IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

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IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by David Thompson » 31 May 2004 05:49

On August 5 and 6, 1946, SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Paul Hausser testified on behalf of the Waffen-SS at the International Military Tribunal (IMT) proceedings in Nuernberg. Part of the IMT indictment was directed against the SS as a criminal organization, and different subdivisions of the SS -- such as the Waffen-SS, the Gestapo and SD -- were represented by attorneys as part of the general defense of the SS against the criminal charge. Paul "Papa" Hausser, a German Army general who had transferred to the SS, was generally considered to have been the father of the Waffen-SS.

Hausser's testimony is interesting for the information he gives on the history of the Waffen-SS, and also for the detailed listing of criminal acts by Waffen-SS units which can be found in Hausser's cross-examination. The full testimony of Hausser is found in vol. 20 of the IMT proceedings, available on-line at the Avalon Project of The Yale Law School, at:

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/08-05-46.htm

This is part 1 of three parts (note the spelling of the name):

HERR PELCKMANN: The next witness will be well qualified to testify on the questions that were asked the last witness. I shall make my suggestion for the cross-examination of the witness Pohl in writing.

I call the witness Hauser.

[The witness Hauser took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?

PAUL HAUSER (Witness): Paul Hauser.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God the Almighty and Omniscient that I will speak the truth and will withhold and add nothing.

[The witness repeated the oath.]

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

HERR PELCKMANN: When were you born?

HAUSER: I was born on 7 October 1880.

HERR PELCKMANN: You were a professional soldier?

HAUSER: Yes.

HERR PELCKMANN: When did you leave the Armed Forces?

HAUSER: On 1 February 1932 I left the Reichswehr as a lieutenant general.

HERR PELCKMANN: How did you come to the SS?

HAUSER: In 1933, as a non-Party member, I joined the Stahl-helm and with this organization I was transferred to the SA reserve in 1934. After the events in the summer of 1934, I was asked by Heinrich Himmler whether I would be willing to take over the establishment and direction of an officer candidate school. I accepted this assignment, and in November 1934 1 joined the Verfügungstruppe.

HE RR PELCKMANN: At what time and in what position did you acquire the knowledge which enables you to appear here and testify as a witness for the SS?

HAUSER: From Easter 1935 to the summer of 1936 I directed the school. Then I was inspector of the Verfügungstruppe from 1936 to 1939. During the war, for 2 years in each capacity, I led an SS division and an SS Panzer corps, and then from 1944 on I was again in the Army, as commander-in-chief of an army group. I am in a position to give information on the Verfügungstruppe in peacetime and on the Waffen-SS during the war, as far as I became acquainted with them personally, and as far as they were under my orders. I do not know the General SS. During the war I was not employed at any main office.

HERR PELCKMANN: What was your last rank in the Waffen-SS?

HAUSER: I was Generaloberst in the Waffen-SS.

HERR PELCKMANN: What was your last position?

HAUSER: My last position, at the beginning of 1945, was Commander-in-Chief of Army Group D, on the southern flank of the Western Front.

HERR PELCKMANN: About how many divisions were under you at that time?

HAUSER: This army group had 20 to 30 divisions alternately, only two of which belonged to the Waffen-SS.

HERR PELCKMANN: How did you as a general of the Waffen-SS, get a leading position in the Army?

HAUSER: That was a result of the close co-operation between the Army and the Waffen-SS. I can have been recommended to this job only by reason of favorable opinions of my superiors in the Army.

HERR PELCKMANN: Let us go back to the initial stages. When was the Verfügungstruppe created? How strong was it, and how did it develop?

HAUSER: The beginnings of the Verfügungstruppe go back to the year 1933. In this year the Leibstandarte was created as a sort of bodyguard for Adolf Hitler. Following that, some battalions were formed for representational purposes. Only at the very beginning, in 1933 and 1934, were men of the General SS employed; later the very youngest of the age groups subject to military duty were recruited.

HERR PELCKMANN: What was the strength in 1936, and, for instance, in 1939?

HAUSER: In 1936 there were three infantry regiments and three technical battalions. In 1939 there were four infantry regiments one artillery regiment, and three technical battalions.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks this would be a convenient time to break off.

[A recess was taken.]

TBE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn at half past 4 this afternoon.

HERR PELCKMANN: Witness, what was the purpose and the task of the so-called Verfügungstruppe? Was it to serve as a new armed force alongside the Armed Forces?

HAUSER: The purpose and the tasks were laid down in the basic decree of Adolf Hitler of August 1938. According to that decree the Verfügungstruppe was to belong neither to the Armed Forces nor to the Police. It was a permanent troop at the disposition of Adolf Hitler, and it was paid from State funds. The training was supervised by the High Command of the Army and replacements were taken from volunteers of the youngest age groups.

HERR PELCKMANN: Was the Verfügungstruppe, therefore, meant to be a political nucleus? The Prosecution accuses it of being a special instrument for the oppression and elimination of political opponents and of having aided realization of the Nazi ideology by use of force.

HAUSER: That is not true. The Verfügungstruppe had neither political nor Police tasks. It developed gradually into a test troop which incorporated all the old soldierly virtues with the requirements of our socialist age. It paid special attention to the relations between officers and men, encouraged advancement without special examinations, and did away with any and all exclusiveness.

HERR PELCKMANN: Were the members of the Verfügungs-truppe expected to render blind obedience?

HAUSER: No. We swore obedience and loyalty to Adolf Hitler and to our superiors. Unconditional obedience leading to crime was not expected and was not sworn to.

HERR PELCKMANN: The Prosecution is particularly accusing the Verfügungstruppe for inciting racial hatred and for the persecution of the Jews as one of its special tasks. Was the troop trained for these purposes?

HAUSER: The political and ideological training could only be achieved by schooling. I, personally, as director of the school and as an inspector, have closely watched this training, for I was a new man myself and had first to acquaint myself with these ways of thinking. I can testify that race hatred and the extermination of Jewry or of the Eastern peoples was never taught and was never demanded.

HERR PELCKMANN: According to the Prosecution, this troop served for the purpose of preparing for an aggressive war. Was Germany's predominance by terror and the conquest of all Europe taught?

HAUSER: These young troops needed time and peace for the fulfillment of their tasks. Their commanders were all veterans of the first World War. They knew war and they knew what misery it had brought to us once already. The thought of terrorizing German domestic life or of dominating Europe never entered the mind of this small, young troop.

HERR PELCKMANN: Can it be deduced from the organization of this Verfügungstruppe, even before the re-establishment of con-scription in 1936, that by its formation a breach of the Treaty of Versailles was intended?

HAUSER: Before the re-establishment of conscription, this tr6pp had consisted at the most of 4,000 to 5,000 men and could not be used -for either a defensive or an offensive war. And later, too, it was not prepared for war, as it had no divisional staff, no general staff, no replacement of men or officers. It was far from being ready for a war of aggression.

HERR PELCKMANN: What tasks did you personally have as inspector of the Verfügungstruppe?

HAUSER: I was not a commander vested with power to issue orders but rather an inspector responsible for the training and education of the troop. Beyond that, I had to enforce orders which I received from Heinrich Himmler on questions of organization.

HERR PELCKMANN: Did the replacements consist of volunteers? And where did they come from? What were the motives for their joining?

HAUSER: Until the beginning of the war replacements came from volunteers only. In the first years, that is in 1933 and 1934 only, they came from the General SS.

The volunteers were recruited in the entire country. Their applications, which were sent in in large numbers, were not determined by questions of ideology. They were men who wanted to do their military service in a well-known and highly motorized unit.

THE PRESIDENT: What relations existed between the Verfügungstruppe and the other various branches of the organization which were under Heinrich Himmler's uniform command?

HAUSER: I have mentioned already that only at the time of the establishment of the troop did we have personal contacts with the local Oberabschnitte of the General SS. These contacts decreased, especially when the inspectorate was established as a main office, and they ceased to exist altogether even before the war. There were neither official nor personal relations with the Death's-Head units, which had the task of guarding the concentration camps-a task belonging more to the Police sphere. Not even in the joint garrison at Dachau were there any relations. Neither were there any official or private contacts with the SD. The tasks of the SD were not known. I might mention that in peacetime I hardly spoke a dozen words to Obergruppenführer Heydrich, the chief of the SD, when I once met him in the antechamber of Heinrich Himmler's office.

THE PRESIDENT: What can you tell us about the task of the Death's-Head units?

BRILL: The tasks of the Death's-Head units were laid down in the basic decree of August 1938. At times they furnished guards for the concentration camps, although they had no permission to enter the camps. Their replacements were recruited among the German youth or among men who had already served their term of military service. Their training was not supervised by the Armed Forces but it was on military lines.

HERR PELCKMANN: Was service in the Death's-Head unit equal to service in the Armed Forces?

HAUSER: No, it did not count as service in the Armed Forces.

HERR PELCKMANN: And these young volunteers who were recruited, did they know that they were to be used to guard concentration camps? '

HAUSER: I did not have an insight into the recruiting of the Death's-Head units, but I do not believe that they were told the aim.

HERR PELCKMANN: What do you know about the participation of the Verfügungstruppe in the incidents of 30 June 1934 and 9 November 1938?

HAUSER: I cannot speak about the participation on 30 June 1934 for at that time I was not in the Verfügungstruppe, but I do know that the men of the Verfügungstruppe were convinced that the executions which were carried out had been caused by acts of the State executive power. The Verfügungstruppe was in no way connected with the excesses of 9 November 1938. The large majority, such as the Leibstandarte and the regiment at Munich and an the recruits, had gathered at Munich for the annual induction program.

HERR PELCKMANN: Now, what do you understand under the Waffen-SS?

HAUSER: After the beginning of the campaign in the autumn of 1939 three divisions at first were formed by men recruited from the Verfügungstruppe, the Death's-Head units, and from men who had been trained for the Police. All these were grouped together with various other smaller units and received the name of Waffen-SS. These few divisions proved their worth, and with the increasing need for more troops for the war they were gradually increased up to more than 35 divisions. The main reason for this unplanned growth is due to the fact that all racial Germans who volunteered from the north, from the east, and from the southeast of Europe, served in the Waffen-SS. The total strength, all losses considered, may be estimated at about 900,000 men. Only one-third, to one-half may have been Reich Germans.

HERR PELCKMANN: At the end of the war?

HAUSER: Yes, at the end of the war.

HERR PELCKMANN: The Prosecution asserts that the Waffen-SS deliberately participated in a war of aggression. Is that assertion correct?

HAUSER: The members of the Waffen-SS did not have the impression that they were participating in a war of aggression, and that they were being used for that purpose. They lacked any and all insight as to whether the war was one of aggression or one of defense. Their oaths bound them to their duties. It was not possible for them to refuse to participate in a war.

HERR PELCKMANN: Was there a uniform or unified SS High Command during the war? To whom were the divisions subordinate during the war?

HAUSER: A unified SS High Command did not exist during the war. The main office in Berlin was the leading administrative agency. All divisions of the Waffen-SS were incorporated into the Army and fought under the command and, in the final analysis, under the responsibility of the Army. I personally, in the 5 years and 6 months of the war, received orders only from the Armed Forces offices and agencies.

HERR PELCKMANN: Did Heinrich Himmler have any influence on the divisions of the Waffen-SS, and if so, what influence did he have?

HAUSER: The divisions which had been incorporated into the Army were subordinate to Heinrich Himmler only in matters dealing with personnel and replacements, with judicial questions and fundamental problems of organization.

HERR PELCKMANN: The Prosecution states that the Waffen-SS used special means of combat and that they deliberately fought cruelly, used terror methods, and carried out mass exterminations.

HAUSER: I must deny this emphatically. The troop was young, it had no tradition, and it had no name. It had to prove its worth first. The commanders had one ambition only, which was to win fame and prestige for this troop through courageous but fair methods of combat. Since some of the divisions fought together with the Army the generals of the Army would not have tolerated any methods deviating from regular fighting, and just as they took steps in tactical matters they would have stepped in if this accusation of a terrorist method of fighting had been justified. They would have noticed it just as we would have noticed it, for at critical times the commanders are on the road for days on end and they see how the troops are fighting and can judge what methods are being used.

HERR PELCKMANN: Were the officers and men instructed about adhering to international law?

HAUSER: Even in peacetime, as part of their training, the officers and men were instructed on the rules of the Geneva Con-vention and the Hague Rules of Land Warfare. This instruction and supervision, of course, were continued during the war.

HERR PELCKMANN: Is it correct that Himmler once said that the successes of the Waffen-SS were to be credited to terroristic measures?

HAUSER: Heinrich Himmler once used this expression in a speech. I reported to him ' that it was completely wrong, that we had not gained our successes through terror methods but only through the courage of officers and men who were ready to sacrifice themselves to the last man if necessity arose.

HERR PELCKMANN: What basic principles were applied by the troop for the treatment of prisoners of war?

HAUSER: The prisoners of war were treated according to the rules which applied in the Army, that is to say, that the billeting, the food, and the medical attention were just like in the Army. I myself, while lying wounded in different field hospitals, noticed that friend and foe were treated alike, and the old manner of dealing with prisoners was applied.

HERR PELCKMANN: Did these principles suffer any change by the naming of Himmler to the rank of commander-in-chief of the replacement army and thereby simultaneously to chief of the Prisoners of War Organization?

HAUSER: Not with regard to the Waffen-SS. But in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the replacement army Heinrich Himmler was also given authority over the Prisoners of War Organization, and he decreed that the Higher SS and Police Leaders at home be charged with the supervision of the security measures of the prisoner-of-war camps. I do not know the details however. I can only state that thereupon the Higher SS and Police Leaders were made generals of the Waffen-SS.

HERR PELCKMANN: The Prosecution asserts that the Waffen-SS, because of their will to destroy, committed Crimes against Humanity and crimes against the laws of war in the occupied countries and arbitrarily destroyed cities and villages. Did the Waffen-SS participate in those measures?

HAUSER: I had occasion to see these troops in many theaters of war. I lived with the population in the East and West. The relationship was always a good one. It was based on mutual aid and assistance. Where we had to call upon the population for work, for instance, in road building, they received food for their services.

The arbitrary destruction of villages would only have made it more difficult for us to get accommodations. I do not remember a single case in which the front troops of my division had ever taken hostages or destroyed villages as a punishment.

HERR PELCKMANN: Before the Eastern campaign, had you known of a decree of Hitler's which allegedly said that excesses of the troops toward the civilian population were not to be punished?

HAUSER: That was not the wording of the order. Rather, it left the decision as to whether the troops, in their excesses toward the civilian population were legally to be prosecuted by the court itself, whereas formerly the court was under obligation to prosecute. I personally had ordered in my district that, with the view to maintaining discipline, such excesses were to be prosecuted by law, and the judgments which were reported to the Reichsführer show that excesses were punished very severely.

HERR PELCKMANN: Do you know the Commissar Order?

HAUSER: The Commissar Order was addressed only to the corps. In 1941 we did not have any corps, that is general commands. Accordingly this decree was and is unknown to me, and therefore, we could not have been guided by it. I recall only having seen a later decree which demanded the segregation of the commissars. The troops, in reality, were not so much concerned with this order for the commissars were for the most part not recognized by the fighting troops.

