I absolutely agree with you there. However, up to the 1st of September 1943 - that was the date when I started dealing with those matters - I never saw such a list. Rather, I must state again that it was not that way that Action Reinhardt became a word used quite commonly in the WVHA; it was an incident which was absolutely at the very extreme edge of the WVHA, of which I heard nothing at all for months, which only moved along official channels.
Q. But there came a time when you were aware of the vast number of eyeglasses which had been accumulated, and when you became aware of that, then did you conclude that they could only have come from people who had been done to death through violence?
A. Your Honor, I have already stated that as to this particular list in which these 26,000 eyeglasses were itemized, I read that here in this Tribunal in these documents. This list, as can be seen very clearly from the documents, was set up by Globocnik in January of 1944 and sent to the chief of the WVHA. In other words, it was at a time during which I was no longer in the WVHA. The only thing I saw in connection with the list was a listing of the confiscated watches. That can be seen from the letter which was written in May of 1943 which I wrote to Himmler while representing Pohl.
Q. Then are we to understand that the closest that you came to a realization that these articles came from killed people is a state of grave doubt in your mind as to whether that was not the fact?
A. No, my doubt went to the effect - or shall I say my misgivings went to the effect that a person's property was not to be taken away, generally speaking, in that period, and not to the effect that these objects came from hundreds and thousands of people who had died. Those were my misgivings.
Q. At several times in your testimony it seemed that you were debating with yourself, with your conscience, as to whether there was not something quite irregular about this vast quantity of articles, and it appeared that at times you were on the verge of concluding that they had arisen from violent action.
Is that correct or not? Is that impression that I received correct or not?
A. No, Your Honor, not the amount; it was not the amount that made me stop and think. I did not know the total amount at the time; I did not see the things in the first place. I did not see the jewels, nor did I see all the diamonds. That was not known to me at the time. However, the fact that a large number of people were apparently being brought together into one camp and their watches and all their things were taken off, that was the thing that I had misgivings about because it was unusual.
JUDGE MUSMANNO: Thank you.
BY DR. RAUSCHENBACH:
Q. And this particular fact, namely, that you had misgivings about those things, did that finally lead you to the fact that you got sick and tired, so to speak, of your work in the office? Because you told us before that at all times you were an administrative leader, an army administrative leader, and you became the same later on again.
A. No, my misgivings or my doubts did not go as far as that. However, I did reserve myself the following, namely, that I would seize the next occasion in order to resign from my official position in the WVHA. It was not only because of this order, the fact that this property was channeled through the administration of the Waffen SS - I wanted to say Jewish property - that was not the only fact, but, generally sneaking, all those facts so that the concentration camps were brought into closer connection with the WVHA and came closer day by day.
Amtsgruppe A had to deal with the money from those actions; I did not like that. Therefore, when, in July of 1943, a confidential letter was sent to me from the Chief of Staff of the Order Police as to whether I would like to take the position of administrative leader of the police, I immediately agreed.
Q. I shall come back to the document itself and ask you this. What did Himmler actually mean by those words which he added in the draft of the order, "stolen property and hoarded goods"? What did you think about that at the time and how can you explain it today?
A. It is difficult for me to tell you, about it. However, today, at the present moment, I can only explain those facts myself by saying that at the time I must have assumed that those were confiscated goods from the Ghettos.
Q. What kind of goods were they?
A. At the present moment I would not like to speak against the Jews who were in the East and in the Ghettos, nor do I wish to charge them with black marketing. It is clear to me today that those people were actually forced to carry out their business deals in such a manner that would not be an official manner, because officially they were not permitted to do so. At that time I found out from a police official that in the Ghettos in the East there were large stocks of goods; that there were houses in the Ghettos which led three to four stories underneath the ground. They were subterranean buildings which were filled with goods.
Court No. II, Case No. 4.
I knew that the Waffen SS employed certain men who purchased those goods, and who paid five to ten times the regular price for goods which they purchased in the east and of which there was a lack. It is a known fact to every soldier who was in the east that in those various cities one could purchase everything, and from big necklaces of pearls all the way down to a fat goose which one needed in order not to go hungry. That was no secret.
