Out of Their Own Mouths

On April 12, 1945, General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe wrote to General George Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, describing his visit to the Ohrdruf camp that had been liberated by General Patton’s army:

I have never felt able to describe my emotional reaction when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of decency . . . . I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda.

And behold, Genl. Eisenhower's words were prophetic. There are those who deny that the Shoah (Holocaust) happened, or on the scale that it did. They will say that Eisenhower's evidence was biased, or even that he was a Jew. What is more difficult to get around is the evidence of the Nazis themselves. At Nuremberg, even the tough Russian prosecutors were amazed at the cold-blooded evidence of witnesses who were themselves mass murderers. But theirs is the best evidence. The proceedings at Nuremberg are not easy to follow, because of the mass of evidence, and speeches. I have therefore extracted the salient passages of three witnesses, who were themselves Nazi war criminals. Although I have pruned them for the benefit of the reader, I have tried to maintain some objectivity: for example, leaving in a passage that exonerates the Gestapo. What does come over clearly is that, the German army, in spite of its pretence of fighting "a soldierly war," were also incriminated.

1. Otto Ohlendorf

2. Dieter Wisliceny

3. Rudolf Hoess


Colonel Amen (Associate Trial Counsel for the United States): Where were you born? Ohlendorf: In Hohen-Egelsen. Col. Amen: How old are you? Ohlendorf: Thirty-eight years old.

Col. Amen: . . . . Turning now to the designation "Mobile Units" with the Army shown in the lower right hand corner of the chart, please explain to the Tribunal the significance of the terms "Einsatzgruppe" and "Einsatzkommando." Ohlendorf: The concept "Einsatzgruppe" was established after an agreement between the Chiefs of the RSHA, OKW, and OKH, on the separate use of SIPO units in the operational areas. The concept "Einsatzgruppe" first appeared during the Polish campaign.

The agreement with the OKH and OKW, however, was arrived at only before the beginning of the Russian campaign. This agreement specified that a representative of the Chief of the SIPO and the SD would be assigned to the army groups, or armies, and that this official would have at his disposal mobile units of the SIPO and the SD in the form of an Einsatzgruppe, subdivided into Einsatzkommandos. The Einsatzkommandos would, on orders from the army group or army, be assigned to the individual army units as needed.

Col. Amen: State, if you know, whether prior to the campaign against Soviet Russia, any agreement was entered into between the OKW, OKH, and RSHA? Ohlendorf: Yes, the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos, as I have just described them, were used on the basis of a written agreement between the OKW, OKH, and RSHA. Col. Amen: How do you know that there was such a written agreement? Ohlendorf: I was repeatedly present during the negotiations which Albrecht and Schellenberg conducted with the OKH and OKW; and I also had a written copy of this agreement, which was the outcome of these negotiations, in my own hands when I took over the Einsatzgruppe.

Col. Amen: Explain to the Tribunal who Schellenberg was. What position, if any, did he occupy? Ohlendorf: Schellenberg was, at the end, Chief of Amt VI in the RSHA; at the time when he was conducting these negotiations as the representative of Heydrich, he belonged to the Amt I. Col. Amen: On approximately what date did these negotiations take place? Ohlendorf: The negotiations lasted several weeks. The agreement must have been reached about 1 or 2 weeks before the beginning of the Russian campaign. Col. Amen: Did you yourself ever see a copy of this written agreement? Ohlendorf: Yes. Col. Amen: Did you have occasion to work with this written agreement? Ohlendorf: Yes. Col. Amen: On more than one occasion? Ohlendorf: Yes; in all questions arising out of the relationship between the Einsatzgruppen and the Army.

Col. Amen: Do you know where the original or any copy of that agreement is located today? Ohlendorf: No. Col. Amen: To the best of your knowledge and recollection, please explain to the Tribunal the entire substance of this written agreement. Ohlendorf: First of all, the agreement stated that Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos would be set up and used in the operational areas. This created a precedent, because until that time the Army had, on its own responsibility, discharged the tasks which would now fall solely to the SIPO. The second was the regulation as to competence. The President: You're going too fast. What is it that you say the Einsatzkommandos did under the agreement? Ohlendorf: I said, this was the relationship between the Army and the Einsatzgruppen and the Einsatzkommandos. The agreement specified that the army groups or armies would be responsible for the movement and the supply of Einsatzgruppen, but that instructions for their activities would come from the Chief of the SIPO and SD.

Col. Amen: Let us understand. Is it correct that an Einsatz group was to be attached to each army group or army? Ohlendorf: Every army group was to have an Einsatzgruppe attached to it. The army group in its turn would then attach the Einsatzkommandos to the armies of the army group. Col. Amen: And was the army command to determine the area within which the Einsatz group was to operate? Ohlendorf: The operational area of the Einsatzgruppe was already determined by the fact that it was attached to a specific army group and therefore moved with it, whereas the operational areas of the Einsatzkommandos were then fixed by the army group or army. Col. Amen: Did the agreement also provide that the army command was to direct the time during which they were to operate? Ohlendorf: That was included under the heading "movement." Col. Amen: And also to direct any additional tasks they were to perform? Ohlendorf: Yes. Even though the Chiefs of the SIPO and SD had the right to issue instructions to them on their work, there existed a general agreement that the army was also entitled to issue orders to the Einsatzgruppen, if the operational situation made it necessary.

Col. Amen: What did this agreement provide with respect to the attachment of the Einsatz group command to the army command? Ohlendorf: I can't remember whether anything specific was contained in the agreement about that. At any rate a liaison man between the army command and the SD was appointed. Col. Amen: Do you recall any other provisions of this written agreement? Ohlendorf: I believe I can state the main contents of that agreement. Col. Amen: What position did you occupy with respect to this agreement? Ohlendorf: From June 1941 to the death of Heydrich in June 1942, I led Einsatzgruppe D, and was the representative of the Chief of the SIPO and the SD with the 11th Army. Col. Amen: And when was Heydrich's death? Ohlendorf: Heydrich was wounded at the end of May 1942, and died on 4 June 1942.

Col. Amen: How much advance notice, if any, did you have of the campaign against Soviet Russia? Ohlendorf: About 4 weeks. Col. Amen: How many Einsatz groups were there, and who were their respective leaders? Ohlendorf: There were four Einsatzgruppen, Group A, B. C, and D. Chief of Einsatzgruppe A was Stahlecker; Chief of Einsatzgruppe B was Nebe; Chief of Einsatzgruppe C, Dr. Rasche, and later, Dr. Thomas; Chief of Einsatzgruppe D, I myself, and later Bierkamp. Col. Amen: To which army was Group D attached? Ohlendorf: Group D was not attached to any army group, but was attached directly to the 11th Army.

Col. Amen: Where did Group D operate? Ohlendorf: Group D operated in the Southern Ukraine. Col. Amen: Will you describe in more detail the nature and extent of the area in which Group D originally operated, naming the cities or territories? Ohlendorf: The northernmost city was Cernauti; then southward through Mohilev-Podolsk, Yampol, then eastward Zuvalje, Czervind, Melitopol, Mariopol, Taganrog, Rostov, and the Crimea. Col. Amen: What was the ultimate objective of Group D? Ohlendorf: Group D was held in reserve for the Caucasus, for an army group which was to operate in the Caucasus.

Col. Amen: When did Group D commence its move into Soviet Russia? Ohlendorf: Group D left Duegen on 21 June and reached Pietra Namsk in Romania in 3 days. There the first Einsatzkommandos were already being demanded by the Army, and they immediately set off for the destinations named by the Army. The entire Einsatzgruppe was put into operation at the beginning of July. Col. Amen: You are referring to the 11th Army? Ohlendorf: Yes.

Col. Amen: In what respects, if any, were the official duties of the Einsatz groups concerned with Jews and Communist commissars? Ohlendorf: On the question of Jews and Communists, the Einsatzgruppen and the commanders of the Einsatzkommandos were orally instructed before their mission. Col. Amen: What were their instructions with respect to the Jews and the Communist functionaries? Ohlendorf: The instructions were that in the Russian operational areas of the Einsatzgruppen the Jews, as well as the Soviet political commissars, were to be liquidated. Col. Amen: And when you say "liquidated" do you mean "killed?" Ohlendorf: Yes, I mean "killed."

Col. Amen: Prior to the opening of the Soviet campaign, did you attend a conference at Pretz? Ohlendorf: Yes, it was a conference at which the Einsatzgruppen and the Einsatzkommandos were informed of their tasks and were given the necessary orders. Col. Amen: Who was present at that conference? Ohlendorf: The chiefs of the Einsatzgruppen and the commanders of the Einsatzkommandos and Streckenbach of the RSHA who transmitted the orders of Heydrich and Himmler. Col. Amen: What were those orders? Ohlendorf: Those were the general orders on the normal work of the SIPO and the SD, and in addition the liquidation order which I have already mentioned. Col. Amen: And that conference took place on approximately what date? Ohlendorf: About 3 or 4 days before the mission. Col. Amen: So that before you commenced to march into Soviet Russia, you received orders at this conference to exterminate the Jews and Communist functionaries in addition to the regular professional work of the Security Police and SD; is that correct? Ohlendorf: Yes.

Col. Amen: Did you, personally, have any conversation with Himmler respecting any communication from Himmler to the chiefs of army groups and armies concerning this mission? Ohlendorf: Yes. Himmler told me that before the beginning of the Russian campaign Hitler had spoken of this mission to a conference of the army groups and the army chiefs--no, not the army chiefs but the commanding generals--and had instructed the commanding generals to provide the necessary support. Col. Amen: So that you can testify that the chiefs of the army groups and the armies had been similarly informed of these orders for the liquidation of the Jews and Soviet functionaries? Ohlendorf: I don't think it is quite correct to put it in that form. They had no orders for liquidation; the order for the liquidation was given to Himmler to carry out, but since this liquidation took place in the operational area of the army group or the armies, they had to be ordered to provide support. Moreover, without such instructions to the army, the activities of the Einsatzgruppen would not have been possible.

Col. Amen: Did you have any other conversation with Himmler concerning this order? Ohlendorf: Yes, in the late summer of 1941 Himmler was in Nikolayev. He assembled the leaders and men of the Einsatzkommandos, repeated to them the liquidation order, and pointed out that the leaders and men who were taking part in the liquidation bore no personal responsibility for the execution of this order. The responsibility was his, alone, and the Fuehrer's. Col. Amen: And you yourself heard that said? Ohlendorf: Yes.

Col. Amen: Do you know whether this mission of the Einsatz group was known to the army group commanders? Ohlendorf: This order and the execution of these orders were known to the commanding general of the army. Col. Amen: How do you know that? Ohlendorf: Through conferences with the army, and through instructions which were given by the army on the execution of the order.

Col. Amen: Was the mission of the Einsatz groups and the agreement between OKW, OKH, and RSHA known to the other leaders in the RSHA? Ohlendorf: At least some of them knew of it, since some of the leaders were also active in the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos in the course of time. Furthermore, the leaders who were dealing with the organization and the legal aspect of the Einsatzgruppen also knew of it . . . . 

Col. Amen: Who was the commanding officer of the 11th Army? Ohlendorf: At first, Ritter van Schober; later, Von Manstein. Col. Amen: Will you tell the Tribunal in what way or ways the commanding officer of the 11th Army directed or supervised Einsatz Group D in carrying out its liquidation activities? Ohlendorf: An order from the 11th Army was sent to Nikolayev stating that liquidations were to take place only at a distance of not less than 200 kilometers from the headquarters of the commanding general. Col. Amen: Do you recall any other occasion? Ohlendorf: In Simferopol the army command requested the Einsatzkommandos in its area to hasten the liquidations, because famine was threatening and there was a great housing shortage.

Col. Amen: Do you know how many persons were liquidated by Einsatz Group D under your direction? Ohlendorf: In the year [from] June 1941 to June 1942, the Einsatzkommandos reported 90,000 people liquidated. Col. Amen: Did that include men, women, and children? Ohlendorf: Yes. Col. Amen: On what do you base those figures? Ohlendorf: On reports sent by the Einsatzkommandos to the Einsatzgruppen. Col. Amen: Were those reports submitted to you? Ohlendorf: Yes . . . . Col. Amen: And you saw and read those reports, personally? Ohlendorf: Yes. Col. Amen: And it is on those reports that you base the figures you have given the Tribunal? Ohlendorf: Yes.

Col. Amen: Do you know how those figures compare with the number of persons liquidated by other Einsatz groups? Ohlendorf: The figures which I saw of other Einsatzgruppen are considerably larger. Col. Amen: That was due to what factor? Ohlendorf: I believe that to a large extent the figures submitted by the other Einsatzgruppen were exaggerated. Col. Amen: Did you see reports of liquidations from the other Einsatz groups from time to time? Ohlendorf: Yes. Col. Amen: And those reports showed liquidations exceeding those of Group D; is that correct? Ohlendorf: Yes.

