In a book that I am reading about the Nuremberg Trials I came across the following:
Justice Jackson intended to 'prove the criminal character of several voluntary organisations that played a cruel and controlling part in subjugating Germany and then her neighbours, such as the SS & Gestapo.
Q. In my laymans knowledge of history I had understood the Gestapo to be the secret police and hence not voluntary. In what way were they voluntary, and in what way were they not? Ditto for the SS.
Prior to 1933, there was the Prussian Secret Police, "Abteilung I A". As such, it was a police unit, i.e. working there was very much voluntary.
In 1933, the Prussian Secret Police was renamed "Geheime Staatspolizei" (Secret State Police), abbreviated Gestapo. (Which made all the staff of the Prussian Secret Police -- volunteers -- now "Gestapo members".)
Legal restrictions on their actions were removed step by step, and the organization eventually separated from the police apparatus and placed under direct control of Göring (Secretary of the Interior) and later Himmler (Chief of German Police and Reichsführer of the SS) .
At no point did the Gestapo press people into working there. I can imagine that quitting service with the Gestapo, or turning down a transfer, could raise some eyebrows. But it was a voluntary organization (as far as anything under totalitarian rule can be voluntary).
The beginnings of the Schutzstaffel in 1925 were as personal bodyguards and thugs to Adolf Hitler (very much voluntary). The organization grew and became more militarized, but well into the times of the Waffen-SS it remained a voluntary organization.
Only from 1943 onward (or possibly as early as February 1942) did the Waffen-SS draft men into service.
GESTAPO (abb. Geheime Staats Polizei "Secret State Police"), the secret police of Nazi Germany, their main tool of oppression and destruction, which persecuted Germans, opponents of the regime, as well as Jews at the outset of the Nazi regime and later played a central role in carrying out the "*Final Solution" originally the Prussian domestic intelligence, which became a quasi-Federal Bureau of Investigation, though initially with much less power. The right-wing revolution in Prussia in late 1932 brought about a sweeping purge of "left-wing and Jewish elements" in its political police and paved the way for the changes of the Nazi era. After Hitler's ascent to power, he appointed Hermann Goering as the new Prussian minister of the interior and Goering completed the purge and gave the secret police executive powers, transforming it from a shadowing and information agency into a wide executive arm to persecute enemies of the Nazi regime. The head office of the secret state police – the Geheimes Staatspolizeiamt, or Gestapa – was given powers to shadow, arrest, interrogate, and intern however, it had to struggle against the Nazi Party organizations, the sa (Storm Troops) and *ss, which also "fought" the regime's opponents, but without the supervision of traditional state bodies.
Simultaneously, with relatively few changes in the Prussian political police, the Reichsfuehrer of the ss, Heinrich *Himmler, achieved control over the Bavarian political police and established direct ties between the ss, the political police, and concentration camps. Thus Himmler snatched the secret police administration out of the hands of the state conservatives and in collaboration with the Bavarian minister of justice, Hans *Frank, and with Hitler's direct support, created an independent organization for shadowing, interrogation, arrest, imprisonment, and execution along the lines of the Nazi ideology (see ss and *sd, and *Hitler). The Bavarian political police under Reinhard *Heydrich's direction was able to evade the laws that still applied in Germany in order to influence individuals, disband political parties, and liquidate trade unions. It led campaigns through the newspapers and radio against political opponents, interrogated individual "enemies," and sent them to the central concentration camp *Dachau. The officials of the political police all remained civil servants but were simultaneously drafted into the ss and subordinated to Himmler, both through the civil service and Nazi Party. Many of the officials had never been members of the Nazi Party, as was the case of Heinrich *Mueller, an old Weimar secret police man who became Heydrich's assistant and eventually headed the Gestapo.
From the outset Heydrich's prisoners included many Jews, most of whom were intellectuals or active in left-wing parties. During 1933 the political police began shadowing and investigating Jewish organizations and Jewish community life and thus set up its own network for imprisonment and uniform repression of all the Jews of Bavaria, in the wake of the policy of isolating Jews that was part of the first stage and was followed by exerting pressure, openly and insidiously, on the Jews to emigrate.
The Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials took place during the immediate aftermath of World War II. They were the first trials in history to indict an entire regime for aggressive war crimes. These crimes included invading other nations, violating the Treaty of Versailles and most significantly, "crimes against humanity". These crimes were what later became known as the Holocaust, in which millions of innocent victims were deported, enslaved and systematically executed. The victims were primarily Jewish however many other victims suffered at the hands of the Nazis such as: Poles, Gypsies, the handicapped and the elderly.
The Nuremberg Charter "defined war crimes as violations of the laws or customs of war"(Rosenbaum p, 30). Including killing of hostages, ill-treatment of civilians, use of forced labor and looting of public and private property and racial persecution. The International Military Tribunal, the prosecutors consisting of lawyers and judges from the United States, France, England and the Soviet Union had countless evidence of these crimes committed by the Nazis, however to serve justice to every individual for their inhumane actions was impossible. The Nuremberg Trials prosecuted twenty one defendants (all of whom were Nazi officers) and six major Nazi organizations. Although three organizations were declared criminal by the Tribunal and the defendants were convicted, justice was not completely served to many other organizations and individuals.
Literally thousands of men who willingly participated in massive genocide evaded justice and lived comfortable lives in other countries. The Nuremberg Trials were successful in "officially" recognizing the atrocities of the Nazis during and before World War II but they were not successful in holding all accountable for their administrative or direct participation in Nazi genocide. As Alan S. Rosenbaum asserts in his book, Prosecuting Nazi War Criminals: "In short, only a minority of planners and perpetrators were ever brought to trial. For there were hundreds of thousands of Nazi activists who took advantage of having a Nazi government. to persecute, enslave, murder, and enrich themselves by plundering the wealth of innocent victims (p, 69)." Rosenbaum further states that many Nazis who escaped justice were able to do so with the wealth they robbed from their victims by paying off those who assisted them and paying for their escape routes.
Contrary to the opinions of some Holocaust revisionists, the International Military Tribunal was not established by "International Zionists" for the purpose of destroying the German people and indicting the entire nation. It was a response to such unprecedented crimes of brutality against innocent men, women and children throughout Europe. These crimes required a different type of court because they were of such brutal nature and because their victims had no rights under German law. In fact, German law, at that time, simply legitimized the massive deportations, enslavement and eventual execution of innocent civilians who the Nazis declared "enemies of the state". Under German law, the victims never had the privilege of a trial or adequate representation, unlike the Nazi leaders at Nuremberg, who helped orchestrate crimes and atrocities. Their victims were determined guilty because of their ethnicity, religion or political affiliation. Because the "crimes against humanity" the Nazis committed were so unique and had nothing to do with military strategy or objectives, the International Military Tribunal was a more logical step than the traditional court marshal. If a court marshal was held instead of the IMT, the Nazis would have not been provided with adequate representation and the trials would not recognize the rights of the defendants the way the Nuremberg Trials did. Furthermore if the U.S., with the help of the English, French and Soviets did not form the IMT, the Germans may have been subjected to a Soviet court marshal which would have been far more vengeful in its nature (Taylor p, 39).
The establishment of the International Military Tribunal had two central objectives. First to try the highest ranking German officials and second to try the groups and organizations in which they worked. If the organizations like the Gestapo were found guilty of crimes against humanity, some members of those organizations would be considered guilty based on their membership and involvement in that particular organization (p, 39). Despite the IMT being formed by the victors to punish the aggressors in the war, this type of trial was legitimate and the Nazi defendants were allowed "due process of law" unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the millions of innocent victims who suffered at the hands of these Nazi officials and the organizations they either led or participated in.
The Nuremberg trials opened on November 20th, 1945. Robert H. Jackson was the Representative of the United States and Chief of Council. He prepared and prosecuted charges of war crimes against humanity by Nazi leaders. In his opening statement, Jackson addressed certain problems of the trials such as: "victor's justice" and indicting the German Nation as a whole.
Unfortunately, the nature of these crimes is such that both prosecution and judgment must be by victor nations over vanquished foes. The worldwide scope of the aggression carried out by these men has left but few real neutrals. We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. If these men are the first war leaders of a defeated nation to be prosecuted in the name of the law, they are also the first to be given a chance to plead for their lives in the name of the law. We would also make it clear that we have no purpose to incriminate the whole German people. If the German populace had willingly accepted the Nazi program. there would have been no need for the concentration camps or the Gestapo (p, 168).
When confronting the defendants with evidence against them, Jackson used official Nazi reports from field commanders. He made it clear that every defendant and organization on trial, would have all charges read and supported with evidence. One example of this is when deterring what atrocities the SS Einsatzgruppen committed, he read their reports after they invaded the Soviet Union with the intention of rounding up and executing Jews, Gypsies and others they considered "dangerous":
In Vitebsk, 3,000 Jews were liquidated because of the danger of epidemics. Kiev 33,771 Jews were executed on September 29, in retaliation for some fires which were set off there. In Zhitomir 3,145 Jews had to be shot because, judging from experience, they had to be considered as the carriers of Bolshevik propaganda (p, 170).
Another problem, which Jackson addressed, was justifying the treatment of the aggressors as criminals in the event of war. Jackson stated that it is civilization's responsibility to persecute the guilty party because the crimes were so brutal. Since these were the most appalling crimes committed against basic human rights that the world has ever seen, Jackson explained that in order for civilization to recover from such unprecedented evils, civilization had a moral obligation to persecute these crimes (p, 172). It was also important to give these men a fair trial despite their participation in organizations which planned and performed genocide on such a massive scale. Certain individuals in the United States government wished to execute all Nazis with no regard for "due process of law", however, Roosevelt, Jackson and other members of the IMT felt that the right to a fair trial morally separated the allied nations from totalitarian Germany.
The two remaining leaders of the Nazi party, tried at Nuremberg, were Hermann Goering and Rudolf Hess. Since Hitler, Himmler and Gobbels were dead, these two men were considered the symbol of the evils of Nazism. Although prosecutors sought to cross-examining both men to tell all they knew about the Nazi's policies, Goering tried from the beginning, to discredit the International Military Tribunal and the trials. Hess, on the other hand, feigned amnesia and avoided being cross-examined. Other defendants tried at Nuremberg were Joachim von Ribbentrop, Field Marshall Wihelm Keitel, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Alfred Rosenburg, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick. These men were considered "Nazi thugs" and their trials did not last as long and were not seen as significant as Goering's. All men were charged with war crimes, "crimes against humanity" (genocide) and violation of the Treaty of Versailles (p, 186). Although all claimed they had no knowledge of some of the atrocities they were charged with, the prosecution had sufficient evidence to the contrary. Goering claimed the acts they committed were excusable because they were in war and Hitler believed there was no such thing as a "just war". Goering's attorney's tried to convince the Tribunal that the defendant had no choice but to follow the orders of the Furher. This flawed argument failed to impress the IMT and the public who followed his trial proceedings so obsessively.
Goering's trial lasted a total of twelve days of court time. Since he was the leader of the defeated Nazi regime, his trail was the most important of any Nazi leader. From the outset of the trial, Goering wanted to make his actions and the Third Reich's justifiable. Throughout the trial, Goering maintained calm, and he insisted his crimes were necessary for the Reich's survival. During his testimony, he admitted several war crimes and atrocities and his own testimony was sufficient evidence to convict him. Goering admitted to setting up concentration camps where "political opponents" of the Reich were incarcerated and executed. He further acknowledged authorizing financial penalties against Jews after Kristallnacht in 1938. Goering believed that if Third Reich was to grow and prosper, it was necessary to "reunite" with Austria, Poland and Danzig. In Goering's view, the ends of reclaiming lost territory for the greatness of the Reich justified their means of rearming themselves and conquering other nations (p, 330).
Goering may have implicated himself and the Third Reich during his testimony, however he answered many of the questions which related to concentration camps and genocide vaguely. His replies would be too long and often failed to answer the questions. Although he initially gained praise for his poise and confidence, attorney's, the press and the Tribunal grew increasingly frustrated with Goering because much of his testimony was too long and he attempted to explain philosophical justification of many of the Reich's actions. Goering did admit to setting up concentration camps but he said that the camps were intended to "sequester rather than punish political enemies of Nazism". Goering claimed that after 1934, he had no involvement with the camps or any knowledge of their activities since Himmler took control of the concentration camps. He added that he was the man closest to the Furher and if anyone could have any knowledge of a conspiracy to commit genocide it would be him. Goering said "At best only the Furher and I could have conspired. There is definitely no question of the others (p, 335)." Goering did not admit to participating in or knowing about genocide policies, however his testimony helped determine his guilt in two indictments of war crimes and crimes against humanity (p, 331).
With Goering taking the stand for such long intervals, he discussed the Nazi party's illegal seizure of power, the burning of the Reichtag, Kristallnact, its inevitable outcomes of financial alienation of the Jewish population and aggressive war policies until the final days of World War II. Because his trial lasted so long, the Tribunal agreed that the other defendants trials should not take up so much time. If each of the other twenty defendants had twelve day trials, Nuremberg would have lasted over a year. Jackson, along with other members of the Tribunal felt that long speeches by the defendants would be an "advertisement" for Nazism and since Goering articulated the Nazi's justification for aggression, the IMT believed that it would make no sense to have the remaining twenty defendants repeat Goering's testimony. On March 22, 1946 the Tribunal announced their intentions:
The Tribunal has allowed the Defendant Goering, who has given evidence first of the defendants and who has proclaimed himself to be responsible as the second leader of Nazi Germany, to give his evidence without interruption whatever, and he has covered the whole history of the Nazi regime from its inception to the defeat of Germany. The Tribunal does not propose to allow any of the other defendants to go over the same ground in their evidence except insofar as it is necessary for their own defense (p, 347).
Goering implicated himself and his fellow defendants with his own testimony, therefore it was not necessary to hear lengthy testimony concerning the Nazi's policies. Each of the remaining defendants had an average of four trial days. All the Nazi war criminals, prosecuted at Nuremberg, were found guilty and sentenced to death. Their verdicts brought justice to the defendants for their actions, however many questions were left unanswered after their trials. Although prosecuting the twenty one individuals was not difficult (Goering's testimony alone sufficiently proved evidence for a conviction) prosecuting the Nazi organizations proved to be a much more problematic task. It was impossible to indict every member of the Gestapo, the SS or the RSHA (Reich Security Main Office), among other Nazi organizations because so many people made up these criminal organizations. Himmler was in charge of many of these groups and it was impossible to acquire the testimony from him since he took his own life before the Nuremberg Trials. Bring justice to every member of an organization could not be possible because individuals could not be held accountable for the actions of a group they participated in.
If the trial of every member of an organization was attainable, then the indictment and prosecution of every Nazi, or every German would be possible. This could not be done despite the inhumane actions of many Nazis and German citizens (p, 504).
Although the trial of individuals within a certain criminal organization was at best, problematic, the conviction of organizations like the SS and the Gestapo was not nearly as difficult. There was much evidence which proved the criminal actives of the Gestapo before and during World War II. Some of these crimes included the deportation of 20,000 during Kristallnacht, and the execution of "political oppositions". When the Gestapo was put on trial, there was little if anything that its lawyer could do to prove its innocence. Because the evidence against the Gestapo was so well-documented, its lawyer simply tried to proved that not all members of the Gestapo deserved prosecution. Technical employees like operators, secretaries and other office employees had no say in policy and possessed little knowledge of its operations. The tribunal exempted many of these employees from the prosecution's indictment. In his closing statement, the lawyer for the Gestapo declared: "I desire to clear the way for a sentence which will dethrone the powers of darkness and reconstitute the moral order of the world."(p, 509). In this particular case, the prosecution and the defense agreed on what the Nuremberg Trials should accomplish.
The trial of the SS proved to be even more problematic than the Gestapo because the SS had several branch organizations and consisted of over 700,000 members (p, 516). The prosecution had sufficient evidence to convict the SS but with so many branches and members, to hold all accountable was impossible. The evidence showed thousands of SS members knew of and participated in many war crimes and atrocities, but they could not prove that all or even most of the members participated in atrocities. Himmler was in charge of the SS and with his suicide, many questions of the SS's intentions and policies were left unanswered.
