Reich Cabinet-any participation in the Spanish Civil War in any form whatever is subject to punishment by imprisonment, although at the time thousands were fighting in Spain on Hitler's orders.
Documents 87, 88, 90, and 99 show the following:
Through the various laws against subversive activities and defeatism, and the prohibition to listen in to 'the foreign radio, any spreading of the truth-and I take as a single example the spreading of rumors on concentration camps-became in fact impossible. This policy was rigorously applied during the war. That is proved by Document SS-98. It is the well-known speech of Himmler in Posen in 1943, Document 1919-PS. I refer only to one sentence of Himmler which says that whoever is disloyal, be it even in thought, will be dismissed from the SS; also that care will be taken that he will disappear from among the living, On the Jewish question there are Documents 93 and 95. In February 1934 the Reich Minister of the Interior, Dr. Frick, declared before the Diplomatic Corps that the only intention was to reduce the activity of the Germans of Jewish faith in proportion to other Germans. It was expressly denied that these citizens would be forced to emigrate.
The other document, Number SS-95, proves that even in the year 1942, when the mass destruction of Jews was under way, a law
20 Aug. 46
provided for the creation of a settlement in Theresienstadt for Jewish citizens. This, consciously or unconsciously, served to deceive the public about this extermination, and it deceived the SS members too.
The events of 30 June 1934 are dealt with in Documents 83, 100, 74, 105, and 106. The public did not learn the truth. Hitler was thanked for dealing with the situation in telegrams sent by Reich President Von Hindenburg to Hitler and Goering. These telegrams were published in all papers. In his speech of 13 July 1934, Hitler described in great detail the preparations Roehm had made to overthrow the Government, how he had been in contact with foreign countries, and how an SS Fuehrer, who was mentioned by name, had prepared an attack on his life. The situation was presented as so urgent that only immediate action, without judicial proceedings, could do any good. Moreover, this speech gave assurance that illegal excesses committed during this action would be punished by law.
Document 104 provides a sketch to supplement the testimony of the witness Von Eberstein. It clarifies the actual position of the Higher SS and Police Leader. Then I have another document, SS-107, which unfortunately I was able to hand to the Prosecution only this morning, as I have only just found it in the collection of decrees. I ask that it be accepted. It is a decree of the Reichsfuehrer SS of 27 August 1942. This decree expressly states that the main office of the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood (Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle) is not an SS Main Office, but a State organization. This question is important for the responsibility of the SS in the so-called Germanization program. This document has not yet been translated. I shall endeavor to have translations made as quickly as possible. That is my presentation of documents, Your Lordship. Now I come to the affidavits. For the purpose of examination before the Commission and especially for the examination of the five witnesses before the Tribunal, I was forced to call only witnesses who, because of their high positions, could give the Court a comprehensive survey of specific questions. Through the affidavits the Defense had to endeavor to present as large a number as possible of statements on the whole evidence of the Indictment, in order to give the Court an idea of how much the bulk of the population knew and how they behaved. I have attempted to do so by means of separate affidavits on certain points, and by summarizing a large number of statements on certain groups of questions and subjects.
I submit first 114 individual affidavits. They are SS Affidavits 1 to 60, 63, 64, 68, and 69, and 71 to 118. Affidavit Number 70, given by two SS members, contains the list of the affidavits of the
20 Aug. 46
internees of one camp, Camp Number 73. It refers to, almost all of the points of the Indictment against the SS.
Then I submit the digest of 136, 213 individual affidavits and collective affidavits. To these I have given the numbers 110 to 122. Finally, the digest of a questionnaire which was sent to all camps, that is, a statistical report under Number 123.
I regret that I cannot give the Tribunal today the texts of these affidavits, especially of the individual affidavits, in English. As far as I know, translations into French are available for all affidavits, and I shall attempt to submit the English translations as soon as possible. I am now submitting the French translations.
I then submit affidavits by Dr. Morgen, SS-65 to 67.
I personally consider Affidavits SS-64, 68, 69, and 70 extremely important. I have ...
THE PRESIDENT: Which are the ones you said were very important?
HERR PELCKMANN: 64, 68, 69, and 70.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Go on.
HERR PELCKMANN: I have especially asked for their translation. I have not submitted any summaries of them to the Commission, as they must be presented in their entirety. Number 70 is as important for the question of legal hearing of the bulk of the SS men as the presentation of the digest of the 136,000 affidavits. In order to shorten my presentation I have arranged the individual affidavits in groups, and I hope that by giving the numbers I have made it possible for the Tribunal to obtain a general view of the various groups. Group I contains the affidavits denying that the SS was a single group bound by oath in which no distinction can be made as to composition or time. This is asserted by the trial brief, on Page 9 and 10 in the German version. Moreover that is asserted in the transcript of 19 December (Volume IV, Page 175/176). SS Affidavit 116, Petri, proves that the purpose of the Fuehrer Order of 17 August 1938, USA-443, was not to form an organic connection between the General SS, Totenkopf Units, and Verfugungstruppen but, on the contrary, to separate these various branches of the SS.
Now I sum up a group of affidavits, 13, 52, 49, 48, 42, 56, 55, 45, 54, 46, 97, 98, 53, 50, 51, and 38. 1 might remark, Your Lordship, that a translation in English of these affidavits, and also of Number 52, has already been made and is being distributed. I beg your pardon, it is only in French, Your Lordship. With these affidavits I wish to prove the following: Certain groups are charged in the general indictment of the SS. They cannot be brought under
20 Aug. 46
the concept of a common conspiracy if only for the reason that they had only a very temporary relationship to the SS, or none at all. They are the patron members of the SS, the Bauernfuehrer (farmers' leaders), the so-called Ehrenfuehrer (honorary leaders), the SS Frontarbeiter, the so-called SS-Eisenbahnbaubrigaden (railroad construction brigades), the Postschutz (postal protection), the National Political Education Institutions. Furthermore, the Fuehrer des Reichskriegerbundes (leaders of the Reich Soldiers League)-that is something similar to the Stahlhelm-the SS-Sportgemeinschaften (sport associations), the riders' groups which were transferred to the SS-known as SS Reitersturme, which had exactly the same characteristics and history as the SA Reitersturme and finally the students who were taken into the SS on a compulsory basis.
The following two affidavits, 118 and 101, deal with the Lebensborn organization, They prove that the tasks of this organization were to support families with many children and to care for mothers and children, including illegitimate children and unmarried mothers, but they did not afford the opportunity for the illegal begetting of children and the taking away of children for the use of the State, as the Prosecution has asserted. Affidavit SS-47 is a valuable supplement to the testimony of the witness Liebrich, an SS doctor, before the Commission. It proves that doctors were taken into the SS exclusively on the basis of their professional ability. Leading doctors and leading authorities were taken into the SS to raise its prestige. It is asserted that the activity of the SS doctors of the General SS was also recognized by foreign countries, and examples of international authorities were given.
SS Affidavits Numbers 95 and 96 prove that the SS Women Auxiliaries were neither members of the SS nor sponsors. These girls carried out the same work as the Women Signal and Staff Auxiliaries in the Wehrmacht and must not be confused with the female supervisors in the concentration camps for female prisoners. There follows a large group of affidavits on the question of Germanization, a lengthy and very involved accusation by the Prosecution. They are Affidavits Numbers 2, 112, 114, 113, 110, 115, 44, 71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 11, 43, 72, 74, 76, 78, and 80. May I add at this point that in putting such a large group together, care has been taken to see that these individual affidavits are not cumulative. The affidavits supplement each other and thus give a complete picture of the points of the Indictment and their defense. These affidavits prove that the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the so-called -Staff Main Office of the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood-I repeat for the interpreters: Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and Stabshauptamt des Reichskommissars fur die Festigung des Deutschen Volkstums-were not SS agencies, but State authorities. That is the formal side of the defense.
20 Aug. 46
The material side is found in another part of these documents just quoted. The SS was not entrusted with evacuation measures, Germanization measures, and the settlement of Germans in the occupied territories. Affidavit SS-89 proves that the Chief of the Prisoner-of-War Department, even after Himmler's appointment, was purely a Wehrmacht office.
When Himmler was appointed Chief of the Prisoner-6f-War Department, nothing was changed in the organization of the Prisoner-of-War Department. The SS did not influence in any way the treatment of prisoners of war. I will now deal separately with the documents in the next, the second group, and sum them up. They deal with the assertion of the Prosecution that there had been organizational unity between the SS and the Police.
This unification is supposed to have taken place under the so-called "Higher SS and Police- Leaders." That assertion of the Prosecution is on Pages 12 and 16 of the German trial brief. It is in the transcript of 19 and 20 December. The following affidavits will refute this statement: 86, 87, 88, and 10.
I will ask the Tribunal to pay special attention to the explanation in Affidavit 87. These affidavits prove that the Higher SS and Police Leaders within the Reich had no authority to give orders to the Order Police and to the Security Police. On the contrary, those police branches received their orders from their respective main offices, and they were given directly and not through the Higher SS and Police Leader.
The presentation given by Dr. Best in Document 1852-PS does not give the true facts and is wishful thinking.
The affidavits taken together in the third group contain material to refute the assertion of the Prosecution that the SS was trained in the doctrine of the "Master Race" and in racial hatred, and that it prepared for war mentally and physically. This assertion also appears in the trial brief on Page 6, and in the transcript of 19 and 20 December.
They are Affidavits Numbers 57, 58, 59, 60, and 83, and they prove that the SS was not trained in racial hatred and certainly not for racial extermination, also that the SS was not trained for war either mentally or physically.
The affidavits in the fourth group, deal with the charge that the Waffen-SS was an integral part of the whole SS. That is found in the transcript of 19 and 20 December 1945. Moreover, that service in the Waffen-SS was, with a few exceptions at the end of the war, mainly voluntary. Thirdly, that the Waffen-SS, because of their ideological training, had fought in an inhuman manner and contrary to international law. Affidavit 84 shows that the Waffen-SS
20 Aug. 46
as a unit had no concept of Himmler's ideology, and above all that the Waffen-SS heard hardly anything about the other sectors under Himmler's power, and that they were not directed by Himmler in a military sense, but only in regard to personnel questions, clothing, and equipment.
The next four affidavits will be taken together: 36, 37, 39, and 40. These prove that a considerable part of the Waffen-SS and also special groups such as the Customs Border Protection, the SS Motor Transport Squadron, and the Auxiliary Army Post were taken into the SS on a compulsory basis. The following affidavits, Numbers 1, 31, 32, 33, 34, and 81, prove that the Waffen-SS were repeatedly instructed in the observance of the customs of war. The customs of war were in fact observed and infringements were severely punished.
Affidavits 82 and 83 deal with the SS Police Regiments in the same way as the documents quoted previously. They prove that these SS Police Regiments were purely regiments of the Order Police without connection with the SS. The police divisions, as distinguished from the police regiments, were never under the SS up to April 1942. Only after that were they forcibly ordered into the Waffen-SS.
The "Dirlewanger" Brigade has been mentioned repeatedly. Affidavit 35 deals with this.
This affidavit says: "This brigade was not an SS unit, but a unit set up on the direct orders of Himmler and composed of all kinds of convicted persons on probation."
The next group are Affidavits 3 and 4. They prove that the assertion of the Prosecution that the SS had participated in suppressing the SA on 30 June 1934 is false. The General SS in Frankfurt and Berlin, for example, was only told to stand by. No arrests or shootings took place. I may say here in this connection that a large quantity of evidence from all over Germany is given in Affidavit 70. It is a cross-section from a whole camp, a whole internment camp, which will be presented in the digest.
The next group deals with another point of the Indictment; participation of the SS in the Jewish pogrom of 9 November 1938. This comprises Affidavits 7, 6, 8, 9, 104, and 105. They prove that the SS in Nuremberg, Offenburg, Hamburg, Berlin, and Ulm did not participate in pogroms, but were only used for protection on 10 November. I consider Affidavit Number 5 of special importance in connection with the question as to whether an order from higher up was given to the SS to participate in these pogroms. It is by a certain Schallermeier. I have heard that it is available in English
20 Aug. 46
and I would be grateful if the Tribunal would permit me to read it. I shall ...
THE PRESIDENT: Has it been digested in the transcript before the Commissioners?
HERR PELCKMANN: It was digested in the transcript before the Commission, Your Lordship. I do not want to read the whole document, your Lordship, but may I read just a small portion of it which is especially important? "About 3 a.m. on 10 November" - this is Schallermieier speaking - "the Reichsfuehrer SS dictated to me in my room a statement which read as follows:
"'On 9 November I was at the Fuehrer's when about 2330 hours Gruppenfuehrer Wolff came to me and informed me about the order issued by the Gau Propaganda Office in Munich.'" - I repeat, Gau Propaganda Office. - "'I asked the Fuehrer what orders he had to give me. The Fuehrer replied that the SS should keep out of this action. The State Police Offices were to take care of Jewish property and see that the Jews themselves were protected. The General SS should remain at home and were only to be called out for protective measures if necessary. I immediately passed on this Fuehrer order to Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich for the State Police Offices and to the Oberabschnittsfuehrer for the General SS. When I asked the Fuehrer, I had the impression that he knew nothing about what was happening. The order emanates from Reich Propaganda Headquarters and I presume that Goebbels, in his lust for power and foolhardiness, which has struck me for some time, has sponsored this action at a time when the situation as regards foreign policy was at its worst."' May I correct myself; if I said this was Schallermeier, that was a mistake. This quotation was dictated by Himmler; Himmler dictated this paragraph. And the author of the affidavit goes on to say: "I myself had to type what I had taken down from dictation." Afterward this statement of Himmler was locked up in the safe and made secure.
Some very good material for judging the participation, or rather the non-participation of the SS in these events of 9 November is again afforded the Tribunal by Affidavit Number 70, a digest from a camp. The next group includes the following affidavits: 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 23, and 25. It deals with conditions in the concentration camps.
20 Aug. 46
These affidavits are to prove that the treatment in concentration camps, as described by those witnesses, was, generally speaking, satisfactory. Ill-treatment of prisoners was severely punished. Evidence of this is given in the numerous examples in Affidavit Number 70 which I have already mentioned, and in the digest of many affidavits, the collective Affidavit 119-122. Relevant to the question of authority in the concentration camps and the part which this played within the whole SS organization are Affidavits 99 and 100. They prove that the gains to concentration camps out of the employment of prisoners were not turned over to the SS, in particular not to the Waffen-SS, but were entered in the budget of the German Reich.
The next group includes affidavits regarding experiments on living human beings.
I consider them valuable only insofar as they provide an answer to the question:
What did the bulk of the SS men know of these experiments? Affidavit 17 is to prove that in Dachau prisoners voluntarily submitted to freezing experiments after they had been medically examined and given food to make them fit. Affidavit 107' also deals with these experiments. The following group of affidavits, 18, 22, 27, and 28 deal with the question of secrecy regarding crimes, especially crimes in concentration camps, and are to refute the assertion of the Prosecution that the whole German population knew of the atrocities in concentration camps, and therefore the SS men also knew about them, especially the SS men outside the concentration camps (Afternoon session of 28 January 1946, Volume VI, Page 252/253). These four affidavits prove that from all persons who in any way came into contact with concentration camps statements of secrecy were demanded, further that the concentration camp guards could have no insight into the actual conditions of protective custody camps and that even within the administrations of the camps one section was not informed about the activity of the other section.
On the same question of how much the members of the SS knew, I consider Affidavit Number 24 to be very important.
In answer to a direct question by a Waffen-SS Fuehrer who reported to him, Himmler said in April 1944 that everything was in order hi the concentration camps, and that the treatment of the prisoners was satisfactory. Himmler made this same statement to the whole officers' corps of the 17th SS Division.
Affidavit 117 proves that the utmost secrecy prevailed in the Fuehrer's headquarters, and the degree of secrecy was such that
20 Aug. 46
nothing was known about crimes in concentration camps, the extermination of Jews and the activity of the Einsatzkommandos.
I again put three affidavits together, 63, 93, and 94. They also show that the utmost secrecy was observed within Himmler's' sphere of command and especially concerning the inspection of concentration camps.
The notorious speech of Himmler's at Posen in October 1943 is known to the Tribunal. It was made to Obergruppenfuehrer of the SS. The Schneider affidavit, Number 29, says the following:
"Schneider was warned by Himmler personally to keep absolutely silent about, the Posen speech if he valued his life."
Affidavit 41 shows that the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office was competent for concentration camp administration through Amtsgruppe D. This affidavit emphasized the extraordinary secrecy which prevailed within this administrative organization.
Affidavit 12 reports that the Adjutant of the Chief of the SS Personnel Main Office made inquiries of the RSHA, and also of the W-VHA Amtsgruppe D. That was in 1943. This Chief of the SS Personnel Main Office inquired whether rumors about the murder of Jews were true. The offices mentioned answered to the effect that those rumors were untrue, and that they were definitely enemy propaganda.
THE PRESIDENT: We shall break off now, Doctor, please. Will you be much longer in your summaries of these affidavits?
HERR PELCKMANN: No, Your Lordship, these affidavits will not take much longer, but a resume of the group affidavits, which I must give so that the Tribunal will know what these group affidavits deal with, will take a little longer.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 21 August 1946 at 1000 hours.]
Two Hundred and Eighth Day
Wednesday; 21 August 1946
* * * * *
21 Aug. 46
* * * * *
21 Aug. 46
* * * * *
21 Aug 46
* * * * *
THE PRESIDENT: * * * * * All right, Dr. Pelckmann.
HERR PELCKMANN: May it please the Tribunal, I shall now give a short presentation of the last group of individual affidavits. First I present Affidavit Number 108.
* * * * *
21 Aug. 46
* * * * *
HERR PELCKMANN: I was just dealing with SS Affidavit Number 108. From this it can be seen that the SS had nothing to do with the drive for the seizure of manpower.
Affidavits Numbers 102 and 103 prove that the so-called "Voluntary Self-Protection," 'abbreviated "FS"-which the Prosecution considers a Fifth Column-in Slovakia and the Sudetenland had no connection with the SS and was never armed.
21 Aug. 46
Affidavits Numbers 106 and 111 deal with the nature of the organizational book of the NSDAP and with that of the NS Year-Book. The Prosecution quotes from these books to prove official opinions of the Party. These affidavits, however, state that the organizational book and the NS Year-Book were not official publications and that they are therefore no proof for organizational questions. SS Affidavit Number 109 deals with the charge of the Prosecution that SS men were protected by the regime when they committed crimes. It proves that when SS members committed punishable actions, before the establishment of the SS courts in 1939, that the SS officers saw to it that no difficulties were put in the way of the regular course of justice inasmuch as these actions became known. Finally, there is a last group, Affidavits Numbers 90, 30, 91, and 92. Affidavit Number 30 is available only in the French translation. It is an answer to the assertion of the Prosecution that the -whole SS organization and its members knew, or must have known, that the SS was a criminal organization. The affidavits state, to mention an example, that there were particularly good relations between the Foreign Diplomatic Corps and the SS, so that the SS members who heard about that could not assume that this organization was criminal.
Now I wish to deal briefly with the affidavits which I mentioned at the beginning, and of which no digest is available
THE PRESIDENT: What did you mean by saying that there was a group, which I took down as being 90, 31 or 30, or possibly both of them, and 92? By the document which is before me, Affidavits Numbers 90, 91, and 92 have been withdrawn. Is that a mistake?
HERR PELCKMANN: I had made application in the Commission to have them admitted, and the Prosecution did not want to have them admitted. As far as I can recall, no decision was reached by the Commission and it was postponed. However, I heard 2 days ago that Colonel Neave, who was presiding in the Commission at that time, said that they had definitely not been admitted. That is new to me. If this should be the case, then I would ask for a decision of the Tribunal whether these affidavits can be admitted. This decision need not be given at once.
THE PRESIDENT: You just cited them as a group. Have they got any relations to Number. 30? Number 30, you say, relates to the relationship between the SS and the Foreign Diplomatic Corps. Do' 90 and 92 relate to that?
HERR PELCKMANN: Yes, 30 was approved and is available in the French translation.
The English translation ...
21 Aug. 46
THE PRESIDENT: We can take it then, and we will consider the application. We can take it that 90 and 92 deal with the same subject, is that right?
HERR PELCKMANN: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: That's quite sufficient. I don't want any more.
HERR PELCKMANN: Now I shall deal again with Affidavits 68, 64, and 69. 1 must refute the assertion of the Prosecution that ill treatment, individual killings, and mass exterminations in the concentration' camps can be charged against the SS as a whole because, as the Prosecution asserts, they were known to most of the SS men. The very important and elucidating records of the trials of the Allied Military Courts against members of the concentration camp administrations and against guards - for example, the trials at Belsen, Mauthausen, Dachau, Neuengamme, Celle, and Rastatt - I was not able to obtain. A systematic examination of the witnesses and a part of the affidavits from the camps made it possible for me to ascertain facts sufficient to refute the assertion of the Prosecution.
