From PRO file WO.208/4474: optically scanned. Please report obvious scanning errors. [Report]
C. S. D. I. C. (U.K.)
CS/1282 - Standartenführer LINGNER (17 SS Pz. Div.) Captured near ZWEIBRÜCKEN 10 Jan 45
KP/7956 - Hauptmann 19 Y (276 VG Div.) Captured near BASSBURG 17 Jan 45
Information received : 12 Feb 43
19 Y: Is it too presumptuous to ask you what HIMMLER is really like?
LINGNER: I can't really tell you much; because I've very rarely met the man. My personal impression is that he deserves a certain respect, if only because he leads an exceptionally decent private life. He is not a person who has anything shady to conceal. Everyone knows that he has an incredible amount of work. He doesn't make any tall, soldierly impression; he has rather a pale, greasy face - judging by outer appearances I don't find the man congenial at all, but one has to acknowledge that he conducts himself in an open and honest manner. That shows itself in the court sentences which one occasionally gets back.
I can tell you of one incident I know about. I don't know in what sector it occurred. HIMMLER, after taking on the duties of C-in-C Home Forces, I believe, discovered that some of the troops of a newly-formed Division had no boots, and he discovered, probably on his own, that about 33% of the men were slopping around the countryside with no soles to their boots. He naturally made a row about it, whereupon the Divisionskommandeur reported, and proved, that he had applied for the boots a month and a half before, and had several times. referred to this unbearable state of affairs in his official reports. He had a supported his complaint by quoting the number of cases of sickness, which, in his opinion, were the result of such insufficient clothing. Thereupon the REICHSFÜHRER SS, who won't put up with things like that - that's characteristic of him - naturally got hold of the Intendant of the Korps in question, and he proved that he had handed the matter on to the Armeeintendant in good time. The REICHSFÜHRER accepted that, saying: "All right, then it was simply impossible." Such bottlenecks do occur. He gave instructions for 25,000 or 30,000 pairs of boots to be sent from the PROTECTORATE and allotted to the Korps via the Armee, The Boot Train arrived. It then transpired that the Armee refused to accept the boots, on the grounds that the depôts were overstocked. What was to be done? The Armeeintendant would have to be punished. It was established that that man was the direct cause of about 33% of the men in a Division going sick, and possibly of a few deaths among them. In order to judge the incident rightly, it should perhaps be added that this Armeeintendant was otherwise an exceptionally conscientious man, of great ability and with a great deal of experience, who had shown that he'd done excellent work in other respects. It hadn't happened purely through general negligence. He admitted it frankly and said it was a mistake on his part, it had been overlooked and he must bear the consequences. He was an easy-going man, very fat and radiating good health. The REICHSFÜHRER had this man dressed in a torn uniform and a pair of boots like a private's, and made him do a fortnight's service in a Grenadierkompanie. That was the whole punishment and I think at quite right. He expressly forbade any man in the Kompanie, with the exception of the Kompaniechef, being put wise about it. That also rather prepossesses me in the man's favour.
I know of another case. He discovered that the food of a certain unit in the field was disgraceful, and that the Kompaniechef didn't bother about it. The Kompaniechef and the cook were sent to the so-called 'House of bad cookery'. That's an establishment which the REICHSFÜHRER has set up for such cases. There for ten days these people while making the appropriate physical exertions are given similar food to that- which the REICHSFÜHRER had found being given to their men, and then for a week they are given the meals which could have been produced from the materials at their disposal. They are then released. I find that quite right too, apart from the fact that in my opinion the man should have been more heavily penalised. But that is a matter which doesn't interest the REICHSFÜHRER, The 'Battalion' or 'Regimentskommandeur' could take the necessary disciplinary action. I know about these things because they were made known to all the appropriate
authorities, all the units, in the form of a circulated order. Every-one had to take note of them.
Another point which I found in the man's favour was that when he had issued the order that every SS man had to take the sports badge tests, although he himself was, and is, completely out of training -- you can see that -- he also took the tests. He took part in the march with full pack at the Junkerschule at TÖLZ. He took his place among the 'Junker', and did the long jump, and when he couldn't make the grade, he trained hard until he did manage it. In that way he earned the sports badges although he was 45 years old or so.
19 Y: Has he got any outstanding personality on his staff who supports him in everything?
LINGNER: I don't think so. He may have people like that, but I don't know of them. Taking it all in all, he is a man deserving of a certain respect and one who, in the orders which we received, exercised a tremendous educational influence. We always held it against him that he was not a soldier; he wouldn't understand anything about it, but then sooner or later we had to acknowledge that the man was right. He was never anything but right. I had an operations officer, a Major on the General Staff, Graf von BOTHMER, a splendid fellow. This man had been on the REICHSFÜHRER's staff for a time, and said that it was really a sin - that the man was so often misunderstood in army circles and - he had been there ten days - that he had obtained an indelible impression of the man.
In METZ two high-ranking SS-leaders were President of Police and head of the Ordnungspolizei. The latter disappeared from METZ one day and ran away. That was at a time when it was still quite unnecessary to run away. The REICHSFÜHRER who was on his way to METZ, heard about it, turned back, caught the man at STRASBOURG, degraded him and put him in some probation Bataillon. Then he sent a telegram to the President of Police, whom he suspected of the same thing - he had in fact already packed his bags - saying that in case it should occur to him to act in a similar manner, he would cashier him and have him executed. Thereupon this man - I won't tell you his name - remained there, of course, and was taken prisoner and was apparently put to death by the people of METZ, because the commander of the fortress of METZ refused to be on the same footing with him. I don't know what truth there is in it.
My Divisionskommandeur, who came to the SS from the Army, was an exceptionally intelligent man. He said that he would devote his life to getting those men who were swine removed from the National Socialist Party. He once sent a note to the REICHSFÜHRER SS to the effect that it had come to his ears that Christian WEBER had been swindling. He had confiscated Jewish houses in MUNICH, had them fitted out by upholsterers and so on from concentration camps and had sold them again.
It is generally said that HIMMLER is hated by the people. But that isn't at all the case. I was told the following story: he once made a speech to armament workers in a large concern and afterwards even the most plain-spoken fellows went up and asked him to shake hands with them, it really came straight from their hearts. A man like that would be the right man for the post-war period. I believe, too, that that man could make the change-over. He would be able to see that everything has gone to the devil anyway, that the first duty now is to maintain the very existence of the. people, and everything which was helpful to that end, would, without doubt, be approved by him. Just as now he is, perhaps, uncompromisingly fighting for our last chances, so would he, just as uncompromisingly, stand up for that. I am quite convinced of that, nor would that entail his being accused of treachery, But, of course, it's quite impossible for the Allies to approve of anything like that. They will undoubtedly cut off their nose to spite their face.
BY C.S.D.I.C. (U.K.)
M.I.19.a War Office
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