Source: Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Vol. II. USGPO, Washington, 1946, pp. 248-302

[Note: The characters in brackets, eg, (2233-N-PS) refer to the official document numbers included in the series Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. A listing of legal references and documents relating to the Gestapo and SD appears on pages 302-316. .For information on the referencing of Internet sources see Chapter 4 of S D Stein Learning, Teaching and Researching on the Internet. Addison Wesley Longman 1999, published November 1998] 

The Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo)
and Sicherheitsdienst (SD)

Nuremberg Charges

Part V

Part I, Part II, Part III,
Part IV, Part VI

Screening and Execution of Prisoners of War (part 2)
Application of "Bullet Decree" to POWs
Committal of Racial and Political Undesirables to Concentration and annihilation Camps
Deportation to Forced Labor
Execution of Captured Commandos and Paratroopers
Nacht und Nebel Erlass ("Night and Fog Decree")
Punishment of Civilians by Special Criminal Procedures

On 17 July 1941 instructions were issued by the GESTAPO to Commandos of the SIPO and SD stationed in Stalags, providing in part as follows:

"The activation of commandos will take place in accordance with the agreement of the Chief of the Security Police and Security Service and the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces as of 16 July 1941 (see enclosure 1). The commandos will work independently according to special authorization and in consequence of the general regulations given to them, in the limit of the camp organizations. Naturally, the commandos will keep close contact with the camp-commander and the defense-officers assigned to him.

"The mission of the commandos is the political investigating of all camp-inmates, the elimination and further 'treatment'

"a. of all political, criminal or in some other way unbearable elements among them.
"b. of those persons who could be used for the reconstruc-tion of the occupied territories.

"The commandos must use for their work as far as possible, at present and even later, the experiences of the camp-commanders which the latter have collected meanwhile from observation of the prisoners and examinations of camp inmates.

"Further, the commandos must make efforts from the beginning to seek out among the prisoners elements which appear reliable, regardless if there are communists concerned or not, in order to use them for intelligence purposes inside of the camp and, if advisable, later in the occupied territories also.

"By use of such informers and by use of all other existing possibilities, the discovery of all elements to be eliminated among the prisoners, must proceed step by step at once. * * *

"Above" all, the following must be discovered :

All important functionaries of state and party, especially

Professional revolutionaries
Functionaries of the Komintern
All policy forming party functionaries of the KPdSU and its fellow organizations in the central committees, in the regional and district committees.
All peoples-commissars and their deputies
All former political commissars in the Red-Army
Leading personalities of the state-authorities of central and middle regions.
The leading personalities of the business world.
Members of the Soviet-Russian intelligence
All Jews All persons who are found to be agitators or fanatical com-munists. * * *

"Executions are not to be held in the camp or in the immediate vicinity of the camp. If the camps in the general-government are in the immediate vicinity of the border, then the prisoners are to be taken for special treatment, if possible, into the former Soviet-Russian territory. * * *

"In regard to executions to be carried out and to the possible removal of reliable civilians and the removal of informers for the Einasatz-group in the occupied territories, the leader of the Einsatz-Kommando [ ?] must make an agreement with the nearest State-Police-Office, as well as with the commandant of the Security Police Unit and Security Service and beyond these with the Chief of the Einsatz-group concerned in the occupied territories. * * *" (502-PS)

On 23 October 1941 the Camp Commander of the concentration camp Gross Rosen reported to Mueller, Chief of the GESTAPO, a list of Russian PWs who had been executed the preceding day. (1165-PS)

On 9 November 1941 Mueller issued a directive to all GESTAPO offices in which he ordered that diseased PWs should be excluded from the transport into the concentration camps for execution. The letter began :

"The commandant of the concentration camps are complaining that 5 to 10 percent of the Soviet Russians destined for execution are arriving in the camps dead or half dead. Therefore the impression has arisen that the Stalags are getting rid of such prisoners in this way. * * *" (1165-PS)

The affidavit of Kurt Lindow, former GESTAPO official, states:

"* * * 2. From 1941 until the middle of 1943 there was attached to subsection IVA1 a special department that was headed by the Regierungsoberinspektor, later Regierungsamtmann, and SS-Hauptsturmbannfuehrer Franz Koenigshaus. In this department were handled matters concerning prisoners of war. I learned from this department that instructions and orders by Reichsfuehrer Himmler, dating from 1941 and 1942, existed according to which captured Soviet Russian political Commissars and Jewish soldiers were to be executed. As far as I know proposals for execution of such PWs were received from the various PW camps. Koenigshaus had to prepare the orders for execution and submitted them to the chief of section IV, Mueller, for signature. These orders were made out so that one order was to be sent to the agency making the request and a second one to the concentration camp designated to carry out the execution. The PWs in question were at first formally released from PW status, then transferred to a concentration camp for execution. * * *

"* * * 4. There existed in the PW camps on the Eastern front small screening teams (Einsatzkommandos) headed by lower ranking members of the Secret Police (GESTAPO). These teams were assigned to the camp commanders and had the job to segregate the PWs who were candidates for execution, according to the orders that had been given, and to report them to the Office of the Secret Police (Gehaimes Staats-polizeiamt). * * *" (2542-PS)

(3) The GESTAPO and SD sent recaptured prisoners of war to concentration camps where they were executed (" Bullet Decree").

In March 1944 the Chief of the Security Police and SD forwarded an OKW order to regional SIPO and SD offices in which the OKW ordered that, on recapture, every escaped officer and nonworking NC0 prisoner of war, with the exception of British and American prisoners of war, were to be handed. over to the SIPO and SD, with the words "Stufe III". Whether escaped British and American officers and nonworking NCOs, upon recapture, should be handed over to the SIPO and SD was to be decided by the High Command of the Army. In connection with this order, the Chief of the Security Police and SD (RSHA) issued instructions that the GESTAPO Leitstellen should take over the escaped officers from the camp commandants and transport them in accordance with a procedure theretofore in force to the Mauthausen concentration camp. The camp commandant was to be informed that the prisoners were being handed over under theoperation "Kugel". On the journey the prisoners of war were to be placed in irons. The GESTAPO Leitstellen were to make half-yearly reports, giving numbers only, of the handing over of prisoners of war. Escaped officer and nonworking NCO prisoners of war, with the exception of British and Americans, recaptured by police stations were not to be handed back to the Stalag command. The Stalag was to be informed of the recapture and asked to surrender them with the words "Stufe III". (1650-PS)

On 27 July 1944 an order from the 6th Corps Area Command was issued on the treatment of prisoners of war, which provided that prisoners of war were to be discharged from prisoner-of-war status and transferred to the GESTAPO if they were guilty of crimes, had escaped and been recaptured, or refused to work or encouraged other prisoners not to work, or were screened out by Einsatzkommandos of the SIPO and SD, or were guilty of sabotage. No reports on transfers were required (1514-PS). This decree was known as the "Kugel Erlass" ("Bullet Decree"). Prisoners of war sent to Mauthausen concentration camp under it were regarded as dead to the outside world and were executed. (2478- PS; 2285-PS.)

(4) The GESTAPO and SD were responsible for establishing and classifying concentration camps, and for committing racial and political undesirables to concentration and annihilation camps for slave labor and mass murder.

The first concentration camps were established in 1933 at Dachau in Bavaria and at Oranienburg in Prussia. The GESTAPO was given by law the responsibility of administering the concentration camps. (2108-PS)

The GESTAPO had the sole authority to take persons into protective custody, and orders for protective custody were carried out in the State concentration camps. (1723-PS)

The GESTAPO issued the orders establishing concentration camps, transforming prisoner of war camps into concentration camps, designating concentration camps as internment camps, changing labor camps into concentration camps, setting up special sections for female prisoners, and so forth. (D-50; D-46.) The Chief of the Security Police and SD ordered the classification of concentration camps according to the seriousness of the accusation and the chances for reforming the prisoners from the Nazi viewpoint. The concentration camps were classified as Classes I, II, or III. Class I was for the least serious prisoners, and Class III for the most serious prisoners. (1063-A-PS)