HERR PELCKMANN: Was the fight against the partisans a special task of the Waffen-SS, and was this to be considered a fight of extermination?

HAUSER: The fight against partisans is a purely military, political, police ...

[The proceedings were interrupted by technical difficulties in the interpreting system.]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn for today.

[The Tribunal adjourned until August 6, 1946 at 1000 hours.]

One Hundred and Ninety-Sixth Day
Tuesday; 6 August 1946

Morning Session

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will sit in closed session on Thursday afternoon. That is to say, it will not sit in open session after 1 o'clock on Thursday. It will sit in open session on Saturday morning until 1 o'clock.

HERR PELCKMANN: Witness, was the Waffen-SS a special fighting unit for the combating of partisans, and was the fight against the partisans considered to be a war of extermination?

HAUSER: The fight against partisans is a general military and political police measure, which can be assigned to any troop; front line troops of the Army and of the Waffen-SS were used only in exceptional cases, for instance when they were in the rear areas. There were usually no partisan fights in the operational areas; they mostly took place in the rear areas only. This fighting was mainly the task of the Security Division of the Army and special defense battalions, and besides these of police troops. Units of the Waffen-SS at the front were not especially trained for this kind of fighting and were assigned this duty just as little as Panzer divisions of the Army, for instance. In the East, units of my divisions were never used in the fight against partisans at any time. Therefore it was not a special task for SS units, and they were not especially trained or instructed for this purpose.

HERR PELCKMANN: What relation existed between the Waffen-SS on the one hand, the Security Police and Order Police and the so-called Einsatzgruppen and the Einsatzkommandos of the SD on the other?

HAUSER: These various branches of the organization of Heinrich Himmler unfortunately wore the same uniform, though they had different insignia. The only thing they had in common was their chief, Heinrich Himmler. The various branches were completely separate from each other even before the war. This separation was intensified more and more during the war. The units of the Waffen-SS were under the command of the Army authorities. The other branches, SD, Police, et cetera, were subordinate to Himmler.

HERR PELCKMANN: Did you hear anything about the SD Einsatzgruppen?

HAUSER: At the beginning of the campaign I had heard, verbally, about as much about the SD Einsatzgruppen as the commanders-in-chief of the army groups knew, namely, that they were used in the rear areas alongside the Secret Field Police, with the task of screening the population and securing material from the enemy administration centers. I never had any personal contact with any of these branches and therefore I cannot give you any further information about their activity.

HERR PELCKMANN: Is it therefore true that only during your arrest did you hear anything at all about the participation of small units of the Waffen-SS, altogether about three to four companies, besides the Police and Gendarmerie?

HAUSER: Only during my arrest here did I hear of these matters.

HERR PELCKMANN: Did the Higher SS and Police Leader belong to the officers corps of the Waffen-SS?

HAUSER: The Higher SS and Police Leaders did not belong to the Waffen-SS. They had no authority to command and they had nothing to do with us.

HERR PELCKMANN: Did the Waffen-SS furnish the guard units and the so-called command personnel for the concentration camps?

HAUSER: The guards of the concentration camps and the personnel in the command did not belong to the Waffen-SS. Only in the course of the war were these units designated as Waffen-SS in order to release them from military service and give them freedom to carry out their police duties. The members of the Waffen-SS considered this measure, which they learned of only after the war, a deliberate deception on the part of Himmler. We did not have anything to do with the men of the concentration camps and the guard personnel.

HERR PELCKMANN: It has not become quite clear yet, Witness, just what you meant when you said "to release them from military service." Will you explain that in more detail?

HAUSER: All persons who served at home and in the Police had to be exempted from military service in the Army by the Wehrkreis or district commander in order to carry out their police tasks. That did not apply when all guard units were designated as Waffen-SS, for these were a part of the Armed Forces. In the main offices in Berlin these units, in order to differentiate them, were designated nominal Waffen-SS. But all this I learned only here later.

HERR PELCKMANN: The Prosecution asserts that the Waf-fen-SS was only a part of the whole SS organization and that as such it was needed for the carrying through of the joint criminal conspiracy. Please comment on this.

HAUSER: I believe that it can be gathered from all of my testimony that the Waffen-SS was a completely independent unit and connected with other organizations only through the person of Heinrich Himmler. This separation of the various branches was undoubtedly intensified during the war. Therefore, we could not have harbored common criminal plans with the others or participated in carrying them through.

HERR PELCKMANN: Surely you felt yourself to be a part of the Army?

HAUSER: We were completely incorporated into the Army, and the designation "fourth branch of the Army," although it was not an official designation, was really much to the point.

HERR PELCKMANN: Apart from the accusation concerning the concentration camps, the Prosecution further asserts that the Waf-fen-SS, on the basis of its training, was a particularly cruel military tool; and that is to be shown, allegedly, by the participation of the Waffen-SS men in the evacuation of the Warsaw ghetto and, so says the Prosecution, in the violations of international law such as the murder of prisoners of war. Is that correct?

HAUSER: I already testified, yesterday, that our training was not organized to that end, that our method of fighting was supervised and ordered by the Army, and that we did not gain prestige through cruel methods. The commanders who had personal pride in leading a clean fighting unit against the enemy saw to that. I learned only here of the participation of small units of the Waf-fen-SS in the evacuation of the Warsaw ghetto or in the executions which took place in Bohemia and Moravia. This can only be a question of small details of replacement units which were temporarily subordinated for a brief period of time.

I regret to say that during my arrest I heard of two trials against members of the Waffen-SS. One of these proceedings has not been concluded as yet, and my conscience does not allow me to make any comments on it.

HERR PELCKMANN: You mean the killing of prisoners?

HAUSER: Yes. These incidents are not the result of training, but rather the failure of individuals, perhaps the giving way of nerves when in difficult situations deep in enemy territory. But these accusations should not be generalized. Even if there had been ten instead of only two cases, the ratio as applied to the entire membership of the Waffen-SS of 1 million men would mean there would be one case to every 100,000 men. Such incidents are the results of the intensification of combat on the ground and in the long war; incidents which have occurred on both sides air during and will always continue to occur. You cannot hold the bulk of the Waffen-SS responsible.

HERR PELCKMANN: What influence did Heinrich Himmler actually have on the moral attitude of the members of the Waffen-SS?

HAUSER: Heinrich Himmler most assuredly tried in peacetime to exert his influence on the small Verfügungstruppe. During the war this was practically impossible. He did not address troops of the Waffen-SS. On occasion he did talk to some officers and commanders of some divisions in the field. It was generally known that Heinrich Himmler, who had done only 1 year's military service, had no conception of the military and underestimated the military tasks and the work involved. He liked to play the role of the strong man through exaggeration and through superlatives. If someone comes along with big words, the soldier on the front does not pay much attention.

Therefore, the influence of Himmler was very insignificant during the war. He wore his uniform, of course, but the reputation of the Waffen-SS was established by its officers, by the example they set and by their daily work.

HERR PELCKMANN: Was the influence of Himmler on the commanders perhaps stronger than on the masses of SS soldiers?

HAUSER: Quite the contrary. The commanders, of course, were under him so far as military obedience was concerned. But they had the right to criticize through their own experience of life and of the world, and as a matter of fact this criticism was necessary in the face of Himmler's extravagant and romantic ideas.

These men had enough experience so that they could translate his statements into the language and manner of thought of the soldier. The critical attitude toward Heinrich Himmler increased continually during the war. In most cases he believed that he could dispense with the advice of an experienced soldier. Objections were cut off short with the words, "This is the typical viewpoint of a general" -- viewpoints which he opposed.

HERR PELCKMANN: Is it correct that Heinrich Himmler in his speeches broke out into exorbitant invective against the Jews and the Slavs?

HAUSER: I know only about the speech at Kharkov in 1943, in which he mentioned three points which called forth our criticism and opposition. I have already expressed myself on the one point, namely, the terror which was to precede us.

His distasteful statements about the Jews referred to Germany only and did not indicate extermination in any way.

His references to the superior numbers of our Eastern enemy could only be interpreted by the common soldier to mean that this very superiority in numbers would have to be offset in battle.

HERR PELCKMANN: What special points of criticism did the officer corps direct against Heinrich Himmler?

HAUSER: Without doubt he thought that after the war the various organizations which were subordinate to him, the SS and perhaps the Police also, could be united into one organization, which was just the opposite of the situation during the war, and our intentions were directed against this.

HERR PELCKMANN: To what extent were the crimes in concentration camps, such as the extermination of the Jews, known to the Waffen-SS? I should like you to remember that you speak not only for yourself as a highly placed general, but that you also speak for the simple SS man, based on your own experience, of course.

HAUSER: It sounds quite unlikely, and foreign countries do not wish to believe that the members of the Waffen-SS as well as myself knew nothing of the crimes of which we have heard here. This perhaps may serve as an explanation: At home only those who had victims in the concentration camps learned, anything about them; only the ever-present secret opposition spread stories and rumors. This was kept from the SS man. If he happened to hear something by chance, he thought that it was hostile propaganda. Foreign radio broadcasts or newspapers were unknown to him for they were forbidden at home. The bulk of the Waffen-SS was facing the enemy. The war tasks grew from year to year and the efforts became more intense. The SS man did not have the time or opportunity to check rumors, and like myself he was surprised and indignant about all these things which Himmler had done contrary to what he had preached to us in peacetime.

HERR PELCKMANN: Do you know the speech of Himmler's made at Posen, in which he mentioned the fact that thousands and tens of thousands of Jews had been killed?

HAUSER: I did not hear that speech at Posen, and only learned of it here during my arrest. As far as I know, the speech was addressed to the leaders at home and in the occupied countries. Members of the Waffen-SS were not present at all, or if so, only in insignificant numbers.

HERR PELCKMANN: The units for the guarding of the concentration camps were designated as Waffen-SS as well, and ranks of the Waffen-SS were given to persons connected with the concentration camp system. Did you know anything about these matters during the war?

HAUSER: I have already mentioned that the designation of concentration camp guards as Waffen-SS men became known to me only after the war. However, I must add that Heinrich Himmler deliberately tried to efface the dividing lines between his various organizations before the eyes of the public, and examples of that are precisely the designation of the concentration camp guard units as Waffen-SS and the giving of ranks in the Waffen-SS to persons who had nothing to do with the fighting troops.

HERR PELCKMANN: Do you consider that the Waffen-SS, in its majority, participated in the crimes which indubitably were committed?

HAUSER: No. The Prosecution chains the Waffen-SS to the fate of Heinrich Himmler and a small circle of criminals around him. The Waffen-SS is taking this quite bitterly for it believes that in its majority it fought decently and fairly. It is far removed from these crimes and from the man who is responsible for them. I should like to ask the High Tribunal to please listen to the accounts and the judgments of the front soldiers on your side. I believe that they will not fail to show us respect. Wherever specific incidents occurred they were exceptions.

The Waffen-SS considers it quite unjust that it is being treated differently from the mass of the German Armed Forces and it does not deserve to be outlawed as a criminal organization.

HERR PELCKMANN: Mr. President, I have no further questions to this witness.

MAJOR JONES: Witness, you heard Himmler's Kharkov speech in April 1943 to the commanding officers of the three SS divisions in the East, did you not?

HAUSER: Yes, I heard that speech.

MAJOR JONES: And you remember that he ended his speech by saying: "We will never let that excellent weapon fade, the dread and terrible reputation which preceded us in the battle for Kharkov, but will constantly add new meaning to it."

Do you remember his saying that?

HAUSER: Yes, indeed.

MAJOR JONES: And your units of the Waffen-SS constantly added new meaning to your reputation for terror, did you not?

HAUSER: No. I have already expressed quite the contrary yesterday and today. I considered it as an insult to say that our successes were dependent on terror. Quite the contrary, I said that our successes resulted from the brave fighting of officers and men.

MAJOR JONES: Yesterday you told the Tribunal that the relations of the Waffen-SS with the local population were good, and that your Waffen-SS troops did not take hostages or destroy villages as punishments, or commit War Crimes. That was your evidence, was it not?

HAUSER: I said that the relations were unobjectionable and good, that we did not displace any part of the population to work in Germany.

MAJOR JONES: I want you to listen now to some documents I am going to put in with regard to the SS generally and with regard to the Waffen-SS in particular; first, two documents from your own sources.

The first, My Lord, is Document D-419, to be Exhibit GB-552. I am not proposing to cross-examine the witness as to these numerous documents, My Lord. It appears to be the, desire of the Tribunal that they should be put in as speedily as possible.

THE PRESIDENT: If they are new documents, you can cross-examine him upon them.

MAJOR JONES: If Your Lordship pleases. The first Document, D-419, is a report by a general of artillery named Petzel, dated 23 November 1939, with regard to the internal situation in the Warthegau, western Poland, incorporated into the Reich, as the document describes it.

I need not trouble you with the first page of the document, the report of 2 December and the letter of 30 November, but if you read the letter of General Petzel dated 23 November 1939, the second paragraph reads:

"The great work of construction in all spheres is not furthered by the intervention of SS formations, which are assigned for special racial political tasks and which are not subordinate in this respect to the Reichsstatthalter. There is a tendency to interfere, beyond the limits of these tasks, in all fields of administration and of forming a 'state within the state.'

"This phenomenon does not fail to have its effect on the troops, who are indignant about the way the tasks are carried out and thereby generally get into opposition to the administration and the Party. I shall exclude the danger of serious differences by strict orders. The fact that this makes a serious demand on the discipline of the troops cannot be dismissed without further ado."


Then, the next paragraph:

"In almost all large towns, public shootings have been carried out by the aforementioned organizations; the selections varied enormously and were often incomprehensible, the executions frequently brutal.

"In some districts all the Polish estate owners were arrested and interned with their families. Arrests were almost always accompanied by looting.

"In the towns, evacuations were carried out, during which blocks of houses were cleared at random, the inhabitants loaded on- to lorries at night and then taken to concentration camps. Here also looting was a constant accompanying phenomenon. The quartering and feeding in the camps was such that the medical officer of the corps feared the outbreak of epidemics which would be a danger to the troops....

"In several towns actions against the Jews were carried out which turned into the most serious excesses. In Turek three SS cars under the leadership of a Higher SS Leader drove through the streets on 30 October 1939 while the people in the streets were hit on the heads at random with oxen reins and long horsewhips. Among the victims were also people of German blood. Finally a number of Jews were driven into the synagogue; there they had to crawl in between the benches while singing, during which time they were continuously whipped by the SS men. They were then forced to take down their trousers in order to be hit on the bare behind.

"A Jew who out of fright had dirtied his trousers was forced to smear the excrement into the faces of the other Jews.

"In Lodz it has become known confidentially that SS Oberführer Melhorn has issued the following orders:

"1) From November no unemployment relief may any longer be paid to Poles and Jews, only forced labor is paid for. (This measure has already been confirmed.)

"2) From 9 November, Jews and Poles will be excluded from the distribution of rationed foodstuffs and coal.

"3) Unrest and incidents are to be created by provocation in order to facilitate the carrying out of the racial political work."


The rest of the document I need not trouble you with.

That is an insight into the activities of the SS in Poland in November 1939.