There was so much evidence against the SS, Gestapo and Nazi High Command that the defense councils had weak arguments in their behalf. Their first argument was the "official" announced purposes of these organizations were not to blame, it was the individuals within the organizations who committed the atrocities, therefore the individuals were the criminals, not the organizations. Using this logic, the defense council argued individuals should be prosecuted and the organizations exempt from the trials. Their second argument was organizations worked independently of one another, in other words, each organization had its own goal, leadership and programs.
Furthermore, the defense council argued there were several sub-divisions within each organization and they were also independent of one another. This argument did not convince the Tribunal since it had been established that the SS, Gestapo, SD and High Command were all under the direct leadership of Himmler and the Furher (p, 532). Every institution in Germany was at the time, under Nazi control, therefore the organizations all worked towards achieving the goals of the Nazi Party, genocide of massive and unparalleled proportions.
The Nuremberg Trials lasted nearly a year since there were so many atrocities to be accounted for. The defendants Hess and Goering were found guilty of war crimes and atrocities and were subsequently executed. Three of the six Nazi organizations on trial were also declared criminal by the Tribunal. The Tribunal had such compelling evidence against the Gestapo, the SD and the SS that any verdict to the contrary would be an insult to justice and those organization's countless victims. Among some of its findings, the Tribunal declared the SD had forced labor programs where Jewish victims were deported to work as slave in many German industries. The Tribunal found the SS formed concentration camps and systematically performed massive executions of the inmates. This organization was declared to have committed the most atrocities and out of all Nazi organizations, had the largest membership. Since so many members were either drafted or forced to join, several SS members received exemption from the charges (584).
Despite the evidence that the Reich Cabinet, the General Staff and the High Command committed atrocities, they were not declared criminal. The Tribunal justified this decision because membership in either of these organizations meant an advance in rank in "one of the three services, and could not be conscious of the fact that he was becoming a member of anything so tangible as a "group", as the word is commonly used (p, 586). Another decision which was highly controversial was the Tribunal finding the organization the SA as not being criminal. The Tribunal explained this decision when they stated:
Until the purge beginning on 30 June 1934, the SA was a group composed in large part of ruffians and bullies who participated in the Nazi outrages of that period. It has not been shown that these atrocities were part of a specific plan to wage aggressive war, and the Tribunal therefore cannot hold that theses activities were criminal under the Charter (p, 585).
Although defendants Goering, Hess and others were convicted of committing atrocities, justice was not served to all Nazis who participated in atrocities. Some may consider the Nuremberg Trials to be "unfair" and a classic example of "victor's justice" however a conservative estimate is that over 7,000 former Nazi officers avoided prosecution by fleeing to America, Argentina and other countries (Rosenbaum, p, 79). Some of these men eventually faced persecution for their crimes but overall, most criminal managed to go unpunished. Many of these cases received much attention from the media, and during the 1980's many organization were formed with the intention of locating former Nazi war criminals who had evaded justice.
Some Nazi war criminals evaded justice with the help of Nazi organizations like Odessa, (the Organization for ex-SS Members) and in some cases, governments of other nations, including the United States (p, 68). Many former Nazi officials were able to seek refugee in the United States due to the 1948 Displaced Persons Act, which allowed refuges of World War II to enter the United States in large numbers. Many simply lied in their immigration papers, while others entered the United States with the help of government officials who actively sought and recruited Nazi war criminals. Some of these men were involved with Nazi Intelligence and possessed much information on the Soviet union which at the time, the United States found vital to "National Security" since the Cold War was beginning to emerge. Other Nazis were scientist who the U.S. Government and the Soviets coveted in order to work on the new aerospace technology. In many cases, some of these Nazi scientists used Jewish slave labor to work in their labs and conducted gruesome experiments on innocent people in the name of science.
The Displaced Persons Act expired in 1952 and by then an estimated 10,000 Nazi war criminals were residing in the United States (p, 75). One Nazi war criminal who managed to evade justice and reside in the United States was Arthur Rudolph. Rudolph was an engineer and production manager in the Nordhausen concentration camp. In addition to being a member of the SA, Rudolph was reported to receive work brigades of slave labor totaling 60,000. These innocent victims were forced to work for Rudolph and they lasted at most, six months until they died either of starvation, malnutrition or at the hands of SS guards (p, 76). The forced labor was seen as "less than slaves" since their "slave masters" worked them in such horrible conditions and deliberately deprived them of food, light and medical treatments. Rudolph and other Nazi scientists imported this labor with the intention of working them to death, thus contributing to Hitler's "Final Solution" (p, 76).
Rudolph was allowed entry into the United States based on the merit of his technical expertise. He eventually received a Distinguished Service Medal for his work in the space program. During the 1980's the OSI (Office of Special Investigations) interviewed him about his Nazi past and his utilization of "less than slave" labor. When the OSI told him his U.S. citizenship could be challenged he returned to Germany and renounced his citizenship. In 1986 Rudolph expressed his disappointments towards the United States: "I helped put the first man- an American- on the moon and then I was treated like this. The Americans are very ungrateful and I am very bitter (p, 77)."
Although Rudolph escaped persecution and returned to Germany, while still receiving a substantial amount of revenue from his generous U.S. Government pension, the Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie was not so fortunate. Barbie, who was nicknamed "Butcher of Lyons", was a chief of the Gestapo in Lyons during Germany's occupation of France. Barbie brutally murdered members of the French Resistance and ordered the shooting of seventy -two French Jews since at the time, railways to Auschwitz were not reliable. Barbie had no use for moral issues and commented "There are no war crimes. There are only acts of war (Ryan p, 275).
After the war ended, Barbie managed to avoid prosecution and eventually resettled in Bolivia. Barbie became close a friend and advisor to Hugo Banzer, the right-wing dictator who used terror and a secret police force to maintain his mandate. He had been exposed by a French woman who was investigating escaped Nazis but he remained protected by the corrupt Bolivian junta. It was almost ten years before he was deported to France, and by then he became a symbol of so many Nazi war criminals evasion of justice (p, 276). Barbie was arrested by the Bolivian Government for defaulting on a loan. Their original intention was to deport him to West Germany to face war crimes charges, however, the West German Government did not want to have anything to do with his case. France, on the other hand, did not show the same hypocrisy as the West Germans and they were glad to prosecute Barbie for his crimes. The French charged Barbie with "eight counts of crimes against humanity, the liquidation of the Union General of Jews in France the deportation of 650 French men, women and children on the last convoy to Auschwitz the arrest and torture and execution of scores of Lyon's Jews the deportation of fifty-two orphaned
children from Isieux (p, 279)."
When his case became publicized, another link of former Nazi officials and U.S. intelligence was discovered. Alan A. Ryan investigated Barbie and concluded that he had been used by Americans immediately after the war for his knowledge of French and German communists. Although it was well known that he was a chief in the Gestapo and committed many atrocities, he successfully avoided justice for thirty-three years. In the closing statement of his report, Ryan asserted:
I therefore believe it appropriate, and I so recommend, that the United States government express to the government of France its regret for its responsibility in delaying the due process of law in the case of Klaus Barbie. This is a matter of decency, and honorable conduct. It should be, I believe, the final chapter by the United States in this case (p, 322).
The United States government issued a formal apology to France and in 1987, Barbie was convicted of all charges against him. Because France eliminated the death penalty, he was sentenced to life in prison where he died in 1991 (Rosenbaum p, 79)." Barbie may have received delayed punishment for his actions but his case is an exception to the overall trends of Nazi fugitives. To this day, thousands of Nazi criminals still remain unpunished for their involvement in genocide.
One argument against continuing the search for Nazis who evaded justice is the "Passage of Time Argument" this theory does not deny responsibility all together but it excuses further persecution on the grounds that these criminals are now elderly men and the crimes they committed occurred over fifty years ago. Advocators of this argument also assert that these men assimilated into their new countries, have their own families and live a peaceful, normal existence (p, 119). However, this argument fails to address several key issues in determining the accountability of Nazi war criminals. First, it not only "buries the past" but it fails to acknowledge it. These criminals have remained free of prosecution for involvement of some of the most brutal crimes in the history of mankind. To exempt an individual for wrongdoing simply because he is now elderly and residing in a new country is an insult to all of the victims of the Holocaust, the survivors and the victim's families. This argument fails to hold anyone accountable for these atrocities and it can only contribute to the already prevalent Holocaust apathy. Time does can not erase the Holocaust from human consciousness. To forget the genocide is to condone it. These remaining fugitives (however few may still be alive) should continue to be sought after and persecuted to the full extent of the law.
Although some individuals feel that Nazi war criminals should not be persecuted because of the long interval of time between now and the actual occurrence of the Nazi atrocities, the so-called "Holocaust Revisionists" believe Nazi trials are a "witch hunt" and politically motivated. One advocate of this belief is Mark Weber. In his revisionist essay, The Nuremberg Trials and the Holocaust: Do the `war crimes' trials prove extermination? Weber takes a "closer" [sic] look at the "general trustworthiness of the evidence cited at Nuremberg". His "closer look" is mired in anti-Semite rhetoric and he blames the "largely political nature of the Nuremberg process" on the "important Jewish role in organizing these trials". The chief architect of the IMT was Franklin D. Roosevelt who was not Jewish nor was chief U.S. prosecutor at Nuremberg, Robert H. Jackson. Weber obviously overlooked this when he blamed the World Jewish Congress and the World Zionist Organization for the trials. If this were the case, why did so few Nazis go on trial? Weber's logic would make sense only if every individual to wear a Nazi uniform was sentenced at Nuremberg. This clearly was not the case and members of the prosecution were disappointed when some of the defendants and organizations received more lenient sentences than they anticipated (Taylor, p 536).
Another weakness in Weber's assertion of the World Jewish Congress and the World Zionist Organization convincing the Allied leaders to "accept the idea" is the fact that several Nazi organizations were not declared criminal by the Tribunal. Even the Nazi High Command was exempt from being declared criminal by the IMT. If the trials were in fact the "brain child" [sic] of International Jewry, a declaration of the criminality of important Nazi organizations like the High Command and the SA would have been inevitable. Another one of Weber's outrageous claims is how the "powerful but secretive organization made sure that Germany's persecution of the Jews a primary focus". The first problem with this statement is if this organization was so "secret and profound" how could a Neo-Nazi or at best, Nazi sympathizer have such an authoritative knowledge of these powerful Jewish group's intentions? The second, and more obvious issue is the eye whiteness accounts, Nazi camp guard's testimony and the official Nazi documents that so clearly outlined Nazi genocide. With so much evidence of brutal inhumane atrocities available, to not prosecute organizations and individuals responsible to the fullest possible extent would be condoning them.
Weber calls the Nuremberg defendants on trial "in a sense, the first "Holocaust" revisionists" because Goering (who tried to discredit the trials and justify the Nazis aggressive policies) and his fellow defendants claimed no knowledge of the systematic murder of innocent victims. Out of all the outrageous and convoluted statements made by Weber, this one contains some validity since revisionists seek to clear the Nazis of any war crimes by dismissing overwhelming evidence as excusable in the pretext of war or denying it entirely, just as the Nuremberg defendants did.
Another Holocaust "revisionist" who sought to discredit the trials at Nuremberg was Paul Rassinier. He felt the trials were unjust because the entire nation of Germany was indicted and presumed guilty. Rassinier described the indictment against Germany at the Nuremberg Trials:
It is enough to read the reports of the Nuremberg Trials to realize that all of Germany was the object of the bill of indictment. and that it was Germany herself condemned by the judgments passed. It did not occur to the Prosecutors or the judges, or to anyone else that to decide that 70 million people were guilty was tantamount to saying that those 70 million were innocent (Rassinier, p.46).
Rassinier is greatly mistaken in his interpretation of Nuremberg. From the outset of the trials, the IMT emphatically stated that the German population was not on trial or being held accountable for the actions of some of its government officials. To hold the entire nation of Germany accountable for the atrocities committed, in the name of Germany, would not be logical since Germany was under the control of a totalitarian regime. Although many German citizens supported the Nazis and their anti-Semitic policies an indictment of the entire nation would be impossible. To declare Germany as the "aggressor" does not mean every German should be held accountable for the Holocaust or any other Nuremberg charges. Alan S. Rosenbaum discusses the issue of `Collective Guilt' by stating:
A `people' is in a basic sense an abstraction. Since a `people' cannot speak for itself or act to defend itself, and since no individual or aggregate can properly said to be its voice, moral and legal responsibility can be judged only on an individualized basis (Rosenbaum p, 107).
The Nuremberg Trials did not indict the German population, in fact the trails failed to hold many Nazis accountable for their participation in genocide. Thousands of Nazis avoided prosecution by fleeing to other countries, often with government assistance. Many others received lenient sentences for their crimes against humanity. In terms of declaring Germany the "aggressor" nation and declaring organizations like the SS and the Gestapo as criminal, the Nuremberg trials were a success. However, in terms of serving justice to all guilty individuals, the Nuremberg (and subsequent Nazi) trials were not successful. With so many evasions of justice by so many Nazi fugitives, Nazi trials can be seen as an attempt at justice but not a reconciliation to the millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust.
Rassinier, Paul The Real Eichmann Trial, Silver Spring, Md: Stepping Stones Publications, 1979.
Rosenbaum, Alan S. Prosecuting Nazi War Criminals, Boulder, Co: Westview Press, 1993.
Ryan, Allan A. Jr. Quiet Neighbors, San Diego, Ca: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, 1984.
Taylor, Telford. The Anatomy Of The Nuremberg Trials, New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1992.
Weber, Mark. "The Nuremberg Trials and the Holocaust", Institute for Historical Review (web site)
Were the Gestapo & SS voluntary organisations? - History
Article 9 of the Charter provides:
Article 10 of the Charter makes clear that the declaration of criminality against an accused organisation is final, and cannot be challenged in any subsequent criminal proceeding against a member of that organisation Article 10 is as follows:
The effect of the declaration of criminality by the Tribunal is well illustrated by Law Number 10 of the Control Council of Germany passed on the 20th day of December, 1945, which provides:
- (a) Death.
- (b) Imprisonment for life or a term of years, with or without hard labour.
- (c) Fine, and imprisonment with or without hard labour, in lieu thereof."
In effect, therefore, a member of an organisation which the Tribunal has declared to be criminal may be subsequently convicted of the crime of membership and be punished for that crime by death. This is not to assume that international or military courts which will try these individuals will not exercise appropriate standards of justice. This is a far-reaching and novel procedure. Its application, unless properly safeguarded, may produce great injustice.
Article 9, it should be noted, uses the words " The Tribunal may declare" so that the Tribunal is vested with discretion as to whether it will declare any organisation criminal. This discretion is a judicial one and does not permit arbitrary action, but should be exercised in accordance with well settled legal principles one of the most important of which is that criminal guilt is personal, and that mass punishments should be avoided. If satisfied of the criminal guilt of any organisation or group this Tribunal should not hesitate to declare it to be criminal because the theory of "group criminality" is new, or because it might be unjustly applied by some subsequent tribunals. On the other hand, the Tribunal should make such declaration of criminality so far as possible in a manner to insure that innocent persons will not be punished.
A criminal organisation is analogous to a criminal conspiracy in that the essence of both is cooperation for criminal purposes. There must be a group bound together and organised for a common purpose. The group must be formed or used in connection with the commission of crimes denounced by the Charter. Since the declaration with respect to the organisations and groups will, as has been pointed out, fix the criminality of its members, that definition should exclude persons who had no knowledge of the criminal purposes or acts of the organisation and those who were drafted by the State for membership, unless they were personally implicated in the commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the Charter as members of the organisation. Membership alone is not enough to come within the scope of these declarations.
Since declarations of criminality which the Tribunal makes will be used by other courts in the trial of persons on account of their membership in the organisations found to be criminal, the Tribunal feels it appropriate to make the following recommendations:
1. That so far as possible throughout the four zones of occupation in Germany the classifications, sanctions and penalties be standardised. Uniformity of treatment so far as practical should be a basic principle. This does not, of course, mean that discretion in sentencing should not be vested in the court but the discretion should be within fixed limits appropriate to the nature of the crime.
2. Law No. 10, to which reference has already been made, leaves punishment entirely in the discretion of the trial court even to the extent of inflicting the death penalty.