Regional offices of the GESTAPO had the authority to commit persons to concentration camps for short periods, at first 21 days and later 56 days, but all other orders for protective custody had to be approved by the GESTAPO headquarters in Berlin. Orders for protective custody issued by GESTAPO headquarters had to be signed by or on behalf of the Chief of the Security Police and SD, at first Heydrich, later Kaltenbrunner. (2477-PS)

The Chief of the Security Police and SD had authority to fix the length of the period of custody. During the war it was the policy not to permit the prisoners to know the period of custody and merely to announce the term as "until further notice". (153-PS)

The local GESTAPO offices which made the arrests maintained a register called the "Haftbuch." In this register the names of all persons arrested were listed, together with personal data, grounds for the arrest, and disposition. When orders were received from the GESTAPO headquarters in Berlin to commit persons who had been arrested to concentration camps, an entry was made in the Haftbuch to that effect. The reason assigned for the arrest and commitment of persons to concentration camps usually was that, according to the GESTAPO, the person endangered by his attitude the existence and security of the people and the State. Further specifications of grounds included such offenses as that of "working against the Greater German Reich with an illegal resistance organization," "being a Jew," "suspected of working for the detriment of the Reich," "being strongly suspected of aiding desertion," "because as a relative of a deserter he is expected to take advantage of every occasion to harm the German Reich," "refusal to work," "sexual intercourse with a Pole," "religious propaganda," "working against the Reich," "loafing on the job," or "defeatist statements." Sometimes specification of the grounds simply referred to an "action," under which a large number of persons would be arrested and sent to concentration camps. (L-358; L-215.)

On 16 December 1942, Mueller, Chief of the GESTAPO, reported that, in connection with an increase in slave labor required by concentration camps by 30 January 1943 the GESTAPO could round up 45,000 Jews, including invalids, aged, and children. The telegram stated  

"In accordance with the increased recruitment of manpower into the concentration camps, which was ordered by 30 January 1943, the following may be applied in the Jewish sector:

"1. Total amount: 45,000 Jews.
"2. Start of transportation 11 January 1943.
"3. Completion of transportation 31 January 1943." (1472-PS)

On 17 December 1942, Mueller issued an order to the Kommandeurs and Inspekteurs of the SIPO and SD and to the directors of the GESTAPO regional offices, in which he stated that Himmler, Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police, had given orders on 14 December 1942 that at least 35,000 persons who were fit for work had to be put into concentration camps not later than at the end of January. The order further provided that Eastern or foreign workers who had escaped or broken the labor contracts were to be sent to the nearest concentration camps as quickly as possible, and that inmates of detention rooms and educational work camps who were fit for work should be delivered to the nearest concentration camps. (1063-D-PS)

On 23 March 1943, Mueller issued another directive referring to said directive of 17 December 1942, in which he stated that measures are to be carried out until 30 April 43. More explicit instructions were given as to which concentration camps the slave laborers were to be sent. He said:

"Care has to be taken that only prisoners who are fit for work are sent to concentration camps, and adolescents only in accordance with the provisions issued; otherwise, contrary to the purpose, the concentration camps become overburdened." (L-41)

On 25 June 1943, MuelIer issued an order stating that the decrees of 17 December 1942 and of 23 March 1943 had achieved the intended goal. (1063-E-PS)

On 21 April 1943, the Minister of Justice declared in a letter that the RSHA had ordered on 11 March 1943 that all Jews who were released from prison were to be handed over to the GESTAPO for lifelong detainment in the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Lublin. Poles released after an imprisonment of over six months were to be transferred to the GESTAPO for internment in a concentration camp for the duration of the war. (701-PS)

The arrest of Jews and their shipment to annihilation camps was carried out under the direction of Eichmann, head of the section handling Jews in the Gestapo. Eichmann's staff was composed of members of the SIPO, especially the GESTAPO. 'The Jews were shipped on order of the SIPO and SD to annihilation camps in the East. Eichmann estimated, and so reported to Himmler, that 4,000,000 Jews were killed in the annihilation camps in the East, in addition to the 2,000,000 Jews shot by the Einsatz Groups. The extermination of Jews in the annihilation camps was accomplished mainly after the beginning of 1943, during the time Kaltenbrunner was the Chief of the Security Police and SD. (2615-PS)

(5) The GESTAPO and the SD participated in the deportation of citizens of occupied countries for forced labor and handled the disciplining of forced labor.