The next German document is the Document D-578.

My Lord, my attention has been drawn to another sentence in the Document D-419, which I should like to draw the Tribunal's attention to, the last paragraph but one:

"As the military commander of Posen has already reported to the High Command of the Army, the men feel very strongly about the disproportion between their pay and the daily rate of pay of other formations which is many times higher than theirs."


The Document D-578 is a report by a German Brigade Commander of the 1st Mountain Brigade, Colonel Pericic. It is dated 26 September 1943. This document, My Lord, will be Exhibit GB-553. It is a report on the activities of the SS units in the area of Popovaca in Bosnia. I only want to trouble you with the first two paragraphs:

"On 16 September 1943 an SS unit of 80 men marched from Popovaca to Osekovo for the compulsory purchase of cattle. I was not notified by anybody about the arrival of this unit in the technical operational area of the 1st Mountain Brigade and about the activity of this unit in the area for which I alone am responsible.

"A short time after their arrival in Osekovo this unit was attacked by partisans. Under the pressure of the numerically superior partisans, this unit had to retreat in the direction of the railway station, which they succeeded in doing, but they had four men seriously and several lightly wounded, among them the unit commander. One man was missing, and they also lost an armored car. The unit commander then reported from Popovaca by telephone that when he had to retreat, he had killed all persons who were in the open because he had no chance to distinguish between the loyal population and the partisans. He himself said that he killed about 100 persons in this incident."


Now I want to put in some documents from the victims of some of these atrocities, first from the Yugoslav Delegation, the Document D-945.

Witness, you appreciate that the Prinz Eugen Division was a division of the Waffen-SS, do you not?

[There was no response.]

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, did you hear that question?

MAJOR JONES: Witness, I asked you.

HAUSER: Yes, this division belonged to the Waffen-SS.

MAJOR JONES: The Document D-945, My Lord, will be Exhibit GB-554. It is an extract from a report to the Yugoslav State Commission for ascertaining the crimes of the occupiers and their accomplices. I want to read the second and third paragraphs:

"In accordance with the order of the commander of the 118th German Division, an SS battalion of the Prinz Eugen Division and a battalion of the Teufel Division under the command of the German Lieutenant Colonel Dietsche, carried out on 27 March 1944 and on the following days a 'purge action' from Sinj in the direction of..."various villages whose names are set out.

"On 28 March this SS battalion overran the villages of Otok Cornji, Ruda, and Dolac Dolnji one after the other and carried out horrible massacres, destructions by fire and looting. Those beasts murdered on a single day in the three above-named Dalmatian villages 834 people-besides grown-up men, also women and children-set on fire 500 houses and looted everything there was to be looted. They removed rings, watches, and other valuables from dead bodies. The mass slaughter was carried out in all the villages in the same horrible manner. The German soldiers gathered women, children, and men in one place and then opened fire on the crowd with machine guns, threw bombs at them, looted their property, and burned the bodies. In the House Milanovic-Trapo 45 burned bodies were found. In another house in the same village of Otok 22 unburned corpses were found in a pile. In the village of Ruda they collected all the people in one place and killed all of them. Those who happened not to be collected were killed when they were found. Not even the smallest babies at their mothers' breasts were spared. In some places the victims were soaked in petrol and set on fire. They also killed those who offered them hospitality out of fear. They also killed those people who were forced to follow them to carry their ammunition and other things. According to the evidence of reliable witnesses, the massacres were prepared beforehand, and this all the more so as the above-mentioned villages gave no reason whatsoever previous to the 'purge action' for any kind of reprisals..."


That report is signed by the President of the State Commission, Dr. Dusan Nedeljkovic, university professor.

Then the Document D-940, which will be Exhibit GB-555, which is another extract from the Yugoslav State Commission report signed by the same President of the State Commission, Dr. Dusan Nedeljkovic, on the crimes of the 7th SS Division, Prinz Eugen, it reads:

"The various German divisions operating in the area of occupied Yugoslavia marked their path by traces of devastation and annihilation of the peaceful population - traces which will testify to the criminal character of the German conduct of the war for many years to come. The operations of the German divisions were in reality punitive expeditions.
They destroyed and burned down whole villages and exterminated the civil population in a barbarous manner, without any military necessity whatsoever.

"The 7th SS Division, Prinz, Eugen, is famed for its cruelty." Then I go on to the next paragraph:

"Wherever it passed - through Serbia, through Bosnia and Herzegovina, through Lika and Banija or through Dalmatia - everywhere it left behind scenes of conflagration and devastation and the bodies of innocent men, women, and children who had been burned in the houses.

"At the end of May 1943 the Prinz Eugen Division came to Montenegro to the area of Niksic in order to take part in the fifth enemy offensive in conjunction with the Italian troops. This offensive was called 'Action Black' by the German occupying forces. Proceeding from Herzegovina, parts of the division fell upon the peaceful villages of the Niksic district.

"Immediately after its invasion, this formation, opening fire with all its arms, commenced to commit outrageous crimes on the peaceful villages for no reason at all. Everything they came across they burned down, murdered, and pillaged. The officers and men of the SS Division Prinz Eugen committed crimes of an outrageous cruelty on this occasion. The victims were shot, slaughtered, and tortured, or burned to death in burning houses. Where a victim was found not in his house but on the road or in the fields some distance away, he was murdered and burned there. Infants with their mothers, pregnant women, and frail old people were also murdered. In short, every civilian met with by these troops in these villages was murdered. In many cases whole families who, not expecting such treatment or lacking the time for escape, had remained quietly in their homes, were annihilated and murdered. Mole families were thrown into burning houses in many cases and thus burned.

"It has been established from the investigations entered upon that 121 persons, mostly women, and including 30 persons aged 60-92 years and 29 children of ages ranging from 6 months to 14 years, were executed on this occasion in the horrible manner narrated above.

"The villages.. ."and then follows the list of the villages- "were burned down and razed to the ground."


Then it accounts for the destruction of furniture. Besides this the German soldiers drove all the cattle away from the villages and plundered jewels and money before burning these villages. Then over on the next page:

"For all of these most serious War Crimes those responsible besides the actual culprits-the members of the SS Division Prinz Eugen are all superior and all subordinate commanders as the persons issuing and transmitting the orders for murder and devastation.

"Among others the following war criminals are known: SS Gruppenführer and Lieutenant General of the Waffen-SS Phleps; Divisional Commander, Major General of the Waffen-SS von Oberkamp; Commander of the 13th Regiment, later Divisional Commander, Major General Schmidthuber; Commander of the 14th Regiment, later Divisional Commander, SS Standartenführer Bachmann; SS Sturmbannführer Dietsche; the Commander of the Italian 16th Regiment. .."
- and then there follow the names of about another 10 high-ranking German SS regimental and other commanders.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, shouldn't you ask whether they are Waffen-SS?

MAJOR JONES: Those men, Witness, were members of the Waffen-SS, were they not? Just look at the names.

HAUSER: I know part of these names. They were leaders in the Waffen-SS.

MAJOR JONES: Let us take them in turn - Phleps, divisional commander?

HAUSER: Yes.

MAJOR JONES: He was a lieutenant general like yourself; wasn't he one of your colleagues in the Waffen-SS?

HAUSER: Yes.

MAJOR JONES: And, SS Major General of the Waffen-SS Karl Ritter von Oberkamp. He was an SS, was he not?

HAUSER: I know the next few names: Oberkamp, Schmidthuber, and Dietsche; the rest of the names I do not know.

MAJOR JONES: But you do not deny that they were officers -from the description of them, that they were officers in the Waffen-SS?

HAUSER: I would assume so, even though I do not know the origin of this report. These are most likely reports which were gained by hearsay and were put together somehow.

MAJOR JONES: I won't trouble you with the value of the reports as documents, Witness. That is a matter for the Tribunal.

Now I want you to listen to documents which I am putting in on behalf of the Polish Delegation, again relating to the SS. The first series of documents relates to the shooting of hostages on the command of SS functionaries and by SS men. The first is Document 4041-PS, which will be Exhibit GB-556, which consists of 31 posters for the years 1943 to 1944, signed by the Chief of the SS and Police in Warsaw, or in some cases by the Commander of the Security Police and of the SD for Warsaw, announcing the killing of hostages.

The Tribunal will see that in those grim records of murder there are listed varying numbers of the victims of the Nazi occupation. In Poster Number 25, for instance, on Page 16, there is a list of 270 hostages shot; Poster 29, Page 20, there are 200 hostages shot; Poster 31, Page 26, there are 100 hostages. These SS shootings were certainly not an original SS conception. I hand in the two documents, 4038-PS and 4039-PS which are ...

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Elwyn Jones, I think you should ask the witness whether -- or put it to him, whether there is any connection between the Waffen-SS and this document.

MAJOR JONES: If Your Lordship please.

HAUSER: Unfortunately I have an English copy before me. I am not completely conversant with the English language and could not follow the question, but I gather that these are all measures which were taken in Warsaw. Just as in the case of the first document which dealt with the Warthegau, the Waffen-SS had nothing to do with Warsaw. These were definitely things ...

THE PRESIDENT: Wait until you are given the proper copy.

MAJOR JONES: I am not suggesting, naturally, My Lord, that all the documents I am putting in relate only to the Waffen-SS branch of the SS organization. The whole Prosecution's case on the SS is that there was a unity between the various sections of the SS.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but you should give him the opportunity of making his point if he 'wishes to.

MAJOR JONES: Yes, Your Lordship.

[Turning to the witness.] Have you had an opportunity of looking at those posters now, Witness?

HAUSER: I have seen that the signatures are only those of SS and Police Leaders, who had nothing to do with the Waffen-SS, as I have already stated earlier today.

The same applies to the incidents in the Warthegau where, in November of 1939, there were no units of the Waffen-SS. Documents 3 and 4 are the only ones that apply to the Waffen-SS where they mention the Prinz Eugen SS Division. I cannot check the date on that since I have never been to the, Balkans.

THE PRESIDENT: Was the Teufel Division also Waffen-SS? Was it Keitel's division?

HAUSER: No. There never was a Teufel Division.

MAJOR JONES: You say there never was a Teufel Division in Yugoslavia?

HAUSER: Not in the Waffen-SS, no.

MAJOR JONES: I shall call some subsequent testimony with regard to that, My Lord, if the Tribunal would allow me, at a later stage, to cross-examine on the whole question of the unity of the SS. It would involve putting in old documents and I understand that there was a certain reluctance on the part of the Tribunal to permit me to do that; but I should be quite content to draw the Tribunal's attention ...

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Elwyn Jones, the Tribunal doesn't desire you not to cross-examine but only not to read out and put to the witness documents which have already been put in; you can put the facts which are in the document to the witness for the purpose of cross-examination.

MAJOR JONES: If Your Lordship please. Then at a later stage in my cross-examination I will return to that subject if the Tribunal permits me to do so. I should like to put these documents in first, if I may.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Elwyn Jones, I think what the Tribunal meant was that it did not want you to put long passages or short passages from documents which the witness has never seen and which are already in evidence but you may cross-examine the witness upon any document apart from that.

MAJOR JONES: If Your Lordship please. Then I shall return to cross-examination on this general issue after I have put these documents in, if I may, My Lord. I put in Documents 4038-PS'and 4039-PS, to be Exhibits GB-557 and 558, which show that the SS shootings in Warsaw were a continuation of the practice of the civil power of the Government General from the period before March 1941. I need not trouble the witness with these documents.

Then the Document D-956, to be Exhibit GB-559, which is an official Polish report on German crimes in Poland. I only desire to draw the Tribunal's attention to an entry on Page 184 of that report relating to the shooting of hostages, which says that the approximate number of Poles killed in Warsaw from the beginning of the public executions until the insurrection, from 5 -October 1943 until 1 August 1944, was about 8,000, most of whom had been caught in manhunts in the Warsaw streets.

HERR PELCKMANN: Your Lordship, may I be permitted to make a reference to the method of procedure?

Mr. Jones said that he does not wish to submit to the witness the document which he is now submitting to the High Tribunal. I am of the opinion that a submission of documents is possible at this stage only in connection with the cross-examination; that is, for ascertaining whether the statements of the witness are credible or not. Otherwise, the Prosecution could introduce new incriminating material without any connection. I should like to ask in that case to give the witness an opportunity to comment.

MAJOR JONES: I have no objection at all, of course, to the witness seeing all the documents. I was only, in the interest of time, referring to one sentence in this document which the witness heard interpreted, and I should have thought that was sufficient; but by all means I should let the witness see all the documents.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, the Tribunal has already ruled that these documents can be put in this way, and Mr. Elwyn Jones is referring to specific passages in the documents and you have the opportunity of re-examination and you have a copy of the document, and you can put any question you like upon the document when you come to re-examine.
Last edited by David Thompson on 31 May 2004 06:08, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by David Thompson » 31 May 2004 05:57

Part 2:

MAJOR JONES: I next present some documents relating to atrocities committed by the SS in connection with the destruction of Warsaw. First is the Document 4042-PS, which will be Exhibit GB-560, which consists of three affidavits from another official Polish report entitled The German Crime in Warsaw in 1944. The first affidavit is by the witness Alexandra Kreczkiewicz, who states that:

"In August, I lived at.... The SS men ordered me to move into a house across the" road. Our house as well as the house next door was set on fire. In August we were informed that we would fare badly and would be shot . Several hundred persons were assembled in our house; on 4 August at 11 o'clock, the Germans surrounded the house and gave us the order to evacuate the apartments. We heard some shots at the entrance, which started an awful crying of children and women. Several persons were killed and wounded. The Germans drove us into a potato field and ordered us to lie down; there could be no question of escape as we were closely guarded. A few minutes later we were ordered to get up and we were driven under a bridge which was nearby. To the question of one of the women as to where we were being taken to, we got the answer: German women and children are perishing by your fault; therefore, all of you must perish.' We were lined up and a group of 70 people was separated from us and ordered to go behind the bridge on the hill; the rest, including myself, were assembled' near a wall behind a barbed wire fence. From different points nearby we heard shots; the victims of the Germans were dying. We were huddled together and I was on the outer edge of the crowd. At a distance of 5 meters, one of the executioners very quietly loaded his machine gun; another one was preparing his camera to take pictures of the executions. Several Germans were guarding us; we -heard several shots, noises, groans. I fell down wounded and lost consciousness. After a while I came back to my senses and I heard how they were finishing off the wounded. I did not move and I simulated death; they left one of the Germans on guard and the rest of them went away. The executioners set fire to the huts and the houses in the neighborhood. I was scorched by the heat and almost suffocated by the smoke and my dress was smouldering. The German was still on guard, so quietly I tried to smother the flames on me."
Then she describes how she ran to a cellar and she says ...

THE PRESIDENT: This is a woman, is it?

MAJOR JONES: This is a woman. At the end:

"The group of people shot in my presence numbered some 500 persons, of whom no more than three or four managed to escape. All the executioners were SS men."


The next is an affidavit from the witness Bronislav Dylak, who describes the SS atrocities in a hospital in Warsaw:

"Very badly wounded in the stomach I was hospitalized in the field hospital, Dluga Street 7. On 7 September 1944 the Germans ordered the nurses and those of the inmates who were able to walk to abandon the hospital leaving behind the heavily wounded.