The De-Nazification Law of 5th March, 1946, however, passed for Bavaria, Greater-Hesse and Wuerttemberg-Baden, provides definite sentences for punishment in each type of offence. The Tribunal recommends that in no case should punishment imposed under Law No. 10 upon any members of an organisation or group declared by the Tribunal to be criminal exceed the punishment fixed by the De-Nazification Law. No person should be punished under both laws.
3. The Tribunal recommends to the Control Council that Law No. 10 be amended to proscribe limitations on the punishment which may be imposed for membership in a criminal group or organisation so that such punishment shall not exceed the punishment prescribed by the De-Nazifiction Law.
The Indictment asks that the Tribunal declare to be criminal the following organisations: The Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party The Gestapo The S.D. The S.S. The S.A. The Reich Cabinet, and The General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces.
Structure and Component Parts: The Indictment has named the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party as a group or organisation which should be declared criminal. The Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party consisted, in effect, of the official organisation of the Nazi Party, with Hitler as Fuehrer at its head. The actual work of running the Leadership Corps was carried out by the Chief of the Party Chancellery (Hess, succeeded by Bormann) assisted by the Party Reich Directorate, or Reichsleitung, which was composed of the Reichleiters, the heads of the functional organisations of the Party, as well as of the heads of the various main departments and offices which were attached to the Party Reich Directorate. Under the Chief of the Party Chancellery were the Gauleiters, with territorial jurisdiction over the main administrative regions of the Party, the Gaus. The Gauleiters were assisted by a Party Gau Directorate or Gauleitung, similar in composition and in function to the Party Reich Directorate. Under the Gauleiters in the Party hierarchy were the Kreisleiters with territorial jurisdiction over a Kreis, usually consisting of a single county, and assisted by a Party of Kreis Directorate, or Kreisleitung. The Kreisleiters were the lowest members of the Party hierarchy who were full time paid employees. Directly under the Kreisleiters were the Ortsgruppenleiters, then the Zellenleiters and then the Blockleiters. Directives and instructions were received from the Party Reich Directorate. The Gauleiters had the function of interpreting such orders and issuing them to lower formations. The Kreisleiters had a certain discretion in interpreting orders, but the Ortsgruppenleiters had not, but acted under definite instructions. Instructions were only issued in writing down as far as the Ortsgruppenleiters. The Block and Zellenleiters usually received instructions orally. Membership in the Leadership Corps at all levels was voluntary.
On 28th February, 1946, the Prosecution excluded from the declaration all members of the staffs of the Ortsgruppenleiters and all assistants of the Zellenleiters and Blockleiters. The declaration sought against the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party thus includes the Fuehrer, the Reichsleitung the Gauleiters and their staff officers, the Kreisleiters and their staff officers, the Ortsgruppenleiters, the Zellenleiters and the Blockleiters, a group estimated to contain at least 600,000 people.
Aims and Activities: The primary purposes of the Leadership Corps from its beginning was to assist the Nazis in obtaining and, after 30th January, 1933, in retaining, control of the German State. The machinery of the Leadership Corps was used for the widespread dissemination of Nazi propaganda and to keep a detailed check on the political attitudes of the German people. In this activity the lower Political Leaders played a particularly important role. The Blockleiters were instructed by the Party Manual to report to the Ortsgruppenleiters, all persons circulating damaging rumours or criticism of the regime. The Ortsgruppenleiters, on the basis of information supplied them by the Blockleiters and Zellenleiters, kept a card index of the people within their Ortsgruppe which recorded the factors which would be used in forming a judgment as to their political reliability. The Leadership Corps was particularly active during plebiscites. All members of the Leadership Corps were active in getting out the vote and insuring the highest possible proportion of "yes" votes. Ortsgruppenleiters and Political Leaders of higher ranks often collaborated with the Gestapo and SD in taking steps to determine those who refused to vote or who voted " no ", and in taking steps against them which went as far as arrest and detention in a concentration camp.
Criminal Activity: These steps, which relate merely to the consolidation of control of the Nazi Party, are not criminal under the view of the conspiracy to wage aggressive war which has previously been set forth, But the Leadership Corps was also used for similar steps in Austria and those parts of Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Poland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Yugoslavia which were incorporated into the Reich and within the Gaus of the Nazi Party In those territories the machinery of the Leadership Corps was used for their Germanisation through the elimination of local customs and the detection and arrest of persons who opposed German occupation. This was criminal under Article 6 (b) of the Charter in those areas governed by the Hague Rules of Land Warfare and criminal under Article 6 (c) of the Charter as to the remainder.
The Leadership Corps played its part in the persecution of the Jews. It was involved in the economic and political discrimination against the Jews, which was put into effect shortly after the Nazis came into power. The Gestapo and SD were instructed to co-ordinate with the Gauleiters and Kreisleiters the measures taken in the pogroms of the 9th and 10th November in the year 1938. The Leadership Corps was also used to prevent German public opinion from reacting against the measures taken against the Jews in the East. On the 9th October, 1942, a confidential information bulletin was sent to all Gauleiters and Kreisleiters entitled "Preparatory Measures for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe. Rumours concerning the Conditions of the Jews in the East." This bulletin stated that rumours were being started by returning soldiers concerning the conditions of Jews in the East which some Germans might not understand, and outlined in detail the official explanation to be given. This bulletin contained no explicit statement that the Jews were being exterminated, but it did indicate they were going to labour camps, and spoke of their complete segregation and elimination and the necessity of ruthless severity. Thus, even at its face value, it indicated the utilisation of the machinery of the Leadership Corps to keep German public opinion from rebelling at a programme which was stated to involve condemning the Jews of Europe to a lifetime of slavery. This information continued to be available to the Leadership Corps. The August, 1944, edition of " Die Lage ", a publication which was circulated among the Political Leaders, described the deportation of 430,000 Jews from Hungary.
The Leadership Corps played an important part in the administration of the Slave Labour Programme. A Sauckel decree dated 6th April 1942, appointed the Gauleiters as Plenipotentiary for Labour Mobilisation for their Gaus with authority to co-ordinate all agencies dealing with labour questions in their Gaus, with specific authority over the employment of foreign workers, including their conditions of work, feeding and housing. Under this authority the Gauleiters assumed control over the allocation of labour in their Gaus, including the forced labourers from foreign countries. In carrying out this task the Gauleiters used many Party offices within their Gaus, including subordinate Political Leaders. For example, Sauckel's decree of the 8th September, 1942, relating to the allocation for household labour of 400,000 women labourers brought in from the East, established a procedure under which applications filed for such workers should be passed on by the Kreisleiters, whose judgment was final.
Under Sauckel's directive the Leadership Corps was directly concerned with the treatment given foreign workers, and the Gauleiters were specifically instructed to prevent "politically inept factory heads " from giving too much consideration to the care of Eastern workers. The type of question which was considered in their treatment included reports by the Kreisleiters on pregnancies among the female slave labourers, which would result in an abortion if the child's parentage would not meet the racial standards laid down by the SS and usually detention in a concentration camp for the female slave labourer. The evidence has established that under the supervision of the Leadership Corps, the industrial workers were housed in camps under atrocious sanitary conditions, worked long hours and were inadequately fed. Under similar supervision, the agricultural workers, who were somewhat better treated were prohibited transportation, entertainment and religious worship, and were worked without any time limit on their working hours and under regulations which gave the employer the right to inflict corporal punishment. The Political Leaders, at least down to the Ortsgruppenleiters, were responsible for this supervision. On the 5th May, 1943. a memorandum of Bormann instructing that mistreatment of slave labourers cease was distributed down to the Ortsgruppenleiters. Similarly on the 10th November, 1944, a Speer circular transmitted a Himmler directive which provided that, all members of the Nazi Party, in accordance with instructions from the Kreisleiter, would be warned by the Ortsgruppenleiters of their duty to keep foreign workers under careful observation.
The Leadership Corps was directly concerned with the treatment of prisoners of war. On 5th November, 1941, Bormann transmitted a directive down to the level of Kreisleiter instructing them to insure compliance by the Army with the recent directives of the Department of the Interior ordering that dead Russian prisoners of war should be buried wrapped in tar paper in a remote place without any ceremony or any decorations of their graves. On 25th November, 1943, Bormann sent a circular instructing the Gauleiters to report any lenient treatment of prisoners of war. On 13th September, 1944, Bormann sent a directive down to the level of Kreisleiter ordering that liaison be established between the Kreisleiters and the guards of the prisoners of war in order " to better assimilate the commitment of the prisoners of war to the political and economic demands". On 17th October, 1944, an OKW directive instructed the officer in charge of the prisoners of war to confer with the Kreisleiters on questions of the productivity of labour. The use of prisoners of war, particularly those from the East, was accompanied by a widespread violation of the rules of land warfare. This evidence establishes that the Leadership Corps down to the level of Kreisleiter was a participant in this illegal treatment.
The machinery of the Leadership Corps was also utilised in attempts made to deprive Allied airmen of the protection to which they were entitled under the Geneva Convention. On 13th March, 1940, a directive of Hess transmitted instructions through the Leadership Corps down to the BIockleiter for the guidance of the civilian population in case of the landing of enemy planes or parachutists, which stated that enemy parachutists were to be immediately arrested or " made harmless ". On 30th May, 1944, Bormann sent a circular letter to all Gau and Kreisleiters "reporting instances of lynchings of Allied low level fliers in which no police action was taken. It was requested that Ortsgruppenleiters be informed orally of the contents of this letter. This letter accompanied a propaganda drive which had been instituted by Goebbels to induce such lynchings, and clearly amounted to instructions to induce such lynchings or at least to violate the Geneva Convention by withdrawing any police protection. Some lynchings were carried out pursuant to this programme, but it does not appear that they were carried out throughout all of Germany. Nevertheless, the existence of this circular letter shows that the heads of the Leadership Corps were utilising it for a purpose which was patently illegal and which involved the use of the machinery of the Leadership Corps at least through the Ortsgruppenleiter.
The Leadership Corps was used for purposes which were criminal under ,the Charter and involved the Germanisation of incorporated territory, the persecution of the Jews, the administration of the slave labour programme, and the mistreatment of prisoners of war. The defendants Bormann and Sauckel, who were members of this organisation, were among those who used it for these purposes. The Gauleiters, the Kreisleiters, and the Ortsgruppenleiters participated, to one degree or another, in these criminal programmes. The Reichsleitung as the staff organisation of the Party is also responsible for these criminal programmes as well as the heads of the various staff organisations of the Gauleiters and Kreisleiters. The decision of the Tribunal on these staff organisations includes only the Amtsleiters who were heads of offices on the staffs of the Reichsleitung, Gauleitung and Kreisleitung. With respect to other staff officers and party organisations attached to the Leadership Corps other than the Amtsleiters referred to above, the Tribunal will follow the suggestion of the Prosecution in excluding them from the declaration.
The Tribunal declares to be criminal within the meaning of the Charter the group composed of those members of the Leadership Corps holding the positions enumerated in the preceding paragraph who became or remained members of the organisation with knowledge that it was being used for the commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the Charter, or who were personally implicated as members of the organisation in the commission of such crimes. The basis of this finding is the participation of the organisation in war crimes and crimes against humanity connected with the war, the group declared criminal cannot include therefore, persons who had ceased to hold the positions enumerated in the preceding paragraph prior to 1st September, 1939.
Structure and Component Parts: The Prosecution has named Die Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) and Die Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsfuehrer SS (SD) as groups or organisations which should be declared criminal. The Prosecution presented the cases against the Gestapo and SD together, stating that this was necessary because of the close working relationship between them. The Tribunal permitted the SD to present its defence separately because of a claim of conflicting interests, but after examining the evidence has decided to consider the case of the Gestapo and SD together.
The Gestapo and the SD were first linked together on 26th June, 1936, by the appointment of Heydrich, who was the Chief of the SD, to the position of Chief of the Security Police, which was defined to include both the Gestapo and the Criminal Police. Prior to that time the SD had been the intelligence agency, first of the SS, and, after 4th June, 1934, of the entire Nazi Party. The Gestapo had been composed of the various political police forces of the several German Federal states which had been unified under the personal leadership of Himmler, with the assistance of Goering. Himmler had been appointed Chief of the German Police in the Ministry of the Interior on 17th June, 1936, and in his capacity as Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police issued his decree of 26th June, 1936, which placed both the Criminal Police, or Kripo, and the Gestapo in the Security Police, and placed both the Security Police and the SD under the command of Heydrich.
This consolidation under the leadership of Heydrich of the Security Police, a State organisation, and the SD, a Party organisation, was formalised by the decree of 27th September, 1939, which united the various state and Party offices which were under Heydrich as Chief of the Security Police and SD into one administrative unit, the Reichs Security Head Office (RSHA) which was at the same time both one of the principal offices (Hauptamter) of the SS under Himmler as Reichsfuehrer SS and an office in the Ministry of the Interior under Himmler as Chief of the German Police. The internal structure of the RSHA shows the manner in which it consolidated the offices of the Security Police with those of the SD. The RSHA was divided into seven offices (Amter), two of which (Amt I and Amt II) dealt with administrative matters. The Security Police were represented by Amt IV, the head office of the Gestapo, and by Amt V, the head office of the Criminal Police. The SD were represented by Amt III, the head office for SD activities inside Germany, by Amt VI, the head office for SD activities outside of Germany, and by Amt VII, the office for ideological research. Shortly after the creation of the RSHA, in November, 1939, the Security Police was " coordinated " with the SS by taking all officials of the Gestapo and Criminal Police into the SS at ranks equivalent to their positions.
The creation of the RSHA represented the formalisation, at the top level, of the relationship under which the SD served as the intelligence agency for the Security Police. A similar coordination existed in the local offices. Within Germany and areas which were incorporated within the Reich for the purpose of civil administration, local offices of the Gestapo, Criminal Police and SD were formally separate. They were subject to coordination by Inspectors of the Security Police and SD on the staffs of the local Higher SS and Police Leaders, however, and one of the principal functions of the local SD units was to serve as the intelligence agency for the local Gestapo units. In the occupied territories the formal relationship between local units of the Gestapo, Criminal Police and SD was slightly closer. They were organised into local units of the Security Police and SD and were under the control of both the RSHA and of the Higher SS and Police Leader who was appointed by Himmler to serve on the staff of the occupying authority. The offices of the Security Police and SD in occupied territory were composed of departments corresponding to the various Amts of the RSHA. In occupied territories which were still considered to be operational military areas or where German control had not been formally established, the organisation of the Security Police and SD was only slightly changed. Members of the Gestapo, Kripo and SD were joined together into military type organisations known as Einsatz Kommandos and Einsatzgruppen in which the key positions were held by members of the Gestapo, Kripo, and SD and in which members of the Order Police, the Waffen SS and even the Wehrmacht were used as auxiliaries. These organisations were under the over-all control of the RSHA, but in front line areas were under the operational control of the appropriate Army Commander.
It can thus be seen that from a functional point of view both the Gestapo and the SD were important and closely related groups within the organisation of the Security Police and the SD. The Security Police and SD was under a single command, that of Heydrich and later Kaltenbrunner, as Chief of the Security Police and SD it had a single headquarters, the RSHA it had its own command channels and worked as one organisation both in Germany, in occupied territories and in the areas immediately behind the front lines. During the period with which the Tribunal is primarily concerned, applicants for positions in the Security Police and SD received training in all its components, the Gestapo, Criminal Police and SD. Some confusion has been caused by the fact that part of the organisation was technically a formation of the Nazi Party while another part of the organisation was an office in the Government, but this is of no particular significance in view of the law of 1st December, 1933, declaring the unity of the Nazi Party and the German State.
The Security Police and SD was a voluntary organisation. It is true that many civil servants and administrative officials were transferred into the Security Police. The claim that this transfer was compulsory amounts to nothing more than the claim that they had to accept the transfer or resign their positions, with a possibility of having incurred official disfavour. During the war a member of the Security Police and SD did not have a free choice of assignments within that organisation and the refusal to accept a particular position, especially when serving in occupied territory, might have led to serious punishment. The fact remains, however, that all members of the Security Police and SD joined the organisation voluntarily under no other sanction than the desire to retain their positions as officials.
