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October 19, 2011

Goering testified at Nuremberg that neither he nor Hitler knew anything about the mass murder in the concentration camps

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 6:02 am

Hermann Goering was the number 2 man in the German Reich up until 1943.  At the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, Goering told the Allied prosecutors that he knew nothing about the killing of 4 million people in the concentration camps. Amazingly, he maintained that Hitler did not know about the Holocaust either.

Goering denied that Germany had a policy to exterminate the Jews.  He claimed that Germany had a policy of emigration, not liquidation of the Jews.  I have given the highlights of Goering’s testimony below.  The important points are highlighted in bold.  

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Witness, I want you to deal with the sentence in paragraph 6.

Now, this paragraph is certainly directed to all administrative levels down to the Kreisleiter, county leaders of the Nazi Party, and it assumes they knew all about the running of concentration camps. Are you telling the Tribunal that you, who up to 1943 were the second man in the Reich, knew nothing about concentration camps?

Goering: First of all, I want to say once more that I do not accept this document, and that its whole wording is unknown to me, and that this paragraph appears unusual to me. I did not know anything about what took place and what methods were used in the concentration camps later, when I was no longer in charge.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Let me remind you of the evidence that has been given before this Court, that as far as Auschwitz alone is concerned, 4,000,000 people were exterminated. Do you remember that?

Goering: This I have heard as a statement here, but I consider it in no way proved — that figure, I mean.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: If you do not consider it proved, let me remind you of the affidavit of Hoettl, who was Deputy Group Leader of the Foreign Section, of the Security Section of Amt IV of the RSHA. He says that approximately 4,000,000 Jews have been killed in the concentration camps, while an additional 2,000,000 met death in other ways. Assume that these figures — one is a Russian figure, the other a German — assume they are even 50 percent correct, assume it was 2,000,000 and 1,000,000, are you telling this Tribunal that a Minister with your power in the Reich could remain ignorant that that was going on?

Goering: This I maintain, and the reason for this is that these things were kept secret from me. I might add that in my opinion not even the Fuehrer knew the extent of what was going on.

This is also explained by the fact that Himmler kept all these matters very secret. We were never given figures or any other details.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But, Witness, haven’t you access to the foreign press, the press department in your ministry, to foreign broadcasts? You see, there is evidence that altogether, when you take the Jews and other people, something like 10,000,000 people have been done to death in cold blood, apart from those killed in


21 March 46

battle. Something like 10,000,000 people. Do you say that you never saw or heard from the foreign press, in broadcasts, that this was going on?

Goering: First of all, the figure 10,000,000 is not established in any way. Secondly, throughout the war I did not read the foreign press, because I considered it nothing but propaganda. Thirdly, though I had the right to listen to foreign broadcasts, I never did so, simply because I did not want to listen to propaganda. Neither did I listen to home propaganda.

Only during the last 4 days of the war did I — and this I could prove — listen to a foreign broadcasting station for the first time.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You told Mr. Justice Jackson yesterday that there were various representatives in Eastern territories, and you have seen the films of the concentration camps, haven’t you, since this Trial started? You knew that there were millions of garments, millions of shoes, 20,952 kilograms of gold wedding rings, 35 wagons of furs — all that stuff which these people who were exterminated at Maidanek or Auschwitz left behind them. Did nobody ever tell you, under the development of the Four Year Plan, or anyone else, that they were getting all these amounts of human material? Do you remember we heard from the Polish Jewish gentleman, who gave evidence, that all he got back from his family, of his wife and mother and daughter, I think, were their identity cards? His work was to gather up clothes. He told us that so thorough were the henchmen of your friend Himmler that it took 5 minutes extra to kill the women because they had to have their hair cut off as it was to be used for making mattresses. Was nothing ever told you about this accretion to German material, which came from the effects of these people who were murdered?

Goering: No, and how can you imagine this? I was laying down the broad outlines for the German economy, and that certainly did not include the manufacture of mattresses from women’s hair or the utilization of old shoes and clothes. I leave the figure open. But, also I do want to object to your reference to my “friend Himmler.”

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I will say, “your enemy Himmler,” or simply “Himmler” whichever you like. You know whom I mean, don’t you?

Goering: Yes, indeed.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, I just want to remind you of one other point: Exhibit Number USA-228, Document Number 407(V)-PS, ” . . . I have the honor to report to you that it was possible to add 3,638,056 new foreign workers to the German war economy between April 1st of last year and March 31st of this year… In


21 March 46

addition to the foreign civilian workers 1,622,929 prisoners of war are employed in the German economy.” Now, just listen to this, “out of the 5,000,000 foreign workers who have arrived in Germany, not even 200,000 came voluntarily.” That is from the minutes of the Central Planning Board on the 1st of March. Do you say that you, in your position in the State and as the great architect of German economy, did not know that you were getting for your economy 4,800,000 foreign workers who were forced to come? Do you tell the Tribunal that?

Goering: I never told the Tribunal that. I said that I knew quite well that these workers were brought in and not always voluntarily, but whether the figure of 200,000 is correct, that I do not know, and I do not believe it either. The number of volunteers was greater, but this does not alter the fact that workers were forced to come to the Reich. That I have never denied, and have even admitted it.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You admit — and I want to put it quite fairly — that a large number of workers were forced to come to the Reich and work there?

Goering: Yes, certainly.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, would you like to adjourn now?


[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]


21 March 46

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.


SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You heard what I read to you about Hitler, what he said to Horthy and what Ribbentrop said, that the Jews must be exterminated or taken to concentration camps. Hitler said the Jews must either work or be shot. That was in April 1943. Do you still say that neither Hitler nor you knew of this policy to exterminate the Jews?

Goering: For the correctness of the document.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Will you please answer my question. Do you still say neither Hitler nor you knew of the policy to exterminate the Jews?

Goering: As far as Hitler is concerned, I have said I do not think so. As far as I am concerned, I have said that I did not know, even approximately, to what extent these things were taking place.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You did not know to what degree, but you knew there was a policy that aimed at the extermination of the Jews?

Goering: No, a policy of emigration, not liquidation of the Jews. I knew only that there had been isolated cases of such perpetrations.



I previously blogged about the closing statement made by the prosecution at the Nuremberg IMT here.


  1. According to the Hungarian journalist Louis Marshalko in his book The World Conquerers, of the 3000 persons on the trial staff at Nuremburg, 2400 were Jews. The (German Jewish Marxist) Frankfurt School – Herbert Marcuse, Franz Neumann, Theodore Adorno, Otto Kirchheimer were there with the OSS. Lt. Col. David “Mickey” Marcus, chief of the War Crimes Division, went on to build the Israel Defense Forces for David Ben Gurion under an assumed name and identity.

    Nazi War Crimes: US Intelligence And Selective Prosecution at Nuremberg
    Michael Salter

    The lengthy section on Donovan’s role in the preparation of the Trial of the Major War Criminals in 1945 does not reveal for the first time that the OSS played an important role, but it does make clear the sheer extent of the help that the OSS chief provided in terms of trained personnel; intelligence analysis of the Nazi state from OSS experts like Franz Naumann; the location, collection, and translation of key captured German documents in London; the provision of Dulles’s informants from within Nazi Germany such as Fritz Kolbe, Hans Gisevius, and Fabian von Schlabrendorff; and even courtroom presentations such as the stirring film used at the Tribunal, _Nazi Concentration Camps_.Donovan, Salter shows, had an interest in punishing the guilty almost from the moment
    OSS was formed in 1942, and while the U.S. and British diplomatic and military establishments dithered in arriving at a war crimes policy, Donovan and the OSS Research and Analysis staff assembled lists of likely defendants while thinking about the laws under which postwar trials might take place. Donovan, an accomplished legal mind whose views are often left out of books covering the legal debates leading to Nuremberg, wanted German trials under Allied supervision under existing German law to avoid later accusations of victor’s justice and_ ex post facto law_, charges that have bedeviled Nuremberg to this day. He even considered plea bargains for certain defendants (including Hermann G?ring and Hjalmar Schacht) on the assumption that they would reveal much about their former comrades and completely de-legitimize the Nazi state. Donovan lost these and other arguments and had left his post as Jackson’s top lieutenant by the time the trial started in October 1945. But his role in terms of institutional help from OSS and in terms of presenting legal alternatives was enormous and indispensable. Reviewed by Norman J.W. Goda (Department of History, Ohio University)

    Robert Kemper (German Jew) – Assistant Chief Counsellor
    He coerced witnesses … with threats of deportation to Russia”
    “[H]e allowed the faking of movie and photographic evidence”
    “[He] stole numbers of original documents from the archives”
    “[He] also purloined from Nuremberg Trial records the
    original diaries of chief Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg”

    Portraits of (Jewish) Women at Nuremberg
    by Diane Marie Amann

    Click to access portraits-of-women-at-nuremberg.pdf

    Nuremburg Judge Rubbish Nuremberg Trials

    Too many Jews at Nuremberg

    Comment by who+dares+wings — October 19, 2011 @ 8:44 am

    • Thanks w+d+w I was hoping you would elaborate on that, which you commented at akira’s place a while back, a little.

      Comment by INCOMING!!!!!!! — October 23, 2011 @ 9:00 am

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