On 26 November 1942, Fritz Sauckel transmitted a letter to the president of provincial employment offices in which he stated that he had been advised by the Chief of the Security Police and SD (RSHA) under date of 26 October 1942 that during the month of November the evacuation of Poles in the Lublin district would begin in order to make room for the settlement of persons of the German race. The Poles who were evacuated as a result of this measure were to be put into concentration camps for labor so far as they were criminal or asocial. The remaining Poles who were suitable for labor were to be transported without their families into the Reich, there to be put at the disposal of the Labor Allocation Offices to serve as replacements for Jews eliminated from the armament factories. (L-61)

During 1943 the program of mass murder carried out by the Einsatz Groups in the East was modified, and orders were issued to round up hundreds of thousands of persons for the armament industry.

"In the shortest possible time the Ukraine has to put at the disposal of the armament industry one million workers, 500 of whom have to be sent from our territory daily. * * * The activity of the labor offices * * * is to be supported to the greatest extent possible. * * * When searching villages, esp. when it has beeome necessary to burn down a village, the whole population will be put at the disposal of the Commissions by force. * * * The most important thing is the recruiting of workers."(3012-PS)

On 18 June 1941 secret orders were issued from the Chief of the Security Police and SD, signed by Mueller, to prevent the return of Eastern emigrants and civilian workers from the Reich to the East, and to keep them in German war production. Any attempts at refusal to work were to be countered by the GESTAPO with the severest measures, arrest and confinement in concentration camps (1573-PS). The Chief of the Security Police and SD had exclusive jurisdiction over labor reformatory camps established under control of the GESTAPO for disciplining foreign workers. (1063-B-PS)

(6) The GESTAPO and SD executed captured commandos and paratroopers, and protected civilians who lynched Allied flyers.

On 4 August 1942 Keitel issued an order which provided that the GESTAPO and SD were responsible for taking counter-measures against single parachutists or small groups of them with special missions. Even if such paratroopers were captured by the Wehrmacht, they were to be handed over to the GESTAPO and the SD. (553-PS)

On 18 October 1942, Hitler ordered that all members of Commando units, even when in uniform, or members of sabotage groups, armed or not, were to be exterminated to the last man by fighting or by pursuing them. Even if they wished to surrender, they were not to be spared. Members of such Commandos, acting as agents, saboteurs, etc., handed over to the Wehrmacht through other channels, were to be turned over immediately to the SD. (498-PS)

On 17 June 1944, the Chief of the Security Police and SD, in a Top Secret letter to the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, stated that he had instructed the Commander of the SIPO and SD in Paris to treat parachutists in English uniform as members of Commando operations in accordance with Hitler's order of 18 October 1942. (1276-PS)

On 26 June 1944, WFST issued an order in which it was stated that enemy paratroopers landing in Brittany were to be treated as commandos, and that it was immaterial whether the paratroopers were in uniform or civilian clothes. The order provided that in cases of doubt enemy soldiers who were captured alive were to be handed over to the SD for examination as to whether the Fuehrer Order of 18 October 1942 was to be applied or not. (532-PS)

Commandos turned over to the SIPO and SD under these orders were executed. (526-PS; 2374-PS.)