The organisation of the Security Police and SD also included three special units which must be dealt with separately. The first of these was the Frontier Police or Grenzpolizei which came under the control of the Gestapo in 1937. Their duties consisted in the control of passage over the borders of Germany. They arrested persons who crossed the borders illegally. It is also clear from the evidence presented that they received directives from the Gestapo to transfer foreign workers whom they apprehended to concentration camps. They could also request the local office of the Gestapo for permission to commit persons arrested to concentration camps. The Tribunal is of the opinion that the Frontier Police must be included in the charge of criminality against the Gestapo.
The border and customs protection of Zollgrenzschutz became part of the Gestapo in the summer of 1944. The functions of this organisation were similar to the Frontier Police in enforcing border regulations with particular respect to the prevention of smuggling. It does not appear, however, that their transfer was complete but that about half of their personnel of 54,000 remained under the Reich Finance Administration or the Order Police. A few days before the end of the war the whole organisation was transferred back to the Reich Finance Administration. The transfer of the organisation to the Gestapo was so late and it participated so little in the overall activities of the organisation that the Tribunal does not feel that it should be dealt with in considering the criminality of the Gestapo.
The third organisation was the so-called Secret Field Police which was originally under the Army but which in 1942 was transferred by military order to the Security Police. The Secret Field Police was concerned with security matters within the Army in occupied territory, and also with the prevention of attacks by civilians on military installations or units, and committed war crimes and crimes against humanity on a wide scale. It has not been proved, however, that it was a part of the Gestapo and the Tribunal does not consider it as coming within the charge of criminality contained in the Indictment, except such members as may have been transferred to Amt IV of the RSHA or were members of organisations declared criminal by this Judgment.
Criminal Activity: Originally, one of the primary functions of the Gestapo was the prevention of any political opposition to the Nazi regime a function which it performed with the assistance of the SD. The principle weapon used in performing this function was the concentration camp. The Gestapo did not have administrative control over the concentration camps, but, acting through the RSHA, was responsible for the detention of political prisoners in those camps. Gestapo officials were usually responsible for the interrogation of political prisoners at the camps.
The Gestapo and the SD also dealt with charges of treason and with questions relating to the Press, the Churches and the Jews. As the Nazi programme of anti-Semitic persecution increased in intensity the role played by these groups became increasingly important. In the early morning of 10th November, 1938, Heydrich sent a telegram to all offices of the Gestapo and SD giving instructions for the organisation of the pogroms of that date and instructing them to arrest as many Jews as the prisons could hold " especially rich ones," but to be careful that those arrested were healthy and not too old. By 11th November, 1938, 20,000 Jews had been arrested and many were sent to concentration camps. On 24th January, 1939, Heydrich, the Chief of the Security Police and SD, was charged with furthering the emigration and evacuation of Jews from Germany, and on 31st July, 1941, with bringing about a complete solution of the Jewish problem in German dominated Europe. A special section of the Gestapo office of the RSHA under Standartenfuehrer Eichmann was set up with responsibility for Jewish matters which employed its own agents to investigate the Jewish problem in occupied territory. Local offices of the Gestapo were used first to supervise the emigration of Jews and later to deport them to the East both from Germany and from the territories occupied during the war. Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and SD operating behind the lines of the Eastern Front engaged in the wholesale massacre of Jews. A special detachment from Gestapo headquarters in the RSHA was used to arrange for the deportation of Jews from Axis satellites to Germany for the " final solution."
Local offices of the Security Police and SD played an important role in the German administration of occupied territories. The nature of their participation is shown by measures taken in the summer of 1938 in preparation for the attack on Czechoslovakia which was then in contemplation. Einsatzgruppen of the Gestapo and SD were organised to follow the Army into Czechoslovakia to provide for the security of political life in the occupied territories. Plans were made for the infiltration of SD men into the area in advance, and for the building up of a system of files to indicate what inhabitants should be placed under surveillance, deprived of passports or liquidated. These plans were considerably altered due to the cancellation of the attack on Czechoslovakia, but in the military operations which actually occurred, particularly in the war against U.S.S.R., Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and SD went into operation, and combined brutal measures for the pacification of the civilian population with the wholesale slaughter of Jews. Heydrich gave orders to fabricate incidents on the Polish-German frontier in 1939 which would give Hitler sufficient provocation to attack Poland. Both Gestapo and SD personnel were involved in these operations.
The local units of the Security Police and SD continued their work in the occupied territories after they had ceased to be an area of operations. The Security Police and SD engaged in widespread arrests of the civilian population of these occupied countries, imprisoned many of them under inhumane conditions, subjected them to brutal third degree methods, and sent many of them to concentration camps. Local units of the Security Police and SD were also involved in the shooting of hostages, the imprisonment of relatives, the execution of persons charged as terrorists and saboteurs without a trial, and the enforcement of the " Nacht und Nebel " decrees under which persons charged with a type of offence believed to endanger the security of the occupying forces were either executed within a week or secretly removed to Germany without being permitted to communicate with their family and friends.
Offices of the Security Police and SD were involved in the administration of the Slave Labour Programme. In some occupied territories they helped local labour authorities to meet the quotas imposed by Sauckel. Gestapo Offices inside of Germany were given surveillance over slave labourers and responsibility for apprehending those who were absent from their place of work. The Gestapo also had charge of the so-called work training camps. Although both German and foreign workers could be committed to these camps, they played a significant role in forcing foreign labourers to work for the German war effort. In the latter stages of the war as the SS embarked on a slave labour programme of its own, the Gestapo was used o arrest workers for the purpose of insuring an adequate supply in the concentration camps.
The local offices of the Security Police and SD were also involved in the commission of war crimes involving the mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war. Soviet prisoners of war in prisoner of war camps in Germany were screened by Einsatz Kommandos acting under the directions of the local Gestapo offices. Commissars, Jews, members of the intelligentsia, " fanatical Communists " and even those who were considered incurably sick were classified as " intolerable," and exterminated. The local offices of the Security Police and SD were involved in the enforcement of the " Bullet " decree, put into effect on 4th March, 1944, under which certain categories of prisoners of war, who were recaptured, were not treated as prisoners of war but taken to Mauthausen in secret and shot. Members of the Security Police and the SD were charged with the enforcement of the decree for the shooting of parachutists and commandos.
The Gestapo and SD were used for purposes which were criminal under the Charter involving the persecution and extermination of the Jews, brutalities and killings in concentration camps, excesses in the administration of occupied territories, the administration of the slave labour programme and the mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war. The defendant Kaltenbrunner, who was a member of this organisation, was among those who used it for these purposes. In dealing with the Gestapo the Tribunal includes all executive and administrative officials of Amt IV of the RSHA or concerned with Gestapo administration in other departments of the RSHA and all local Gestapo officials serving both inside and outside of Germany, including the members of the Frontier Police, but not including the members of the Border and Customs Protection or the Secret Field Police, except such members as have been specified above. At the suggestion of the Prosecution the Tribunal does not include persons employed by the Gestapo for purely clerical, stenographic, janitorial or similar unofficial routine tasks. In dealing with the SD the Tribunal includes Amts III, VI and VII of the RSHA and all other members of the SD, including all local representatives and agents, honorary or otherwise, whether they were technically members of the SS or not.
The Tribunal declares to be criminal within the meaning of the Charter the group composed of those members of the Gestapo and SD holding the positions enumerated in the preceding paragraph who became or remained members of the organisation with knowledge that it was being used for the commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the Charter, or who were personally implicated as members of the organisation in the commission of such crimes. The basis for this finding is the participation of the organisation in war crimes and crimes against humanity connected with the war this group declared criminal cannot include, therefore, persons who had ceased to hold the positions enumerated in the preceding paragraph prior to 1st September, 1939.
Structure and Component Parts: The Prosecution has named Die Schutzstaffeln Der Nationalsocialistischen Deutschen Arbeiterpartei (commonly known as the SS) as an organisation which should be declared criminal. The portion of the Indictment dealing with the SS also includes the Die Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsfuehrer-SS (commonly known as the SD). This latter organisation, which was originally an intelligence branch of the SS, later became an important part of the organisation of Security Police and SD and is dealt with in the Tribunal's Judgment on the Gestapo.
The SS was originally established by Hitler in 1925 as an elite section of the SA for political purposes under the pretext of protecting speakers at public meetings of the Nazi Party. After the Nazis had obtained power the SS was used to maintain order and control audiences at mass demonstrations and was given the additional duty of " internal security " by a decree of the Fuehrer. The SS played an important role at the time of the Roehm purge of 30th June, 1934, and, as a reward for its services, was made an independent unit of the Nazi Party shortly thereafter.
In 1929, when Himmler was first appointed as Reichs Fuehrer the SS consisted of 980 men who were regarded as especially trustworthy. In 1933, it was composed of 52,000 men drawn from all walks of life. The original formation of the SS was the Allgemeine SS, which by 1939 had grown to a corps of 240,000 men, organised on military lines into divisions and regiments. During the war its strength declined to well under 40,000.
The SS originally contained two other formations, the SS Verfuegungstruppe, a force consisting of SS members who volunteered for four years armed service in lieu of compulsory service with the Army, and the SS Totenkopf Verbaende, special troops employed to guard concentration camps, which came under the control of the SS in 1934. The SS Verfuegungstruppe was organised as an armed unit to be employed with the Army in the event of mobilisation. In the summer of 1939, ,the Verfuegungstruppe was equipped as a motorised division to form the nucleus of the forces which came to be known in 1940 as the Waffen SS. In that year the Waffen SS comprised 100,000 men, 56,000 coming from the Verfuegungsiruppe and the rest from the Allgemeine SS and the Totenkopf Verbaende. At the end of the war it is estimated to have consisted of about 580,000 men and 40 divisions. The Waffen SS was under the tactical command of the Army, but was equipped and supplied through the administrative branches of the SS and under SS disciplinary control.
The SS Central Organisation had 12 main offices. The most important of these were the RSHA, which has already been discussed, the WVHA or Economic Administration Main Office which administered concentration camps along with its other duties, a Race and Settlement Office together with auxiliary offices for repatriation of racial Germans (Volksdeutschemittelstelle). The SS Central Organisation also had a legal office and the SS possessed its own legal system and its personnel were under the jurisdiction of special courts. Also attached to the SS main offices was a research foundation known as the Experiments Ahnenerbe. The scientists attached to this organisation are stated to have been mainly honorary members of the SS. During the war an institute for military scientific research became attached to the Ahnenerbe which conducted extensive experiments involving the use of living human beings. An employee of this institute was a certain Dr. Rascher, who conducted these experiments with the full knowledge of the Ahnenerbe, which was subsidised and under the patronage of the Reichsfuehrer SS who was a trustee of the foundation.
Beginning in 1933 there was a gradual but thorough amalgamation of the police and SS. In 1936 Himmler, the Reichs Fuehrer SS, became Chief of the German Police with authority over the regular uniformed police as well as the Security Police. Himmler established a system under which Higher SS and Police Leaders, appointed for each Wehrkreis, served as his personal representatives in coordinating the activities of the Order Police, Security Police and SD and Allgemeine SS within their jurisdictions. In 1939 the SS and police systems were coordinated by taking into the SS all officials of the Security and Order Police, at SS ranks equivalent to their rank in the police.
Until 1940 the SS was an entirely voluntary organisation. After the formation of the Waffen SS in 1940 there was a gradually increasing number of conscripts into the Waffen SS. It appears that about a third of the total number of people joining the Waffen SS were conscripts, that the proportion of conscripts was higher at the end of the war than at the beginning, but that there continued to be a high proportion of volunteers until the end of the war.
Criminal Activities: SS units were active participants in the steps leading up to aggressive war. The Verfuegungstruppe was used in the occupation of the Sudetenland, of Bohemia and Moravia and of Memel. The Henlein Free Corps was under the jurisdiction of the Reichs Fuehrer SS for operations in the Sudetenland in 1938 and the Volksdeutschemittelstelle financed fifth column activities there.
The SS was even a more general participant in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Through its control over the organisation of the Police, particularly the Security Police and SD, the SS was involved in all the crimes which have been outlined in the section of this Judgment dealing with the Gestapo and SD. Other branches of the SS were equally involved in these criminal programmes. There is evidence that the shooting of unarmed prisoners of war was the general practice in some Waffen SS divisions. On 1st October, 1944, the custody of prisoners of war and interned persons was transferred to Himmler, who in turn transferred prisoner of war affairs to SS Obergruppenfuehrer Berger and to SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl. The Race and Settlement Office of the SS together with the Volksdeutschemiittelstelle were active in carrying out schemes for Germanisation of occupied territories according to the racial principles of the Nazi Party and were involved in the deportation of Jews and other foreign nationals. Units of the Waffen SS and Einsatzgruppen operating directly under the SS main office were used to carry out these plans. These units were also involved in the widespread murder and ill-treatment of the civilian population of occupied territories Under the guise of combating partisan units, units of the SS exterminated Jews and people deemed politically undesirable by the SS, and their reports record the execution of enormous numbers of persons. Waffen SS divisions were responsible for many massacres and atrocities in occupied territories such as the massacres at Oradour and Lidice.
From 1934 onwards the SS was responsible for the guarding and administration of concentration camps. The evidence leaves no doubt that the consistently brutal treatment of the inmates of concentration camps was carried out as a result of the general policy of the SS, which was that the inmates were racial inferiors to be treated only with contempt. There is evidence that where manpower considerations permitted, Himmler wanted to rotate guard battalions so that all members of the SS would be instructed as to the proper attitude to take to inferior races. After 1942 when the concentration camps were placed under the control of the WVHA they were used as a source of slave labour. An agreement made with the Ministry of Justice on 18th September, 1942, provided that anti-social elements who had finished prison sentences were to be delivered to the SS to be worked to death. Steps were continually taken, involving the use of the Security Police and SD and even the Waffen SS, to insure that the SS had an adequate supply of concentration camp labour for its projects. In connection with the administration of the concentration camps, the SS embarked on a series of experiments on human beings which were performed on prisoners of war or concentration camp inmates. These experiments included freezing to death, and killing by poison bullets. The SS was able to obtain an allocation of Government funds for this kind of research on the grounds that they had access to human material not available to other agencies.
The SS played a particularly significant role in the persecution of the Jews. The SS was directly involved in the demonstrations of 10th November, 1938. The evacuation of the Jews from occupied territories was carried out under the directions of the SS with the assistance of SS Police units. The extermination of the Jews was carried out under the direction of the SS central organisation. It was actually put into effect by SS formations. The Einsatzgruppen engaged in wholesale massacres of the Jews. SS police units were also involved. For example, the massacre of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto was carried out under the directions of the SS Brigadefuehrer and Major General of the Police Stroup. A special group from the SS central organisation arranged for the deportation of Jews from various Axis satellites and their extermination was carried out in the concentration camps run by the WVHA.
It is impossible to single out any one portion of the SS which was not involved in these criminal activities. The Allgemeine SS was an active participant in the persecution of the Jews and was used as a source of concentration camp guards. Units of the Waffen SS were directly involved in the killing of prisoners of war and the atrocities in occupied countries. It supplied personnel for the Einsatzgruppen, and had command over the concentration camp guards after its absorption of the Totenkopf SS, which originally controlled the system. Various SS Police units were also widely used in the atrocities in occupied countries and the extermination of the Jews there. The SS central organisation supervised the activities of these various formations and was responsible for such special projects as the human experiments and " final solution " of the Jewish question.