Col. Amen: Did you personally supervise mass executions of these individuals? Ohlendorf: I was present at two mass executions for purposes of inspection. Col. Amen: Will you explain to the Tribunal in detail how an individual mass execution was carried out? Ohlendorf: A local Einsatzkommando attempted to collect all the Jews in its area by registering them. This registration was performed by the Jews themselves. Col. Amen: On what pretext, if any, were they rounded up? Ohlendorf: On the pretext that they were to be resettled. Col. Amen: Will you continue? Ohlendorf: After the registration the Jews were collected at one place; and from there they were later transported to the place of execution, which was, as a rule an antitank ditch or a natural excavation. The executions were carried out in a military manner, by firing squads under command.

Col. Amen: In what way were they transported to the place of execution? Ohlendorf: They were transported to the place of execution in trucks, always only as many as could be executed immediately. In this way it was attempted to keep the span of time from the moment in which the victims knew what was about to happen to them until the time of their actual execution as short as possible. Col. Amen: Was that your idea? Ohlendorf: Yes. Col. Amen: And after they were shot what was done with the bodies? Ohlendorf: The bodies were buried in the antitank ditch or excavation.

Col. Amen: What determination, if any, was made as to whether the persons were actually dead? Ohlendorf: The unit leaders or the firing-squad commanders had orders to see to this and, if need be, finish them off themselves. Col. Amen: And who would do that? Ohlendorf: Either the unit leader himself or somebody designated by him.

Col. Amen: In what positions were the victims shot? Ohlendorf: Standing or kneeling. Col. Amen: What was done with the personal property and clothing of the persons executed? Ohlendorf: All valuables were confiscated at the time of the registration or the rounding up and handed over to the Finance Ministry, either through the RSHA or directly. At first the clothing was given to the population, but in the winter of 1941-42 it was collected and disposed of by the NSV. Col. Amen: All their personal property was registered at the time? Ohlendorf: No, not all of it, only valuables were registered. Col. Amen: What happened to the garments which the victims were wearing when they went to the place of execution? Ohlendorf: They were obliged to take off their outer garments immediately before the execution. Col. Amen: All of them? Ohlendorf: The outer garments, yes. Col. Amen: How about the rest of the garments they were wearing? Ohlendorf: The other garments remained on the bodies.

Col. Amen: Was that true of not only your group but of the other Einsatz groups? Ohlendorf: That was the order in my Einsatzgruppe. I don't know how it was done in other Einsatzgruppen. Col. Amen: In what way did they handle it? Ohlendorf: Some of the unit leaders did not carry out the liquidation in the military manner, but killed the victims singly by shooting them in the back of the neck. Col. Amen: And you objected to that procedure? Ohlendorf: I was against that procedure, yes. Col. Amen: For what reason? Ohlendorf: Because both for the victims and for those who carried out the executions, it was, psychologically, an immense burden to bear.

Col. Amen: Now, what was done with the property collected by the Einsatzkommandos from these victims? Ohlendorf: All valuables were sent to Berlin, to the RSHA or to the Reich Ministry of Finance. The articles which could be used in the operational area, were disposed of there. Col. Amen: For example, what happened to gold and silver taken from the victims? Ohlendorf: That was, as I have just said, turned over to Berlin, to the Reich Ministry of Finance. Col. Amen: How do you know that? Ohlendorf: I can remember that it was actually handled in that way from Simferopol. Col. Amen: How about watches, for example, taken from the victims? Ohlendorf: At the request of the Army, watches were made available to the forces at the front.

Col. Amen: Were all victims, including the men, women, and children, executed in the same manner? Ohlendorf: Until the spring of 1942, yes. Then an order came from Himmler that, in the future, women and children were to be killed only in gas vans. Col. Amen: How had the women and children been killed previously? Ohlendorf: In the same way as the men--by shooting. Col. Amen: What, if anything, was done about burying the victims after they had been executed? Ohlendorf: The Kommandos filled the graves to efface the signs of the execution, and then labor units of the population leveled them.

Col. Amen: Referring to the gas vans which you said you received in the spring of 1942, what order did you receive with respect to the use of these vans? Ohlendorf: These gas vans were in future to be used for the killing of women and children. Col. Amen: Will you explain to the Tribunal the construction of these vans and their appearance? Ohlendorf: The actual purpose of these vans could not be seen from the outside. They looked like closed trucks, and were so constructed that at the start of the motor, gas was conducted into the van causing death in 10 to 15 minutes. Col. Amen: Explain in detail just how one of these vans was used for an execution. Ohlendorf: The vans were loaded with the victims and driven to the place of burial, which was usually the same as that used for the mass executions. The time needed for transportation was sufficient to insure the death of the victims. Col. Amen: How were the victims induced to enter the vans? Ohlendorf: They were told that they were to be transported to another locality. Col. Amen: How was the gas turned on? Ohlendorf: I am not familiar with the technical details. Col. Amen: How long did it take to kill the victims ordinarily? Ohlendorf About 10 to 15 minutes; the victims were not conscious of what was happening to them. Col. Amen: How many persons could be killed simultaneously in one such van? Ohlendorf: About 15 to 25 persons. The vans varied in size.

Col. Amen: Did you receive reports from those persons operating these vans from time to time? . . . . Ohlendorf: I received the report that the Einsatzkommandos did not willingly use the vans. Col. Amen: Why not? Ohlendorf: Because the burial of the victims was a great ordeal for the members of the Einsatzkommandos. Col. Amen: Now, will you tell who furnished these vans to the Einsatz groups? Ohlendorf: The gas vans did not belong to the motor pool of the Einsatzgruppen but were assigned to the Einsatzgruppe as a special unit, headed by the man who had constructed the vans. The vans were assigned to the Einsatzgruppen by the RSHA. Col. Amen: Were the vans supplied to all of the different Einsatz groups? Ohlendorf: I am not certain of that. I know only in the case of Einsatzgruppe D, and indirectly that Einsatzgruppe C also made use of these vans. Col. Amen: Are you familiar with the letter from Becker to Rauff with respect to these gas vans?

Col. Amen: Ohlendorf: I saw this letter during my interrogation . . . . Col. Amen: Will you tell the Tribunal who Becker was? Ohlendorf: According to my recollection, Becker was the constructor of the vans. It was he who was in charge of the vans of Einsatzgruppe D. Col. Amen: Who was Rauff? Ohlendorf: Rauff was group leader in Amt II of the RSHA. Among other things, he was at that time in charge of transportation. Col. Amen: Can you identify that letter in any way? Ohlendorf: The contents roughly correspond to my experiences and are therefore probably correct. [Document 501-PS was handed to the witness.] Col. Amen: Will you look at the letter you and tell us whether you can identify it in any way? Ohlendorf: The external appearance of the letter as well as the initial "R" (Rauff) on it, and the reference to Zwabel or Fabe: who took care of transportation under Rauff, seems to testify to the letter's authenticity. The contents roughly correspond to the experiences which I had at that time. Col. Amen: So that you believe it to be an authentic document, Ohlendorf: Yes.

Col. Amen . . . . Referring to your previous testimony, will you explain to the Tribunal why you believe that the type of execution ordered by you, namely, military, was preferable to the shooting-in-the-neck procedure adopted by the other Einsatz groups? Ohlendorf: On the one hand, the aim was that the individual leaders and men should be able to carry out the executions in a military manner acting on orders and should not have to make a decision of their own; it was, to all intents and purposes, an order which they were to carry out. On the other hand, it was known to me that through the emotional excitement of the executions ill-treatment could not be avoided, since the victims discovered too soon that they were to be executed and could not therefore endure prolonged nervous strain. And it seemed intolerable to me that individual leaders and men should in consequence be forced to kill a large number of people on their own decision.

Col. Amen: In what manner did you determine which were the Jews to be executed? Ohlendorf: That was not part of my task; but the identification of the Jews was carried out by the Jews themselves, since the registration was handled by a Jewish Council of Elders. Col. Amen: Did the amount of Jewish blood have anything to do with it? Ohlendorf: I can't remember the details, but I believe that half-Jews were also considered as Jews.

Col. Amen: What organizations furnished most of the officer personnel of the Einsatz groups and Einsatzkommandos? . . . . Ohlendorf: The officer personnel was furnished by the State Police, the Kripo, and, to a lesser extent, by the SD. Col. Amen: Kripo? Ohlendorf: Yes, the State Police, the Criminal Police and, to a lesser extent, the SD. Col. Amen: Were there any other sources of personnel? Ohlendorf: Yes, most of the men employed were furnished by the Waffen-SS and the Ordnungspolizei. The State Police and the Kripo furnished most of the experts, and the troops were furnished by the Waffen-SS and the Ordnungspolizei. Col. Amen: How about the Waffen-SS? Ohlendorf: The Waffen-SS and the Ordnungspolizei were each supposed to supply the Einsatzgruppen with one company. Col. Amen: How about the Order Police? Ohlendorf: The Ordnungspolizei also furnished the Einsatzgruppen with one company.

Col. Amen: What was the size of Einsatz Group D and its operating area as compared with the other Einsatz groups? Ohlendorf: I estimate that Einsatzgruppe D was one-half or two-thirds as large as the other Einsatzgruppen. That changed in the course of time, since some of the Einsatzgruppen were greatly enlarged . . . . 

Col. Amen: [To the witness] Can you state whether the liquidation practices which you have described continued after 1942 and, if so, for how long a period of time thereafter? Ohlendorf: I don't think that the basic order was ever revoked. But I cannot remember the details-at least not with regard to Russia-which would enable me to make concrete statements on this subject. The retreat began very shortly thereafter, so that the operational region of the Einsatzgruppen became ever smaller. I do know, however, that other Einsatzgruppen with similar orders had been envisaged for other areas. Col. Amen: Your personal knowledge extends up to what date? Ohlendorf: I know that the liquidation of Jews was prohibited about six months before the end of the war. I also saw a document terminating the liquidation of Soviet commissars, but I cannot recall a specific date. Col. Amen: Do you know whether in fact it was so terminated? Ohlendorf: Yes, I believe so.

The President: The Tribunal would like to know the number of men in your Einsatz group. Ohlendorf: There were about 500 men in my Einsatzgruppe, excluding those who were added to the group as assistants from the country itself. The President: Including them, did you say? Ohlendorf: Excluding those who were added to the group from the country itself. The President: Do you know how many there would be in other groups? Ohlendorf: I estimate that at the beginning there were seven to eight hundred men; but, as I said, this number changed rapidly in the course of time, since the Einsatzgruppen themselves acquired new people or succeeded in getting additional personnel from the RSHA. The President: The numbers increased, did they? Ohlendorf: Yes, the numbers increased . . . .  Col. Amen: May it please the Tribunal. The witness is now available to other counsel. I understand that Colonel Pokrovsky has some questions that he wishes to ask on behalf of the Soviets.

Col. Pokrovsky (Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the U.S.S.R.): The testimony of the witness is important for the clarification of questions in a report on which the Soviet Delegation is at present working. Therefore, with the permission of the Tribunal I would like to put a number of questions to the witness. [Turning to the witness.] Witness, you said that you were present twice at the mass executions. On whose orders were you an inspector at the executions? Ohlendorf: I was present at the executions on my own initiative. Col. Pokrovsky: But you said that you attended as inspector. Ohlendorf: I said that I attended for inspection purposes. Col. Pokrovsky: On your initiative? Ohlendorf: Yes. Col. Pokrovsky: Did one of your chiefs always attend the executions for purposes of inspection? Ohlendorf: Whenever possible I sent a member of the staff of the Einsatzgruppe to witness the executions, but this was not always feasible since the Einsatzgruppen had to operate over great distances . . . . Col. Pokrovsky: For what purpose was an inspector sent? Ohlendorf: To determine whether or not my instructions regarding the manner of the execution were actually being carried out. Col. Pokrovsky: Am I to understand that the inspector was to make certain that the execution had actually been carried out? Ohlendorf: No, it would not be correct to say that. He was to ascertain whether the conditions which I had set for the execution were actually being carried out.

Col. Pokrovsky: What manner of conditions had you in mind? Ohlendorf: 1. Exclusion of the public; 2. Military execution by a firing-squad; 3. Arrival of the transports and carrying out of the liquidation in a smooth manner to avoid unnecessary excitement; 4. Supervision of the property to prevent looting. There may have been other details which I no longer remember. At any rate, all ill-treatment, whether physical or mental, was to be prevented through these measures. Col. Pokrovsky: You wished to make sure that what you considered to be an equitable distribution of this property was effected, or did you aspire to complete acquisition of the valuables? Ohlendorf: Yes. [0nly the first half of the preceding question, originally spoken in Russian, was transmitted to the witness in German by the interpreter. The answer of the witness, therefore, refers only to this first half of the question.]