On 29 January, the President said that witnesses and evidence from the Defense were especially expected to be forthcoming on the point concerning concentration camps. The President said on the same day, in answer to a question by the French Prosecutor Dubost as to whether the Court was convinced that the same terrible conditions prevailed in all camps which two witnesses had testified to: "If you want to prove that, Mr. Dubost, it is necessary to call a witness from each of the hundreds of camps." I refer to the transcript.
Therefore, for purposes of defense, I have a number of affidavits from guards, members of the administrations, and inmates of camps, and also from visitors to the concentration camps. I have submitted them as counter-evidence. Now, I refer only to an affidavit which seems very important to me, Number 68.
THE PRESIDENT: Now, why do you not tell us which the affidavits are, that is what we want you to do. You are telling us no and referring to some statement I made in January, that you have got affidavits made from each camp. Well, what are the affidavits? It is quite easy to tell us what the groups are, is it not?
HERR PELCKMANN: These groups, Mr. President, I mentioned yesterday. I only wanted..
THE PRESIDENT: If You mentioned it yesterday, why do you go back to them today?
HERR PELCKMANN: In order to stress the importance of the Affidavit Number 68 which I am about to explain. It is an affidavit of a commandant of a concentration camp. I can understand that in view of the prevailing attitude the general feeling of the Court
21 Aug. 46
will be one of distrust toward this commandant. But nevertheless, I ask that this very detailed affidavit be read. It deals with organizational questions which are significant in respect to the question: Who was responsible for crimes and ill-treatment of inmates in concentration camps, and who could have had knowledge of them.
For example, this affidavit explains the position of the Economic and Administrative Main Office, Amtsgruppe D. I ask you to pay attention to the fact that this office must not be confused with the Reich Security Main Office. Confusion has already occurred in summing up the testimony of witnesses before the Court. I should like to explain how important it is to re-examine the question of organization of the concentration camp system with the aid of this Document Number 68. But the other parts of this affidavit are also very important.
The other important affidavits are Numbers 64 and 69. They are also testimonies of SS judges, who just like the witness Morgen had participated in the investigations against concentration camp criminals. From the witness Morgen himself there are the Affidavits Numbers 65, 66, and 67.
THE PRESIDENT: Why does he make two affidavits on one day?
HERR PELCKMANN: I did not understand Your Lordship.
THE PRESIDENT: I said, why does he make two affidavits on one day? Why not make one affidavit?
HERR PELCKMANN: During these days work piled up with examinations before the Commission and interrogations of witnesses. The witness Morgen arrived quite at the end. I had to see to it that the affidavits were presented as quickly as possible. For that reason...
THE PRESIDENT: Very well. Go on.
HERR PELCKMANN: It is purely a technical reason, Your Lordship. These concentration camp investigations were, in my opinion, of great importance and very elucidating for the Court in judging the concentration camp system in general and determining the responsibility of the rest of the SS. Therefore, I ask that the affidavits of these two judges be added and closely examined. I will deal with them in my speech.
Finally, I ask the Tribunal to note the whole of Affidavit Number 70, which has been translated completely and which comprises many pages. There is neither a French nor an English translation here at hand. This affidavit gives a cross-section from a camp with 2,800 SS inmates, and these inmates include members of the various offices, members of most of the Standarten of the General SS from all parts of Germany, and members of about 30 divisions, Oberkommandos, and replacement units of the Waffen-SS. In addition,
21 Aug. 46
this affidavit is a good cross-section of the members at various times which, according to the Court's decision of 14 January, should be a decisive factor. The highest ranks are not represented there; it is the so-called "little man" who is represented.
From a similar point of view, and because this evidence of affidavits affects the great mass of the SS, I ask the Tribunal for a proper consideration and evaluation of the 136,000 affidavits of which I have made a digest. For the evaluation of the credibility of these affidavits, the fact is important that they were taken down at a very early date without juridical or any other explanations. The SS members commented only on one or several points which interested them I most. The fact that certain points are not mentioned in these affidavits is understandable because the ordinary SS man naturally had only a limited view and was not able to judge on many subjects. As a result they could not write anything on these points.
Justice Jackson stated that the numerous affidavits of SS members were only evidence of their interest in their personal fate. But this digest is to refute that. The individual's range of view is generally limited, and since he cannot testify to more than he knows, these affidavits -through the sum of the individual viewpoints assume a great value which is important for me as counsel for the mass of the SS, not for their highest leaders. They give a clear picture of the impressions made on the masses by the teachings, the statements, and the speeches of the leaders, and what actions resulted therefrom. Only this picture, only this cross-section can show to what extent one can speak of collective criminality in the SS, if it is at all possible to say so juridically. These statements are also important for the question of conspiracy.
I may point out that this digest has not yet been translated This digest consists of various groups. First, may I briefly touch upon Group I. It deals with the motives of volunteering for the SS distinction being made between joining the General SS and volunteering for the Waffen-SS before 1933 and after 1933. Of 12,749 affidavits, 12,671 say that the motives were idealism and patriotism alone for joining before 1933. 78 affidavits give various other motives such as transfer from other units, for example sometimes rural riding clubs were transferred into the SS cavalry, and so forth. The fact that the motive for joining after the seizure of power is commented on only by 804 men proves that people did not join out of pure idealism and on a really voluntary basis to the same extent as before 30 January 1933.
As for joining the Waffen-SS there are only a few affidavits. 0 488 men, 406 say that the Waffen-SS was a select and young troop.
21 Aug. 46
[continued in part 2]
- Forum Staff
- Posts: 23586
- Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
- Location: USA
21 Aug. 46
Others say that they had to fulfil their military duties in any case and that they preferred the Waffen-SS. Many indicate that the Waffen-SS considered itself a fourth branch of the Wehrmacht. Many others indicate that they were racial Germans, and as I proved yesterday with the aid of documents, racial Germans could perform their military service only in the Waffen-SS. Some enlisted in the Waffen-SS because they wanted to be in the police service after the war. I have made a digest of Group II as to the question of legal compulsion for joining the General SS and drafting into the Waffen SS. 67 affidavits say that the assimilation into the Police brought them to a service rank in the General SS.
The rest of the other affidavits are made by students and university teachers, or members of the postal guard, the Reich Food Estate, civil servants, Reich War Victims Care, and teachers. Also honorary 'leaders are in this group. Concerning the drafting into the Waffen-SS, there are 4,042 statements. 1,806 racial Germans and 1,826 transferred from other parts of the Wehrmacht or from the Police, that is, compulsorily ordered to join the Waffen-SS. The question of membership in the General SS among Waffen-SS members is of interest. According to these statistics there were 246 Waffen-SS members who were drafted into the Waffen-SS by the Wehrbezirkskommando, the district command of the normal Wehrmacht. Only one-fifth of them belonged to the General SS. Of further significance is the following: As early as 1939 Wehrbezirkskommandos were drafting men for the Waffen-SS. The witness Brill has also spoken on this subject. And Wehrbezirkskommandos drafted men to guard concentration camps by drafting them into the Waffen-SS.
Further, members of the Reich Labor Service were taken over compulsorily into the Waffen-SS. The concentration camp guards were supplied by the Labor Office; through so-called emergency drafting the Labor Office obtained the men for concentration camp guards, and there they were taken over forcibly into the Waffen-SS. Some minor points are the compulsory transfer of postal officials for the aid of the German Reich Post service at the front and for the SS Army Post. Group III includes in its first subsection all the affidavits dealing with the knowledge which the SS members had of the intentions of their leaders.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, are you still dealing with Group I?
21 Aug. 46
HERR PELCKMANN: No, Your Lordship, I am on Group III. Group II...
THE PRESIDENT: Where did Group II begin?
HERR PELCKMANN: Group II began with the legal compulsion to 'join the General SS
THE PRESIDENT: You did not say so. As far as the translation came through to me, I have taken down all the numbers you have given, and I thought they were all in Group I.
HERR PELCKMANN: I beg your pardon. I thought I said it. Perhaps it did not get through.
THE PRESIDENT: Now you have got to Group III, have you?
HERR PELCKMANN: Yes. It deals with the training which the SS members received. 55,303 SS members state that in this training they had no indication of criminal aims. It was training for character, for decency, for comradeship, and exemplary conduct of life. It is noteworthy that none of the SS men in connection with the training mentions Hitler's book Mein Kampf. Statistics will prove that the mass of SS men did not read this book at all.
289 affidavits deal with the evaluation of the racial doctrine. 233 do not consider it conducive to racial hatred, to the desire to destroy other races, or to create a master race. They see therein only a demand for a separation of the races from one another. 57 affidavits see in the doctrine the purpose of selecting the best among the people. Various affidavits say that the racial doctrine included respect for other peoples. The problem of colonization and G6rmanization is not mentioned in any affidavit as a so-called training problem Many affidavits deal with the question of whether the General SS were trained as political soldiers. 20,010 affidavits are available on this subject. 15,461 ascribe no military character to the General SS. They give, for example, the following reasons:
They never had any military training in the General SS. The ranks of the General SS were not recognized in the Wehrmacht. There were no arms or so-called tactical exercises; tactical discussions were forbidden. Shooting was done only with small-bore rifles. There were not enough rifles.
1,053 affidavits confirm the testimony of various witnesses here that during the war, service in the General SS no longer occurred at all, or only in exceptional cases; at the end, of the war there was none whatsoever.
On the question of psychological preparation for war, 3,304 affidavits say that
their authors did not think of war and did not
21 Aug 46
believe in war. At the Junker schools, various affidavits say, rejection of war was taught, since it created a so-called negative counterselection. And in the Verfugungstruppe, the so-called field service, a more military service, was taken up only when general military service was introduced. 127 affidavits confirm that the General SS did not demand any special obedience-that is, no oath which according to its form would obligate the individual to more than in the Wehrmacht or-in the civil service. 2,674 affidavits report on the training of SS men. In 3,138 affidavits it is asserted that orders against humanity were not known to them and were certainly not given.
The second subsection of Group III is intended to provide an answer to the question of what the members recognized as the actual aim of the organization. It is a problem of ascertaining whether there was a contradiction between the theoretical training and the real actions of the leaders. 688 affidavits deal with the question of whether the power in Germany was to be achieved through suppression of political opponents. On the question of whether the SS members recognized the destruction- of Jewry as an aim of the leaders, 1,593 out of 1,637 affidavits which mention this problem state that the Jewish problem was not to be solved by killing or the so-called "final solution," and that they had no knowledge of these intentions of the leaders. They point out that the SS members were forbidden to undertake individual acts against Jews. As evidence, numerous members refer to the fact that many death or other severe sentences were passed because of crimes against Jewish persons or Jewish property. Another question was whether the SS members believed that the actual aim of the leaders was to dominate Europe through war. 12,596 affidavits say that neither statements of the SS leaders nor statements of Hitler made plain that the conquest of Europe was an aim of the SS.
Group IV, the next, seems to me quite important. It includes affidavits on the question of the participation of the SS members in the crimes asserted in the Indictment.
The first question deals with participation in the concentration camp system. 2,866 affidavits have been made out on this subject. They are mostly from guards, a few from former concentration camp inmates and a few from kitchen and workshop personnel. They deal with the treatment of the inmates and with the conduct of the guards. They only show, of course, how the guards saw the concentration camp conditions and the life of the inmates from their point of view. They give a cross-section through almost all concentration camps and labor camps. They give a unified picture of the impossibility of obtaining insight into the true conditions, even for
21 Aug. 46
people working near the camps. They also give a unified picture of the degree of ignorance of conditions in the camps and the reason for this, namely, the order for extreme secrecy. 2,385 say that instructions were constantly given about the conduct of the guards; examples of punishment are given for disobedience of these rules, especially for ill-treatment. Significant is the statement in many affidavits that relations between the guards and the command personnel were not only indifferent but even tense.
Prisoners themselves, whose affidavits are presented, state that a great part of the responsibility for the conditions belongs to the internee Kapos, who were often criminals. The question of the participation of SS members in so-called mass exterminations in extermination camps, which must be distinguished from the concentration camps, is not mentioned at all in the affidavits. We have heard from various witnesses that these camps had a routine of their own and only a few SS men or men in SS uniforms were stationed there. Now I come to another point. A cross-section through all the well-known divisions of the Waffen-SS is given by 8,242 affidavits and on the question of illegal treatment of prisoners of war, 4,306 testify to constant instruction on correct conduct before each action. Numerous affidavits give examples of particularly good treatment of prisoners of war.
13,613 affidavits deal with the question of treatment of the civilian population in the occupied territories contrary to international law. There were no orders to this effect; constant instruction about correct conduct was given. The majority of SS members can report only good relations with the civilian population in the occupied territories. There is no mention in any affidavit of the participation of the SS in resettlement or in deportation. for slave labor. A few statements say that labor commitment was no concern of the SS.
Only a very few affidavits touch biological experiments. They come from men who had something to do with concentration camps. These few say that they had heard that the prisoners volunteered for experiments. 1,271 affidavits deal with the so-called Rohm Putsch. The General SS did not participate in these events; parts of them had been told to stand by, but they were not armed and not employed. For 9 November 1938 4,407 affidavits give a cross-section of various units, Oberabschnitte, Abschnitte, and Standarten of the SS, in almost all cities of Germany and all districts. It is said with special emphasis that the SS did not participate in these excesses.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, I suppose what you are doing is reading out your summary of these 136,000 affidavits; is that right?
HERR PELCKMANN: Yes.
21 Aug. 46
THE PRESIDENT: Verbatim?
HERR PELCKMANN: Your Lordship?
THE PRESIDENT: I asked you whether you were reading it out verbatim.
HERR PELCKMANN: As soon as the translation...
THE PRESIDENT: That is not an answer to my question. I asked you whether you were reading it out verbatim.
HERR PELCKMANN: No, I am only giving a resume, Your Lordship.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think we had better adjourn now.
[A recess was taken.]
HERR PELCKMANN: Your Lordship, I regret very much that the translation of the summary is not at hand. It would, of course, greatly facilitate the understanding and the grouping of this material.
Group V deals with statements concerning the general ignorance of the bulk of SS members. 96,257 affidavits are at our disposal. They tell us that the majority of the members of the SS knew nothing about the crimes attributed to them before the capitulation. They say that in general, but they make particular reference as well, when they deal with the various forms of crimes concerned. One fact is especially significant in this connection and is particularly emphasized. At the time when these crimes assumed a larger scale, that is, during the war, the main body of the SS was fighting at the front; for that reason alone it could not receive any knowledge of incidents of that sort, for the horizon of the man at the front is extremely limited, as experience teaches.
Next comes Group VI. It deals with the assertion made by the Prosecution that the SS was a unity. The first question reads whether the branch organizations formed an actual unit. 5,700 affidavits deal with this question. One half shows that a conscious effort toward unification for purposes of carrying through a conspiracy was totally lacking. The other half refers to the fact that the Waffen-SS was not basically recruited from the General SS. Therefore, it emphasizes the separation between the General SS and the Waffen-SS. The second question inquires whether the members of the various branch organizations knew of the activities carried out by the other branches. The significance of the question could not be recognized by the members of the SS without a previous explanation, and therefore few of the affidavits deal with this question. Those few affidavits that we have concerning that activity of the
21 Aug. 46
various main offices of the SS ' confirm that they were set up separately and that a union was formed only in the person of Himmler himself. Several affidavits refer to the fact that, for instance, the personnel of the concentration camps were made up of the most varied groups and components. Many affidavits emphasize that the state of secrecy which had been ordered through the Fi1hrer Decree Number One, which has been quoted frequently, and also certain special directives, prohibited close co-operation among the various branches of the SS. In some other affidavits it is said that the General SS, on one hand, and the Police and the SD on the other hand, were not a unit. Very informative are the affidavits which deal with the components of the Leibstandarte 1934. Less than 10 percent of the members of this Leibstandarte were at the same time members of the General SS. A large number of these affidavits state that during the war, practically speaking, the General SS did not exist. 342 affidavits deal with numerous affiliated groups or branches of the SS. These, in truth, only engaged in activities of a definite specialized character; they were not concerned with carrying through the alleged SS activities and had only a loose connection with the General SS. Among these groups we find the SS mounted units, the Reitersturme, which devoted themselves to sporting activities, and the motor units; also the SS female helpers, who like the Wehrmacht female helpers were only used during the war in intelligence and information service. Others were the SS sport organizations, the Lebensborn, the medical units for first aid, front units of the German Reichspost, signals units, and so forth.
Affidavits in Group VII deal with the question of the SS attitude toward the Church. 3,174 affidavits are on hand in this respect which, on the basis of their positive statements, conclude that according to their conviction, a persecution of the Church was not intended by the SS leadership. Under VIII there are 127 affidavits grouped together which testify to the fact that many offices under Himmler had no connection with the SS and, further, that between Himmler and the SS an estrangement had arisen, especially in the course of the war.
Under IX, 435 affidavits are summarized. They deal with the behavior of our enemies during the war and after the capitulation. These affidavits, based on the experiences of the SS men, contain statements about actions contrary to international law which the enemy Perpetrated in combat. Names of places are given, as are theaters of war, nationality of the enemy, and the kind of excesses that occurred. The enumeration is intended to show that excesses of this kind can hardly be prevented during war and that for that
21 Aug. 46
reason one cannot conclude that an underlying system existed. They serve the purpose of showing that the German troops, especially the Waffen-SS, when confronted with isolated cases of violations of international law, which some of the affidavits say were punished, cannot be charged with having acted according to a system.
The last group is X. It contains 57 affidavits which reproduce the actual personal impressions of foreigners about the SS. From the recognition accorded by these foreigners, which was known within the SS, the individual SS man concluded that the general behavior -of the SS could not be criminal and that the activity was not objected to by the world as a whole. Various personalities are mentioned on the grounds of certain incidents; the opinions of prominent Americans, Englishmen, and Russians are given, such as Daladier, Chamberlain, Lord Rothermere, Chaim Weizmann, and others.
Finally, I should like to submit, though without going into a detailed explanation of it, a statistical record drawn up on the basis of a circular. With that, My Lord, I have concluded the submission of affidavits and documents.
* * * * *
* * * * *
HERR PELCKMANN: * * * * * Your Lordship, Gentlemen of the Tribunal: when on 27 February 1933 the German Reichstag was destroyed by fire,, the Nazis willed that out of those flames the Third Reich, to last a thousand years, should be born. When, a little more than twelve years later, the whole of Germany was engulfed in a sea of flames, that Reich went down in rubble and ruins.
Both of those historic events were followed by trials. Their meaning was and is to determine who was responsible for those two crimes of human history.
The German Supreme Court did not solve that task. It is true that it acquitted with remarkable courage, as Mr. Jackson has stated, the indicted Communists, but it failed to determine and certainly to sentence those who were really guilty, who hired the unfortunate tool, Van der Lubbe, and who performed the deed with him. Thus, under the impact of public opinion, the truth has been muzzled and has been concealed by the Nazi Government. Formal justice has
26 Aug. 46
been satisfied. The culprit had been sentenced, but Truth, that divine power and profoundest human insight, remained hidden. It alone would have been able to open the eyes of the German people at that time and have had the power to hold it back from the abyss.
Now this High Tribunal, this Court of the World, faces the task of passing judgment.
Whose guilt was that world conflagration? Who was responsible for the destruction of foreign lands, and finally for the infernal downfall of our German Fatherland? And again there exists the danger that this Court too might pass merely a formal verdict naming guilty men, while the deepest and final truth would remain unfound by the influence of a psychosis which, in accordance with the laws of psychology and psychoanalysis, is the natural consequence of the many years of struggle between the Hitler regime and the free peoples of the world. Will this Tribunal be in a position to save, by its verdict, Germany and all the world from an abyss deeper and more horrible than anything experienced before?
This Trial is a criminal trial. It is truly the greatest as far as the number of defendants and people concerned goes, and above all, the most important which ever was recorded by legal history - but still, in all its characteristics, it remains a typical criminal trial.
Therefore, it follows the Anglo-Saxon legal principle governing the Charter, which was reaffirmed during these public proceedings, namely, that the Prosecution must collect and present only those factors which could incriminate the accused, never those that could excuse them. The Prosecution is being effectively supported by the mass psychosis to which all the witnesses of the greatest causes c6Mbres of World history are subject, for reasons which international scientists, particularly Le Bon, have given in detail. Openly and gladly do I proclaim that in the course of the defense which I have conducted, I did not use the principle of painting everything in black and white. I, too, was endangered by the possible mass suggestion exerted by those hundreds of thousands of voices which reached me from the internment camps, and I was tempted to defend at any price - thereby losing the sound basis of facts as they actually were. This effect in itself shows the dangerous reaction brought about by such a mass accusation and its political consequences.
I am most thoroughly convinced that by such black and white painting the High Tribunal would have been led astray in its search for the real truth. I did not conceive this to be my task, although the principles of the Charter would have given me the right to do so. In such a trial, concerned with the very basis of humanity, with the fate of the German people and the future of the world, it cannot be left to the cleverness of methods in voicing the conflicting conceptions of Prosecution and Defense to bring the Tribunal to consider that the truth must lie halfway between. It is not the task
26 Aug. 46
of the Defense to gain tactical successes by emphasizing the one and suppressing the other argument. Incorruptibly we have to find clarity-Clart6, as demanded by that fanatic seeker of truth, Henry Barbusse. That is the rule in accordance with which I selected my witnesses. I particularly remind you of Reinecke and Morgen, whose evidence I shall evaluate later.