"I was in this latter group and we stayed in the ward situated in the cellar. In the whole hospital there were still a few hundred sick and heavily wounded who could not leave the hospital.Shortly after the nurses had left the hospital in the evening the German SS arrived; shooting started. First those who, with a superhuman effort, left their beds and dragged themselves to the doors and the staircases to get out and save themselves were immediately killed by the Germans. Two murderers burst into our ward. One had a candle in his hand-it was already dark. The other, with a pistol, shot and killed the men lying in beds, while shouting 'bandits.'

"Together with a few of the inmates of our ward, I was miraculously saved because the passage to our beds was obstructed by other beds. Our hall had been partitioned in two wards; I was in the second and smaller room, the entrance to which was obstructed. In the first room all were killed; the second ward was saved by a pure miracle, maybe because somebody was calling the murderers away. We heard many shots from the other wards. The execution went on throughout the hospital.

"Later on, the Germans checked whether everybody was dead. My comrade lying next to me stained himself with blood on his chest and head in order to simulate death. One of the Germans, speaking Ukrainian, went about among the killed and struck them in their faces with his gun. It was a terrible night. A hand grenade, thrown through the window into our ward ripped my friend's belly. Finally the building was set on fire. The fire spread very quickly; those who tried to escape were killed. A woman in our ward succeeded in pushing aside inflammable stuff near the entrance, thereby preventing our ward from catching fire. All other wards, as well as the staircase, were on fire; the smoke, the smell of burning corpses, indescribable thirst. . "

And then the last sentence-"Thus, out of several hundred heavily wounded at the hospital in Dluga Street 7, only a few score were left alive."


And the third affidavit is by Maria Bukowska, who states that:

"On 7 August 1944, by order of the SS, the inhabitants of the whole district had to abandon their houses, which were immediately set on fire. There were several thousands of us who were driven and pushed about by the SS. All who fell down, as well as anyone who tried to help them, were beaten."-And further on in the statement-"We are march-ing on; there is shooting once more. A car full of SS men approaches and officers get out. They inspect our column and take away three young, pretty girls, the two sisters N. and another girl, unknown to me. The car drives off, the girls cry out, trying to defend themselves against molesta-tions of the SS officers. An old woman has fallen; she cannot go on any more. An SS officer shoots her in the neck."-And then at the last-"In the church at Wola the rest of our belongings are taken away from us. All the young girls, sometimes no more than 12-14 years of age, are left behind, while the older ones, with the children, are led to the western station and then by railway to Pruszkow."


Those were crimes of the SS, were they not, Witness?

HAUSER: That was not the Waffen-SS. They are always only a group of men who belonged to Himmler and who had nothing whatsoever to do with the fighting troops. We never fought at Warsaw.

MAJOR JONES: Are you denying that the Waffen-SS took part in the destruction of Warsaw?

HAUSER: I have not been there and therefore I cannot make any comments. But to my knowledge, there was no fighting there; it was a riot which was quelled, as several witnesses have testified.

MAJOR JONES: It was a revolt and then the mass extermination by the SS troops; that's what happened in Warsaw, wasn't it?

HAUSER: The Waffen-SS participated only to a very small extent because the Waffen-SS was in combat.

MAJOR JONES: Next, I put in the Document D-954, to be Exhibit GB-561, which are depositions by Professor Tomkiewicz of the University of Warsaw and Dr. Lorentz, Director of the National Museum in Warsaw, on the looting and deliberate piece-meal destruction of Warsaw by German formations, including SS men. I attempt to summarize the documents.

The next, Document 2233(dd)-PS, is a further extract from the diary of the Defendant Frank showing the co-operation between the SS and the civil power in the course of this murderous event.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the reference?

MAJOR JONES: 2233(dd)-PS, My Lord, Exhibit GB-562. That is an entry from the diary of the Defendant Frank from 16 October 1944:

"The Governor General received SS Oberführer Dirlewanger and SS Untersturmführer Ammann in the presence of SS Sturmbannführer Pfaffenroth. SS Oberführer Dirlewanger reports to the Governor General on the employment of his combat group in Warsaw. The Governor General thanks SS Oberführer Dirlewanger and expresses to him his appreciation for the excellent employment of his combat group in the fighting in Warsaw.... Lunch on the occasion of the presence of SS Oberführer Dirlewanger."


Now, Dirlewanger was the commander of the units operating in Warsaw, was he not?

THE PRESIDENT: Can you offer any evidence as to what units these officers were commanding?

MAJOR JONES: I am just going to put it to the witness, My Lord.

[Turning to the witness.] Dirlewanger was the commander of the units operating in Warsaw, was he not?

HAUSER: Dirlewanger was the commander of a picked troop of men from the concentration camps. He had no connection with the Waffen-SS. I did not meet him personally, nor his troops, so I can give no further testimony from my own knowledge.

MAJOR JONES: Were the officers of his units SS officers?

HAUSER: I cannot give you information as to that... for I do not know these units.

MAJOR JONES: I shall be producing further documentary evidence on this issue at a later stage, My Lord.

Now I want to put in an affidavit dealing with the participation of the SS in the extermination of the Jews, and this part will be specific evidence as to the 'participation of the Waffen-SS. The first is Document D-939, Exhibit GB-563. That is an affidavit by Izrael Eizenberg, and he states:

"I lived in Lublin and from there I was sent to Maidanek in the beginning of 1942. However, as a prisoner I continued to work for the Germans, who employed me as an expert for electro-mechanical jobs in the various SS buildings and SS offices in Lublin. I worked as an electro-mechanic in the palace building of the SS and Police Leader Globocznik and in the headquarters of the SS in Lublin, Warsaw Street 21. The Waffen-SS were also there. On the outer wall the notice 'Waffen-SS' could be seen and on the pass which I received at the entrance, the words 'Waffen-SS' were also marked. I knew all the officers, for instance, Oberschar-führer Riedel, Rottenführer Mohrwinkel, Unterscharführer Schramm and so on. I know that' the leaders of the Waffen-SS, as well as the regiment of the Waffen-SS-whose seat was in the same building where I worked -participated directly in all the expulsions of the Jews from the district of Lublin. During these expulsions thousands of persons were killed on the spot and the rest sent away for extermination. I myself have seen how, in the winter of 1941, the Waffen-SS of 21 Warsaw Street participated in the deportation of several hundred Jews to Maidanek, whereby several persons were killed on the spot. At that time my father was also deported because of his long beard, as this action mainly concerned Jews with beards. I know that Rottenführer Mohrwinkel directed this action and was promoted to the rank of Untersturmführer in appreciation of his work. I worked for the Waffen-SS until November 1942, that is, until I was transported to Radom. They par-ticipated the whole time in all the crimes of the SS in Lublin and in the district. I wish to point out that these SS men 'kept their horses in the stables on the airdrome where there was a notice, 'Mounted Regiment Waffen-SS."'


Then the next document is D-953, which will be Exhibit GB-564.

THE PRESIDENT: I think you should give the witness an opportunity to speak about this document if he prefers.

MAJOR JONES: If Your Lordship wishes.

Witness, you heard me reading out of that last affidavit of Izrael Eizenberg. You see that he alleges that the Waffen-SS participated directly in the collection of Jewish people for extermination and he refers to the Mounted Regiment of the Waffen-SS-that was in the Lublin district engaged in- these operations. These were men of the Waffen-SS, weren't they?

HAUSER: The names that were read off were not the names of officers. They are names of Rottenführer and Scharführer. Of course, I do not know the names of every man in a unit. I have no proof that they were members of the Waffen-SS. In 1942 the front lines were not in Lublin but were quite a bit further to the east. Perhaps they were replacement troops. The name "Mounted Unit" was mentioned once, and that was a replacement troop of a mounted brigade about which I cannot give you further particulars.

MAJOR JONES: Are you merely seeking to distinguish between Waffen-SS that were engaged in action on the lines and SS units engaged in other activities on the rear? Don't you think ...

HAUSER: Normally only troops of replacement units can be used behind the lines because the other units were constantly at the front.

MAJOR JONES: This affidavit establishes perfectly clearly that these were SS troops, does it not? What other troops could they be?

HAUSER: Riders of the Waffen-SS could have been men of an Einsatzgruppe who had a task behind the lines.

MAJOR JONES: You mean they were masquerading under the name of the Waffen-SS units?

HAUSER: That is not probable.

MAJOR JONES: I want you to turn to another document which might assist you in this matter, Document D-953, which will be Exhibit GB-566. The last is GB-565. I beg your pardon, Your Lordship, but this will be Exhibit GB-565. This is an affidavit by David Wajnapel:

"A few weeks after the entry of the German troops, into Radom, Police and SS arrived. Conditions became immediately worse. The house in the Zeromskist, where their head-quarters were, became a menace to the entire population. People who were passing this street were dragged into the gateway and ill-treated by merciless beatings and by the staging of sadistic games. All SS officers as well as the men took part in this. Being a physician, I often had the opportunity to give medical help to seriously injured victims of the SS.

"After a short time the SS uniform became a menace to the population. I myself was beaten up until I bled by four SS men in the street in spite of my doctor's' armlet. Later on two ghettos were established in Radom. In August 1942 the so-called 'deportation' took place. The ghettos were surrounded by many SS units who occupied all -the street exits, People were driven out to the streets, and those who ran away were fired at. Sick people at home or in hospitals were shot on the spot, among others also the inmates of the hospital where I was working as a doctor. The total number of people killed amounted to about 4,000. About 3,000 people were spared and the rest-about 20,000 people-were sent to Treblinka. The whole action was directed and executed by the SS. I myself saw that the SS staff were on the spot forming groups and issuing orders. In the streets and in the houses SS men ill-treated and killed people without waiting for orders.

"After the 'deportation' the remaining people were crowded into a few narrow lanes and we came under the exclusive rule of the SS and became the private property of the SS who used to hire us out for payment to various firms. I know that these payments were credited to a special SS account at the Radom Bank Emisyjny. We had to deal with SS men only. Executions carried out by the SS in the ghetto itself were a frequent occurrence. On 14 January 1943 another 'deportation' to Treblinka took place. On 21 March 1943 there took place throughout the whole district the so-called action against the intelligentsia, which action, as far as I know, was decided upon at an SS and Police Leaders' meeting in Radom. In Radom alone about 200 people were shot at that time; among others, my parents, my brother and his 9 month-old child met their deaths.

"On 9 November of the same year all Jewish children up to 12 years of age as well as the old and sick were gathered from Radom and from camps situated near Radom and shot in the Biala Street in Radom. SS officers as well as SS men participated in this.

"From March 1943 on I stayed 18 months in Blizyn Camp. The camp was entirely under the SS and the Radom Police Chief's control. Its commander was Untersturinführer Paul Nell. The guards were composed of SS privates and non-commissioned officers. The foremen were Waffen-SS men who had been wounded at the front. They all behaved in an inhuman manner by beating and ill-treating us. Shootings of people were frequent occurrences. Originally, sentences were passed by the SS and Police Leaders, later on by the camp commander. The SS men were certainly well-informed about the bloody deeds which were committed by the SS in Poland, in particular they told me personally about mass murders of Jews in Maidanek (in November 1943). This incident is an open secret. It was common knowledge among the civil population as well as among the lowest-ranking SS men.

When the camp was taken over by the Maidanek Concentration Camp new guards were sent to our camp, but there was no difference between them and the previous ones. In July 1944 the whole camp, including myself, was sent to the Auschwitz Camp, which could be entered only by SS men. The conditions of this camp are well known. I escaped during the evacuation of the camp into Germany. On the way, the SS escort machine-gunned exhausted prisoners and later on, near Rybnik, the rest of the marching column. Several hundred people were killed at that time."


Now, Witness, throughout that affidavit the participation of the SS troops is underlined. Do you deny the SS participated in the murders of Jewish people in view of affidavits like that?

HAUSER: The Police and SS were specifically mentioned in this document and there is no Waffen-SS in places where the Police worked with the SD. I have emphasized several times in connection with the camps which have been named that they had nothing in common with the SS except, most unfortunately, the name.

Of all the examples cited by the Prosecution's attorney I must admit only that the Prinz Eugen Division and the mounted units of Warsaw are members of the Waffen-SS. Beyond that, I cannot tell anything on the basis of my own experiences.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you read the last paragraph to him?

MAJOR JONES: The last paragraph may help you on this:

"I emphasize that during the few years of war, due to being a Jew and a doctor, I met a great number of SS men from the Waffen-SS as well as of other formations and of various ranks, but I must state that I noticed no difference between them as far as their inhuman attitude toward the civilian population was concerned."


The Waffen-SS was always the cause for any of these police actions against the local population. That was its function on the whole, certainly.

HAUSER: No, the Waffen-SS was incorporated into the Army.

MAJOR JONES: Did you ever, on this particular point, see Hitler's directive about the future of the SS?

HAUSER: I did not understand your question.

MAJOR JONES: Did you ever see Hitler's directive?

HAUSER: I am not familiar with the directives by Hitler regarding the future of the SS.

MAJOR JONES: Yes. In that directive, which is, I think, familiar to the Tribunal-it is Document D-665, Exhibit GB-280-Hitler points out that the function of the Waffen-SS is to be the spearhead of Nazism, to be used as an agent for effective action against resistance at home and against opposition in foreign countries. Did you not see those instructions of Hitler's on the role of the Waffen-SS?

HAUSER: Is that perhaps a directive sent by Hitler to the military offices dealing with the future of the Waffen-SS after the war?

MAJOR JONES: That was a directive of 1941, which was dis-tributed to regimental units and was made available to the Waffen-SS. I have not got the document available at the moment. Do you say you never heard of that?

HAUSER: No, I know of only one order, which was an oral one and which contained the measures and intentions with regard to the organization after the war; a directive which went to the various Army units only.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps this would be a convenient time to break off.

[A recess was taken.]

MAJOR JONES: If Your Lordship please, I want to make a slight correction of the exact numbers of these documents.

The Document D-953 was put in twice as GB-564 and 565. D-953 will be Exhibit GB-564 and the next, Document D-955, will be Exhibit GB-565.

THE PRESIDENT: The last document you mentioned will be what-564i 565? You mentioned some other document after that.

MAJOR JONES: The next, Document D-955, which I am jus putting in, will be Exhibit GB-565. This is a final affidavit from Jewish merchant, Mojzesz Goldberg, and it reads:

"1) On 23 June 1941 1 was called up into the Soviet Army in Lemberg. In the middle of July I was taken prisoner by the Germans. At a locality 5 kilometers from Podwoloczysk the SS companies sought the Jews out of the whole mass of prisoners and shot them on the spot. I remained alive as they did not recognize me as a Jew. I stress the fact that it was the Waffen-SS who did this.