Col. Pokrovsky: You spoke of ill-treatment. What did you mean by ill-treatment at the executions? Ohlendorf: If, for instance, the manner in which the executions were carried out caused excitement and disobedience among the victims, so that the Kommandos were forced to restore order by means of violence. Col. Pokrovsky: What do you mean by "restore order by means of violence"? What do you mean by suppression of the excitement amongst the victims by means of violence? Ohlendorf: If, as I have already said, in order to carry out the liquidation in an orderly fashion it was necessary, for example, to resort to beating. Col. Pokrovsky: Was it absolutely necessary to beat the victims? Ohlendorf: I myself never witnessed it, but I heard of it. Col. Pokrovsky: From whom? Ohlendorf: In conversations with members of other Kommandos.

Col. Pokrovsky: You said that cars, autocars, were used for the executions? Ohlendorf: Yes. Col. Pokrovsky: Do you know where, and with whose assistance, the inventor, Becker, was able to put his invention into practice? Ohlendorf: I remember only that it was done through Amt II of the RSHA; but I can no longer say that with certainty . . . . Col. Pokrovsky: How many persons were executed by means of these cars? Ohlendorf: I cannot give precise figures, but the number was comparatively very small-perhaps a few hundred. Col. Pokrovsky: You said that mostly women and children were executed in these vans. For what reason? Ohlendorf: That was a special order from Himmler to the effect that women and children were not to be exposed to the mental strain of the executions; and thus the men of the Kommandos, mostly married men, should not be compelled to aim at women and children. Col. Pokrovsky: Did anybody observe the behavior of the persons executed in these vans? Ohlendorf: Yes, the doctor. Col. Pokrovsky: Did you know that Becker had reported that death in these vans was particularly agonizing? Ohlendorf: No. I learned of Becker's reports for the first time from the letter to Rauff, which was shown to me here. On the contrary, I know from the doctor's reports that the victims were not conscious of their impending death.

Col. Pokrovsky: Did any military units--I mean, Army units--take part in these mass executions? Ohlendorf: As a rule, no. Col. Pokrovsky: And as an exception? Ohlendorf: I think I remember that in Nikolaiev and in Simferopol a spectator from the Army High Command was present for a short time. Col. Pokrovsky: For what purpose? Ohlendorf: I don't know, probably to obtain information personally. Col. Pokrovsky: Were military units assigned to carry out the executions in these towns? Ohlendorf: Officially, the Army did not assign any units for this purpose; the Army as such was actually opposed to the liquidation. Col. Pokrovsky: But in practice? Ohlendorf: Individual units occasionally volunteered. However, at the moment I know of no such case among the Army itself, but only among the units attached to the Army (Heeresgefolge).

Col. Pokrovsky: You were the man by whose orders people were sent to their death. Were Jews only handed over for the execution by the Einsatzgruppe or were Communists-"Communist officials" you call them in your instructions-handed over for execution along with the Jews? Ohlendorf: Yes, activists and political Commissary. Mere membership in the Communist Party was not sufficient to persecute or kill a man. Col. Pokrovsky: Were any special investigations made concerning the part played by persons in the Communist Party? Ohlendorf: No, I said on the contrary that mere membership of the Communist Party was not, in itself, a determining factor in persecuting or executing a man; he had to have a special political function . . . . 

Col. Pokrovsky: Had you occasion to discuss, with your chiefs and your colleagues, the fact that motor vans had been sent to your own particular Einsatzgruppe from Berlin for carrying out the executions? Do you remember any such discussions? Ohlendorf: I do not remember any specific discussion. Col. Pokrovsky: Had you any information concerning the fact that members of the execution squad in charge of the executions were unwilling to use the vans? Ohlendorf: I knew that the Einsatzkommandos were using these vans. Col. Pokrovsky: No, I had something else in mind. I wanted to know whether you received reports that members of the execution squads were unwilling to use the vans and preferred other means of execution? Ohlendorf: That they would rather kill by means of the gas vans than by shooting? Col. Pokrovsky: On the contrary, that they preferred execution by shooting to killing by means of the gas vans. Ohlendorf: Yes, I have already said that the gas van . . . Col. Pokrovsky: And why did they prefer execution by shooting to killing in the gas vans? Ohlendorf: Because, as I have already said, in the opinion of the leader of the Einsatzkommandos, the unloading of the corpses was an unnecessary mental strain. Col. Pokrovsky: What do you mean by "an unnecessary mental strain"? Ohlendorf: As far as I can remember the conditions at that time-the picture presented by the corpses and probably because certain functions of the body had taken place leaving the corpses lying in filth. Col. Pokrovsky: You mean to say that the sufferings endured prior to death were clearly visible on the victims? Did I understand you correctly? . . . . Ohlendorf: I can only repeat what the doctor told me, that the victims were not conscious of their death in the van. Col. Pokrovsky: In that case your reply to my previous question, that the unloading of the bodies made a very terrible impression on the members of the execution squad, becomes entirely incomprehensible. Ohlendorf: And, as I said, the terrible impression created by the position of corpses themselves, and by the state of the vans which had probably been dirtied and so on.

The Tribunal (Major General I. T. Nikitchenko, Member for the U.S.S.R.): Witness Ohlendorf, can you answer up to what date the Einsatzgruppe under your command was operating? Ohlendorf: The staff of the Einsatzgruppe went as far as the Caucasus and then returned. As far as I can remember, a combat command (Kampfkommando) was formed out of it under the name "Bierkamp," and that was used in fighting the partisans. Then, I think, the Einsatzgruppe was entirely disbanded, Bierkamp went into the Government General and took a large number of his men with him. The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): What did the group do after Bierkamp left? Ohlendorf: I think I can say that the Einsatzgruppe ceased to exist after the retreat from the Caucasus. It took over tasks similar to those of the Wehrmacht under the immediate command of the Commander of the Sicherheitspolizei in the Ukraine and particularly under the command of the Higher SS and Police Leaders in the Ukraine. The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): In other words, it merely carried out its activities in different surroundings under different leadership, and that was all the difference. Such functions as were performed by the Einsatzgruppe in the past continued to be carried out in new surroundings. Ohlendorf: No, it actually became a combat unit. The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): What does that mean? Against whom were the military actions directed? Ohlendorf: Within the scope of operations directed against the partisan movement. The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): Can you say more particularly what this group was actually doing? Ohlendorf: After the retreat? The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): When you say that the function of this group changed when it conducted operations against the partisans. Ohlendorf: I have no concrete experiences myself. It was probably used for reconnaissance against the partisans and also in combat. The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): But did it carry out any executions? Ohlendorf: I can no longer say that definitely for this period, for the unit now entered territories in which that sort of activity was out of the question.

The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): In your testimony you said that the Einsatz group had the object of annihilating the Jews and the commissars, is that correct? Ohlendorf: Yes. The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): And in what category did you consider the children? For what reason were the children massacred? Ohlendorf: The order was that the Jewish population should be totally exterminated. The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): Including the children? Ohlendorf: Yes. The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): Were all the Jewish children murdered? Ohlendorf: Yes.

The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): But the children of those whom you considered as belonging to the category of commissars, were they also killed? Ohlendorf: I am not aware that inquiries were ever made after the families of Soviet commissars . . . . 

The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): Was the order concerning the annihilation of the Soviet people in conformity with the policy of the German Government or the Nazi Party or was it against it? Do you understand the question? Ohlendorf: Yes. One must distinguish here: The order for the liquidation came from the Fuehrer of the Reich, and it was to be carried out by the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler. The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): But was it in conformity with the policy conducted by the Nazi Party and the German Government, or was it in contradiction to it? Ohlendorf: A policy amounts to a practice so that in this respect it was a policy laid down by the Fuehrer. If you were to ask whether this activity was in conformity with the idea of National Socialism, then I should say "no."The Tribunal (Gen. Nikitchenko): I am talking about the practice.

The President: I understood you to say that objects of value were taken from the Jewish victims by the Jewish Council of Elders. Ohlendorf: Yes. The President: Did the Jewish Council of Elders settle who were to be killed? Ohlendorf: The Jewish Council of Elders determined who was a Jew, and then registered the Jews individually. The President: And when they registered them did they take their valuables from them? Ohlendorf: That was done in various ways. As far as I remember, the Council of Elders was given the order to collect valuables at the same time. The President: So that the Jewish Council of Elders would not know whether or not they were to be killed? Ohlendorf: Yes . . . . 

The Tribunal (Mr. Biddle): When you spoke of the written agreement between the leaders of the Einsatz groups and the Army, do you know whether or not the functions and purposes of the Einsatz groups were described in the agreement? Did the agreement say what the groups were going to do? Ohlendorf: I no longer remember that. In any case the task of liquidation was not mentioned. The Tribunal (Mr. Biddle): Do you understand the question? Ohlendorf: Yes. I cannot quite remember whether there was a general clause in the agreement about the tasks and activities of the Security Police in the operational area, but I am certain that it contained nothing regarding the task of liquidation. The Tribunal (Mr. Biddle): You stated that there had been a general order for the liquidation of all Jews. Was that order in writing? Ohlendorf: No. The Tribunal (Mr. Biddle): Do you know who gave the order? Ohlendorf: Is this question with regard to the activities of the Einsatzgruppen? The Tribunal (Mr. Biddle): Yes. Ohlendorf: Regarding the Einsatzgruppen, the order came first via Himmler, Heydrich, and Streckenbach to the Einsatzgruppen and then was repeated a second time by Himmler personally. The Tribunal (Mr. Biddle): Did a similar order go to the Army? Ohlendorf: I know of no such order to the Army in this form.

The President: Now do any of the defendants' counsel wish to cross-examine this witness?

Dr. Nelte (Counsel for Defendant Keitel): Witness, you said that several weeks before the opening of the Russian campaign, there were conferences regarding the tasks of the Einsatzgruppen and the Einsatzkommandos. Were you personally present at these conferences? Ohlendorf: May I briefly correct this by saying that the main subject was not the tasks of the Einsatzgruppen but the set-up within the operational area . . . The President: Wait a moment. Will you repeat that, please? Ohlendorf: May I make a correction by saying that, according to my recollection, the main subject was not the tasks of the Einsatzgruppen but the establishment of these mobile organizational units for activities within the operational area of the Army. Dr. Nelte: In other words, this [the main subject] concerned tasks within the sphere of the Army? Ohlendorf: Yes. Dr. Nelte: You testified that the written agreement was concluded between the RSHA on the one hand and the OKW and OKH on the other. Are you familiar with the difference in authority between the OKW and the OKH? Ohlendorf: Yes. Dr. Nelte Who was present from the OKW at these conferences? Ohlendorf: I cannot mention any one name because I personally was not present at these conferences, but these conferences were conducted by Heydrich on the one hand and by his deputy, Schellenberg, on the other. Dr. Nelte: Schellenberg also spoke on this question in an affidavit presented here, but he mentioned Quartermaster General Wagner as the official with whom he had to deal. Can you remember now whether this was also the case at the conferences to which you are referring? Ohlendorf: At any rate the name of Quartermaster General Wagner is one of the few names mentioned which I remember in connection with these conferences. Dr. Nelte: Is it known to you that Quartermaster General Wagner had nothing to do with the OKW as an institution? Ohlendorf: Yes. Dr. Nelte: I take it that you cannot therefore name any personality who might be regarded as representative of the OKW? Ohlendorf: No, I cannot. I merely said that I remembered- that is, I still have in my mind's eye-the letterhead OKW-OKH. I took this double heading to mean that essential negotiations with Canaris were probably being carried out, that arrangements with Canaris were therefore included in this agreement, and that this accounted for the letterhead OKH plus OKW, which, to me as welt had appeared unusual, since the OKH, per se, was naturally in charge of all movement and supply. Dr. Nelte: A joint letterhead OKW-OKH, as such, did not, of course, exist. In your case then it could have been only a typewritten copy? Ohlendorf: I can still visualize a mimeographed sheet. Dr. Nelte: Do you know which signatures were on this document which you visualize? Ohlendorf: I cannot remember, I am sorry.

Dr. Nelte: One of the judges already put the question that orders would naturally result from an agreement of this kind. Is the name of the OKW, or the signature perhaps, included in any one such order? Ohlendorf: Now I do not understand what kind of orders you mean. Dr. Nelte: When an agreement is made between two different organizations such as the RSHA on the one hand and, shall we say, the OKH on the other, then the office entrusted with the execution of that which has been agreed upon must be informed thereof in a form known as an "order" in military parlance. Is such an order known to you as originating from the OKW? Ohlendorf: Please understand that no such orders from the War Office or the OKW were received by me. I should have had only orders or wishes expressed by the Army. Dr. Nelte: By the Army or by your superior command? Ohlendorf: No. I am speaking now . . . . If I think of the Armed Forces . . . Dr. Nelte: Therefore, there was no connection of any kind between you, as leader of the Einsatzgruppe, and the OKW as such? Ohlendorf: No immediate connection. I know very well that individual reports reached the OKW through official channels. Dr. Nelte: If you know that, can you tell me to which office? Because, after all, OKW covered a great many. Ohlendorf: I should assume they eventually reached Canaris. Dr. Nelte: I thank you.

