From PRO file WO.208/4169: optically scanned. Please report obvious scanning errors. [Report] Crown Copyright. Copyright in the original document is vested in Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London.
C. S. D. I. C. (U.K.)
Information received: 28 Dec 44
KITTEL: (re administration in RUSSIA) I quarrelled with every Security Service chief because I would brook no in my affairs. I had the sentences prepared for me, then I had them brought to me and signed them personally from the very beginning, from a certain level of severity upwards. That's to say, I wasn't interested in two years' im-prisonment; the people could demand that themselves, but ten years' hard labour or six years' penal servitude or a death sentence I said: "I'm going to sign those myself," having regard alone to the political consequences. I had town majors who have straight away hanged a Russian for the theft of a piece of soap. The very first thing I did if I arrived somewhere and got a town major's office under my control was just to say to my operations officer: "Please issue order No. so-and-so." That set out what sentences he could inflict and what he could not inflict and stated that I reserve for myself the right of confirmation of all death sentences and that they were to be confirmed by me.
? BRUHN: But surely those 'Wehrmachtskommandanten' were always army officers -
? BRUHN: Reserve officers, or were they SS officers?
KITTEL: There were a great many regular officers among them.
? FELBERT: Can the officers be classified by saying that the very young ones who went through the Hitler Youth Movement and became 'Bannführer' etc. were particularly strict?
KITTEL: No. The people in control there were nothing but old crocks. There were some queer fish among them. I'll just pick out one case: I had one town major who was at MACHAJEWKA(?) near STALINO. MACHAJEWKA(?) was a fairly large place, with 300,000 inhabitants. He was a regular officer and had now finally been discharged with the rank of 'Oberstleutnant'.
? FELBERT: But didn't have anything at all to do with politics?
KITTEL: He had nothing to do with politics. When he was in ordinary uniform he looked tolerable. He had had a summer tunic made out of drill, evidently to his own specifications, and one day a few soldiers came to the town major's office at MACHAJEWKA(?) and presented in front of my desk a man they were holding by the scruff of the neck. "I've got a Russian spy here." (laughs). It was the town major himself! He had asked a few soldiers where they came from and where they were going, so they had seized him by the scruff of the neck and marched him into his own office. And that swine had hanged more than anybody else. I put an end to his activity then. He was an Austrian, funnily enough, for the Austrians were extraordinarily lenient otherwise. I always said I was glad if I didn't have a fire-eater as town major, who always thinks that everyone is a bandit and is bound to get the wrong man in the end. A charming Austrian like that, who occasionally drank a vodka with them and got on very well with the mayor, and in that way slowly collected people he could trust; one like that has ..far better service than one who bangs on the table and says: . "Eight horses were stolen to-night; I'm going to burn down this village." They did that, too.
? FELBERT: So the crimes of which we are being accused there, these murders etc., can be grouped: one group consists of political crimes carried out by the SS and Security Service; but then there is also a second group of crimes committed by town majors who have overstepped the mark in an obvious failure to recognise a just verdict.
KITTEL: All these matters could very quickly be rectified by the mere fact that they came to light.
BRUHN: Was action taken against these gentlemen?
KITTEL: Yes. Those town majors had complete freedom of action. The paragraphs on the rights and duties of the military administration were drawn up so loosely that that was perfectly possible. He said: "That is an act against the Armed Forces." The penalty for an act against the Armed Forces is death, so he gave the death sentence. To begin with, my military police confiscated goods, and I said: "I shall punish any man who confiscates anything. Whatever is confiscated goes to a hospital."
FELBERT: Have you also known places from which the Jews have been removed?
FELBERT: Was that carried out quite systematically?
FILBERT: Women and children everybody?
KITTEL: Everybody. Horrible!
FELBERT: Were they loaded into trains?
KITTEL: If only they had been loaded into trains! The things I've experienced! I then sent a man along and said: "I order this to stop. I can't stand it any longer.' For instance, in LATVIA, near DVINSK, there were mass executions of Jews carried out by the SS or Security Service. There were about fifteen Security Service men and perhaps sixty Latvians, who are known to be the most brutal people in the world. I was lying in bed early one Sunday morning when I kept on hearing two salvoes followed by small arms fire. I got up and went out and asked: "What's all this shooting?" The orderly said to me: "You ought to go over there, sir, you'll see something." I only went fairly near and that was enough for me. 300 men had been driven out of DVINSK; they dug a trench - men and women dug a communal grave and then marched home. The next day along they came again - men, women and children - they were counted off and stripped naked; the executioners first laid all the clothes in one pile. Then twenty women had to take up their position naked on the edge of the trench, they were shot and fell down into it.
