Ernst Kaltenbrunner
(3 of 3)

July 16, 1945: Since May, the Allies have been collecting Nazis and tossing the high-ranking ones into a former hotel in Mondorf, Luxembourg, affectionately referred to as "Ashcan." On this day, Ashcan's commander, Colonel Burton C. Andrus, takes representatives of the world's Press on a tour of the facility to squash rumors that the prisoners are living the high-life. "We stand for no mollycoddling here," Andrus proclaims. "We have certain rules and the rules are obeyed.. ..they roll their own cigarettes." (Tusa)

July 19, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: From the minutes of the Conference Session:

Professor Gros: ...the Germans will take for a precedent what is still worse for our object--the report of James Brown Scott and Robert Lansing to show that we have no legal basis to say that launching a war of aggression shows criminal responsibility of the people who launched that war. But, if you define their crimes according to their practical results, if you show that the Germans have been breaking treaties and as a result of that have annexed populations, run concentration camps, and violated international law by criminal acts against people, what you will condemn are those acts which in fact are criminal in all legislation, and you will condemn them for having directed those acts...

July 31, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel for the Prosecution at Nuremberg:

Much gossip is abroad about friction between the US, Great Britain, France and Russia over these trials. The truth is there is no trouble between US, Britain and France, but the Russians are just holding up the whole proceeding. They are impossible, in my opinion. I do not know the details but I do know they are not cooperative on this problem so far. I believe they want to put on another Russian farce for a trial. If that happens, I go home, and promptly! The English appointed their chief counsel 21 days after the US appointed Jackson (who was the first to be appointed). The French followed soon after. Thus far no one has been appointed for Russia. Our people meet with certain Russian representatives but nothing happens. When representatives of the United Nations went to Nuremberg to look it over as a possible site for the trial only the Russians failed to make the trip.

August 2, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: During this days Four Power conference session:

Justice Jackson: I had thought we would be in a rather awkward position if we were bound to hold our prisoners subject to production at this Tribunal for a year if for any reason the Tribunal should not be organized to proceed. None of the signatories has appointed its Tribunal members yet. Some of the signatories have not appointed their prosecutors. If there should be any failure to organize--and I may say it requires all four of the members of the Tribunal to constitute a quorum and at least a majority of the prosecutors--the delay would be very serious. What position would we be in if, through any of the things that sometimes happen with political bodies, particularly I speak with reference to things which happen in my country, to delay matters, there might be great delay in naming prosecutors or judges? We want to set up something here that we are quite sure can go ahead, for we all agree that not haste necessarily but expedition in this matter is necessary. That is my point...

August 12, 1945: Colonel Andrus and his 15 Ashcan prisoners are loaded onto a US C-47 transport plane bound for Nuremberg. As they fly above Germany, Goering continually points out various geographical features below, such as the Rhine, telling Ribbentrop to take one last look as he is unlikely to ever get the opportunity again. Streicher becomes air-sick. (Tusa)

August 25, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: Representatives of the Big Four (Jackson, Fyfe, Gros, and Niktchenko), agree on a list of 22 defendants, 21 of which are in custody. The 22nd, Martin Bormann, is presumed to be in Soviet custody, but Niktchenko cannot confirm it. The list is scheduled to be released to the press on August 28. (Conot)

August 28, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: Just in time to delay the release of the names of the final 22, Niktchenko informs the other three Allied representatives that, unfortunately, Bormann is not in Soviet custody. However, he announces that the valiant Red Army has captured two vile Nazis, Erich Raeder, and Hans Fritzsche, and offers them up for trial. Though neither man was on anyone's list of possible major defendants, it emerges that their inclusion has become a matter of Soviet pride; Raeder and Fritzsche being the only two ranking Nazis unlucky enough to have been caught in the grasp of the advancing Russian bear. (Conot)

August 29, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: With the additions of Raeder and Fritzsche, the final list of 24 defendants is released to the press. Bormann, though not in custody (or even alive), is still listed. (Conot, Taylor)

August 29, 1945: The Manchester Guardian reacts to the release of the list of defendants:

Grave precedents are being set. For the first time the leaders of a state are being tried for starting a war and breaking treaties. We may expect after this that at the end of any future war the victors--whether they have justice on their side or not, as this time we firmly believe we have--will try the vanquished.

August 30, 1945: The Glasgow Herald reacts to the release of the list of defendants:

Scanning this list, one cannot but be struck by the completeness of the Nazi catastrophe. Of all these men, who but a year ago enjoyed wide influence or supreme power, not one could find a refuge in a continent united in hate against them.

September 20, 1945: From the interrogation report of Gottlob Berger, Chief of the head office of the SS:

Q: Assuming, only for the purposes of this discussion, that these atrocities that we hear about are true, who do you think is primarily responsible?

A: The first one, the commandant; the second one, Glucks; because he was practically responsible for all the interior direction of the camps. If one wants to be exact, one would have to find out how the information service between the camp commandant and Glucks actually operated. I want to give you the following example: 'during the night of the 22d and 23rd of April, I was sent to Munich by plane. As I entered the city, I met a group of perhaps 120 men dressed in the suits of the concentration camps. These people made a very miserable impression on me. I asked the guard who was with them, "What about these men?" He told me that these men were marching by foot to the Alps. Firstly, I sent him back to Dachau. Then I wrote a letter to the commandant to send no more people by foot to any place but, whenever the Allies advanced any further, to give over the camp completely. I did that on my own responsibility and I told him that I came straight from Berlin and that I can be found in my service post in Munich. The commandant or his deputy telephoned at about 12 o'clock and told me that he had received this order from Kaltenbrunner after he had been asked by the Gauleiter of Munich, the Reichskommissar...

September 17, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:

Yesterday, Jackson told the press that the US would be ready to start the trial on November 1. By the way, the Russian representative (Niktchenko) had been suddenly withdrawn. No explanations - mere notice that he will no longer represent Russia in this matter. After weeks of negotiating, weeks of work with him as chief counsel for Russia, he simply goes home and does not come back. These Russians are impossible. What effect this will have on the trial or the trial; date no one knows, but you can imagine the confusion that may arise out of it.

October 19, 1945: British Major Airey Neave presents each defendant in turn with a copy of the indictment. Gilbert, the Nuremberg psychologist, asks the accused to write a few words on the documents margin indicating their attitude toward the development. Kaltenbrunner: "I do not consider myself guilty of any war crimes. I only did my duty in the service of state security, and I refuse to be judged as a substitute for Himmler." (Heydecker)

1945: Prior to the trial, the defendants are given an IQ test. Administered by Dr. Gilbert, the Nuremberg Prison psychologist, and Dr. Kelly, the psychiatrist, the test includes ink blots and the Wechsler-Bellevue test. Kaltenbrunner scores 113. Note: After the testing, Gilbert comes to the conclusion that all the defendants are "intelligent enough to have known better." Andrus is not impressed by the results: "From what I've seen of them as intellects and characters I wouldn't let one of these supermen be a buck sergeant in my outfit." (Tusa)

November 18, 1945: Kaltenbrunner is rushed to an Army hospital with all the symptoms of contagious spinal meningitis. For a moment, it appears that all the defendants will have to be quarantined and the trial delayed until it is discovered that Kaltenbrunner has suffered a cranial hemorrhage and that blood has seeped into his spinal column. (Tusa)

November 19, 1945: The day before the opening of the trial, a motion is filed on behalf of all defense counsel:

The Defense of all defendants would be neglectful of their duty if they acquiesced silently in a deviation from existing international law and in disregard of a commonly recognized principle of modern penal jurisprudence and if they suppressed doubts which are openly expressed today outside Germany, all the more so as it is the unanimous conviction of the Defense that this Trial could serve in a high degree the progress of world order even if, nay in the very instance where it did not depart from existing international law. Wherever the Indictment charges acts which were not punishable at the time the Tribunal would have to confine itself to a thorough examination and findings as to what acts were committed, for which purposes the Defense would cooperate...

November 19, 1945: After a last inspection by Andrus, the defendants are escorted individually into the empty courtroom and given their assigned seats. (Tusa)

November 20, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 1 of the historic trial, the prosecutors take turns reading the indictment in court. Unfortunately, no one had given any thought to the prisoners lunch break, so, for the first and only time during 218 days of court, the defendants eat their midday meal in the courtroom itself. This is the first opportunity for the entire group to mingle, and though some know each other quite well, their are many who've never met. (Tusa, Conot)

November 21, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 2, the Tribunal rejects the Defense motion of Nov 19 on the grounds that, in so far as it is an argument against the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, it is in conflict with Article 3 of the Charter.

November 21, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: The defendants enter their pleas:

The President: I will now call upon the defendants to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges against them. They will proceed in turn to a point in the dock opposite to the microphone...In the absence of Ernst Kaltenbrunner (who is not present in court, but hospitalized), the Trial will proceed against him, but he will have an opportunity of pleading when he is sufficiently well to be brought back into court... Note: When Kaltenbrunner returns, he will plead: "I do not believe I have made myself guilty in the sense of the indictment."

