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] RUDOLF DIELS
Signed in the presence of:
[signed] Robert M. W. Kempner
DR. ROBERT M. W. KEMPNER
Expert Consultant for the Judge Advocate General
Sworn to in the presence of:
[signed] William E. Miller
WILLIAM E. MILLER 1st Lt. J.A.G.D.