Dr. Kubuschok (Counsel for the Reich Cabinet): Witness, in your position as Chief of the SD, you will probably have some idea about the trustworthiness of the members of the Reich Cabinet and about the secrecy in which very important matters were kept. Please answer this question: whether the order which has been discussed today regarding the liquidations, in your opinion, originated in the Reich Cabinet and whether this order, in your opinion, was made known to the individual members of the Reich Cabinet? Ohlendorf: I am convinced that both questions are to be answered in the negative. . . . . 

Dr. Merkel (Counsel for the Gestapo):  . . . . Do you know anything about who was responsible for the direction and administration of the concentration camps? Ohlendorf: It was Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl. Dr. Merkel: Did or did not the Gestapo have anything to do with the direction and with the administration of the concentration camps? Ohlendorf: According to my knowledge, not. Dr. Merkel: Therefore, no members of the Gestapo were active or in any way involved in the measures carried out in the concentration camps? Ohlendorf: As far as I could judge from a distance, only investigating officials of the State Police were active in the concentration camps. Dr. Merkel: Did the Gestapo in any way participate in the mass executions undertaken by your Einsatzgruppe which you described this morning? Ohlendorf: Only to the same extent as every other person present in the Einsatzgruppe . . . . 

Dr. Exner (Counsel for the General Staff and the High Command of the German Armed Forces): Witness, you mentioned the negotiations which took place in the OKW, which later led to an agreement between OKW and OKH on the one side, and the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) on the other. I am interested in this point: Can you assert that during the negotiations for this agreement there was mention of the extermination and the killing of Jews? Ohlendorf: I cannot say anything concrete on this particular subject, but I do not believe it. Dr. Exner: You do not believe it? Ohlendorf: No.

Dr. Exner: In addition you have told us that the Commanding General of the 11th Army knew about the liquidations, and I should like to ask you: Do you know anything regarding the commanding generals of the other armies? Ohlendorf: In general they must have been informed through the speech of the Fuehrer before the beginning of the Russian campaign. Dr. Exner: That is a conclusion that you have drawn? Ohlendorf: No, it is not a conclusion that I have drawn; it is merely a report on the contents of the speech which, according to Himmler's statement, Hitler had made to the commanding generals. Dr. Exner: Now you have spoken about directives given by the Commanding General of the 11th Army. What kind of directives were they? Ohlendorf: I first spoke about the commanding general in the Nikolayev incident, that is, about the order given at that time that the liquidations should take place 200 kilometers away from the headquarters of the High Command of the army. The second time, I did not speak about the commanding general of the army but about the High Command of the army at Simferopol, because I cannot say, with any certainty, who had requested the competent Einsatzkommando at Simferopol to speed up the liquidations. Dr. Exner: That is the very question I should like to put to you: With whom in the 11th Army did you negotiate at that time? Ohlendorf: I, personally, did not negotiate at all with anyone on this subject, as I was not the person directly concerned with these matters; but the High Command of the Army negotiated with the competent local Einsatzkommando either through the responsible army office, which at all times was in touch with the Einsatzkommandos, namely the I-C or the I-CAD, or else through the staff of the CQ. Dr. Exner: Who gave you orders for the advance? Ohlendorf: The orders for the advance came, as a rule, from the Chief of Staff. Dr. Exner: From the Chief of Staff? The Commanding General of the army at the time referred to was Von Manstein. In this case was there ever an order signed by Von Manstein? Ohlendorf: I cannot remember any such order; but when the advance was being discussed there were oral consultations with Von Manstein, the Chief of Staff, and me. Dr. Exner: When the advance was being discussed? Ohlendorf: Yes. Dr. Exner: You said that the Army was opposed to these liquidations. Can you state how this became evident? Ohlendorf: Not the Army, but the leaders were inwardly opposed to the liquidations. Dr. Exner: Yes; but I mean, how did you recognize that fact? Ohlendorf: In our conversations. Not only the leaders of the Army were opposed to the liquidations but also most of those who had to carry them out . . . . 

Flottenrichter Kranzbuehler (Counsel for Defendant Doenitz): I am speaking as the representative of the counsel for Defendant Grossadmiral Raeder. [Turning to the witness.] Witness, you just mentioned a speech of the Fuehrer before the army commanders, in which the Fuehrer is supposed to have given instructions to the commanders regarding the liquidation of Jews. Which conference do you mean. Ohlendorf: A conference which must have taken place shortly before the Russian campaign with the commanders of the army groups and the armies at the Fuehrer's quarters. Flottenrichter Kranzbuehler: Were the commanders of the various branches of the Armed Forces absent? Ohlendorf: I do not know that. Flottenrichter Kranzbuehler: Were you yourself present at this conference? Ohlendorf: No. I have recounted this conference on the basis of a conversation I had with Himmler. Flottenrichter Kranzbuehler: Did this conversation with Himmler take place in a large circle of people or was it a private conversation? Ohlendorf: It was a private conversation. Flottenrichter Kranzbuehler: Did you have the impression that Himmler stated facts, or do you consider it possible that he wished to encourage you in your difficult task? Ohlendorf: No. The conversation took place much, much later and did not spring from such motives, but from resentment at the attitude of certain generals of the Armed Forces. Himmler wanted to say that these generals of the Armed Forces could not disassociate themselves from the events that had taken place, as they were just as responsible as all the rest. Flottenrichter Kranzbuehler: And when did this conversation with Himmler take place? Ohlendorf: In May 1945, at Flensburg . . . . 

Dr. Servatius: Witness, with regard to the command channels at the disposal of the RSHA for the execution of its orders and measures and for the transmission of these orders to tactical organizations, such as the SD and the concentration camps, did the RSHA possess its own command channels or did it rely on the channels of the Leadership Corps organization, that is, were these orders forwarded via the Gauleitung and the Kreisleitung? Ohlendorf: I know nothing about it. I consider it entirely out of the question. Dr. Servatius: You consider it entirely out of the question that the Gauleitung and the Kreisleitung had been informed? How was it, for instance . . . Ohlendorf: One moment, please. You asked me whether these orders passed through these channels. You did not ask me whether they had been informed. Dr. Servatius: Were these offices informed of the orders? Ohlendorf: The inspectors, the Gestapo leaders, and the SD leaders were all considered as police or political agents (Referenten) of the Gauleiter or the Reichsstatthalter; and these office chiefs had to report to the Gauleiter on their respective fields of activity. To what extent this was done, I am unable to judge. It depends on the activities and on the degree of co-operation between the Gauleiter and these offices, but in any case it is inconceivable that the State Police could carry on these activities for any length of time without the knowledge of the responsible Party organizations.

Dr. Servatius: Does this also hold for reports from lower to higher units? For the activities of the concentration camps? Ohlendorf: The concentration camps were not subordinate to the State Police. I am convinced, since these were purely affairs of the Reich, that there was no such close connection between the Gauleiter and the concentration camps as there was between the Gauleiter and the permanent activities of the State Police.

Dr. Servatius: I also represent the Defendant Sauckel. Do you know of the impressment of foreign workers by the SS? Foreign workers who, as a matter of fact, came from the concentration camps? Ohlendorf: Only superficially.

Herr Babel: . . . . How large were the mobile units of the SD employed in these executions? Ohlendorf: The SD had no mobile units but rather only individual members of the SD detailed to outside organizations. The SD, as a separate entity, did not act independently anywhere. Herr Babel: In your opinion and judging by your own experience, how many of these detailed personnel were there? Ohlendorf: The figure was quite small. Herr Babel: Will you please give an approximate figure. Ohlendorf: I place the figure at an average of about two to three SD experts per Einsatzkommando . . . . 

Herr Babel: . . . . Did any units of the Waffen-SS and other subordinate SS groups in any way participate in the Einsatzgruppen? Ohlendorf: As I said this morning, in each Einsatzgruppe there was, or rather there should have been, one company of Waffen-SS. Herr Babel: One company. And what, at that time, was the exact strength of one company? Ohlendorf: I do not know about the Waffen-SS serving with the other Einsatzgruppen, but I estimate that my particular group employed approximately 100 men of the Waffen-SS. Herr Babel: Were Death's-Head Units (Totenkopf Verbande) also employed? Ohlendorf: No. Herr Babel: Was the Adolf Hitler Bodyguard (Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler) employed in any fashion? Ohlendorf: That was purely a matter of chance. I cannot name a single formation from which these Waffen-SS had been taken . . . . 

Herr Babel: Another question. To what extent were units of the SD employed for duty in the concentration camps? Ohlendorf: I would ask you at all times to distinguish between the SD home service (SD-Inland) with the head office of Amt III, and the SD service board (SD-Ausland). I cannot give you any information about the SD service board; but the chief, Schellenberg, is present in this courthouse. As far as Amt III is concerned, I know of no single case in which the SD home service had representatives or anything at all to do with concentration camps. Herr Babel: Now, a question concerning you personally. From whom did you receive your, orders for the liquidation of the Jews and so forth? And in what form? Ohlendorf: My duty was not the task of liquidation, but I did head the staff which directed the Einsatzkommandos in the field, and the Einsatzkommandos themselves had already received this order in Berlin on the instructions of Streckenbach, Himmler, and Heydrich. This order was renewed by Himmler at Nikolaiev. Herr Babel: You personally were not concerned with the execution of these orders? Ohlendorf: I led the Einsatzgruppe, and therefore I had the task of seeing how the Einsatzkommandos executed the orders received. Herr Babel: But did you have no scruples in regard to the execution of these orders? Ohlendorf: Yes, of course. Herr Babel: And how is it that they were carried out regardless of these scruples? Ohlendorf: Because to me it is inconceivable that a subordinate leader should not carry out orders given by the leaders of the state. Herr Babel: This is your own opinion. But this must have been not only your point of view but also the point of view of the majority of the people involved. Didn't some of the men appointed to execute these orders ask you to be relieved of such tasks? Ohlendorf: I cannot remember any one concrete case. I excluded some whom I did not consider emotionally suitable for executing these tasks and I sent some of them home.

Herr Babel: Was the legality of the orders explained to these people under false pretenses? Ohlendorf: I do not understand your question; since the order was issued by the superior authorities, the question of legality could not arise in the minds of these individuals, for they had sworn obedience to the people who had issued the orders. Herr Babel: Could any individual expect to succeed in evading the execution of these orders? Ohlendorf: No, the result would have been a court-martial with a corresponding sentence.

The President: Colonel Amen, do you wish to re-examine? Col. Amen: Just a very few questions, Your Honor. [Turning to the witness.] What organization furnished the supplies to the Einsatz groups? Ohlendorf: The Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) furnished the equipment. Col. Amen: What organization furnished weapons to the Einsatz groups? Ohlendorf: The weapons were also furnished through the RSHA. Col. Amen: What organization assigned personnel to the Einsatz groups? Ohlendorf: The Organization and Personnel Department of the RSHA. Col. Amen: And all these activities of supplies required personnel in addition to the operating members? Ohlendorf: Yes. Col. Amen: I have no more questions. The President: That will do; thank you. [The witness left the stand.]


Lt. Col. Brookhart (Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States): How old are you? Wisliceny: I am 34 years old. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Where were you born? Wisliceny: I was born at Regulowken in East Prussia.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: Were you a member of the NSDAP? Wisliceny: Yes, I was a member of the NSDAP. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Since what year? Wisliceny: I entered the NSDAP first in 1931, was then struck off the list, and entered finally in 1933. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Were you a member of the SS? Wisliceny: Yes, I entered the SS in 1934. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Were you a member of the Gestapo? Wisliceny: In 1934 I entered the SD. Lt. Col. Brookhart: What rank did you achieve? Wisliceny: In 1940 I was promoted to SS Hauptsturmfuehrer therein . . . . Lt. Col. Brookhart: What was the particular mission of IVA4b of the RSHA? Wisliceny: This Section IVA4b was concerned with the Jewish question for the RSHA. Eichmann . . . was responsible for the so-called solution of the Jewish question in Germany and in all countries occupied by Germany. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Were there distinct periods of activity affecting the Jews? Wisliceny: Yes. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Will you describe to the Tribunal the approximate periods and the different types of activity? Wisliceny: Yes. Until 1940 the general policy within the section was to settle the Jewish question in Germany and in areas occupied by Germany by means of a planned emigration. The second phase, after that date, was the concentration of all Jews, in Poland and in other territories occupied by Germany in the East, in ghettos. This period lasted approximately until the beginning of 1942. The third period was the so called "final solution" of the Jewish question, that is, the planned extermination and destruction of the Jewish race; this period lasted until October 1944, when Himmler gave the order to stop their destruction . . . . 