The Tribunal finds that knowledge of these criminal activities was sufficiently general to justify declaring that the SS was a criminal organisation to the extent hereinafter described. It does appear that an attempt was made to keep secret some phases of its activities, but its criminal programmes were so widespread, and involved slaughter on such a gigantic scale, that its criminal activities must have been widely known. It must be recognised, moreover, that the criminal activities of the SS followed quite logically from the principles on which it was organised. Every effort had been made to make the SS a highly disciplined organisation composed of the elite of National Socialism. Himmler had stated that there were people in Germany " who become sick when they see these black coats " and that he did not expect that " they should be loved by too many ". Himmler also indicated his view that the SS was concerned with perpetuating the elite racial stock with the object of making Europe a Germanic Continent and the SS was instructed that it was designed to assist the Nazi Government in the ultimate domination of Europe and the elimination of all inferior races. This mystic and fanatical belief in the superiority of the Nordic German developed into the studied contempt and even hatred of other races which led to criminal activities of the type outlined above being considered as a matter of course if not a matter of pride. The actions of a soldier in the Waffen SS who in September, 1939, acting entirely on his own initiative, killed fifty Jewish labourers whom he had been guarding, Were described by the statement that as an SS man, he was " particularly sensitive to the sight of Jews ", and had acted " quite thoughtlessly in a youthful spit of adventure " and a sentence of three years' imprisonment imposed on him was dropped under an amnesty. Hess wrote with truth that the Waffen SS were more suitable for the specific tasks to be solved in occupied territory owing to their extensive training in questions of race and nationality. Himmler, in a series of speeches made in 1943, indicated his pride in the ability of the SS to carry out these criminal acts. He encouraged his men to be "tough and ruthless" he spoke of shooting " thousands of leading Poles ", and thanked them for their cooperation and lack of squeamishness at the sight of hundreds and thousands of corpses of their victims. He extolled ruthlessness in exterminating the Jewish race and later described this process as " delousing". These speeches show the general attitude prevailing the SS was consistent with these criminal acts
Conclusions: The SS was utilised for the purposes which were criminal under the Charter involving the persecution and extermination of the Jews, brutalities and killings in concentration camps, excesses in the administration of occupied territories, the administration of the slave labour programme and the mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war. The defendant Kaltenbrunner was a member of the SS implicated in these activities. In dealing with the SS the Tribunal includes all persons who had been officially accepted as members of the SS including the members of the Allgemeine SS, members of the Waffen SS, members of the SS Totenkopf Verbaende and the members of any of the different police forces who were members of the SS. The Tribunal does not include the so-called SS riding units. The Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsfuehrer SS (commonly known as the SD) is dealt with in the Tribunal's Judgment on the Gestapo and SD.
Tribunal declares to be criminal within the meaning of the Charter the group composed of those persons who had been officially accepted as members of the SS as enumerated in the preceding paragraph who became or remained members of the organisation with knowledge that it was being used for the commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the Charter or who were personally implicated as members of the organisation in the commission of such crimes, excluding, however, those who were drafted into membership by the State in such a way as to give them no choice in the matter, and who had committed no such crimes. The basis of this finding is the participation of the organisation in war crimes and crimes against humanity connected with the war this group declared criminal cannot include, therefore, persons who had ceased to belong to the organisations enumerated in the preceding paragraph prior to 1st September, 1939.
Structure and Component Parts: The prosecution has named Die Sturmabteilungen der Nationalsozialistischen Deutschen Arbeiterpartei (commonly known as the SA) as an organisation which should be declared criminal. The SA was founded in 1921 for political purposes. It was organised on military lines. Its members wore their own uniforms and had their own discipline and regulations. After the Nazis had obtained power the SA greatly increased in membership due to the incorporation within it of certain veterans' organisations. In April, 1933, the Stahlheim, an organisation of one and a half million members, was transferred into the SA, with the exception of its members over 45 years of age and some others, pursuant to an agreement between their leader Seldte and Hitler. Another veterans' organisation, the so-called Kyffhauserbund, was transferred in the same manner, together with a number of rural riding organisations.
Until 1933, there is no question but that membership in the SA was voluntary. After 1933 civil servants were under certain political and economic pressure to join the SA. Members of the Stahlheim, the Kyffhauserbund and the rural riding associations were transferred into the SA without their knowledge but the Tribunal is not satisfied that the members in general endeavoured to protest against this transfer or that there was any evidence, except in isolated cases, of the consequences of refusal. The Tribunal therefore finds that membership in the SA was generally voluntary.
By the end of 1933 the SA was composed of four and a half million men. As a result of changes made after 1934, in 1939 the SA numbered one and a half million men.
Activities: In the early days of the Nazi movement the storm troopers of the SA acted as the " strong arm of the Party ". They took part in the beer hall feuds and were used for street fighting in battles against political opponents. The SA was also used to disseminate Nazi ideology and propaganda and placed particular emphasis on anti-Semitic propaganda, the doctrine of " Lebensraum ", the revision of the Versailles Treaty and the return of Germany's colonies.
After the Nazi advent to power, and particularly after the elections of 5th March, 1933, the SA played an important role in establishing a Nazi reign of terror over Germany. The SA was involved in outbreaks of violence against the Jews and was used to arrest political opponents and to guard concentration camps, where they subjected their prisoners to brutal mistreatment.
On 30th June and 1st and 2nd July, 1934, a purge of SA leaders occurred. The pretext which was given for this purge, which involved the killing of Roehm, the Chief of Staff of the SA, and many other SA leaders, was the existence of a plot against Hitler. This purge resulted in a great reduction in the influence and power of the SA. After 1934, it rapidly declined in political significance.
After 1934 the SA engaged in certain forms of military or pare-military training. The SA continued to engage in the dissemination of Nazi propaganda. Isolated units of the SA were even involved in the steps leading up to aggressive war and in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. SA units were among the first in the occupation of Austria in March, 1938. The SA supplied many of the men and a large part of the equipment which composed the Sudeten Free Corps of Henlein, although it appears that the corps was under the jurisdiction of SS during its operation in Czechoslovakia.
After the occupation of Poland, the SA group Sudeten was used for transporting prisoners of war. Units of the SA were employed in the guarding of prisoners in Danzig, Posen, Silesia and the Baltic states.
Some SA units were used to blow up synagogues in the Jewish pogrom of the 10th and 11th of November, 1938. Groups of the SA were concerned in the ill treatment of Jews in the Ghettos of Vilna and Kaunas.
Up until the purge beginning on 30th June, 1934, the SA was a group composed in large part of ruffians and bullies who participated in the Nazi outrages of that period. It has not been shown, however, that these atrocities were part of a specific plan to wage aggressive war, and the Tribunal therefore cannot hold that these activities were criminal under the Charter. After the purge, the SA was reduced to the status of a group of unimportant Nazi hangers-on. Although in specific instances some units of the SA were used for the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity, it cannot be said that its members generally participated in or even knew of the criminal acts. For these reasons the Tribunal does not declare the SA to be a criminal organisation within the meaning of Article 9 of the Charter.
The prosecution has named as a criminal organisation the Reich Cabinet (Die Reichsregierung) consisting of members of the ordinary cabinet after 30th January, 1933, members of the Council of Ministers for the defence of the Reich and members of the Secret Cabinet Council. The Tribunal is of opinion that no declaration of criminality should be made with respect to the Reich Cabinet for two reasons: (1) because it is not shown that after 1931 it ever really acted as a group or organisation, (2) because the group of persons here charged is so small that members could be conveniently tried in proper cases without resort to a declaration that the Cabinet of which they were members was criminal.
As to the first reason for our decision, it is to be observed that from the time that it can be said that a conspiracy to make aggressive war existed the Reich Cabinet did not constitute a governing body, but was merely an aggregation of administrative officers subject to the absolute control of Hitler. Not a single meeting of the Reich Cabinet was held after 1937, but laws were promulgated in the name of one or more of the cabinet members. The Secret Cabinet Council never met at all. A number of the cabinet members were undoubtedly involved in the conspiracy to make aggressive war but they were involved as individuals, and there is no evidence that the cabinet as a group or organisation took any part in these crimes. It will be remembered that when Hitler disclosed his aims of criminal aggression at the Hoszbach Conference, the disclosure was not made before the cabinet and that the cabinet was not consulted with regard to it, but, on the contrary, that it was made secretly to a small group upon whom Hitler would necessarily rely in carrying on the war. Likewise no cabinet order authorised the invasion of Poland. On the contrary, the defendant Schacht testifies that he sought to stop the invasion by a plea to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army that Hitler's order was in violation of the Constitution because not authorised by the cabinet.
It does appear, however, that various laws authorising acts which were criminal under the Charter were circulated among the members of the Reich Cabinet and issued under its authority signed by the members whose departments were concerned. This does not, however, prove that the Reich Cabinet, after 1937, ever really acted as an organisation.
As to the second reason, it is clear that those members of the Reich Cabinet who have been guilty of crimes should be brought to trial, and a number of them are now on trial before the Tribunal. It is estimated that there are 48 members of the group, that eight of these are dead and 17 are now on trial, leaving only 23 at the most, as to whom the declaration could have any importance. Any others who are, guilty should also be brought to trial but nothing would be accomplished to expedite or facilitate their trials by declaring the Reich Cabinet to be a criminal organisation. Where an organisation with a large membership is used for such purposes, a declaration obviates the necessity of inquiring as to its criminal character in the later trial of members who are accused of participating through membership in its criminal purposes and thus saves much time and trouble. There is no such advantage in the case of a small group like the Reich Cabinet.
The prosecution has also asked that the General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces be declared a criminal organisation. The Tribunal believes that no declaration of criminality should be made with respect to the General Staff and High Command. The number of persons charged, while larger than that of the Reich Cabinet, is still so small that individual trials of these officers would accomplish the purpose here sought better than a declaration such as is requested. But a more compelling reason is that in the opinion of the Tribunal the General Staff and High Command is neither an " organisation " nor a " group " within the meaning of those terms as used in Article 9 of the Charter.
Some comment on the nature of this alleged group is requisite. According to the Indictment and evidence before the Tribunal, it consists of approximately 130 officers, living and dead, who at any time during the period from February, 1938, when Hitler reorganised the Armed Forces, and May, 1945, when Germany surrendered, held certain positions in the military hierarchy. These men were high-ranking officers in the three armed services: OKH-Army, OKM-Navy, and OKL-Air Force. Above them was the over-all armed forces authority, OKW-High Command of the German Armed Forces with Hitler as the Supreme Commander. The Officers in the OKW, including defendant Keitel as Chief of the High Command were in a sense Hitler's personal staff. In the larger sense they co-ordinated and directed the three services, with particular emphasis on the functions of planning and operations.
The individual officers in this alleged group were, at one time or another, in one of four categories: (1) Commanders-in-Chief of one of the three services (2) Chief of Staff of one of the three services (3) " Oberbefehlshabers", the field commanders-in-chief of one of the three services, which of course comprised ,by far the largest number of these persons or (4) an OKW officer, of which there were three, defendants Keitel and Jodl, and the latter's Deputy Chief, Warlimont. This is the meaning of the Indictment in its use of the term " General Staff and High Command ".
The Prosecution has here drawn the line. The Prosecution does not indict the next level of the military hierarchy consisting of commanders of army corps, and equivalent ranks in the Navy and Air Force, nor the level below, the division commanders or their equivalent in the other branches. And the staff officers of the four staff commands of OKW, OKH, OKM, and OKL are not included, nor are the trained specialists who were customarily called General Staff officers.
In effect, then, those indicted as members are military leaders of the Reich of the highest rank. No serious effort was made to assert that they composed an " organisation " in the sense of Article 9. The assertion is rather that they were a " group ", which is a wider and more embracing term than " organisation ".
The Tribunal does not so find. According to the evidence, their planning at staff level, the constant conferences between staff officers and field commanders, their operational technique in the field and at headquarters was much the same as that of the armies, navies and air forces of all other countries. The over-all effort of OKW at co-ordination and direction could be matched by a similar, though not identical form of organisation in other military forces, such as the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff.
To derive from this pattern of their activities the existence of an association or group does not, in the opinion of the Tribunal, logically follow. On such a theory the top commanders of every other nation are just such an association rather than what they actually are, an aggregation of military men, a number of individuals who happen at a given period of time to hold the high-ranking military positions.
Much of the evidence and the argument has centred around the question of whether membership in these organisations was or was not voluntary in this case, it seems to the Tribunal to be quite beside the point. For this alleged criminal organisation has one characteristic, a controlling one, which sharply distinguishes it from the other five indicted. When an individual became a member of the SS for instance, he did so, voluntarily or otherwise, but certainly with the knowledge that he was joining something. In the case of the General Staff and High Command, however, he could not know he was joining a group or organisation, for such organisation did not exist except in the charge of the Indictment. He knew only that he had achieved a certain high rank in one of the three services, and could not be conscious of the fact that he was becoming a member of anything so tangible as a " group," as that word is commonly used. His relations with his brother officers in his own branch of the service and his association with those of the other two branches were, in general, like those of other services all over the world.
The Tribunal therefore does not declare the General Staff and High Command to be a criminal organisation.
Although the Tribunal is of the opinion that the term " group " in Article 9 must mean something more than this collection of military officers, it has heard much evidence as to the participation of these officers in planning and waging aggressive war, and in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. This evidence is, as to many of them, clear and convincing.
They have been responsible in large measure for the miseries and suffering that have fallen on millions of men, women and children. They have been a disgrace to the honourable profession of arms. Without their military guidance the aggressive ambitions of Hitler and his fellow Nazis would have been academic and sterile. Although they were not a group falling within the words of the Charter they were certainly a ruthless military caste. The contemporary German militarism flourished briefly with its recent ally, National Socialism, as well as or better than it had in the generations of the past.
Many of these men have made a mockery of the soldier's oath of obedience to military orders. When it suits their defence they say they had to obey when confronted with Hitler's brutal crimes, which are shown to have been within their general knowledge, they say they disobeyed. The truth is they actively participated in all these crimes, or sat silent and acquiescent, witnessing the commission of crimes on a scale larger and more shocking than the world has ever had the misfortune to know. This must be said.
Where the facts warrant it, these men should be brought to trial so that those among them who are guilty of these crimes should not escape punishment.
The Tribunal will sit to-morrow at 9.30 a.m., and the Tribunal will now adjourn.
(The Tribunal adjourned until 9.30 a.m., 1st October, 1946.)
The PRESIDENT: There is a correction which the Tribunal wishes to make in the judgment pronounced yesterday at page 159 with reference to the SD.
The Tribunal's attention has been drawn to the fact that the Prosecution expressly excluded honorary informers who were not members of the SS, and members of the Abwehr who were transferred to the SD. In view of that exclusion by the Prosecution, the Tribunal also excludes those persons from the SD which was declared criminal.
Article 26 of the Charter provides that the Judgment of the Tribunal as to the guilt or innocence of any defendant shall give the reasons on which it is based.
The Tribunal will now state those reasons in declaring its Judgment on such guilt or innocence.
The Gestapo (GeheimeStaatspolizei) was Nazi Germany’s feared secret police force. During World War Two the Gestapo was under the direct control of Heinrich Himmler who controlled all the police units within Nazi Germany. The first head of the Gestapo was Rudolf Diels but for most of its existence, the Gestapo was led by Heinrich Müller. The Gestapo acted outside of the normal judicial process and it had its own courts and effectively acted as judge, jury and frequently executioner.
The Gestapo’s main purpose was to hunt out those considered a threat to Nazi Germany. By the time World War Two started these included Jews, Communists, Jehovah Witnesses, homosexuals – basically anyone who was thought to challenge the hegemony of the Nazi Party within Germany. After the outbreak of World War Two, the work of the Gestapo covered Occupied Europe where it had two main tasks. The first was to hunt out Jews and other ‘Untermenschen’ while the second was to tackle the threat of resistance movements.
The Gestapo’s greatest weapon was the fear that it created. Logic said that the Gestapo simply could not be everywhere and it is now accepted that in some places within Germany it was thinly spread at best. However, the perception of the German population was that it was everywhere and that you could trust no-one. There was an acceptance that if you crossed the state, the Gestapo would get you. Their methods of dealing with anyone in ‘protective custody’ were well publicised – deliberately so, as this further enforced the message that an individual should be totally loyal to the state. If the Gestapo felt the need to give someone it had arrested some semblance of going through the legal process, it used the feared People’s Court (the Volksgericht). Here a death sentence was almost guaranteed especially if Roland Freisler was the presiding judge.
As with so much that occurred within the hierarchy of Nazi Germany, the Gestapo had a history of power struggles by those who wanted to control it and the power it had. In his first cabinet, Hitler had given Hermann Goering control of Prussia. In this capacity Goering took control of the police in Prussia and incorporated into it the small and recently formed Gestapo that up to this point had been part of the SS led by Himmler. Goering wanted to have control over a unified police force of Germany. Himmler had an identical aspiration. Goering set up the Central Security Office of the Third Reich in buildings on Prinz Albrechtstrasse in Berlin. He made one of his protégés, Rudolf Diels, head of the secret police. By doing this Goering hoped to have his ‘own man’ in a very important and potentially very powerful position. At this time Diels had the official position of Chief of Department 1A in the Prussian Secret Police attached to the Ministry of the Interior. It was this department that grew into the Gestapo.