FELBERT: How was it done.?
KITTEL: They faced the. trench and then twenty Latvians came up behind and simply fired once through the back of their heads. There was a sort of step in the trench, so that they stood rather lower than the Latvians, who stood up on the edge and simply shot them through the head, and they fell down forwards into the trench. After that came twenty men and they were killed by a salvo in just the same way. Someone gave the command and the twenty fell into the trench like ninepins. Then came the worst thing of all; I went away and said: "I'm going to do something about this." I got into my car and went to this Security Service man and said: "Once and for all, I forbid these executions outside, where people can look on. If you shoot people in the wood or somewhere where no-one can see, that's your own affair. But I absolutely forbid another day's shooting there. We draw our drinking water from deep springs; we're getting nothing but corpse water there.' It was the MESCHEPS spa where I was; it lies to the north of a DVINSK.
FELBERT: What did they do to the children?
KITTEL: (very excited): They seized three-year old children by the hair, held them up and shot them with a pistol and then threw them in. I saw that for myself. One could watch it; the SD had roped the area off and the people were standing watching from about 300 m. off. The Latvians and the German soldiers were just standing there, looking on.
FELBERT: What kind of SD people are they, then?
KITTEL: Nauseating! I'm convinced that they'll all be shot.
FELBERT: Where were they from, from which formation?
KITTEL: They were Germans and they were wearing the SD uniform with the black flashes on which is written 'Sonder-Dienst'.
FELBERT: Were all the executioners Latvians?
FELBERT: But a German gave the order, did he?
KITTEL: Yes. The Germans directed affairs and the Latvians carried them out. The Latvians searched all the clothes.
The SD fellow saw reason and said: "Yes, We will do it somewhere else." They were all Jews who had been brought in from the country districts. Latvians wearing the armband - the Jews were brought in and were then robbed; there was a terrific bitterness against the Jews at DVINSK, and the people simply gave vent to their rage.
FELBERT: Against the Jews?
SCHAEFER: Yes, because the Russians had dragged off 60,000 Estonians. But, of course, the flames had been fanned. Tell me, what sort of an im-pression did these people create? Did you ever see any of them shortly before they were shot? Did they weep?
KITTEL: It was terrible. I once saw them being transported but I had no idea that they were people who were being driven to their execution.
SCHAEFER: Have the people any idea what is in store for them?
KITTEL: They know perfectly well; they are apathetic. I'm not sensitive myself but such things just turn my stomach; I always said: "One ceases to be a human being; that's got nothing more to do with war-fare." I once had the senior chemist for organic chemistry from IG FARBEN as my adjutant and because they had nothing better for him to do, he had been called up and sent to the front. He's back home again now, though he got there quite accidentally. The man was done for weeks. He sat in the corner the whole time and wept. He said: "When one considers that it may be like that everywhere!" He was an important scientist and a musician with a highly strung nervous system.
FELBERT: That shows why FINLAND deserted us, why ROUMANIA deserted us, why everyone hates us everywhere - not because of that single incident but because of the great number of similar incidents.
KITTEL: If one were to destroy all the Jews of the world simultaneously there wouldn't remain a single accuser.
FELBERT: (Very excited and shouting) It's obvious; it's such a scandal; it doesn't need to be a Jew to accuse us we ourselves must bring the charge; we must accuse the people who have done it.
KITTEL: Then one must admit that our State system was wrongly built.
FELBERT: (Shouting) It is, it's obvious that it's wrong, there's no doubt about it. Such a thing is unbelievable.
BRUHN: We are the tools -
FELBERT: That will be marked up against us afterwards, as though it had been we who did it.
? BRUHN: If you come along today as a German general people think: "He knows everything; he knows about that, too," and if we then say: "We had nothing to do with it," the people won't believe us. All the hatred and all the aversion is a result purely and simply of these murders, and I must say that if one believes at all in divine justice, one deserves, if one has five children, as I have, to have one or two killed in this way, so that that may be avenged. If one sheds blood like that, one does not deserve victory; one has deserved what has now come to pass.
? FELBERT: I don't know at whose instigation that was done - if it came from HIMMLER then he is the arch-criminal. Actually you are the first general who has told me that himself. I've always believed that these articles were all lies.
KITTEL: I keep silent about a great many things; they are too awful.
FELBERT: Do you think it all comes from HIMMLER?