It was my endeavor to assist the Tribunal in ascertaining the historic truth. In doing so I was inspired by the simple and therefore all the more beautiful German medieval proverb, "Geschehenes hat kein Umkehr," that is to say, "What is done cannot be undone." Those words imply not only all the tragedy of the fact that there is no undoing what is done; those words have a deeper meaning: Past events do not permit or tolerate a retrospective study; this means that no deed can be correctly grasped and understood if speculated upon ex post. No, one must look at it as it appeared to the contemporaries at the time of its performance, from the beginning to the end.
One must examine all the circumstances surrounding the deed and the person who performed it, as well as his psychological situation at the time of its performance. The judges must familiarize themselves most thoroughly with the personality of the perpetrator to measure the extent of his guilt.
This is equally true of this Trial. One nation judges another nation; the family of peoples judges one people which has brought deep suffering to the world, a State which has committed crimes against humanity. In the organizations there have been indicted huge formations; large sectors of the German people have been put in the dock and, therefore, it seems necessary that the judges of these millions of people should acquaint themselves most thoroughly with the lives, the knowledge, the hopes, and the beliefs of these masses as they were at the moment when the ideas and ai2complishments of National Socialism were becoming effective, and its criminal excesses were beginning. Hence, the judges of the four largest and, for the outcome of this World War, most important nations of all the world, will have to make the endeavor to decide - just as in a case before any normal jury - "How did the deed come about?" In what situation did the defendant find himself at that time? What speculations and sentiments drove him to commit the act? Did he have any intention of doing anything illegal? Is it possible that he himself was deceived? Was he at all able to recognize the illegal nature of his doing, and if he learned of it only gradually, was he in a position to adjust his action in accordance with that insight? It is extremely difficult for the judge even in normal criminal proceedings to free himself from the ex post reflection and to evaluate correctly the circumstances of the deed, the milieu of the deed, and
26 Aug. 46
the personality of the one who performed it. How exorbitant are the demands for justice upon the judge when he has to pass sentence on a man who has transgressed against a member of his, the judge's family! Every one of the four nations sitting in this Court has suffered tremendous damage by the crimes of the Nazi regime, for which millions of members of the organizations have to account now. But in accordance with the statements made by Justice Jackson in his opening speech, I venture to hope that you, High Tribunal, will succeed in this titanic undertaking in being free of feelings of revenge, and will seek justice and nothing but justice. Will you, as non-Germans, who have not yourselves lived through the unique historic phenomenon of a mass psychosis and a tyranny of continental proportions - will you indeed be able to grasp and to picture to yourselves how such things could happen? Can you conceive that crimes were not committed by the bulk of, the members, that they were not consciously organized by them - that they were not even known to them? The Charter rightly states, and the Tribunal has acted accordingly, that it is not the task of this Court to ascertain what inner causes-whether justified or not-led to this war. The decisive question is only: was it an aggressive war? Nevertheless, already in the cases of the individual defendants evidence was allowed to be admitted as to how the historical development psychologically conducted them from the first World War to this new murder of nations. How infinitely more is one justified, when endeavoring to establish the guilt and the crime of the organizations in their very incipiency, in examining the historical background, the political situation as a whole, in and around Germany. The masses have no clear thoughts or sentiments. They are moved by vague emotions, emanations of a phenomenon which the scientists have called "mass soul." They are moulded by the pictures and promises offered by their leaders.
One of the prosecutors in his final speech against the individual defendants stressed how enormous was their guilt and how disastrous the consequences of their acts because of the clever use made of the masses, the seducing of the soul of the people by the glittering magic of slogans and the promise of Utopian development. Do not these very words give the best proof that the bulk of the members desired only the good and the noncriminal?
Already in its very beginnings, even before 1933, the principles of the SS were identical with the program of the NSDA-P. Not only before this Tribunal has the question been discussed whether that program and the means and methods of its realization were criminal. This question stirred the public, the authorities of the German Republic, and the best heads and hearts of our people for many years before 1933. Were the motives criminal if the masses followed
26 Aug. 46
a politician who did not promise them easy predatory incursions at home and abroad, but rather work and bread; when he rallied them to national unity as contrasted to the p6le-ra&e of a parliamentary system turned to ridicule by 41 parties, and a democracy which brought about its own death by weakness and half measures?
It is the German people's deep tragedy that it could not turn its efforts, having come too late when the material riches of the world were distributed, towards strengthening and improving its recognized position in the world of intellect and applied sciences. Germans are romantics - particularly in the field of politics. This romanticism circles around vague concepts of fate and doom and the dream of power once held in the "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" of a thousand years ago. This belief in destiny has been fostered by an absolutely incorrect presentation of German history for more than a hundred years, so that it needed only a skilful sorcerer to send once more millions of German youth to death and destruction by suppressing the real facts.
But the great seducer, Hitler, had not yet reached that point. The protestations of peaceful intentions towards the opponents among his own people were as yet more important than those towards foreign countries, which did not yet enter into the picture. As a result of shortcomings of all the large political parties and their formations and because of the weakness of the republican government, the issues of domestic politics were more and more being decided by street brawls. Nevertheless, the secret parliamentary elections were carried through without terror or deceit. Through these elections the citizen could observe a steady increase of strength of the extreme parties of the Right and of the Left. He could not consider it a crime to join the extreme party of the Right, the NSDAP, or its SS, which in contrast to the SA which ruled the streets, was mainly concerned with the protection of the speakers during the guerilla warfare among the political adversaries of those days.
Every German who lived through those days knows with what tension the question was discussed whether the NSDAP and its formations were planning undertakings which signified high treason or aimed at overthrowing the Government by force.
In 1923, in the early days of the Party, Hitler had attempted a coup d'etat which had failed. Now, for many years he had been advocating "legality." When in September 1930, three young officers of the 100,000-man Army were indicted before the German Supreme Court for high treason for having attempted to found National Socialist cells in the Army, Hitler as a witness testified under oath his revolution was -one of the spirit and that his aim was to come to power by legal
26 Aug. 46
means. This appeared in all the papers in huge headlines and impressed itself on the enemies and the followers of Hitler alike. Professor Dr. Kempner, then Oberregierungsrat in the Prussian Ministry of the Interior, now a member of the American Prosecution, was one of the few who considered that oath perjury. He submitted to his Ministry a detailed report which ended with the conclusion that the NSDAP was guilty of high treason. But even that seeker after truth had to admit in his description of the situation as it existed then (Volume XIII, Number 2, June 1945, Research Studies of the State College of Washington, Page 120) that even ministerial officials of the German Republic did not consider Hitler a liar at that time, 1930. That was how Hitler's clever propaganda influenced such critical and hostile circles. Should one be surprised that the masses of the SS put their trust in him? Incidentally, at that time they numbered only a few thousand. Well, matters went even farther. When Dr. Kempner denounced the Nazi Party in 1930, after a thorough investigation before the Supreme Court, the Chief Public Prosecutor ruled in August 1932 that there existed no reason to prosecute or dissolve it. (Compare Kempner's study, Page 133.) What other effect could such statements, voiced by the highest authorities of the Republic, have had on the masses? The effects were reflected in ever-increasing election returns for the Nazis.
But the most striking feature is-and that is of decisive importance for the inner attitude of those thousands who joined the SS immediately after 30 January 1933-that Hitler actually did not break his oath. Although it is quite true that Dr. Kempner's prophecies in regard to the further development were correct in general - this was not recognized until much later - he was mistaken in his early predictions. The Nazi Party in fact remained a legal one; it did not seize power by a coup d'etat, but Hitler was asked by Hindenburg to form a cabinet in accordance with parliamentary rules.
What is it that those ministerial officials who had refused to believe the pessimist, Dr. Kempner, were able to say? Is it not likely that they could triumph at the fact that they had been right? Was their conscience not set at rest? After all, that man Hitler was not as bad as people had said. Now that he had entered the Government he would become a moderate-like every opposition after gaining power. And was it not true, too, that the bulk of Hitler's followers were proud that they had succeeded in coming to power by peaceful means after an election fight whose propaganda machine was almost of American proportions?
In viewing that period of time one question inevitably arises: were the mass of Hitler's followers, the mass of SS men, at that time able to recognize that that point of the Party Program which
26 Aug. 46
probably was the most clear-cut, namely, anti-Semitism, contained a criminal element?
Anti-Semitism is not a new phenomenon; neither is it, if one studies its spiritual basis, something typically German. In my opinion it is based on the inferiority complex of the average man, on his mistrust of the Jews' superiority in certain intellectual fields. Neither is the refutation of anti-Semitism by all civilized nations and individuals anything new. It culminates in the Pope's statement, "He who discriminates between Jews and other human beings does not believe in God and is in conflict with the divine commands." But the enigma which we cannot pass by when discussing the question of criminality is that there should exist at all a Jewish -problem which is not based on religious differences, but on race. The enigma is that there still exists a race problem which leads continuously to conflicts in our modern world which has grown so small. Is it not puzzling that the Polish Cardinal Mond, who went through all the horrors of the Nazi regime, only a few weeks ago tried to justify to some extent Polish anti-Semitism by referring to the leading role played by Jews in the Polish Government? Is it not puzzling that even today, after the horrible experiences of the Hitler regime, the Arabs take action against the Jews in their traditional homeland, Palestine, and particularly against their influx, and that mutual acts of violence are committed? The situation is similar in Europe. Race problems, not only anti-Semitism, still exist in all other corners of the globe.
All of them cry out for a just solution, and that can be found only in the granting of equal rights to all races. Some progressive nations have made anti-Semitism a criminal offense.
But was it criminal when society, the State, under the influence of those false ideas, sought the solution by prohibiting the races from mixing and influencing public life? Here again much can be explained by what was happening in those days. The bad example of a few Jewish immigrants from Eastern European countries, such as the notorious swindlers Barmat and Kutisker, was in sharp contrast to that of the great German Jew and unforgettable statesman, Walter Rathenau, who long ago had appealed to his brethren for a reawakening of their moral consciousness. This situation offered the basis for a collective attitude, for a mass psychosis against the Jews, aided by external economic distress, as always happens in the course of great political and social upheavals, just as in this present Trial it is about to happen again by creating collective injustice against certain categories of people. The demand to put this anti-,Semitic principle into practice by legal means could not have been a crime, because the State appeared to be the guarantor that the principle would be applied without hatred and personal revenge. In a way
26 Aug. 46
it was merely another version and anachronistic aggravation of the American legal principle of ...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, I do not want to interrupt you, but you will not lose sight of the fact that you are only going to be allowed half a day for the speech, and I observe that it is said to occupy 100 pages; and I only interrupt you at the present stage to point out to you that the matters which you are dealing with now are matters of a general nature, to which our attention has been drawn throughout the course of this Trial, and it may be in your interest to shorten this part of your speech rather than other parts of it. That's the only reason why I interrupt you now.
HERR PELCKMANN: Yes, Your Lordship, I have already considered abbreviating the speech.
The demand to put this anti-Semitic principle into practice by legal means could not have been a crime, because the State appeared to be the guarantor that the principle would be applied without hatred and revenge. That in all this Hitler was inwardly moved by hatred-this is revealed by his most trusted mouthpiece, Rauschning, in his book Hitler Speaks, Page 91-was not known to the masses. That hatred which sprang from the -feeling of inferiority of him who recognized the superiority of the penetrating intellect over dark impulses remained concealed; for anti-Semitism was preached to the SS men merely as the other side of race eugenics on which emphasis , was laid. By skilful use of those race emotions which spring from a country's history, so difficult for the non-European to understand, and which were bound up with such conceptions as "Ordensprinzip," "Mannerbunde," and "Sippengemeinschaft" - I refer to Documents Numbers SS-1, 2, and 3 with all their twisted romanticism dressed up in modern clothes - Hitler endeavored to create in the SS a breed of men who by their bearing and self-discipline would represent an Mite for purposes of raising his own people to a high level. This tendency, though very alien to modern Europeans or cosmopolitans, can hardly be called criminal-I am referring to the pertinent questions asked by the High Tribunal - and it did exclude automatically an anti-Semitic tendency of the nature of the Sturmer, or even of the brand of the less vulgar SA-Mann. It is also significant that the Prosecution has not charged the SS with one single case of brutality towards Jews before 1933. The Leithefte, the monthly publication of the SS, and the evidence given before the Commission by the witness Schwalm concerning the training of the SS, testify to the reserved attitude of the SS towards the Jewish question. Later it was reaffirmed by the nonparticipation of the SS in the anti-Jewish pogroms of 1938, which I shall describe in another connection. I shall also demonstrate how the atrocities committed during the war against Jews, and the mass killings, were in conflict with the original tendency of the SS and how they were made possible by direct
26 Aug. 46
secret orders from Hitler and Himmler through criminal individuals and groups, and how they were kept secret from the masses of SS members. Of the many points of the Party Program, which the SS accepted as a matter of course, I would like to pick out only the rejection of the Versailles Treaty and the demand for living space, because those two things might be important factors for the alleged preparation of an aggressive war.
Nowhere has the Prosecution said how at that stage the bulk of SS members could assume that those demands were criminal, that is, that they should be accomplished by an aggressive war. I have shown how Hitler by his legal assumption of power not only strengthened the confidence of his SS men, but how he gained the trust of new men who never would have started with him on the road to crime. May I respectfully request the High Tribunal to read the testimony of State Secretary Grauert before the Commission and learn how a man with the best intentions entered the Hitler administration and the SS, and did not leave it until 1936 when he, an experienced legal administrator, realized that the suspension of the historic principle of the separation of powers ...
THE PRESIDENT: Will you spell the name?
HERR PELCKMANN: G-r-a-u-e-r-t, Grauert.
THE PRESIDENT: All right.
HERR PELCKMANN: ... which he, an expert, realized only in 1936-remained hidden from the masses. In this connection I ask you to read the summary of approximately 136,000 affidavits which show why the membership of the General SS increased within a few months from 50,000 on 30 January 1933 to approximately 300,000.
Hitler's great gamble for power, and with it the tremendous betrayal of the German people, only begins - however paradoxical that may sound - after the so-called seizure of power. After one month of triumph over the Chancellery and this parliamentary revolution, in the course of which, no doubt, the Right did commit excesses, which cannot, however, be laid to the charge of the masses as premeditated planning, the pretext was created for the final elimination of all opponents, the burning of the German Reichstag. The Prosecution does not assert that the German people, the members of the organizations, the SS men, knew or even suspected that this fire had been planned by the Nazis and carried through by the Brown Shirts by using the tool Van der Lubbe. Such an assertion would, of course, be absurd.
In order to understand the mentality of the SS men who after January 1933 filled the ranks of the BS and formed four-fifths of their strength, one must recall Hitler's Reichstag speech of 17 March
26 Aug. 46
1933. When the new Reichstag was elected, a large part of the opposition was eliminated after the fire by the banning of the Communist Party and the arrest of many of their members, and this with the approbation of the enraged population, because they had committed high treason by their alleged participation in the crime of arson.
When Hitler, while observing all parliamentary forms, asked for an Enabling Law, the Social Democrat members of the Reichstag asserted that this law would undermine legal security.
In view of the true background as portrayed above, it could only be the act of a daring trickster - when Hitler answered in reply: "I really must say that had we not had an understanding of what is legal, then we would not be sitting here and you would not be sitting here - Gentlemen, it would not have been necessary for us to embark on this election or summon the Reichstag." (Reichstag Records, 1933, Pages 65 and 66.)
But- who, Gentlemen of the Tribunal, among the mass of the people, among the old and new members of the General SS, knew at the time how audaciously Hitler was lying? These men were misled by the cloak of legality under which Hitler concealed his true self. And this speech is not all. Just consider how the Supreme Court, made up of old experienced former Republican judges, with scrupulous precision during many months of the trial until 1934, sought to establish who was guilty of the Reichstag fire. They acquitted the Communists Torgler, Dimitroff, and others, but sentenced the Communist Van der Lubbe and established publicly the complicity of Communist circles who remained unknown. Must not the mass of SS members, as well as the rank and file of the German people, have thought that Hitler had really saved the people and the State from a violent revolution for which the Communists were blamed at that time? Who, at that time, knew-as I knew, being a defense counsel-that the charge which had been prepared for months, even years, against Thalmann had to be withdrawn because of insufficient evidence? These few who then, or soon after, learned or guessed the truth and who, in spite of the ever-increasing danger of being arrested, in discussions with friends and acquaintances expressed doubts regarding the authenticity of the official and popular thesis, these few knew that, as against the semblance of legality supported by unceasing propaganda, they would not be believed by the masses.
The masses appreciated that in view of this threat to the State the so-called "enemies of the State" were to be rendered harmless in time. Seen from this angle, even the concentration camps appeared justified. But I shall come back to that later. All these were harsh and in many cases even criminal measures which partly also, incriminate SS members, but not the entire mass of the SS.
26 Aug. 46
However, we must not lose sight of one thing. There was no use of force, such as occurs in a revolution, until after Hitler had assumed power. The cunning thing about it was that these excesses, such as arrests and bodily injuries; which were committed by members of Nazi formations - in very few cases by members of the SS - were committed in the belief, created through deceiving the masses, that they were necessary in order to safeguard and defend the power, which was legally acquired, against attacks or threats.
Coming after the acquisition of power, this revolutionary attitude, created by the deception of the masses regarding the true events, a unique phenomenon in history, is typical of all revolutionary excesses: under cover of factual or alleged idealistic motives, such as love of the Fatherland, love of humanity, crimes were committed. Just consider, Gentlemen of the Tribunal - since we have not yet sufficient perspective of the many revolutions of the modern age - just consider the French Revolution: what crimes were committed under the slogan of "Equality, Liberty, and Fraternity." In the light of the experience of modem psychology it seems to me to be quite out of the question that mass movements can be unleashed or incited by inferior moral aims. The masses cannot consciously be led to crime. Gustave Le Bon also inclines to this opinion. In the shadow of the high ideals of the masses it frequently happens that crimes are committed; but then they are only instigated or perpetrated by the few who deceive the masses about the true reasons and events. This thought seems to me to be a decisive factor when dealing later with the question of concentration camps and the atrocities committed there, and establishing whether the mass of the SS were responsible or not for these.
The concept of loyalty, too, belongs to those ideals which inspire the masses. One must be acquainted with the German mentality in order to be able to gauge what immense possibilities this concept afforded the psychopathological seducer of a people, Adolf Hitler, ignominiously to deceive hundreds of thousands. We know how much the word "loyalty" means to a German, educated as he is, and influenced by romantic and retrospective contemplation of history. Even Tacitus praised these qualities in the ancestors of the Germans. Hitler exploited this weakness of the Germans, and in that way was able to cause hundreds of thousands, even millions, to link themselves with him and his destiny. We know that what is permissible and understandable in private life is fundamentally wrong for the State. By that I mean unconditional devotion to a human being. In his work, The Question of Guilt, the Heidelberg philosopher Karl Jaspers says in regard to this question:
"The loyalty of followers in narrow circles and in primitive conditions is a feeling which has nothing to do with politics. In a free State all people are subject to control and change."
26 Aug. 46
The German Socialist Bebel once expressed it in the following manner:
"Mistrust is a virtue of Democracy."
These views are taken for granted by the free peoples of the world. But for a people who wanted to create a modern state according to retrospective historical dreams they are a new revelation. Quite justifiably Jaspers sees a twofold guilt.
"First, because of the very fact of submitting oneself politically and without reservation to a leader, and secondly, the esteem of the leader to whom one subjects oneself. Even the atmosphere created by such subjection is a collective guilt."
Actually Jaspers means by that a moral and political, but not a criminal guilt. In certain individual cases, however, this loyalty can render the individual perpetrator criminally guilty. That becomes clear when we listen to the secret speech of Himmler at Posen, when he addressed SS Obergruppenfuehrer of the home country and of the rear army area. That was late in the war - October 1943 (1919-PS, Document SS-98). After various statements concerning obedience and the possibility of refusing to execute orders, he says quite clearly:
"But he who proves unfaithful, be it only in his thoughts, will be thrown out of the SS and I, Himmler, would see to it that he disappears from among the living."
This, Gentlemen of the Tribunal, is an important fact when considering the question of guilt in the individual case and the question as to the extent to which coercion and obedience to order during the war eliminate the guilt and thereby the criminality of certain individual persons or subordinated groups. This is supplementary to the question of refusal of military service and its consequences according to military law.
The supernatural, and I can even say devilish, power of this bond of loyalty was exemplified by Himmler himself in his relations to Hitler during the last days of the war.
The Swede, Count Bernadotte, describes, from his own experience, in his book, The Curtain Falls, how Himmler could not make the decision to save the German people from destruction by calling a halt to hostilities, in spite of his very clear realization of the consequences, because - and Bernadotte admits this - even in this hopeless situation he dared not violate his loyalty to Hitler. We also know how in all times and with all peoples it has always been this loyalty that made soldiers fight to the last drop of blood in the gravest battles, just as the Waffen-SS did, and in so doing won the respect of their opponents in this war. And from these two examples
26 Aug. 46
we see how this hypnotic word, "loyalty," embraces alike criminal madness and the highest virtue of the soldier.