Q How do you believe then that those goods which you have just mentioned came under the Utilization within the Reinhardt Action; wasn't it just personal property, personal effects of those inmates, or were there also stocks of goods that were seized in that manner?
A Well, I had to have that opinion at the beginning, and I believe that opinion of mine was justified, because it can be clearly seen from the documents that large stocks of goods were probably confiscated. Several documents deal with the facts that in one workshop of the Globocniks, for instance, I read in one of the documents here that one and a half million of clothes were made in those workshops and that perhaps fifty-five thousand pairs of shoes were made; all this raw material to produce that has to come from somewhere for Globocnik.
Q Witness, we will not have to go into detail about those things. I have a different question to you. Why was it that the order of the 26th of September, 1942, in other words, the order which we are talking about all the time, why was it that it was sent to the leaders of the administration of the concentration camps and not to the commandant; does that have any particular or special meaning?
A Yes, one can deduct from this fact that it did not deal with confiscations itself, because otherwise the order would have had to go to the commander, respectively to Globocnik himself.
BY JUDGE PHILLIPS:
Q If the authority for this order came from Himmler, I understand you to say that it did -- is that correct?
A I did not quite understand your question.
Court No. II, Case No. 4.
Q If the authority for issuing this order came from Himmler, and you say that it did -- is that correct?
A Not only the authority, the order itself, it was an order of Himmler.
Q Well, if it was an order of Himmler, why didn't you put on this order -- by order of the Reichsfuehrer-SS?
A It was not absolutely necessary.
Q That was done in all cases in which he made an error, was it not?
A Oh, no.
Q Haven't you seen in all these documents here, numbers and numbers of them, where an order was transmitted from the ReichsfuehrerSS, the order was headed -- by order of the Reichsfuehrer-SS?
A This was not an order of the Reichsfuehrer-SS which was sent from the headquarters of the Fuehrer to the main office; it was simply a draft of an order, you see, which was set up by Globocnik, and which Globocnik apparently submitted to Himmler during one of Himmler's visits; and which Himmler simply approved -- possibly just checking it; and the order itself said nothing at all, namely, that the order came directly from Himmler. It was issued as an order of the WVHA, while the confiscation order dealt with the things itself, and that -
Q But I understood you to say that the order originated from Himmler, and Himmler ordered that the WVHA issue this order.
A No, he simply wrote I agree that the WVHA is to issue that order.
Q And the draft of the order was made by Globocnik?
A Yes, that is correct.
Q Then you issued the order as a result of that chain of authority?
A Yes. The order was changed a little bit because we had to add the Reichsbank accounts, and of course we had to add the various Court No. II, Case No. 4.addresses; but generally speaking the order which was signed by me was almost literally word for word the same as the draft.
Q Well now, if you issued this order by virtue of the authority which you have mentioned for all of this mass of goods, all kinds of personal property, and you didn't know anything about the origin of this property, why didn't you find out something about it? You were a high ranking officer there in charge of one of the branches of the WVHA. Why didn't you find out what you issued an order about?
A Well, I did know where the things came from; it was right in the accompanying letter exactly that they came from the Jews who had been resettled in Lublin, and that those Jews were there, well, that was no secret at all. In July, 1943, for instance, it can be seen that Globocnik -
Q I am now talking about September '42, not 1943.
A Even at that time there must have been large numbers of human beings there because how do you think that Globocnik would be able to operate his workshops, his enterprises?
Q Well, he didn't have much left for his people to use while they were there if he was using these people, because everything had been taken away from them.
A Certainly, your Honor -- I said that everything was taken away from them; that fact that personal property was taken away from the Jews who were working there and assigned to labor there, was a thing I had misgivings about.
Q And you thought that this was the property taken away from the people who were working there in this camp?
A Of course. At that time it became known to us from various orders that Jews, together with their families, were resettled in the east, and I find a confirmation of those facts in one of the documents, in which it says the Jews together with their wives and children were to be transferred to various places around there on farms; and it was known to the WVHA that in the east hundreds of border Court No. II, Case No. 4.farms had been established for that purpose, and which were used as such, which were operated by Jewish laborers until the end of the war.
