Affidavits of Rudolf Diels

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Affidavits of Rudolf Diels

Post by David Thompson » 29 Nov 2004 23:41

Document 2544-PS: Statement of Rudolf Diels [translation], in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume V: US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1946. pp. 288-290.
I, Rudolf Diels, 45 years of age, testify under oath as follows: When Hitler became Chancellor of the Reich on 30 January 1933, I was a Superior Government Councillor [Oberregierungsrat] in the police section of the Prussian Ministry of Interior. There I was in the section: Political Police. Therefore I know the happenings within the police, as they occurred during the time after Hitler's seizure of power, from my own experience.

When Hitler became Chancellor of the Reich, Hermann Goering, became provisional [Kommissarischer] Prussian Minister of the Interior and thereby my superior. As such he was the head of the centralized Prussian police administration. This organization constituted the strongest power [Machtfaktor] aside from the army.

The perfectly primitive Nazi conception of the conduct of a state was, that one had to annihilate or render harmless all adversaries or suspected adversaries. The inferiority complex of the Nazis towards everything they did not know, e.g. legal institution, experts and so on has much to do with that.

As for that, it was a natural matter for the new Nazi Government and the party, which had come into power, to annihilate their adversaries by all possible means. These actions started after the Reichstag fire. They were executed by various party groups, especially by the SA; for such criminal purposes the government also tried to make the most of certain official government agencies. The methods applied were as follows: Human beings, who deprived of their freedom subjected to severe bodily mistreatment or killed. These illegal detentions [Freiheitsberaubungen] took place in camps, often old military barracks, stormtroop quarters or fortresses. Later on these places became known as concentration camps, such as Oranienburg, near Berlin, Lichtenburg, Papenburg, Dachau in Bavaria, Columbiahouse Berlin, etc.

During this period of time, numerous politicians, deputies, writers, doctors, lawyers and other personalities of leading circles were arrested illegally, tortured and killed. Among the killed, there were the Social Democrat Stelling, Ernst Heilmann, the former Police President of Altona Otto Eggerstedt, the communist Schehr from the Ruhr territory, and numerous parties and denominations, amongst them Conservatives, Democrats, Catholics, Jews, Communists and Pacifists.

These murders were camouflaged by the expression: "shot while trying to escape" or "resisting arrest" or similar things. Approximately 5-700 people perished during this first wave of terror (from March-October 1933 approximately).

I myself and my co-workers, old civil servants Not-Nazis, tried to resist this wave of terror.

There was no legal possibility left any more, to undertake anything in order to stop these illegal arrests, because the Reich Cabinet had suspended Civil Rights by decree of 28 February 1933. On account of this fact, it was also impossible for the inmates of the concentration camps to appeal to any court. Such a state of affairs had never existed before, not even during extraordinary times. The word "protective custody" as used at that time for concentration camps etc. was an irony. There were a few cases of real protective custody, in which I put people behind safe walls, in order to protect them against terrible excesses.

The number of illegal cases attained an ever-increasing extent. When Heinrich Himmler took over the reins of power as the highest Chief of police in Prussia under Goering, these actions were really organized by the State proper. The first, great, state-organized terror project under his leadership was the blood purge of 30 June 1934, at that time SA leaders, Generals, leading Catholics and others were murdered. He also arrested people again, who had been released from concentration camps before that time. This at a time, when actually a certain tranquility in the country had set in already.

Read by myself, approved, signed and sworn to:

Signed in the presence of:
[signed] Robert M. W. Kempner
Expert Consultant for the Judge Advocate General

Sworn to in the presence of:
[signed] William E. Miller

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Post by David Thompson » 29 Nov 2004 23:42

Document 2472-PS: Affidavit of Rudolf Diels [translation], in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume V: US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1946. pp. 224-226.
Immediately after the seizure of power, for several months Hitler stuck to the principle of legality. Also the SA, the fighting troop of the NSDAP, retained strict discipline in this span of time, although collisions with the Communists were a thing of the past. After the Reichstag fire and after the newly elected Reichstag had handed over the sole complete power to Hitler in the enabling act, the SA no longer recognized any limitations.

In conjunction with the prohibition of parties, especially of the Communist Party, Hitler gave the command for the arrest of leading Communists; cases should be made against these Communists for high treason. The police, however, did not succeed in carrying out these arrests, for the SA in the whole country had gotten ahead of the police. It not only arrested these Communists but also, far and beyond this circle, dragged members of the Social Democratic, the Democratic and Central Parties into prison. Also thousands of harmless Communists were arrested. When the police dismissed those arrested after a short interrogation, the SA went so far as to erect their own prisons and concentration camps. When the police proceeded against these arrests of the SA and lifted them by force in many cases, those who were let out were again robbed of their liberty by the SA and in many cases were hidden from the police. At this time there originated the "Heldenkeller," the secret dungeons of the SA. The prisoners were mistreated in many cases by whippings, a few were killed. The conduct of the SA forced the police in many cases to take the persons into protective custody [Schutzhaft]. In doing this there was no pretense of an arbitrary deprivation of liberty. But in the greatest quantity of the cases these measures served as a personal protection for the person aggrieved against the excesses of the SA. During these revolutionary months the SA leaders were more powerful than the Gau leaders. They also refused obedience to Goering who attempted to create order and as leader of the police proceeded against excesses and mistreatments. For the arbitrary arrests of the year 1933 the SA Fuehrers, who misled their SA men into this business, are responsible.

The arbitrary arrests by the SA lessened in number toward the end of the year 1933 because the police were able to carry on more strongly and because the SA itself had admitted many Communists, Social Democrats, and Democrats into its ranks.

In the course of the year 1933 the political police had more to do with the excesses of the SA than with the fighting of Communists. I can name numerous persons who as members of the political police at that time can testify to this. Because of their opposition to the SA, these persons were discharged from their offices when Heydrich and Himmler took over the Prussian police.

The political police of Prussia in January 1934 laid before Hitler a memorandum about the excesses of the SA in the year 1933 with the proposal that a case be made against the SA Fuehrers named therein. Hitler did not do that but charged Himmler, who had been employed as chief of the police by Goering, to kill these SA Fuehrers without legal procedure. That occurred on 30 June 1934.

Because many people had ben arbitrarily placed in prisons and concentration camps by the past acts of the SA, the Prussian political police at that time, which still had no national socialist garb and nothing to do with the SS, urged mass discharges. After long negotiations Hitler decided in December 1933 to decree an amnesty for such persons who could not be prosecuted for high treason. From about 30000 persons around 25000 were discharged. From about 30 concentration camps, so far as I remember, 2 remained (Oranienburg und Papenburg).

[signed] R. DIELS

Before me, the undersigned authority, on 31 October 1945, personally appeared Rudolf Diels known to me, who on oath stated that he had written and carefully read the foregoing four pages signed by him and that the matters and facts therein stated are true and correct.

[signed] Robert G. Stephens, Jr.
Major, Infantry,
US Army Office of US Chief of Counsel
Nurnberg, Germany

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