Lt. Col. Brookhart: In your official connection with Section IVA4, did you learn of any order which directed the annihilation of all Jews? Wisliceny: Yes, I learned of such an order for the first time from Eichmann in the summer of 1942. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Will you tell the Tribunal under what circumstances and what was the substance of the order? Wisliceny: In the spring of 1942 about 17,000 Jews were taken from Slovakia to Poland as workers. It was a question of an agreement with the Slovakian Government. The Slovakian Government further asked whether the families of these workers could not be taken to Poland as well. At first Eichmann declined this request.

In April or at the beginning of May 1942 Eichmann told me that henceforward whole families could also be taken to Poland. Eichmann himself was at Bratislava in May 1942 and had discussed the matter with competent members of the Slovakian Government. He visited Minister Mach and the then Prime Minister, Professor Tuka. At that time he assured the Slovakian Government that these Jews would be humanely and decently treated in the Polish ghettos. This was the special wish of the Slovakian Government. As a result of this assurance about 35,000 Jews were taken from Slovakia into Poland. The Slovakian Government, however, made efforts to see that these Jews were, in fact, humanely treated; they particularly tried to help such Jews as had been converted to Christianity. Prime Minister Tuka repeatedly asked me to visit him and expressed the wish that a Slovakian delegation be allowed to enter the areas to which the Slovakian Jews were supposed to have been sent. I transmitted this wish to Eichmann and the Slovakian Government even sent him a note on the matter. Eichmann at the time gave an evasive answer.

Then at the end of July or the beginning of August, I went to see him in Berlin and implored him once more to grant the request of the Slovakian Government. I pointed out to him that abroad there were rumors to the effect that all Jews in Poland were being exterminated. I pointed out to him that the Pope had intervened with the Slovakian Government on their behalf. I advised him that such a proceeding, if really true, would seriously injure our prestige, that is, the prestige of Germany, abroad. For all these reasons I begged him to permit the inspection in question. After a lengthy discussion Eichmann told me that this request to visit the Polish ghettos could not be granted under any circumstances whatsoever. In reply to my question "Why?" he said that most of these Jews were no longer alive. I asked him who had given such instructions and he referred me to an order of Himmler's. I then begged him to show me this order, because I could not believe that it actually existed in writing. He . . . Lt. Col. Brookhart: Where were you at that time? Where were you at the time of this meeting with Eichmann? Wisliceny: This meeting with Eichmann took place in Berlin, Kurfurstenstrasse 116, in Eichmann's office. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Proceed with the answer to the previous question. Proceed with the discussion of the circumstances and the order. Wisliceny: Eichmann told me he could show me this order in writing i! it would soothe my conscience. He took a small volume of documents from his safe, turned over the pages, and showed me a letter from Himmler to the Chief of the Security Police and the SD. The gist of the letter was roughly as follows:

The Fuehrer had ordered the final solution of the Jewish question; the Chief of the Security Police and the SD and the Inspector of Concentration Camps were entrusted with carrying out this so-called final solution. All Jewish men and women who were able to work were to be temporarily exempted from the so-called final solution and used for work in the concentration camps.

This letter was signed by Himmler himself. I could not possibly be mistaken since Himmler's signature was well known to me. I . . . Lt. Col. Brookhart: To whom was the order addressed? Wisliceny: To the Chief of the Security Police and SD, that is, to the office of the Chief of the Security Police and SD. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Was there any other addressee on this order? Wisliceny: Yes, the Inspector of Concentration Camps. The order was addressed to both these offices. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Did the order bear any classification for security purposes? Wisliceny: It was classified as "secret."Lt. Col. Brookhart: What was the approximate date of this order? Wisliceny: This order was dated April 1942. Lt. Col. Brookhart: By whom was it signed? Wisliceny: By Himmler personally. Lt. Col. Brookhart: And you personally examined this order in Eichmann's office? Wisliceny: Yes, Eichmann handed me the document and I saw the order myself. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Was any question asked by you as to the meaning of the words "final solution" as used in the order? Wisliceny: Eichmann went on to explain to me what was meant by this. He said that the planned biological annihilation of the Jewish race in the Eastern Territories was disguised by the concept and wording "final solution." In later discussions on this subject the same words "final solution" appeared over and over again.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: Was anything said by you to Eichmann in regard to the power given him under this order? Wisliceny: Eichmann told me that within the RSHA he personally was entrusted with the execution of this order. For this purpose he had received every authority from the Chief of the Security Police; he himself was personally responsible for the execution of this order. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Did you make any comment to Eichmann about his authority? Wisliceny: Yes. It was perfectly clear to me that this order spelled death to millions of people. I said to Eichmann, "God grant that our enemies never have the opportunity of doing the same to the German people," in reply to which Eichmann told me not to be sentimental; it was an order of the Fuehrer's and would have to be carried out . . . . 

Lt. Col. Brookhart: Turning now to areas and countries in which measures were taken affecting the Jews, will you state as to which countries you have personal knowledge of such operations? Wisliceny: First, I have personal knowledge of all measures taken in Slovakia. I also know full particulars of the evacuation of Jews from Greece and especially from Hungary. Further, I know about certain measures taken in Bulgaria and in Croatia. I naturally heard about the measures adopted in other countries, but was unable to gain a clear picture of the situation from personal observation or from detailed reports. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Considering the case of Slovakia, you have already made reference to the 17,000 specially selected Jews who were sent from Slovakia. Will you tell the Tribunal of the other measures that followed concerning Jews in Slovakia? Wisliceny: I mentioned before that these first 17,000 laborers were followed by about 35,000 Jews, including entire families. In August or the beginning of September 1942 an end was put to this action in Slovakia. The reasons for this were that a large number of Jews still in Slovakia had been granted-either by the president, or by various ministries-special permission to remain in the country. A further reason might have been the unsatisfactory answer I gave the Slovakian Government in reply to their request for the inspection of the Jewish camps in Poland. This state of affairs lasted until September 1944; from August 1942 until September 1944 no Jews were removed from Slovakia. From 25,000 to 30,000 Jews still remained in the country.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: What happened to the first group of 17,000 specially selected workers? Wisliceny: This group was not annihilated, but all were employed for enforced labor in the Auschwitz and Lublin Concentration Camps. Lt. Col. Brookhart: How do you know this? Wisliceny: I know this detail because the Commandant of Auschwitz, Hoess, made a remark to this effect to me in Hungary in 1944. He told me at that time that these 17,000 Jews were his best workers in Auschwitz. . . . . 

Lt. Col. Brookhart: What happened to the approximately 35,000 members of the families of the Jewish workers that were also sent to Poland? Wisliceny: They were treated according to the order which Eichmann had shown me in August 1942. Part of them were left alive if they were able to work; the others were killed. Lt. Col. Brookhart: How do you know this? Wisliceny: I know that from Eichmann and, naturally, also from Hoess, during conversations in Hungary. Lt. Col. Brookhart: What proportion of this group remained alive? Wisliceny: Hoess at that time, in a conversation with Eichmann at which I was present, gave the figure of the surviving Jews who had been put to work at about 25 to 30 percent.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: Referring now to the 25,000 Jews that remained in Slovakia until September of 1944, do you know what was done with those Jews? Wisliceny: After the outbreak of the Slovakian insurrection in the fall of 1944 Hauptsturmfuehrer Brunner, one of Eichmann's assistants, was sent to Slovakia. Eichmann refused to grant my wish to go to Slovakia. With the help of German police forces and also with forces of the Slovakian Gendarmerie, Brunner assembled these Jews in several camps and transported them to Auschwitz. According to Brunner's statement, about 14,000 persons were involved. A small group which remained in Camp Szered was, as far as I know, sent to Theresienstadt in the spring of 1945. Lt. Col. Brookhart: What happened to these Jews after they were deported from Slovakia, this group of 25,000? Wisliceny: I assume that they also met with the so-called final solution, because Himmler's order to suspend this action was not issued until several weeks later.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: Considering now actions in Greece about which you have personal knowledge, will you tell the Tribunal of the actions there in chronological sequence? Wisliceny: In January 1943 Eichmann ordered me to come to Berlin and told me that I was to proceed to Salonika to solve the Jewish problem there in co-operation with the German Military Administration in Macedonia. Eichmann's permanent representative, Sturmbannfuehrer Rolf Gunther, had previously been to Salonika. My departure had been scheduled for February 1942. At the end of January 1942 I was told by Eichmann that Hauptsturmfuehrer Brunner had been nominated by him for the technical execution of all operations in Greece and that he was to accompany me to Salonika . . . .  Wisliceny: In Salonika the Jews were first of all concentrated in certain quarters of the city. There were in Salonika about 50,000 Jews of Spanish descent. At the beginning of March, after this concentration had taken place, a teletype message from Eichmann to Brunner ordered the immediate evacuation of all Jews from Salonika and Macedonia to Auschwitz . . . . The trains necessary for the evacuation were requisitioned from the Transport Command of the Armed Forces . . . . Lt. Col. Brookhart: Were any of the Jewish workers retained at the request of Dr. Merten or the Military Administration? Wisliceny: The Military Administration had made a demand for about 3,000 Jews for construction work on the railroad, which number was duly delivered. Once the work was ended, these Jews were returned to Brunner and were, like all the others, dispatched to Auschwitz. The work in question came under the program of the Todt Organization. Lt. Col. Brookhart: What was the number of Jewish workers retained for the Organization Todt? Wisliceny: Three to four thousand. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Was there any illness among the Jews that were concentrated for transport? Wisliceny: In the camp proper, that is, the concentration camp, there were no special cases of illness; but in certain quarters of the city inhabited by the Jews typhus was prevalent and other contagious diseases, especially tuberculosis of the lungs. Lt. Col. Brookhart: What, if any, communication did you have with Eichmann concerning this typhus? . . . . Altogether, how many Jews were collected and deported from Greece? Wisliceny: There were over 50,000 Jews. I believe that about 54,000 were evacuated from Salonika and Macedonia. Lt. Col. Brookhart: What is the basis for your figure? Wisliceny: I myself read a comprehensive report from Brunner to Eichmann on completion of the evacuation. Brunner left Salonika at the end of May 1943. I personally was not in Salonika from the beginning of April until the end of May, so that the action was carried out by Brunner alone.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: How many transports were used for shipping Jews from Salonika? Wisliceny: From 20 to 25 transport trains. Lt. Col. Brookhart: And how many were shipped in each train? Wisliceny: There were at least 2,000, and in many cases 2,500. Lt. Col. Brookhart: What kind of railway equipment was used for these shipments? Wisliceny: Closed freight cars were used. The evacuees were given sufficient food to last them for about 10 days, consisting mostly of bread, olives, and other dry food. They were also given water and various other sanitary facilities. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Who furnished this railway transportation? Wisliceny: Transport was supplied by the Transport Command of the Armed Forces, that is, the cars and locomotives. The food was furnished by the Military Administration.

The President: Colonel Brookhart, you need not go into this in such great detail. . . . . Lt. Col. Brookhart: If Your Honor pleases, this witness, as he has testified, is competent to cover practically all details in these Balkan countries. It is not our wish to add cumulative evidence, but his testimony does furnish a complete story from the Head Office of the Reichsicherheitshauptamt through the field operations to the final solution. The President: Well, what is he going to prove about these 50,000 Jews? Lt. Col. Brookhart: Their ultimate disposition at Auschwitz, as far as he knows. The President: Well, you can go on to what ultimately happened to them then. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Yes, Sir.

[Turning to the witness.] What was the destination of these transports of Jews from Greece? Wisliceny: In every case Auschwitz. Lt. Col. Brookhart: And what was the ultimate disposition of the Jews sent to Auschwitz from Greece? Wisliceny: They were without exception destined for the so-called final solution. Lt. Col. Brookhart: During the collection period were these Jews called upon to furnish their own subsistence? Wisliceny: I did not quite understand the question.

The President: Colonel Brookhart, does it matter, if they were "brought to the final solution," which I suppose means death? Lt. Col. Brookhart: Your Honor, this witness will testify that 280,000,000 drachmas were deposited in the Greek National Bank for the subsistence of these people and that this amount was later appropriated by the German Military Administration. That is all I have hoped to prove by this question. [Turning to the witness.] Is that a correct statement of your testimony? Wisliceny: Yes. The cash which the Jews possessed was taken away and put into a common account at the Bank of Greece. After the Jews had been evacuated from Salonika this account was taken over by the German Military Administration. About 280,000,000 drachmas were involved. Lt. Col. Brookhart: When you say the Jews taken to Auschwitz were submitted to the final solution, what do you mean by that? Wisliceny: By that I mean what Eichmann had explained to me under the term "final solution," that is, they were annihilated biologically. As far as I could gather from my conversations with him, this annihilation took place in the gas chambers and the bodies were subsequently destroyed in the crematories.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: If Your Honor pleases, this witness is able to testify as to actions in Hungary, involving approximately 500,000 Jews . . . . [Turning to the witness.] Turning to actions in Hungary, will you briefly outline the actions taken there and your participation? Wisliceny: After the entry of the German troops into Hungary Eichmann went there personally with a large command. By an order signed by the head of the Security Police, I was assigned to Eichmann's command. Eichmann began his activities in Hungary at the end of March 1944. He contacted members of the then Hungarian Government, especially State Secretaries Endre and Von Caky. The first measure adopted by Eichmann in co-operation with these Hungarian Government officials was the concentration of the Hungarian Jews in special places and special localities. These measures were carried out according to zones, beginning in Ruthenia and Transylvania. The action was initiated in mid-April 1944.