Q How did you think that these people were laborers -- when, under "E" in your order you say women's clothing and women's underwear, including footwear; children's clothing, and children's underwear, including footwear, have to be handed over?
A Yes, I believe that would come from camps, and it must have come from camps because Globocnik himself reports that he had fifty-five thousand pairs of shoes manufactured and over one million and a half of clothes; in other words those things had to be manufactured; they must have been manufactured; and they were manufactured for those resettled persons.
Q I am not talking about manufacturers; I am talking about turning over goods that they already have and what you have to do with it in the future.
A In that accompanying letter it was stated expressly that it was property of the persons who were in the camps which was to be taken away from them due to lack of space; then, there was stocks of goods, so I could not possibly assume that the people had been killed before those things were taken away from them. It is quite clear, that if today -- it would not be different here in Germany either -people are sent to a camp and they take along two, three, four, or five suitcases, they cannot possibly carry those things around with them, and that only a certain amount can be used; a second suit or some underwear for changing.
Q Well, if that was what you thought, why did you preface your order with this statement: Property which will in all orders in the future be called goods originating from thefts, receiving stolen goods, and hoarded goods. If that was true then, you ordered in all orders in the future about these goods to be false, were you not?
A Yes, that was in the order of the Reichsfuehrer, and I have stated before that those things mostly originated from camps, and among Court No. II, Case No. 4.those there were also certain camps which had been confiscated by the agent of Globocnik, the Gestapo as blackmarket goods and that is where that particular term originates.
I do not deny that the fact that these people had to give up all those additional things, that is, for instance, the skirt or their underwear which they could do without easily, that those things were taken away from them, and that this was a violation of the principles of property; I do not deny that.
BY JUDGE MUSMANNO:
Q If you say that you reconciled yourself to these articles in the assumption that they could work without this underclothing; that they could do without watches; that they could do without fountain pens -- how do you reconcile yourself to the fact that these people had to work without their eye-glasses and eat without their teeth?
A Your Honor, excuse me but you are saying eye glasses and underwear at the same time -- that the glasses had come from those people who had died, that was clear to me. I did not see if there were five hundred glasses or five thousand, but the thing was clear to me, namely, that underwear was taken away from people who had too much of that stuff, and which went over -- far over the normal requirements of the person. For instance the same thing would be true today if a person is sent to a camp, he receives a second suit, and whatever is over that suit, apart from the one you are wearing, those will be put away.
Q. I don't know of anyone going to a prison or a concentration camp or any place of internment that he travels with extra gold teeth and that therefore you must take away from him the superfluous gold, and your decree actually refers to gold.
A. Yes, your Honor. All these gold teeth also had to originate from people who had died. I used tooth gold in my order, and at the time I understood not the gold teeth, not that these teeth had been torn away from dead people. It was known to me that in the concentration camps examplarily equipped dental stations existed, and that at those particular dental stations people could possible have their teeth fixed, and that a certain amount of gold was left behind when bridges were altered, and that people broke away gold teeth from dead persons is something which I would not have done myself, but I certainly did not consider it a crime in that, it is a matter of taste.
Q. It did not occur to you that might be a desecration, did it?
A. I believe that in civilian life also it occurred that before the dead was burned, and upon the wish of his relatives they had removed his teeth, and gold teeth. That is something that has to do with taste. Now that teeth are torn away from a dead man appears to me as horrible as it appears to Your Honors. I never did see any such gold teeth in my life.
THE PRESIDENT: Recess.
THE MARSHAL: The Tribunal is in recess for fifteen minutes.
(A recess was taken)
THE MARSHAL: The Tribunal is again in session.
DR. RAUSCHENBACH: Your Honor, may I point out a difficulty which has arisen in the translation before the recess. The witness had described in detail where these objects were coming from, and he also stated they came from the concentration camps and they came from storage camps. In both cases, this has been translated as "camps", so that the impression that has arisen is as if everything had come from camps where human beings were located. Here in most cases we are dealing with stocks.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal was not misled. The witness stated plainly that he considered that some of the personal property received came from stocks of goods, and he mentioned the large warehouses underground in the ghettos and the black market. We understood that he believed that part of the goods came from that source.