November 21, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: Immediately following the pleas of the defendants, Justice Jackson delivers his opening statement:

Justice Jackson: ...Against their opponents, including Jews, Catholics, and free labor, the Nazis directed such a campaign of arrogance, brutality, and annihilation as the world has not witnessed since the pre-Christian ages. They excited the German ambition to be a 'master race,' which of course implies serfdom for others. They led their people on a mad gamble for domination. They diverted social energies and resources to the creation of what they thought to be an invincible war machine. They overran their neighbors. To sustain the 'master race' in its war-making, they enslaved millions of human beings and brought them into Germany, where these hapless creatures now wander as 'displaced persons.' At length bestiality and bad faith reached such excess that they aroused the sleeping strength of imperiled Civilization. Its united efforts have ground the German war machine to fragments. But the struggle has left Europe a liberated yet prostrate land where a demoralized society struggles to survive. These are the fruits of the sinister forces that sit with these defendants...

November 29, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: The prosecution presents as evidence a film shot by US troops as they were liberating various German concentration camps. That evening in their cells, the defendants react to the horrific images. Keitel: "It was those dirty SS swine... ...I'll never be able to look people in the face again." (Conot)

December 10, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: Kaltenbrunner returns to court.

From a press release by the Tribunal's public relations office: Ernst Kaltenbrunner received a cool welcome from his co-defendants when he made his initial appearance at the trial Monday afternoon. Entering the prisoners' dock just before the afternoon session began, no welcoming hands were proffered to greet him. When he offered to shake hands with some of the defendants there was a noticeable reluctance on their part. Taking his seat in the dock between Wilhelm Keitel and Alfred Rosenberg, he tried to engage his neighbors in a conversation without much luck. ... When he was approached by his own defense council, Kaltenbrunner held out his hand. His lawyer had, however, with studied casualness locked his hands behind his back.

December 11, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the trial's 17th day, prosecution presents as evidence a four-hour movie, The Nazi Plan, compiled from various Nazi propaganda films and newsreels.

December 11, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: After the court views the film The Nazi Plan, Dr. Thomas Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel for the United States, begins presentation of the Case on Forced Labor:

Dodd: We say this system of hatred, savagery, and denial of individual rights, which the conspirators erected into a philosophy of government within Germany or into what we may call the Nazi constitution, followed the Nazi armies as they swept over Europe. For the Jews of the occupied countries suffered the same fate as the Jews of Germany, and foreign laborers became the serfs of the 'master race,' and they were deported and enslaved by the million. Many of the deported and enslaved laborers joined the victims of the concentration camps, where they were literally worked to death in the course of the Nazi program of extermination through work...

December 13, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 19, Dr. Thomas Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel for the United States, begins presentation of the Case on Concentration Camps:

Dodd: We propose to show that the concentration camp was one of the fundamental institutions of the Nazi regime, that it was a pillar of the system of terror by which the Nazis consolidated their power over Germany and imposed their ideology upon the German people, that it was really a primary weapon in the battle against the Jews, against the Christian church, against labor, against those who wanted peace, against opposition or non-conformity of any kind. We say it involved the systematic use of terror to achieve the cohesion within Germany which was necessary for the execution of the conspirators' plans for aggression. We propose to show that a concentration camp was one of the principal instruments used by the conspirators for the commission, on an enormous scale, of Crimes against Humanity...

December 13, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: Major William Walsh, Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States, begins presentation of the Case on Persecution of the Jews:

Major Walsh: I know of no crime in the history of mankind more horrible in its details than the treatment of the Jews. It is intended to establish that the Nazi Party precepts, later incorporated within the policies of the German State, often expressed by the defendants at bar, were to annihilate the Jewish people. I shall seek to avoid the temptation to editorialize or to draw inferences from the documents, however great the provocation; rather I shall let the documentary evidence speak for itself--its stark realism will be unvarnished...

December 20, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: After this days session, the trial adjourns for a Holiday break until Wednesday, the 2nd of January.

January 2, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 25, during the presentation of the case against Kaltenbrunner, the prosecution presents evidence from the sworn interrogation of Bertus Gerdes, the former Gaustabsamtsleiter under the Gauleiter of Munich:

Gerdes: ...Giesler told me that Kaltenbrunner was in constant touch with him because he was greatly worried about the attitude of the foreign workers and especially inmates of Concentration Camps Dachau, Muhldorf, and Landsberg, which were in the path of the approaching Allied armies. On a Tuesday in the middle of April 1945 I received a telephone call from Gauleiter Giesler asking me to be available for a conversation that night. In the course of our personal conversation that night, I was told by Giesler that he had received a directive from Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrunner, by order of the Fuehrer, to work out a plan without delay for the liquidation of the concentration camp at Dachau and the two Jewish labor camps in Landsberg and Muhldorf. The directive proposed to liquidate the two Jewish labor camps at Landsberg and Muhldorf by use of the German Luftwaffe, since the construction area of these camps had previously been the targets of repeated enemy air attacks...

January 2, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Dr Kauffmann files a motion:

Dr Kauffmann: ...I ask that the trial against Kaltenbrunner be postponed during his absence. Kaltenbrunner has only been able to be present at a few days of the proceedings so far. The reason for his absence is an illness which, in my opinion, is of a serious nature, for it is obvious that in so important a trial only a very serious illness can justify the absence of a defendant. I have no doctor's report on his present condition. It appears to me dubious whether he will be capable of attending the hearing at all in the future...

January 2, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: The Tribunal rules on Dr Kaufmanns’s motion within a few hours:

The President: The Tribunal has considered the motion made by counsel on behalf of Kaltenbrunner, and it considers that any evidence which you were intending to produce, which is directed against Kaltenbrunner individually and not against the organizations, ought to be postponed until the Prosecution come to deal, as the Tribunal understands you do propose to deal, with each defendant individually; and the Tribunal thinks that Kaltenbrunner's case might properly be kept to the end of the individual defendants, and that the evidence which is especially brought against Kaltenbrunner might then be adduced. If Kaltenbrunner is then still unable to be in Court, that evidence will have to be given in his absence.

January 3, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Day 26; the prosecution presents its case against Kaltenbrunner:

Lieutenant Commander Harris: Kaltenbrunner was a life-long fanatical Nazi. He was the leader of the SS in Austria prior to the Anschluss and played a principal role in the betrayal of his native country to the Nazi conspirators. As higher SS and Police Leader in Austria after the Anschluss, he supervised and had knowledge of the activities of the Gestapo and the SD in Austria. The Mauthausen Concentration Camp was established in his jurisdiction and he visited it several times. On at least one occasion he observed the gas chamber in action...

January 3, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Otto Ohlendorf, described by Kaltenbrunner as "one of my chief collaborators," testifies for the defense:

The Tribunal (Gen. Niktchenko): In your testimony you said that the Einsatz group had the object of annihilating the Jews and the commissars, is that correct?

Ohlendorf: Yes.

The Tribunal (Gen. Niktchenko): And in what category did you consider the children? For what reason were the children massacred?

Ohlendorf: The order was that the Jewish population should be totally exterminated.

The Tribunal (Gen. Niktchenko): Including the children?

Ohlendorf: Yes.

The Tribunal (Gen. Niktchenko): Were all the Jewish children murdered?

Ohlendorf: Yes.

The Tribunal (Gen. Niktchenko): But the children of those whom you considered as belonging to the category of commissars, were they also killed?

Ohlendorf: I am not aware that inquiries were ever made after the families of Soviet commissars.

January 3, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dieter Wisliceny is examined by Lieutenant Colonel Smith W. Brookhart Jr., Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States:

Lt. Col. Brookhart: In connection with the Jews about whom you have personal knowledge, how many were subjected to the final solution, that is, to being killed?

Wisliceny: The exact number is extremely hard for me to determine. I have only one basis for a possible estimate, that is a conversation between Eichmann and Hoess in Vienna, in which he said that only a very few of those sent from Greece to Auschwitz had been fit for work. Of the Slovakian and Hungarian Jews about 20 to 30 percent had been able to work. It is therefore very hard for me to give a reliable total.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: In your meetings with the other specialists on the Jewish problem and Eichmann did you gain any knowledge or information as to the total number of Jews killed under this program?

Wisliceny: Eichmann personally always talked about at least 4 million Jews. Sometimes he even mentioned 5 million. According to my own estimate I should say that at least 4 million must have been destined for the so-called final solution. How many of those actually survived, I am not in a position to say.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: When did you last see Eichmann?

Wisliceny: I last saw Eichmann towards the end of February 1945 in Berlin. At that time he said that if the war were lost he would commit suicide.

Lt. Col. Brookhart: Did he say anything at that time as to the number of Jews that had been killed?

Wisliceny: Yes, he expressed this in a particularly cynical manner. He said he would leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had 5 million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction...

