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"Mr Reich Minister Lammers informed me that the Führer had repeatedly declared to him that he wants to hear that the Solution of the Jewish Problem has been postponed until after the war is over. That being so, the current discussions are of purely theoretical value, in Mr Reich Minister Lammers' opinion. He will moreover take pains to ensure that, whatever else happens, no fundamental decisions are taken without his knowledge in consequence of a surprise briefing by any third party"
Is a undated document. The date is March or April 1942 (Irving)? is correct? Only refers to Mischlinge? is genuine?
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Dr. Seidl (counsel for defendant Lammers): On 20 January 1942 a conference took place with Heydrich at Berlin-Wannsee. The alleged minutes of this conference were submitted by the prosecution in book 76. It is in the same document I mentioned just now, that is, Document NG-2586-G, Prosecution Exhibit 1452. [Reproduced above in this section.] Were these records submitted to you? Did you read them or hear of them in any other way?
Defendant Lammers: These weren't records. They're just one-sided minutes, compiled in the RSHA. If, which I doubt, these minutes were really sent out to everybody who attended the meeting, which included my Ministerial Councillor Kritzinger, I must still deny that they were ever submitted to me or that I ever read them. These minutes are something I would have remembered. I don't think that they ever reached the Reich Chancellery and I have quite a number of reasons for supposing that. On the other hand, it is not impossible that Kritzinger reported to me about this conference, but that was a very brief report and did not in any way indicate that the extermination of Jews might be intended. That is something I would undoubtedly remember. Nor do I think that when Kritzinger reported to me he knew about these minutes or had seen these minutes at all; otherwise he would have reported to me in more detail, emphasizing certain factors. I am sure that he was invited to the conference and attended it without my knowledge, without getting instructions from me, which I could not give him, and I am convinced that he did not make any statements on my behalf at the meeting.
Q. But didn't you consider the matter to be so important that you asked to report to the Fuehrer on this matter?
A. At the beginning of 1942 I asked the Fuehrer for an opportunity to report on the matter, and this was granted. I wanted to find out what this final solution [Endloesung] was all about and whether it was true that he had given corresponding orders, and what their contents were. However, the Fuehrer refused to discuss these matters with me. He only said that he had given Himmler the order for the final solution, namely, for the evacuation of the Jews from Germany. He also said that Himmler was responsible to him alone, and that he would inform me if my participation should turn out to be necessary.
Q. After this report, that is, this first report to the Fuehrer, what instruction did you give to your assistants in the Reich Chancellery?
A. Immediately after this report, I ordered my officials to refrain from making any comments on this matter if it should ever crop up anywhere in the Reich Chancellery. The reason I gave was that, for my part, I must refuse to comment on it in any way until after I had had an opportunity to report in detail to the Fuehrer. In particular I also ordered that if invitations should be received to any conferences by any of my officials, he was to attend only in the capacity of a listening post, without making any statements.
Q. Witness, on 6 March 1942, a meeting took place in the RSHA, concerning the Final Solution of the Jewish Question. Ministerial Councillor Boley attended on behalf of the Reich Chancellery. He has already appeared as a witness before this Tribunal. [Reproduced in part above in this section.] The file note concerning this meeting is in book 76, on page 195 of the English, 236 of the German. This file note is again in a part of Document NG-2586, Prosecution Exhibit 1544. [Dr. Gottfried Boley, a Ministerial Councillor in the Reich Chancellery, 1941-1945, was a defense witness. His testimony is recorded in the official mimeographed transcript, 18 February 1948 and 22-23 July 1948, 26 July 1948; pages 2094-2123, 13388-13424, 13533-13569, and 13711-13771.] Did Boley report to you about this meeting and if so, what did he say?
A. I did not know in advance that this meeting was imminent; I was not in Berlin; Boley reported to me about it. However, he did not report verbally but just sent me a very brief note concerning his attendance at the meeting, sending it through Ministerial Director Kritzinger. All I was able to see from this note at that time was that the meeting had taken place and that the outcome had been negative--I think, in fact, that that very word was used--but that on the other hand I was expected make some comment.