In Ruthenia over 200,000 Jews were affected by these measures. Consequently, impossible food and housing conditions developed in the small towns and rural communities where the Jews were assembled. On the strength of this situation Eichmann suggested to the Hungarians that these Jews be transported to Auschwitz and other camps. He insisted, however, that a request to this effect be submitted to him either by the Hungarian Government or by a member thereof. This request was submitted by State Secretary Von Baky. The evacuation was carried out by the Hungarian Police.

Eichmann appointed me liaison officer to Lieutenant Colonel Ferency, entrusted by the Hungarian Minister of the Interior with this operation. The evacuation of Jews from Hungary began in May 1944 and was also carried out zone by zone, first starting in Ruthenia, then in Transylvania, northern Hungary, southern, and western Hungary. Budapest was to be cleared of Jews by the end of June. This evacuation, however, was never carried out, as the regent, Horthy, would not permit it. This operation affected some 450,000 Jews. A second operation was then . . . 

Lt. Col. Brookhart: Before you go into that, please, will you tell the Tribunal what, if anything, was done about organizing an Einsatz group to act in Hungary on the Jewish question? Wisliceny: At the beginning of March 1944 a so-called Einsatzgruppe, consisting of Security Police and SD, was formed at Mauthausen near Linz. Eichmann himself headed a so-called "Sondereinsatz-Kommando" to which he detailed everybody who had held any position in his department. This Special-Action Commando was likewise assembled at Mauthausen. All questions of personnel devolved on the then Standartenfuehrer, Dr. Geschke, leader of the Einsatzgruppe. In technical matters Eichmann was subordinate only to the Chief of the Security Police and the SD. Lt. Col. Brookhart: What was the meaning of the designation "Special-Action Commando Eichmann" in relation to the movement into Hungary? Wisliceny: Eichmann's activities in Hungary comprised all matters connected with the Jewish problem. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Under whose direct supervision was Special-Action Commando Eichmann organized? Wisliceny: I have already said that in all matters of personnel and economy Eichmann was subordinate to Standartenfuehrer, Dr. Geschke, leader of the Einsatzgruppe. In technical matters he could give no orders to Eichmann. Eichmann likewise reported direct to Berlin on all the special operations undertaken by him. Lt. Col. Brookhart: To whom? Wisliceny: Either to Gruppenfuehrer Muller, or, in more important cases, to the Chief of the Security Police and SD, that is, to Kaltenbrunner

Lt. Col. Brookhart: During the period in which Hungarian Jews were being collected, what, if any, contact was made by the Joint Distribution Committee for Jewish Affairs with Eichmann's representative? Wisliceny: The Joint Distribution Committee made efforts to contact Eichmann and to try to ward off the fate of the Hungarian Jews. I myself established this contact with Eichmann, since I wanted to discover some means of protecting the half million Jews in Hungary from the measures already in force. The Joint Distribution Committee made certain offers to Eichmann and in return requested that the Jews should remain in Hungary. These offers were mainly of a financial nature. Eichmann felt himself, much against his Will, obliged to forward these proposals to Himmler. Himmler thereupon entrusted a certain Standartenfuehrer Becher with further negotiations. Standartenfuehrer Becher then continued the negotiations with Dr. Kastner, delegate of the J.D.C. But Eichmann, from the very first, endeavored to wreck the negotiations. Before any concrete results were obtained he attempted to present us with a fait accompli; in other words, he tried to transport as many Jews as possible to Auschwitz . . . . 

Lt. Col. Brookhart:  . . . . Was there any money involved in the meeting between Dr. Kastner and Eichmann? Wisliceny: Yes. Lt. Col. Brookhart: How much? Wisliceny: In the first conversation Dr. Kastner gave Eichmann about 3 million pengoes. What the sums mentioned in further conversations amounted to, I do, not know exactly. Lt. Col. Brookhart: To whom did Dr. Kastner give this money and what became of it? Wisliceny: It was given to Eichmann, who then turned it over to his financial agent; the sum was in turn handed to the commander of the Security Police and the SD in Hungary. Lt. Col. Brookhart: These actions that you have described, involving approximately 450,000 Jews being moved from Hungary- were there any official communications sent to Berlin concerning these movements? Wisliceny: Yes, as each transport left, Berlin was informed by teletype. From time to time Eichmann also dispatched a comprehensive report to the RSHA and to the Chief of the Security Police. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Now with reference to the Jews that remained in Budapest, what, if any, action was taken against them? Wisliceny: After Szalasi had taken over the Government of Hungary . . . 

Lt. Col. Brookhart: . . . . What became of the Jews to whom you have already referred-approximately 450,000? Wisliceny: They were, without exception, taken to Auschwitz and brought to the final solution. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Do you mean they were killed? Wisliceny: Yes, with the exception of perhaps 25 to 30 percent who were used for labor purposes. I here refer to a previously mentioned conversation on this matter between Hoess and Eichmann in Budapest.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: Turning now to the Jews remaining in Budapest, what happened to them? Wisliceny: In October-November 1944 about 30,000 of these Jews, perhaps a few thousand more, were removed from Budapest and sent to Germany. They were to be used to work on the construction of the so-called Southeast Wall, a fortification near Vienna. They were mostly women. They had to walk from Budapest to the German border-almost 200 kilometers. They were assembled in marching formations and followed a route specially designated for them. Their shelter and nutrition on this march was extremely bad. Most of them fell ill and lost strength. I had been ordered by Eichmann to take over these groups at the German border and direct them further to the Lower Danube Gauleitung for labor purposes. In many cases I refused to take over these so-called workers, because they were completely exhausted and emaciated by disease. Eichmann, however, forced me to take them over and in this case even threatened to turn me over to Himmler to be put into a concentration camp if I caused him further political difficulties. For this same reason I was later removed from Eichmann's department.

A large proportion of these people then died in the so-called Lower Danube work camps from exhaustion and epidemics. A small percentage, perhaps 12,000, was taken to Vienna and the surrounding area, and a group of about 3,000 was taken to Bergen-Belsen, and from there to Switzerland. Those were Jews who had been released from Germany as a result of the negotiations with the J.D.C.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: Summarizing for the countries of Greece, Hungary, and Slovakia-approximately how many Jews were affected by measures of the Secret Police and SD in those countries about which you have personal knowledge? Wisliceny: In Slovakia there- were about 66,000, in Greece about 64,000, and in Hungary more than half a million. Lt. Col. Brookhart: In the countries Croatia and Bulgaria, about which you have some knowledge, how many Jews were thus affected? Wisliceny: In Bulgaria, to my understanding about 8,000; in Croatia I know of only 3,000 Jews who were brought to Auschwitz from Agram in the summer of 1942.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: Were meetings held of the specialists on the Jewish problem from Amt IVA, whose names appear on this sheet to which we made reference earlier? Wisliceny: Yes. Eichmann was accustomed to calling a large annual meeting of all his experts in Berlin. This meeting was usually in November. At these meetings all the men who were working for him in foreign countries had to report on their activities. In 1944, so far as I know, such a meeting did not take place, because in November 1944 Eichmann was still in Hungary. Lt. Col. Brookhart: In connection with the Jews about whom you have personal knowledge, how many were subjected to the final solution, that is, to being killed? Wisliceny: The exact number is extremely hard for me to determine. I have only one basis for a possible estimate, that is a conversation between Eichmann and Hoess in Vienna, in which he said that only a very few of those sent from Greece to Auschwitz had been fit for work. Of the Slovakian and Hungarian Jews about 20 to 30 percent had been able to work. It is therefore very hard for me to give a reliable total. Lt. Col. Brookhart: In your meetings with the other specialists on the Jewish problem and Eichmann did you gain any knowledge or information as to the total number of Jews killed under this program? Wisliceny: Eichmann personally always talked about at least 4 million Jews. Sometimes he even mentioned 5 million. According to my own estimate I should say that at least 4 million must have been destined for the so-called final solution. How many of those actually survived, I am not in a position to say.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: When did you last see Eichmann? Wisliceny: I last saw Eichmann towards the end of February 1945 in Berlin. At that time he said that if the war were lost he would commit suicide. Lt. Col. Brookhart: Did he say anything at that time as to the number of Jews that had been killed? Wisliceny: Yes, he expressed this in a particularly cynical manner. He said he would leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had 5 million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction. Lt. Col. Brookhart: The witness is available for other counsel . . . . 

Dr. Servatius: Witness, you mentioned the impressment of the Jews for labor and named two cases, one of Jews from Slovakia who were brought to Auschwitz and put to work if they were fit for it; then later you spoke of those Jews who were brought from Hungary to the Southeast Wall. Do you know whether the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor Sauckel had any connection with these actions, whether this happened on his orders, and whether he otherwise had anything to do with these matters? Wisliceny: As far as the Jews from Slovakia were concerned, the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor had nothing to do with these matters. It was a purely internal affair for the Inspector of Concentration Camps who employed these Jews for his own purposes. Concerning the impressment of Jews for the construction of the Southeast Wall, I cannot definitely answer this question. I do not know to what extent the construction of the Southeast Wall was directed by the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor. The Jews who came up from Hungary for this construction work were turned over to the Lower Danube Gauleitung . . . . The President: Very well. That will do. [The witness left the stand.]


Dr. Kauffmann: Witness, your statements will have far-reaching significance. You are perhaps the only one who can throw some light upon certain hidden aspects, and who can tell which people gave the orders for the destruction of European Jewry, and can further state how this order was carried out and to what degree the execution was kept a secret. The President: Dr. Kauffmann, will you kindly put questions to the witness.

Dr. Kauffmann: Yes. [Turning to the witness] From 1940 to 1943, you were the Commander of the camp at Auschwitz. Is that true? Hoess: Yes. Dr. Kauffmann: And during that time, hundreds of thousands of human beings were sent to their death there. Is that correct? Hoess: Yes. Dr. Kauffmann: Is it true that you, yourself, have made no exact notes regarding the figures of the number of those victims because you were forbidden to make them? Hoess: Yes, that is correct. Dr. Kauffmann: Is it furthermore correct that exclusively one man by the name of Eichmann had notes about this, the man who had the task of organizing and assembling these people? Hoess: Yes. Dr. Kauffmann: Is it furthermore true that Eichmann stated to you that in Auschwitz a total sum of more than 2 million Jews had been destroyed? Hoess: Yes. Dr. Kauffmann: Men, women, and children? Hoess: Yes.

Dr. Kauffmann: You were a participant in the World War? Hoess: Yes. Dr. Kauffmann: And then in 1922, you entered the Party? Hoess: Yes. Dr. Kauffmann: Were you a member of the SS? Hoess: Since 1934. Dr. Kauffmann: Is it true that you, in the year 1924, were sentenced to a lengthy term of hard labor because you participated in a so-called political murder? Hoess: Yes. Dr. Kauffmann: And then at the end of 1934, you went to the concentration camp of Dachau? Hoess: Yes. Dr. Kauffmann: What task did you receive? Hoess: At first, I was the leader of a block of prisoners and then I became clerk and finally, the administrator of the property of prisoners. Dr. Kauffmann: And how long did you stay there? Hoess: Until 1938. Dr. Kauffmann: What job did you have from 1938 on and where were you then? Hoess: In 1938 I went to the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen where, to begin with, I was adjutant to the commander and later on I became the head of the protective custody camp.

Dr. Kauffmann: When were you commander at Auschwitz? Hoess: I was commander at Auschwitz from May 1940 until December 1943. Dr. Kauffmann: What was the highest number of human beings, prisoners, ever held at one time at Auschwitz? Hoess: The highest number of internees held at one time at Auschwitz, was about 140,000 men and women.

Dr. Kauffmann: Is it true that in 1941 you were ordered to Berlin to see Himmler? Please state briefly what was discussed. Hoess: Yes. In the summer of 1941 I was summoned to Berlin to Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler to receive personal orders. He told me something to the effect-I do not remember the exact words-that the Fuehrer had given the order for a final solution of the Jewish question. We, the SS, must carry out that order. If it is not carried out now then the Jews will later on destroy the German people. He had chosen Auschwitz on account of its easy access by rail and also because the extensive site offered space for measures ensuring isolation.