In April 1934, Hitler put Himmler in control of a unified police force. As Diels was one of Goering’s ‘men’, Himmler dismissed him after accusing him of being too soft to do the job. Himmler replaced Diels with Heinrich Müller who had been one of Himmler’s assistants in Munich and was utterly loyal to him. Under Müller, the Gestapo gained its reputation for efficiency and brutality. Its brief was simple: to hunt down anyone who was suspected of treachery to Hitler. This included anyone who told jokes about Hitler or even celebrated the birthday of Wilhelm II as this was seen as evidence of someone sympathetic to monarchism and not National Socialism.
The Gestapo had the power of arrest, interrogation and incarceration. Stories were allowed to circulate as to what happened in the cellars at Prinz Albrechtstrasse. There was a great deal of truth in these stories and they served to keep the public under the thumb of the authorities such was the fear these rumours engendered.
In parts of Occupied Europe, they used nationals sympathetic to Hitler and the Nazi Party to do their job. This was especially so in occupied Norway and France. In France the Milice worked with the Gestapo to hunt out resistance groups. In Eastern Europe, the Gestapo played its part in the Holocaust. Gestapo agents hunted for Jews who may have escaped a general round up. In Western Europe, members of the Gestapo murdered POW’s who were protected under the Geneva Convention.
At the Nuremberg Trials, the Gestapo was declared a criminal organisation. The International Tribunal listed the atrocities the Gestapo was linked to. Heinrich Müller was never brought to justice. What happened to him is not known for sure. Some say he was killed in the final days of the Battle for Berlin while others believed that he was spirited away to South America once the war had ended where he lived undetected.
The torture of the Gestapo (25 photos)
It is a small neat house in Kristiansade next to the road in the port of Stavanger, and during the war was the most horrible place throughout the south of Norway.
«Skrekkens hus» — «House of terror" — so named it in the city. Since January 1942, the city archives building was the headquarters of the Gestapo in southern Norway. These prisoners were brought here were equipped torture chambers, hence the people sent to concentration camps and shot.
now in the basement of the building where the punishment cells were located and where prisoners were tortured, a museum, telling about what happened during the war in the building of State Archives.
Disposition of the basement corridors left unchanged. There were only new lights and doors. In the main corridor of the main exhibition is arranged with archival materials, photographs, posters.
So suspended beaten arrested chain.
So tortured with electric stoves. With particular zeal of the executioners could ignite a human hair on the head.
About water torture I wrote earlier. It is applied in the Archives.
In this device, finger crimp pulled out nails. The machine authentic — after the city's liberation from the Germans all the equipment torture chambers remained in place and was saved.
Next — other devices for interrogation with the "addiction».
Several basements are arranged reconstruction — as it looked then, in this very spot. This camera, which contained extremely dangerous detainees — trapped in the clutches of the Gestapo member of the Norwegian Resistance.
In the next room was located a torture chamber. It reproduced the actual scene of torture couples underground, taken by the Gestapo in 1943, during the session with the intelligence center in London. Two Gestapo tortured his wife in front of her husband, chained to the wall. In a corner, on an iron girder, suspended one member of an underground group failed. They say that before the interrogation the Gestapo pumped alcohol and drugs.
In all cell left, as if a 43-m. If you turn the pink stool, standing at the feet of the women, you can see the mark of the Gestapo Kristiansand.
This reconstruction of the interrogation — Gestapo agent provocateur (left) presents arrested clandestine radio operator group (it sits right in handcuffs) his radio in a suitcase. In the center sits kristiansandskogo chief of the Gestapo, SS-Hauptsturmführer Rudolf Kerner — about it I had to tell.
In this showcase items and documents of the Norwegian patriots, which is sent to a concentration camp near Oslo Greene — Chief forwarding station in Norway, where the prisoners were sent to other concentration camps in Europe.
Notation of different groups of prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp (Auschwitz-Birkenau). The Jew, the political, the Roma, the Spanish Republican, a dangerous criminal, a criminal, a war criminal, a Jehovah's Witness, homosexual. The icon of Norwegian political prisoner wrote the letter N.
The museum lead school tours. I came across one such — a few local teenagers walked the corridors together with the Tour Robstadom, volunteers from local residents who survived the war. They say that in the year in the Archives of the museum is visited by about 10,000 students.
Toure told the guys about Auschwitz. Two boys from the group had been there recently on a tour.
Soviet prisoners of war in a concentration camp. In his hand — a home-made wooden bird.
In a separate showcase things made by hands of Russian prisoners of war in the Norwegian camps. These crafts Russian bartered for food from the locals. Our neighbor in Kristiansand was a whole collection of wooden birds — on the way to school, she often met our group of prisoners going to work under guard, and gave them their breakfast in exchange for the carved wooden toys.
Reconstruction of guerrilla radio. Guerrillas in southern Norway to London passed information about German troop movements, deployment of military equipment and vehicles. In the north of the Norwegian intelligence supplied the Soviet Northern Navy.
"Germany — a nation of creators."
Norwegian patriots had to work under extreme pressure on the local population Goebbels's propaganda. The Germans have set ourselves the task of early nazification country. Quisling government is taking to this effort in the field of education, culture and sport. Quisling Nazi Party (Nasjonal Samling) before the start of the war inspired the Norwegians that the main threat to their security is the military power of the Soviet Union. It should be noted that intimidation of Norwegians about Soviet aggression in the north contributed to many Finnish campaign in 1940. With the advent of Quisling has only strengthened their propaganda with the help of agencies Goebbels. The Nazis in Norway to convince the population that only a strong Germany could protect the Norwegians from the Bolsheviks.
Several posters distributed by the Nazis in Norway. «Norges nye nabo» — «New Norwegian neighbor", 1940 Note the fashionable and now welcome "inversion" of Latin letters to simulate the Cyrillic alphabet.
The promotion of a "new Norwegian" strongly emphasizes the relationship of the two "Nordic" peoples, their solidarity in the struggle against British imperialism and "wild Bolshevik hordes". Norwegian patriots in response to use in their fight against the character of King Haakon and his image. The motto of the King «Alt for Norge» strongly ridiculed the Nazis who inspired the Norwegians that the military difficulties — a temporary phenomenon, and Vidkun Quisling — the new leader of the nation.
Two walls in the dark corridors of the museum given to the criminal case, which was tried on seven main Gestapo in Kristiansand. The Norwegian jurisprudence of such cases has never been — the Norwegians tried Germans and citizens of another state, accused of crimes in the territory of Norway. The process involved three hundred witnesses, about a dozen lawyers, the Norwegian and foreign press. Gestapo officers were tried for the torture and abuse of detainees, was alone episode of the execution without trial of 30 Russian and Polish prisoners of war 1. June 16, 1947 were all sentenced to death for the first time and was temporarily included in the Criminal Code of Norway after the war.
Rudolf Kerner — kristiansandskogo Gestapo chief. A former teacher of shoemaking. Notorious sadist in Germany had a criminal past. Went to camp a few hundred members of the Norwegian resistance, is guilty of the death of the organization disclosed Gestapo Soviet prisoners of war in a concentration camp in the south of Norway. It was, like the rest of his accomplices, was sentenced to death, which was later commuted to life imprisonment. He was released in 1953 under an amnesty announced by the Norwegian government. He went to Germany, where his traces were lost.
Next to the archive building is a modest monument to those killed at the hands of the Gestapo Norwegian patriots. At the local cemetery, napodaleku from this place, lie the remains of Soviet prisoners of war, and British pilots shot down by the Germans in the skies over Kristiansand. Every year on May 8 at the flagpoles near the graves are raised flags of the USSR, the United Kingdom and Norway.
In 1997, the archive building, from which the State Archives moved to another location, it was decided to sell to private hands. Local veterans, public organizations were strongly opposed, to organize a special committee, and have achieved that in 1998 the owner of the building State Concern Statsbygg passed a historic building veterans committee. Now, here at the same museum, about which I have told you, the offices of the Norwegian and international humanitarian organizations — the Red Cross, Amnesty International, the United Nations.
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The Geheime Staatspolizei (German for "secret state police"), commonly abbreviated as Gestapo, formed the official state secret police force of Nazi Germany.
Recruited from professional police officers, its role and organisation was quickly established by Hermann G?ring after Hitler gained power in March 1933. Rudolf Diels was the first head of the organization, initially called Department 1A of the Prussian State Police.
The role of the Gestapo was to investigate and combat "all tendencies dangerous to the State." They had the authority to investigate treason, espionage and sabotage cases, and cases of criminal attacks on the Party and State.
The Gestapo's actions were not restricted by the law or subject to judicial review. The Nazi jurist, Dr. Werner Best, stated, "As long as the [Gestapo]. carries out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally." The Gestapo was specifically exempted from being responsible to administrative courts, where citizens normally could sue the state to conform to laws.
The power of the Gestapo most open to misuse was Schutzhaft or "protective custody" - a euphemism for the power to imprison people without judicial proceedings, typically in concentration camps. The person imprisoned even had to sign their own Schutzhaftbefehl (the document declaring the person was to be imprisoned). Normally this signature was forced by torture.
In 1934, G?ring, under pressure from Heinrich Himmler, agreed to grant control of the Gestapo to the SS. In 1936 Reinhard Heydrich became head of the Gestapo and Heinrich Muller chief of operations.
During World War II, the Gestapo was expanded to around 45,000 members. It helped control conquered areas of Europe and identify Jews, Socialists, homosexuals and others for transportation to camps.
When the Gestapo was founded, the organization was already a well-established bureaucratic mechanism, having been created out of the already existing Prussian Secret Police. In 1934, the Gestapo was transferred from the Prussian Interior Ministry to the authority of the SS, and for the next five years the Gestapo underwent a massive expansion.
In 1939, the entire Gestapo was placed under the authority of the RSHA, a main office of the SS. Within the RSHA, the Gestapo was known as "Amt IV". The internal organization of the group was as follows:
Referat N: Central Intelligence Office
The Central Command Office of the Gestapo, formed in 1941. Before 1939, the Gestapo command was under the authority of the office of the Sicherheitspolizei und SD, to which answered the Commanding General of the Gestapo. Between 1939 and 1941, the Gestapo was run directly through the overall command of the Reichsicherheitshauptamt (RSHA).
* Communists (A1)
* Countersabotage (A2)
* Reactionaries and Liberals (A3)
* Assassinations (A4)
Department B (Sects and Churches)
* Catholics (B1)
* Protestants (B2)
* Freemasons (B3)
* Jews (B4)
* Coloured People (B5)
Department C (Administration and Party Affairs)
The central administrative office of the Gestapo, responsible for card files of all personnel.
Department D (Occupied Territories)
* Opponents of the Regime (D1)
* Churches and Sects (D2)
* Records and Party Matters (D3)
* Western Territories (D4)
* Counter-espionage (D5)
Department E (Counter-Intelligence)
* In the Reich (E1)
* Policy Formation (E2)
* In the West (E3)
* In Scandinavia (E4)
* In the East (E5)
* In the South (E6)
The local offices of the Gestapo were known as Gestapostellen and Gestapoleitstellen. These offices answered to a local commander known as the Inspektor der Sicherheitspolizei und SD who, in turn, was under the dual command of Referat N of the Gestapo and also local SS and Police Leaders. The classic image of the Gestapo officer, dressed in trench coat and hat, can be attributed to Gestapo personnel assigned to local offices in German cities and larger towns. This image seems to have been popularized by the assassination of the former Chancellor General Kurt von Schleicher in 1934. General von Schleicher and his wife were gunned down in their Berlin home by three men dressed in black trench coats and wearing black fedoras. The killers of General von Schleicher were widely believed to have been Gestapo men. At a press conference held later the same day, Hermann G?ring was asked by foreign correspondents to respond to a hot rumour that General von Schleicher had been murdered in his home. G?ring stated that the Gestapo had attempted to arrest Schleicher, but that he had been shot while attempting to resist arrest.
The Gestapo also maintained offices at all Nazi concentration camps, held an office on the staff of the SS and Police Leaders, and supplied personnel on an as-needed basis to such formations as the Einsatzgruppen. Such personnel, assigned to these auxiliary duties, were typically removed from the Gestapo chain of command and fell under the authority of other branches of the SS.
The Daily Operations of the Gestapo
Contrary to popular belief, the Gestapo was not an omnipotent agency that had its agents in every nook and cranny of German society. So-called V-men as undercover Gestapo agents were known only to be used to infiltrate Social Democratic and Communist opposition groups, but these cases were the exception, not the rule.
As the analysis of the Gestapostellen done by the historian Robert Gellately has established, for the most part the Gestapo was made of bureaucrats and clerical workers who depended upon denunciations by ordinary Germans for their information. Indeed, the Gestapo was overwhelmed with denunciations and spent most of its time sorting out the credible denunciations from less credible ones. Far from being an all-powerful agency that knew everything about what was happening in German society, the local Gestapostellen were under-staffed, over-worked offices that struggled with the paper-load caused by so many denunciations. The ratio of Gestapo officers to the general public was extremely lop-sided for example, in the region of Lower Franconia, which had about one million people in the 1930s, there was only one Gestapo office for the entire region, which had 28 people attached to it, of whom half were clerical workers.
Furthermore, for information about what was happening in German society, the Gestapostellen were most part dependent upon these denunciations. Thus, it was ordinary Germans by their willingness to denounce one another who supplied the Gestapo with the information that determined who the Gestapo arrested. The popular picture of the Gestapo with its spies everywhere terrorizing German society has been firmly rejected by most historians.
At the Nuremberg Trials the entire organisation was charged with crimes against humanity.
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Organizations in The Third Reich
The leaders of Nazi Germany created a large number of different organisations for the purpose of helping them in staying in power. The character of the most of them is typical for totalitarian regimes, although most countries do have armed forces of some sort.
Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) -- Armed Forces High Command
Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) -- Army High Command
Oberkommando der Marine (OKM) -- Navy High Command
Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL) -- Airforce High Command
Wehrmacht -- Armed Forces
Heer -- Army
Luftwaffe -- Airforce
Kriegsmarine -- Navy
Abwehr -- Military Intelligence
SA -- Sturmabteilung
SS -- Schutzstaffel
- Reich Central Security Office (RSHA - Reichssicherheitshauptamt)
- Regular Police (Ordnungspolizei (ORPO))
- Schutzpolizei (Safety Police)
- Gendarmerie (Rural Police)
- Gemeindepolizei (Local Police)
- Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei (SIPO))
- Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo)
- Reich Kriminalpolizei (Kripo)
- Sicherheitsdienst (SD)
Nazi Party -- National Socialist German Workers Party (abbreviated NSDAP)
Hitler-Jugend -- Hitler-youth (for boys and young men)
Bund Deutscher M?del (for girls and young women)
Kraft durch Freude
Operation Carthage, on 21 March 1945, was a British World War II air raid on Copenhagen, Denmark, which incurred significant collateral damage. The target of the raid was the Shellhus, used as Gestapo headquarters in the city centre. It was used for the storage of dossiers and the torture of Danish citizens during interrogations.
The Danish Resistance had long asked the British to conduct a raid against this site. As a result, the building was destroyed, 18 prisoners were freed, and anti-resistance Nazi activities were disrupted. But, part of the raid was mistakenly directed against a nearby boarding school it resulted in a total of 125 civilian deaths (including 86 schoolchildren and 18 adults at the school). A similar raid against the Gestapo headquarters in Aarhus, on 31 October 1944, had been successful.
The raid was to be carried out by de Havilland Mosquito fast-bomber aircraft, and thus it was that on the morning of 21 March, these aircraft took of in three waves of six along with two Mosquitoes that were to film the raid.
The force left RAF Fersfield in the morning and it reached Copenhagen after 11:00. The raid was carried out at rooftop level. In the course of the initial attack, a Mosquito hit a lamp post, damaging its wing, and the plane crashed into the Jeanne d’Arc School, about 1.5 km (0.93 mi) from the target. Several bombers in the second and third wave attacked the burning school, mistaking it for their target.
In all, eighty-six children and thirteen adults, mostly nuns, were killed. Separately, over fifty Gestapo members were killed in the attack on the headquarters, along with dozens of Danish workers and several prisoners of the Gestapo. Memorials now stand to the children killed as well as the Danish resistance members.
