IMT Judgment on Criminality of the Gestapo and SD

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IMT Judgment on Criminality of the Gestapo and SD

Post by David Thompson » 05 Feb 2003 01:49

This is the judgment of the International Military Tribunal on the issue of whether the Gestapo and SD should be judged criminal organizations. The opening argument for the criminality of the Gestapo and SD has been posted on this forum at:

http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... 31b6b207a2

The final argument against Gestapo criminality is posted on this forum at:

http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... 31b6b207a2

The final argument against the criminality of the SD is posted on this forum at:

http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... 31b6b207a2

The judgment of the court is taken from the IMT Proceedings, vol. 22, pp. 504-11. The entire IMT proceedings are available on line at:

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/imt.htm#proc

from The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: Nuremberg Trial Proceedings


Gestapo and SD

Structure and Component Parts: The Prosecution has named Die Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) and Der Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsfuehrer SS (SD) as groups or organizations which should be

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declared criminal. The Prosecution presented the cases against the Gestapo and SD together, stating that this was necessary because of the close working relationship between them. The Tribunal permitted the SD to present its defense separately because of a claim of conflicting interests, but after examining the evidence has decided to consider the case of the Gestapo and SD together.

The Gestapo and the SD were first linked together on 26 June 1936, by the appointment of Heydrich, who was the Chief of the SD, to the position of Chief of the Security Police, which was defined to include both the Gestapo and the Criminal Police. Prior to that time the SD had been the intelligence agency, first of the SS, and, after 4 June 1934, of the entire Nazi Party. The Gestapo had been composed of the various political police, forces of the several German federal states, which had been unified under the personal leadership of Himmler, with the assistance of Goering. Himmler had been appointed Chief of the German Police in the Ministry of the Interior on 17 June 1936, and in his capacity as, Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police issued his decree of 26 June 1936, which placed both the Criminal Police, or Kripo, and the Gestapo in the Security Police, and placed both the Security Police and the SD under the command of Heydrich.

This consolidation under the leadership of Heydrich of the Security Police, a State organization, and the SD, a Party organization, was formalized by the decree of 27 September 1939, which united the various State and Party offices which were under Heydrich as Chief of the Security Police and SD into one administrative unit, the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), which was at the same time both one of the principal offices (Hauptaemter) of the SS under Himmler as Reichsfuehrer SS and an office in the Ministry of the Interior under Himmler as Chief of the German Police.

The internal structure of the RSHA shows the manner in which it consolidated the offices of the Security Police with those of the SD. The RSHA was divided into seven offices (Aemter), two of which (Amt I and Amt II) dealt with administrative matters. The Security Police were represented by Amt IV, the head office of the Gestapo, and by Amt V, the head office of the Criminal Police. The SD were represented by Amt III, the head office for SD activities inside Germany, by Amt VI, the head office for SD activities outside of Germany, and by Amt VII, the office for ideological research. Shortly after the creation of the RSHA, in November 1939, the Security Police was "co-ordinated" with the SS by taking all officials of the Gestapo and Criminal Police into the SS at ranks equivalent to their positions.

The creation of the RSHA represented the formalization, at the top level, of the relationship under which the SD served as the intelligence agency for the Security Police. A similar co-ordination existed in the local offices. Within Germany and areas which were

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incorporated within the Reich for the purpose of civil administration, local offices of the Gestapo, Criminal Police, and SD were formally separate. They were subject to co-ordination by inspectors of the Security Police and SD on the staffs of the local Higher SS and Police Leaders, however, and one of the principal functions of the local SD units was to serve as the intelligence agency for the local Gestapo units. In the occupied territories the formal relationship between local units of the Gestapo, Criminal Police, and SD was slightly closer. They were organized into local units of the Security Police and SD and were under the control of both the RSHA and of the Higher SS and Police Leader who was appointed by Himmler to serve on the staff of the occupying authority.

The offices of the Security Police and SD in occupied territory were composed of departments corresponding to the various offices of the RSHA. In occupied territories which were still considered to be operational military areas or where German control had not been formally established, the organization of the Security Police and SD was only slightly changed. Members of the Gestapo, Kripo, and SD were joined together into military-type organizations known as Einsatzkommandos and Einsatzgruppen in which the key positions were held by members of the Gestapo, Kripo, and SD and in which members of the Order Police, the Waffen-SS, and even the Wehrmacht were used as auxiliaries.

These organizations were under the overall control of the RSHA, but in front-line areas were under the operational control of the appropriate army commander. It can thus be seen that from a functional point of view both the Gestapo and the SD were important and closely related groups within the organization of the Security Police and the SD. The Security Police and SD was under a single command, that of Heydrich and later Kaltenbrunner, as Chief of the Security Police and SD; it had a single headquarters, the RSHA; it had its own command channels and worked as one organization both in Germany, in occupied territories, and in the areas immediately behind the front lines.