"2) After my captivity was ended, I lived in Radom and worked from June 1942 to July 1944 for the Waffen-SS at 3 places: the SS Veterinary Reinforcement Detachment, Koscinski Street; the Garrison Administration of the Waffen-SS, Planty 11; and the Building Directorate of the Waffen-SS, Slowacki Street 27. As I worked so long for the SS, I know the names and faces of all the officers and NCO's of the above-named detachments of the Waffen-SS very well. At the head of the SS Veterinary Reinforcement Detachment were Sturmbannführer Dr. Held and Hauptsturmführer Schreiner; at the head of the Garrison Administration there was Obersturmführer Grabau (at present in Dachau Camp) and at the head of the Building Directorate, Oberscharführer Seiler. All the persons mentioned took a direct part, together with their companies, in carrying out the expulsions in Radom on 5, 16, and 17 August 1942, during which some thousands of people were shot on the spot. I know that the SS Veterinary Reinforcement companies went to the provincial towns to carry out the 'expulsions' of Jews. I heard individual soldiers boasting about the number of Jews they had killed. I know from their own stories that these same companies participated in the actions against Polish partisans and also set the surrounding Polish villages on fire."


Witness, do you still say that the Waffen-SS had no part in the atrocities that were committed in Poland?

HAUSER: It is my impression that this document is not credible. How could units of veterinary companies participate in such measures? I cannot say more than that because I do not know the particular units.

MAJOR JONES: It is a document, by a man who worked for 2 years for the Waffen-SS, who knew them personally, who spoke to them. He is a man of 36 years who suffered at their hands and he has mentioned in detail whatever the Waffen-SS units are concerned with. Do you still say that the Waffen-SS had no part in these matters?

HAUSER: These are units in the rear, which apparently did not belong to the Waffen-SS. I cannot say more than that.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you know the names of any of the officers who are mentioned in this letter?

HAUSER: No.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you ever been in Radom?

HAUSER: No.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you know whether there were Waffen-SS at any of these places named in this affidavit?

HAUSER: I did not understand, Your Lordship.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you know whether there were Waffen-SS headquarters of units at any of the places named in that affidavit?

HAUSER: The units which were mentioned cannot, to my knowledge, have been stationed there; nor any headquarters, either.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the person making the affidavit states the units which were quartered at particular places in Radom, and what I was asking was whether you knew what units were stationed at those places?

HAUSER: No, that I cannot say.

MAJOR JONES: Witness, you have said that the Waffen-SS units respected international law and committed no atrocities in the field.

With your permission, My Lord, I am now proposing to hand in a summary of the charges submitted to the United Nations War Crimes Commission by the national commissions of the various countries which suffered at the hands of the Waffen-SS. In addition to this summary, I can hand in certified true copies of the charges themselves which set out the facts of the incidents that are complained of. I submit that such charges and such summaries have probative value. It is true that the charges themselves have not yet resulted in trials and that the culprits named have not themselves been tried. The reasons for that are manifold, but I do submit that these summaries of charges have probative value and I invite the Court's ruling with regard to them.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps you can tell us a little bit more about the nature of the documents you are seeking to put in evidence?

MAJOR JONES: The documents I am seeking to put in evidence set out, under the names of the various Waffen-SS divisions, the unit involved, the date of the commission of the offense complained of, the place, the nature of the incident itself, and the source of the information. They are from the files of the United Nations War Crimes Commission, or a SHAEF Court of Inquiry which put the matter up to the United Nations War Crimes Commission.

THE PRESIDENT: As to the witness, it is only a reference. It does not contain the evidence or summary of the evidence, does it?

MAJOR JONES: It contains the summary of the evidence. The certified charges which I shall hand in to the Tribunal contain much fuller details than the summary itself I intend to use on the witness There is no objection to Your Lordship's looking at one of them.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Elwyn Jones, are you submitting the reports under Article 21 in any way?

MAJOR JONES: That is my submission, My Lord. They are official reports submitted by the national authorities to the United Nations War Crimes Commission and they embody evidence of wit-nesses and are reduced into summary reports formed as charges.

If Your Lordship would care to look at one of the charges as an illustration without prejudice to the question whether the Tribunal would admit the document or not, it might be helpful. If Your Lordship please, my learned friend Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe is in a position to list the arrangement of the United Nations War Crimes Commission with regard to these charges, and it might be helpful if Sir David would indicate the machinery to the Tribunal.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, one might commence with Article 21, that says: "It"-the Tribunal-"shall also take judicial notice of official governmental documents and reports of the United Nations, including the acts and documents of the committees set up in the various Allied countries for the investigation of war crimes..."

My Lord, the procedure which was set up was that the United Nations War Crimes Commission, under the chairmanship, first of Lord Findlay and then of Lord Wright, would gather the material, examine it, and send it back to the respective prosecuting nation. The procedure was that the national office sent a report to the United Nations War Crimes Commission who then considered it and sent it back to the authority in the various countries that dealt with the prosecution of the crimes.

My Lord, what is being put forward at the moment is a synopsis of the report sent by various countries to the United Nations War Crimes Commission, in the form of the suggested charges that should be brought and a summary of the supporting evidence. These are available and authenticated, and the document which we should like to use, for the convenience of the Tribunal, is a synopsis of these charges, showing the unit, the date, the place, the incident, and the source, including the United Nations War Crimes Commission's files.

THE PRESIDENT: But, Sir David, as I understand what you said, these documents, of which this is a summary, would come for-ward to the United Nations War Crimes Commission for some action by them, for some form of approval, after which they would send them back to the countries concerned and they would be sent to a Tribunal for the purpose of trying those individuals for whom the United Nations War Crimes Commission approved the trial. This is a summary of charges which has not been approved by the United Nations War Crimes Commission.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: They may or may not. It is the earlier stage of a report of the United Nations War Crimes Com-mission. Each of the United Nations had its national office for investigating and reporting on War Crimes. That was an essential step the national office had-first of all, to collect the evidence, put forward the charge, and put forward that report to the United Nations War Crimes Commission. It then came back with an approval or a comment of the United Nations War Crimes Com-mission to the prosecuting authority of the various countries.

If, My Lord, simply for the sake of clarification, I can give my own example when I was in the charge of this: The British national office was in charge of Sir Thomas Barnes, the Treasury Solicitor, who collected the reports from the various committees of inquiries. He sent these forward to the United Nations War Crimes Commission. They made their comment. It then came back to me and I decided whether there would be a prosecution or not. My Lord, I am putting this forward as an authenticated report of the United Nations. It is the committee which each country established in order to collect the evidence and to forward that evidence to the United Nations body. My Lord, what we are now submitting is the fact that each of the United Nations, by an authoritative committee, collected the evidence, summarized the evidence, and put it forward, which in its form does ipso facto give it probative value.

THE PRESIDENT: You say, don't you, that it falls exactly within the words of the third-last line of Article 21. It says, in the following words: "... documents of the committees set up in the various Allied countries for the investigation of war crimes..."

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That is so, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to look at the document and see just exactly what is its make-up. Do you have an original document?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, this is one which is certified by Colonel Ledingham, the Secretary General of the United Nations War Crimes Commission. My Lord, here is one which has been accepted by the United Nations War Crimes Commission, as many of them have.

THE PRESIDENT: We have looked at the document. Now, before the Tribunal adjourns for the purpose of considering this matter, they would hear anything further you wish to say, Sir David.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, I would call your attention to the number, of course, that had reached the stage of being approved by the United Nations War Crimes Commission. That would be necessary to my argument.

THE PRESIDENT: What you are asking is that you wish to make use of the summary which you have?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I want to make that comment.

THE PRESIDENT: The approval of the decision rests with the national authority?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: When I was the Attorney General, it rested with me. I understand the same procedure is in effect in other countries where it rests with the national authority.

[Herr Pelckmann approached the lectern.]

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Pelckmann.

HERR PELCKMANN: Whether the evidence which is now before the Prosecution is in the appropriate form and whether as a report from Allied Governments or from the United Nations War Crimes Commission it can be used according to Article 21 is something which I cannot personally judge. I leave that confidently. in the hands of the Tribunal. What appears important to me is that according to Article 21 the High Tribunal can take cognizance of these things-but, in my opinion, only during the Prosecution's presentation of evidence. We are now in the middle of submitting evidence for the Defense, and if the Prosecution are making these reports the subject of their cross-examination, then there does not seem to be any objection to that, according to rules of procedure. But a mere judicial notice by the Tribunal, without making- these reports the subject of cross-examination, I deem inadmissible if the witnesses for the SS who are being called now have to comment on these documents.

THE PRESIDENT: Isn't that really a matter for the Tribunal to decide? It is a matter of whether the documents should be put in now when the witness can comment on them. Whether it comes under Article 21 is a matter to be decided; that is a matter of law.

Whether it should be put in now or after seems to be a matter entirely for the Tribunal.

HERR PELCKMANN: I considered it important to say that if the High Tribunal accept these reports as evidence under Article 21, then, as I see it, I can only assume that the presentation of evidence by the Prosecution has been completed in order to put it before the witness. If the documents are put to the witness, I would consider it fair if, in view of the extraordinary bulk of the documents, the Defense would be given ample time to prepare for examination on these documents. That would take at least two days. The use of these documents by the Tribunal, even if it were for official notice only, without examining the witness about them, is, I think, not permissible, since the presentation of evidence by the Prosecution has been completed and-this would mean an inadmissible extension of the material for one side and a limitation for the Defense.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will consider what you say. The Tribunal will adjourn.

[A recess was taken.]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not in any way accept Dr. Pelckmann's submission that it is inconvenient or unfair to the Defense that documents should be put in at this stage. It considers that in all the circumstances of the case and having regard to the late stage at which the Trial has arrived, and having regard to the nature of the document which is offered in evidence by the
Prosecution, the Tribunal ought not to admit the document now.

MAJOR JONES: Witness, with what division of the Waffen-SS did you serve during the course of the war?

HAUSER: For two years I led the 2d Division, and later ...

MAJOR JONES: Just one moment. What was it called? Mat was its name?

HAUSER: The division later was called "Das Reich"; formerly it had the name "VT Division." From the beginning of 1942 to 1944, the 2d SS Panzer Corps; from 1944 on I was in the Army again.

MAJOR JONES: I don't want to leave the Reich Division for a moment. During what period were you serving with the Reich Division?

HAUSER: I did not understand exactly.

MAJOR JONES: In what periods were you serving with the Reich Division? From what date?

HAUSER: Beginning with its setting up in the autumn of 1939 until I was wounded a second time in October 1941.

MAJOR JONES: You did not return to serve with that division at all?

HAUSER: I did not serve with that division later on because I was then commanding general and commander-in-chief of an army.

MAJOR JONES: So that the Reich Division was the only division you served with in the field as a divisional commander, was it?

HAUSER: No, there were others there after me who commanded.

MAJOR JONES: But the Das Reich was the only division which you commanded personally during the course of the war?

HAUSER: During the time when I was divisional commander I was the only commander of this division.

MAJOR JONES: Did you command any other Waffen-SS division apart from Das Reich?

HAUSER: There were two and later three divisions which belonged to my Panzer Corps.

MAJOR JONES: What were those divisions?

HAUSER: First of all there was the 1st Division, the Leibstandarte; then the 2d Division, Das Reich; and the 3d, the "Totenkopf" Division. Later, in 1944, the 9th and 10th Divisions belonged to it.

MAJOR JONES: What were the names of these divisions?

HAUSER: The names were Hohenstaufen, Götz von Berlichingen - I beg your pardon, Frundsberg.

MAJOR JONES: During what period was the Leibstandarte Division under your command?

HAUSER: The Leibstandarte was under my command from the beginning of 1943, about the end of January, until the beginning of August.

MAJOR JONES: From January 1943 to August 1943?

HAUSER: Yes.

MAJOR JONES: You were in command of that division when it was fighting near Kharkov - you were in command of the corps, rather, in which the Leibstandarte Division was, when it was fighting near Kharkov in the spring of 19,43, weren't you?

HAUSER: The division was under my command during the fighting around Kharkov.

MAJOR JONES: Have you any knowledge of the fact that Staroverovka, the town, was burned by the 2d Regiment of the Leibstandarte Division?

HAUSER: No, I know nothing of that.

MAJOR JONES: And that that regiment also burned down Stanitchnoye?

HAUSER: No, that I do not know.

MAJOR JONES: And that it burned down Yefrenovka, murdering the civilian population, in the spring of 1943, near Kharkov?

HAUSER: I do not know that and I cannot believe it either, because the fighting at that time did not give enough time for tasks other than military tasks.

MAJOR JONES: Fighting did not give your troops time to burn down villages as they went through - are you saying that? That was one of the outstanding characteristics of your form of warfare on the Eastern Front, wasn't it?

HAUSER: No, I deny that. The conception of "scorched earth" was not created by us. If villages went up in flames during the fighting, that is often unavoidable. I do not believe that the villages were set on fire intentionally because it was in the interest of the operations we were carrying out that these villages be retaken.

MAJOR JONES: It was because of incidents like those burnings that Himmler was telling the officers of your three SS divisions of the terrible reputation they had created, wasn't it? Those were typical instances of your forms of warfare on the Eastern Front, weren't they?

HAUSER: No, Heinrich Himmler did not say anything about that in that speech. He mentioned the terror, which I personally rejected.

MAJOR JONES: The Reich Division, when was that under your command?

HAUSER: The Reich Division was under my command at the same time, from the end of January 1943 until August of the same year.

MAJOR JONES: Did you command it subsequently. at all, as corps commander or army commander?

HAUSER: Only afterward, when I was commanding an army, did the division come under my command again, in Normandy.

MAJOR JONES: Did you receive any reports of the numerous murders and burnings of villages that the Das Reich Division was responsible for in France in the month of June 1944?

HAUSER: I know from the Indictment the accusation. that in southern France, during the fight against the De Gaulle army, there was fighting during which villages had been set on fire. At that time the division was not yet under my command. I was still in the East. I learned of these events only here during my captivity.

MAJOR JONES: I am referring not to villages burned during action, but villages burned as punitive measures by units of your Waffen-SS division. Did you never hear reports of those incidents?

HAUSER: I have heard of this one case in southern France only here in the Indictment.

MAJOR JONES: In June 1944, for instance, the Panzer Grenadier Regiment 3 burned the village of St. Germain-de-Belair. You know nothing of that?

HAUSER: No, at the moment I do not know.

MAJOR JONES: And Oradour-sur-Glane? It was the Reich Division that was responsible for that atrocity, wasn't it, when 793 men, women, and children were deliberately murdered? You never heard of the atrocities of Oradour-sur-Glane performed by the Reich Division when it was a component part of your corps?

HAUSER: I have heard this name and the accusation here, during my captivity, from the Indictment. Before that I had no knowledge of it. It apparently concerns an individual company belonging to that division, which was put into action through local orders of the field Kommandantur.

MAJOR JONES: The Panzer Grenadier Regiment, was that not under your command?

HAUSER: No, at that time it was not yet under my command because I only returned to France from the East at the end of June.

MAJOR JONES: That was characteristic use of the units of Waffen-SS for these terror purposes then, was it not-the very point I have been putting to you for many minutes through this cross--examination?

HAUSER: I have repeatedly expressed that it was not a typical characteristic of this division.

MAJOR JONES: The Death's-Head Division, when did you command that?

HAUSER: The Death's-Head Division, too, was under my command at the same time, from the end of January 1943 until August 1943.

