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Goering Denies He or Hitler Knew of Death Camps; Says Himmler Kept Them Secret

March 22, 1946
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Pressed hard by British Prosecutor Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, Herman Goering today denied before the International Military Tribunal that he knew of the brutalities against Jews in the concentration camps, and added that he doubted whether even Hitler knew of the existence of death camps.

Goering, whose cross-examination by Allied prosecutors was concluded today, asserted that Heinrich Himmler, Gestapo chief, had kept secret the extermination of European Jewry. Questioned whether he had never heard foreign broadcasts concerning anti-Jewish atrocities, he said that he had heard such broadcasts only four days before the collapse of Germany.

The former No. 2 Nazi repeatedly reiterated his lack of knowledge concerning the German extermination policy, denied that he had any part in it, and rejected interpretations of some of his orders as favoring the destruction of “undesirable” people. He protested sharply when the prosecution referred to “your friend Himmler,” declaring that the Gestapo chief was never a friend of his.

Goering displayed extreme nervousness for the first time. His answers were facile and shrewd, and he attempted to deny his connection with practically all of the crimes of which he is accused. Some of his denials were so fantastic as to evoke smiles from his fellow defendants.

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