Dr. Kauffmann: During that conference did Himmler tell you that this planned action had to be treated as a secret Retch matter? Hoess: Yes. He stressed that point. He told me that I was not even allowed to say anything about it to my immediate superior Gruppenfuehrer Glucks. This conference concerned the two of us only and I was to observe the strictest secrecy . . . . 

Dr. Kauffmann: Will you briefly tell whether it is correct that the camp of Auschwitz was completely isolated, describing the measures taken to insure as far as possible the secrecy of carrying out of the task given to you. Hoess: The Auschwitz camp as such was about 3 kilometers away from the town. About 20,000 acres of the surrounding country had been cleared of all former inhabitants, and the entire area could be entered only by SS men or civilian employees who had special passes. The actual compound called "Birkenau," where later on the extermination camp was constructed, was situated 2 kilometers from the Auschwitz camp. The camp installations themselves, that is to say, the provisional installations used at first were deep in the woods and could from nowhere be detected by the eye. In addition to that, this area had been declared a prohibited area and even members of the SS who did not have a special pass could not enter it. Thus, as far as one could judge, it was impossible for anyone except authorized persons to enter that area.

Dr. Kauffmann: And then the railway transports arrived. During what period did these transports arrive and about how many people, roughly, were in such a transport? Hoess: During the whole period up until 1944 certain operations were carried out at irregular intervals in the different countries, so that one cannot speak of a continuous flow of incoming transports. It was always a matter of 4 to 6 weeks. During those 4 to 6 weeks two to three trains, containing about 2,000 persons each, arrived daily. These trains were first of all shunted to a siding in the Birkenau region and the locomotives then went back. The guards who had accompanied the transport had to leave the area at once and the persons who had been brought in were taken over by guards belonging to the camp. They were there examined by two SS medical officers as to their fitness for work. The internees capable of work at once marched to Auschwitz or to the camp at Birkenau and those incapable of work were at first taken to the provisional installations, then later to the newly constructed crematoria.

Dr. Kauffmann: During an interrogation I had with you the other day, you told me that about 60 men were designated to receive these transports, and that these 60 persons, too, had been bound to the same secrecy described before. Do you still maintain that today? Hoess: Yes, these 60 men were always on hand to take the internees not capable of work to these provisional installations and later on to the other ones. This group, consisting of about ten leaders and sub-leaders, as well as doctors and medical personnel, had repeatedly been told, both in writing and verbally, that they were bound to the strictest secrecy as to all that went on in the camps.

Dr. Kauffmann: Were there any signs that might show an outsider who saw these transports arrive, that they would be destroyed or was that possibility so small because there was in Auschwitz an unusually large number of incoming transports, shipments of goods and so forth? Hoess: Yes, an observer who did not make special notes for that purpose could obtain no idea about that because to begin with not only transports arrived which were destined to be destroyed but also other transports arrived continuously, containing new internees who were needed in the camp. Furthermore, transports likewise left the camp in sufficiently large numbers with internees fit for work or exchanged prisoners. The trains themselves were closed, that is to say, the doors of the freight cars were closed so that it was not possible, from the outside, to get a glimpse of the people inside. In addition to that, up to 100 cars of materials, rations, et cetera, were daily rolled into the camp or continuously left the workshops of the camp in which war material was being made.

Dr. Kauffmann: And after the arrival of the transports were the victims stripped of everything they had? Did they have to undress completely; did they have to surrender their valuables? Is that true? Hoess: Yes. Dr. Kauffmann: And then they immediately went to their death? strong>Hoess: Yes.

Dr. Kauffmann: I ask you, according to your knowledge, did these people know what was in store for them? Hoess: The majority of them did not, for steps were taken to keep them in doubt about it and suspicion would not arise that they were to go to their death. For instance, all doors and all walls bore inscriptions to the effect that they were going to undergo a delousing operation or take a shower. This was made known in several languages to the internees by other internees who had come in with earlier transports and who were being used as auxiliary crews during the whole action.

Dr. Kauffmann: And then, you told me the other day, that death by gassing set in within a period of 3 to 15 minutes. Is that correct? Hoess: Yes. Dr. Kauffmann: You also told me that even before death finally set in, the victims fell into a state of unconsciousness? Hoess: Yes. From what I was able to find out myself or from what was told me by medical officers, the time necessary for reaching unconsciousness or death varied according to the temperature and the number of people present in the chambers. Loss of consciousness took place within a few seconds or a few minutes.

Dr. Kauffmann: Did you yourself ever feel pity with the victims, thinking of your own family and children? Hoess: Yes. Dr. Kauffmann: How was it possible for you to carry out these actions in spite of this? Hoess: In view of all these doubts which I had, the only one and decisive argument was the strict order and the reason given for it by the Reichsfuehrer Himmler . . . . 

Dr. Kauffmann: Regarding the location of [Auschwitz], will you please state in which district Mauthausen is situated. Is that Upper Silesia or is it the Government General? . . . . Hoess: Auschwitz is situated in the former state of Poland. Later, after 1939, it was incorporated in the province of Upper Silesia . . . . 

Dr. Kauffmann: And then from 1943 until the end of the war, you were one of the chiefs in the Inspectorate of the Main Economic and Administrative Office? Hoess: Yes, that is correctly stated. Dr. Kauffmann: Do you mean by that, that you are particularly well informed on everything occurring in concentration camps regarding the treatment and the methods applied? Hoess: Yes.

Dr. Kauffmann: I ask you, therefore, first of all, whether you have any knowledge regarding the treatment of internees, whether certain methods became known to you according to which they were tortured and cruelly treated? Please formulate your statement according to periods, up to 1939 and after 1939. Hoess: Until the outbreak of war in 1939, the situation in the camps regarding feeding, accommodations, and treatment of internees, was the same as in any other prison or penitentiary in the Reich. The internees were treated severely, but methodical beatings or ill-treatments [sic] were out of the question. The Reichsfuehrer gave frequent orders that every SS man who laid violent hands on an internee would be punished; and several times SS men who did ill-treat internees were punished. Feeding and billeting at that time were on the same basis as those of other prisoners under legal administration.

The accommodations in the camps during those years were still normal because the mass influxes at the outbreak of the war and during the war had not yet taken place. When the war started and when mass deliveries of political internees arrived, and, later on, when prisoners who were members of the resistance movements arrived from the occupied territories, the construction of buildings and the extensions of the camps could no longer keep pace with the number of incoming internees.

During the first years of the war this problem could still be overcome by improvising measures; but later, due to the exigencies of the war, this was no longer possible since there were practically no building materials any more at our disposal. And, furthermore, rations for the internees were again and again severely curtailed by the provincial economic administration offices. This then led to a situation where internees in the camps no longer had the staying power to resist the now gradually growing epidemics.

The main reason why the prisoners were in such bad condition towards the end of the war, why so many thousands of them were found sick and emaciated in the camps, was that every internee had to be employed in the armament industry to the extreme limit of his forces. The Reichsfuehrer constantly and on every occasion kept this goal before our eyes, and also proclaimed it through the Chief of the Main Economic and Administrative Office, Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, to the concentration camp commanders and administrative leaders during the so-called commanders' meetings. Every commander was told to make every effort to achieve this. The aim was not to have as many dead as possible or to destroy as many internees as possible; the Reichsfuehrer was constantly concerned with being able to engage all forces available in the armament industry.

Dr. Kauffmann: There is no doubt that the longer the war lasted, the larger became the number of the ill-treated and tortured inmates. Whenever you inspected the concentration camps did you not learn something of this state of affairs through complaints, et cetera, or do you consider that the conditions which have been described are more or less due to excesses? Hoess: These so-called ill-treatments and this torturing in concentration camps, stories of which were spread everywhere among the people, and later by the prisoners that were liberated by the occupying armies, were not, as assumed, inflicted methodically, but were excesses committed by individual leaders, sub-leaders, and men who laid violent hands on internees. Dr. Kauffmann: Do you mean you never took cognizance of these matters? Hoess: If in any way such a case came to be known, then the perpetrator was, of course, immediately relieved of his post or transferred somewhere else. So that, even if he were not punished for lack of evidence to prove his guilt, even then, he was taken away from the internees and given another position.

Dr. Kauffmann: To what do you attribute the particularly bad and shameful conditions, which were ascertained by the entering Allied troops, and which to a certain extent were photographed and filmed? Hoess: The catastrophic situation at the end of the war was due to the fact that, as a result of the destruction of the railway network and of the continuous bombing of the industrial plants, care for these masses-I am thinking of Auschwitz with its 140,000 internees-could no longer be assured. Improvised measures, truck columns, and everything else tried by the commanders to improve the situation were of little or no avail; it was no longer possible. The number of the sick became immense. There were next to no medical supplies; epidemics raged everywhere. Internees who were capable of work were used over and over again. By order of the Reichsfuehrer, even half-sick people had to be used wherever possible in industry. As a result every bit of space in the concentration camps which could possibly be used for lodging was overcrowded with sick and dying prisoners . . . . 

Dr. Kauffmann: What became known to you about so-called medical experiments on living internees? Hoess: Medical experiments were carried out in several camps. For instance, in Auschwitz there were experiments on sterilization carried out by Professor Klaubert and Dr. Schumann; also experiments on twins by SS medical officer Dr. Mengele. Dr. Kauffmann: Do you know the medical officer Dr. Rascher? Hoess: In Dachau he was a medical officer of the Luftwaffe who carried out experiments, on internees who had been sentenced to death, about the resistance of the human body to cold and in high pressure chambers. Dr. Kauffmann: Can you tell whether such experiments carried out within the camp were known to a large circle? Hoess: Such experiments, just like all other matters, were, of course, called "secret Reich matters." However, it could not be avoided that the experiments became known since they were carried out in a large camp and must have been seen in some way by the inmates. I cannot say, however, to what extent the outside world learned about these experiments.

Dr. Kauffmann: You explained to me that orders for executions were received in the camp at Auschwitz, and you told me that until the outbreak of war such orders were few, but that later on they became more numerous. Is that correct? Hoess: Yes. There were hardly any executions until the beginning of the war-only in particularly serious cases. I remember one case in Buchenwald where an SS man had been attacked and beaten to death by internees, and the internees were later hanged. Dr. Kauffmann: But during the war-and that you will admit-the number of executions increased, and not inconsiderably. Hoess: That had already started with the beginning of the war . . . . 

Dr. Kauffmann: Did you learn that, towards the end of the war, concentration camps were evacuated? And, if so, who gave the orders? Hoess: Let me explain. Originally there was an order from the Reichsfuehrer, according to which camps, in the event of the approach of the enemy or in case of air attacks, were to be surrendered to the enemy. Later on, due to the case of Buchenwald, which had been reported to the Fuehrer, there was-no, at the beginning of 1945, when various camps came within the operational sphere of the enemy, this order was withdrawn. The Reichsfuehrer ordered the Higher SS and Police Leaders, who in an emergency case were responsible for the security and safety of the camps, to decide themselves whether an evacuation or a surrender was appropriate.

Auschwitz and Gross Rosen were evacuated. Buchenwald was also to be evacuated, but then the order from the Reichsfuehrer came through to the effect that on principle no more camps were to be evacuated. Only prominent inmates and inmates who were not to fall into Allied hands under any circumstances were to be taken away to other camps. This also happened in the case of Buchenwald. After Buchenwald had been occupied, it was reported to the Fuehrer that internees had armed themselves and were carrying out plundering in the town of Weimar. This caused the Fuehrer to give the strictest order to Himmler to the effect that in the future no more camps were to fall into the hands of the enemy, and that no internees capable of marching would be left behind in any camp.

This was shortly before the end of the war, and shortly before northern and southern Germany were cut. I shall speak about the Sachsenhausen camp. The Gestapo chief, Gruppenfuehrer Muller, called me in the evening and told me that the Reichsfuehrer had ordered that the camp at Sachsenhausen was to be evacuated at once. I pointed out to Gruppenfuehrer Muller what that would mean. Sachsenhausen could no longer fall back on any other camp except perhaps on a few labor camps attached to the armament works that were almost filled up anyway. Most of the internees would have to be sheltered in the woods somewhere. This would mean countless thousands of deaths and, above all, it would be impossible to feed these masses of people. He promised me that he would again discuss these measures with the Reichsfuehrer. He called me back and told me that the Reichsfuehrer had refused and was demanding that the commanders carry out his orders immediately.

At the same time Ravensbrueck was also to be evacuated in the dame manner but it could no longer be done. I do not know to what extent camps in southern Germany were cleared, since we, the Inspectorate, no longer had any connections with southern Germany. Dr. Kauffmann: It has been maintained here-and this is my last question-that the Defendant Kaltenbrunner gave the order that Dachau and two auxiliary camps were to be destroyed by bombing or with poison. I ask you, did you hear anything about this; if not, would you consider such an order possible? Hoess: I have never heard anything about this, and I do not know anything either about an order to evacuate any camps in southern Germany, as I have already mentioned. Apart from that, I consider it quite impossible that a camp could be destroyed by this method. Dr. Kauffmann: I have no further questions.