January 4, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 27, SS Brigadefuehrer Walter Schellenberg, a witness for the prosecution, is cross-examined by Kaltenbrunner's defense:

Dr Kauffmann: Did Kaltenbrunner ever indicate to you that he had agreed with Himmler that everything concerning concentration camps and the entire executive power was to be taken away from him and that only the SD, as an intelligence service, was to be entrusted to him and that he wanted to expand this intelligence service in order to supply the criticism that was otherwise lacking?

Schellenberg: I never heard of any such agreement, and what I found out later to be the facts is to the contrary.

Dr Kauffmann: Now, since you have given a negative answer, I must ask you the following question, in order to make this one point clear: Which facts do you mean?

Schellenberg: I mean, for instance, the fact that after the Reichsfuehrer SS very reluctantly agreed, through my persuasion, not to evacuate the concentration camps, Kaltenbrunner-by getting into direct contact with Hitler-circumvented this order of Himmler's and broke his word in respect to international promises.

Dr Kauffmann: Were there any international decisions in respect to this-decisions which referred to existing laws or decisions which referred to international agreements?

Schellenberg: I would like to explain that, if through the intermediary of internationally known persons, the then Reichsfuehrer SS promised the official Allied authorities not to evacuate the concentration camps, owing to the general distress, this promise was binding according to human rights...

January 4, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Alois Hollriegl, a guard at Mauthausen Concentration Camp, testifies for the prosecution:

Colonel Amen: And you therefore had occasion to witness the extermination of inmates of that camp by shooting, gassing, and so forth?

Hollriegl: Yes, I saw that.

Colonel Amen: And did you make an affidavit in this case to the effect that you saw Kaltenbrunner at that camp?

Hollriegl: Yes.

Colonel Amen: And that he saw and was familiar with the operation of the gas chamber there?

Hollriegl: Yes.

Colonel Amen: Did you also have occasion to see any other important personages visiting that concentration camp?

Hollriegl: I remember Pohl, Glucks, Kaltenbrunner...

January 11, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 32, Dr Franz Blaha, former prisoner of Dachau, testifies for the prosecution:

Dodd: Did these people whom you have just named take tours around the camp while you were there?

Blaha: Generally the tour through the camp was so arranged that the visitors were first taken to the kitchen, then to the laundry, then to the hospital, that is, usually to the surgical station, then to the malaria station of Professor Schilling and the experimental station of Dr. Rascher. Then they proceeded to a few 'blocks,' particularly those of the German prisoners and sometimes they also visited the chapel, which, however, had been fitted up inside for German clergy only. Sometimes, too, various personalities were presented and introduced to the visitors. It was so arranged that always, first of all, a 'green' professional criminal was selected and introduced as a murderer; then the Mayor of Vienna, Dr. Schmitz, was usually presented as the second one; then a high-ranking Czech officer; then a homosexual; a Gypsy; a Catholic bishop or other Polish priest of high rank; then a university professor, in this order, so that the visitors always found it entertaining.

Dodd: Now did I understand you to name Kaltenbrunner as one of those visitors there or not?

Blaha: Yes, Kaltenbrunner was also present. He was there together with General Daluege. That was, I believe, in the year 1943. I was also interested in General Daluege because it was he who, after Heydrich's death, had become Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, and I wanted to see him.

Dodd: Did you see Kaltenbrunner there yourself?

Blaha: Yes. He was pointed out to me...

January 14, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 33, Dr Kauffmann takes some heat:

Dodd: On the 13th of December we offered in evidence Document Number 3421-PS, and Exhibit Numbers USA-252 and 254. They were, respectively, the Court will recall, sections of human skin taken from human bodies and preserved; and a human head, the head of a human being, which had been preserved. On the 14th day of December, according to the Record, counsel for the Defendant Kaltenbrunner addressed the Tribunal and complained that the affidavit, which was offered, of one Pfaffenberger, failed to state that the camp commandant at Buchenwald, one Koch, along with his wife, was condemned to death for having committed precisely these atrocities, this business of tanning the skin and preserving the head. And in the course of the discussion before the Tribunal the Record reveals that counsel for the Defendant Bormann, in addressing the Tribunal, stated that it was highly probable that the Prosecution knew that the German authorities had objected to this camp commandant Koch and, in fact, knew that he had been tried and sentenced for doing precisely these things. And there was some intimation, we feel, that the Prosecution, having this knowledge, withheld it from the Tribunal. Now, I wish to say that we had no knowledge at all about this man Koch at the time that we offered the proof; didn't know anything about him except that he had been the commandant, according to the affidavit. But, subsequent to this objection we had an investigation made, and we have found that he was tried in 1944, indeed, by an SS court, but not for having tanned human skin nor having preserved a human head but for having embezzled some money, for what--as the judge who tried him tells us--was a charge of general corruption and for having murdered someone with whom he had some personal difficulties. Indeed, the judge, a Dr. Morgen, tells us that he saw the tattooed human skin and he saw a' human head in Commandant Koch's office and that he saw a lampshade there made out of human skin. But there were no charges at the time that he was tried for having done these things. I would also point out to the Tribunal that, we say, the testimony of Dr. Blaha sheds further light on whether or not these exhibits, Numbers USA- 252 and 254, were isolated instances of that atrocious kind of conduct. We have not been able to locate the affidavit. We have made an effort to do so, but we have not been able to locate him thus far...

Dr Kauffmann: The statement just made is undoubtedly significant, but it would be of importance to have the documents which served to convict the commandant and his wife at the time. Kaltenbrunner told me that it was known in the whole SS that the commandant Koch and his wife had been taken to account also--I emphasize '`also" on account of these things and that it was known in the SS that one of the factors determining the severity of the sentences imposed had been this proved inhuman behavior.

The President: Wait a minute. As you were the counsel who made the allegation that the commandant Koch had been put to death for his inhuman treatment, it would seem that you are the party to produce the judgment.

Dr Kauffmann: I never had the verdict in my hand. I depended on the information which Kaltenbrunner gave me personally and orally.

The President: It was you who made the assertion. I don't care where you got it from...

January 28, 1946 From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett:

The evidence is building up a most terrible and convincing case of complete horror and inhumanity in the concentration camps. But from the point of view of this trial it is a complete waste of valuable time. The case has been proved over and over again.

February 15, 1946 From the diary of Mr. Justice Birkett:

The presentation of the case dealing with crimes against the civilian population of various countries overrun by the German armies has been most detailed, and is contained for the most part in official documents which purport to record judicial hearings of the evidence. The impression created on my mind is that there has been a good deal of exaggeration, but I have no means of checking this. But no doubt can remain in any dispassionate mind that great horrors and cruelties were perpetrated. I think, also, that there is a good deal of evidence to show that the Nazi hierarchy used calculated cruelty and terror as their usual weapons. But it is impossible to convict an army generally, and no doubt many of the terrible excesses were those of a brutal and licentious soldiery, to quote Gibbon. The only importance of the evidence is to convict the members of the Cabinet and the military leaders of calculated cruelty as a policy.

February 15, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Colonel Andrus tightens the rules for the defendants by imposing strict solitary confinement. This is part of a strategy designed to minimize Goering's influence among the defendants. (Tusa)

February 22, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: In a further move to minimize his influence, Goering is now required to eat alone during the courts daily lunch break. The other defendants are split up into groups. (Tusa)

March 11, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 78, General Erhard Milch testifies for the defense:

Milch: ...In the first place the large number of concentration camps was unknown to everybody, as it was unknown to me. Secondly, nobody knew what went on there. This knowledge was apparently confined to a very small circle of people who were in the secret. Further, the SD was very much feared by the entire population, not only by the lower classes. If anybody tried to gain access to these secrets he did so at the peril of his life. And again, how could the Germans know anything about these things, since they never saw them or heard about them? Nothing was said about them in the German press, no announcements were made on the German radio, and those who listened to foreign broadcasts exposed themselves to the heaviest penalties, generally it meant death. You could never be alone. You could depend upon it that if you yourself contravened that law, others would overhear and then denounce you. I know that in Germany a large number of people were condemned to death for listening to foreign broadcasts...

March 11, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:

It is the end of another day, the second of the defense and we are gradually getting ahead. Justice Jackson cross-examined General Milch, one of Goering's aides, after various defense attorneys had asked questions. Jackson did well but not as well as he did Friday--he labored some unimportant points and got into some matters where he did not have the goods. However, towards the end he came back hard and left Milch a discredited witness. He could have done it in much less time.

March 16, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 83, defendant Hermann Goering continues his testimony:

Goering: With the dynamic personality of the Fuehrer, unsolicited advice was not in order, and one had to be on very good terms with him. That is to say, one had to have great influence, as I had--and I ask you to understand me correctly--as I had beyond doubt for many years, in order to come to him unsolicited, not only with advice, but also with suggestions or even persistent contradictions. On the other hand, if one were not on these terms with the Fuehrer, suggestions and advice were curtly brushed aside whenever he had once made his decisions, or if he would not allow the would-be adviser to attain that influence or that influential position.

