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      From the papers of Jean Vaughan, American authoress       

         [Translated by Maria K Shnell. No German text available]   

Affidavit made by Paul Leffler on April 24, 1946

[Website note: Leffler joined the SD on Jun 15, 1932, and from Mar 15, 1933 until his resignation on Mar 31, 1936 he was dienstältester Abteilungsleiter. After in April 1934 the SD moved to Berlin for good, he was the dienstältester Amtschef of the SD-Hauptamt. See too his second affidavit]

I. Person. [That paragraph deals minutely with the place and positions which Leffler held. If you are interested in it, I shall translate it later on M K Sh.!]

II. Subject [zur Sache]. In the first half of the year 1932 -- as far a I remember in April -- Heydrich who had worked in the Navy in the news section [… Nachrichtendienst] was ordered by Himmler to establish and organize a Nachrichtendienst of the Party, the SD (Sicherheitsdienst, Security Service). Until September 1932 Heydrich's main activity consisted of winning and engaging personal co-operators (?) throughout the whole Reich. The general SS was held to guide and help him. But Heydrich alone decided as to the engagement. It was out of question to order any member of the general SS against their will.

On Sept 11 1932, the first meeting of these Außenstellenleiter (the heads of these offices throughout the Reich) of the whole Reich and of those who were to work in the central office which was to be in München, took place in München, and Himmler and Heydrich took part in it. In their inauguration speeches they outlined and assured us, that the SD was to become the intelligence center, which was to gather and judge and give the opinion on the aims, methods and plans of the inner political opponents, based on true, slander proof material, and to report to the Führer and Party headquarters and later on the NS Government, everything worthwhile, knowing, that it was to become an institution like the [British] Intelligence Service or the [French] Deuxième Bureau. Again and again the[y] put the stress on their intention to employ only men with faultless character. There was not as much as a hint in their speeches which implied the idea that the SD aimed at criminal or illegal aims or purposes, or that it was to be misused to actions that could be called criminal or that were directed against humanity. To the contrary, they appealed (?) again and again to the best and noblest instincts in man. Everybody could not but have the impression hat they were absolute in earnest about what they said. The first fellow-workers who mostly advanced quickly to higher posts were engaged by Heydrich personally, after a thorough examination [vetting process] and investigation which included also the wife and the whole family. Later on, at least until 1936, each personal file of the newly engaged had to be presented (?submitted, handed in?) to him, and he approved of it only after a thorough investigation(of the photos too).

Until 1933 the branch "Political Opponents" of the SD dealt primarily with the Marxist parties, especially the KPD. It also dealt with other question, for instance, the development of and the currents in the Arbeitsdienst, which at that time was a rather loosely organised institution. A larger report suggesting to put the Arbeitsdienst under the direction of the SA was handed in to Röhm, then head of the common SS and consequently the head of the SD. This plan however was never carried out.

The police and the Justice(?) of the State of that time would have done everything but cover any -- even in the slightest degree -- criminal or illegal action of the SD, the Party being at that time the strong opponent of the Government. The police kept a close watch on the SD, you may be sure, but no illegal action could be stated, a fact which is a proof in itself. This also applies to the time after 1933, the SD being excluded from any executive function, any surpassing of the limits or any illegal action would have called for immediate interference of the police.

Before 1933 the SD had to be carried on on hardly believably small means, which were available only now and again. [The SD was always hard up] and their allowances did not [line missing] …

the source of this stopped working professionally for the SD from 1.3.33 -- 15.3.33 only because the financial situation of the SD became worse and worse until the National Socialists took over the government [Machtübernahme] which took place in Prussia on January 30, and in Bavaria on March 5, [1933]. The fees [wages] that were paid to the workers of the SD were extraordinarily low. The writer of this who had to keep a family of wife and two children and who had to live in another town than his family was paid 150-RM a month in 1932. In the years 1933/34 he was paid 350-RM monthly and had a separation allowance of 150 RM the month. When on March 31, 1936 he left the SD for good in the rank of Amtschef his income had been raised to 700-RM the month. So the payment would certainly not have tempted anyone to work professionally for the SD. Soon after the Machtübernahme the economic and business life prospered in such a way in the Reich that it offered much better possibilities for highly qualified workers, especially for instance for engineers like myself, I being Dipl. Ing.. This fact might prove too that the members of the SD were won over by ideal reasons and not be appeal to criminal instincts.

While until the Machtübernahme the SD was little known, though it was no secret organisation, it became more generally known after it. The professional members were ordered to wear their SS uniforms with the well known SD sign on the left forearm, while in office. In accordance with Himmler's and Heydrich's declarations made in the beginning, the SD received no executive functions after the Machtübernahme The executive function stayed with the political police of the different countries (Länder). While Himmler bow. Heydrich took over the Bavarian Police in 1933 (Himmler had become President of the Bavarian Police, which comprised several sections [rest of line missing] and Heydrich had become head of the Bavarian political police) Himmler was made chief of the Geheime Staatspolizei by Hitler only in October or November 1934, the Ge Sta Po being the organisation into which the political police of all the Länder had been gathered (?). Heydrich became chief of the Gestapo office in Berlin, and after Himmler had been made chief of the German police Heydrich became [overall] chief of the Gestapo. The SD and the Gestapo worked entirely independently from each other, they were only united in so far as Heydrich was the chief of both institutions. When Himmler gave SS uniforms to a part of the Gestapo officials they had to wear a small silver cord round the sign of the SD. This difference was abolished later on thought the difference of work and function of these two institutions was strictly kept. But this led many people, who were not acquainted with real facts, to mix up SD and Gestapo.

After the Machtübernahme the central SD office moved from München to Berlin, but already in April it moved back to München now under the name of SD Amt, and had its offices there in a floor of the house Leopoldstrasse 10. From March 15, 1933 until March 31, 1936 the undersigned was the dienstältester Abteilungsleiter. And when in April 1934 the SD moved to Berlin for good, he was the dienstältester Amtschef of the SD-Hauptamt. This SD-Hauptamt must not be mixed up with the Reichssicherheitshauptamt which during the war united in one organization those parts of the SD-Hauptamt which kept up their work with the central offices of the Gestapo and the criminal police. But again their independence from each other was strictly kept up. -- There was no change as to the way of working in the section "political opponents" after the Machtübernahme. Reports were made to the central offices about illegal unions or confederacies and the development of the mental connections in this respect. The SD did nothing but report. Any personal "case" was left to the resp. political police who had to investigate it.

For the time that the undersigned belonged to the SD it would be wrong to accuse the SD of fighting the Church. Almost every member of the SD belonged to a Church -- for instance in 1935 the undersigned had his youngest child christened by the evangelic church and his superiors would not have expected otherwise -- and they would not have understood any prosecution in resp to faith or religion, the more so as they took trhe declarations as to freedom of religion that were given by their superiors absolutely earnest. When in 1935 in Nürnberg in a speech Hitler met the accusations of certain circles as to the positive importance of the Christian development of Germany, which was begun under the reign of any by Karl der Grosse, and showed the essential importance of Christianity for the union of the Reich, they felt themselves strengthened in their opinion. Only when gradually the church developed a hostile opposition to the state by politically opposed intentions, and open accusations of leading persons the SD had to report about the mental development in church life in the same way as it reported about the intentions and the movements of unions that were strictly opposed to the church as for instance the Tannenberg Bund which constantly accused leading persons of the State and the Party of being dependants of Rome. Never have executive measures been combined with this work.

The work of the SD as shown above must be taken for characteristic examples and must show how impossible it was for its members to get the idea that the SD could have [half line missing] or might be used for purposes or action that might be criminal or might violate or disregard the human rights.

To the contrary not only the members of the SD but large parts of members of the Party and the population looked upon the SD as the institution which might bring about purification of the Party from persons whose characters wanted integrity especially as far as they held high posts. After 1933 trials in this respect have been made more than once, and they were the tasks of the undersigned. The results was that there developed gradually a very strong tension between the Stellvertreter of the Führer, the Gauleiters, Kreisleiter, and so on on the one hand, and Himmler, Heydrich and the SD on the other, and many members of the SD had to put up with unmerited disadvantages and handicaps. For instance, ein Außenstellenleiter in Bielefeld was sentenced to four or six months imprisonment (the sentence being evidently a misjudgement) on, as was said, calumnious reports about irregularities in the local political headquarters [örtliche politische Leitung.] A fellow-worker in Hamburg was arrested in the office of the local SS branch by members of the politic headquarters, was brought into the Town hall, badly maltreated and released only after a few days after energetic interventions; he was treated in this way because he helped me in my endeavors to clear up the reproaches that were held against the gauleiter Kaufmann in Hamburg; I had to make these inquiries at Himmler's request. Another member of the SD Klagges Braunschweig Ratskleide…

… who had been a Vertrauensmann and later on my successor as head of the branch office, was maltreated and imprisoned for a hundred days, because a report was found among his papers, which was written by me. My report pointed out irregularities and untenable conditions that had occurred after the Machtübernahme besides other items I had reported about the unworthy treatment to which the former Oberbürgermeister, who was Marxist, but an honourable man, had been submitted [subjected], and had proposed to recall the NS Minister Klagges of Braunschweig. At Klagges' request I was called before the Oberste Parteigericht and accused of having made the reports for personal reasons and in order to gain personal advantages. The sessions took months and months and I was able to prove every paragraph of the accusation to be wrong. If I had not been able to do so, I would have been put into a concentration camp, as Himmler personally told me. I received a reprimand on account of utterances about Klagges which gave cause to discontent in respect to form, and as Klagges stayed in office being advanced now to Ministerpräsident, I was not advanced [promoted][ for a long time. During this affair Heydrich always sustained (?) me [backed me up] though this was not at al to his advantage, for he ought to have been careful not to have objections to persons that had as much influence as Klagges had.