During the period with which the Tribunal is primarily concerned, applicants for positions in the Security Police and SD received training in all its components, the Gestapo, Criminal Police, and SD. Some confusion has been caused by the fact that part of the organization was technically a formation of the Nazi Party while another part of the organization was an office in the Government, but this is of no particular significance in view of the law of 1 December 1933, declaring the unity of the Nazi Party and the German State.

The Security Police and SD was a voluntary organization. It is true that many civil servants and administrative officials were transferred into the Security Police. The claim that this transfer was compulsory amounts to nothing more than the claim that they

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had to accept the transfer or resign their positions, with a possibility of having incurred official disfavor. During the war a member of the Security Police and SD did not have a free choice of assignments within that organization and the refusal to accept a particular position, especially when serving in occupied territory, might have led to serious punishment. The fact remains, however, that all members of the Security Police and SD joined the organization voluntarily under no other sanction than the desire to retain their positions as officials.

The organization of the Security Police and SD also included three special units which must be dealt with separately. The first of these was the Frontier Police, or Grenzpolizei, which came under the control of the Gestapo in 1937. Their duties consisted in the control of passage over the borders of Germany. They arrested persons who crossed the borders illegally. It is also clear from the evidence presented that they received directives from the Gestapo to transfer foreign workers whom they apprehended to concentration camps. They could also request the local office of the Gestapo for permission to commit persons arrested to concentration camps. The Tribunal is of the opinion that the Frontier Police must be included in the charge of criminality against the Gestapo.

The Border and Customs Protection or Zollgrenzschutz became part of the Gestapo in the summer of 1944. The functions of this organization were similar to the Frontier Police in enforcing border regulations with particular respect to the prevention of smuggling. It does not appear, however, that their transfer was complete, but that about half of their personnel of 54,000 remained under the Reich Finance Administration or the Order Police. A few days before the end of the war the whole organization was transferred back to the Reich Finance Administration. The transfer of the organization to the Gestapo was so late and it participated so little in the overall activities of the organization that the Tribunal does not feel that it should be dealt with in considering the criminality of the Gestapo.

The third organization was the so-called Secret Field Police which was originally under the Army but which in 1942 was transferred by military order to the Security Police. The Secret Field Police was concerned with security matters within the Army in occupied territory, and also with the prevention of attacks by civilians on military installations or units, and committed war crimes and crimes against humanity on a wide scale. It has not been proved, however, that it was a part of the Gestapo and the Tribunal does not consider it as coming within the charge of criminality contained in the Indictment, except such members as may have been transferred to Amt IV of the RSHA or were members of organizations declared criminal by this Judgment.

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Criminal Activity: Originally, one of the primary functions of the Gestapo was the prevention of any political opposition to the Nazi regime, a function which it performed with the assistance of the SD. The principal weapon used in performing this function was the concentration camp. The Gestapo did not have administrative control over the concentration camps, but, acting through the RSHA, was responsible for the detention of political prisoners in those camps. Gestapo officials were usually responsible for the interrogation of political prisoners at the camps.

The Gestapo and the SD also dealt with charges of treason and with questions relating to the press, the Churches, and the Jews. As the Nazi program of anti-Semitic persecution increased in intensity the role played by these groups became increasingly important. In the early morning of 10 November 1938, Heydrich sent a telegram to all offices of the Gestapo and SD, giving instructions for the organization of the pogroms of that date and instructing them to arrest as many Jews as the prisons could hold, "especially rich ones," but to be careful that those arrested were healthy and not too old. By 11 November 1938, 20,000 Jews had been arrested and many were sent to concentration camps.

On 24 January 1939, Heydrich, the Chief of the Security Police and SD, was charged with furthering the emigration and evacuation of Jews from Germany, and on 31 July 1941, with bringing about a complete solution of the Jewish problem in German-dominated Europe. A special section of the Gestapo office of the RSHA under Standartenfuehrer Eichmann 'was set up with responsibility for Jewish matters, which employed its own agents to investigate the Jewish problem in occupied territory. Local offices of the Gestapo were used first to supervise the emigration of Jews and later to deport them to the East both from Germany and from the territories occupied during the war. Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and SD operating behind the lines of the Eastern Front engaged in the wholesale massacre of Jews. A special detachment from Gestapo headquarters in the RSHA was used to arrange for the deportation of Jews from Axis satellites to Germany for the "final solution."