Here I wish to say that the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces, in important and decisive questions certainly was no adviser. In current, everyday affairs, he was an adviser insofar as he may have suggested to the Fuehrer here and there that this or that should be said to the commanders, or that in regard to the movement of troops this or that should be pointed out. After all, advice from the chief of a general staff is still more important than advice from the chief of an organization or a state office. It was this way: In the sphere of important strategic and tactical decisions the chief responsibility lay with the adviser on the General Staff, the commanders-in-chief, the Chief of Staff, and the Fuehrer...

March 21, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 87, Hermann Goering undergoes effective cross-examination by the prosecution:

Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: The Fuehrer, at any rate, must have had full knowledge of what was happening with regard to concentration camps, the treatment of the Jews, and the treatment of the workers, must he not?

Goering: I already mentioned it as my opinion that the Fuehrer did not know about details in concentration camps, about atrocities as described here. As far as I know him, I do not believe he was informed. But insofar as he...

Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: I am not asking about details; I am asking about the murder of four or five million people. Are you suggesting that nobody in power in Germany, except Himmler and perhaps Kaltenbrunner, knew about that?

Goering: I am still of the opinion that the Fuehrer did not know about these figures...

March 22, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 88, Hermann Goering's heated cross-examination by the prosecution concludes.

General Rudenko: On 8 March, here in the Tribunal, your witness Bodenschatz stated that you told him in March 1945 that many Jews were killed and that for that you will have to pay dearly. Do you remember this testimony of your witness?

Goering: This testimony, in the form in which it was translated now, I do not recollect at all. The witness Bodenschatz never said it that way. I ask that the record of the session be brought in.

General Rudenko: How did Bodenschatz say that? Do you remember?

Goering: That if we lost the war we would have to pay dearly.

General Rudenko: Why? For the murders which you had perpetrated?

Goering: No, quite generally, and after all, we have experienced just that...

March 30, 1946: For many, the trial is just that; a trial. Sir Norman Birkett, the British Alternate Judge, writes on this day:

The trial is now completely out of hand. (Ribbentrop) continues to make very long answers on matters which are only indirectly relevant to the issues in the case." Later he will add: "Does the Tribunal really need any further evidence about the German attitude toward the Jews? ...all prosecutors should limit themselves most rigidly in the interests of time.

April 10, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 104, Keitel's Defence calls General Adolf Westhoff to the stand:

Kauffmann: The name Kaltenbrunner has been mentioned here, and I have only a few questions. Witness, you mentioned a little earlier that you spoke with the Gestapo, and that you received no information from the Gestapo. Do you know with whom you spoke at that time?

Westhoff: No. The conferences with the Gestapo took place continuously. In cases when we missed prisoners of war and we did not know where they were, we continuously made inquiries at the Gestapo. But, on one occasion I was with Kaltenbrunner- namely, on the occasion of some other matter which had nothing to do with Allied prisoners of war-and since this occasion gave me the opportunity to talk to Herr Kaltenbrunner personally, I immediately brought the matter up for discussion and tried to have that order rescinded. Kaltenbrunner and Muller were present at the time.

Kauffmann: Later on in Berlin after the Sagan case you talked to Kaltenbrunner personally?

Westhoff: Yes.

Kauffmann: Was the Sagan case discussed there?

Westhoff: I talked about the Sagan matter there with Kaltenbrunner and I expressly pointed out that this was an unbearable situation.

Kauffmann: About how long after the Sagan case was that?

Westhoff: I cannot tell you that any more now; it may have been 4 weeks later.

Kauffmann: What was Kaltenbrunner's view on this problem? What did he tell you?

Westhoff: Kaltenbrunner himself said next to nothing to me, but rather Muller carried on the conversation, and I left without having been given either 'yes' or 'no'...

April 11, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 105, Kaltenbrunner testifies on his own behalf:

Kaltenbrunner: In the first place, I should like to state to the Tribunal that I am fully aware of the serious character of the charges against me. I know the hatred of the world is directed against me; that I particularly since Himmler, Muller, and Pohl are no longer alive must here, alone, give an account to the world and the Tribunal. I realize that I shall have to tell the truth in this courtroom, in order to enable the Court and the world to fully recognize and understand what has been going on in Germany during this war and to judge it with fairness...

April 11, 1946: Press reaction to Kaltenbrunner's first day of testimony:

The Times: "...his fellow prisoners in the dock began to look embarrassed. .... Goering absented himself in the afternoon with a slight cold. (Tusa)

From The Nuremberg Trial by Ann and John Tusa: It was no change of heart by the prosecutors nor any improvement of skills which led to the next case--that of Kaltenbrunner--lasting only two and a half days. The French followed their usual habit of remaining silent. The British had already decided on 2 April to leave the case to the Americans; they handed over documents they thought might be useful and took a back seat. Thereafter, much of the speed of the case was the result of efficiency by Kaltenbrunner's counsel, Kauffmann. He proved orderly, he was able to summarize prosecution arguments succinctly, and he insisted on brief answers from his client. Brevity came easily to Kaltenbrunner. Faced with any allegation, any evidence against himself, he simply denied it.

Had Kaltenbrunner faced a jury, one fears that the twelve men good and true would not have bothered to listen to the evidence. One look at him would have convinced them that he was guilty. He was a huge man, towering over everyone in the dock, his bulk increased by massive shoulders and gorilla arms. His jaw jutted forwards, his great ears sprang out at the sides, looking even bigger because exposed by the close crop of his hair. His eyes were narrow, his lips thin, his face pock-marked; on his left cheek there was a scar. He was everyone's nightmare of a Gestapo brute. But he had crumbled with fear in captivity. His brain hemorrhage had been attributed by the doctors to hysterical panic.

Andrus, who hated a sniveler even more than a sloven, noted that "he had come into my custody sick with fear" and noted with approval Gilbert's judgement that Kaltenbrunner had "a weak vacillating will and an emotionally unstable schizoid personality" "Stripped of his power," Gilbert had told the Colonel, "he now cringes and complains that he was only a tool of Himmler and an unimportant one at that." Perhaps Kaltenbrunner's only virtue was consistency. He continued to call himself an unimportant tool when he was in the witness box. It was not a convincing defense.

April 12, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 106, Kaltenbrunner is cross-examined by the prosecution:

Colonel Amen: Is it not a fact that you are simply lying about your signature on this letter, in the same way that you are lying to this Tribunal about almost everything else you have given testimony about? Is not that a fact?

Kaltenbrunner: Mr. Prosecutor, for a whole year I have had to submit to this insult of being called a liar. For a whole year I have been interrogated hundreds of times both here and in London, and I have been insulted in this way and even much worse. My mother, who died in 1943, was called a whore, and many other similar things were hurled at me. This term is not new to me but I should like to state that in a matter of this kind I certainly would not tell an untruth, when I claim to be believed by this Tribunal in far more important matters.

Colonel Amen: I am suggesting, Defendant, that when your testimony is so directly contrary to that of 20 or 30 other witnesses and even more documents, it is almost an incredible thing you should be telling the truth and that every witness and every document should be false. Do you not agree to that proposition?

Kaltenbrunner: No. I cannot admit that because I have had the feeling each time a document has been submitted to me today, that it could at first glance be immediately refuted by me in its most vital points. I ask, and I hope that the Tribunal will allow me, to refer to single points and to come into closer contact with individual witnesses, so that I may defend myself to the last...

April 12, 1946 From the diary of Dr. Victor von der Lippe (assistant defense attorney for Raeder):

Some of the audience is impressed by his intellectual capacity, and the Tribunal follows it with interest, even with a sort of appreciation of Kaltenbrunner's cold-blooded dialectic. Many viewers are of the opinion that Kaltenbrunner, who under all the circumstances is a lost man, is better off than Keitel, who in a like situation, did not have the angry strength to resist in the same way. (Maser)

April 12, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:

This morning the Kaltenbrunner case continued with K(altenbrunner) on direct examination by his own lawyer. He is a crummy-looking creature, really an evil-looking man. He was Himmler's chief assistant and he participated in all of the horrible crimes that were committed - we have witnesses who saw him watching the operation of the gas chambers where all the unfortunates were executed by the thousands. He had the various types of executions put on as a demonstration for him - shooting, hanging and gassing. Three human beings were used to show him how it worked.

April 13, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 107, Kaltenbrunner is cross-examined by the prosecution:

Kaltenbrunner: ...if, in your interrogation which you just read to me, I stated that I did not write this letter, then this is confirmed by the very figures which appear on top, where you read IV A 2 a, plus numerals and letters which obviously indicates that the letter was written in a section which was in charge of these matters. That is what I mean when I say that I did not write this letter. That it may have been submitted to me for my signature among thousands of other papers which I might have had to look into possibly in the course of one day, I cannot, of course, deny. From this, however, you cannot draw the conclusion that I undoubtedly knew about the matter. You cannot imagine the extent of the official functions which I took over in complete ignorance of police background, without instructions for carrying out police functions, but rather for organizing and directing the vast intelligence service...