BY DR. RAUSCHENBACH:
Q. Witness, there is one point which you will have to clarify as far as it has not been done yet. Was the WVHA able to order any seizures? Could you issue any orders whereby you could have seized Jewish property; that is to say, could you cause an action to be carried out which as you said would have bothered your conscience with regard to the concept of property and goods?
A . In this connection, I would like to say that I have already stated yesterday that the action of seizing property was already under way since 1940. This was done through an order by the RSHA, and it had already been announced in that manner. It was about the question of seizing property. But from the human point of view and personal point of view, I only had to decide the question to what extent the WVHA through the transfer of these confiscated goods participated in this action. It was not a seizure by the WVHA but was only the landing on of the object.
Q. Thank you. I think that will be sufficient.
I now come to the foreign exchange and the valuables which were meant for the Reichsbank. Were these objects turned over to you, or were they turned over to the defendant Pohl?
A. No; neither were they given to Pohl, nor did I receive them; as Pohl has already stated objects were turned over directly to Hauptsturmfuehrer Melmer who had been given special orders for the purpose and he was subordinated to Pohl personally in this matter. Hauptsturmfuehrer Melmer delivered these goods directly to the Reichsbank. As has been shown from the examination of Vogt the original receipts of the Reichsbank were listed in the books of the administration of Lublin. At least, that is what Vogt told me when I asked him about this matter here.
Q. Did you ever see such transports?
A. No, I have never seen them.
Q. Melmer, as chief of the Main Treasury, was in Office A-2, and, therefore, he was within your office group?
A. As head of the treasury, yes, but not in this capacity as the special commissioner for the delivery of foreign exchange.
Q. Do you know whether the valuables which were turned over to the Reichsbank became a deposit of the SS, or were these valuables finally turned over in this way to the Reich?
A. The following must be said in this respect in order to make it understandable. The Reichsbank took over these goods. This was not a deposit of the SS but these objects became the property of the Reichsbank without any further difficulty. Foreign exchange was immediately utilized by the Reichsbank. The countervalue for this foreign exchange was placed in a special account by the Reichsbank, with the Reich Main Treasury. As Pohl had already testified, this account was called Max Heiliger. That was a fictional name, and this account was an account of the Reich Ministry of Finance. The WVHA was not able to dispose over this account. I was only able to figure it out from the documents because in my affidavit I stated that this had been an account of the WVHA.
Q. Witness, are you referring to your affidavit which is contained in Document Book 1, which was submitted as Document 1576, Exhibit 4. Is that the document you are referring to? The affidavit of the 17th of January?
Q. It is located on page 12 of the English Document Book 1.
A. My statements in this affidavit, as far as I can remember, is proof of the fact just how far I was actually removed from all these things. Otherwise I certainly would have mentioned the fact, and I would have mentioned that this foreign exchange had been transferred to this account Max Heiliger.
Q. From this account of the Reich Ministry of Finance, was credit also given to the German Economic Enterprises?
A. No, that came from account 1288 of the Reichsbank in BerlinSchoeneberg.
Q. Can you still remember this number so exactly?
A. Yes; I looked at this document very closely in the document book because this account, 1288, at Berlin Schoeneberg, was an account over which the WVHA could dispose.
Q. And this account was not the same as this account which was called Max Heiliger?
A. No. We must make a strict differentiation between the two accounts. In order to explain this matter to the Tribunal, may I again point out that the account 1288 was the account where the confiscated cash funds were transferred. These were amounts in the German Reichsmark. Undoubtedly it is true that from this account it could be seen just how much money arrived and was placed into the account. However, these amounts reached a figure which did not allow for the conclusion that this was the property of hundreds of thousands of persons.
Q. Did the Reich Ministry of Finance know of the delivery of funds to the Reichsbank?
A. Yes; it must have known it. It must have known it for two reasons. From the affidavit of the Vice-president Puhl of the Reichsbank, which is also contained in the documents here, it shows very clearly that Himmler discussed that matter with the Reich Minister of Finance.