. MAJOR JONES: Did you know that the 1st Regiment, the 7th Company of a detachment belonging to the Totenkopf Division, had in Warsaw murdered about 45,000 Jewish men, women, and children? Didn't you hear of that?

HAUSER: In what year was that supposed to have happened?

MAJOR JONES: In the year 1943, when you were commanding the corps to which this division belonged, the Totenkopf Division, with the great tradition of murders in concentration camps.

HAUSER: The division as such came under my command not during the fighting at Warsaw but at Kharkov. That is apparently again a confusion between the men and the guard units of the concentration camps.

MAJOR JONES: Did you know that the 1st Regiment, the 7th Company of the Totenkopf Division, had shot 40 Russian prisoners of war near Kharkov in August 1943, for instance?

HAUSER: No; in August 1943 the Totenkopf Division was no longer near Kharkov. It was further south at the Mius River.

MAJOR JONES: Would that be a convenient time to adjourn? I have only a few more questions to put to this witness.

[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]

Afternoon Session

MAJOR JONES: Witness, did you know that the Prinz Eugen Division had been responsible for the massacre at Lidice in June 1942?

HAUSER: I did not understand the name of the place.

MAJOR JONES: It is a very famous place, Lidice, L-i-d-i-c-e.

HAUSER: No, I already left the division in the year 1941 and had nothing to do with it after that time. I heard nothing about this.

MAJOR JONES: Did you hear the name today for the first time?

HAUSER: Yes, I rather think so.

MAJOR JONES: Oh, the whole world knows of the massacre of Lidice. Are you saying seriously to the Court you never heard of it? You have admitted that the Prinz Eugen Division was an SS division, have you not?

HAUSER: Yes.

MAJOR JONES: I want you to look at Document D-944, to be Exhibit GB-566, because you have said that units of the Waffen-SS did not set fire to villages or commit atrocities against the inhabitants. This is a statement from the Yugoslav commission for ascertaining war crimes, taken from a member of the SS, Leander Holtzer; and he declares:

"In August 1943 the 23rd Company under the command of company leader Untersturmbannführer Schuh set fire to a village on the railway line Jablanica-Prozor by order of the battalion commander, Obersturmbannführer Wagner. The inhabitants of the village were shot in the meantime.

"In August 1943, on the orders of the same person, the 23rd Company set fire to a village on the railway line Niksic-Avtovac; and the inhabitants of the village were shot. The order for the shooting came from Jablanica and the villages were burned down already in the morning. The shootings in Pancevo were carried out by the police agent Gross, former master dyer, and Brunn, a former master miller from the SS Division Prinz Eugen, from Pancevo. The latter received a reward of 20,000 dinars for the hangings at the cemetery."


Did you know members of the Waffen-SS were from time to time employed for hanging prisoners?

HAUSER: It is striking that this company was called the 23rd. We had no numbering of this sort. Besides, I cannot tell you any-thing about it since I never commanded this division. The Prinz Eugen Division included many racial Germans from the Balkans; and the first commander, Fritsch, also was a "Volksdeutscher." I believe that the war in the Balkans bore, on both sides, a different aspect from that found elsewhere.

MAJOR JONES: Now, finally, I want to deal with the unity of the SS organization. I suggest to you that the Waffen-SS, the Allgemeine SS, the SD, and the Police branches of the SS formed one great unit of the Nazi State. Do you agree with that?

HAUSER: No. I stated again and again that this apparent unity did not exist; that we had no connection with the Allgemeine SS nor with the SD, but were independent under the command of the Army. Only small details of the Waffen-SS were assigned to tasks in the rear areas under the command of the Higher SS and Police Leader. And that seems also to have applied hi Warsaw, where the rear formations of the cavalry brigade ...

MAJOR JONES: For the purposes of discipline and promotion, the Waffen-SS came under Himmler, did it not?

HAUSER: Only in juridical matters. In the first instance the divisional commander had the jurisdiction, but sentences beyond a fixed maximum were subject to Himmler's confirmation.

MAJOR JONES: Listen to what the leader of the SS, Himmler, says about the unity of his own organization, this armed SS. This is when he was addressing the officers of the SS Leibstandarte of Adolf Hitler:

"This Waffen-SS will live only if our entire SS lives, if the entire corps is actually an order which lives according to its inherent laws and realizes that one part cannot exist without the other. One cannot imagine you without the Allgemeine SS; and the latter cannot be imagined without you. The Police is not to be imagined without the SS, nor can we be imagined without the executive of the State, which is in our hands."


That is an extract from Document 1918-PS.

Then he said again in 1943:

"It must be so and it must so come about that this SS organization with all its branches, the Allgemeine SS, which is the common, basis of all of them, the Waffen-SS, and the Order Police, the Sipo, with the whole economic administration, schooling, ideological training, the whole question of kindred, is one bloc, one body, one organization, even under the tenth Reichsführer SS."


That is from Document 1919-PS. Is not that a true picture of the SS?

HAUSER: He does not say it was so, he says it must be so and it should be so, because he knew that unity did not exist.

MAJOR JONES: Then finally I want to put to you Hitler's ideas about the Waffen-SS. This is Document D-665, Exhibit GB-280, which I referred to this morning.

THE PRESIDENT: You didn't give us the number for that document which you said took place in 1943.

MAJOR JONES: That is the famous 1919-PS, My Lord, Exhibit USA-170.

[Turning to the witness.] These are Hitler's ideas on the Waffen-SS. He says that the Greater German Reich in its final form would not include within its structure anything but national entities who are right from the beginning well-disposed toward the Reich:

"It is therefore necessary to maintain beyond the core of the Reich a State military police capable of representing and im-posing the authority of the Reich at home in any situation."


Then he goes on:

"Having returned home in the ranks of the Army after having proved their worth in the field, the units of the Waffen-SS will have the authority to execute their tasks as 'State Police'..."


That again is a picture of the unity of the SS by the leader of the Nazi State.

Are you saying that he was wrong and that you were right in this matter?

HAUSER: No, those are his ideas for the future, ideas which had not yet been realized, but which he intended to have realized after the war.

MAJOR JONES: I have no further questions.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I would like to put only a very few questions to this witness, as supplement to the detailed cross-examination which was conducted by my honorable British colleague. I am submitting to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR-520 the report ...

THE PRESIDENT: Have you fresh matters to go into or fresh documents to put in?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I have a few fresh documents which I would like to submit, and in connection therewith I have a few questions to put to the witness - only three or four questions.

I am submitting to the Tribunal as Document USSR-520 a summarized statement of the Yugoslav State Commission, which deals especially with the actions of the SS Mountain Division Prinz Eugen. Mr. Elwyn Jones has already quoted documents referring to this division. This is a very explicit document.

I would like the witness to pay attention to Pages 3, 4, and 5 of the document; that is a list of the persons annihilated during one single action. These are not only the names of single persons but the names of the families which were killed by this division. Now I would like the witness to follow me while I am reading two paragraphs from this voluminous document. I quote Page 5 of the Russian text:

"After the murder had been carried out, these SS troops went in the direction of the villages of Srijane, Bisko, Gornji-Dolec, and Putisic in order to continue there mass murder and arson..."


THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell us which page it is in the English?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Page 6, Mr. President, Page 6. It is the fourth paragraph from the end of the document, from the last paragraph. May I continue?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: "
After the murder had been carried out, these SS troops went in the direction of the villages of Srijane, Bisko, Gornji-Dolec, and Putisic in order to continue there mass murder and arson. All the cattle they found in the burned-down villages they took with them.

"The entire series of these crimes, which were committed in March 1944 in the district of Split, stands out distinctly be-cause it is the climax of a brutal cynicism, which till now was unknown in the history of criminality. The criminals locked up women and children in stables filled with hay and straw, delivered speeches to them, and thereafter burned them alive."


I am asking you, Witness, are not these heinous crimes against humanity in sharp contradiction to your description of the Waffen-SS?

HAUSER: Of both these paragraphs I can only say that Split is situated in the Balkans. More than that, I do not know. I do not know which units are meant here. I cannot comment on the document at all.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I want to submit to you another document, a statement by one of your old acquaintances. I think you will remember the name, August Schmidthuber. Do you remember the name of this general?

HAUSER: Yes, I know that name.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Maybe you will recall that he commanded a battalion of the Division Das Reich in the period when you were the commander of that division.

HAUSER: He was in the division before I commanded it, and that is why I remember him, but later on he served in the Balkans for a long time.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I would like to quote only one sentence from the statement of this major general of the Waffen-SS. You will be shown this passage at once; I submitted the original to the Tribunal. Please listen to this paragraph, Page 3 of the Russian text:

"
A war correspondent told me that the commander of my 1st battalion, Kasserer, had a large number of citizens locked up in a church in Krivaya Rekà" - I emphasize "in a church" - "and then ordered the church to be blown up. I do not know how many persons perished."


Do you consider this action as a very serious crime against humanity or not?

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Post by David Thompson » 31 May 2004 06:02

Part 3 (final):

HAUSER: This appears to be hearsay evidence; it is not the testimony of an eye witness.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: No, this is the statement of a division commander, who speaks about the official report of a war correspondent. It is the report of a general of the Waffen-SS, a firsthand statement and not hearsay.

HAUSER: But this is the statement of a war correspondent who is supposed to have heard it from a battalion commander. But I cannot comment on this, because I was not there and this division was never under my command.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Well, perhaps you can comment on another document. I would like to show you Document USSR-513. Did I understand you correctly yesterday when you asserted that the SS troops did not murder hostages?

HAUSER: Yes, and moreover I think I said that the divisions which were-under my command did not even take hostages.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I will read three sentences only of a proclamation by SS Sturmbannführer Breimeier, who was commanding a battalion of the Prinz Eugen Division. Please follow me:

"On 3 November 1943, around 2000 hours, a German soldier on the Velika Street in Sinj was ambushed and killed. Since, despite all efforts, the culprit has not been found and the population has not supported us in this matter, 24 civilians will be shot and one hanged. The sentence will be carried out on 5 November 1943 at 0530 hours." --Signed-- "Breimeier, SS Sturmbannführer and Battalion Commander."


I omit what follows; it is of no importance. Is this not a typical example of hostage shooting carried out by the Waffen-SS?

HAUSER: I hear the name Breimeier for the first time. I do not know whether he held a court-martial beforehand. If this account here is correct, then he was not entitled to do this.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Very well. Perhaps I will succeed in convincing you by photographic evidence-Photograph Number 7, with the two heads cut off.

With the permission of the Tribunal I will read a brief extract from the report of the State Commission of Yugoslavia. The original, which we have certified, will be submitted to the Tribunal. It is now being submitted to the witness.

Will you listen under what conditions these persons were beheaded:

"On 9 June 1944 and on the following days the SS troops from Trieste committed atrocities and crimes against the Slovene population in the Slovene coastal area, as we have already stated above..."


I omit the next two sentences, which are cumulative.

"On that day Hitler's criminals captured two soldiers of the Yugoslav Liberation Army and the Slovene partisan battalions. They brought them to Razorie, where they mutilated their faces with bayonets, put out their eyes and then asked them if they could see their comrade Tito now. Thereupon they called the peasants together and beheaded the two victims before Sedefs house. They-then placed the heads on a table. Later, after a battle, the photographs were found on a fallen German. From this it can be seen that they confirm the above-described incident, namely the crime of bloodthirsty German executioners in Razorie."


Do you not consider these acts typical crimes against humanity?

HAUSER: If they were perpetrated by men of the Waffen-SS, they would be crimes, but that is not proved here, and moreover the deeds of only one of 35 divisions in the Balkans would then be generalized as typical of the whole corps of the Waffen-SS.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Then I will show you an original German document, which is Document USSR-133 and which is a letter of information from the German High Command to the Italian High Command. I will quote only two sentences. You stated yesterday that the Waffen-SS did not kill prisoners. Did I understand you correctly?

HAUSER: Yes.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I will then ask you to listen to two sentences quoted from a German document. First, at the beginning of the page:

"The western group of the SS division is near Ripac in front of barricades, which are being removed."


I omit two sentences, and continue:

"As a result of the successful engagement, 23 dead and 34 wounded and more than 100 enemy dead have been counted, 47 prisoners shot" - please pay attention to these three words - "47 prisoners shot, and 363 provisionally apprehended."


Do you not think that when a letter of information from one command to another officially mentions executions of prisoners of war, these proceedings practiced by the Waffen-SS are very cruel indeed?

HAUSER: This is the report of a first lieutenant on crimes which an SS detachment is supposed to have committed - without giving details of the unit to which this detachment belonged. I cannot comment on this.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I believe that the number of 47 soldiers shot is concrete evidence. Are you of a different opinion?

HAUSER: I have no proof that men of the Waffen-SS did this.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Then please answer a few other questions. Do you know where the 3rd SS Tank Corps was engaged in the territory of the U.S.S.R?

HAUSER: The 3rd Tank Corps? The 3rd? Is that a corps, a Panzer corps? I believe it was used in the southern sector.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: No, it was engaged in Estonia. Do you know General Steiner?

HAUSER: Yes, the commanding general was General Steiner.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Do you know where the Totenkopf Division was engaged?

HAUSER: Yes, we discussed that today already.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: It was engaged at Demyansk, Pavlovsk, and other districts of the Novgorod region, is that not right?

HAUSER: Did you say Demyansk? Did I hear that correctly?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes.

HAUSER: Yes, one division was there.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: That division was commanded by Major General Eicke, is that not right?

HAUSER: Eicke? Eicke; yes, indeed.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Do you know where the Adolf Hitler Division was engaged?

HAUSER: Do you mean at the time when the Totenkopf Division was at Demyansk? I believe it was also in the southern sector at Demyansk-I believe that was in 1942 or 1941.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Quite right. This division was commanded by General Simon, is that not right?

HAUSER: Simon was the successor of Eicke, yes. That is the same division.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: All right. Then will you tell me, when did Obergruppenführer Dietrich command the Adolf Hitler Division? Was that later?

HAUSER: No, he was in command until the summer of 1943.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Do you know where the 134th SS Division was engaged?

HAUSER: We did not have such high numbers.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And the 97th SS Division, Golden Lily?

HAUSER: That did not exist, either. We had at the most 35 to 40 divisions ...

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: But the Golden Lily was an SS division. Is that right?

HAUSER: I hear that name for the first time. What is the name?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Golden Lily.

HAUSER: No, that is entirely new to me.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And, the Storm Brigade Lange-marek-did you ever hear of that name or not?

HAUSER: There was a Battalion Langemarck which must also have been a part of the 3rd German Panzer Corps.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Do you know Stunubannfuehrer Sehling?

HAUSER: I did not understand the name.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Sehling.

HAUSER: No. No, I do not know him.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And do you know Lieutenant General Lüneberg?

HAUSER: Lingeberg, yes.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: No, Lüneberg.

HAUSER: Oh yes; he was the commander of the SS Police Division.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Quite right, it is the name of an SS Police Leader.

HAUSER: Yes, General Lüneberg was the commanding officer of the SS Police Division.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: That is correct. Thank you.