April 12, 1946 From the diary of Mr. Justice Birkett:

Kaltenbrunner is making a vigorous defense, denying his signature to documents of a most incriminating nature, endeavoring to show that he was really without power or influence. He is a fluent speaker and speaks with great animation and uses much gesture. In some matters he is no doubt right and it is then that he grows animated. Some of the things attributed to him are no doubt exaggerated, but it is impossible to think of the position accepted by Kaltenbrunner and, at the same time, to believe he was ignorant of so many matters. (Maser)

April 14, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:

Friday, Kaltenbrunner was on direct exam in the morning and on cross in the afternoon. Amen did a miserable job--but the attitude of K(altenbrunner) made him look better than he was.

April 15, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Kaltenbrunner's defense calls Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz, to the stand:

Dr Kauffmann: Who signed the orders for executions which you received? Is it correct that occasionally you received orders for executions which bore the signature "Kaltenbrunner," and that these were not the originals but were teleprints which therefore had the signature in typewritten letters?

Hoess: It is correct. The originals of execution orders never came to the camps. The original of these orders either arrived at the Inspectorate of the Concentration Camps, from where they were transmitted by teletype to the camps concerned, or, in urgent cases, the RSHA sent the orders directly to the camps concerned, and the Inspectorate was then only informed, so that the signatures in the camps were always only in teletype.

Dr Kauffmann: So as to again determine the signatures, will you tell the Tribunal whether the overwhelming majority of all execution orders either bore the signature of Himmler or that of Muller in the years before the war and until the end of the war.

Hoess: Only very few teletypes which I have ever seen came from the Reichsfuehrer and still fewer from the Defendant Kaltenbrunner...

April 15, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: The court listens in silence to the horrible testimony of Rudolf Hoess concerning millions murdered. Only Goering and Doenitz manage a comment later: Both remark that Hoess is obviously a South German; a Prussian could never have done such things. Astonished by his matter-of fact apathy, Dr. Gilbert, the Nuremberg Prison psychologist, questions Hoess on the subject:

Hoess: Don't you see, we SS men were not supposed to think about these things; it never occurred to us. And besides, it was something already taken for granted that the Jews were to blame for everything...It was not just newspapers like 'Stuermer' but it was everything we ever heard. Even our military and ideological training took for granted that we had to protect Germany from the Jews. .... We were all so trained to obey orders without even thinking that the thought of disobeying an order would never have occurred to anybody. (Gilbert, Tusa)

April 15, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 108 of deliberations, Kaltenbrunner's defense calls Hermann Neubacher, the pre-war Mayor of Vienna, to the stand:

Dr Kauffmann: Kaltenbrunner was called the successor of Heydrich. Does this apply to him in the full sense of the word? Neubacher: It cannot, and that I know because...

The President: That's a matter of argument. This witness' opinion cannot affect the position of Kaltenbrunner. This witness cannot testify whether he was called a successor to Heydrich or another Heydrich.

Dr Kauffmann: The Prosecution speak in a disdainful way that Kaltenbrunner was the successor of the ill-famed Heydrich. This witness knows them both, therefore I believe...

The President: The witness has already admitted that he was the successor of Heydrich. You may ask him if he was another Heydrich.

Dr Kauffmann: Please, will you tell whether he was called a second Heydrich?

Neubacher: Himmler himself used this expression...

The President: The Tribunal feels that that is incompetent...

From The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials by Telford Taylor: Tall and lantern-jawed, face pockmarked and scarred, the defendant was the most ominous-looking man in the dock and had no friends there. Rebecca West wrote that he 'looked like a vicious horse.' But despite his sinister visage, Kaltenbrunner was, like his fellow Austrian Seyss-Inquart, a well-educated lawyer. ....
Kauffmann followed the example of Dr Nelte and Keitel by confronting Kaltenbrunner with one after another of the criminal events with which the prosecution had targeted his client. Relying heavily on the limits of his responsibility as he had described them, Kaltenbrunner denied guilt for each and every event. Of some, he had never heard; in others, he had not been involved; if the document bore his typed signature, someone else had put it there without his knowledge; if the signature was handwritten, it had been forged. .... Kaltenbrunner asserted that he had only once visited a concentration camp (Mauthausen), denied that he ever saw a gas chamber, and denied virtually everything else that Kauffmann put to him...Kauffmann called as a witness Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess, who had been Commandant of Auschwitz. ....

It is beyond understanding that Hoess was put on the witness stand not, like Ohlendorf or Bach-Zelewski, by prosecution counsel but by the defense. Considering the broad range of Kaltenbrunner's activities, there was little to be gained by attempting to prove that he had never been to Auschwitz and never personally signed a death order there. The consequences were not limited to Kaltenbrunner. The awful scale of the Nazi terror--produced by a Fuehrer to whom the defendants had pledged and given their allegiance, and by Himmler, Heydrich, Pohl, Mueller, and other leaders of the Nazi government--cast a pall of shame over the defendants and their counsel.

April 24, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 113, Frick's counsel, Dr Otto Pannenbecker, calls Hans Bernd Gisevius to the stand:

Gisevius: First I have to say that there never was a Roehm Putsch. On 30 June there was only a Goering-Himmler Putsch. I am in a position to give some information about that dark chapter, because I dealt with and followed up this case in the Police Department of the Ministry of the Interior, and because the radiograms sent during these days by Goering and Himmler to the police authorities of the Reich came into my hands. The last of these radiograms reads: "By order of Goering all documents relating to 30 June shall be burned immediately." At that time I took the liberty of putting these papers into my safe, and to this day I do not know whether or not they survived Kaltenbrunner's attempts to get them. I still hope to recover these papers, and if I do, I can prove that throughout the whole 30 June not a single shot was fired by the SA. The SA did not revolt. By this, however, I do not wish to utter a single word of excuse for the leaders of the SA. On 30 June not one of the SA leaders died who did not deserve death a hundred times--but after a proper trial...

April 25, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 114 of deliberations Hans Bernd Gisevius is cross-examined by the prosecution:

Justice Jackson: And then came Kaltenbrunner. Did you notice any improvement after the appointment of Kaltenbrunner? Tell us about that.

Gisevius: Kaltenbrunner came and things became worse from day to day. More and more we learned that perhaps the impulsive actions of a murderer like Heydrich were not so bad as the cold, legal logic of a lawyer who took over the administration of such a dangerous instrument as the Gestapo.

Justice Jackson: Can you tell us whether Kaltenbrunner took an even more sadistic attitude than Himmler and Schellenberg had done? Were you informed about that?

Gisevius: Yes. I know that Heydrich, in a certain sense, really had something akin to a bad conscience when he committed his crimes. At any rate, he did not like it when those things were discussed openly in Gestapo circles. Nebe, who as Chief of the Criminal Police had the same rank as the Chief of the Gestapo, Mueller, always told me that Heydrich took care to conceal his crimes. With the entry of Kaltenbrunner into that organization, this practice ceased. All those things were now openly discussed...

April 25, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:

This has been a very interesting day. The defense witness, Gisevius, has been on the stand and as you may have read in the press he completely destroyed the defendants--man by man, with the exception of Schacht, for whom he was a good witness--but not good enough in my opinion to exculpate Schacht or to save him from punishment. Justice Jackson cross-examined him and brought out amazing and indeed shocking information about these Nazis. The defendants looked very glum--and disconsolate and indeed they might. They are a group of evil, wicked men. This is perfectly clear to me--and I have been in a position to know. Gisevius did not complete his testimony when the court adjourned for the day. He will be on again in the morning.

April 26, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 115 of deliberations Hans Bernd Gisevius is cross-examined by the prosecution:

Mr. Justice Jackson: ...Each of the defendants who held ministerial positions of any kind controlled the reports which should go to Hitler from that particular ministry, did he not?

Gisevius: As far as this general question is concerned, I must reply cautiously, for, first of all, it was a close clan which put a cordon of silence around Hitler. A man like von Papen or von Neurath cannot be included in this group, for it was obvious that Von Papen and Von Neurath, and perhaps one or the other of the defendants, did not have the possibility, or much later no longer had the possibility, of having regular access to Hitler, for besides Von Neurath, Hitler already had his Ribbentrop for a long time. Thus I can only say that a certain group, which is surely well known, composed the close circle of which I am speaking.

Mr Justice Jackson: I should like you to identify those of the defendants who had access to Hitler and those who were able to prevent access to Hitler by their subordinates. That would apply, would it not, to Goering, Ribbentrop, Keitel, Kaltenbrunner, Frick, and to Schacht-during the period until he broke with them, as you have testified-and to Doenitz, Raeder, Sauckel, and Speer?

