The Holocaust Historiography Project

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Translation of document 2544-PS

I, Rudolf Diels, 45 years of age, testify under oath as follows:
When Hitler became Chancellor of the Reich on January 30th 1933, I was a
Superior Government Councillor [Oberregierungsrat] in the police section
of the Prussian Ministry of Interior. There I was in the section:
Political Police. Therefore I know the happenings within the police, as
they occured during the time after Hitler’s seizure of power, from my
own experience.

When Hitler became Chancellor of the Reich, Hermann Goering became provisional
[Kommissarischer] Prussian Minister of the Interior and thereby my superior. As such he
was the head of the centralized Prussian police administration. This organization
constituted the strongest power [Machtfaktor] aside from the army.

The perfectly primative Nazi conception of the conduct of a state was, that one had to
annihilate or render harmless  all adversairies or suspected adversaries. The inferiority
complex of the Nazis towards everything they did not know, e.g. legal institution,
experts and so on has much to do with that.

As for that, it was a natural matter for the new Nazi government and the party, which had
come into power, to annihilate their adversaries by all possible means. These actions
started after the Reichstag fire. They were executed by various party groups, especially
by the SA; for such criminal purposes the government also tried to make the most of
certain official government agencies. The methods applied were as follows: Human beings,
who deprived of their freedom subjected to severe bodily mistreatment or killed. These
illegal detentions [Freiheitsberaubungen] took place in camps, often old military
barracks, stormtroop headquarters or fortresses. Later on these places became known as
concentration camps, such as Oranienburg, near Berlin, Lichtenburg, Papenburg, Dachau in
Bavaria, Columbiahouse Berlin, etc.

During this period of time, numerous politicians, deputies, writers, doctors, lawyers and
other personalities of leading circles were arrested illegally, tortured and killed.
Among the killed, there were the Social Democrat Stelling, Ernst Heilmann, the former
Police President of Altonoa, Otto Eggerstedt, the communist Schehr from the Ruhr
territory, and numerous parties and demoninations, amongst them Conservatives, Democrats,
Catholics, Jews, Communists and Pacifists.

These murders were camoflaged by the expression: “shot while trying to escape” or
"resisting arrest” or similar things. Approximately 5-700 people perished during this
first wave of terror (from March until October 1933 approximately).

I myself and my co-workers, old civil servants Not-Nazis, tried to resist this wave of

There was no legal possibility left any more, to undertake anything in order to stop
these illegal arrests, because the Reich Cabinet had suspended Civil Rights by decree of
February 28th 1933. On account of this fact, it was also impossible for the inmates of
the concentration camps to appeal to any court. Such a state of affairs had never existed
before, not even during extaordinary times. The word “protective custody” was used at
that time for concentration camps, etc. was an irony. There were a few cases of real
protective custody, in which I put people behind safe walls, in order to protect them
against terrible excesses.

The number of illegal cases attained an ever-increasing extent. When Heinrich Himmler
took over the reins of power as the highest Chief of Police in Prussia under Goering,
these actions were really organized by the State proper. The first, great,
state-organized terror project under his leadership was the blood purge of June 30th,
1934, at that time SA leaders, Generals, leading Catholics and others were murdered. He
also arrested people again, who had been released from concentration camps before that
time. This at a time, when actually a certain tranquility in the country had set in

Read by myself, approved, signed and sworn to:

                                           [signed] RUDOLF DIELS

Signed in the presence of:

                                           [signed] DR. ROBERT M.W. KEMPNER
                                           Expert Consultant for the Judge Advocate

Sworn to in the presence of:

                                           [signed] WILLIAM E. MILLER
                                           1st Lt. J.A.G.D