All fourteen prisoners in the Southern wing of the Shell House survived as this part of the building was not bombed.
The three remaining prisoners were under interrogation on the 5th floor, one of whom died. 18 out of 26 prisoners survived the bomb raid. A total of 133 Danes died during and after the raid. Telegrams from Copenhagen modstandsbevægelse (Resistance Movement) thanked the RAF for the successful raid, and with the destruction of the Gestapo archives the threat against its members was neutralised..
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RG 263 Detailed Report, Heinrich Mueller
Records of the Directorate of Operations
Timothy Naftali, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia
Norman J.W. Goda, Ohio University
Richard Breitman, American University
Robert Wolfe, National Archives (ret.)
The CIA file on Heinrich Mueller, chief of Hitler's Gestapo and a major Nazi war criminal, sheds important new light on U.S. and international efforts to find Mueller after his disappearance in May 1945. Though inconclusive on Mueller's ultimate fate, the file is very clear on one point. The Central Intelligence Agency and its predecessors did not know Mueller's whereabouts at any point after the war. In other words, the CIA was never in contact with Gestapo Mueller. To assist other scholars, the press, and the general public in making sense of this new information about the CIA's investigation of this controversial war criminal, the authors have drawn on other documents at the National Archives for this report.
Mueller and the Nazi Regime
Mueller was born in Munich on April 28, 1900. After serving as a pilot in World War I, he joined the police in Munich, soon acquiring a reputation as a skilled anti-communist investigator who did not feel bound by legal norms of police investigation. As such, he would draw the attention of Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich, leaders of Hitler's SS. Following Hitler's rise to power in 1933, Himmler and Heydrich consolidated German regional police units while creating a national political police, the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo). Mueller entered the SS in 1934 and quickly rose through the ranks of that organization as a police official. In September 1939, when the Gestapo and other police organizations were consolidated into the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA), Mueller was made the Chief of RSHA Amt IV -- the Gestapo.
As Gestapo chief, Mueller oversaw the implementation of Hitler's policies against Jews and other groups deemed a threat to the state. The notorious Adolf Eichmann, who headed the Gestapo's Office of Resettlement and then its Office of Jewish Affairs, was Mueller's immediate subordinate. Once World War II began, Mueller and Eichmann planned key components in the deportation and then extermination of Europe's Jews.
Mueller was involved in other criminal affairs as well. He helped plan the phony Polish attack on Gleiwitz radio station in 1939 (used to justify Germany's attack on Poland). He signed the "Bullet Order" of March 1944 (authorizing the shooting of escaped prisoners of war) and authorized the torture of officers who had conspired to kill Hitler in July 1944. Mueller's zeal in countering the 20 July plot earned him the rare military decoration of the Knight's Cross to the War Service Cross with Swords in October 1944.
Mueller also managed security and counterespionage operations. His most spectacular counterespionage success was the development of a double-cross network that fed disinformation to the Soviet intelligence services between 1942 and 1945. Located in Berlin and a few other Western European capitals, this network had been extremely successful in sending sensitive political and military information to Moscow. Mueller's Gestapo team was able to capture a number of these agents and "turn" them. Codenamed Rote Kapelle (Red Orchestra), this Gestapo operation was among the greatest Soviet intelligence setbacks of the war.
Mueller and the End of the War
In the war's final year, it seems that Heinrich Mueller stubbornly believed in a Nazi victory. He told one of his top counterespionage case officers in December 1944 that the Ardennes offensive (known in the U.S. as the Battle of the Bulge) would result in the recapture of Paris. 1 Mueller also reportedly redoubled efforts to drive a wedge between the Soviets and the Western allies by using his double agents.
Not everyone was convinced of his sincerity. There were rumors among German intelligence officers that Mueller had himself been turned by the Soviets. Walter Schellenberg, chief of the RSHA's Foreign Intelligence Branch (Amt VI) and a bitter rival of Mueller, was the source of some of this speculation. When interrogated by OSS in 1945, Schellenberg claimed that Mueller had been in friendly radio contact with the Soviets, and Schellenberg's postwar memoirs contain verbatim exhortations from 1943 by Mueller on Stalin's superiority to Hitler as a leader. 2 SS-men close to Mueller considered such rumors unfounded and illogical. Mueller's immediate superior Ernst Kaltenbrunner (Chief of the RSHA), later insisted under Allied interrogation that Mueller could never have embraced the Soviets. Similarly, Heinz Pannwitz, Mueller's Gestapo subordinate who ran Rote Kapelle, categorized the notion that Mueller had turned as "absolutely absurd" in a 1959 CIA interrogation. 3
The First Search for Gestapo Mueller
Months before the fall of Berlin, Anglo-American counterespionage officers began their postwar planning. Under the combined leadership of British MI 5 and MI 6 and the X-2 (counterespionage) branch of the American Office of Strategic Services, the SHAEF G-2 Counter Intelligence (CI) War Room began operating in February 1945. Using Allied lists of Nazi intelligence officers, the War Room supervised the hunt for the remnants of Germany's military and police intelligence services. Initially, the chief concern of the officers of the CI War Room was that Nazi intelligence units would survive the war and, financed with looted assets, launch paramilitary operations in the Bavarian Alps. Intelligence reaching the War Room in the last months of the war did not mention Mueller as a possible leader of postwar Nazi operations, but given his command of the Gestapo, Mueller remained an important man to capture.
On May 27, 1945 the Counter Intelligence War Room issued a statement about its priority targets for interrogations in what it called the German intelligence service. At the top of the list were Nazi intelligence officials involved in foreign intelligence (RSHA Amt VI). Next in priority were security police and SD units in occupied countries. Gestapo officials came farther down the target list. A War Room instruction to interrogators of captured RSHA officers listed the top missing persons: interrogators were to ask: "Where are: SCHELLENBERG, OHLENDORF, MUELLER, STEIMLE, SANDBERGER?" 4 (All but Mueller were subsequently located and interrogated.) A War Room fortnightly report covering the period ending June 18, 1945 stated that no leading officials of the Gestapo had yet been arrested, and "it seems clear from most reports that Mueller remained in Berlin after the collapse." 5 His fate was contrasted with that of other Gestapo personalities who fled south. A separate OSS X-2 (counterintelligence) report at the end of the month repeated that no highranking Gestapo officials had yet been captured and that Mueller had remained in Berlin. 6
A War Room monthly summary in late July 1945 reported that Amt VI officials had largely surrendered, while most Amt IV (Gestapo) officials remained at large. Mueller's fate was still unknown: "Some of our evidence, though it is by no means conclusive, suggests that Mueller himself may have remained in Berlin until the last [while]&hellip the greater part of Amt IV collected itself at Hof, near Munich, and at Salzburg and Innsbruck. 7 A War Room intelligence arrest target list, dated August 21, commented about 'H. Mueller, head of the Gestapo': "Last reported Berlin, Apr. 1945." 8 A later revision to the arrest target list reported the arrest of several Gestapo officials, including Walter Huppenkothen who was part of the Red Orchestra team. But not Heinrich Mueller. 9
Ultimately the Allies would find many Heinrich Muellers in occupied Germany and Austria, but not the right one. Heinrich Mueller is a very common German name. By the end of 1945, American and British occupation forces had gathered information on numerous Heinrich Muellers, all of whom had different birth dates, physical characteristics and job histories. Documentation on some of them is included-one might say mistakenly jumbled together-in the "Gestapo" Mueller Army IRR file, which the National Archives released in 2000. Part of the problem for U.S. record-keepers stemmed from the fact that some of these Muellers, including Gestapo Mueller, did not appear to have middle names. An additional source of confusion was that there were two different SS-Generals named Heinrich Mueller. In at least one instance, an index card purporting to collate information on Gestapo Mueller, which was prepared by an American official after the war, actually contains two different birth dates, as well as data about a third man of the same name. A Heinrich Mueller was held briefly at the Altenstadt civilian internment camp in 1945. 10 Another killed himself along with his wife and his children in April 1946. 11
Throughout this period the Counter Intelligence War Room functioned as the ULTRA/top secret collecting point for information about the locations of the Allies' top intelligence targets. Although the occupation forces had encountered quite a few men named Heinrich Mueller, the War Room's verdict was unambiguous: Gestapo Muller had not been found.
In the initial period after the Nazi surrender U.S. counterintelligence attempted to track down all leads to Mueller. Information reached U.S. army intelligence that Gestapo Mueller had taken the assumed name Schwartz or Schwatzer and had gone south from Berlin with another Gestapo official Christian A. Scholz. But no traces of either man were ever found. 12 In 1947, British and American authorities twice searched the home of Gestapo Mueller's mistress Anna Schmid for clues, but found nothing suggesting that Mueller was still alive. With the onset of the Cold War and the shift of resources to the Soviet target, the assumption took hold in U.S. intelligence that Gestapo Mueller was dead. 13
The West German Investigation
The dramatic Israeli abduction of Mueller's subordinate Adolf Eichmann from Argentina in May 1960 created new interest in Nazi war criminals and particularly in Mueller. Imaginative theories that Mueller (along with Eichmann) had escaped Berlin and were still alive had been in the press for some time, as well as in the best selling memoir by Wilhelm Hoettl, himself a former SS officer. 14 Eichmann himself helped to fan speculation about in Mueller, when during his Jerusalem trial, he voiced his belief that Mueller survived the war. Already in July 1960, the West German office in charge of the prosecution of war criminals [Zentralle Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen] charged local police authorities in Bavaria (Mueller's family still lived in Munich) and Berlin to investigate. The West Germans were skeptical that Mueller was working for the Soviets, but did think it possible that Mueller was corresponding from somewhere with his family or possibly with his former secretary Barbara Hellmuth. All of these West German citizens were closely watched, and in May 1961 the Bavarian police asked the U.S. occupation forces to put Mueller's relatives and Hellmuth under surveillance. West German police also searched the Berlin home of Anna Schmid, Mueller's former mistress, and spoke with her. Schmid told the West German investigators that she had not seen Mueller since 24 April 1945, when he gave her a vial of poison and then disappeared. Her own efforts to find him in the subsequent days and weeks had been fruitless. 15
According to various witnesses interviewed by the West German police in 1961, the last time Mueller was seen alive was the evening of May 1, 1945, the day after Hitler's suicide. Several eyewitnesses placed Mueller at Hitler's Chancellery building that evening while recounting his refusal to leave with the breakout group that night. Hans Baur, Hitler's pilot and an old friend of Mueller's, recounts Mueller as saying, "We know the Russian methods exactly. I haven't the faintest intention of &hellip being taken prisoner by the Russians." Another claimed that Mueller refused to leave with the rest of Hitler's entourage, and was overheard saying "the regime has fallen and&hellipI fall also." He was last seen in the company of his radio specialist Christian A. Scholz. And while the bodies of others that remained that night were recovered and identified, no one in the final group witnessed the death of Mueller or Scholz. 16
West German authorities pursued three major leads in an effort to confirm Mueller's death and burial in Berlin in 1945. First, there was the testimony of Fritz Leopold, a Berlin morgue official who had reported in December 1945 that Mueller's body was moved (along with many others) from the RSHA headquarters at Prinz Albrecht Strasse (2000 feet from the Chancellery) for reburial in a local municipal cemetery on Lilienthalstrasse (Berlin-Neukoelln) in the Western half of the city. Leopold was later deemed an unreliable source, but the burial was officially registered with the Berlin authorities and a headstone would be placed at Mueller's "grave" which read, "Our loving father Heinrich Mueller - Born 28 April 1900 - Died in Berlin May 1945." A second story came from Mueller's ex-subordinate Heinz Pannwitz, who had been captured by the Soviets and returned to West Germany in 1957, whereupon he told the German Secret Service [Bundesnachrichtendienst - BND] that his Soviet interrogators revealed to him that "your Chief [Mueller] is dead." The body, they said, had been found in a subway shaft a few blocks from the Chancellery with a bullet through the head and with its identity documents intact. 17
The final story came from Walter Lueders, a former member of the German Volkssturm (civilian fighters) who maintained that he had headed a burial detail in the summer of 1945. Of the hundreds of bodies buried by the detail, only one, said Lueders, wore an SS-General's uniform, and it was found in the garden of the Reich Chancellery with a large wound in the back. Though the body had no medals or decorations, Lueders recalled with certainty that the identity papers were those of Gestapo Mueller. It was moved to the old Jewish Cemetery on Grosse Hamburgerstasse in the Soviet Sector, where it was placed in one of three mass graves. In fact, in 1955 the German Armed Forces Information Office (Wehrmachtsauskunftsstelle - WASt) inquired with district authorities in East Berlin and received confirmation that Gestapo Mueller was buried at the Grosse-Hamburgerstrasse cemetery in 1945. Since the grave was a mass grave, however, there was no actual plot.
The Fritz Leopold story was checked first, and in September 1963, the Mueller "grave" at the Lilienthalstrasse cemetery in West Berlin was exhumed. Investigation revealed that in fact, the grave contained the remains of three different people, none of whom were Mueller. The skull, moreover, belonged to a man ten years younger than Mueller would have been in 1945. The German authorities had no means by which to verify either Pannwitz's or Lueders' story. Pannwitz's information had come from Moscow, and there was no official liaison between Soviet intelligence and the West Germans on the Mueller case. Lueders's story could not be checked since Grosse Hamburgerstrasse was on the other side of the two-year old Berlin Wall. Adding to the confusion was the mystery of Mueller's effects. WASt, according to its own records, returned to Mueller's family in 1958 not only the Gestapo Chief's papers, some of which Lueders claimed to have found on the body, but also Mueller's decorations, which neither Leopold not Lueders claimed to have found. These items were never checked for authenticity. 18
The CIA investigation
The CIA started its involvement in the hunt for Mueller at roughly the same time as the German search, albeit from a different source base. The January 1961 defection and interrogation of a Polish intelligence officer brought Western counterintelligence tips that led to several Soviet and Polish agents active in the West, including George Blake, a mole in the British MI6, Harry Houghton, a clerk in the British navy, and Heinz Felfe, a highlevel West German intelligence officer. The defector surely was Lt. Col. Michal Goleniewski [TN], the Deputy Chief of Polish Military Counter Intelligence until 1958, who had also operated as a mole for the KGB in the Polish service. In recounting his work as an interrogator of captured German officials in Poland from 1948 to 1952, Goleniewski revealed information about the fate of some Nazi intelligence officials, including Gestapo Mueller. Goleniewski had not actually met Mueller. However, he had heard from his Soviet supervisors that sometime between 1950 and 1952 the Soviets had picked up Mueller and taken him to Moscow. 19 There was little with which to evaluate this claim, and some reason to be skeptical of this hearsay. Pannwitz, after all, had recently dismissed as "nonsense" to CIA interrogators the idea that Mueller worked for the Soviets while claiming that his own Soviet interrogators repeatedly said that Mueller was dead. 20
The CIA tried to track down the men Goleniewski named as having worked with Mueller in Moscow. The CIA determined that Jakob Loellgen, the former Gestapo chief of Danzig, was alive and resided in West Germany. In 1945 the Soviets had captured Loellgen but then released him, whereupon he returned to West Germany, working as a local police chief and as a private investigator. The CIA turned this information over to the Germans and the BND located Loellgen in 1961.
The Germans dropped the ball. Although the BDN apparently began assembling material for his arrest, Loellgen was never arrested. The CIA never quite figured out what had happened. The BND seemed to be preoccupied throughout 1961 with another of Goleniewski's leads, Heinz Felfe. Felfe was a highlevel BND officer, who had already provided thousands of West German secrets including names of agents, cover names, addresses, and documents, to Moscow. In the midst of the Felfe scandal, West German investigation of Loellgen just fell between the cracks. 21
The CIA did collect some information on its own that bore on the "Mueller in Moscow" thesis. In June 1961, another source was asked to assess Goleniewski's information on Soviet contacts with former Nazis. The source, who appears to have been a KGB officer, reported having read a "Mueller file," in which Mueller is described as having been captured by Soviet intelligence at the end of World War II. The identity of this source is not given in the CIA file, but is likely Petr Deriabin [TN]. (Deriabin had worked on counterintelligence matters in the Austro-German department of the First Chief Directorate of the KGB.) The defector wrote in a 1971 memorandum for the record that in 1952 he had heard from his own superiors that Moscow had recruited Mueller and that he himself had read excerpts from an interrogation. He even included the names of four Soviet officers who had once debriefed Mueller in 1951. 22
Despite the partial corroboration of the information from Goleniewski, the CIA appears to have relied on the West Germans to take the lead in the investigation of Mueller's whereabouts and did little follow-up in the 1960s. The remainder of the decade saw various news reports that Mueller had escaped to various points in the West (Argentina, Cuba), as well as tragicomic episodes. In 1967, a false sighting of Mueller in Panama led to the arrest there of one Francis Keith, who was released once fingerprints revealed he was not Mueller. Later the same year, two Israeli operatives were caught by West German police in an attempted break-in at the Munich apartment of Mueller's wife. Reams of newspaper copy were produced by such episodes, but there was only limited CIA interest.