KITTEL: Naturally. If someone at the top says: "Exterminate those cattle" - off they all go. I had rows about the thing with every single chief of police. The Chief of Police in WEIMAR came to me, an unparalleled DON QUIXOTE, wearing the uniform of a 'Generalleutnant' I was 'Generalmajor' in LAMMERSDORF(?). I said: "What do you want to discuss with me?" -- "Well, well, etc., the whole situation here displeases me, it will be fundamentally altered immediately, it's disgraceful," etc. -- "I'm sorry if you do not agree with some of my measures; you can naturally tell me that quite calmly but not in this way. I will send for my 'Kriegsverwaltungsrat'." --"Who is that?' I said: "You shall meet him directly.' It was Dr SCHMIDTHUBER(?), a MUNICH notary. Well, he came in and had the general turned round and said: "So that's what the fellow, looks like.' I said: ''Excuse me, general, this is my 'Kriegsverwaltungsrat'. I do not wish my subordinates to be spoken of in that tone in my house." I've already heard all kinds of things about him. " SCHMIDTHUBER(?) smilingly stood in a front of him and said: "Sir, I would point out that I am senior in SS rank to you." He is the only SS man whom I have met who managed things charitably and sensibly... The man was worth his weight in gold to me. I was still inexperienced in all those things. How should I know all about the administration of the town; how should I know about the administration of a province half as large as BAVARIA? He knew something about it, for in BAVARIA he was the big man for concluding contracts. He drew up government contracts and so on. He, too, always said: "Sir, everything will have its revenge; let us keep clear. Let us accept no invitations from the SD; let us accept no invitations to houses where Jewish loot is to be found; let us never remove furniture from Jewish homes; instead we will live simply and modestly with whatever we happen to find." I could go on telling you things for days on end.
FELBERT: What happened to the young, pretty girls? Were they formed into a harem?
KITTEL: I didn't bother about that. I only found that they did become more reasonable. At least they had concentration camps for the Jews at CRACOW. At any rate, from the moment I had chosen a safe place and I built the concentration camp, things became quite reasonable. They certainly had to work hard. The women question is a very shady chapter.
FELBERT: If people were killed simply because their carpets and furniture were needed, I can well imagine that if there is a pretty daughter who looks Aryan, she would simply be sent somewhere as a maid-servant.
KITTEL: You've no idea what mean and stupid things are done. You can't get at the people concerned. If you go for a fellow like that, he'll hang a political on you. I have politically a ..... because I have made trouble about various things.
FELBERT: What happens to the people who complain?
KITTEL: They are simply undermined. They can't maintain their position. Some dirty work is started, an anonymous letter, is written 'Semper aliquid haeret'. Now and again you are compelled to take drastic measures to catch one of those fellows. At every attack which you make upon a certain class in our State administration, you get in return three or four unfounded, either anonymous or somehow raked together, counter-blows.
I had an Oberst BIERKAMP(?) as head of the Security Service at CRACOW.
BRUHN: What sort of people are they?
KITTEL: They are Party members and civilians; they are Security Service people. When HIMMLER formed his state within the state, the Security Service was founded like this: they took 50% good police officials who were not politically tainted; and added to them 50% criminals. That's how the Security Service arose. (laughter) There's one man in the criminal department in BERLIN, in that famous 'Z' section, whom I frequently used when espionage cases were being held by us in the Ordnance Branch; and the question then arose of nationality and of whether they had not already got a file, whether the man had not cropped up somewhere before. There is the so-called 'Z' section for foreigners. I don't know what 'Z' means. It was called 'Z' section 'K'. After 1933 he said to me: "We have been sifted through now. The politically tainted officials of the State Police have been got rid of and have either been pensioned off or put into positions where they can no longer do any harm. The sound nucleus of police officials, which every State needs, is now intermingled with people from the underworld of BERLIN, who, however, made them-selves prominent in the Movement at the right time. They have now been put to work with the others," He said straight out: "50% of us are decent people and 50% are criminals." SCHAEFER: I think, if such conditions are permitted in a modern State, one can only say that the sooner this pack of swine disappear, the better.
KITTEL: We fools have just watched all these things going on. Did you never know that HIMMLER is a state within the state?
SCHAEFER & BRUHN: No:
KITTEL: I've often sat up all night discussing with people how the THIRD REICH came into existence. I had pangs of conscience as to whether I should in those circumstances remain in the army at all...
FELBERT: It wasn't possible to remain in the army in this State of ours; one was compelled to take measures against it.
SCHAEFER: At the time when you saw those murders at DVINSK, surely you had some-one in authority over you?
KITTEL: The 'Heeresgruppe'.
SCHAEFER: You must have gone to official lectures about the construction of field works, etc. - was not a position like yours important enough for you to report the murders and add an expression of your horror?
KITTEL: I told the people that.
SCHAEFER: How do our C-in-Cs react to that?
KITTEL: "We can't do anything about it; it's nothing to do with us." It's a matter of organisation. In the POLAND that remains there is the Generalgouverneur Dr FRANK, who is personally a right-thinking man, and he said to me quite clearly - although I'm actually of the opposite school of thought: "If what I want to do here is carried out, there will be no bands in POLAND. My powers have a certain limit which you yourself know." It is like this: the Generalgouverneur at the present moment has Obergruppenführer KOPPE, with the rank of a GOC, in the position of a Secretary of State, with unlimited police authority at the same time. So I said to myself that KOPPE has creative power in the whole of POLAND under FRANK. Some stupid ques-tion about competence cropped up. I went to KOPPE and said: "I have a case which comes under your jurisdiction and that of the Generalgoverneur." So he said: "The Generalgouverneur is not the competent authority for that, but Herr HIMMLER in BERLIN. I only come under the Generalgouverneur to the extent that he has the right to give me directions but I come under HIMMLER." KOPPE was appointed as successor to Obergruppenführer KRÜGER, and he (KRÜGER) did everything he could to annoy FRANK. If FRANK considered it necessary to take some sort of governmental measures, then KRÜGER, via HIMMLER, would simply muck it up for him through official police channels. He was continually throwing a spanner into the works.
BRUHN: Then HIMMLER must be the man responsible.
KITTEL: He is the man. There is no other man in GERMANY who has a word to say on questions of executive powers to a man in the Security Service, in the Police, the Traffic Police, the Gestapo -
BRUHN: And the Waffen SS -
KITTEL: Well, the position in the Waffen SS may be a little different,
FELBERT: Only HIMMLER's organisations have any say.
KITTEL: Yes. One can name umpteen cases. Someone may be acquitted by the court, and on leaving tho court is arrested for being a public danger, and then doesn't get out.
BRUHN: Yes, one simply doesn't know about all that.
KITTEL: But you must know it. I once wrote a letter to the Minister of Justice, GÜRTNER, who once commanded a 'Bataillon' of mine, about a case like that in which someone was acquitted by the court and -
FELBERT: Then arrested again in spite of that.
KITTEL: The prison sentence which the prosecution had demanded was then simply carried out by the six months' imprisonment which had been demanded being -
BRUHN: Turned into six months' protective custody!
KITTEL: Six months' protective custody.
BRUHN: But that is no longer the rule of law.
KITTEL: Oh, you must surely have realised that.
SCHAEFFER: We should know that, but we have been carefully kept in ignorance.
KITTEL: I have also no connection with elements which are hostile to the state, but I have kept my eyes open - I tell you quite frankly I am living at the moment in the greatest anxiety as to what tricks they are getting up to against me at home. Just wait until those well Nazified half-communists at HOF find out that I'm a PW. At a place like HOF, in which Max HÖLZ had had his headquarters for weeks how can you make a nationalist stronghold out of that?
? BRUHN .: Yes, but then, suppose we win the war tomorrow, there would be a catastrophe!
KITTEL: It wouldn't be a catastrophe, but -
? BRUHN: Because we represent a. different standards of honesty, we shall be disposed of sooner or later anyhow. Things will reach such a pitch that when they no longer have any Jews left to shoot, they will probably shoot the relations of the officers.
SCHAEFER: That's why it will be a catastrophe if we win.
BRUHN: For - whoever has once started that bloodshed, it becomes as much of a necessity to him as our lunch to us; he won't be able to stop it - or he will go crazy.
KITTEL: Oberst BIERKAMP (?) the head of the Security Service at CRACOW told me that when he sees that a man enjoys shooting others, he gets rid of him.
BRUHN: Does he shoot him himself?
KITTEL: No, he doesn't do that - he transfers him to another job.
BRUHN: In other words - one can see it from dozens of examples - it's their orders which turn the men into sadists.
KITTEL: Of course. Tell me, will it never be possible to get such things in GERMANY right again?
BRUHN: You mean a return to decency? That can only come about by our losing the war, i.e., only by scrapping this whole system of government.
FELBERT: We should never get things right again after a victorious war.
SCHAEFER: You are amazed that we don't know all that. Do you think HITLER knows it? And he is our supreme commander.
KITTEL: No. Those things are not passed on to HITLER.
SCHAEFER: But HIMMLER knows it, doesn't he? '
KITTEL: HIMMLER knows all right.
BY C.S.D.I.C. (U.K.)
M.I.19.a War Office (56 copies)
(29111) Wtr51755/3515 37,000
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