Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Barbie Trial -- Day 7 -- Two experts testify

Film | Accession Number: 2005.516.1 | RG Number: RG-60.1602 | Film ID: 3965

15:52 Witnesses Streim and Holtfort, both German attorneys with experience evaluating Nazi documents and strong understanding of the Nazi and particularly SS command hierarchies, testify as to their knowledge of the SS officer school where Barbie received training in 1935-1937. Holtfort explains that a principal objective of the school was to inculcate an understanding and adherence to Nazi ideology.

15:58 The attorney asks Streim and Holtfort to testify to their understanding of the rules SS members had to obey in their day-to-day lives, as well as punishments handed out for disobedience.

16:04 The attorney asks Streim and Holtfort to explain and comment on the Führerprinzip (leader principle), by which Nazi Germany was governed. Holtfort explains that the principle was present everywhere, but that if an order was criminal, one was allowed to not comply if they chose, and would not be killed (as many former Nazis had claimed when on trial after the war).

16:11 The witnesses describe examples of various Nazis' refusal to effectuate the Final Solution or otherwise commit criminal action, who were not killed for refusal to obey orders, but rather sent to the Front to fight instead.

16:16 Holtfort is called on to describe the the system of defense mounted in court by Nazi criminals tried in Germany

16:18 The attorney asks the witnesses about the relationship between the SS and the Wehrmacht: their hierarchical positions, their awards, and particularly their roles in the Izieu raid. He asks whether the Wehrmacht was partially responsible for the 'hunt of Jews.' One of the witnesses replies that in general, the Wehrmacht were not involved in the roundup of Jews in general, nor in the Izieu raid.

16:27 President Cerdini calls a recess

16:53 Cerdini reconvenes the session; calls for the witnesses; calls another recess because the witnesses' whereabouts are unknown

17:00 Cerdini reconvenes the session; introduces the witnesses

17:01 The attorney continues his questioning of the witnesses; asks Mr. Holtfort to testify as to the history and development of the 'Final Solution' in France. Holtfort cites the beginning of the 'Final Solution' in France as January 20, 1942, when leaders of collaborationist France met and agreed to employ the policy. 75,000 Jews, he says, were deported from France to extermination camps in the East.

17:12 Holtfort describes the selection, upon arrival at a concentration camp, of some Jews for labor, and others for the gas chambers; gives his understanding of the conditions under which Jews were transported to the camps. He explains that these conditions alone denote a large-scale plan of extermination.

Event:  1987 May 19
Lyon, France
Accessed at US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Institut National de L'Audiovisuel
Record last modified: 2020-02-04 10:39:13
This page: