The Holocaust Historiography Project

Translation of document 3462-PS


                                  20 November 1945

Subject: Interrogation of Bertus GERDES
Re: Obergruppenfuehrer Dr. Ernst KALTENBRUNNER

1. On November 19, 1945, the above-mentioned Bertus Gerdes
former Gaustabsamtsleiter of Upper Bavaria gave himself up
into the custody of the Counter Intelligence Corps at Nurnberg.

2. In the interrogation below, Gerdes outlines his contacts
with Kaltenbrunner and defines Kaltenbrunner's
responsibility for various extermination orders of Allied
flyers, subjects of occupied nations, and concentration camp

1.   Q. What is your name?
A.   Bertus Gerdes.

2.   Q. How old are you?
A.   33 years.

3.   Q. Were you a member of the Hitler Youth ?
A.   Yes, in 1929.

4.   Q. Were you a member of the Nazi Party ?
A.   Yes, since 1930.

5.   Q. Were you a member of the SA?
A.   Yes. since 1930.

6.   Q. What was your last position in the party?
A.   I was Gaustabsamtsleiter of Upper Bavaria with office in Munich.

7.   Q. Who was your Chief?
A.   Gauleiter Giesler.

8.   Q. Do you know Ernst Kaltenbrunner?
A.   Yes.

9.   Q. Describe in detail all of your relations with Kaltenbrunner.
A.   I met the former SS Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrunner
  for the first time in Weimar in the Hotel “Zum Elefanten” on
  the occasion of a conference of Gaustabsamtsleiters at which
  the Deputy Gauleiters were also present. That was in spring
  1944. At that time Kaltenbrunner reviewed the relationship
  of the Gestapo and the SD to the Party. He said that the
  Gestapo was responsible to the Fuehrer mainly for the task
  of nipping in the bud unrest of any kind which could develop
  in connection with the war situation. He said that in
  connection with the SD the Gestapo had created an
  organization which had infiltrated into every
public office, every major enterprise and even into the
smallest enterprise. He said further that there existed a
countless number of confidential agents of whose existence
the people in general, as well as the Party organization,
had no knowledge. Kaltenbrunner said that it was the task of
his confidential agents to register all incidents and
particularly the state of mind of the people and report them
to the RSHA. Kaltenbrunner appealed to the conference to
furnish him with qualified and proven political leaders from
among the ranks of the Party leadership, for this task in
order to guarantee close cooperation in the Party.
Kaltenbrunner further said that Gestapo and SD operated in a
similar manner in occupied territories and that he was fully
informed of activities throughout its areas. He cited as an
example the Renault Works in France and described his
organization in that armament works.

After the conference I had an opportunity to join
Kaltenbrunner in a small circle. There were present besides
myself Oberbefehlstleiter Friedrichs (Party Chancellery in
Munich) and the Gau Inspector Flemisch. Kaltenbrunner at
that time remarked as nearly as I can recall: “Germany must
take care that the eastern peoples and a major part of the
Balkans and Danube States be compelled to die out through
sterilization and annihilation of the leadership classes of
these nations. However, in order to assure leadership by the
German people and at the same time increase the German
population, all German women married and unmarried up to the
age of 35 must be compelled if they do not already have four
children to produce at least four children by acceptable
pure racial German men. It does not matter whether such men
are married. Families which already possess four children
must furnish their men for this action".

In December 1944 or January 1945, I had an opportunity to
see a secret decree issued by Kaltenbrunner in the office of
Gauleiter Giesler from a courier in my presence and after I
had been permitted to read it it was destroyed in accordance
with the classification to be destroyed after reading. The
order which was signed by Kaltenbrunner read approximately
as follows: “In agreement with the Reichsfuehrer SS I have
brought about and directed all higher police officers that
all Germans shall go unpunished who in the future
participate in the persecution and annihilation of enemy
aircrews who parachute down".

Giesler told me that Kaltenbrunner was in constant touch
with him because he was greatly worried about the attitude
of the foreign workers and especially inmates of
concentration camps
Dachau, Muehldorf and Landsberg which were in the path of
the approaching Allied armies. On a Tuesday in the middle of
April 1945, I received a telephone call from Gauleiter
Giesler asking me to be available for a conversation that
night. In the course of our personal conversation that
night, I was told by Giesler that he had received a
directive from Kaltenbrunner by order of the Fuehrer to work
out a plan without delay for the liquidation of the
concentration camp at Dachau and the two Jewish labor camps
in Landsberg and Muehldorf. The Directive proposed to
liquidate the two Jewish labor camps at Landsberg and
Muehldorf by use of the German Luftwaffe, since the
construction area of these camps had previously been the
targets of repeated enemy air attacks. This action received
the code name of “Wolke A 1” (Cloud A 1).

I was directed by Giesler to take up connections with
General Galland regarding the execution of this plan. I had
not met General Galland up to the time he stayed at the
airport of Riem, therefore we invited him to dinner the next
day at Soehaus (Kleinhesecloher See, Englischer Garten)
together with a very small party of people. During the meal
only questions of a general nature were discussed and the
use of the new jet propelled fighter plane. On this occasion
I was to agree on a date with Galland so that we could
discuss the above mentioned operation. The conversation
however never took place.

I attempted repeatedly to get in touch with men at the
Fuehrer’s Headquarters such as Walkenhorst, chief of the
personal staff of Bormann, and Treitsch, go-between officer
for Himmler and Bormann. I was finally able to make these
calls although both were very brief. Walkenhorst informed me
that he knew nothing of such an order by the Fuehrer,
however, that he was going to make detailed inquiries and
would call back. This second call did not materialize. The
connection with Treitsch was very faint but he informed me
that Kaltenbrunner was Himmler’s deputy and that we had to
comply absolutely with his directives.

Since I was not able to obtain the desired information from
either of these two men, I tried to dissuade the Gauleiter
from execution of this abominable plan. Finally Gauleiter
Giesler informed me that I would have to let my conscience
be my guide in the execution of this directive.

I was certain that I would never let this directive be
carried out. As the action Wolke A 1 should have become
operational already for some time, I was literally swamped
by couriers from Kaltenbrunner and moreover I was supposed
to have discussed the
details of the Muehldorf and Landsberg actions in detail with
the two Kreisleiters concerned. The couriers who were in
most cases SS officers usually SS Lieutenants, gave me terse
and strict orders to read and initial. The orders threatened
me with the most terrible punishment including execution if
I did not comply with them. However, I could always excuse
my failure to execute the plan because of bad flying weather
and lack of gasoline and bombs. Therefore, Kaltenbrunner
ordered to have Jews in Landsberg marched to Dachau in order
to include them in the Dachau extermination operations, and
that the Muehldorf action was to be carried out by the

Kaltenbrunner also ordered an operation — Wolkenbrand — for the
concentration camp Dachau which provided that the inmates of
the concentration camp at Dachau were to be liquidated by
poison with the exception of Aryan nationals of the Western

Gauleiter Giesler received this order direct from
Kaltenbrunner and discussed in my presence the procurement
of the required amounts of poison with Dr. Harrfeld, the Gau
Health Chief. Dr. Harrfeld promised to procure these
quantities when ordered and was advised to await my further
directions. As I was determined to prevent the execution of
this plan in any event, I gave no further instructions to
Dr. Harrfeld.

The inmates of Landsberg had hardly been delivered at Dachau
when Kaltenbrunner sent a courier declaring the action
Wolkenbrand was operational.

I prevented the execution of the Wolke A 1 and Wolkenbrand
by giving Geisler the reason that the front was too close
and asked him to transmit this on to Kaltenbrunner.

Kaltenbrunner therefore issued directives in writing to
Dachau to transport all Western European prisoners by truck
to Switzerland and to march the remaining inmates into
Oetztal (Tyrol), where the final liquidation of these
prisoners was to take place without fail.

The Gauleiter informed me that Kaltenbrunner’s office was
literally enraged when I did not set upon the release of the
code work Wolkenbrand and he informed me in the strictest
confidence that I would have to be extremely careful, since
the Gestapo was after me. It was clear to me from
Kaltenbrunner’s threats that my failure to execute his
orders in regard to Operations Wolke A 1 and Wolkenbrand
would result in not only my personal extermination but also
that of my wife and four children. Giesler insisted that I
leave my home in Munich at once and stay in the
underground command posts of the Gauleiter under his personal

On April 27, the Gauleiter made it possible for me to leave
Munich under the pretext of official business in order to
look after my family whom I unfortunately did not find
again. I did not return to Munich.

10.  Q. Did you have any further contact with Kaltenbrunner?
A.   No.

                                         /t/ JOHANNES IMHOFF
                                              Special Agent.

I, Bertus Gerdes, being first duly sworn declare that I made
the above statements voluntarily and that I was not under
compulsion to make these statements. I furthermore declare
that they are true and complete to the best of my knowledge
and conscience and that they describe the facts such as they

                                           /t/ Bertus Gerdes

                           Subscribed and sworn to before me
                             this 18th day of December 1945.
                             Captain A. Wulff, Infantry, AUS