Yet one particular report did catch CIA's attention. In the aftermath of the Eichmann trial, the West German weekly Stern ran two articles by the journalist Peter Staehle that appeared in January and August 1964. Staehle said that after having followed a path after the war that included the Soviet Union, Romania, Turkey, and South Africa, Mueller became a senior police official in Albania before fleeing for South America. 23 From the very start, CIA suspected that Staehle's articles were a "plant" - part of a "clever bit of [disinformation] work" to mislead the public, as well as intelligence agencies. 24 The CIA checked - and disproved Staehle's claim that Mueller was in fact an Albanian police official named Abedin Bekir Nakoschiri. 25 The BND and CIA also discovered that Staehle had failed to get his articles printed in the more respected weekly Die Zeit thanks to a suspect source base about which Staehle had reportedly lied. 26
In May 1970 a Czech defector, very likely Ladislas Bittman [TN], a disinformation specialist himself, weighed in. 27 Bittman said that the Stern article was planted from Prague in order to neutralize rumors that Mueller might in fact be in Czechoslovakia. Bittman added for good measure that within Czech intelligence circles, it was common knowledge that the KGB had used Nazi war criminals for intelligence purposes and that key sections of Nazi archives had also been captured by the Soviets for use in "operational aims." 28
These comments caught the eye of the CIA's Counter-Intelligence (CI) Staff, headed by the legendary James Angleton. If Mueller really had been in the USSR or elsewhere in Eastern Europe, and if he had taken RSHA central files with him (many of which had indeed vanished after the war), then numerous leading West Germans (presumably on the political right) could still be compromised. It was crucial to discover what had happened, not necessarily to Mueller, who well might have been dead in any case, but to the files. Angleton also had a special interest in Soviet disinformation. The CI Staff undertook a through-going inquiry of Mueller starting in late 1970, and it is likely that this inquiry resulted in Mueller's name file (along with the above-mentioned material on the West German search) being assembled by CIA at all. It certainly resulted in a forty-page Counter Intelligence Brief - "The Hunt for 'Gestapo' Mueller" - which was circulated as an internal report of the Directorate of Plans in December 1971. A memo in the file dated 9 December 1971 explaining the purpose of the report states that:
Our principal original objective in preparing the attached study of the MUELLER case was to produce a training aid illustrating the vagaries and pitfalls of protracted investigations. In the past, MUELLER had been viewed mainly as a missing war criminal. As the material was collected, however, we became aware of another important possibility: that MUELLER had defected to World War II Soviet counterintelligence (SMERSH) and had taken with him a large assortment of files. (The central files of the German National Security Service (RSHA), of which Mueller was de facto chief&hellipin the last weeks of the war, were never recovered by the Western Allies&hellip.) If SMERSH actually seized MUELLER and the best part of the RSHA records, Soviet capabilities to control important Germans and some other Europeans would far exceed those heretofore attributed to them." 29
In the process of putting together the report, the CI staff undertook some new inquiries of its own. A re-reading of a 1963 article in the German weekly Der Spiegel, which discussed the exhumation of Mueller's West Berlin "grave" that year, revealed that a mysterious woman in Berlin unrelated to Mueller had purchased the headstone. 30 Perhaps this purchase too was part of a disinformation campaign designed to hide the fact that Mueller was used by the Soviets after the war. 31 In December 1970 the West Germans allowed CIA to examine the exhumation records for the identity of the mysterious woman who had purchased the Mueller tombstone, albeit with no results. CI also hoped that the West German government would locate and interview Walter Lueders (who had found the body buried in the Grosse-Hamburgerstrasse cemetery) and verify, if they could, the authenticity of the personal effects returned to Mueller's family in 1957. 32 German memoirs from the 1950s with cryptic clues on Mueller were reread. 33 CI also asked Soviet defector Peter Deriabin to write a memorandum for the file in November 1971.
The CI team found fault with how Goleniewski's leads had been handled in 1961 and wanted to return to that trail. Loellgen, wrote one CI investigator, "must have an interesting tale to tell about what happened to Heinrich Mueller and how the [Soviet] operation to penetrate the Nazi stay-behind operation fared" 34 "How do we get Loellgen to talk?" asked another. "Have we [an] interviewer that might 'accidentally' look [him] up?" But reasons for skepticism remained. "It seems to me," the same agent said, "that [Soviet intelligence] would never have let LOELLGEN go back to the West if in fact they had MUELLER. The scandal of sheltering this number one war criminal would have been too risky." 35 In any event, Loellgen was not questioned.
The 40-page CI report ended on a note of skepticism. "No one appears to have tried very hard," it said,
to find MUELLER immediately after the war while the trail was still hot, either in the West or the East&hellip.The presumption is that Allied officials searching for MUELLER soon stumbled over the&hellipholdings of his effects and the&hellipburial record and considered these sufficient proof that he was dead&hellip.There is little room for doubt, however, that the Soviet and Czech services circulated rumors to the effect that MUELLER had escaped to the West. These rumor were apparently floated to offset the charges that the Soviets had sheltered the criminal&hellip.There are strong indications but no proof that MUELLER collaborated with [the Soviets]. There are also strong indications but no proof that MUELLER died [in Berlin]&hellip.One thing appears certain. MUELLER and SCHOLZ had some special reason for entering the Berlin death trap and remaining behind in the Chancellery. If their object was to carry out a memorable and convincing suicide, they really bungled the job.
The CI Staff requested a deeper CIA investigation to find proof that would confirm or disprove these competing theories. Yet it appears that the CI Staff's request for a full-fledged investigation of the Mueller matter was not accepted. 36 The Mueller file itself ends in December 1971 with the circulation of the CI Staff report.
The Integrity of the CIA File
The heart of the file comprises documentary support for all the key judgments in the 1971 CI Staff report "The Hunt for Gestapo Mueller." Whatever confidence one can have in the integrity of the file's declassified contents thus hinges on judgments regarding the CI Staff's objectives in assembling and writing its report. In 1971 the United States was not being accused of having harbored Gestapo Mueller. Instead it seems that the CI Staff was prompted to investigate the Mueller case both as a possible example of Soviet deception and as a check on the reliability of key CIA defectors and West German informants. If the CIA had evidence that Mueller had been contacted by the West and not the Soviets, then the CI Staff's handling of theses defector cases that most likely involved Bittman, Deriabin, and Goleniewski makes no sense. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the CIA was riddled with doubt over the reliability of its stable of Soviet defectors. There were fears that Moscow had sent agents to the West to mislead the Allies about Soviet capabilities and intentions. It was in the interest of the CI Staff in particular and the CIA in general to determine whether high profile defectors like Bittman, Deriabin and Goleniewski were telling the truth about Mueller. Moreover, in assembling materials for its report, the CI Staff had no reason to believe that these documents would eventually be declassified. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that the CI Staff report, and by extension the CIA Mueller name file, represents a compilation of the best information on Gestapo Mueller available to CIA at that time.
More information about Mueller's fate might still emerge from still secret files of the former Soviet Union. The CIA file, by itself, does not permit definitive conclusions. Taking into account the currently available records of the War Room as well as other documents in the National Archives, the authors of this report conclude that Mueller most likely died in Berlin in early May 1945.
Notes of Sources Used Not from Mueller's Name File
- Excerpts from interrogation of Heinz Pannwitz, cited in CIA, Directorate of Plans, "The Hunt for 'Gestapo Mueller,'" a Counterintelligence Brief issued in December 1971, CIA Name File, Heinrich Mueller, (hereafter Mueller File), vol. 2. The origins of this brief are explained below.
- Walter Schellenberg, The Labyrinth, trans. Louis Hagen (New York: Harper Brothers, 1956 ), pp. 319-20. Excerpts from the debriefing are in memo 201-742896 of 10 February 1965, Mueller file, vol. 1.
- For Kaltenbrunner's interrogation, see the excerpts in memo 201-742896 of 10 February 1965, Mueller file, vol. 1. On Pannwitz, see [CIA/EUR] to Chief, EE and Chief SR, [A]-44835, 24 September 1959, Mueller file, vol. 1. Pannwitz's name is redacted in this document but it is clear who he is from other evidence in the file.
- War Room Publication, G. I. S. Priorities for Interrogation, 27 May 1945, NA RG 226, Entry 119A, Box 22, Folder 621. War Room Publication, Tactical Interrogation of Members of the RSHA, 21 May 1945, NA RG 226, E119A, B 22, F 621.
- W. R. C.3 Fortnightly Report for the period ending 18th June, 1945, NA RG 226, E 119A, B 25, F 639.
- Progress Report, X-2 Branch, 1 June-30 June 1945, attached to Saint (London) to Saint, Stockholm, 13 July 1945, NA RG 226, Entry 125A, B 7, F 76.
- War Room Monthly Summary No. 4, 23 July 1945, NA RG 226, E 119A, B 24, F 629.
- NA RG 226, Entry 119A, B 22, F 621.
- Arrest Target List-Revision Note, 1 November 1945, NA RG 226, E 122, B 1, tab 6.
- Two consecutive index cards, probably prepared in 1946, are reproduced in Gestapo Mueller's IRR File and give two birth dates: the correct date and 7 June 1896. Card #2 includes the misinformation that Heinrich Mueller was being detained at Civilian Internment Enclosure #10, Altenstadt. It is quite possible that a Heinrich Mueller was there, but neither of those two whose birth dates were listed. U.S. Army did not list any further dealings with the Altenstadt Mueller. NA RG 319, IRR File Mueller, File XE 23 55 39.
- See note by the Intelligence Bureau, C.C. G. (British Element), Bad Oeynhausen to G-2 (CI), USFET, 23 May 1946. There is also a reference to this information in "Subject: Mueller, Heinrich,"5 May 1961, the same U.S. Army consolidated report that lists Mueller as having been in Altenstadt in December 1945. NA RG 319, IRR File Mueller, XE 23 55 39. This report was easily dismissed because Gestapo Mueller's wife and children were still alive.
- See Cards photocopied in the U.S. Army's Mueller File. NA RG 319, IRR File Mueller, XE 23 55 39.
- See "The Hunt for 'Gestapo Mueller,'" p. 12.
- The 1950 book, Die geheime Front: Organisation, Personen und Aktionen der deutschen Geheimdienstes was published under the pseudonym Walter Hagen and translated into numerous languages including English. It argued that Mueller had escaped through a secret passageway known only to him and Eichmann.
- On the paragraph above see Landeskriminalamt Baden-W&#uumlrttemberg, Sonderkommission Zentrale Stelle, Tgb. Nr. SK. ZSt. III/I-79/60, 29 July 1960 to Barnett at the U.S. Consulate, IRR, XE 23 55 39 Landeskriminalamt Baden-W&#uumlrtemmberg Sonderkommission Zentrale Stelle, SK ZSt. I/1-79/60 to Zentrale Stelle Ludwigsburg, 27 February 1961, ibid. The U.S. Army helped for ninety days beginning in May 1961 with the surveillance of Mueller's father and children, but this surveillance yielded no results.
- The witnesses, questioned in connection with a West German police investigation in 1961, are quoted in "The Hunt for 'Gestapo Mueller,'" pp. 16, 18.
- [CIA/EUR] to Chief, EE and Chief SR, [A]-44835, 24 September 1959, Mueller file, vol. 1.
- On the details above, see the lengthy German police reports of 1960 and 1961 submitted to U.S. Army Counter Intelligence and contained in Mueller's IRR file, NA RG 319, IRR File Mueller, XE 23 55 39. Fainter copies of these reports were made available by the Army to the CIA in 1970 and are included in the CIA Mueller File, vol. 2 See also "The Hunt for 'Gestapo Mueller,'" pp.19-26, 32-3, 34-37. On the effects, see "The Hunt for 'Gestapo Mueller'", p. 33.
- Memo [A]-744, 10 May 1961, Mueller file, vol. 2 Memo of 17 March 1961, Mueller File, vol. 2. The defector's name is redacted.
- To: Chief, EE, Chief SR, A[Excised] LCIMPROVE/[Excised]/[Excised] /Operations Further [Excised] Reports on Rote Kapelle Personalities, 24 September 1959, Mueller File, Vol. 1. The informant is revealed by name as Pannwitz in "The Hunt for 'Gestapo Mueller,'" pp. 14-16, Mueller File, Volume 2.
- On Felfe, see Mary Ellen Reese, General Reinhard Gehlen: The CIA Connection (Fairfax, Va.: George Mason University Press, 1990), pp. 143-72. On Loellgen's non-arrest, see Review of File: Jakob LOELLGEN, 9 February 1971, Mueller File, vol. 2.
- See CIA/Eur, June 23, 1961 in Mueller file , vol. 1. Regarding the defector's comments in 1971 see "The Hunt for 'Gestapo Mueller,'" pp. 25, 25a and the Memorandum for the Record of 18 November 1971 in Mueller file, vol. 1. This defector had never seen Mueller himself.
- "Gestapo-M&#uumlller lebt in Albanien," Stern, January 1964 "Die Spur f&#uumlhrt nach S&#uumldamerika," Stern, 16 August 1964. The latter article in full is xeroxed in Mueller file, vol. 1.
- On the possibility of disinformation, see [CIA/EUR] dispatch [A] - 3564 CS, 31 January 1964.
- Memo [A]-13564, 31 January 1964, Mueller file, vol. 1.
- [CIA/EUR] to Chief, EE, [A]-63831, 5 February 1964.
- Staff memorandum December 9, 1970, Mueller File, Volume 1. This is a debriefing of a defector with inside knowledge of Czech intelligence and KGB active measures. The 1971 CI Staff history further identifies this source as an apparently reliable Czechoslovak defector. See "The Hunt for 'Gestapo Mueller,'" p. 38. The information which this defector provided and the timing of this defection strongly suggests that this source was Ladislas Bittman.[TN]
- Memo [A]-19267, 9 December 1970, Mueller file, vol. 1.
- The 9 December 1971 memo is in Mueller file, vol. 2.
- "Gestapo-M&#uumlller - Kein Nazi," Der Spiegel, 16 October 1963, copy in Mueller file.
- Chief, WOMUSE, via Chief, EUR, to [CIA/EUR], [CIA/EUR] 22899, 7 October 1970, Mueller file, vol. 1.
- Memo [CIA/EUR] 22984, 15 December 1970, Mueller file, vol 1.
- See the xeroxed copies of Schellenberg, The Labyrinth, and Hagen, Die geheime Front, dated December 1970 in Mueller file, vol. 1.
- Memorandum for the Record, 10 February 1971, "The Man who probably knows what became of Heinrich (Gestapo) Mueller," Mueller File, vol. 2.
- "How do we get LOELLGEN to talk?" 10 February 1971, Mueller file, vol 2.
- As a part of the CI Staff's investigation, the CIA requested files from the U.S. Army on some of Mueller's associates. Those documents were released to NARA, but are largely illegible.
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Propaganda and the Nazi rise to power
What happened in May
On 10 May 1933, university students supported by the Nazi Party instigated book burnings of blacklisted authors across Germany.
On 1 May 1935, the German government issued a ban on all organisations of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Image courtesy of USHMM.
On 10 May 1940, German forces invaded the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Luxembourg.
On 29 May 1942, the German authorities in France passed a law requiring Jews to wear the Star of David.
On 16 May 1944, inmates of the Gypsy camp in Auschwitz resisted the SS guards attempting to liquidate the camp.