(4) Otherwise this affair would surely have had the worst consequences for me. From this way of Heydrich's acting I could not but get the conviction that Heydrich was willing to be as loyal in his actions as he expected us to be.

[Röhm Putsch, 1934]

As to the accusations that the SD took guilty and responsible in part in the events of the 30th of June 1934, I want to state:

Directly after the Machtübernahme conditions and states in the highest SA command, many members of which were §175 [homosexual], had become unbearable. Daily law and right was violated or broken, but as the high SA leaders held the highest offices in the administration as Oberpräsidenten and so on, state means could not be applied. Delicts of drunkenness and rude treatment happened again and again. In the middle of June the undersigned was ordered to make a report of the accusations against the 7 or 8 most heavily accused SA leaders., Röhm who at that time was very careful was not among them. At that time there was a certain restlessness and discontent among the SA because certain promises which had been made to the members of SA could not be kept. (For example then SA as a whole to become part of the Army.) but I did not know anything about the intention of revolt (Putschabsichten). Therefore there was not as much as a s a hint in this respect in my report. What so ever I came to know later on, there have been no serious intentions of preparations to act against the Führer forcibly.

To be continued …

Translation continued (5)

To my later more exact knowledge of the facts there have not been serious plans or preparations to push aside (to put to death [beseitigen?]) the Führer. I don't know whether my report has come into hands of persons superior to Himmler. During the action against these supposed rebels (Putschisten) who in the whole had gathered in [Bad] Wiessee the SD-Amt in München did nothing but forward reports or orders. The fact that the Adolf Hitler Standarte was put into action surprised us absolutely and was entirely unexpected. The SD has noting whatever to do with the death sentences that Hitler spoke and had executed. No leading persons of the SD looked upon the action of the 30th of June 1934 as a cleaning process (Reinigungsprozeß) that had become absolutely necessary and resulted in ridding the state of people who did damage to the state. When [If] there is the accusation of the international right [law] being broken or violated by these actions, the SD itself has nothing to do with it. I do not know whether or in how far Heydrich had been responsible for it.

There took place several elections to the Reichstag and some Volksabstimmungen during my time of Abteilungsleiter and Amtschef in the SD-Hauptamt. It is not known to me that ballots were marked in order to find out people who voted "no" or that orders to this purpose were issued. If the SD as an organisation would have taken part in such machinations, the results of these wuld have gone through my hands. There can be no question of my memory failing med in this respect, as I was extremely interested in the question whether the results of these votes, that were partly unexpectedly favourable, had been received without pressure on people or without correction. In case that the affidavit made by Dr [Wilhelm] Höttl in number I(g) in the accusation [Anklage, indictment?] against the SD should refer to a case before the 1.3.1936 it can refer only to actions of single members of the SD, that were committed out of their own initiative and therefore undisciplined, or according to orders or in co-operation with people or officers that did not belong to the SD.

As there became also soon known, irregularities, faults and mismanagements among the politic leaders of the Party (Politischen Führerkorps der Partei) there came to us many reports referring to these conditions, without our much asking for them. This of course gradually intensified the tension between the Politisches Führerkorps and the SS, especially the SD. The Stellvertreter des Führers [Hess] therefore issued an order, perhaps giving way to the pressure of some gauleiter, for us not to write any more on reports concerning the Partei, and in case such reports were handed in to the SD to forward them to himself without any comments. Only at his request were further inquiries into, or examinations of, these cases to be made. But as far as I remember no such requests have been made by him during my time in the SD, though material of heavy import, sometimes concerning prominent members of the Party, was forwarded to him by me. And hardly ever were there signs that these mismanagements were mended by other means.

And so my endeavor and only aim to help, that unworthy and faulty persons were e[xc]luded from the leadership of the Party, was rather without success. Therefore in March 1936 I wrote to Heydrich asking him to release me from my post as Amtschef and to employ me outside the SD. In my written explanation I said among reasons that to my understanding (judgment?) (as far as I could judge the situation) the open mismanagements in the Parteiführung would increase the already existing opposition to the Army and that consequently there would have to come further complications in a not very far future. My dismissal was accepted. Himmler made me leader of a Standarte of the Allgemeine SS and so employed in a position which was not at all equal in rank to my former position.

Summarizing I can assure once more, based on my activity in the SD from 1932-1936 and the thorough knowledge of it, that for the mentioned time

  1. The SD was no union of persons whose general and common aim and purpose was to take part in actions that might be called criminal.
  2. The membership in the SD was always based on the free will of the persons and nobody was ever forced to join it.
  3. Even the best-informed members of the SD have never thought it possible that the purpose of the SD could be or was to be an activity or a taking part in actions that might be looked upon as criminal.

I know that the purpose of this affidavit is to be presented to the International Military Tribunal as proof. It has been made known to me that I will be punished if I make wrong statements.

Kornwestheim, 24th of April 1946.

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