This statement forms a part of what I am calling, The Dortmund Hearings, which commenced in 1962 and ran on for several years. This particular hearing was used to try and determine whether Heinrich Bernhard Lammerding, who had been the commander of the Das Reich Division at the time of the attack on Oradour-sur-Glane, was culpable of the crime and was to be allowed to be extradited by the French to stand trial in France for the attack. The conclusion, reached at the end of the hearings and after evaluating all the statements, was that Lammerding did not have a case to answer and so he never stood trial in France for the events at Oradour.
This particular statement has been paraphrased from the original document, which was obtained from the German National Archives on the understanding that it would not be directly copied or distributed. All such documents will be displayed here as paraphrased translations and will give all the necessary facts without having been directly copied from the originals. I appreciate that some people may find this unsatisfactory, but I was only allowed access to the documents by agreeing to this condition. I assure you that what follows below is an accurate rendition of the content of the statement. Should the situation change in the future then the full translated version will appear here in place of the paraphrased version. For comments on this statement, see the foot of this page and notes made in italics throughout.
All these statements were taken by means of a face-to-face interview between the subject and a Prosecuting Attorney, with a Justice Secretary present to take a transcript of the proceedings.............
The man previously known as Georges René Boos and now signing himself as Georg René Boos made at least three statements, of which this is the second, concerning the role of Lammerding in the affair of Oradour. The first point to bear in mind is that Boos was not a voluntary witness, he had to be subpoenaed in order to attend the hearing and he was not a willing, or co-operative witness. Boos's lack of co-operation was understandable, he had spent the longest time in prison of all the defendants of the 1953 trial in Bordeaux and he had narrowly escaped execution. Boos statement reads poorly, it is not a smooth flowing document. It is more a collection of short statements that give information and not necessarily presented in the most logical order. Boos, as is quite common in these hearings spells Diekmann's name incorrectly, in this case as being, "Dickmann". In fact the whole of this second statement is full of typographical errors and even Kämpfe's name is misspelled as being Kampfe. So I suppose it is possible that the problem could lie with Justice-Secretary Zebedies and not Boos himself (but he did sign the document as being a true record of what he stated).
Boos said that as a sergeant he had first heard of Dickmann (sic) and his Battalion in 1944. He stated freely that he had volunteered for the German armed forces in March 1941 at the age of 17 years (this meant that he was a minor at the time and not fully legally liable for his actions). He also stated that he specifically joined the Waffen-SS and not the normal non-SS forces. There is little information on his training and service prior to June 1944 and there is no specific information about his time spent on the Eastern Front. When Das Reich started to move north to Normandy, Boos said that he was in charge of the supply train for the Der Führer Regiment and had special responsibility for ensuring that all stragglers were accounted for and kept with the troop. He implied that the movement was somewhat disorganised and that he was unaware of the exact location of other units on the march north.
He was adamant that he knew nothing of who gave the order to go to Oradour, or who ordered the attack on the village. Boos says that he was ordered by "Captain" Kahn to take a Sergeant with a serious head wound to Limoges for hospital treatment and that this was a slow process because they had to drive slowly on account of the patient's condition. Whist it is not explicitly stated, the implication was that the sergeant had been wounded in Oradour (see Kahn's statement regarding the wounding of an Unterführer at the church during the attack on Oradour). If it was the Unterführer mentioned in Kahn's statement, then Boos must have been present in Oradour at the time the church was set on fire. Boos stated that the trip to Limoges and back took between 2 to 3 hours and of course this would mean that he was not present in the village at the time when much of the killing was taking place.
Boos made quite a long statement to the effect that both throughout his captivity and subsequently, he had spent much time in trying to work out just what had happened and why the order to destroy Oradour had been given. He was still unclear as to who had issued the order, or why the destruction had been ordered. In this Boos was quite clear that Lammerding had not been mentioned by anyone as the originator of the order to destroy the village.
Boos stated that he had had the statements by both Lammerding and Weidinger read to him but that he could not add anything more to them as, he "did not have any awareness in this regard". All he would say is that as far as he remembered Oradour had not been burned when he (Boos) drove through the village (but remember that he said that he had taken the wounded Unterführer to Limoges).
Boos commented on several conversations he had with Weidinger (no dates at all given and this could have been post-war) in which Weidinger told him about Kämpfe and his driver disappearing near Oradour and "another" who also disappeared and escaped in his underwear back to the Regiment. This part of the statement is obviously miss-remembered as Kämpfe was on his own when captured and Gerlach along with his driver was the one captured by the Resistance. Boos said that he assumed that these two were being sought in Oradour (even though he made no comments as to having being told this at the time when he was in the village).
Boos final remarks were to comment on the sentences handed down to other members of the Regiment who were at Oradour and who were tried at the same time as himself at Bordeaux. It is striking to note that the only other defendant mentioned by name was Lenz, all the others names had by now been forgotten. Boos did mention that Lenz came from the Luftwaffe and joined the Der Führer Regiment in Russia and served as a soldier (and not as an airman).
From his statement it is clear that Boos was not a very capable man, or of great intellect, or good memory. He quite often refers to members of the SS by some very non-standard terms, such as, "Hauptmann" when referring to Hauptsturmführer Kahn, a very odd mistake for an ex-member of the SS to make. But and this is crucial, he does not implicate anyone in giving the order for the destruction of Oradour. He admitted he did not know who gave the order and his main aim was to present himself in as virtuous a light as possible, or at the very least, not involved in the killings.
© Michael Williams: 12 February 2015 ... revised 09 December 2018.