Gisevius: You mentioned a few too many and some are missing. Take the Defendant Jodl, for instance. I would like to call your attention to the strange influence which this defendant had and the position he had with regard to controlling access to Hitler. I believe my testimony shows that Schacht, on the other hand, did not control access to Hitler, but that he could only be glad about each open and decent report which got through to Hitler from his and other ministries. As far as the defendant Frick is concerned, I do not believe that he was necessarily in a position to control access to Hitler. I believe the problem of Frick centers in the matter of responsibility.

Mr. Justice Jackson: Should I have included Funk in the group that had access to Hitler?

Gisevius: Funk, without a doubt, had access to Hitler for a long time, and for his part Funk had of course the responsibility to see that affairs in the Ministry of Economics and in the Reichsbank were conducted in the way Hitler desired. Without a doubt Funk put his surpassingly expert knowledge at the service of Hitler...

May 21, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:

Yesterday, Raeder continued his testimony...I am continually shocked at the appearance of former German admirals, generals, cabinet officers, bankers, etc., who get on the witness stand under oath and proceed to lie in the most shameful manner. Little wonder that catastrophe attended them.

July 9, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 174, Kauffmann delivers his final statement in Kaltenbrunner's defense:

Dr. Kauffmann: History is made by changes in religious values. They constitute the strongest motive power in the cultural progress of humanity. Permit me to show you in a few bold outlines the intellectual and historical forebears of National Socialism.

The President: Dr. Kauffmann, it is 1 o'clock, and I must say that the last two pages which you have read seem to me to have absolutely nothing to do with Crimes against Humanity, or with any case with which we have got to deal. I suggest to you that the next pages, headed 'Renaissance, Subjectivism, French Revolution, Liberalism, National Socialism' are equally completely unlikely to have any influence at all upon the minds of the Tribunal. The Tribunal will now adjourn. (The Tribunal recessed. Kauffmann continues during the Afternoon Session:)

Dr. Kauffmann: Mr. President, I am going to leave out the section headed 'Renaissance, Subjectivism, French Revolution, Liberalism, National Socialism.' The gist of those remarks can be summarized in two or three sentences and I merely beg you to take cognizance of them. I have pointed out that the course of all these disastrous movements is the spiritual attitude which Jacques Maritain described as anthropocentric humanism...

July 9, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: As the defendants leave the courtroom following Kaufmanns’s discourse, Kaltenbrunner remarks bitterly to Dr Gilbert: "I saw Colonel Amen holding his sides with laughter. You can tell him that I congratulate him on his victory over me in getting me such a stupid attorney." (Taylor)

July 16, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:

The defendants reflect the ending of these proceedings. They seem to feel that the days are definitely numbered. Even Goering, who has been positively impish up to very recently, now is gray and crestfallen. Keitel wears the mask of the doomed already. And so it goes through the entire dock. General Jodl and Seyss-Inquart being exceptions to some extent and mostly because they are more stable emotionally.

July 22, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 187 of deliberations, Justice Jackson details Prosecutions closing arguments against Kaltenbrunner.

Justice Jackson: ...Kaltenbrunner, the grand inquisitor, took up the bloody mantle of Heydrich to stifle opposition and terrorize compliance, and buttressed the power of National Socialism on a foundation of guiltless corpses." Note: Typically, the length of time spent on each defendant (in Jackson's closing) is directly related to the Justices' perception of the strength or weakness of the case against the accused. Those defendants against whom the evidence is overwhelming, and conviction assured, receive only a mention.

July 26, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 188 of deliberations, Sir Hartley Shawcross, Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom, details Prosecutions closing arguments:

Shawcross: ...Kaltenbrunner, as chief of the RSHA, must be guilty. The reports of the Einsatzkommandos were sent to him monthly. You will remember the words of Gisevius, a witness for the Defense: "We asked ourselves whether it was possible that an even worse man could possibly be found after such a monster as Heydrich.... Kaltenbrunner came ... and things got worse every day.... We had the experience that perhaps the impulsive actions of a murderer like Heydrich were not as bad as the cold legal logic of a lawyer who was handling such a dangerous instrument as the Gestapo." You will remember his description of those horrible luncheon parties at which Kaltenbrunner discussed every detail of the gas chambers and of the technique of mass murder...

July 29, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 189, M. Charles Dubost, Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the French Republic, details Prosecutions closing arguments:

Dubost: ...They stopped at nothing in order to achieve their end: Violation of treaties, invasion, and enslavement in peacetime of weak and peaceful neighbors, wars of aggression, and total warfare, with all the atrocities which these words imply. Goering and Ribbentrop cynically admitted that they took both a spiritual and a material part in it; and the generals and admirals did their utmost to help matters forward. Speer exploited to the point of exhaustion and death the manpower recruited for him by Sauckel, Kaltenbrunner, the NSDAP Gauleiter, and the generals. Kaltenbrunner made use of the gas chambers, the victims for which were furnished by Frick, Schirach, Seyss-Inquart, Frank, Jodl, Keitel, and the rest. But the existence of the gas chambers themselves was only made possible through the development of a political ideology favorable to such things; there, inextricably merged, we find the responsibility of all of them - Goering, Hess, Rosenberg, Streicher, Frick, Frank, Fritzsche, down to Schacht himself, the pro-Jewish Schacht. Did he not say to Hirschfeld: "I want Germany to be great; to accomplish this I am prepared to ally myself with the very devil." He did enter into this alliance with the devil and with hell. We may include Papen, who saw his secretaries and his friends killed around him and still continued to accept official missions in Ankara and Vienna because he thought he could appease Hitler by serving him...

July 29, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 189 of deliberations, General Rudenko, Chief Prosecutor for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, details Prosecutions closing arguments:

Rudenko: ...The Defendant Ernst Kaltenbrunner was considered by Himmler as the most deserving successor to that hangman, Heydrich. .... Kandutor described as follows the manner in which Kaltenbrunner passed his time on one of his visits to the camp: "Laughing, Kaltenbrunner entered the gas chamber; then the prisoners were led from the barracks to execution and all three methods of execution were demonstrated--hanging, shooting in the neck, and gassing." I shall not dwell upon the numerous proofs available, since they have been sufficiently clarified before the Tribunal. .... And when Kaltenbrunner's fate will be decided, all the victims asphyxiated in the "murder vans" near Stavropol, buried alive in the graves near Kiev and Riga, burnt alive in the Byelorussian villages, must never be forgotten. All these innocent victims are on his unclean conscience. Successor to a hangman, and himself a hangman, Kaltenbrunner carried out the most revolting function in the common criminal plan of the Hitlerite clique...

August 30, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 216 of deliberations, the defendants make their final statements.

Final Statement: The Prosecution holds me responsible for the concentration camps, for the destruction of Jewish life, for Einsatzgruppen and other things. All of this is neither in accord with the evidence nor with the truth. The accusers as well as the accused are exposed to the dangers of a summary proceeding. It is correct that I had to take over the Reich Security Main Office. There was no guilt in that in itself. Such offices exist in governments of other nations too. However, the task and activity assigned to me in 1943 consisted almost exclusively in the reorganization of the German political and military intelligence service, though not as Heydrich's successor. Almost a year after his death I had to accept this post under orders and as an officer at a time when suspicion fell on Admiral Canaris of having collaborated with the enemy for years. In a short time I ascertained the treason of Canaris and his accomplices to the most frightful extent.

Offices IV and V of the Reich Security Main Office were subordinate to me only theoretically, not in fact. The chart shown here of the different groups and the chain of command leading from them is wrong and misleading. Himmler, who understood in a masterly way how the SS, which for a long time had ceased to, form an organizational and ideological unit, could be split up into very small groups and brought under his immediate influence, so far as it served his purpose, together with Mueller, the Chief of the Gestapo, committed the crimes which we know about today. I emphatically and vehemently state that, contrary to public opinion, I learned only about a very small fraction of the activities of these offices, which were actually under Himmler and his accomplices, and only insofar as it concerned my own special work.

In the Jewish question I was just as much deceived as other high officials. I never approved or tolerated the biological extermination of Jewry. The anti-Semitism found in Party and State laws was still to be considered in time of war as an emergency defense measure. The anti-Semitism of Hitler, as we understand it today, was barbarism. I did not participate in either of these forms and maintain, as I shall show, that the discontinuance of the extermination of the Jews is to be traced to my influence on Hitler.

After the presentation of evidence several photographs were submitted which allegedly show my knowledge of crimes in concentration camps, the camp at Mauthausen, and my knowledge of the criminal tools which were used there. I never set foot in Camp Mauthausen, only that part of the labor camps where the stone quarry was located, where hardened criminals were employed according to law, but no Jews or political prisoners. The pictures show an administration building and nothing else. Affidavit USA-909, pictures 894 to 897-F, are therefore factually impossible and wrong. The picture with Hitler shows the visit to a building site in Linz, 35 kilometers away from Camp Mauthausen.

The statement of the witness Dr. Morgen seems essentially true, but it needs to be supplemented as far as my person and my reactions to this are concerned. In the emergency of his own arrest and defense the witness is too much concerned with himself and does not say that he was transferred by the chief of the Main Office SS Courts to Office V of the RSHA upon my request, so that as a juridical official he could supplement the special commission which was established there by the chief of the Criminal Police, Nebe, and myself for the investigation of the concentration camps. He cannot testify as to my knowledge of the subsequent events, as to what I--dumbfounded by his report, in contrast to Mueller, who raged like one who had just been unmasked--did after reading his report.

On the same day an exact written report was sent to Hitler at headquarters. Days later I was ordered to appear and flew there. After my long report Hitler agreed to an investigation of Himmler and Pohl. He declared a special court competent for all subsequent investigations and necessary measures. Pohl was to be dismissed from his office at once. In front of me Hitler gave orders to Fegelein, who was liaison officer for Himmler, that Himmler was to be called to him, and he promised me that he would take all possible measures that very day against any further misdeeds. He refused my request to be released and sent to the front, pointing out that I was indispensable in the intelligence service.

Eichmann was arrested and detained and reported to me; the decree by Himmler in October of 1944, which confirms and puts in final form that which I have just testified, is in its wording one of Himmler's last devilish actions. Does not the Prosecution even now see any discrepancy in the fact that Amt V of the RSHA exposed the crimes of Amt IV of the RSHA and the secret criminal clique? In this I see the proof of the fact that I never knew what was really going on, and at the moment when I realized what was taking place, I protested in my own office. Should I have shirked responsibility at that time by feigning illness, or was it my duty to fight with all my powers to have this unparalleled barbarity brought to a halt? That is the only thing to be decided here as my guilt.

The other defamation’s raised by the Prosecution against me do not alter that either. The letter written to the Mayor of Vienna, which seems to be so highly incriminating here and which I do not remember having signed, has been explained for me today. All of the 12,000 people who at that time, together with tens of thousands of German men and, women, were used to fortify the region east of Vienna, were, together with an additional 2,000 persons in Gunskirchen in Upper Austria, cared for by the International Red Cross through my mediation and led to freedom.

The speed and excitement of the cross-examination did not permit me to recall that at the time when the commission of Amt V had long been active in the camps, I could no longer believe that there was any danger to Jewish life. My credibility has been doubted ever since then, but it would have been restored immediately if an enquiry had been made by the Prosecution with the International Red Cross at Geneva in proceedings which were not so summary. If, however, I am asked: "Why did you remain even after you knew that your superiors were committing crimes?" I can answer only that I could not set myself up as their judge, and that indeed not even this Tribunal here will be in a position to ask for expiation of these crimes.

In the final days the Prosecution accused me of participating in the murder of a French general. I heard about the murder of a German, General Brodowski, and the order given by Hitler to investigate the question of reprisals. I heard about the murder for the first time a few days ago. Panzinger was chief of the War Investigation Division in the Reich Criminal Police Office and was subordinate to no one except Himmler in his capacity as chief of the Prisoner-of-War Organization and of the Replacement Army. He was not, as the Prosecution maintains, an official of the Secret State Police. Concerning the teletype message of 30 December 1944, signed with my name, in which the method of carrying out the plan was reported by Berlin to Himmler at the latter's headquarters, I should like to say that from 23 December until 3 January I was in Austria with my family and could not have seen and signed this teletype.

In November 1944 I was merely ordered to check the report of Reich Press Chief Dietrich on the murder of a German general in France. The results were sent to headquarters by the offices there. I regretted the fact that Hitler, in a situation such as I found when I assumed office in 1943, did not have a better relation with the Church, which in every state makes for order and cannot be theorized away. My remonstrance’s had no effect. I made an honest effort, as the presentation of evidence has shown, but even from this the Prosecution has not drawn any conclusions. I know only that in my belief in Adolf Hitler I put all my strength at the disposal of my people. As a German soldier I could only put myself at the service of the defense against those destructive forces which had once brought Germany close to the abyss, and which today, after the collapse of the Reich, are still threatening the world.

If I have made mistakes in my work through a false conception of obedience, if I carried out orders, all of which, insofar as they are alleged to be cardinal orders, were issued before my time of office, then they are part of a fate which is stronger than myself and which is carrying me along with it. I am accused here because substitutes are needed for the missing Himmler and other elements which were completely contrary to me. Whether my point of view and explanation are accepted or rejected, I ask you not to connect the fate and honor of hundreds of thousands of the living and dead of the General SS, of the Waffen-SS, and of the civil servants who, believing in their ideal, bravely defended, their Reich to the last, with your just curse against Himmler. Like myself, they believed that they were acting according to law.

September 30, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the penultimate day of this historic trial, the final judgements are read in open court.

Final Judgement: Kaltenbrunner is indicted under Counts One, Three, and Four. He joined the Austrian Nazi Party and the SS in 1932. In 1935 he became leader of the SS in Austria. After the Anschluss he was appointed Austrian State Secretary for Security and, when this position was abolished in 1941, he was made Higher SS and Police Leader. On 30 January 1943, he was appointed Chief of the Security Police and SD and head of the Reich Security Head Office (RSHA), a position which had been held by Heydrich until his assassination in June 1942. He held the rank of Obergruppenfuehrer in the SS.

Crimes against Peace: As leader of the SS in Austria Kaltenbrunner was active in the Nazi intrigue against the Schuschnigg Government. On the night of 11 March 1938, after Goering had ordered Austrian National Socialists to seize control of the Austrian Government, 500 Austrian SS men under Kaltenbrunner's command surrounded the Federal Chancellery and a special detachment under the command of his adjutant entered the Federal Chancellery while Seyss-Inquart was negotiating with President Miklas. But there is no evidence connecting Kaltenbrunner with plans to wage aggressive war on any other front. The Anschluss, although it was an aggressive act, is not charged as an aggressive war, and the evidence against Kaltenbrunner under Count One does not, in the opinion of the Tribunal, show his direct participation in any plan to wage such a war.

War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity: When he became Chief of the Security Police and SD and head of the RSHA on 30 January 1943, Kaltenbrunner took charge of an organization which included the main offices of the Gestapo, the SD, and the Criminal Police. As Chief of the RSHA, Kaltenbrunner had authority to order protective custody to and release from concentration camps. Orders to this effect were normally sent over his signature. Kaltenbrunner was aware of conditions in concentration camps. He had undoubtedly visited Mauthausen, and witnesses testified that he had seen prisoners killed by the various methods of execution, hanging, shooting in the back of the neck, and gassing, as part of a demonstration. Kaltenbrunner himself ordered the execution of prisoners in those camps and his office was used to transmit to the camps execution orders which originated in Himmler's office.

At the end of the war Kaltenbrunner participated in the arrangements for the evacuation of inmates of concentration camps, and the liquidation of many of them, to prevent them from being liberated by the Allied armies. During the period in which Kaltenbrunner was head of the RSHA, it was engaged in a widespread program of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. These crimes included the mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war. Einsatzkommandos operating under the control of the Gestapo were engaged in the screening of Soviet prisoners of war. Jews, commissars, and others who were thought to be ideologically hostile to the Nazi system were reported to the RSHA, which had them transferred to a concentration camp and murdered. An RSHA order issued during Kaltenbrunner's regime established the "Bullet Decree," under which certain escaped prisoners of war who were recaptured were taken to Mauthausen and shot. The order for the execution of Commando troops was extended by the Gestapo to include parachutists while Kaltenbrunner was chief of the RSHA. An order signed by Kaltenbrunner instructed the Police not to interfere with attacks on bailed-out Allied fliers.

In December 1944 Kaltenbrunner participated in the murder of one of the French generals held as a prisoner of war. During the period in which Kaltenbrunner was head of the RSHA, the Gestapo and SD in occupied territories continued the murder and ill-treatment of the population, using methods which included torture and confinement in concentration camps, usually under orders to which Kaltenbrunner's name was signed. The Gestapo was responsible for enforcing a rigid labor discipline on the slave laborers and Kaltenbrunner established a series of labor reformatory camps for this purpose. When, the SS embarked on a slave labor program of its own, the Gestapo was used to obtain the needed workers by sending laborers to concentration camps. The RSHA played a leading part in the "final solution" of the Jewish question by the extermination of the Jews. A special section under the Amt IV of the RSHA was established to supervise this program. Under its direction approximately 6 million Jews were murdered, of which 2 million were killed by Einsatzgruppen and other units of the Security Police. Kaltenbrunner had been informed of the activities of these Einsatzgruppen when he was a Higher SS and Police Leader, and they continued to function after he had become Chief of the RSHA.

The murder of approximately 4 million Jews in concentration camps has heretofore been described. This part of the program was also under the supervision of the RSHA when Kaltenbrunner was head of that organization, and special missions of the RSHA scoured the occupied territories and the various Axis satellites arranging for the deportation of Jews to these extermination institutions. Kaltenbrunner was informed of these activities. A letter which he wrote on 30 June 1944 described the shipment to Vienna of 12,000 Jews for that purpose and directed that all who could not work would have to be kept in readiness for "special action," which meant murder. Kaltenbrunner denied his signature to this letter, as he did on a very large number of orders on which his name was stamped or typed, and in a few instances, written. It is inconceivable that in matters of such importance his signature could have appeared so many times without his authority.

Kaltenbrunner has claimed that when he took office as Chief of the Security Police and SD and as head of the RSHA he did so pursuant to an understanding with Himmler under which he was to confine his activities to matter involving foreign intelligence and not to assume overall control over the activities of the RSHA. He claims that the criminal program had been started before his assumption of office; that he seldom knew what was going on; and that when he was informed he did what he could to stop them. It is true that he showed a special interest in matters involving foreign intelligence. But he exercised control over the activities of the RSHA, was aware of the crimes it was committing, and was an active participant in many of them.

Conclusion: The Tribunal finds that Kaltenbrunner is not guilty on Count One. He is guilty under Counts Three and Four.

October 1, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the 218th and last day of the trial, sentences are handed down: "Defendant Ernst Kaltenbrunner, on the Counts of the Indictment on which you have been convicted, the Tribunal sentences you to death by hanging."

From Justice at Nuremberg by Robert E. Conot: The eleven condemned to death were no longer permitted to exercise in the yard. Whenever one emerged from his cell, he was handcuffed to a guard. For a few minutes a day, one at a time, they were marched up and down in the center of the cell block in lock step with a military policeman. When they saw their attorneys in the Palace of Justice, a GI sat with each of them like a Siamese twin joined at the wrist. Kaltenbrunner, damning Kauffmann, confided to the assistant SS attorney, Carl Haensel: "If they knew what I still know, if the court knew what I could still say, if they would let me speak, they would not hang me."

Of all the defendants, he remained perhaps the most enigmatic figure: a rawboned man exuding an aura of suppressed violence and madness, his intelligence entangled in the web of his emotional breakdown. 'Why didn't you say so when you had the chance?' Haensel asked. For a long time Kaltenbrunner sat transfixed in thought, as if he did not intend to respond; then suddenly he burst out: 'The trial is a play, and one wants to win.' Once more he submerged himself in brooding, then started up, terror in his face, as if he had seen a vision of hell. "Canaris did the same in my place. He also denied everything until the end. We both, together, only we both, know the past as it truly was."

One day the Countess Gisela von Westaup-Wolf, Kaltenbrunner's mistress and mother of his one-and-a-half-year-old twins, appeared. Begging to be allowed to speak to him, she shed copious tears. They were of no avail; for the time when she might have been allowed to speak to him was past. The Allied Control Council ordered the executions carried out on the fifteenth day after sentencing. The condemned, however, were not informed of the date. Kaltenbrunner, Ribbentrop, Sauckel, and Streicher were in such a state of anguish that it was questionable whether they would retain their sanity till the fatal day...The British and French were so apprehensive about demonstrations or a possible attempt to rescue the prisoners that they insisted that no prior announcement of the executions be made.

October 5, 1946: Dr Pfluecker, Nuremberg Prison's German Doctor, visits all the condemned defendants and records their moods in his diary: "During my rounds on October 5 I find all those sentenced in a calm frame of mind. Kaltenbrunner had had his birthday on the previous day. He says that it feels odd to spend one's birthday with a death sentence in ones pocket." (Maser)

October 6, 1946: Dr Pfluecker's diary:

October 6 is a particularly dull wet day and almost all those condemned discuss the date of their execution. I am glad I know nothing. .... Kaltenbrunner asks me to come into his cell for a moment this evening. Any word he can speak to a German is a comfort to him, he says. He is pleased that the Catholic priest is taking so much trouble about him. (Maser)

October 13, 1946 From Spandau Diary by Albert Speer:

A guard goes from cell to cell. He asks whether we want to make use of our right to a daily walk on the ground floor. The yard is still barred to us. I have to get out; the cell is beginning to feel unbearably oppressive. So I ask to go. But I shudder at the prospect of seeing the men on death row (Note: The 11 condemned men are housed in cells on the ground floor; the 7 sentenced to prison time are being kept in an upper tier of cells). The guard holds out the chrome handcuffs. Linked together, we have some difficulty descending the winding staircase. In the silence, every step on the iron stairs sounds like a thunderclap. On the ground floor I see eleven soldiers staring attentively into eleven cells. The men inside are eleven of the surviving leaders of the Third Reich. ....

Last of all is Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the Gestapo chief, a tall Austrian with sharp features but a curiously mild look in his eyes, who had during the trial in all seriousness denied the authenticity of documents he had signed. As the rules prescribe, most of them are lying on their backs, hands on the blanket, heads turned toward the inside of the cell. A ghostly sight, all of them in their immobility; it looks as though they have already been laid on their biers...I cannot stand it for long. Back in my cell, I decide not to go back down again.

Note: German author Werner Maser, in Nuremberg: A Nation on Trial, comments critically on the above passage by Speer: "These and the comments immediately following are typical of Speer's usual fanciful descriptions. Since he was handcuffed to a guard, he could not have seen what was going on in the cells. His remarks on his fellow-defendants speak for themselves.

October 13, 1946: According to Tusa, Colonel Andrus informs the prisoners on this day that all appeals have been turned down. According to Maser, the defendants' consuls are informed, and they in turn bring the bad news to the defendants. It seems likely that, in the event, it was a mixture of both; those with counsel present informing their clients with Andrus telling those without. Kaltenbrunner, at odds with his counsel and severely depressed, had made no appeal.

October 14, 1946: The condemned men, most of whom have become convinced that the executions will be carried out on the 15th, spend this day as if it were their last. Kaltenbrunner, Frank, and Seyss-Inquart, the three practicing Catholics among the condemned, make their confessions and take communion in their cells." (Heydecker)

October 16, 1946 Spandau Diary:

At some hour of the night I woke up. I could hear footsteps and indistinguishable words in the lower hall. Then silence, broken by a name being called out: 'Ribbentrop!' A cell door is opened; then scraps of phrases, scraping of boots, and reverberating footsteps slowly fading away. Scarcely able to breathe, I sit upright on my cot, hearing my heart beat loudly, at the same time aware that my hands are icy. Soon the footsteps come back and I hear the next name: 'Keitel!' Once more a cell door opens, once more noises and the reverberation of footsteps. Name after name is called... (Speer II)

October 16, 1946: Kaltenbrunner's last words:

I have loved my German people and my fatherland with a warm heart. I have done my duty by the laws of my people and I am sorry this time my people were led by men who were not soldiers and that crimes were committed of which I had no knowledge. Germany, good luck.

October 16, 1946: From The Devil's Disciples by Anthony Read: (The defendant's bodies) were photographed, wrapped in mattress covers, sealed in coffins then driven off in army trucks with a military escort to a crematorium in Munich, which had been told to expect the bodies of fourteen American soldiers. The coffins were opened for inspection by American, British, French and Soviet officials, before being loaded in the cremation ovens. That same evening, a container holding all the ashes was driven away into the Bavarian countryside, in the rain. It stopped in a quiet lane about an hour later, and the ashes were poured into a muddy ditch...

From the New York Times: The ashes of the innocent and the ashes of unspeakable criminals are composed of the same elements, blown by the same winds, dissolved in the same waters. And in the midst of our dark day we must now hope and pray for the growth of a new world.

Twitter: @3rdReichStudies
Featured Sites:
Austria: The Other Germany
Adolf Hitler: The First Super-Villian
Third Reich History: What Happened Today?
Countdown to Infamy: Timeline to Pearl Harbor
Biographical Timeline: of the Infamous Adolf Hitler
Countdown To WW2: August 22 - September 1, 1939
The Nuremberg Nazis: Detailed, Documented Biographies
Wunderwaffen: Hitler's Deception and the History of Rocketry
Main Sites:

Adolf Hitler: The Volkswagen
Adolf Hitler: The Fuehrer's Mercedes
Adolf Hitler: Mein Kampf Examined
In the Shadow of Frederick the Great
Hitler's Battleship: Sink The Bismarck!
Non-Fiction Comics: Military Periodicals
History of Olympic Boycotts: From Berlin to Beijing
Hogan's Jews: 5 Cast Members Were Jews; Their Stories

Disclaimer: The Propagander!™ includes diverse and controversial materials--such as excerpts from the writings of racists and anti-Semites--so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and anti-Semitic discourse. It is our sincere belief that only the informed citizen can prevail over the ignorance of Racialist "thought." Far from approving these writings, The Propagander!™ condemns racism in all of its forms and manifestations.

Fair Use Notice: The Propagander!™may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of historical, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, environmental, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Make your own free website on