Willy Seibert

SS-Colonel Willi Seibert graduated from the University of Goettingen in 1931 as a graduate economist. He served in the Army from 1932 until 1935 when he entered the SD as an expert in economics. In 1939 he became Chief of Group III D, Economics, in the RSHA and, as such, Deputy to defendant Ohlendorf. He continued in this capacity until transferred to service with Einsatzgruppe D in May 1941.

The defendant Ohlendorf, in his affidavit made on April 2, 1947 declared:

"The former Standartenfuehrer Willi Seibert was my Chief II, (Leiter III). Since he was the senior officer from point of service after me, he was entrusted by me with the duties of a deputy during my absence. On of his tasks was the composition of all reports which went to the higher headquarters, to the Reich Main Security

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Office, Berlin, and to the 11th Army. In rare cases only, if very important reports had to be written, I dictated them myself and later informed Seibert of the contents as a routine (customary) matter. Seibert had full access to all the secret files; including those which were designated as Top Secret. In cases where reports bear my signature these can just as well have been written by Seibert as by me. Reports which are signed by Seibert were, as a rule, written by him during my absence from the Einsatzgruppe. Seibert was acquainted with all the duties and problems within the framework of Einsatzgruppe D. Only two people could have had complete knowledge of the number of executions which took place, namely Seibert and myself."

In an affidavit dated February 4, 1947, which has already been cited and quoted from, the defendant Schubert stated that the radio reports on the activities of Einsatzgruppe D were known only to Ohlendorf, Seibert and the telegraphist. Further, that Seibert accompanied Ohlendorf on journeys of inspection.

On the witness stand both Ohlendorf and Schubert modified their original statements as to Seibert's activities with the Einsatzgruppe and endeavored to delimit his functions to those of Chief of Office III. This modification could well have stemmed from a desire to help a co-defendant, rather than because of a mistaken statement in the first instance. One could err in the general summing up of another's activities, but it is difficult to comprehend how one in the normal possession of faculties of memory and reflection could ascribe the accomplishment of a very specific act to another if, in fact, it had not occurred. Thus, in his affidavit of April 2, 1947, Ohlendorf stated: "The only people whom I generally assigned to inspections were, except for Schubert, Will Seibert and Hans Gabel." Here we have a very definite type of work.

Schubert, in his affidavit of February 24, 1947, very specifically declared that Willy Seibert was Ohlendorf's deputy, and that Ohlendorf or Seibert had assigned him to supervise and inspect an execution which involved some 700 people. Schubert could scarcely have credited Seibert with this type of executive

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authority unless he was aware he possessed it. One Karl Jonas declared by affidavit that Seibert was deputy to Ohlendorf.

In his own affidavit Seibert declared that, although he did represent his chief "in all matters which a Chief III has to work out." And then he explained that "as senior officer on the staff of the Einsatzgruppe" he "took over all tasks within the Group whenever Ohlendorf was absent from the Group."

Although the defendant attempted to testifyingly confine his activities to those falling within the normal scope of Office III, he did state that he made inspections of Tarter companies, that he engaged in combat actions against partisans and that he did make reports on executions. These assignments obviously do not fall within the duties of a Chief of Office II, as Office III was described by Seibert.

Ohlendorf testified that Standartenfuehrer Setzen had been originally appointed by Heydrich as chief of the Department IV in his Einsatzgruppe. Under the plan of organization, Setzen would thus become Ohlendorf's deputy in executive functions of the Einsatzgruppe. However, Ohlendorf did not use Setzen for this purpose. He assigned him to the leadership of a subkommando, and the evidence is entirely convincing that he used Seibert for functions which would otherwise have been performed by Setzen. Seibert had been Ohlendorf's deputy in Office III of the RSHA since 1939. It would be quite natural for Ohlendorf to want Seibert, who had been his deputy in Berlin, to continue in a similar capacity in the field. And it is significant that they both returned at about the same time to the RSHA in Berlin and Seibert once more took up his duties as deputy to Ohlendorf in Office III.

The prosecution submitted two documents in the nature of reports signed by Seibert as acting commander for Ohlendorf during the latter's absence. These reports show conclusively that Seibert was reporting upon the general activities of the Einsatzgruppen, which included executions, planning operations, and negotiations with Army officials, and in one of the documents Seibert is revealed

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requesting a conference with the Chief of Staff of the Army. A report (Register No. 1118/42) dated April 16, 1942, carried the phrase "The Crimea is freed of Jews." Seibert knew the full significance of that phrase. He was questioned about it on the witness stand:

"Q. When you signed the report which contained a reference to the settlement of the Jewish problem, you were aware that the settlement of the Jewish problem meant the execution of Jews?

A. That did not have to be the case, Your Honor, because in the country Jews were not executed, or at least during the first time; they were assigned to labor, and then they were collected for such purpose and, of course, Jews were also executed.

Q. Eventually they were executed?

A. Yes, that is probably the case....

Q. And when you signed the report which contained the phrase, 'The Crimea is freed of Jews,' you knew what had happened to the Jews?

A. Yes, I knew that."

Seibert admitted having witnessed two executions and stated that he did not exclude the possibility that Jews were among the executees. He also knew that Jews and Communist functionaries were shot without investigation:

" So you know that of your own knowledge that people were sentenced to be shot without any investigation or trial?

A. Yes, I had to assume that from the Fuehrer-Order."

Seibert admits that he passed on to the commanders of Einsatzgruppe D any orders from Army Headquarters which should arrive during Ohlendorf's absence.

The Tribunal finds that Seibert was in fact, if not in name, Ohlendorf's deputy in the Einsatzgruppe D. In finds further that he was thoroughly aware of the activities of Einsatzgruppe D and participated as a principal as well as an accessory in its operations which violated International Law, and fall within the provisions of Control Counsel Law No. 10.

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The Tribunal finds from all the evidence in the case that the defendant is guilty under Counts I and II in the Indictment.

The Tribunal also finds that the defendant was a member of the criminal organizations SS and SD under the conditions defined by the Judgment of the International Military Tribunal and, therefore, is guilty under Count III of the Indictment.

Musmanno, Michael A., U.S.N.R, Military Tribunal II, Case 9: Opinion and Judgment of the Tribunal. Nuremberg: Palace of Justice. 8 April 1948. pp. 164 - 168 (original mimeographed copy)

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Electric Zen
Ken Lewis
May 17, 1998
Rev. 1.0