Q. Witness, weren't you alarmed by the file note of Boley, and what action did you take?
A. Certainly, the mere fact that a meeting took place at all, of whose details I had no knowledge, was enough, in connection with Boley's file note and probably also with a file note of Kritzinger, to do that. I reported to the Fuehrer, and some weeks later I was able to see him. I wanted to have a detailed discussion and get to know the Fuehrer's views because, otherwise, I could not possibly give any comments or state my own position. Once again the Fuehrer would not discuss the matter with me and cut short what had been intended to be a lengthy report with words to the effect that during the war he did not wish to hear any more reports in Jewish matters. He had more important things to do now, and other people should have more important things to do. Finally he said, pretty clearly, that he wished that an end might be put to all these Jewish affairs, once and for all. He added that after the war he would make a final decision as to where the Jews were to go. I remember he said that then there would be enough room in the East or in other places where the Jews could be taken. That was my report to the Fuehrer.
Q. What did you do after the second report to the Fuehrer?
A. The Fuehrer decision I just mentioned put to me quite a perfectly plain end to the treatment of the question of the final solution for the duration of the war. I immediately sent out information to this effect to Goering, to the Minister of the Interior, to the RSHA; I know that I also informed Schlegelberger and Stuckart; and probably also a number of other agencies who had approached me during that time on this matter and whom I could only put off again and by saying that I would report to the Fuehrer.
Q. How did you interpret Hitler's remark that after the end of the war he would decide where the Jews were to go?
A. I thought it was a reference to the various projects concerning the setting up of a separate territory for the Jews, a sort of autonomous Jewish state, or reservation, or whatever you want to call it. There was a lot of talk about such projects at the time. I had heard about them, without having myself gone into the question in any detail.
Q. After your report to the Fuehrer, and after his decision did you issue any instructions to your associates in the Reich Chancellery?
A. Yes. I informed the more important ones of the Fuehrer's decisions and these gentlemen interpreted it as being a definite victory over the RSHA. Then I ordered that, first of all, any possible requests from the RSHA for statements of our position were to remain unanswered, since this had now become superfluous, after the Fuehrer had decided and the decision had been passed on to the RSHA. Quite generally at that time I forbade any statement of position at all and again ordered that if anybody attended any meetings, he was to consider himself only as a listening post and that on such occasions he was to refer in the first place to the Fuehrer decision and otherwise was to listen without saying anything.
Q. But did the RSHA not urge you to state your position?
A. For a definite reason I remember perfectly that some weeks after the meeting of 6 March 1942 we got a reminder from the RSHA. I remember that, because this reminder was put in a somewhat unfriendly form. It was reproachful. All other departments had answered but I had not. In addition it was signed by a little official, which was an act of discourtesy to me. So I ordered that one of my associates, I forget who, should answer on his own initiative, saying that I refused to state my position.
Q. And what was the reason he gave for that?
A. I have forgotten the exact reason, but I am sure one was given, and it will have been dependent on whether I already had the Fuehrer's decision at the time or whether I had not yet received it. In the former case, presumably the reason would have been that I refused because I had to report to the Fuehrer; but if the letter reached me after I had received the Fuehrer's decision, then I am sure the reason given will have been the Fuehrer's decision itself or, at any rate, reference will have been made to it.
Q. Was there any further correspondence at this stage of affairs?
A. I can remember that I did correspond with State Secretary Schlegelberger [Franz Schlegelberger, Acting Reich Minister of Justice from January 1941 to August 1942, was a defendant in the Justice Case.] in the Ministry of Justice, and State Secretary Stuckart in the Ministry of Interior; but that must have been prior to the last-mentioned report to the Fuehrer and prior to the stop which I imposed.
Q. We will come to the details when we come to the document. Now, did you learn that in spite of this stop order by the Fuehrer, the evacuation of Jews continued?
A. Yes. As time went on, I heard rumors to that effect. I did not make any observations of my own on the subject. Especially, however, I heard that the RSHA, in spite of the Fuehrer decision was continuing to work on evacuation.
Q. And what did you do?
A. When I heard that, which must have been about the summer of 1942, I again approached Himmler and asked him why, in view of the Fuehrer decision, anything was still being done. Himmler was very hesitant and very evasive and said that he alone was responsible for evacuations. However, it was not only a matter of evacuation. There was no consultation required on that subject. He was now concerned with the persons of mixed descent and it had to be considered whether they should be included in the evacuation and put on the same footing as the Jews; and, further, there was also the question whether one should not also include the so-called privileged Jews, that is, those living in a so-called mixed marriage, with an Aryan partner, and here it must be examined whether a facilitated divorce should not be introduced, or even a compulsory divorce. I told Himmler that I must still obtain a Fuehrer decision because I had understood the Fuehrer's decision to mean a stop put on the entire question of the final solution, including persons of mixed descent and privileged Jews, for the duration of the war.