The affidavit of Adolf Zutter, former adjutant of Mauthausen concentration camp, states in part:

"* * * Concerning the American Military Mission which landed behind the German front in the Slovakian or Hungarian area in January, 1945, I remember, when these officers were brought to Camp Mauthausen; I suppose the number of the arrivals were about 12 to 15 men. They wore a uniform which was American or Canadian ; brown-green color, shirt, and cloth cap. Eight or ten days after their arrival the execution order came in by telegraph or teletype. Standartenfuehrcr Ziereis came to me into my office and told me now Kaltenbrunner has given the permission for the execution. This letter was secret and had the signature: signed Kaltenbrunner. Then, these people were shot according to martial law and their belongings were given to me by 1st Sgt. [Oberscharfuehrer] Niedermeyer. * * *" (L-51)

On 10 August 1943, Himmler issued an order to the Security Police stating that it was not the task of the Police to interfere in clashes between Germans and English and American terror flyers who had bailed out. (R-110)

In 1944 at a conference of Amt Chiefs Kaltenbrunner said:

"All offices of the SD and the security police are to be informed that pogroms of the populace against English and American terror-flyers are not to be interfered with; on the contrary, this hostile mood is to be fostered." (2990-PS)

On 12 June 1944 the Chief of the SD-Abschnitte Koblenz stated that the Army had issued a similar order, namely, that German soldiers were not to protect enemy flyers from the populace and that the Army no longer attached value to enemy flyers taken prisoner. (745-PS)

(7) The GESTAPO and SD took civilians of occupied countries to Germany for secret trial and punishment ("Nacht und Nebel Erlass").

On 7 December 1941 Hitler issued the directive, since called the "Nacht und Nebel Erlass" (Night and Fog Decree), under which persons who committed offenses against the Reich or occupation forces in occupied territories, except where death sentence was certain, were to be taken secretly to Germany and surrendered to the Security Police and SD for trial or punishment in Germany. An executive ordinance was issued by Keitel the same date, and on 4 February 1942 the directive and ordinance were published to the police and the SS. (L-90)

In compliance with the above directive, the military intelligence turned over cases, other than those in which the death sentence was probable, to the GESTAPO and the Secret Field Police for secret deporting to Germany. (833-PS)

After the civilians arrived in Germany, no word of the disposition of their cases was permitted to reach the country from which they came, or their relatives. Even when they died awaiting trial, the SIPO and SD refused to notify the families, so that anxiety would be created in the minds of the family of the arrested person. (668-PS)

(8) The GESTAPO and SD arrested, tried, and punished citizens of occupied territories under special criminal procedure and by summary methods.

The GESTAPO arrested, placed in protective custody, and executed civilians of occupied territories under certain circumstances. Even where there were courts capable of handling emergency cases, the GESTAPO conducted its own executions without regard to normal judicial processes. (674-PS)

On 18 September 1942, Thierack, the Reich Minister of Justice, and Himmler came to an understanding by which antisocial elements were to be turned over to Himmler to be worked to death, and a special criminal procedure was to be applied by the police to the Jews, Poles, gypsies, Russians, and Ukrainians who were not to be tried in ordinary criminal courts. (654-PS)

On 5 September 1942 an order was issued by the RSHA to the offices of the GESTAPO and SD covering this understanding. This order provided that ordinary criminal procedure would not be applied against Poles, Jews, gypsies, and other Eastern people, but that instead they would be turned over to the police. Such persons of foreign extraction were to be treated on a basis entirely different from that applied to Germans.

"* * * Such considerations which may be right for adjudicating a. punishable offense committed by a German are, however, wrong for adjudicating a punishable offense committed by a person of alien race. In the case of punishable offenses committed by a person of alien race the personal motives actuating the offender must be completely eliminated. The only standard may be that German civil order is endangered by his action, and that consequently preventive measures must be taken to prevent the recurrence of such risks. In other words, the action of a person of alien race is not to be viewed from the angle of judicial expiation, but from the angle of the police guard against danger.

"As a result of this, the administration of penal law for persons of alien race must be transferred from the hands of the administrators of justice into the hands of the police. * * *" (L-316)

Gestapo and SD Nuremberg Charges, Part VI
Gestapo and SD Nuremberg Charges, Part IV

Document compiled by Dr S D Stein
Last update 18/01/99
Stuart.Stein@uwe.ac.uk
ęS D Stein

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