So much for the question of how far the SS man had knowledge of the points of the Party Program - if indeed he knew them sufficiently, which from the affidavits of 136,000 SS men is doubtful and how he viewed the ideals of his organization. But did not the Nazi leaders plot war from the very beginning? Mr. Justice Jackson asserts this, and I answer: According to the knowledge that we have today, I admit it, yes. But how could the SS man know it? The Prosecution does not say why the conversion of an army of professional soldiers into a people's army should signify the planning of an aggressive war. Switzerland, the best example of a country with a people's army, has not been engaged in a war for a long time. Was the sponsoring of physical training and sports activities of youth a camouflaged plan for military training? In my opinion Mr. Justice Jackson failed to give us the proof for that assertion. The training of the General SS was nonmilitary. Field sports as practiced by the SA were completely lacking, and a typical example - the cavalry units of the SS which were numerically smaller than those of the SA, did not even give their members the right to hold a horsemanship certificate, as was the case with the SA. (Compare the testimony of Weikowsky-Biedau before the Commission.) We know today that Hitler wanted war; it is particularly clear from the intimate conversations with Rauschning and when we consider the events as a whole. But, Gentlemen of the Tribunal, please note: it is ex post.
It would have been a fruitless undertaking, especially in view of the position in which the German people found themselves after the first World War, to present a new war as less shocking or bad, or even as a noble and necessary undertaking, to use Justice Jackson's own expression. Hitler, whom one can accuse of anything else, but certainly not of not knowing the facts of mass psychology, stressed again and again before and after 1933 that he wanted peace, peace, and nothing but peace. He pointed out that he had experienced the horrors of war on his own body, that war always meant a selection detrimental to the most valuable elements in any nation. And only by these means was he able to win over ever-increasing numbers of the German people to himself and to his ideas. With propaganda for war, however carefully conducted, he would never have achieved it.
Rearmament was represented to the German people as being merely a confirmation of the will for peace, as a defensive measure against the nondisarmament of other nations, and to, counter any
26 Aug. 46
[continued in part 3]
- Forum Staff
- Posts: 23586
- Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
- Location: USA
26 Aug. 46
attempts to interfere with the peaceful rebuilding of Germany. The building of the West Wall confirms it, and so do many utterances of foreign military experts. The high-ranking major defendants and many witnesses, including such a reliable witness as Gisevius, have confirmed that not even in the leading circles was any planning of aggressive war discussed. This applies to the SS to an even greater degree. The entire training with the organizations always centered around the idea that the Party Program would be carried through in a legal and peaceful manner, that peace was absolutely necessary and should be preserved at all costs. Not only was there no psychological preparation for war in all the SS organizations, but on the contrary, the peaceful aims of the Reich were continually stressed.
In this connection, I would like to ask the High Tribunal to read Documents SS-70, 71, 73, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82 from the years 1933 to 1935, particularly an article from the Schwarzes Korps entitled "The SS Does Not Like War," written in 1937, and other documents which I am not quoting. That psychological preparations for war were lacking among the German people, and also among the SS, was never more clearly demonstrated to observers at home and abroad than by the reaction of the masses to the Munich Pact in 1938. The jubilation of the masses, including the SS who formed the cordons, was not meant for the Adolf Hitler who had enforced the cession of the Sudetenland, but rather the Hitler, and to an even greater degree those foreign statesmen, who had saved the peace.
For the German people and the soldiers did not want war and this must be stated in this historical place for the sake of historical truth-when war came in 1939 they accepted this fate not with loud rejoicing as in 1914, but in solemn silence, most of them in the erroneous belief that their leaders did not desire this war, that it was not a war of aggression.
However, it would be unworthy of me and I should lose face if I attempted to deny that the young Germans, particularly in the SS, saw their ideals in the manly virtues, those same virtues of self-assertion and refusal to take it lying down as are cherished by other nations too. It may be that the SS men overemphasized those virtues in a manner which was not always good or wise. But none of the old soldiers, students, and farmers who had joined the SS imagined that war was for a purpose even remotely akin to what Hitler had in mind. If Hitler had ever dared to speak to those men of attacks on other peoples with
whom he had just concluded solemn pacts of friendship, or of Einsatzkommandos in foreign lands, he would never have found any followers, apart from a handful of desperadoes, The war which the tall, blond, and
26 Aug. 46
perhaps intellectually not always very alert, typical SS man imagined - and I must admit that he did not shrink from it - was the kind of war which his ancestors before him had waged during many centuries and which, in the last resort, always amounted to an appeal to destiny, the great gamble of the gods. It is true that we have to wean the Germans, and particularly the younger Germans, from this atavistic longing - and in this respect I am now more optimistic for my fellow countrymen than for many other peoples. But war, which at present it does not appear possible to extirpate - the Kellogg Pact and modern international law do not ban war as a means of defense and self-preservation - is essentially different from that high treason, that betrayal of world peace, that attack and robbery for the purpose of extermination, which was invented by Hitler. In addition to its general aims and tendencies with which the Prosecution charges the SS since the very beginning of its activities, and on the basis of which it seeks to declare it to be a criminal organization, there is one outstanding event which, it is alleged, discloses its criminal character in a striking manner - the killings which took place on 30 June 1934. Owing to lack of time, Your Lordship, I shall have to skip three pages dealing with the evidence in connection with these events.
In regard to the happenings which took place in Germany on June 30, 1934, and the following days, the taking of evidence has rounded out the following picture (witnesses Hinderfeld, Grauert, Johnk, Reinecke, Eberstein; Affidavit SS-70, Kampp-Franz, Affidavit SS-3, Schmalfeld, and Affidavits SS-119 to 122; summary of the mass declarations): In the morning of 30 June, the General SS was alerted practically everywhere in the Reich. Wherever there were Police or army barracks they were assembled there or in other buildings such as schools, et cetera, on 30 June, and sometimes even 1 July. In most cases, they remained entirely inactive; only in some places the Police used them to assist in the confiscation of arms in SA offices. In Berlin this task was carried through by the Police Division for Special Purposes Wecke by itself, while the majority of the General SS, which was concentrated in the barracks of the Leibstandarte at Lichterfelde, was used during the course of 30 June to form cordons at the Tempelhof Airfield. For that purpose, the General SS, which as a rule was unarmed, was furnished weapons by the Police or Army. After Hitler's arrival by plane from Munich the units of the General SS marched back to the barracks and immediately had to surrender their arms (Affidavit SS-3, Schmalfeld).
Nowhere were arrests or executions carried out by units of the General SS (witness Eberstein). In Munich, one of the hot spots of the so-called Rohm-Putsch, Hitler himself arrested the participating SA leaders. In the same manner he arrested Rohm and his inner circle at Wiessee on the Tegernsee. Rohm and the other SA leaders subsequently were transferred to the Stadelheim, Prison and were executed there the same day by members of the Leibstandarte (witness Jahnk).
The arrests in Berlin, the other center of the revolt, were carried out in accordance with orders given by G6ring through the Gestapo. To sentence the arrestees there was formed a court martial in which the Reichswehr was also represented through the Wehrkreisbefehlshaber or the Stadtkommandant. Before the execution was performed through a Kommando of the Leibstandarte, the verdict of the court martial was rendered. The executions were performed on the grounds of the barracks of the Leibstandarte at Lichterfelde. From the apartments on the Finckensteinallee one could view the execution ground. Not all
26 Aug. 46
members of the SA who came before the court martial were executed. However, 2 number of SS members who had maltreated arrestees were shot (witness.161ink, Affidavit SS-3 by Schmalfeld). The members of the General SS were only subsequently acquainted with the reasons for their being called out. The same applied to the members of the Leibstandarte. During the days before 30 June, however, there were various rumors circulating which largely dealt with the attitude of the SA. But the mass of the SS was only informed through the announcements of the press and radio on 30 June. They thereby received the same official picture as the German people and the whole world (witness Hinderfeld). Doubt as to the accuracy of this description could not arise in the General SS then or in the following years. Even highly placed SS leaders, as the testimony under oath of SS Obergruppenfuehrer Von Eberstein and of SS Brigadefuehrer Grauert proved, were informed by Himmler or Goering himself to the effect that Rohm had made an attempt of a putsch with the SA. The just mentioned manner of the commitment of the General SS on 30 June further excludes the possibility that the SS participated in the violations which were carried through outside the judicial framework.
As to the forming of opinion of the mass of members of the SS, apart from their knowledge regarding the complete insignificance of their own commitment, the telegram of thanks of Reich President Von Hindenburg (Document SS-74), and Hitler's statement before the Reichstag on 13 July 1934, were of decisive importance. There the Chancellor of the German Reich gave a justification for the declaration of the state of emergency and determined numerically the circle of conspirators executed. In particular, it is essential to point out Hitler's statement where he says that the excesses committed, going beyond the necessary measures for the squashing of the revolt, would be sentenced by regular courts. No misgivings regarding the legality of the executions could arise with the members of the SS and the men of the Leibstandarte, nor any doubts about the seriousness of the announcement that illegal violations were to be punished by the courts. The details which Hitler issued regarding this alleged high and state treason, especially the description of the conspirators' connection with foreign countries and the attempts against his own life, were absolutely astonishing (Document SS-106). They were not senseless at all, since it is a historical fact, even valid in modem times, that new governments before their consolidation are often vitally threatened, especially by opponents and counterrevolutionaries who might even come from the rank of their old friends; and therefore have to safeguard themselves by brutal action. The fact that as little as possible was talked among the SS regarding the events of 30 June, as Himmler stated in Posen, cannot be considered as a sign of bad conscience. It was a question of tact that one did not unnecessarily speak of happenings in one's own house, that is, quarrels between Party formations - which might have a defamatory effect on one part - so as not to break open an old wound.
Finally, as far as the gaining of independence of the SS and their separation from the SA is concerned, one can only see therein an appreciation of the loyal attitude of the SS and their uncompromising rejection of Rohm's plans, and, at the same time, an intended weakening of the position of power to be given to the Chief of Staff of the SA.
The events of 30 June, according to my presentation of the facts, are by no means as significant as the Prosecution would seek to assert. The members of the SS did not see in them the beginnings of a criminal development. I have reached a point in my review of the ideas held by the SS and its activities where we should pause to consider what the other factors were which led to the holding of these opinions. We must look the true facts in the face.
The SS man, unlike an opponent or an intellectual of our kind, so ridiculed at that time, did not examine with a critical eye everything that was said about
26 Aug. 46
his Fuehrer, about his country. He felt the need to believe in something - I will give proof of this - his belief was not shaken by what was being said in the world around him. Unfortunately, the world around him did nothing to shake his belief.
Your Lordship, I have just come to the end of a chapter. Would it be in order to adjourn now?
[A recess was taken until 1400 hours.]
26 Aug. 46
HERR PELCKMANN: I have said, Your Honor, that the surrounding world, unfortunately, did nothing to shake this belief in Hitler. What I shall now discuss shall not serve to declare others guilty, or to detract from personal guilt if it exists. No; these statements are intended to clarify how we all, the whole world - in part likewise deceived about the true danger, in part hoping thus to avert this danger - did something which, in its effects on the whole German people, on Hitler's followers, and on his SS men, had to be interpreted as confirmation of the correctness and legality of his intentions and deeds.
I can understand that this evidence was declared irrelevant for the defense of the individual defendants, for they are being charged precisely with having consciously deceived the world. In that case one cannot take the conduct of the world as an index for its credulity. In the case of the organizations this problem is different.
The Prosecution will not seriously charge the bulk of their members, even the bulk of their leaders, with having known of the criminal aims and intentions of Hitler; still less will they be able to prove it. I have just shown how the events up to about 1934-35 had to appear to the SS man. Thus the objection of the Prosecution that they could not have become confirmed in their error, which is worthy of consideration in the case of the principal defendants, does not apply to the organization which I am defending.
What was the situation at that time? I shall quote essentially from Jasper's The Question of Guilt, Pages 82-83.
In the early summer of 19.33 the Vatican concluded a Concordat with Hitler. Papen conducted the negotiations. It was the first great confirmation of the Hitler regime; a mighty gain in prestige for Hitler.
All states recognized the Hitler regime. Voices of admiration were heard. In 1935 Britain concluded the Naval Agreement with Hitler through Ribbentrop. In 1936 the Olympic Games were held in Berlin. The whole world flocked there. In 1936 the Rhineland was occupied by Hitler. France tolerated it. In the spring of 1938 Hitler moved into Austria amidst the acclamation-undeniable even today-of the overwhelming majority of the population In 1938 an open letter from Churchill to Hitler was published in The Times, in which there occurred sentences like this one:
"Should England be overcome by a national misfortune comparable to the misfortune of Germany in 1918, 1 would pray to God to send us a man of your strength of will and spirit."
How is it possible that in all these years foreign diplomats and leading men - accompanied respectfully by SS men with whom they
26 Aug. 46
had confidential conversations - at Party rallies, in the Reich Chancellery, and in the Ministries, shook hands with men who were guilty of murder and arson? What effect did that necessarily have on the SS men, who considered these hands pure and clean?
The general situation in the years 1933 to.1939 is characterized by Ropke in his book, The German Question, which was published in Switzerland. Owing to pressure of time I shall refrain from giving the quotation and would request the High Tribunal to give it due consideration.
"The present world catastrophe is the gigantic price which the world must pay for having been deaf to all alarm signals which, from 1930 to 1939, in increasingly shrill tones, proclaimed the hell which the satanic forces of National Socialism were to unleash, at first against Germany itself, and then against the rest of the world. The horrors of this war correspond exactly to the others which the world let pass in Germany while it even maintained normal relations with the National socialists and organized international celebrations and congresses with them."
At that time the world still considered what happened in another state to be an affair which did not concern them. Only as a result of the experience with the Hitler regime and the second world conflagration does the solidarity of the great states and, we hope, one day that of the United Nations, see to it that dictatorship and undemocratic methods in all countries do not lay the foundation for new world conflicts. I cite the remonstrances of the United States because of the internal government conditions in Argentina a few months ago. Now, before I turn to the special criminal activities of the SS which the Prosecution have listed, I should like to, interrupt the consideration and evaluation of material with a few statements on the law of the Charter and on the rules of procedure. I did not want to tire the Tribunal with this at the beginning, but wished first to create a factual atmosphere in which the legal argument would gain strength. My arguments will be as brief as possible, for much bas already been said in this connection by my colleagues, and I fear that more will be said; and the Tribunal is also acquainted with the memorandum of my colleague Klefisch. I hope that my statements may clarify what I have already discussed, and I hope that they may afford insight into the underbrush of the small section of the voluminous factual material which I can offer in the remaining -period of the three hours which were granted me for my speech.
The legal nature of the Indictment against the organizations and of the possible declaration of an organization as criminal must be determined. The general statements of the Defense regarding the possibility of the organizations committing, offenses are known to the Tribunal. I consider them fitting and correct. And yet one must risk the question: Who is really indicted according to Article 9 of the Charter? Is it really the formations as former legal entities, or are
26 Aug. 46
not rather in reality the millions of individual members, merely represented by one of the principal defendants or the extinct formations, sitting in the dock? It is, after all the individual members who are accused. This follows from a thorough consideration of the whole complex of questions. The Trial will not decide the fate of the former organizations, which are no longer alive and can never again become dangerous, but merely the fate of the many members. A glance at Law Number 10 and the disastrous consequences of the declarations of criminality confirms this. Declaration of criminality constitutes an unassailable establishment of guilt in advance for possible charges under Law Number 10. It is true that for subsequent proceedings it will be for the Prosecution to decide whether they consider it expedient to indict the individual member. But this does not change the basic idea. The declaration of criminality thus bears the character of a declaration of guilt in advance for each individual member of the organization. If the individual is not indicted later, he will receive no punishment, it is true; but he is nevertheless a criminal according to legal decision. The character of criminality does not affect the organization as such, but in reality since the organization as such no longer exists - exclusively its former members. Your Honors, the main trial against each individual one of these members is taking place before you now. The issue is the establishment of his punishable action consisting of "membership." The most important declaration of guilt is made against each individual. The concept of guilt, however, in all civilized states of the world is always, within the meaning of the law, connected with the individual deed of a person. There has never been any guilt of organization. No one could object to declaring the aims and purposes of an organization criminal if individuals were not thereby affected. But as soon as the declaration of criminality of the organizations is to amount to the indirect condemnation of individuals, one must conscientiously examine and establish the personal guilt of each individual.
This may be concluded for another reason as well: What does the concept of organization include? That an organization is a union of people is clear. That this union, at least in general outlines, pursues unified aims and purposes, and has a corresponding constitution, should also be clear. Whether it includes the characteristic of voluntary adherence is, on the other hand, extremely doubtful. No one will deny that the German Wehrmacht was an organization, although there can be no question of voluntary adherence, not even in the majority of cases.
One may think further of occupational groups, schools, or even compulsory
guilds, in which there is no voluntary membership, but which are certainly
organizations. The Klefisch Memorandum as well as the basic ruling of the,
Tribunal of 13 March 1946 (Paragraph 6, Number 2) introduced the characteristic
26 Aug. 46
of voluntary adherence into the terminology; in my opinion, quite correctly. But why? Fundamentally only because otherwise the act of declaring the organizations criminal would appear unjust in view of the consequences for the individual members. What follows from this? A great deal. One sees here quite clearly that in reality what is involved is not the organization, but the members. The ruling of 13 March 1946 considers relevant only the question of whether membership was in general voluntary; it therefore takes into consideration that involuntary members will be affected. In view of the consequences of Law Number 10, this is irreconcilable with the idea of justice.
Constitution, aims or purposes, and activities of the organization whether on a voluntary basis or not-are criminal if they fulfill the conditions of Article 6; that is, if they were aimed at crimes against peace, war crimes, or crimes against humanity. In connection with Number 6 of the ruling of 13 March 1946 the individual characteristics of Article 6 of the Charter shall be carefully examined here. One should ask, for example: were the constitution, purposes, or activity of the SS aimed at the planning, preparation, initiation, or execution of a war of aggression, at the violation of the rules of warfare, or at murder, extermination, enslavement, and so forth?
These latter crimes of Paragraph 10 of Article 6 of the Charter, however, are punishable only if they were committed in the execution of or in connection with another crime punishable under the Charter; that is, in connection with crimes against peace or war crimes. This is how the author of the Charter, Justice Jackson, explained it in his statement, which is added to the text of the Charter in the Department of State Bulletin of 12 August 1945, on Page 228. I ask you to read the English text:
"We have taken another step forward in recognizing an international accountability for persecutions, exterminations, and crimes against humanity when associated with attacks on the peace of the international order." I have already explicitly shown that in the examination of the charges of the Prosecution in connection with Article 6 of the Charter, the judgment must adapt itself to the time of the program point in question or of the allegedly criminal act.
After establishing that the crimes were without doubt committed, the question of whether the organization as such is to be designated as criminal will depend on how many or-in proportion to the millions of members-how few SS members took part in these crimes. Did an organization really act, or did only relatively few members act, who perhaps-paradoxically-frequently had not even joined the SS voluntarily?
26 Aug. 46
That it must not be overlooked at what period the individual crimes took place, the High Tribunal has already affirmed in its ruling of 14 January 1946. If the organization or a part of it was. at all criminal, then it would only be for certain periods of time. Designs and plans once made could perhaps appear criminal only through later misuse, although they were originally not calculated to be so. An axe when forged never knows upon leaving the anvil whether it will perform useful service for humanity or whether it, or even the wooden handle, let us say, will not one day be misused as an instrument of murder. That such limitations in regard to time and personnel are necessary is shown by the following example: the Indictment says on Page 5 that between 1933 and 1935 unsuitable members were expelled. I may add that these were about 50,000 or one-sixth of the membership; people who - this is shown by the most varied testimony and affidavits - on the basis of their previous political attitude had only sought camouflage, including previously convicted persons and other unreliable elements. Even these persons would not be excepted from the Indictment and the consequences of the declaration. Such a grotesque result cannot possibly be desired.
Finally, according to Number 6 a (3) of the ruling of 13 March 1946, the evidence will have to be examined to discover the extent of the individual member's knowledge. This question will be decisive for the judgment on the masses of the SS.
I said before that even if the SS organization, which no longer exists, is formally indicted, the Indictment is nevertheless, in effect, directed against each individual member. Now, if the criminal character of the organization is to be proved through criminal acts of the members, then the member who is supposed to have committed this specific crime must have an opportunity to answer to, you, Your Honors.
If he cannot do this, then the Court will not be in a position to know whether the accusations are true. How then will the proceedings be carried out according to the Anglo-Saxon corporate penal law? The leaders and the members are heard in detail on the specific accusations made against them - the Court does not judge on the basis of unfavorable testimony of witnesses without giving the leaders and members of the organization who are personally affected by this testimony an opportunity to comment on it.