Local offices of the Security Police and SD played an important role in the German administration of occupied territories. The nature of their participation is shown by measures taken in the summer of 1938 in preparation for the attack on Czechoslovakia which was then in contemplation. Einsatzgruppen of the Gestapo and SD were organized to follow the Army into Czechoslovakia to provide for the security of political life in the occupied territories. Plans were made for the infiltration of SD men into the area in advance, and for the building up of a system of files to indicate what inhabitants should be placed under surveillance, deprived of passports or liquidated. These plans were considerably altered due to

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the cancellation of the attack on Czechoslovakia, but in the military operations which actually occurred, particularly in the war against the U.S.S.R., Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and SD went into operation and combined brutal measures for the pacification of the civilian population with the wholesale slaughter of Jews. Heydrich gave orders to fabricate incidents on the Polish-German frontier in 1939, which would give Hitler sufficient provocation to attack Poland. Both Gestapo and SD personnel were involved in these operations.

The local units of the Security Police and SD continued their work in the occupied territories after they had ceased to be an area of operations. The Security Police and SD engaged in widespread arrests of the civilian population of these occupied countries, imprisoned many of them under inhumane conditions, subjected them to brutal third-degree methods, and sent many of them to concentration camps.

Local units of the Security Police and SD were also involved in the shooting of hostages, the imprisonment of relatives, the execution of persons charged as terrorists and saboteurs without a trial, and the enforcement of the "Nacht und Nebel" decree under which persons charged with a type of offense believed to endanger the security of the occupying forces were either executed within a week or secretly removed to Germany without being permitted to communicate with their family and friends.

Offices of the Security Police and SD were involved in the administration of the slave labor program. In some occupied territories they helped local labor authorities to meet the quotas imposed by Sauckel. Gestapo offices inside of Germany were given, surveillance over slave laborers and responsibility for apprehending those who were absent from their place of work. The Gestapo also had charge of the so-called work training camps. Although both German and foreign workers could be committed to these camps, they played a significant role in forcing foreign laborers to work for the German war effort. In the latter stages of the war, as the SS embarked on a slave labor program of its own, the Gestapo was used to arrest workers for the purpose of insuring an adequate supply in the concentration camps.

The local offices of the Security Police and SD were also involved in the commission of war crimes involving the mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war. Soviet prisoners of war in prisoner-of-war camps in Germany were screened by Einsatzkommandos acting under the directions of the local Gestapo offices.

Commissars, Jews, members of the intelligentsia, "fanatical Communists," and even those who were considered incurably sick, were classified as "intolerable," and exterminated. The local offices of the Security Police and SD were involved in the enforcement of the "Bullet" decree, put into effect on 4 March 1944, under which certain

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categories of prisoners of war who were recaptured were not treated as prisoners of war, but taken to Mauthausen in secret and shot. Members of the Security Police and the SD were charged with the enforcement of the decree for the shooting of parachutists and Commandos.

Conclusion

The Gestapo and SD were used for purposes which were criminal under the Charter, involving the persecution and extermination of the Jews, brutalities and killings in concentration camps, excesses in the administration of occupied territories, the administration of the slave labor program and the mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war. The Defendant Kaltenbrunner, who was a member of this organization, was among those who used it for these purposes.

In dealing with the Gestapo the Tribunal includes all executive and administrative officials of Amt IV of the RSHA, or concerned with Gestapo administration in other departments of the RSHA, and all local Gestapo officials serving both inside and outside of Germany, including the members of the Frontier Police, but not including the members of the Border and Customs Protection or the Secret Field Police, except such members as have been specified above. At the suggestion of the Prosecution the Tribunal does not include persons employed by the Gestapo for purely clerical, stenographic, janitorial, or similar unofficial routine tasks. In dealing with the SD the Tribunal includes Aemter III, VI, and VII of the RSHA and all other members of the SD, including all local representatives and agents, honorary or otherwise, whether they were technically members of the SS or not.

The Tribunal declares to be criminal within the meaning of the Charter the group composed of those members of the Gestapo and SD holding the positions enumerated in the preceding paragraph who became or remained members of the organization with knowledge that it was being used for the commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the Charter, or who were personally implicated as members of the organization in the commission of such crimes. The basis for this finding is the participation of the organization in war crimes and crimes against humanity connected with the war; this group declared criminal cannot include, therefore, persons who had ceased to hold the positions enumerated in the preceding paragraph prior to 1 September 1939.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn for 10 minutes.

[A recess was taken.]

THE PRESIDENT: Owing to a mistake in the text, there are two corrections which I desire to make on behalf of the Tribunal.

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The first occurs on Page 149 in the sentence which reads as follows: "The Tribunal declares to be criminal within the meaning of the Charter the group composed of those members of the Leadership Corps holding, the positions enumerated in the preceding paragraph"--and then the word "or" should be omitted and the sentence should continue "who became or remained members of the organization with knowledge that it was being used for the commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the Charter." That was the first mistake.

The second mistake was on Page 158, in the sentence at the bottom of the page, which reads as follows: "In dealing with the SD the Tribunal includes Aemter III, VI and VII of the RSHA." The translation came through "Aemter III, IV and V." It should have been Aemter III, VI and VII.

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