Q. Witness, are you referring to Document 3944-PS, Exhibit 470?
Q. It is located in Document Book 18, on page 104 of the German version, Your Honor. It is on page 81 of the English document book 18.
A. Yes, it is under paragraph 5.
A. Yes, it is under paragraph 5 where Vice-President Puhl states, "As far as the gold and jewelry are concerned ***k told me, who was the direct superior of Puhl, that Himmler and the Reichs Minister of Finance von Krosigk had reached an agreement according to which gold and similar objects were to be deposited on account owned by the State, and the amounts which had been gathered by the sale of these objects were to be credited to the Treasury of the State."
Q. From this last sentence you assume that the amounts were reached the Reich and, not to the SS?
A. Yes, very clearly. I cannot say with regard to the account, "Max Heiliger," just how this actually developed. I haven't the slightest idea what figure it reached. In my opinion, only officials can know that, who worked at the Reich Treasure, who administered this account.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you please explain again what went into Account 1288? You said confiscated funds. Will you explain what you mean by that?
WITNESS: I mean the cash funds which were taken away from prisoners who had been turned over to the concentration camps and all these funds were credited to this account. These were funds in Reichsmarks.
THE PRESIDENT: But that all came from inmates of concentration camps?
THE PRESIDENT: And not money that had been seized in the East and sent in to the WVHA?
WITNESS: No funds were seized in the East and turned over to the WVHA.
Q. Did the WVHA have any benefits from this entire action?
Q. And the Economic Enterprises?
A. They would not have any benefits either. Are you perhaps referring to the fact that credit was granted, which was granted to the W-plants?
Q. Yes, that's what I am referring to.
A. A credit had been given to the W-plants which were the German Economic Enterprises. This credit was a credit which had been given by the Reich to the DWB.
Q. I shall refer to this credit later on. Witness, did you have anything to do at all with the conclusion of the Action Reinhardt?
A. No, as I have already explained, through my resignation on the 31st of August, 1943, I did not have anything further to do with this entire matter and I did not have any more contact with all these matters.
Q. And after that, you did not have any conception about the extent on the whole about the valuables as they are shown later on by the report of Globocnik?
A. No, I must except here only the cash funds, that is, the cash funds in Reichsmarks which were entered on this account 1288, I knew of these sums. These funds amounted, as far as I can recall, in the summer of 1943 to about 12,000,000 Marks. However, it could not be seen clearly just how much of this came from the Action Reinhardt, because in this Account 1288 all the funds in Reichsmarks were entered. They were entered there from all the concentration camps. All this money came from what the persons who had died left behind and who did not have any heirs to claim this money.
Q. Witness, insofar as you possessed many documents with regard to the Reinhardt Action, did you turn these documents and files over to your successor?
A. No, I did not have any documents on hand whatsoever. I believe that the Order of Lublin to which I referred an hour ago, that the original draft on the basis of which Document NO-724, that I had this order in my safe. Otherwise, I did not have any further documents and this safe was destroyed in an air attack in April 1943 and it was discovered later on, but it was red hot and all its contents had been completely charred and burned and also the personal files and matters amongst that.
Q. I am now coming to a different document which incriminates you, because you are alleged to have given this order. It is located in Document Book 5. It is Exhibit 153. It is Document 858-PS. It is on page 168 in the German Document Book and it is on Page 101 of the English text. According to this on the 7th of January, 1943, as Deputy for the Chief of the Main Office, you are alleged to have issued an order which regulates whatever is left behind for prisoners that have died, is that correct?
Q. Did this regulation as to inheritances apply to all prisoners who died in the concentration camps?
A. Yes, this order about the property of deceased prisoners -- and I still consider it as a summary of a whole series of orders -- in this respect here we were not only concerned with inmates of concentration camp, but also we were concerned with certain inmates of the SS penal institutions. There were SS men who were imprisoned.