How little the Court - this High Court - can base its judgment only on the testimony of witnesses, without hearing the accused person or persons, is shown by the astonishing experiment which I undertook with the witness Izrael Eizenberg on 7 August 1946. 1 showed him two pictures from a Prosecution Document 867-PS in Polish, Exhibits Number SS-2 and 3, from which I cut off the
26 Aug. 46
captions under the pictures. The witness identified the two men pictured as SS men and named their SS ranks. He deduced these ranks exclusively on the grounds of the shoulder straps and, an insignia on the sleeves. The witness Morgen, whom I examined on 8 August 1946, immediately recognized as an expert that the men pictured were not wearing SS uniforms, and were not SS men. He pointed out that these photographs showed the shoulder straps of the Police, and on the sleeve the insignia of the Police. In the photograph, Exhibit Number SS-3, which is in the hands of the Tribunal, the police insignia can also be clearly seen on the cap: the eagle completely enclosed in an oval wreath of oak leaves. Nowhere, Your Honors, is the SS insignia to be seen. All other photos in this book also show only police uniforms and police insignia. But all of this did not strike the witness; he considered these men "SS men." That was only a minor example of the power of observation of the witnesses with regard to uniforms.
Please consider further how slight the difference is between the uniform of the SD and that of the SS - only a small "SD" lozenge on the sleeve - and that nonmembers of the SS wore this uniform (compare the testimony of Dr. Best and Reinecke before the Commission); that precisely in the rear army area it was the Police who were employed, while the SS were at the front; that the mass suggestion of the guilt of the SS distorts the memory of the witnesses. Then, Your Honors, you will be able to realize the true value of the testimony of non-German witnesses who arbitrarily designate "the SS" as the perpetrators of any crimes committed in the occupied countries.
The incompleteness of a collective indictment, which is raised here for the first time in the long history of law, is based particularly on the difficulty of taking testimony for the accused organization in a fair manner. This difficulty arises of necessity from the peculiar nature of the proceedings, particularly from the fact that it is technically hardly possible, unless through proceedings going on for years, to clear up every concrete charge in a satisfactory manner by hearing the members of the organization specifically affected, and to establish whether each charge is justified or not. As long as in such a trial it is impossible for the Defense to produce at once each individual member of the organization impeached by Prosecution witnesses or documents, and to have him make a concrete statement, as well as to hear further witnesses on this case, this trial remains incomplete and unsuited to render true justice.
It follows of necessity that to a large extent the cases of the Prosecution and the Defense by-passed each other without being able to give the Court a picture of the true state of affairs in large
26 Aug. 46
parts of the Indictment. Only thus could the grotesque picture arise which we experienced repeatedly during the Defense case, that is, a Defense witness describing his activity and the units and SS men under his command. This covered sectors and periods as large as possible, since the Court permitted only an infinitesimal number of witnesses in proportion to the total membership, and any individual testimony of a little man was inadmissible according to the ruling of 13 March 1946. The Prosecution would now have had to attempt to break down the testimony of the witness in cross-examination. The surest and simplest method for this would have been to throw doubt on the credibility of the witness by showing, for example, that he himself had committed a crime, or that something of the sort had been done by people under his command. Although the Prosecution had many weeks to examine its records and those of all the Allies, which records had existed for months, or even years, and although these 29 witnesses before the Commission and before the Tribunal had held medium, high, and supreme positions, the Prosecution could not prove any such thing against them. Is not this fact alone the - best refutation of the contention of the criminal character of the SS? Is it not symptomatic that the Prosecution did not succeed in convicting of crime one of the highest generals of the fighting Waffen-SS, a very high officer of the General SS, at the same time Higher SS and Police Leader and Police Commissioner-an extremely rare case - of the third-largest German city, a staff officer of the administration of the Waffen-SS who was repeatedly in service at the front, and two high SS judges? Later on I shall discuss the case of the witness Sievers, the only case which was different. Thus the Prosecution had only one recourse: it deliberately brought, forward documents or affidavits which were to prove that crimes had been committed, with which, however, even in the opinion of the Prosecution, these SS witnesses themselves had had nothing to do. Nevertheless, the Prosecution asked the witnesses whether they knew of the events described therein. Were they thus seeking to discover the truth for which this taking of evidence was intended, or was further evidence for the Prosecution merely to be introduced at a time when the case of the Prosecution had already been closed? These documents are for the most part Government reports on investigations which have not yet led to any trial or judgment - particularly in the partisan territory in Yugoslavia, which is very difficult to judge. Their evidential value should be very slight.
Can the new documents and affidavits thus introduced in enormous numbers make it possible for the Court to answer objectively the question of whether the deeds actually took place, and thus as to whether the SS is criminal? Would not the Court have
26 Aug. 46
to hear the accused, that is, the SS men who were mentioned by name in the documents, or members or officers of the accused SS units? After the experience with the ability of the witness Eizenberg to distinguish uniforms, I ask: is it convincing when these people say, "They were SS men"? Or were they Police or SD and Gestapo members? In part such errors obviously arise from the documents. But I cannot and do not wish to deny that according to a few documents terrible crimes have been established, and that they are numerous. Should not the Defense have an ample opportunity to comment on these documents and affidavits with as much preparation as was expended on the evidence which the Prosecution presented in November, December, and January? Should it not be given a few months' time? I do not fail to realize that my demand would mean a prolongation of the trial for months, insofar as the ease against the organizations is concerned. But if for any reason ...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, the Tribunal has already ruled again that the Trial has got to conclude now, and therefore any argument that you would have three more months is entirely irrelevant and can't be listened to. The Charter lays it down. It is for the Tribunal to say how the individual is to be represented, and we have laid it down to the best of our ability.
HERR PELCKMANN: If for these reasons judgment cannot be delayed so long, then it must be passed now; but since in my opinion the new evidence of the Prosecution can only be used with this -reservation, decision can consist only in the rejection of the application of the Prosecution.
I must add something. I asked myself whether I should deal at all with the Erhardt affidavit, D-973, from the Neuengamme Camp. But it is necessary because it is typical of the evidence of the Prosecution in this last stage of the Trial. It is necessary at this last minute when it is no longer possible for the Defense to carry on investigations on the spot. I refer you to the ruling of the Court of I August 1946, which does not permit visiting camps, in contrast to the Prosecution. Their administrative machine...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, if you are proposing to deal with the rules which the Tribunal has made with reference to the hearing of individuals, the Tribunal will not hear that. The Tribunal has done the best it can to enable individuals to be heard, and the Tribunal does not propose to listen to you criticizing what the Tribunal has done.
HERR PELCKMANN: I believe there is a misunderstanding, Your Lordship. I am not criticizing. I am dealing with the Erhardt affidavit, with the evaluation of this testimony.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well. Go on.
26 Aug. 46
HERR PELCKMANN: This affidavit cannot affect the value of the affidavits of the SS members. It refers only to the interrogatory, which does not come from me, and the answers - there are altogether only 40,000 - which I did not utilize. I submitted 135,000 detailed affidavits to the Tribunal, and I summarized them. The methods described by Erhardt cannot have been used in them. As evidence of this, I should like to ask you not only to read the summary but also a few of the very conscientious and descriptive affidavits themselves. The Erhardt affidavit itself is full of contradictions, improbabilities, and exaggerations. Erhardt was an SS man and is now in the service of the British authorities. Of course, he does not want to lose his position. Therefore, he has every reason to make himself popular.
Can a single affidavit on the ostensible conditions in only one camp, the actual and psychological reasons for which are so doubtful, shake the value of 135,000 detailed statements? No, Your Honors. This attempt of the Prosecution to shake the value of the whole legal hearing guaranteed by the Charter can remain only an attempt. The Defense in this Trial is in the unfortunate position of not being able to ascertain the source of such mistakes in the mass material presented by the Prosecution, and of criticizing it.
I am of the opinion that the result of the Prosecution's evidence, insofar as it can be considered in view of what has just been said, forces the Defense to the conclusion that crimes in considerable extent were committed by members of the SS, but not that the whole SS organization is criminal.
Is it not striking - I should like to deal with one point of the Indictment immediately in this discussion of procedural and evidential questions - that there are only two judgments concerning the inhumane fighting methods of the SS, including for example the shooting of prisoners, one against SS General Kurt Meyer on the Normandy front, and the other against SS General Sepp Dietrich and 73 officers and men of his army. That, Gentlemen of the Tribunal, is the result of the most painstaking efforts of the Prosecution, on the part of all the Allies, for more than a year. Must one not conclude therefrom that in spite of this long period it has not been possible for the Allied Prosecution to pass judgment on more crimes? The death sentence against Meyer, with which I am acquainted, was reprieved. The trial of Sepp Dietrich and his men, the record of which I was not able to obtain, ended with 43 death sentences, but it is striking that the highest leaders did not receive this punishment. This must force us to the conclusion that no such criminal orders were given by them, and consequently there was no criminal system. The Defense brings forward some
26 Aug. 46
noteworthy objections against the methods of investigation and of accumulating evidence.
I should ask you to note the following, High Tribunal: these happenings occurred in the final six months during the most violent part of the war, and concerned only very few members of the Waffen-SS. At the same time please remember the extensive counter-evidence given by witnesses and affidavits, which the Defense also procured for this particular point of the Indictment: the training for and the waging of fair warfare, and excesses committed by the enemy, which were only meant to prove that from such occasional excesses in battle one cannot conclude the existence of a criminal system.
In this connection allow me to develop another principle governing the evidence which to my mind must serve as the basis for the proper evaluation of the evidence in these proceedings: where any doubts may arise as to whether the individual charges are proven by the evidence, the weakness of which I have just made apparent, particularly also where doubts arise as to whether proved individual crimes may be said to be typical so that the entire organization, that is, all its members, can be considered criminal; where one counter-proof or one piece of circumstantial evidence is given as against ten or a hundred proofs of circumstantial evidence of the Prosecution, I believe that the Tribunal cannot draw any conclusions which are sufficient to warrant a condemnation in the meaning of the Indictment.
This is a fair and logical conclusion arising from the nature of these proceedings. From the huge mass of evidence at their disposal, the Prosecution have chosen some incriminating facts, and then made the assertion that these were typical cases, that they were the same everywhere, that these actions were typical of the SS, et cetera. As already stated, it is the sole responsibility of the Defense to furnish exonerating evidence. And this is where the difficulties for the defense of the organizations, particularly of the SS, begin. The organizations have been dissolved; they no longer exist. When we accumulated the evidence most of the members of the organizations, and all their leaders, were in custody, and many of them still are.
The occupational authorities have secured the entire written evidence, all personal files, correspondence, decrees, and orders. It is true that we have been able to speak to most of the prisoners; but after so many years, and particularly on questions of detail, the information was bound to be incomplete, and was not given until April or May, since it depended on the progress of the Trial. We could not always reach the competent persons. In connection with the question of the legal hearing, I would ask you to consider that
26 Aug. 46
we have no evidence at all from SS men from Austria and the Soviet-Russian Zone of Germany. For reasons of security we could not be granted permission to conduct a research in the, Allied document centers in which the confiscated documents are classified according to subject matter, and thus we were not able to obtain some valuable documentary information. We could not counter this deficiency by an approximate indication of the documents based upon certain assumptions, because a specified indication was demanded. As things stand, the counter-proof must be considered successful if the Defense succeeds in establishing but a shadow of a proof for their counter-evidence. And now for lack of time I shall skip two pages, Your Honors, for the interpreters 32 and 33, and I shall deal with the charge of the participation of the SS in the pogrom of 9 November 1938. The next four pages deal with that, which I must also skip for lack of time, Pages 33 to 36. 1 ask you to read them.
Before I began with my considerations upon the Charter and the law of procedure, I endeavored to refute the charge of the Prosecution that the members of the SS were incriminated by the happenings of 30 June 1934. Not even the few members of the Leibstandarte directly concerned could have felt that they were committing a crime in killing men who were presumably guilty of high treason. That was how it appeared to the Germans and the bulk of SS men, who had been fooled in such a masterly manner. A further and final confirmation of the legality of his intentions came when Hitler, after the elections in the summer of 1934 (nobody knew then that they had been falsified), declared that the struggle for power had now come to an end (Document SS-106). And it really seemed to be so. Even the issuing of the Nurnberg Laws, which came as a surprise to the SS as well as to most Germans, seemed to be merely a confirmation of the Party Program, branded above as absurd, though not as criminal in the sense of the Charter; in particular, a confirmation of the policy which Frick had declared publicly already in 1934, and which formally denied the idea of compulsory transfer of population (Document SS-93).
It is significant that, apart from the concentration camp system until 1938 - that is, 3 to 4 years - the Prosecution cannot raise any concrete charges against the General SS. The underhand anti-Semitic measures taken by the Party itself, or by other organizations, found no echo in the General SS. Only in November 1938 did anti-Semitism receive new official criminal impulse.
The Prosecution charges the SS with having taken part in the planning and execution of the measures against the Jews in the Reich on 9 and 10 November 1938. This charge is based upon Documents US-240, 3051-PS, and 374-PS, which, however, if they are brought into connection with the evidence of the witnesses, prove the contrary. Many Germans who were indignant witnesses of those happenings know that other Party organizations - partly in civilian clothes - took part in these excesses. That is why I am concerned with establishing historical truth: on the evening of 9 November 1938, Goebbels made a speech in the Ceremonial Hall of the old Munich Townhall, following upon the murder of the German Legation Secretary Vom Rath. It was an aggressive speech against the Jews, which led to anti-Jewish demonstrations and excesses throughout the entire Reich that same night, obviously not only spontaneously but through preparatory measures of the Reich Propaganda Minister, as has been shown in the course of the Trial. According to Affidavit Number SS-5 by Schallermeier, together with the testimony of Von Eberstein, neither Hitler nor Himmler heard Goebbels' speech. Hitler retired early to his apartments, Himmler was with him.
Considering the evidence it does not seem Impossible to me that Himmler at least was surprised by this action. The testimony of Eberstein and Schallermeier, Affidavit Number SS-5, makes clear beyond doubt that Heydrich was informed of the action already taking place in Munich only towards 11:15 p.m. by the office of the
26 Aug. 4
Gestapo in Munich; that Himmler could be informed only shortly before the beginning of the swearing-in ceremony at midnight; and that Himmler could come, and indeed did come, to some decision only after this ceremony, toward one o'clock.
What was the situation at this time? After the ceremony in Munich and other places where the swearing-in of the SS men had taken place, the SS marched off and had - as every year - general orders to return directly to their homes in view of the special solemnity of the preceding ceremony. In the meantime the action against the Jews had been afoot for several hours. We know from Document US-332, the report of the Party judge Buch, that this action was started on oral instructions of the Reich Propaganda Chief, which were given by telephone immediately, that is, sometime before the first telegram of the Gestapo, by a large part of the Party members present to the agencies of their Gaue. The Party leaders present understood Goebbels' instructions to mean that the Party should not appear as the instigator of these demonstrations, but in reality, should organize and carry them out. It is clear beyond doubt that purely reasons of time the SS until then could not have taken part in these horrible happenings. In the meantime Himmler had arrived towards one o'clock at the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Munich. According to the aforementioned affidavit of Schallermeier, the truth of which is established by other evidence, such as Affidavit Von Bassewitz-Behr, Number 8S-9, and the testimony of the witness Von Eberstein, Himmler gave two orders. The first was transmitted at 1:20 a.m. by Heydrich to all Gestapo agencies. This order was issued after the disaster ha already occurred. For reasons of security it demanded that political agencies be contacted concerning the carrying out of the demonstrations, ordered unconditional protection for German property and life, and furthermore, made provisions for the taking into custody of Jews. The contents of this order, and the agencies to which it was given, clearly established that these were merely police measures.
The SS organizations which I am defending are certainly not incriminated connection with these police instructions, since Heydrich, who held no office either in the General SS or the Verfugungstruppe, could not give them an order (Witness Norbert Pohl). Himmler's second order was given orally to the leaders of the chief sections of the General SS who were assembled at the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten. It contained definite instructions to the agencies of the General SS to help, if necessary, the Gestapo in safeguarding Jewish property, against all manner of plundering. He was obviously taking into consideration, the opinion that this was an unworthy and despicable action, from which the SS should on principle stay away upon the definite instructions of Hitler. The task of the General SS was only to alleviate the consequences of this action if this should become necessary. This order was immediately telegraphed by the Oberabschnittsfuehrer from Munich to their local agencies. This is established without doubt in Affidavit Number SS-5, Schallermeier. The contents of the notes which, according to Schallermeler's affidavit, Himmler made of this occurrence, gain in credibility if considered from this aspect. In any event can the assertion of the Prosecution, that Himmler and Heydrich had deliberately assigned the SS for the action of 9 and 10 November 1938, be considered proven? The contrary would seem to me more probable.
In this connection let us consider the actual participation of the SS in the Reich. The witness Von Eberstein has described the occurrences in the Munich district. Throughout the Reich the SS was never ordered to participate in the excesses, nor did units of the General SS participate out of their own initiative. Their nonparticipation has been proved by numerous affidavits for all parts of the Reich (for instance, Von Roedern, Kaufmann, Lott, Enzner, Eschholdt, Fischer and Kampp-Pranz, Numbers 7, 8, 104, 6, 105, 10, 70). According to the affidavit of Kampp-Franz, approximately 200 affidavits have been submitted in proof of the nonparticipation of the SS in the whole Reich territory in Camp 73.
According to these affidavits the units of the General SS, and most members of the SS in barracks, had come to be sworn in in Munich, as everywhere in Germany. They all agree in saying that after the ceremony the members of the SS returned to their homes, without knowing anything about this action Also, according to the affidavit of Kampp-Franz, participation was strictly forbidden as far as this action became known during the swearing-in. Most of the SS members only heard of this action on the morning of 10 November 1938
26 Aug. 46
on their way to work or through an alarm given. Those units of the General SS who had been alerted upon the order of Himmler to the Oberabschnittsfuehrer were assigned in several places in the course of 10 November to safeguard synagogues, for instance at Offenburg in Baden (Affidavit SS-104, Lott); see also 4407 affidavits summarized and collected in Affidavits Number SS-119-122. These affidavits prove that the General SS in many cases prevented further excesses, and that within the SS this disgraceful action was disapproved of from the very beginning. Document USA-332, a report upon the juridical party proceedings, in which four or six SS men are named, does not contradict this, for in such excesses, committed by the masses throughout the whole Reich, the participation of individuals against express supreme orders cannot be avoided entirely. But that cannot be considered as symptomatic for the criminal nature of the SS without further proofs.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, you say that you have only got to Pages 32 and 33?
HERR PELCKMANN: I want to start on Page 36 now. But as far as I am informed, Your Lordship's copy is longer. I am farther on.
THE PRESIDENT:- I do not have a copy at all; but I do not understand how you are proposing to finish your speech, if your speech is, as I am told, about 100 pages long.
I tried to point out to you at an earlier stage that the sort of general topics which are very familiar to us were topics which you might just as well pass over, and you said "Very well; I am going to shorten my speech. I have taken steps to shorten it."
Now we find that when you have been speaking for nearly two hours, you have not got any farther than Page 33. All I want you to understand is that you will not be allowed more than a half day.
Now will you go on, please?
HERR PELCKMANN: In the pages which I am skipping I have dealt with the events of November 1938. 1 will add that if in connection with the arrests, which were purely a political matter and were up to the Gestapo, some officials may have worn black uniforms, this did not make it an SS action. Gestapo officials also wore black uniforms.
This would be a typical erroneous generalization which can be traced back to the fascination of the black uniform and of the SS insignia, and its misleading influence upon truth and recollection must not be underestimated for the entire proceedings against the SS. This insignia, in its insolent aggressiveness, flaunted by visual and auditory means, was not only dangerous in the past because through its doubling of a Germanic rune it awoke romantic historical feelings in the German, but even today after the destruction of all the myths surrounding it, it has the peculiar power of preventing any clear conception as to its nature. This word "SS" is so easily pronounced without being accompanied by a clear conception as to its real meaning.
There is a, danger of a historical myth being born which, like any other such myth, is based upon ignorance of the facts, or, even
26 Aug. 46
worse, upon partial knowledge of the facts. We, who combat the Hitler myth wherever we can-we have done so in the evidence before the Tribunal-do not wish to see a myth form around a group of people under the slogan "SS," around the guilty and innocent alike. We do not want to help to create so-called "martyrs" in the interests of neo-Fascist propaganda.
That is why we must ask a definite question and give the answer: What is really to be understood by SS?
The decisive error in the Indictment is, that all, or at least all essential, spheres of activity of Himmler's are considered as activities of the SS. Without inquiring into the origin or tasks of the many agencies and units under Himmler's command, without inquiring as to whether there ever existed any organized ties or links, the Indictment assembles the General SS, Waffen-SS, the SD, the Police, the concentration camp system, the affairs of the Reich Commissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism, the activity of the Chief of the Prisoner-of-War Organization, and others, in one great imaginary unit, the SS. The Indictment must proceed from such a unity in order to create a basis for the evidence that, within the framework of an alleged conspiracy, all sectors of the public life in the State, the Party, and the Wehrmacht were permeated with this SS, a monster which had spread its tentacles over Germany and Europe.
That Himmler's activity was identical with the activity of the SS is only true for the period up to 1933 or 1934. Only until then did an organized unity in the SS exist; and the Prosecution has taken over this idea of the unity of everything which they call SS from this time, thus falsely interpreting the actual developments. The SS was a part of the SA and therefore a section of the NSDAP.