Q. Did you again report to the Fuehrer, as you said you would? That would have been a third report to the Fuehrer. What came of it?
A. In the summer or fall of 1942 I again reported to the Fuehrer and I referred to the conferences taking place and the rumors about evacuation. The Fuehrer said, "I stick to my decision; but I have no objections about conferences or consultations on the subject. Let them consult," and he added, "For the duration of the war I do not want any more reports on the subject. Himmler is responsible to me and you need not bother about these matters."
Q. In individual cases did you not receive complaints because of the evacuation, and also because of killings, and what did you do about them?
A. I would like to differentiate here between evacuation and killing. I knew nothing of killings at the time. On the other hand, from a number of complaints concerning evacuations, I saw that these evacuations were actually still going on. When I referred Himmler to the Fuehrer's stop decision, he again referred, without going into any details, to the fact that he had the Fuehrer's orders which he had to fulfill, and then said something to me to the effect: "Keep out of it. It is none of your affair. I alone am responsible to the Fuehrer in the matter." Thus, when in 1943 I realized from incoming complaints that evacuation was still going on, I always sent the individual complaints to Himmler. In most cases I got a decision from him which met me halfway, where the people for whom I was interceding were exempted from evacuation.
Q. Can you remember any such individual cases?
A. You will understand that I remember only very few of all these cases I handled, namely, those where I knew the people concerned. As for the many who were unknown to me, of course I do not remember the names; but, to give an example, Himmler was approached with reference to two former Ministers of Justice, Schiffer and Joel, [Dr. Curt Walter Joel, Reich Minister of Justice from October 1931 to May 1932. Not to be confused with Guenther Joel who was a defendant in the Justice case, Volume III, this series.] who were both full Jews. He agreed to exempt them from evacuation. Joel was married to an Aryan and was allowed to remain at home. Schiffer, I believe, had to clear out of his apartment but found accommodation in another building in Berlin. As far as I know, he was not evacuated. Mr. Kritzinger handled these matters, under me. He had an interest in these two men, under whom he had once worked, in the Ministry of Justice. I remember another case, namely, that of the former Cabinet Minister of Lippe, Freiherr von Eppstein, in whom I also took an interest. I remember a certain Lower Court judge, Sachs, in Silesia and another man in Munich, where I successfully put a stop to these evacuations. Finally, I must quote the mother-in-law of Dr. Killy, who worked in the Reich Chancellery. She was Jewish. When Mr. Killy approached me, because she had been told she would be evacuated, I approached Himmler and in this case, too, he complied with my wishes.
Q. Witness, I must return to the killings of Jews. You stated that you had no knowledge of that. But I must nevertheless ask you, didn't you at least hear rumors of such killings of Jews, and what did you undertake on hearing them?
A. Only in the year 1943 did such rumors come to my knowledge and this happened through private conversations and through a few anonymous and pseudonymous letters. But for me these rumors remained rumors. I looked into them. However, I never succeeded in ascertaining anything positive regarding the truth of such alleged facts. People bringing me such rumors never wished to stand their ground and withdrew when I tried to pin them down to their statements. It always turned out that they would name their informants or did not wish to and that they themselves were not eyewitnesses. I myself always had the impression that such rumors rested solely on the listening to foreign radios which was strictly forbidden and punishable and in the last analysis no one wished to confess this activity. So far as I looked into letters that were actually signed, I found out that these pseudonymous letters, and so far as I wished to pin any individual down to an actual deposition of facts, that never came about because the persons did not wish to stick to their stories and could produce no actual recounting of facts, and were themselves not eye witnesses.
Q. Aside from these more or less private investigations, didn't you take any official step or consider such a step necessary?
A. Yes. I turned both to Himmler and to the Fuehrer. These rumors first induced me to make representations to Himmler and he denied vehemently and indignantly that such killings were taking place. He referred to the Fuehrer order to evacuate the Jews. He said that of course cases of deaths occurred during the transportation of old and sick people because of air attacks and so forth, and moreover the Jews were employed in special camps in the East in war essential labor. He pulled from his desk a thick photograph album and showed me the tailor shops, shoe repair shops, saddler shops, and so forth, in these photographs representing this work. Then he said to me, "Name to me the people who bring forth such rumors." That I could not do because I had no positive proof and because I did not wish to name those who had told me something because they could not bear that responsibility. I told him rather that I considered myself under obligation to report these matters to the Fuehrer and to this Himmler replied, "Do what you have to. I can't prevent you. But I advise you not to do it because I alone am responsible to the Fuehrer for this evacuation which was ordered."