Q. What kind of penal institutions were they and where were they located?
A. From the distribution of this order that can be seen. Above all there was a prison camp at Danzig-Matzkau in this penal institution camp only SS prisoners were located who had committed some offense. As far as I know this same thing applied to the jail at Straubing. In the jail at Straubing, no concentration camp inmates were located.
Q. Therefore, is this a general order. It is a settlement of the inheritances and property of prisoners for all persons subjected to the orders of the SS, but who were not claimed. Can it be expressed in this way?
A. Yes, this is the way it can be expressed. The order was distributed completely open. It was not classified in any way.
Q. Was there not any reason to have it classified as secret?
A. No, if one considers the fact that has been stated here and aside from the fact that has been stated here that the property of the deceased Polish, Jewish and Soviet prisoners was not to be turned over to the relatives, but they were to be seized and confiscated.
Q. Why was this exception made?
A. This action is based on the decree of the RSHA which I have already mentioned once before, which again is based on a Reich law.
Q. Can you tell us what decree or what Reich law you were referring to when this law was issued?
A. It was the memorandum of the 17th of September, 1940. It was printed in the Reich Law Gazette Roman Numeral I on page 1270.
DR. RAUSCHENBACH: Your Honor, I shall submit this memorandum in the document book as evidence.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, is it a defense exhibit?
DR. RAUSCHENBACH: Yes, it will become a defense exhibit. I shall submit it, together with other documents, as soon as the documents are translated.
THE PRESIDENT: You mean later?
DR. RAUSCHENBACH: Yes, later on.
THE PRESIDENT: While I have the microphone, it isn't clear to me what the witness said about his order of January 7, 1943, he has just been talking it. He said something about SS men who died in prison.
Q. Well, Witness, will you please explain it once more to His Honor?
A. Yes, Your Honor, I was referring to SS men who died while they were confined in penal institutions. This was a settlement as to the property of deceased prisoners in the concentration camps, as well as in the SS penal institutions.
THE PRESIDENT: What SS men were there in prison? You mean they were prisoners -- they were convicts?
WITNESS: They were SS men who had been sentenced by some court serving a more or less severe and long term in prison. They probably committed some crime or something of that sort. In Danzig-Matzkau, as far as I know, there were on the average about 300 SS prisoners. There may have been more and who, in part, had been sentenced because of cowardice before the enemy, because of thefts, or because they had committed immoral offenses and for these reasons they had been sentenced to serve a term in prison.
THE PRESIDENT: You neglected to designate this class of prisoners in drafting the order. You didn't say anything about SS men.
WITNESS: No, Your Honor, but that is shown by the distribution list. Otherwise there would not have been any reason for me to assume -- for this order to be distributed to these prisoners and penal institutions, because in the concentration camps there were the so-called troops who were there before them, who were billeted and treated in the same way as the remaining prisoners. These prisoners were on probation and would not have to be listed especially. They were included in this any way.
Q. Well, why did you except Polish, Jewish and Soviet prisoners?
A. By virtue of the law, Your Honor, which I had mentioned before, according to which the property of Poles, Jews and the very members of their families in the Soviet territories in the case of that law was to become the property of the reich.
Q. Well, about the French or Czech or Norwegian prisoners?
A. I am not so well informed about these laws, or about the confiscation of property belonging to members and inhabitants of the occupied territories. All Jews, of course, were excepted publicly, if they were there, and, because of the lack of documents, I have little information on that subject. However, by referring to the Reich Legal Gazettes, which surely must be in possession of the Prosecution, it could be checked, and all these facts could be determined, really.
Q. We are just talking about your order, this paper that you signed. You talk about "property of all deceased prisoners of war except Polish, Jewish and Soviets shall be distributed as directed in your order," and then you say, I didn't mean all prisoners of war, I just meant SS-men who were prisoners?
A. Your Honor, I believe that during the discussion here there was some misunderstanding. By this order I meant all prisoners who were at all located in concentration camps, or who were located in penal institutions of the SS who died there. It did not matter at all where it came from, and does not matter what nationality they were. In paragraph one, you will see Your Honor, that the property of the polish and Jewish property of these people was not allowed to be turned over to their heirs.