The seizure of power opened an era in which a great part of all supreme and superior State positions were filled with Party Leaders. From this time on, Himmler went his own way alongside the SS. At first-by comparison with other high Party members-extremely cautiously, later more and more determinedly and arbitrarily.
It was mainly Heydrich who awakened Himmler's interest for State affairs, for power politics. Himmler, like many of the SS leaders, had become Police Commissioner, namely, in Munich in 1933. Soon he was made Chief of the Political Police in Bavaria, and then in the other states of Germany, with the exception of Prussia. Here Goering was still Chief of the Gestapo. But soon Himmler became his deputy and Heydrich the leader of the Secret State Police Office in Berlin.
Himmler's ambition for the widening of his power in the State, which the SS could not offer him, now became ever more obvious. His goal was the Ministry of the Interior. Already in 1936 he took over the entire police power of the Reich, which until then
26 Aug 46
had been the affair of each land, in the capacity of Chief of the German Police.
Thus he had become the highest superior not only of the Secret State Police and of the Criminal Police, which were jointly named the Security Police, but also of the entire Regular Police in Germany. Only then did he hold a position of power which was of the greatest importance, and it was given to him by Hitler, and not by the SS, or through the SS, or for the SS. I ask the Tribunal to consider that these police organizations existed independently alongside the SS before Himmler became their chief. In 1939, he was made Reich Commissioner for- the Consolidation of German Nationalism and was thus assigned a new task, the re-transfer of populations, et cetera. Finally, in 1943, he was actually nominated Reich Minster of the Interior. Through his personal allegiance to Hitler, and through his acceptance of any and every new task, he gained the personal confidence of Hitler and thus continually extended his personal position of power within the Reich. It was peculiar to this Reich that Hitler should have united so many offices and tasks in one single person who had his confidence. As an example, I would point to Goering. In the measure that Goering continued to lose Hitler's confidence, Himmler's power, rose like a meteor. He had gained this position of power for himself alone and without the help of his SS, and quite independently from the fact that he was, their Reichsfuehrer. The witnesses Grauert, Reinecke, and Pohl have amply testified to this effect. The SS, formerly so closely connected with Himmler, had, in the course of time, followed an individual and quite independent line of development, owing to the great number of the entirely different sections which began to take shape. Unfortunately, the short time at my disposal does not permit me to describe here this development in detail, although it is of the greatest importance to the entire defense.
To prove the unity they have asserted, the Prosecution say that the General SS was the basis upon which all the other organizations have been established. The fact alone that almost a million men have at one time been in the Waffen-SS, whereas the General SS had only numbered 250,000 members, refutes this statement. In the aforementioned appendix I have shown how the individual organizations were built up, augmented, and developed according to their own intrinsic nature. The General SS is not the source of life for the other organizations, but an ancient vestige which at first managed to keep alive, but which during the war was forced to disappear altogether for lack of any special task., (Witnesses Eberstein, Hinderfeld, Juttner, Pohl-) The Indictment did not, however, mention the most important aspect. To my mind this is an aspect which is particularity suited to shed light upon the question of the imaginary unity of the SS:
26 Aug. 46
where lay the executive power in the State? For an alleged conspiracy only such an instrument could have been suitable, which controlled some means of the State authority, which had executive power in the State. Neither the General SS nor the Waffen-SS was such an organization. At no time in its existence did a leader or a simple member of the General SS have more rights in public and especially police matters than any other German citizen. He could not and did not at any time carry out arrests or house searches with impunity. (Witnesses Reinecke, Eberstein.)
The fact that revolutionary excesses were committed immediately after the seizure of power does not alter this fact. They were at once successfully combated, as testified by the witness Grauert. No member of the Waffen-SS ever had more rights than any members of the Wehrmacht (Witness Hausser). Indeed the executive power in the State was solely in the hands of the Police: the Gestapo and Criminal Police combined as Security Police, and the Regular Police. A policy of power in the sense of an alleged conspiracy could logically have found support only through them.
The testimony of the witness Grothmann, who belonged to the closest circle around Himmler, is particularly revealing for the question as to which activities of the SS are to be considered as connected with the executive power. This testimony is nothing special inasmuch as he tells us that Himmler was informed of the affairs of the Waffen-SS by the adjutant of the Waffen-SS, and of police affairs by the Police Adjutant, while the General Secretariat had to inform him of the other affairs of the General SS. Thus the sharp separation existing among the various fields again becomes very clear. The essential point, however, is that all matters concerning the concentration camp system and the totally different sphere of the SD were not dealt with and reported on by the SS Adjutant, but rather by Himmler's own Police Adjutant. In this way the testimony given by the witness Reinecke, who testified as to the judicial basis for the separation into five independent spheres of influence under Himmler in the sense of the Indictment, into General SS, Waffen SS, SD, Concentration Camps, and Police, is again reaffirmed.
Executive power is indeed the key to full understanding of the charges raised under the Indictment, and for a just evaluation of this case. In the beginning, Himmler was on the side of his SS and was entirely absorbed by it. After the police power of the entire Reich had been transferred to him alone, the only thing he concerned himself with was this one sphere, the sphere of executive power. He played the leading role in the rapid development of Germany into a police state. Very soon he let every vestige of regard for any legal consideration go by the board. Moreover he continued
26 Aug. 46
to follow the path he had chosen for his organizations General SS and Waffen-SS, and withdrew behind a heavy curtain of secrecy, hiding himself and the excesses of his police activity from these organizations as well as from the entire nation. It is quite impossible to understand all of this if one does not appreciate the fact that Himmler had a "Jekyll and Hyde" personality. On the one hand he preached and fostered ethical values, such as decency, manliness, and courtesy. Here he used the instrument of his organizations, the General SS and the Waffen-SS. On the other hand he exploited his tremendous power by issuing the most uncompromising orders and measures of a police state nature. I would only refer to concentration camps, mass executions without trial, and the Einsatzgruppen.
Here, and here alone he used the instrument of the executive power in the Reich. A deep abyss opens up between these two. It was not surprising, therefore, that in the few speeches he made during the war, in which he showed his obsession with his State Police troops of the future, that he met with opposition among the leaders and the troops of the Waffen-SS; for these men were soldiers and were fighting the enemy. It is quite understandable that the Prosecution considers this first side of Himmler's nature to be but a whitewash for the second. But nothing could be more erroneous than an assumption of this sort. It is no coincidence either that the Defendant Seyss-Inquart from his complete knowledge of developments, and the witnesses Hausser and Reinecke, who because of their former high positions and their present knowledge have an over-all picture of events, describe Himmler as a man who had two totally different faces. And when they say that, they are in good company; for on the strength of his many conferences with Himmler, Count Bernadotte says exactly the same thing in his book The Curtain Falls, which has been frequently quoted. Himmler, therefore, is not the SS. The fact that he is referred to as the "Reichsfuehrer SS in all laws and directives which gave him new missions to accomplish does not alter this situation in the least. As the witnesses Reinecke and Kubitz have stated quite correctly in this regard, his official position and title, to all practical purposes, had replaced his name in public life. Specialized departments like the Police and the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationalism, or the position of Commander-in-Chief of the Reserve Army, and of Chief of the Prisoner-of-War Organization, did not become concerns of the SS just because they were transferred to the person of the "Reichsfuehrer SS," that is, Himmler.
However, that is something asserted by the Prosecution, and in order to support their position they state further that as soon as
26 Aug. 46
[continued in part 4]
- Forum Staff
- Posts: 23586
- Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
- Location: USA
26 Aug. 46
Himmler took over new offices he immediately started to infiltrate them with members of the SS. That is equally wrong. The witnesses Zupke and Bader have confirmed the fact that a number of members of the Regular Police were taken over into the General SS, and not vice versa. An infiltration of the Police therefore never took place. As far as the Security Police is concerned, we can see from Himmler's decree of 23 June 1938 (Document 1637-PS) that the civil servants and employees of the Security Police were taken over by the SD and received SS ranks commensurate with their police ranks, and not vice versa. They never served in the General SS for even one day.
The testimony of the witness Zupke, who was interrogated before the Commission on 20 May 1946, and Affidavit SS-82, prove that roughly 20 different categories of members of the Regular Police became formal members of the SS when on the strength of ministerial directives they were granted ranks in the SS commensurate with their police rank. This so-called "Co-ordination of Rank," however, did not establish true membership, for the police officials involved did not take the SS oath, did not pay dues, did not perform SS functions, did not serve in the SS, had no privileges or advantages of any kind because of their rank, and did not even wear SS uniform. Their police service remained constant and unchanged.
Everywhere else in public life the same procedure was followed. It was not the case that the SS filled key and other essential positions, but rather that the men holding such positions were taken over into the SS as honorary leaders by Himmler.
The affidavits deposed by Herr Fuehrer, SS-63, and Herr Wunder, SS-42, give striking examples of the appointment of honorary leaders; SS-49, and Bethke, Number 48, show that the Kreis- and Ortsbauernfuehrer were taken over as a group by the SS in that way, and Affidavits SS-97 and SS-98 describe the taking over of the leaders of the Reich Veterans Society.
Therefore it was not true that the SS infiltrated into the State; on the contrary, elements foreign to the SS were taken over by its organizations. The bulk of the membership remained what it was, a unit of farmers, mechanics, students, workers, and representatives of all the professions. The tasks of the General SS were not changed in any way because of this process.
After studying this matter, we can see how little basis in fact there is for the assertion made by some of the defense counsel on behalf of individual defendants and organizations to the effect that during the war the SS exercised all the powers of government in Germany. Many witnesses and affidavits prove that the activity of the General SS, which must be described as typical club life, began
26 Aug. 46
to decrease at the beginning of the war and disappeared altogether during the course of the war. The Waffen-SS was fighting at the different fronts, receiving more and more draftees into its ranks. It was under the supreme command of the Wehrmacht. These branches of the SS therefore could not rule Germany during the war. As I shall demonstrate later, the WVHA, which concerned itself with concentration camps, belonged to the SS only nominally, and had no administrative authority over any other institutions Germany. A reign of terror may well have been exercised through arrest and the putting of individuals in concentration camps, but that was not a function of any branch of the SS organization, but rather of the Ministry of the Interior, of the Police, and the RSHA (Gestapo).
The setting up of Higher SS and Police Leaders does not alt these facts either, for the name is in fact misleading. They had no authority of command over the Police and the Waffen-SS. Only rarely, when like the Reichsfuehrer SS, who held both State an Police positions - as for instance Police Commissioners - were they authorized to give orders to the Police, but only because of their State position, not because of their position as SS Leaders. This may be seen even more plainly in the Occupied Eastern Territories for there was no General SS there. The Higher SS and Police Leaders there did not have any authority of command in the Waffen-SS, so that the Higher SS and Police Leaders exercised on public police functions. I am referring to the testimony given by the witness Von Eberstein, and to Affidavits SS-86 and 87.
Then we see the following: Himmler's power increased tremendously during the war, but the power of the SS was not increased. He did not receive this power because of his position as Reichsfuehrer SS, and he could not exercise this power through the SS but solely through State organs, that is, through the various police organizations.
Competing with Himmler's authority were other power factors not of the State, but exercised by the Party (Reichs-, Gau-, and Kreisleitung). All branches of the SS were outside this struggle for power between Himmler and Bormann. From the description presented by me we can conclude the following: First, we cannot consider the organizations comprising the SS to be a unified instrument of a conspiracy. Secondly, the Court can only examine separately the question of the criminal character of each branch of the organization.
The accusations raised under the Indictment which I shall have to deal with after these detailed statements - because of lack of time I can cover only the most important aspects - become weightier the closer we approach the period of the war, and finally the collapse
26 Aug. 46
A very serious and comprehensive pattern of accusations against the SS has been included in the term "Germanization."
With this, Gentlemen of the Tribunal, I am dealing on the next five pages, 46 to 50, and I shall skip the heading "Enslavement"; the next four pages, 50 to 53, deal with the, "Compulsory Transportation for Slave Labor"; a further page and a half, 54 to 55, with the Einsatzgruppen, and finally three pages, 55 to 57, with "AntiPartisan Combat."
Owing to pressure of time I am unable to present them and would ask the Tribunal to give them due consideration. By "Germanization" we certainly cannot understand the resettling of entire sections of a population and transplanting them from their native soil to a new locality, for the same thing is taking place today in those regions between the Oder and the Vistula in Silesia and Czechoslovakia, in areas which were formerly German but have now been given to Poland. In order to arrive at criminal circumstances several vital points must accrue; namely, planning, methods of execution, and their connection with a war of aggression. The contradictory yet determining points in Hitler's orders never appear more sharply than in that pattern which the Indictment understands by the term "Germanization." One thing, however, is clearly evident; these orders, some of which were issued in the form of laws, were not addressed to the SS. The decree of 7 October 1939, Document Number 686-PS, which has been quoted frequently, is of basic importance here. But a jurist can understand this decree only as a law to establish a new public authority to be known as the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationalism. Out of the many who competed for this position, Himmler succeeded in coming out ahead, for he was made Reichskommissar. In this decree, which was not issued by Party authorities but was signed by the Reich Cabinet, Himmler is also referred to by his other title of Reichsfuehrer SS. If he had been a general in the Wehrmacht, then perhaps he would have also been referred to as Lieutenant General; if he had been a civil servant, he probably would have also been referred to as Minister.
From this, no instructions to the SS as an organization can be deduced. This new office was paid for by the Reich. The men working there were officials who were taken from the various other offices and agencies, not only from the SS.
Of course SS members participated, but they were not predominant and they were not in the most important positions. Please refer to Affidavits SS-113, 110, 111, 43, 73, and 75. The Reichskommissariat for the Consolidation of German Nationalism belonged to the sphere of Himmler's personal authority, but no executive official of the Kommissariat had the power of command over SS offices or SS members except when subordinate to him as his officials. Under the Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism there was the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle, with which the Prosecution have dealt repeatedly. It was the task of the VDM to repatriate Germans who up to that time were not German citizens, and to bring them back into Germany from the countries where they had been living. The VDM furnished the means (Mittel) for this task. That is the real significance of the title used in contrast to incorrect translations. "Means" (Mittel) signifies money or objects which had the value of money. The Mittelstelle procured and cashed the necessary foreign exchange. The VDM was not concerned with the other tasks assigned to the Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism, which are characterized in the decree mentioned as "elimination of the harmful influence of alien minorities." These tasks were taken over as police tasks by Heydrich and by the police departments of the RSHA. They were handled in the same way as the deporting of Jews to the East; for example, into labor camps or to Theresienstadt. For these matters also Heydrich and the police departments of the RSHA were exclusively responsible. These accusations are dealt with in detail by the statements given by the witness Kubitz before the Commission, and the affidavits of Creutz, Greifelt, and Golling (SS-115, 72, 79, 80, 71, 112, 113, 114, 77, 73, and 76).
26 Aug. 46
As has been abundantly demonstrated before this Tribunal, only Goering with the Four Year Plan had influence over the exploitation of the productive resources, and by no means the Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism or the SS (Golling, Affidavit SS-73). The voluntary resettlement of Germans from abroad carried through by the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle, particularly from the Soviet Union on the basis of the treaty with the Soviet Union, cannot be considered as deportations or evacuations in the sense of the Indictment (Greifelt 3:1, SS-76). The Prosecution concluded the participation of the SS in that activity from the fact that many men in SS uniform had a share in it. The evidence given by Kubitz demonstrated that those people were not SS men and did not carry out SS tasks.
The evacuation of Poles from the former German Eastern Provinces had been almost concluded already before the creation of the Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism (Creutz, SS-72; Golling, SS-71). They had been previously carried out by the chief of the civil administration, not by the SS. In the Government General there existed special legal conditions, so that the office of the Stabshauptamt and the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle were not able to interfere and cannot be held responsible for the conditions that existed there. The evacuations in the West were performed by the chiefs of the civil administration as the agencies exclusively competent for them (evidence Kubitz, Affidavit Bruckner, SS-74; Edgar Hoffmann, SS-75; Creutz 11, SS-80). The members of the former German minority in the former Polish provinces were given German citizenship not by the Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German-Nationalism, but by the Reich Ministry of the Interior and its subordinate office at a time when Himmler not yet held that ministerial office. The procedure of the Volksliste, which erroneously has been translated "Race Register," was carried through by the Reich Ministry of the Interior. This shows that that list had nothing to do with the Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism or the race ideology of the SS (Golling 1, SS-71). The confiscation of the agricultural property by the Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism was based on a decree by the Reich Government of 8 October 1939, in accordance with which the incorporated Eastern territories were declared Reich territory, as well as on those decrees concerning confiscation which in the framework of valid law had been properly promulgated and were not even co-signed by the Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism (SS Document Book, Number 13). A thorough examination of that decree will show that the confiscations ordered actually had already been pronounced before the Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism had taken office. He did nothing but register and re-examine the confiscations which had already taken place (Creutz, SS-72; Golling, SS-71).
It would be entirely fallacious to speak of a confiscation through the Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism, much less the SS, for the purpose of settling racial Germans or rewarding deserving Nazis, since the confiscations carried out by the Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism were not qualified to furnish land for settlement or to drive away farmers from their estates (Golling, SS-71; Greifelt 1, SS-73, 76, 78; Creutz, SS-79).
For that reason the Reichskommissar refrained from any settlements involving a transfer of property. The only thing which happened was that the trustees on the ownerless estates were replaced by trustees taken from the ranks of the resettled ones.
The opinion of the Prosecution, which is in conflict with this description (1352-PS), is based on the unauthorized acts and proposals made by some subordinate official, Kusche, who did not even belong to the SS and whose errors - as shown by the document itself and Affidavit Golling SS-7 - were corrected. The case of Kusche is characteristic of the Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism inasmuch as this man was relieved of his office because of his entirely erroneous conceptions (Golling SS-71). No uniform plan is apparent in the so-called Germanization. The chiefs of the civil administration had their districts evacuated, and according to other motives.
26 Aug. 467
and orders (Bruckner, SS-2; Edgar Hoffmann, SS-75), the agencies of the Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism and the Chief Staff Office did not approve these evacuations. They could not, however, stop them, although they obstructed them as far as possible and practically put an end to them altogether (Testimony of Kubitz, Affidavit Bruckner, Edgar Hoffmann).Himmler, for instance, did not know anything about the plans of Burckel or Hitler. The Polish population in Posen and West Prussia was evacuated; in Upper Silesia it was not evacuated. The transfer of the Germans living in the Baltic countries was decided within a very few hours, but absolutely nothing was known as to the carrying out of their resettlement (Kubitz). The Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of German Nationalism transferred racial Germans from Lublin to Posen, the Governor General again settled Germans in Lublin (2916-PS, 910-PS; Creutz, SS-72). Continuous retransfers of Germans from abroad brought hundreds of thousands into the Reich, despite the fact that for years more than half a million had been waiting in camps for some kind of resettlement (Kubit7).
Polish property was confiscated by the Four Year Plan, the Haupttreuhandstelle East, and the Reich Ministry for Food (Reich Law Gazette, 1940, Page 353, 1270).
From this brief picture of the confusion existing one cannot speak of a premeditated plan for Germanization on the part of the Reichskommissariat, or on the part of the SS.
The deportation of civilians for slave labor, particularly into Germany, takes an important position in the Indictment amongst the crimes committed in occupied territory against the civilian population, and is directed above an against the Defendant Sauckel. His defense counsel, Dr. Servatius, has dwelt on the taking of evidence and on the legal evaluation of the concept of slave labor, and we will simply refer to that.
The Prosecution, and to some extent Dr. Servatius too, however, are of the opinion that the SS shared the guilt for those crimes. As far as the General SS. and the Waffen-SS are concerned, this point of view cannot be adopted. As shown before, the General SS practically had concluded its activity at the beginning of the war. There is not a single piece of evidence which would show that any unit of the General SS had anything to do with the deportation of civilians for labor service.
The same is true in regard to the Waffen-SS, which never had any influence on the labor program of Sauckel and which also was never employed for the execution of his measures. The recruiting of foreign laborers for their employment in the Reich was, as a matter of principle, a task of the administration. For making manpower available to Sauckel's organization, the Reich Commissioners in the occupied areas were used, and they employed their executive, staff, as for instance the General Commissioners, and so on. They in turn, as prescribed by the laws of the administration, made use, as far as necessary, of the Regular and Security Police; the SS, particularly the Waffen-SS, was not available to the General Commissioners and had nothing to do at all with the labor program (Affidavit Von Bomhard, SS-108).