Mr. President, I am submitting to the Tribunal a document of the Extraordinary State Commission about the activities of the Waffen-SS troops against the civilian population and prisoners of war in the occupied territories. This report was compiled on the basis of evidence which had been submitted by the Extraordinary State Commission. It is signed by the responsible secretary of the Extraordinary State Commission, Bogoiavlensky, and is sealed. This report might aid the Tribunal in its examination of the material already submitted by the Extraordinary State Commission.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you, Colonel Smirnov, the original of this document?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: May I see it?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, have you put in yet the report of the Extraordinary Commission?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, Mr. President. A series of reports by the Extraordinary State Commission has been submitted, reports about the Estonian S.S.R., about Kiev, Kharkov, et cetera. This document is a summary of the material which has already been submitted.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smimov, does this document consist of extracts from the Extraordinary Commission's report?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: No, Mr. President. Strictly speaking, it is only a detailed list of the various military units engaged in different regions of the U.S.S.R. They are not extracts from the report of the Extraordinary State Commission, but a list of separate units or SS detachments engaged in the different areas. Mostly these are the facts which serve as evidence in judging individual units. They are all mentioned in the reports of the Extraordinary State Commission which we have already put in.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, I think the Tribunal appre-ciates that you have done this for the convenience of the Tribunal, that this document has been prepared for the convenience of the Tribunal, but the Tribunal thinks they had better refer only to the report of the Extraordinary Commission itself which has already been offered in evidence.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, Mr. President. I have no further questions to put to the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, what unit were you commanding at the time war against Russia broke out?

HAUSER: At the beginning of the campaign against Russia I was commander of the Division Das Reich.

THE PRESIDENT: Das Reich? Where was that division stationed at the outbreak of the war?

HAUSER: It was in action in the middle sector of the Eastern Front.

THE PRESIDENT: The middle sector of the Eastern Front? Was it employed in the original attack upon the Soviet Union?

HAUSER: The attack was west of the Beresina, and south of Brest-Litovsk. However, the division was not deployed there, it was brought up later,

THE PRESIDENT: You mean it was not deployed there upon the first day?

HAUSER: No, it was brought up as a rear echelon unit.

THE PRESIDENT: How long after the attack opened?

HAUSER: Yes, several divisions were drawn up at the penetration points, one behind the other, for the motorized divisions could advance on good roads only.

THE PRESIDENT: I asked how long after the attack opened was your division deployed?

HAUSER: Only 2 to 3 days after the outbreak of hostilities.

THE PRESIDENT: And are you telling the Tribunal that at that time or about that time you never heard of the order to kill commissars?

HAUSER: I have already testified that we did not receive this order regarding the commissars and that the division did not act according to it. I know only that later on we received an order for the "separation" of the commissars, and I have already stated that the troops had very little to do with this matter, since the commissars were not recognized by the troops.

THE PRESIDENT: You say you did not receive the order. What I asked you was: Did you hear of the order?

HAUSER: When the second order arrived concerning the "separation," I believe I heard that a previous order had gone out, but that the High Command had not transmitted it to many offices.

THE PRESIDENT: This order to kill the commissars?

HAUSER: That first order, of which I spoke, we did not receive.

THE PRESIDENT: Now, when you received the second order, you said you had heard of the other order, and what I wanted to know is if the other order was the order to kill the commissars?

HAUSER: I did not quite understand the question.

THE PRESIDENT: You said you received a second order to separate the commissars, and at that time you heard of the first order. What was the first order?

HAUSER: I believe that I heard of the first order to kill the commissars, but only later, when the other order for the "separation!' had already come through.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire now.

HERR PELCKMANN: May I have another word, Your Honor?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly. I thought you were through.

HERR PELCKMANN: In the course of the cross-examination of this witness the British and the Russian Prosecution submitted, as far as I was able to judge, 20 to 30 completely new documents. Not all of these documents were used in the questioning of this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, the purpose of re-examination is to ask questions and not to argue.

HERR PELCKMANN: I am not going to do that, Mr. President. I shall not put any questions dealing with these documents to which I shall return later. But the Prosecution did not put any questions either, and I am of the opinion that these documents cannot be used. One document is in the Polish language, and unfortunately I cannot read it and therefore cannot put questions on it.

Witness, I should like to refer you, as an example, to a poster in a document in English, entitled German Crimes in Poland, and comprising 184 pages. Will you please read the poster and will you tell me what connection it has with the Waffen-SS, and if possible tell the High Tribunal the page on which it is found.

HAUSER: This poster, after Page 184, contains an announcement of the SS and Police Leader. It is therefore an instrument of the Higher SS and Police Leader and, as I have stated repeatedly, has nothing whatever to do with the Waffen-SS.

HERR PELCKMANN: Now I am having submitted to you another document, Document 4039-PS, a document about which you were not questioned by the Prosecution. Please tell me what connection this document has with the Waffen-SS?

HAUSER: This is an announcement of the chief of the Warsaw district - that is an official subordinate to the Governor General which has no connection with the
Waffen-SS.

HERR PELCKMANN: Is there nothing mentioned about the Waffen-SS in this document?

HAUSER: It says here only that the German Wehrmacht ..
.
HERR PELCKMANN: Please speak clearly. I was asking you whether the document contains anything at all about the Waffen-SS?

HAUSER: I am sorry I have to say "No." There is nothing about the Waffen-SS in this document.

HERR PELCKMANN: I should like further to show you Docu-ment 4038-PS. This document was also not submitted to you by the Prosecution. Please read it carefully and then tell me what connection it has with the Waffen-SS.

THE PRESIDENT: What number is that?

HERR PELCKILANN: It is 4038-PS, Your Lordship.

HAUSER: This also is an announcement by the chief of the Warsaw district who was subordinate to the Governor General and has no connection with the Waffen-SS.

HERR PELCKMANN: I should further like to submit Document D-954, or the figure might be 957, it is not quite clear. This is an interrogation of 27 May 1946 of the witness ...

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, I think all these documents speak for themselves, and if they don't refer to the Waffen-SS, the Tribunal will take note of that fact.

HERR PELCKMANN: Yes, Mr. President. But then I should like to know just why these documents were submitted. May I respectfully say that they are not relevant at all. As you suggest, Mr. President, I shall not submit this document.

Can you judge, Witness, whether this book, D-956, which you had in your hands, contains anything at all about the Waffen-SS?

HAUSER: I looked at it only briefly, but I could not establish any connection.

HERR PELCKMANN: Thank you.

You were reminded, Witness, of the speech of Himinler at Kharkov. You said that Himmler's idea that terror had been of use to the troops was wrong. Did you express your view about this to Himmler, and if so, in what way?

HAUSER: I made my view known to Himinler on the same day and, as is customary with military subordinates, I spoke to him alone.

HERR PELCKMANN: The SS Division Prinz Eugen was mentioned. How many divisions of the Waffen-SS were there?

HAUSER: To my knowledge, there were more than 35 divisions. I believe there were even more, but they did not all exist at the same time. One of these divisions was the Division Prinz Eugen, of which I have already said that it contained many racial Germans in its ranks.

HERR PELCKMANN: Is it true that Serbs and Croats also served in this division?

HAUSER: I cannot give you any particulars on that point. We had several divisions in the Balkans which contained Croats, Montenegrins, and Moslems.

HERR PELCKMANN: Do you know that the war in the Balkans was waged with particular intensity on both sides, and were atrocities by the other side ever reported to you? I am not asking this to ascertain whether the other side committed atrocities; I am asking only to determine that on the basis of isolated atrocities, one cannot draw conclusions about a system of the enemy.

HAUSER: I had no personal insight into the campaign in the Balkans. But from history I know that even before the first World War such excesses did take place in the Balkans.

HERR PELCKMANN: Do you know through reports from the Eastern Front - and again I want to qualify the question to make my intention quite clear...

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, the witness has already told us that he knows nothing about the war in the Balkans, and therefore any questions you put to him will have no significance to us.

HERR PELCKMANN: Witness, do you understand that I am now asking you about the Eastern Front?

HAUSER: Yes, incidents of that type did take place. And reports of them were collected at headquarters and were forwarded, I believe, through the OKH and, I think, by the Red Cross at Geneva; but I cannot give you particulars.

HERR PELCKMANN: Do you know that reports of that sort were collected?

HAUSER: Yes.

HERR PELCKMANN: And would you conclude therefrom that the Red Army did things like that systematically?

HAUSER: You can hardly expect me to state whether these things were done systematically or not.

GEN. RUDENKO: Mr. President, I would like to make the following brief statement. The Defense has in the course of the proceedings tried more than once on the basis of inventions published in Fascist White Books to draw attention to, atrocities committed by the opponent. This practice has already been categorically rejected by the Tribunal and I therefore consider that the question now put by the defendant's counsel is also inadmissible.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, the Tribunal considers that you have no right to ask this witness for his opinion about these matters. You must confine yourself to asking him questions as to facts, and what he knows about facts. And you can make any argument about those facts that you like when you come to make your argument.

HERR PELCKMANN: Witness, in order to clarify the meaning of my previous question, I should like to ask you this: If you could now see the deeds which allegedly on the basis of these documents were committed by the SS, would you, nevertheless, say that these things were not representative of a system but were isolated incidents arising out of the severity of the battle, and caused partly by the lack of discipline on the part of certain foreign elements, incidents which for these reasons could happen everywhere?

THE PRESIDENT: You should not begin by asking the witness for his opinion. He has already given it to us, you know; he has already said, when he was being cross-examined About those incidents in which the Waffen-SS took part, that they were individual instances. He has already said that.

HERR PELCKMANN: [Turning to the witness.] You have seen the document which says that hostages were shot and a Yugoslav was hanged. If you had received knowledge of a case like that among your troops, would you have taken any steps?

HAUSER: A case like that falls in the first instance under the jurisdiction of the divisional commander as the judicial authority. If I, as the commanding general, would have received reports like that, I would have taken steps, and I would have appointed a military court to deal with the case. And that indeed is what happened several times.

HERR PELCKMANN: You were asked about the case of Oradour in France. Do you know whether your units, that is, when they were under your command, participated in this crime?

HAUSER: I know this incident only from the Indictment, and I have no further knowledge of it. Apparently, it was a criminal act of a single company leader. It took place at an earlier date. If it had been brought to my knowledge and if the division commander had been subordinate to me, I would have given him the order to appoint a military court to try the case.

HERR PELCKMANN: Your unit was used in Normandy; is that correct?

HAUSER: Yes, but Oradour is not in Normandy.

HERR PELCKMANN: It is in southern France? Was your unit, while it was under your command, responsible for it?

HAUSER: No, neither the unit nor I.

HERR PELCKMANN: The Prosecution has confronted you with quotations from Document 1919-PS, Exhibit USA-170.

[Turning to the Tribunal.] I should be very grateful if this docu-ment could be put at my disposal so that I could show it to the witness. I think that without seeing the whole of the document, the witness cannot give a comprehensive reply.

[A document was handed to Herr Pelckmann.]

[Turning to the witness.] This is the order given by Himmler or by Hitler about the future tasks of the SS. I cannot show it to you, because it is in English. But I shall quote the following from this document:

"The Greater German Reich in its final form will not within its boundaries contain only racial units which are from the beginning well-disposed to the Reich. But in our Reich of the future, police troops will be in possession of the necessary authority only if..."


Please describe this order, on the basis of what you know of it, and tell us to what, and to what period of time these statements actually refer.

HAUSER: I know this order only through oral information. It was transmitted to the military commands apparently in order to assuage their misgivings about the growth of the Waffen-SS. The order refers only to the future. It speaks of the Greater German Reich as the Reich of the future. But naturally what in particular Hitler meant by this is beyond my knowledge.

HERR PELCKMANN: This directive seems to indicate that the Waffen-SS was to receive police tasks in the future. Was that the basic principle of the Waffen-SS during the war?

HAUSER: No. I must deny that. Perhaps Hitler at the time thought of something like the military boundary which used to exist in Austria; the men worked there, and in emergencies formed the border defense unit.

HERR PELCKMANN: In your questioning by the Russian pros-ecutor, one particular unit was mentioned from a list of alleged crimes committed by Waffen-SS units, and you were asked whether you knew the commander, General Steiner. You answered "yes" to that question?

HAUSER: Yes.

HERR PELCKMANN: I want to read an affidavit, one of the affidavits which I shall submit later on. This is Affidavit Number SS-1, which shows what strict views this Lieutenant General Steiner had on the discipline of his troops. I quote from the middle of this affidavit:

"Our attention had been called to an alleged spy."-- says Walter Kalweit, who signed the affidavit - "We tried to open the door of the neighboring house, but were unsuccessful. Thereupon we broke a window, entered the house, and searched it thoroughly, without, however, finding a Soviet spy. Since we were forced to realize that we had made a mistake, we left the house by the way in which we had entered it, and regretted very much having broken a window pane.

"Two hours later, two Oberscharfuehrer of the field police force of the divisional staff 'Wiking' arrested us. On the way to the divisional court, we asked the policemen the reason for our arrest. They replied that the Ukrainian woman, owner of the house which we had searched, had complained to the divisional staff on account of the broken window pane, and that the commander of the division, General Steiner, had decreed an immediate strict investigation of this case before the divisional court, and Ernst Gugl and I were interrogated singly by a judge holding the rank of Hauptsturmführer.

"The judge said to me that an order of the day of General Steiner had instructed members of the SS Division Wiking that it was their duty to behave decently toward the Ukrainian civilian population. My comrade Gugl and I had violated this order, since without permission or instruction we had forced our way into a Ukrainian home by destroying a window pane."


I omit a few sentences.

"After the case had thus been cleared up, the judicial officer drew up a record of the interrogation and charged me with taking it to General Steiner's orderly officer, Hauptsturmführer von Schalburg, who commented on the report as follows-these were his words:

"'It is a good thing that your behavior was clean; otherwise you could have counted on severe punishment. General Steiner charged me with reporting to him personally the result of the investigation, and I am happy that I do not have to give him bad reports about his Wiking men ... Tell all your comrades that the Wiking Division is fighting chivalrously and clean.'"


After hearing this example, Witness, can you confirm, first, that this was the basic attitude of General Steiner and of his troops, and second, that it was the basic attitude of the Waffen-SS, both at the front and in the rear zones.

HAUSER: Steiner was one of the first commanders who under my orders helped to build up the Verfügungstruppe. I know he maintained strict discipline. Whether it was necessary to have judicial proceedings on account of a window pane may be doubtful. However this is the conception adopted by the old leaders of Verfügungstruppe right from the beginning of the Waffen-SS.

HERR PELCKMANN: I am sorry, Mr. President, there are so many documents. I am just searching for a last one which I wanted to make the subject of my re-examination.

Of the numerous affidavits submitted by the British Prosecution, one was deposed by Dr. Stanislaw Piotrowski on 29 July 1946 here in Nuremberg. May I request that this witness be called for cross--examination before the Tribunal? It is obvious that the witness is present here and no reason therefore exists why we should be satisfied with an affidavit.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the number of the document?

HERR PELCKMANN: The number is D-939, Your Lordship.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pelckmann, hadn't you better finish with the witness first and then make your motion afterwards, if you want to make a motion about cross-examination?