Q. Did this statement of Himmler's reassure you?
A. No. I did apply for permission to report to the Fuehrer, as I had told Himmler I would, and after many weeks it was granted. The Fuehrer gave me much the same answer as Himmler had given me, and added that he didn't want this matter dealt with during the war. He would later decide where the Jews were to be sent. I had the impression that Himmler had been to the Fuehrer in the meantime and had probably told him that I was going to report to him on these rumors. On this occasion the Fuehrer also demanded that I bring forth positive proof for alleged killings of Jews and that I should name those purveying the rumors. First of all, I couldn't do this, and second I didn't want to name people who could not and did not wish to stick to their stories.
Q. In what then did the problem of the final solution consist so far as you understood that term at that time and, I emphasize, your understanding of the term at that time?
A. The solution was to lie in the evacuation of full-blooded Jews. and secondly, a regulation of some sort concerning the privileged Jews and the half-Jews.
Q. Witness, on the basis of the minutes of the three meetings of 20 January 1942, 6 March 1942, and 27 October 1942 [Reference is made to records of the Wannsee Conference of 1/20/1942, Document NG-2586-G, Prosecution Exhibit 1452 the conference of representatives of various agencies on 6 March 1942, Document NG-2586-H, Prosecution Exhibit 1453, and Document NG-2586. Prosecution Exhibit 1544; and the conference of 27 October 1942, Document NG-2586, Prosecution Exhibit 1544. These documents are reproduced in part earlier in this section.] put in by the prosecution, are you still of the opinion that no program for exterminating the Jews was ever set up and that, secondly, with regard to including half-Jews and privileged Jews in the evacuation or other measures, no program was set up?
A. Yes. I am of that opinion. At least this program never came to my attention. The program cannot have been set up.
Dr. Kempner: Dr. Lammers, you are one of the few surviving statesmen of the Third Reich who knew the Fuehrer and his work very well; is that correct?
Defendant Lammers: Very well is saying too much. I had a certain amount of insight into his work and way of life.
Q. Thank you. You are not, I am sure, one of those people who now, after the defeat, deny the Fuehrer and shift the blame for Germany's catastrophe to him alone. Is that correct?
A. The Fuehrer actually, of course, was the most guilty person in this catastrophe because he inspired everything, and he by his actions brought about the catastrophe. As for shifting blame to him I can't do that. I am convinced that actually he wanted the welfare of Germany. Whether his means were always the right ones is something different.
Q. Thank you. Dr. Lammers, later I am going to ask you the following question: Do you still maintain that you did not know, during the time you were in office, that thousands of Jews were killed in the East? If you do not maintain this stand now at this moment, then I have no further questions, but I just wanted to ask you once again at the beginning.
A. Yes, I must maintain this statement within the framework of my former testimony.
Q....Did it not impress you at that time when Hitler at the famous conference of 16 July 1941 about the future of Russia talked quite openly in your presence about shootings in these territories? Book 37, page 19, Exhibit 527. [Document L-221, reproduced in section VI H (USSR), Volume XII, this series.] Did it impress you that the Fuehrer talked about shootings quite simply like that?
A. I don't know if I heard that. As far as I remember it was Keitel who said that and the way it is in wartime, "Well" he said, "whoever doesn't toe the line will be shot."
Q. Wasn't that rather violent?
A. Well, the Fuehrer sometimes did use rather violent expressions, but they weren't meant the way they were said and I never put them down that way. Only Mr. Bormann in his file notes always selected this type of word which could also be interpreted in another way too.
Q. But the people were shot though.
A. Well, I don't know who was shot in Russia. People are being shot all the time in wartime; things go on all the time.
Q. Quite right. Dr. Lammers, I come to my eleventh question. How often were you in Hitler's presence and in the presence of Rosenberg when he made such remarks about the Jews, as "The Jews are the misfortune of the world. They must be wiped off the face of the earth," or similar?
A. I don't remember that in my presence such questions were discussed by Rosenberg. We usually discussed administrative questions.
The published extracts from Dr. Lammers' testimony can be seen at:
NMT testimony of Hans Heinrich Lammers