In special fields this system was-not changed either. The Waffen-SS and the General SS did not give any assistance in the transfer of arrestees to concentration camps and their employment for slave labor there. As is well known, the only authority in charge of assignments to concentration camps was the Gestapo, which was also in charge of the bringing-in of new arrestees. This has been stated already by Mr. Parr of the British Prosecution (Volume IV, Page 194). This is shown also by individual pieces of evidence, such as Document L-61, which speaks of the assignment of criminal and asocial Poles to concentration camps by the Chief of the Security Police and SD. It also proves that the exchange of Jewish against Polish workers in the Reich was based exclusively on an agreement between the office of Sauckel and the Chief of the Security Police. Thus the SS, both Waffen and General SS, had nothing to do with it, as was wrongly assumed (Volume III, Page 413). This is equally true for the transfer of other groups to concentration camps, and their employment in armament plants there. Without exception these assignments were handled by the Gestapo. This is true both for the assignments of Frenchmen (compare Servatius' plea) and that of partisans (744-PS, USA Exhibit 445). Again these cases therefore are eliminated from the material charging the General or Waffen-SS, because the arrests and assignments to a concentration camp of these
26 Aug. 46
groups were performed not as measures for securing manpower, but on the basis of Gestapo considerations. Himmler's order, 744-PS, furthermore is based on a decree by the OKW (Keitel), ordering that those prisoners who were taken in warfare against the partisans were to be looked upon as prisoners of war, put into camps, and referred to Sauckel through the labor offices. This was therefore a group of persons who ought to have been referred to courts-martial as snipers and whose assignments to a concentration camp constituted only an improvement. If the General SS and the Waffen-SS had nothing to do with the assignments to concentration camps, it is impossible to charge them with the crime of dragging people away to slave labor simply because the prisoners later worked in concentration camps. The following must be said in this connection.
(1) As I shall explain later, the concentration camps were not an institution of the General SS and Waffen-SS. They were a State institution of their own (Affidavit SS-40D, Fanslau).
(2) The Chief of the WVHA, Pohl, was in charge only of the administration of the concentration camps. The products of the prisoners, just as those produced by the prisoners of the general Administration of Justice, were administered by a Reich Finance Office which existed in each concentration camp. Just like any other fiscal office of the Reich, they were examined and supervised by the Court of Accounts of the Reich (Affidavit Frank, Number 99). (3) In the main, the prisoners were made available to armament plants of a public or private nature, as well as to the economic enterprises of Himmler (Affidavit SS-9, Frank; and SS-100, Fanslau). Their position was exactly the same as that of other armament plants which received Eastern or other foreign laborers through the office of Sauckel.
Nothing against the General SS or the Waffen-SS can be concluded from the employment of those prisoners in the interest and for the benefit of the Reich. The evidence given by Juttner and the Affidavits SS-99, Frank, and SS-100, Fanslau, show that the products of their labor did not accrue to the Waffen-SS, as the Prosecution has charged.
In the battle in the East the activity of the Einsatzgruppen A, B, C, and D of the Security Police and the SD appeared for the first time. They were formations of a special type, of a Security Police character - that is, of the executive of the Reich. I need not go into the other tasks of these units. Here it is a question only of that horrible activity to which the witness Ohlendorf testified; particularly, the part played by the Waffen-SS. The testimony of Rode and Ohlendorf has proved that the Einsatzgruppen were tactically never under any command posts of the Waffen-SS. It is shown, rather, that these units were tactically subordinate to the army groups of the Wehrmacht. There were never any army groups of the Waffen-SS. Against the Waffen-SS there is the fact, it is true, that three or four Waffen-SS companies - a total of one battalion - had to be assigned to these units without the appropriate battalion staff. I said, "had to," because the instructions from Himmler were direct (witnesses Juttner and Ruoff). Document L-180 proves that, for example in Einsatzgruppe A, 340 out of 999 men were soldiers of the Waffen-SS. The total strength of SS men assigned to these units was 600 to 700 men.
The fact that men of the Waffen-SS were used for Security Police tasks seems to contradict the fact, which has been proved by me, that the Security Police and the Waffen-SS were two completely different organizations. But that is not the case: The testimony of Flutter shows that the assignment of three or four companies was ordered by Himmler with the express provision that these men should serve as protection and guard units of mobile police details which were to follow the fighting troops. That police details were necessary in the occupied territory was clear.
That they needed military protection, if they followed the fighting troops immediately, was not surprising. It was never mentioned that the Einsatzgruppen were to carry out exterminations of human beings on a large scale and that men of the Waffen-SS should be called upon to participate in these actions against their express orders to maintain and afford protection. No suspicious doubts could arise in this connection (witness Juttner), nor did it become known at any later time in the leading agencies of the Waffen-SS that these SS men had been wrongly used for such tasks (witness Ruoff). The witness Blume, of the organization section of the Waffen-SS, had stated that these three or four companies,
26 Aug. 46
in contrast to all other units of the Waffen-SS, had never submitted any reports of the true state of affairs to the Fuehrungshauptamt. Practically they were not even part of the Waffen-SS. This also explains that none of the leading or less important witnesses for the Waffen-SS ever gained any knowledge of the activity of the Einsatzgruppen, which had been held strictly secret, or of the specific participation of any SS men.
The assignment of not quite one thousand men, which was so much talked about, has not changed anything in the nature and the task of the Waffen-SS, an organization including millions.
When there was any talk of Einsatzkommandos the Prosecutors generally mentioned the so-called special Kommandos of the East in the evidence. Since these were merely concerns of the Security Ponce, in which members of the General SS or the Waffen-SS were never used, I need not dwell on these matters. Due to the statement of the witness Von dem Bach-Zelewski, and a statement in the affidavit of the witness Rode, which was submitted by the Prosecution, the idea of partisan warfare in Russia had been quite erroneously connected with the idea of the systematic extermination of Jews. Both witnesses declared that upon looking back they had come to the conclusion that partisan warfare in Russia was merely a pretext for the extermination of the civilian population. In the meantime, this incredible assertion was corrected by the witness Rode in cross-examination before the Commission. As Rode's testimony shows, his interrogator discussed the compilation of the affidavits referring to partisan fighting and at the same time to the aforementioned Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos of the Security Police. Rode's statements referred only to the activity of the Einsatzgruppen, whose activity the interrogating officer often erroneously connected with partisan activities by calling them "partisan combat groups."
In reality, partisan fighting was an intensified guerrilla warfare which was developed, especially by the Soviets, behind the front. It was intended to cause difficulties to the fighting troops by interfering with their maintenance channels, and it also took direct action against units in the rear. This type of warfare was all the harsher since the partisans knew that according to international law they could be considered as franc-tireurs, and accordingly fought a bitter war.
Because of the division of the hinterland behind the front into the rear army area and the area of the civil administration, the task of combating partisans became either the responsibility of the Wehrmacht, or that of the Police. The witness Hausser said, on 6 August 1946, at the beginning of his interrogation:
"That was a military-police task." (Not "military-political task," as was erroneously translated into English.) Therefore, those who possessed police powers in the occupied area, that is, the Higher SS and Police Leader and the chief of the anti-partisan unit, had to carry out their task in collaboration with one another. The fact that occasionally units of the Wehrmacht, and only once a unit of the Waffen-SS, a cavalry brigade, were committed for that purpose, changed nothing in the manner of the activity, nor can one conclude therefrom that there was any organizational connection between partisan combat and the Waffen-SS In the rear police area (Witnesses Juttner, Ruoff, Grothmann).
From his statement that inferior troops had been chosen for partisan warfare one can see how the testimony of the witness Von dem Bach-Zelewski must be judged, a witness whose testimony contains several discrepancies (witnesses Grothmann, Reinecke, Juttner, Ohlendorf). According to the testimony of the witness Hausser, there were never any inferior units in the Waffen-SS; on the contrary one cannot establish a connection between the testimony of Bach with the Waffen-SS. According to the explanation of the witness Grothmann, the unit Dirlewanger was a probation troop of prisoners, such as are used in all armies of the world. It is an essential fact, there, that it was never a unit of the Waffen-SS, or even, as Bach states contrary to the real facts, a unit of the General SS (witness Grothmann). Apart from anything else, it would never have been adequate for the war against the partisans.
Thus the charge that partisan warfare was a pretext for the extermination of the civilian population is disproved, and furthermore, any special participation of the Waffen-SS is also disproved.
Concentration camps existed from the very beginning of the Hitler regime on. Without them the Hitler State was inconceivable. Hundreds of thousands went through these camps, were
26 Aug. 46
degraded and ill-treated there; more than a hundred thousand died or were killed there.
It cannot be denied that the name of the SS is connected with these murders and misdeeds. In the face of all the world this confession must be made in this Trial. And just as every German must be ashamed that such horrible and inhuman things occurred in, his country, even more should every SS man search himself and examine to what extent he is politically or morally guilty for these happenings. He should be concerned not only with the defense, against the accusation of the Prosecution that every SS man has become a criminal through these crimes, but he should again look back upon his whole life and study when, where, and how he might have deviated from the road of true humanity - perhaps only in heart and mind. This he can do and must do - even if he denies his criminal guilt and maintains that he was for four years in the front lines engaged in hardest fighting, believing in Germany and her just cause. And if he feels shame, genuine shame - if only a little of it - then his reflections, then this Trial, will not have been in vain. Then that purifying feeling of guilt is present to which Pastor Niemoller has referred, a man who has been misunderstood so profoundly.
But even if that SS man should persist in his inner obstinacy, even if all those SS men should remain unrepentant - though from my visits to the camps I know that this is not the case - even then we would have to continue to serve earthly justice, we would have to examine whether, due to the concentration camps and other atrocities, the SS is to be considered a criminal organization, whether all SS men by those acts became criminals.
We therefore have to deal with the details of those matters, even though millions of people mourn the victims of the concentration camps, hundreds of thousands of the surviving inmates suffer from the aftermath, and even though the world accuses the SS in one single outcry of revenge.
When, in the beginning of March, I was charged with the, defense of the SS, I found a considerable amount of material of the Prosecution, evidence taken in the main proceedings, and many documents which were assembled in the Document Book "Concentration Camps." But on the other hand, upon calm consideration - and that, in spite of everything, is essential - it is clear that if during the entire period before and during the war conditions in concentration camps were actually as represented, for instance in the picture "Concentration Camps," then it could not have been possible that hundreds and thousands were discharged, that work could have been carried on during the war as it was, and that finally, those
26 Aug. 46
things could have remained unknown to the masses of people and the mass of the detained SS men whom I now interrogated.
There were contradictions which could not be eliminated; in the American report on the development of the Buchenwald Camp from 1937 to 1943, the basis of which I do not know, the following, which is taken from a letter of the WVHA of 28 December 1942, is attached as an appendix: 136,000 people were brought into all concentration camps within a half year. During the same time 70,000 died. Though it is obvious that not just half of those new inmates died, but that 70,000 out of a total population of some hundred thousand inmates passed away in six months, the mortality rate is still frightfully high.
Thus the Prosecution seemed to be right in affirming that the detainees were systematically exterminated, or at least killed through overwork. However, this was not in accordance with the order issued in a circular of 28 December 1942 by the WVHA, according to which the physicians in the camps were to take all measures to insure lower death rates and to maintain working capacity as high as possible, by adequate supervision of food and working conditions and by suggesting practical ameliorations which should not merely remain theoretical. Neither was this in accordance with the fact testified to by witnesses over and over again, that foreign and German commissions inspecting the camps, and even SS Fuehrer themselves, gained a very good impression of the administration and the prisoners.
I have been, and am still, of the opinion that for me as lawyer and defense counsel the fact cannot be sufficient that the number of victims was huge and that the whole world said that they had been murdered and ill-treated by the SS system. In this decisive question, which is produced by the mass effect of a mutually-conditioned formation of opinions, in other words, a typical case of mass suggestion of public opinion, there can be no "legally notorious facts"; there can be only clear facts which must be established without prejudice and bias. This is important for the following questions: who were the authors of each of these crimes which became the enormous number of anonymous concentration camp atrocities? Did they do it on their personal initiative or on order? Do they belong to a typical criminal group, and if so, to which one, in order to discover a collective guilt? In what relation do they stand to the organization of the SS, that is, to the tens and hundreds of thousands of members who had not been active in the concentration camps and who insist that they knew nothing of these crimes?
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will recess.
[A recess was taken.]
26 Aug. 46
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, you have now been speaking for 2 hours and 28 minutes, so that, strictly speaking, you have got 22 minutes more.
HERR PELCKMANN: I had just put the questions which seemed important to me for the clarification of the connection between the SS and the crimes committed in concentration camps. I hoped that these questions, the elucidation of which might contribute to the speedier sentencing of all the criminals, would have been answered by the Allied courts which had been sitting on, concentration camp trials since last year.
That is the reason why, Your Honors, I made an application to place at my disposal the records of all these trials for consideration. From them I might have discovered many facts which have come to my knowledge and that of the public only during these last weeks.
I have nevertheless left nothing undone to discover the truth. My application aiming at placing at my disposal the concentration camps' administrative files of the WVHA was handed in at a rather late date and I did not follow it up. I did not need to follow it up because I succeeded at last, in the beginning of July, in finding a witness whose testimony is, I believe, decisive in many respects for the discovery of the truth, that is, for the historical and, in this Trial, relevant truth. This witness is Dr. Morgen. We are indebted to this witness for the discovery of three primary facts. First, the basic and profoundest reason for the killings in the concentration camps was the outlawry of the detainees, the omnipotence of the Police (Gestapo), and the weakness of justice.
Secondly, the ordering of and organization of mass exterminations of Jews in special so-called extermination camps were undertaken by Hitler directly. Knowledge and execution of these orders were confined to a few initiated. Thirdly, an absolute sphere of secrecy, together with a, diabolic system of deception, was designed to keep knowledge of the happenings in the concentration and extermination camps from the public and the prosecuting authorities.
I shall never forget my first meeting with this witness, Dr. Morgen. The entire nature and soul of this gigantic man bent forward in his chair seemed eager to communicate what he had known for about two years, and what he had viewed and experienced for months while living with detainees and personnel in these places of horror.
I shall skip the next sentences.
He had twice reported in detail, once to the highest competent German authorities, so that they might improve conditions; a second time in 1945 to the American investigating authorities for concentration camp atrocities. Both times his revelations were unanswered.
26 Aug. 45
With flagging hope Dr. Morgen made his report for the third time, with which, as before, he wanted to help find the guilty, protect the innocent, and show the German people and the world the final guilt of the criminal leadership in the most horrible murders in world history. In this he succeeded. I shall skip the next paragraph, which describes the concentration camp system and the participation of the SS.
The beginnings of the concentration camps are characterized by absolute illegality. It began with arrest without legal grounds. There were purely considerations of political expediency. But these have always characterized this means of power, which has been employed from the beginning of this century up to the present by many civilized states, particularly in times of great political tension, under various names. Although according to international practice there is nothing illegal in the establishment of such camps and the confinement of prisoners, it must be admitted that immediately after the seizure of power, and in the years 1933 and 1934, the execution of this arrest was accompanied by numerous atrocities and murders. Documents 1216-PS and D-926 speak a terrible language. There is sufficient proof that members of the SS were also responsible for this.
But soon the establishment and guarding of concentration camps were legalized. From 1933 or 1934 on they were financed from the budgets of the individual German Lander and administered by the Political Police. As head of the Political Police of all Lander except Prussia, Himmler in 1934 uniformly regulated the guard and administrative conditions. By taking over a part of the previous guard personnel, SA and SS men, he created the Death's Head formations and supplemented them with volunteers from all sections of the population, without consideration of membership in the Party and the SS. They were now intended exclusively for guarding concentration camps and comprised, in 1936, 400 men for the Kommandantur and 3,600 men for guard duties. They guarded about 10,000 to 12,000 prisoners in five concentration camps throughout Germany. I ask you to compare the then unusually large membership of the General SS with these figures.
In 1936 the concentration camps and their guard personnel were taken over to the Reich budget, and separated according to Kommandantur and guard personnel. At the beginning of the war the Kommandantur personnel consisted of 600 men; the guard personnel amounted to about 7,400 men. There were only six concentration camps in all of Germany, containing 21,300 prisoners, and as yet no labor or subsidiary camps existed. At that time there were about 240,000 members of the General SS. The Waffen-SS did not yet exist.
In my explanation of the question of the organizations I have proved that the "Totenkopf Verbunde" (Death's Head Units), created in 1934 as special troops of the State, were not paid by the Party but by the Reich, and that they had in common with the General SS only a part of their name "SS" and the chief Himmler. (This follows in particular from Hitler's Secret Edict of 17 August 1938, and from Document SS-84.)
26 Aug. 46
The following change after the beginning of the war, when the wave of destruction began to mount slowly in the concentration camps, appears to be important.
6,500 men of guard personnel were sent to the front with a newly activated division. Thus they were eliminated entirely from the concentration camp system. During the course of the entire war about 30,000 men were employed in the concentration camp system, as can be seen from the testimony of Brill and from Affidavit SS-68 (Kaindl). These included new arrivals and men departing. They comprised about 1,500 men of the original cadre of the Totenkopf Units, and 4,500 men originally from the General SS.
These 41500 men were a part, of altogether 36,000 members of the General SS who had been called up by 1940 under the emergency service decree and had become members of the Waffen-SS. The remaining 24,000 men of the concentration camp personnel - that is, 80 percent - originally had no nominal connection with the SS. These were 7,000 persons of German descent or extraction who had been called up, 10,000 German nationals who had volunteered to go to the front in the Waffen-SS, and 7,000 soldiers subordinate either to the Army or the Air Force. Many of the volunteers came from the SA, the Reichskriegerbund, the Party, and other organizations. All, with the exception of the original personnel of 1,500 men, had been assigned the task of guarding the concentration camps - against their will upon the order of Himmler, and without having any connection with the Kommandoamt of the Waffen-SS. Only in the course of the war were these guarding and administrative units of Himmler's nominally taken over into the Waffen SS.
Himmler thus transgressed his powers. This was done in order to avoid continually having to free the personnel of the concentration camps from military service, that is to say, for reasons which were practically to eliminate the regulations of military supervision. After the unequivocal evidence given by the witnesses Reinecke, Juttner, Ruoff, Brill, and many others, there can be no more doubt that the Gestapo tasks of the concentration camp system did not change for all of that, and that in particular the concentration camp system did not become a matter of concern for the Waffen-SS. Indeed, the entire concentration camp system, even after the formal transfer of the guard personnel into the Waffen SS, was not directed and administered by the leading agencies of these organizations but by a special office, the well-known Amtsgruppe D in the chief office of the Economic and Administrative Main Office (witness Stein; Affidavits Fanslau, SS-41 and 100; Frank, SS-99).
I ask the High Tribunal to read the following three pages which deal in detail
with the closely defined activities of Amtsgruppe D,
26 Aug. 46
and also the actual part of Dr. Morgen's testimony on the extermination camps, dealing especially with the camps run by Wirth and Hoess. This Amtsgruppe D, which was entirely separated not only from the other SS agencies, but also from the remaining departments of the WVHA, in regard to organization, personnel and also location, as shown in Affidavits SS-GG, Kaindl, and SS-99, Frank, gave orders to the military personnel and Kommandantur personnel. All income from concentration camps, especially from work done by the prisoners, was credited to WVHA Amtsgruppe D, and was only temporary income for the Reich, which therefore did not benefit the Waffen-SS.
The budget of the Waffen-SS was treated in exactly the same way as that of the Army. It was not connected with that of the Army, but established in the same way, adapted to that of the Army and brought into correlation by the same officials of the Ministry of the Interior.
Never - I should like to emphasize this - was a complete unit of the Waffen-SS assigned to guard concentration camps.
Thus, Your Honors, I have explained to you the jurisdiction of Kommandantur and Guard personnel and the administration of the camps, and have limited it as regards the General SS and the Waffen-SS.
Still more marked is the limitation of jurisdiction in the question of who had to decide on the admission and release or on the execution of prisoners. That was exclusively the Gestapo. In this state of affairs there is no doubt that those responsible, directly or indirectly, for all atrocities and murders which occurred in the concentration camps are to be found at the head, in these two offices, and among the concentration camp personnel. The witness Dr. Morgen, and many affidavits on concentration camps, emphasized however - I must point this out now for the purpose of further limitation - that the guards on principle had nothing to do with the internal administration of the camps, and that it was forbidden and impossible for them to enter the camps proper. Executions and shootings by order of the RSHA, and certainly those on the basis of the assumed right of the Commandant, were carried out by a detail of the Kommandantur staff, not by the guards.
As distinct from the concentration camps we have the extermination camps. They were established after 1942, after Hitler had declared war on the United States and now wanted to take his most bloody revenge for this development of the war, for which he held the Jews throughout the world responsible. From the terrible descriptions of the witnesses Hoess and Morgen we still recall the technique of these mass killings.
From the testimony and affidavits of Hoess and Morgen and the examination of Wisliceny before the Tribunal and the Commission, we have now obtained a comprehensive picture of this whole murder system. Hitler and certain offices of the Chancellery of the Fuehrer - with practice in murder from the extermination of the insane - employed the services of two experts, Reichsarzt (Reich Physician) of the SS Dr. Grawitz and Kriminalkommissar Wirth. The one developed medically the best methods for killing, the other, the best technique of execution in deceiving the victims and the surrounding world.