HERR PELCKMANN: I have no further questions to put to this witness, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

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Post by Michael Miller » 17 Sep 2004 00:28

I'm amazed at the ignorance of the prosecution on many points. They should have at least familiarized themselves with the basics, such as the fact that there was no "134th ["Golden Lilly"!] SS Division" or that the Waffen-SS units involved in destroying the Warsaw Ghetto were not the combat units under Hausser's command (rather they were cavalry and Panzergrenadier replacement and training units) or that Lidice was not destroyed by the "Prinz Eugen" Division of the Waffen-SS- then, as always, engaged in the Balkans far from Bohemia & Moravia- but by The Sipo/SD and companies of the Ordnungspolizei... It's no wonder that the entire SS (minus the Reiter-Standarten and some of the Baltic volunteers) was deemed a "Criminal Organization"- certain figures in the prosecution did not know there was any distinction between frontline W-SS combat units and rear echelon murder squads.

~ Mike

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Post by Dan » 17 Sep 2004 00:51

Mike you beat me to it. This jumped out at me

HERR PELCKMANN: You were asked about the case of Oradour in France. Do you know whether your units, that is, when they were under your command, participated in this crime?

HAUSER: I know this incident only from the Indictment, and I have no further knowledge of it. Apparently, it was a criminal act of a single company leader. It took place at an earlier date. If it had been brought to my knowledge and if the division commander had been subordinate to me, I would have given him the order to appoint a military court to try the case.

HERR PELCKMANN: Your unit was used in Normandy; is that correct?

HAUSER: Yes, but Oradour is not in Normandy.

HERR PELCKMANN: It is in southern France? Was your unit, while it was under your command, responsible for it?


:lol: Talk about "fishing" and slick lawyer talk!

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Post by walterkaschner » 17 Sep 2004 04:52

To my mind, the indictment and conviction of the various "criminal organizations" is one of the aspects most difficult to defend of the major IMT proceedings. I have the same problem with criminalizing organizations under U.S. law. It is hard for me to understand how an "organization" as such, which is nothing more than an artificial grouping of individuals, has the capability of forming the intent or committing the act which has traditionally been an essential element for conviction of a crime.

Indeed, I question the practical effect of the IMT's holding that the SS, almost without distinction of its various units, was in fact a criminal organization.

In the first place, the judgement was somewhat tempered to include only certain SS members:

TheTribunal declares to be criminal within the meaning of the Charter the group composed of those persons who had been officially accepted as members of the SS as enumerated in the preceding paragraph who became or remained members of the organisation 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 organisation in the commission of such crimes, excluding, however, those who were drafted into membership by the State in such a way as to give them no choice in the matter, and who had committed no such crimes. The basis of this finding is the participation of the organisation in war crimes and crimes against humanity connected with the war; this group declared criminal cannot include, therefore, persons who had ceased to belong to the organisations enumerated in the preceding paragraph prior to 1st September, 1939. [My emphasis.]


In other words, SS volunteers who themselves committed criminal acts or had knowledge that the SS was being used to commit criminal acts were themselves criminally liable, while SS conscripts were guilty only if they committed such acts themselves, regardless of their knowledge of acts committed by others.

It is interesting to note that (at least as far as I know) Paul Hausser, even though considered the "father"of the Waffen-SS, was never himself personally even charged with any specific criminal activity, although he was continued to be held in captivity until mid-1948.

It is also interesting to note that, at least in the case of the1953 French criminal proceedings against the members of the Waffen 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich for the atrocities committed at Oradour-sur-Glane, only slight heed was apparently paid to the IMT judgement, and the 13 Alsatian conscripts who actually participated in the massacre promptly received pardons, and the single Alsatian volunteer, although sentenced to death, was himself eventually pardoned, as were the German former SS members as well. By 1958 all defendants had been released from prison. By 1953, French politics had effectively trumped the IMT judgment of the SS as a criminal organization.

Thanks to David Thomson for providing "Papa" Hausser's testimony at the major IMT trial.

Regards, Kaschner

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Post by David Thompson » 17 Sep 2004 06:16

Thanks, Walter. It's always great to hear from you.

Readers interested in following through on walterkaschner's comments may find these threads of interest:

The SS and war crimes
viewtopic.php?t=15441
Defense of the SS
viewtopic.php?t=15475
Judgment on the SS as a criminal organization
viewtopic.php?t=15476

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by Ivan Ž. » 17 Nov 2017 16:23

HERR PELCKMANN: The Prosecution is particularly accusing the Verfügungstruppe for inciting racial hatred and for the persecution of the Jews as one of its special tasks. Was the troop trained for these purposes?
HAUSSER: [...] I can testify that race hatred and the extermination of Jewry or of the Eastern peoples was never taught and was never demanded.
What a hypocrite Hausser was. "Never taught and was never demanded"? Fine - then they acted on their own initiative. Pictured below are officers of Paul Hausser's SS Division "Reich" rounding up Jews in Petrovgrad (Zrenjanin) in April 1941. The people were put in an improvised concentration camp (a school, pictured) and held imprisoned (I'll skip the humiliations they were subjected to) until their transfer to Belgrade, where they were executed. One of Hausser's "Reich" Division's top priorities upon arriving in Petrovgrad, the capital of the Banat, was the persecution of the Jews (even the local synagogue was destroyed, see viewtopic.php?f=38&t=39070#p2108390). Also present in the (Banat) area at the time was Mr division commander himself, Paul Hausser. But - he probably "knew nothing" of this. No one knew anything.

13486.jpg
[/size]Photo source: Muzej istorije Jugoslavije, inv. br. 13486

That was just one example. If one analyses his testimony, one will notice that Mr Hausser was extremely skilled in avoiding giving straight answers, often answering only partially, or completely avoiding awkward questions.

Ivan
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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by michael mills » 20 Nov 2017 13:51

What a hypocrite Hausser was. "Never taught and was never demanded"? Fine - then they acted on their own initiative.
Was Hausser really being hypocritical? He was answering a question specifically about the training of the SS-Verfuegungstruppe, the pre-war predecessor of the Waffen-SS, which was not formed until July 1940.

Hausser's answer stated that the training given to the SS-VT, of which he was in charge since 1936, did not include the concept that the Jews should be exterminated. There is no reason to believe that that answer was untrue, since in that pre-war period the German Government policy toward Jews was to expel them, not to exterminate them. In fact, the SS played a major role in organising the emigration of Jews from Germany. Accordingly, it is hardly likely that the "extermination of Jewry" was a part of the curriculum for the training of the SS-VT over which Hausser presided.

The example given by Ivan Z, that of the participation of the Reich Division commanded by Hausser in the rounding-up of Jews during the April 1941 invasion of Yugoslavia does not disprove Hausser's claim, since the rounding-up was not for the purpose of extermination, but rather was a case of internment of population elements believed to be particularly hostile to Germany and to pose a security risk. At the time the SS troops under Hausser's command were rounding up Jews in the Banat, ie April 1941, there had as yet been no decision made for the extermination of Jewry; the mass-killing off Jews commenced only after the subsequent invasion of the Soviet Union, and then it only affected the Jews of the Soviet Union, who were considered (mistakenly) to be the main "bearers of Bolshevism".

The killing of the Jewish men who had been rounded up by Hausser's men in April 1941 was not carried out until several months later, and then not by Hausser's men, who were fully engaged in combat on the Eastern Front against the Red Army. Hausser had no reason to believe that the Jews his men had rounded up would later be killed, and he certainly was not rounding them up in pursuit of an exterminatory policy of which he was not aware, and which did not exist at that time.

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by Ivan Ž. » 20 Nov 2017 14:28

Dear Michael - that was a completely unnecessary reply, especially considering the beginning and the ending lines of my post (and then also everything else in-between). I chose my words carefully, well aware of the points that you would mention afterwards.

First of all, the prosecution's question, as well as my post, was focusing on racial hatred and persecution, which does not necessarily include the extermination (which was the focus of your reply).

I am shocked that anyone in 2017 can write that rounding and locking the civilians up based on their ethnicity "rather was a case of internment of population elements believed to be particularly hostile to Germany and to pose a security risk." Well what was that if not racial hatred? Don't you think that was a crime? Wouldn't you mind being locked up yourself together with your family, humiliated and tormented by some guys because of your ethnicity? Would you consider it a crime or a "mistake"? And why would Hausser's men believe that Jews pose a security risk, Michael? Because they just fealt like it or because they were taught so (or was there perhaps some third option that did not cross my mind)?

I guess not giving hundreds of people food for days, making them (women included) use a public (and their only) yard as a toilet, making them lick floor, beating them, and so on - were also security measures? Taking all of their money and valuables in exchange for freedom and then leaving them locked up anyway (Jürgen Wagner) - was that a security measure? Closing their stores, destroying their synagogue (Wagner again) - more security measures? Yes, Jewish temples were surely potential threats, the same as Jews themselves having money and earning sources :roll:

The point, dear Michael, and again, that was just one example of Hausser's hypocrisy, was that regardless of whether the (Waffen-)SS man was taught racial hatred in an SS school or not, the SS man was taught racial hatred, if nothing else than through German media (denying that suggests only that the SS man was born with it). Regardless of whether the persecution of an entire nation was demanded in an SS school or not, the SS man did participate in it (the extermination too). Hausser's answers were very often only partially true - and thus cannot be really considered true, but false. He kept showing only the "bright" side of the SS coin and hiding the other, the very dark one (which was clearly known to him, he was part of it), thus giving the world a false idea about the organisation. As I wrote the last time: Hausser was extremely skilled in avoiding giving straight answers, often answering only partially, or completely avoiding awkward questions. Why do you think they had to ask him three (!) times before he finally opened his mouth and confirmed that the "Prinz Eugen" Division was a Waffen-SS division too? Take a guess.

Ivan

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by wbell » 21 Nov 2017 09:37

As I understand it, Hausser served as an officer in the Prussian Army during World War 1. It wasn't until after retirement, that he joined the SS. Certainly at that time, there was no reason to believe that he was involved in anything sinister. His experiences were likely as described.

As I'm soon to be 65 (a young pup compared to some members), I can't help but shake my head at times. Young people don't value the same things as I do. When I read the examination of this man, I couldn't help but notice that he mentioned (more than once) how the older officers thought. Honor was important to them and I don't doubt that this was the case. Unnamed units had to earn the right to be named. Officers led their units accordingly.

He also mentioned that atrocities are done in every conflict, by both sides. That does not mean that in every instance it extends to every member of that organization. It seems that Hausser may have been oblivious to some of what was transpiring, but I don't believe he was ever convicted of any wrong doing.
Last edited by wbell on 21 Nov 2017 13:22, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by Ivan Ž. » 21 Nov 2017 09:52

Some people have a very strange sense of honour.

Since the "atrocities are done in every conflict, by both sides", could you name the Jewish ones please? They were the "other side" this time.

It's interesting to read that the "unnamed units had to earn the right to be named" and that the "officers led their units accordingly". This makes me think of the "Skanderbeg" Division, which was named before having a single recruit and whose first "action" was the rounding up of the local Jews. Is that the honour and the leadership that you mentioned? If so, I am happy for the younger generations who don't share the same values.

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by wbell » 21 Nov 2017 14:15

Hi Ivan,

I meant no disrespect to the many who suffered and were murdered without cause by the SS. My point was that the older generation often acts in a manner not shared by the younger ones. An example of this is found in the FBI report: Age Specific Arrest Rates for Selected Offenses 1993-2001. The incidence of violent crime continually decreases as the age is increased (https://ucr.fbi.gov/additional-ucr-publ ... t93-01.pdf)

Generally speaking, an older man is less likely to commit or condone heinous acts of violence. The aging process often provides a person with increased patience, wisdom and understanding. Like any society, Nazi Germany was composed of individuals, some good, others not so. War often reveals the darker-side of our nature. Although Chivalry is a dying concept in our society, there are people who conduct themselves in a chivalrous manner, regardless of the situation.

You seem to harbour something negative against Paul Hausser. Do you possess information about his conduct that convinces you of him condoning or participating in a war crime?

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by Ivan Ž. » 21 Nov 2017 15:19

Dear wbell,

I understood your point and I'm sure that you understood my sarcasm as well. I actually do agree with you in general regarding the aging issue, but this was not the time nor the place to discuss whether Hausser got more wise and patient as he grew older!

The topic was that, in his testemony, Hausser tried to completely exclude the Waffen-SS from the persecution of the Jews before the world and history, even though he himself participated in it. If you don't consider the actions of his division in the Banat a crime, then I have nothing else to add (I remind you to take a look at this link as well, which I've posted earlier: viewtopic.php?f=38&t=39070#p2108390).

Does anyone disagree that locking-up civilians because of their ethnicity is a crime? Does anyone disagree that tormenting civilians because of their ethnicity is a crime? Does anyone disagree that destroying a religious temple is a crime? Does anyone disagree that thievery is a crime? Is there anyone who would not mind any of this happening to him/her, his/her family and community?

How can anyone dare to mention honour, wisdom and understanding after such deeds? And these were just two weeks (!!) in the existence of just one Waffen-SS unit that I was describing. I am shocked by the willingness of some of our oldest members to keep their eyes shut to Hausser's guilt and hypocrisy, and even to try and defend, justify or simply ignore the actions of the people under his very command.

I am sorry, wbell, but your contribution was disrespectful towards the Jewish civilians that suffered under Paul Hausser, as was his testimony. And if you don't think that a division commander is responsible for the very much official and public business conducted by his subordinates, then I have nothing else to add there either.

Let's not stray away from the topic again please.

Ivan

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by wbell » 21 Nov 2017 16:45

Ivan,

Considering how the rules of evidence were applied within the IMT, I would have thought, that if there was only reasonable suspicion that Paul Hausser was in anyway responsible for war crimes, he would have been charged accordingly. Especially in his high-ranking position. I'm unaware if he was ever charged, but I'm reasonably certain that he wasn't found guilty of anything.

My comments were in-light of his testimony and cross-examination only. I have no additional information on the actions of the witness. This is why I specifically asked you if you had further information.

I'm a retired police investigator. After law school I decided to spend my career putting the deserving in prison. I believe the guilty should be punished. At the same time, I don't believe in convicting someone by association or hearsay evidence. To be called a crime, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Something that I would want for myself, my family or anyone else.

You have stated that I've been "disrespectful towards all the Jewish civilians that suffered under Paul Hausser." That is not the case. What I said was that I haven't seen any evidence that Hausser was guilty of anything and asked why you felt the way you did.

I don't believe a Divisional Commander is responsible for every soldier's actions under his command. If however the Commander was complicit in any way, that's a different story. If he knew of war crimes and didn't prosecute them, he should be punished under military law. In his statement, Hausser stated that he would recommend that any soldier accused of any such actions be prosecuted.

If you have any evidence please provide it. I have acknowledged that the SS have been involved in many atrocities, but don't believe that everyone who wore that uniform was a savage murderer. Presumption of innocence dictates ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. A person is considered innocent unless proven guilty.

I understand that their are some on this site who harbor much hatred as a result of their family's suffering. I'm Canadian and although my father fought Nazi Germany as a Pilot in the war, that war was not my experience. I've had (over the years) many German and Jewish friends. May such a war never be repeated.

Thank you for the link, I'll review it now.

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