The President: Do any of the defendants' counsel want to ask any questions? . . . . Herr Babel (Counsel for SS): Witness, at the beginning of your examination you stated that when you were ordered to the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler, he told you that the carrying out of this order of the Fuehrer was to be left to the SS and that the SS had been ordered to do it. What is to be understood under this general title SS? Hoess: According to the explanations of the Reichsfuehrer, this could only mean the men guarding the concentration camps. According to the nature of the order only concentration camp crews and not the Waffen-SS could be concerned with the carrying out of this task. Herr Babel: How many members of the SS were assigned to concentration camps, and which units did they belong to? Hoess: Toward the end of the war there were approximately 35,000 SS men and in my estimation approximately 10,000 men from the Army, Air Force, and the Navy detailed to the labor camps for guard duties. Herr Babel: What were the tasks of these guards? As far as I know, the duties varied. First, there was the actual guarding and then there was a certain amount of administrative work within the camp. Hoess: Yes, that is correct.

Herr Babel: How many guards were there within the camps for, let us say, 1,000 internees? Hoess: You cannot estimate it in that way. According to my observations about 10 percent of the total number of guarding personnel were used for internal duties, that is to say, administration and supervision of internees within the camp, including the medical personnel of the camp. Herr Babel: So that 90 percent were therefore used for the exterior guarding, that is to say, for watching the camp from watch towers and for escorting the internees on work assignments. Hoess: Yes. Herr Babel: Did you make any observations as to whether there was any ill-treatment of prisoners to a greater or lesser degree on the part of those guards, or whether the ill-treatment was mainly to be traced back to the so-called Kapos? Hoess: If any ill-treatment of prisoners by guards occurred--I myself have never observed any--then this was possible only to a very small degree since all offices in charge of the camps took care that as few SS men as possible had direct contact with the inmates, because in the course of the years the guard personnel had deteriorated to such an extent that the standards formerly demanded could no longer be maintained.

We had thousands of guards who could hardly speak German, who came from all lands as volunteers and joined these units, or we had older men, between 50 and 60, who lacked all interest in their work, so that a camp commander had to watch constantly that these men fulfilled even the lowest requirements of their duties. It is obvious that there were elements among them who would ill-treat internees, but this ill-treatment was never tolerated.

Besides, it was impossible to have these masses of people directed at work or when in the camp by SS men only; therefore, inmates had to be assigned everywhere to direct the other prisoners and set them to work. The internal administration of the camp was almost completely in their hands. Of course a great deal of ill-treatment occurred which could not be avoided because at night there were hardly any members of the SS in the camps. Only in specific cases were SS men allowed to enter the camp, so that the internees were more or less exposed to these Kapos. Herr Babel: You have already mentioned regulations which existed for the guards, but there was also a standing order in each camp. In this camp order certainly punishment was provided for internees who violated the camp rules. What punishment was provided? Hoess: First of all, transfer to a penal company (Strafkompanie), that as to say, harder work and restricted accommodations; next, detention in the cell block, detention in a dark cell; and in very serious cases, chaining or strapping. Punishment by strapping was prohibited in the year 1942 or 1943-I cannot say exactly when-by the Reichsfuehrer. Then there was the punishment of standing at the camp gate over a rather long period, and finally corporal punishment.

However, no commander could decree this corporal punishment on his own authority. He could only apply for it. In the case of men, the decision came from the Inspector of Concentration Camps, Gruppenfuehrer Schmidt, and where women were concerned, the Reichsfuehrer reserved the decision exclusively for himself. Herr Babel: It may also be known to you that for members of the SS, too, there were two penal camps which sometimes were called concentration camps, namely, Dachau and Danzig-Matzkau. Hoess: That is right. Herr Babel: Were the existing camp regulations and the treatment of members of the SS who were put in such camps different from the regulations applying to the other concentration camps? Hoess: Yes; these two detention camps were not under the Inspectorate for Concentration Camps, but they were under an SS and Police court. I myself have neither inspected nor seen these two camps. Herr Babel: So that you know nothing about the standing orders relating to those camps? Hoess: I know nothing about them. Herr Babel: I have no further questions to the witness . . . . 

Flottenrichter Kranzbuhler (Counsel for Defendant Doenitz): Witness, you just mentioned that members of the Navy were detailed to guard concentration camps. Hoess: Yes. Flottenrichter Kranzbuhler: Were these concentration camps, or were they labor camps? Hoess: They were labor camps. Flottenrichter Kranzbuhler: Are labor camps barracks camps of the armament industries? Hoess: Yes, if they were not accommodated in the actual factories themselves. Flottenrichter Kranzbuhler: I have been informed that soldiers who were to be assigned for guard duty at labor camps were given over to the SS. Hoess: That is only partially correct. A part of these men--I do not recall the figures--was taken over into the SS. A part was returned to the original unit, or exchanged. Exchanges were continually taking place. Flottenrichter Kranzbuhler: Thank you . . . . 

Col. Amen: Witness, you made an affidavit, did you not, at the request of the Prosecution? Hoess: Yes. Col. Amen: I ask that the witness be shown Document 3868-PS, which will become Exhibit USA-819. [The document was submitted to the witness.] Col. Amen: You signed that affidavit voluntarily, Witness? Hoess: Yes. Col. Amen: And the affidavit is true in all respects? Hoess: Yes. Col. Amen: This, if the Tribunal please, we have in four languages.

[Turning to the witness.] Some of the matters covered in this affidavit you have already told us about in part, so I will omit some parts of the affidavit. If you will follow along with me as I read, please. Do you have a copy of the affidavit before you? Hoess: Yes. Col. Amen: I will omit the first paragraph and start with Paragraph 2:

I have been constantly associated with the administration of concentration camps since 1934, serving at Dachau until 1938; then as Adjutant in Sachsenhausen from 1938 to 1 May 1940, when I was appointed Commandant of Auschwitz. I commanded Auschwitz until 1 December 1943, and estimate that at least 2,500,000 victims were executed and exterminated there by gassing and burning, and at least another half million succumbed to starvation and disease making a total dead of about 3,000,000. This figure represents about 70 or 80 percent of all persons sent to Auschwitz as prisoners, the remainder having been selected and used for slave labor in the concentration camp industries; included among the executed and burned were approximately 20,000 Russian prisoners of war (previously screened out of prisoner-of-war cages by the Gestapo) who were delivered at Auschwitz in Wehrmacht transports operated by regular Wehrmacht officers and men. The remainder of the total number of victims included about 100,000 German Jews, and great Numbers of citizens, mostly Jewish, from Holland, France, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Greece, or other countries. We executed about 400,000 Hungarian Jews alone at Auschwitz in the summer of 1944.

That is all true, Witness? Hoess: Yes, it is . . . . 

The President: Just for the sake of accuracy, the last date in Paragraph 2, is that 1943 or 1944? Col. Amen: 1944, I believe. Is that date correct, Witness, at the close of Paragraph 2, namely, that the 400,000 Hungarian Jews alone at Auschwitz in the summer of 1944 were executed? is that 1944 or 1943? Hoess: 1944. Part of that figure also goes back to 1943; only a part. I cannot give the exact figure; the end was 1944, autumn of 1944. Col. Amen: Right.

4. Mass executions by gassing commenced during the summer of 1941 and continued until fall 1944. I personally supervised executions at Auschwitz until first of December 1943 and know by reason of my continued duties in the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps, WVHA, that these mass executions continued as stated above. All mass executions by gassing took place under the direct order, supervision, and responsibility of RSHA. I received all orders for carrying out these mass executions directly from RSHA.

Are those statements true and correct, Witness? Hoess: Yes, they are.

6. The 'final solution' of the Jewish question meant the complete extermination of all Jews in Europe. I was ordered to establish extermination facilities at Auschwitz in June 1941. At that time, there were already in the General Government three other extermination camps: Belzec, Treblinka, and Wolzek. These camps were under the Einsatzkommando of the Security Police and SD. I visited Treblinka to find out how they carried out their exterminations. The camp commandant at Treblinka told me that he had liquidated 80,000 in the course of [six months]. He was principally concerned with liquidating all the Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. He used monoxide gas, and I did not think that his methods were very efficient. So when I set up the extermination building at Auschwitz, I used Zyklon B. which was a crystallized prussic acid which we dropped into the death chamber from a small opening. It took from 3 to 15 minutes to kill the people in the death chamber, depending upon climatic conditions. We knew when the people were dead because their screaming stopped. We usually waited about [half an hour] before we opened the doors and removed the bodies. After the bodies were removed our special Kommandos took off the rings and extracted the gold from the teeth of the corpses.

Col. Amen: Is that all true and correct, Witness? Hoess: Yes. Col. Amen: Incidentally, what was done with the gold which was taken from the teeth of the corpses, do you know? Hoess: Yes. Col. Amen: Will you tell the Tribunal? Hoess: This gold was melted down and brought to the Chief Medical Office of the SS at Berlin. Col. Amen:

7. Another improvement we made over Treblinka was that we built our gas chamber to accommodate 2,000 people at one time whereas at Treblinka their 10 gas chambers only accommodated 200 people each. The way we selected our victims was as follows: We had two SS doctors on duty at Auschwitz to examine the incoming transports of prisoners. The prisoners would be marched by one of the doctors who would make spot decisions as they walked by. Those who were fit for work were sent into the camp. Others were sent immediately to the extermination plants. Children of tender years were invariably exterminated since by reason of their youth they were unable to work. Still another improvement we made over Treblinka was that at Treblinka the victims almost always knew that they were to be exterminated and at Auschwitz we endeavored to fool the victims into thinking that they were to go through a delousing process. Of course, frequently they realized our true intentions and we sometimes had riots and difficulties due to that fact. Very frequently women would hide their children under the clothes, but of course when we found them we would send the children in to be exterminated. We were required to carry out these exterminations in secrecy but of course the foul and nauseating stench from the continuous burning of bodies permeated the entire area and all of the people living in the surrounding communities knew that exterminations were going on at Auschwitz . . . . 

Dr. Kauffmann: I will be very brief. Witness, in the affidavit which was just read, you said under Point 2 that "at least an additional half million died through starvation and disease." I ask you, when did this take place? Was it towards the end of the war or was this fact observed by you already at an earlier period? Hoess: No, it all goes back to the last years of the war, that is beginning with the end of 1942. Dr. Kauffmann: Under Point 3-do you still have the affidavit before you? Hoess: No. Dr. Kauffmann: May I ask that it be given to the witness again? [The document was returned to the witness.] Under Point 7, at the end, you state--I am not going to read it--you were saying that even though exterminations took place secretly, the population in the surrounding area noticed something of the extermination of people. Did not, at an earlier period of time-that is, before the beginning of this special extermination action-something of this nature take place to remove people who had died in a normal manner in Auschwitz? Hoess: Yes, when the crematoria had not yet been built we burned in large pits a large part of those who had died and who could not be cremated in the provisional crematoria of the camp; a large number-I do not recall the figure anymore-were placed in mass graves and later also cremated in these graves. That was before the mass executions of Jews began. Dr. Kauffmann: Would you agree with me if I were to say that from the described facts alone, one could not conclusively prove that this was concerned with the extermination of Jews? Hoess: No, this could in no way be concluded from that. The population . . . The President: What was your question about? Dr. Kauffmann: My question was whether one could assume from the established facts--at the end of Paragraph 7--that this concerned the so-called extermination of Jews. I tied this question to the previous answer of the witness. It is my last question.

The President: The last sentence of Paragraph 7 is with reference to the foul and nauseating stench. What is your question about that? Dr. Kauffmann: Whether the population could gather from these things that an extermination of Jews was taking place. The President: That really is too obvious a question, isn't it? They could not possibly know who it was being exterminated. Dr. Kauffmann: That is enough for me. I have no further questions . . . . 

The Tribunal (Mr. Francis Biddle, Member for the United States): Witness, what was the greatest number of labor camps existing at any one time? Hoess: I cannot give the exact figure but in my estimation there were approximately 900. The Tribunal (Mr. Biddle): What was the population of these 900? Hoess: I am not able to say that either; the population varied. There were camps with 100 internees and camps with 10,000 internees. Therefore, I cannot give any figure of the total number of people who were in these labor camps . . . . The Tribunal (Mr. Biddle): And at the end of the war were the conditions in those labor camps similar to those existing in the concentration camps as you described them before? Hoess: Yes. Since there no longer was any possibility of bringing ill internees to the main camps, there was much overcrowding in these labor camps and the death rate very high. The President: The witness can retire. [The witness left the stand.]

Compiled by Levi Bookin, in memory of those perished, and those who survived.

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