Aside from Wirth, the head of the extermination camp near Lublin, there was Hoess, the head of the extermination camp in Auschwitz, or rather Monowitz, who was at the same time head of the concentration camp at Auschwitz. One of the persons who brought in these victims was Eichmann, who was incorporated in the Gestapo, and up to Hitler's order for the "final solution," that is, killing, deported the Jews to camps in the East. The transports - as Wisliceny testified before the Commission on 5, 6, and 7 June - were accompanied only by police, including Slovakian and Hungarian police, and only in a single instance by SS men who had been drafted in Hungary as racial Germans.
All these extermination installations and details can be traced back to special orders of Hitler, or the Chancellery of the Fuehrer, and were outside the framework of the normal concentration
26 Aug. 46
camp system. For that reason, they did not have the normal chain of command and organizational form. Wirth was Criminal Commissioner without being an SS member. Hoess received extermination orders, aside from Himmler, only from Eichmann personally, without being allowed to inform his immediate superior, Glucks, the Inspector of Concentration Camps, of them - so Hoess testified on 15 April. Now what follows from all these terrible events - from concentration camp atrocities through the Einsatzgruppen to mass gassings - for the charge against the SS?
The Prosecution says that all the crimes charged have been committed to such a great extent and in such vast proportions, that they and the criminal aims and methods must have been known to every member. The Prosecution thus says that knowledge of the criminal nature of these, tasks is a preliminary condition for the judgment, and the ruling of the Court of 13 March 1946 is in agreement. The assertion of the Prosecution is based upon the following arguments:
Before, and particularly during the war, the press and the wireless, statements of official personalities and all manner of publications in the Allied countries widely informed the public of these states about the atrocities committed in the concentration camps and other crimes. Under these circumstances it would seem obvious to conclude that if in these countries such crimes were almost universally known, this must have been even more so the case in Germany, and particularly in the SS. The collective affidavits ,which have been submitted, and which are partly extensively proven, show that the majority of SS members deny any such knowledge. But, in addition, the defense has countered the charge with a comprehensive statement: the crimes committed within the limits of the German sphere of power were carried out under a minutely planned system of secrecy, so that the bulk of SS members not only did not know anything about them, but indeed could not possibly have done so. Whereas the charge of the Prosecution can only be made credible by the legally very doubtful use of deductions, the argument of the defense is proven by the facts. And such proof, Gentlemen of the Tribunal, has, in my opinion, been furnished by the defense. Let us start with the concentration camps.
On the next pages - and I would ask the Tribunal to read them - I have described the veil of secrecy with all its regulations and circumstances preventing any publicity of the facts towards the outside world.
On looking back we can easily detect the close veil of secrecy and deliberate deceit. In all this time only five or six camps were existent in Germany, with about 12,000 prisoners in 1936 and 21,000 in 1939. It is obvious that for this period
26 Aug. 49
[continued in part 5]
- Forum Staff
- Posts: 23586
- Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
- Location: USA
26 Aug. 49
the charge of the Prosecution is not valid, which maintains that on every one of his journeys every German passed many concentration camps on his way. But the relatively small number of concentration camp personnel, a few thousand, also makes a spread of information about circumstances in the concentration camps seem unlikely. The majority of this personnel - the guards - were not allowed to enter the camp proper.
Characteristic of the deception of the public are the statements of Himmler made at an inspection of a concentration camp by Wehrmacht officers, which are contained in the collection "National Political Course of Instruction". (Document 1992A-PS).
The prisoners consisted of Communists and criminals, who were, in part assigned to the camp only for a few months, in part for a longer time. He mentions the cleanliness in the camp, the frequent washings and change of linen, and the use of toothbrushes. Thus the impression had to be given to the visitors that the criminals were really an anti-social element of the lowest grade who had a bearable life in the camp. Numerous affidavits declare that visitors, precisely from SS circles, for example in visits of Junker schools, found orderly conditions and the prisoners in a satisfactory state of nutrition. The greatest secrecy prevailed in these camps. Not only the official execution of death sentences of courts, but also the execution instructions of the RSHA, which began only at the beginning of the war, and certainly the murders resulting from the lust for power of the commandants, were not undertaken publicly. Dr. Morgen describes this in detail in his Affidavit Number SS-66. In his examination he described all the clever methods to disguise murders as natural deaths, and thus to deceive the civil courts and, from 1940 on, the SS courts.
I ask the Tribunal to consider in these questions for once, that the deaths and mistreatments began on a larger scale only with the beginning of the war. The obligation to absolute secrecy was incumbent not only upon the personnel but also upon released prisoners. The affidavits of prisoners, which the Prosecution has submitted, frequently emphasize this order for secrecy, but it is striking that they themselves do not claim to have violated this order (Document 2334-PS). According to our professional experience these orders of secrecy had a very strong effect even where a condition of great confidence existed. The fear of being returned to the camp for any indiscretion was too great. Since the use, in 1934, of the Death's Head Units as camp personnel, the General SS, and later the Waffen-SS, no longer had anything to do with the concentration camp affairs and certainly not with the Kommandantur personnel in personnel or legal questions. The Amtsgruppe D of the WVHA, with their small group of 30,000 men of the above-mentioned nominal Waffen-SS, had become an independent and separate system with their own telephone and teletype net and their own couriers to the concentration camps. Only the Gestapo had a channel into the concentration camp, into the so-called political department, which was subordinate to it and usually run by an investigation secretary. Here also there was no connection with the rest of the SS.
It is important for the question of secrecy that, as Kaindl explains in Affidavit SS-68, the staffs of the Kommandanturen were until the middle of 1942 made up of the same personnel which they had had at the beginning of the war.
Thus, too, knowledge of the
26 Aug. 46
conditions and events could not be spread before 1942. From a psychological point of view one must consider that the persons responsible for orders issued or received did not have the slightest reason to talk about their sinister acts.
Owing to lack of time I shall have to skip the next pages and would ask the Tribunal to take notice of them. They deal in detail with the counter-propaganda deliberately undertaken by the German side, and provide a large quantity of evidence from affidavits and testimonies before the Commission. The same is true of the mass extermination camps at Auschwitz, Monowitz, Treblinka, and so forth.
In my opinion, the witness Dr. Morgen has described authentically by vivid examples how difficult it was to look behind the scenes. He has explained in, detail how, through the co-operation of commandant, physician, and prison, director, often together with devoted "Kapos," any crime could be concealed in such a way that neither the judicial authorities up to 1939, nor later the SS courts, nor the other prisoners, noticed anything.
These conditions led to terrible murders and mistreatments. But in the interest of objective determination of the truth, and to evaluate these events in the light of the collective guilt question, I must emphasize Dr. Morgen's statement that we encountered camp commandants and physicians who did everything humanly possible for the prisoners. And I may recall the answer of the President to Mr. Dubost in the session of 18 January 1946, that prisoners of all camps would have to be examined if he wished to prove that things had been so murderous and inhuman everywhere.
I do not intend to defend the SS courts here. Their fate is not an issue at the moment. But does it not give cause for reflection if even they recognized - only in 1943 and that by accident - that the so carefully camouflaged deaths were in reality murder? Does it not give cause for reflection if one sees the resistance of influential people - Pohl, Kaltenbrunner, Muller - which went so far that Pohl, during the investigations, issued an order to all commandants that SS judges were to be permitted to enter the concentration camps only with his express approval?
The Prosecution have not attempted to shake the testimony of Dr. Morgen on this essential point of secrecy. It appears to be unable to do so although it apparently is in the possession of all files of the WVHA, and probably also those of the Main Office SS Courts since it published in a pamphlet the text of the testimony of Mrs. Eleonore Hodis, which she gave to the former investigation judge Dr. Morgen against Hoess in the autumn of 1944. That the Prosecution has absolutely no possibility of refuting the testimony of Dr. Morgen, I should like to conclude from the fact that it attempted at one time to end my examination of the witness by saying that I was acting in this examination only in favor of the Prosecution, whereupon, in contradiction to this, the Prosecution did not care to proceed to a cross-examination of the witness, stating that his evidence had been refuted by all evidence taken before.
No, I do not have the least doubt that the men in charge tried with all the means at their command to shroud the crimes in the concentration camps with ever-increasing secrecy - and I believe to be in a position to prove that they succeeded in doing so.
In the case of the mass killings particular caution is required. On this point the evidence given by the witnesses Hoess, Wisliceny, and Morgen is practically in agreement. There did exist special channels of command from the Reich Chancellery to Wirth, or from Himmler to Eichmann and Hoess. All those witnesses agreed that only a very few were employed and initiated. For the case of Auschwitz, Hoess speaks of about 60 men; for the entire process of extermination Dr. Morgen, in Affidavit SS-65, speaks of only a few hundred. Wisliceny also affirms a number of about 100 for the Eichmann case. The pretense of a mere deportation, which was kept up among the Jews and the personnel accompanying them from the beginning until the horrible end, and
26 Aug. 46
the fact that confidence men from among the victims themselves were used, made possible the inconceivable fact that hundreds of thousands were murdered without the outside world knowing anything of it. All witnesses stated that the landscape there is deserted and bleak, with occasional chimneys of factories. I shall not re-enumerate the devilish tricks by which primarily the victims themselves, but at the same time the external world and the German people, were deceived.
May I also refer to the evidence given by the witness Von Thadden, who, upon command of the German Foreign Office, visited camps accompanied by numerous foreigners so that they and he himself might become convinced that there was no truth to the rumors about the complaints. Theresienstadt was also visited as an example of one planned separate Jewish settlement and, as the witness Hoess said, conditions there were found to be satisfactory. In 1942 there was published, in the so-called Protectorate, a law concerning the formation of a closed settlement at Theresienstadt (Document SS-95).
Thus all the world had to assume that the claims concerning deportation were correct. Why should the SS men, too, who had nothing to do officially with these matters and did not know more than others, fail to believe this? Whether the so-called "Umsiedlung," that is, the deportation, constituted a crime as defined by the Charter, that is another question which will be dealt with later.
Above all, one should not forget that all this happened during the war. The bulk of the SS men were continually employed at the front. The witnesses Brill and Blume gave their total strength at the end of the war as approximately 580,000. Entirely occupied by the action in the field, they knew nothing of what was going on behind their backs. If it was known at all that men in the same uniform served in the concentration camps, they felt no inner relationship to them and had no inner or external contacts with them (witness Hausser; Affidavit Gille and Affidavit Steiner). Quite infrequently personnel was transferred from concentration camps to the front.
The fact that there did not exist in Germany any free dissemination of news was necessarily supplemented by a strict prohibition of the import of foreign newspapers and the listening to foreign stations. Generally speaking, the Government succeeded with those measures. The official statements that the foreign news services contained nothing but propaganda were believed in the Waffen-SS too, because occasionally enemy news had proved to be incorrect. This the Defendant Fritzsche has explained. Finally, this system of prohibition was supplemented by a well-calculated positive German official propaganda. In 1942 Himmler himself declared, in a speech before the Junker School at Tolz, that there were found in the concentration camps mainly criminal elements who, if treated decently, could be educated through positive work to become useful members of society (Affidavits SS-119-122, Von Saucken). Such a contention had to be believed, since the ever-increasing shortage of manpower made it essential to save every human life and to exploit to the utmost all available manpower. Particularly typical in this connection is the Affidavit Rothemund (Affidavit SS-12), because it shows how expedient this explanation was considered by all authorities concerned since it established confidence. This witness testified that at the end of 1943, in his capacity as assistant to the Chief of the SS Personnel Main Office with the RSHA, Amt IV, and with the WI.THA, Amtsgruppe D, he had inquired whether the rumors about the killings of Jews were true. He was answered that that was mere enemy propaganda. The WVHA added that the prisoners were indispensable manpower for the armament industry, without whom Germany could not get along.
Not even the highest authorities of the Reich were in a position to gain insight into the true situation. The witness Von Thadden has given details how, by clever play with truths and untruths, Eichmann succeeded in deceiving the Foreign Office. The examinations of the Jewish camps by the witness, whether alone or in the company of representatives of the protective powers or the Red Cross, gave no reason to suspect the mass killings.
Eichmann knew how to forestall further examinations in those camps where exterminations of Jews were carried out by the irrefutable contention that there highly secret armament orders were placed, namely, the production of V-weapons, and that therefore no access could be given to those camps.
I have, furthermore, given proof that the Gestapo, in reply to official inquiries in 1942 or 1943, told the Ministry of Justice, personified by the expert for the
26 Aug. 46
prosecution of rumor-mongers, Kuehn, that the rumors about the extermination of the Jews in the Eastern territories were mere inventions. This affidavit has been rejected by the Commission on the grounds that it did not concern the SS. May I now apply for the admission of this document? The Defendant Fritzsche as a witness has also given a number of clear examples how he, in his official position, did not succeed in obtaining a verification of the rumors concerning the persecution of the Jews, but that he had to conclude the opposite as a result of his examination.
Nothing has been given as proof that the bulk of the SS knew anything of the activity of the Einsatzkommandos.
To refute the question of whether knowledge existed of the biological experiments in the concentration camps I. wish to point only to what I consider a grotesque fact - that extensive testimony was taken on the question of whether the witness Goering had known of them. I might state those experiments were carried on only in a few camps and that, as proven by various affidavits, they were carried out only after the prisoners had voluntarily agreed to them; but I am not going to do so because I am not willing to defend them at all, and I do not wish to create such an impression. I am content to, refer to the argument about the knowledge or ignorance of G6ring in this matter, and to the question as to what evidence has been taken in favor of the unknown SS man. There can be no doubt that through the carrying-out of criminal experiments, and through his knowledge thereof, the director of the Ahnenerbe, the witness Sievers, is charged with guilt, but certainly not his co-workers, since those, experiments constituted about one percent of the total research program. Finally, I would like to quote in regard to the knowledge of those crimes an article which I found in the Berliner Blatter, 1946, Number 1, Page 54. From an article by Oskar Gotz, entitled "The Jew in the Third Reich," I quote:
"We, for instance, in Camp Theresienstadt, considered the gassings in Auschwitz, the other crimes in the death camps of Mauthausen, Maidanek, Ravensbruck, and Buchenwald to be only rumors, in fact, immeasurably exaggerated rumors. The things that actually happened in Auschwitz, for example, did not authentically come to our attention in Theresienstadt before the spring of 1945, when a few survivors returned from Auschwitz after th.6 camp was dissolved. In the interest of a just evaluation of one's contemporaries one must be factual, and should desire to be factual. No guilty person should go free, but no innocent one should be burdened with guilt.
"And in the interest of calming public opinion in the future, a greater measure of objectivity is urgently required."
I wish that this example of objectivity, which someone who was humiliated by the Nazi regime and the SS still managed to preserve, might become ark inspiration to others.
26 Aug. 46
If now one were to reach the conclusion that, apart from a certain definable, or more or less definable, group of culprits - the witness Dr. Morgen mentioned certain circles of culprits within the concentration camp system - the great mass of the SS had no knowledge of the crimes - although most of them, as well as the rest of the Germans, had no knowledge even of the deportations this fact could be considered criminal under Article 6a of the Charter only if it were in connection with a war of aggression. I have already mentioned before that the bulk of the SS were not aware that they were waging a war of aggression. Your Honors, President Roosevelt declared in his speech of 25 October 1941, on the occasion of the shooting of hostages by German forces of occupation: "Civilized nations for a long time upheld the principle that none should be punished for the deeds of another person." Justice Jackson declared on 28 February 1946, that: "The aim of declaring the organizations criminal is to punish assistance in these crimes, though the real authors could never be found nor identified."
Can they really not be found? Is the contrary not proved by the great number of trials, which I just mentioned before, for concentration camp crimes before Allied military courts, which pronounced 153 death sentences out of 241 defendants? Does the Prosecution still maintain that they have not yet found the real authors, though for more -than a year all persons who had anything to do with the concentration camps are under arrest, and though all detainees are today grouped in organizations and are at any time at the disposal of the Tribunal as witnesses? All files and documents, too, are in the hands of the Allies. Despite that, and despite the discrepancy of these two quotations by Roosevelt and Jackson, I shall assume for a moment the point of view of the Prosecution that such a collective criminality exists. Then within its framework the principle still stands that none shall be held responsible for a crime which he did not commit. It means that in this case, too, the number of accused should be held as low as possible.
This limitation can be made in two ways, either separately or combined, according to:
1. The degree of responsibility, that is, the position or the rank held in office;
2. The subdivisions of the whole organization known as SS. The Prosecution have, to my knowledge, already made this first limitation in their charge against the Party and the Government. From the Party, the Political Leaders only, and from the executives of the German State, the Reich Cabinet members only, are to be put on trial.
26 Aug 46
As for the limitation of responsibility, a line must be drawn between moral and legal responsibility. The question must be asked, what ought each individual in his respective office to have done if asked to commit a crime upon order, or if he only heard of such a crime? What could reasonably be expected of him? As for a limitation according to the subdivisions of the whole organization, this can be justified by the fact, which I have thoroughly explained, that these groups had very definite and separated spheres of activity and differed very much as to their knowledge of other activities, and perhaps crimes. A subdivision as to beginning and end of membership, too, would be conceivable and would permit a collective exception of drafted members. But even for a sentence limited in such a way it seems to me absolutely necessary, in view of the grave consequences brought about by Law Number 10, to insert in the text of the verdict, or to add to the reasons given for the verdict, that each individual member would have an opportunity to object, except as provided under Law Number 10.
Lastly, I want to draw attention to a procedural obstacle to the conviction sought: the meaning of the accessorial sentencing of a member of an organization as an accused individual belonging to this organization seems to me the following, according to Article 9: An organization shall be held responsible for the acts of an individual defendant, who is a member, only if between the acts of this individual defendant and his organization such a connection exists that for legal reasons accessorial liability of the organization is deemed necessary. Such causal connection exists only if the individual defendant committed the deed as a member of the organization, be it that he thereby accomplished the aims of the organization, or that he used the organization for its commitment. On 28 February 1946 Justice Jackson stated: "Individual defendants, at least one of them, must have been members of the organization, and must have been sentenced for a deed by which the criminality of the organization has been ascertained." In the case of the organization of the SS, which I represent, this means: An SS organization can be declared criminal only if at least one of the defendants belonged to it, and was sentenced for a crime which he carried out either through the organization, or which must be considered a result of the aims of the organization and was committed in their realization.
With one exception, about which I am still going to speak, all the defendants stand before this High Tribunal for acts which they have performed as the chiefs of important State or Party offices, but not of the SS, and which they carried out in the fulfillment of their tasks. The fact that a few of the defendants held honorary
26 Aug. 46
ranks in any one of the SS organizations is not enough to consider the SS organizations co-responsible for deeds for which they were not responsible and in which they did not share.
The Defendant Kaltenbrunner might be an exception. He is indicted in his capacity as Chief of the Security Police, that is, the Criminal Police and Gestapo, and the SD, including those deeds which were carried out by the SD. But the SS organization cannot be incriminated by that. The Criminal Police is not indicted. The Gestapo is indicted as such. The indictment of the SD must also be considered as an independent one. It is true that it was originally connected with that against the SS, but the SD was later given its own defense counsel and throughout the whole proceedings it was treated independently. Since 1934 SD and SS were separated. The sentencing of Kaltenbrunner therefore would, if at all, give only a formal basis for the sentencing of the organizations of the Gestapo and the SD, but certainly not of the SS.
As far as the method of the proceedings is concerned, I might point out that none of the defendants concerned was ever asked whether and to what extent he committed his deeds for the SS, or as a member of the SS. This appears to me to be a shortcoming.
I have come to the end, Gentlemen of the High Tribunal. I said in the beginning that this Trial was a most gigantic criminal trial but nonetheless a criminal trial. And therefore I venture to ask: what purpose, from the standpoint of legal policy, could and would a conviction serve? And I hear the traditional answer - retaliation and deterrence.
Certainly it is necessary to deter, not only the German people and especially the former Nazi formations, but also all those everywhere who might ever be tempted to bow to dictators, or accept anti-democratic methods, and to make them face the severe consequences of the violation of international law, the new universal law now incorporated within the Charter. This Trial should be the last warning to those who do not heed the demands voiced by the world and all its peace-loving citizens, for freedom of speech and religion, for freedom from want and freedom from fear. The, war, the terrible consequences of the defeat, the detention of hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war, the painful months of the proceedings here, the political investigations and occupational limitations-all these carry such impressive and deterrent effects that they will have for all of them the result we hope for.
But, Gentlemen of the High Tribunal, one thing above all: your armies have freed Germany from the tyranny of Nazism; now free the world from the curse of retaliation! The world can recover only when an end is made to the hateful slogans directed against races, nations, classes, or parties.
26 Aug. 46
I say this, though I know that there will be many SS men, just as there will be many on the side of he Allies, who will fail to understand the meaning of my words. But they, too, sometime, will come to recognize the eternal truth of the word: "We are here to love, not to hate."
And thus I would like to summarize my defense of the SS. I indict every one of the murderers and criminals who belonged to that organization or one of its units - and there are more than a few of them. I acquit the thousands and hundreds of thousands of those who served in good faith, and who therefore share only morally and metaphysically, not criminally, the guilt which the German people must bitterly bear. But I warn the world and its judges against the commitment of mass injustice in legal form, against the creation of a mass of condemned and outlawed individuals in the heart of Europe; I warn, so that the longing of all peoples and men may be fulfilled.
May God bless your judgment!