Kahn's statement made at Lüdinghausen in November 1964
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 obtain background material from Kahn as to both his and other peoples war-time record of their employment within the armed forces.
Most of 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. Comments are in italics.
This statement made at Lüdinghausen on 5th November 1964, is just 3 pages long, and is thus considerably shorter than Kahn's first at Dortmund in 1962, which ran to 19 pages. It is a curious document in that The name of Oradour-sur-Glane does not appear at all and neither does that of Diekmann, or Stadler. Lammerding is mentioned only once (the date he took over command of Das Reich). Indeed the whole document is little more than a list of names of people that Kahn knew during his service with the Military Police and later with the SS-Division Das Reich. It is important to know that Kahn appeared for this interview because he had been subpoenaed, "by the criminal police of Lüdinghausen", so we can assume that he was a reluctant witness on this occasion.
Kahn's memory for names was perhaps understandably not very good after nearly 20 years and whilst he describes some people fairly well, in some cases he struggled to put a name to a face. The only specific war-time incident mentioned during the interview was that of the shooting of three Belgian police officers in January 1945. However as Kahn had left the Division by that time (following his wounding and the loss of his left arm), he was unable to say anything about the matter. Kahn's memory was quite good when it came to field-post numbers for both the Military Police of the Das Reich Division and that of the Divisional Staff (rather like someone being able to remember telephone numbers).
The purpose of the statement is a little unclear, given as it does not mention Oradour, or ask any questions relating to war-crimes (other than the brief mention of the Belgian police officers). No direct questions were put to Kahn as to his involvement in any other action, either of his alone, or by units he was attached to. What is striking is that the interview, which was filed in amongst the Oradour case papers in the Archive at Münster, does not mention Oradour at all, either directly, or indirectly. It is basically just a list of names and dates relating to war-time service records which adds nothing at all to the case of Oradour-sur-Glane.
LKA / NW - Dez. 15 - Place and time: Lüdinghausen, the 5th November 1964
Appearing, subpoenaed by the criminal-police of Lüdinghausen:
Merchant employee Otto Kahn,
born 4. 3. 1908 in Berlin
Resident, Ottmarsbocholt / Kries Lüdinghausen. (Kahn was buried in Ottmarsbocholt following his death in 1977)
and explained as a witness, the following questions asked about the matter:
From the 20. 10. 1939 until March 4 1944, I was a member of the Military Police of the Waffen-SS Division Das Reich.
From approximately July 1942 until the 4. 3. 1944, I was a Company Leader and SS-Hauptsturmführer of the Military Police. I became a Hauptsturmführer only on 1. 10. 1943.
From 5 March 1944, I gave up my Company on the orders of the Division and became a Company Leader of the 1st Battalion of the Panzer Grenadier Regiment, Der Führer.
I believe that an Obersturmführer took over my company from 5. 3, 1944. I believe that this man was a lieutenant of the police. However, I cannot say whether he belonged to the Military Police of the Waffen-SS, or the ordinary Military Police. I saw him many times, especially since I later visited my old unit and different comrades in Montauban / South-France in the year 1944, where the Divisional Staff of the Das Reich Division lay at that time. The leader of the Waffen-SS Military Police belonged to the Divisional Staff in every case. My successor, whom I saw in Montauban, wore the uniform of a SS-Obersturmführer.
After about my third visit, I realized that the aforementioned Obersturmführer had been superseded and replaced by a Hauptsturmführer or a Captain of a police formation. I heard from my former people at that time that the Obersturmführer was not able to handle his tasks.
I would like to think that this successor to the Obersturmführer was a Captain of the Gendarmerie or of the motorized Gendarmerie. Due to the brevity of my visit it is impossible today to remember the names of the two aforementioned officers.
I had even visited them at the section and talked to them there. However, their names have slipped my mind. I did not later meet them again, since I was with my Panzer Grenadiers both at the front and later battles with the 1st Battalion as a Company Leader.
The Military Police were kept with the vanguard of the battle command post (advanced command post and divisional command post).
I estimate that the Obersturmführer commanded the Military Police for only three weeks and then was replaced by the aforementioned Hauptmann. I lost every connection and cannot say any more how long he was the head of the company. It is possible, that he led the company until the end of war, I am not able to say anything closer about it.
I can describe my successor the captain: approximately 1.83 metre tall, a big, full powerful figure with dark-blond hair, approximately 36 to 38 years old in 1944, he came from the Mark of Brandenburg.
I cannot say anything more exact about my successor, the officers of the Divisional Staff would know more, especially the Personnel Specialist and the Adjutant of the Divisional Commander: I don't know their names.
From approximately May 1944, Lammerding must have taken over the Division.
On questioning: The following members, I can still remember of my unit:
1, Hauptscharführer Köster, Seargent of the company, North German.
2, Hauptscharführer Marinelli, Platoon and Commando leader, came from South-Tyrol.
3, Hauptscharführer Krug, Master Mechanic, came from Potsdam.
More details of the aforesaid, I cannot remember. I led many more large units after leaving the Military Police unit and after such a long time, I cannot remember any more names of my subordinates.
In my opinion if the roll-call records for the company for the years 1944 to 45 could be found, whoever has the 'dog-tag' records could answer these questions.
The field-post-mail-number of the Military Police of the Das Reich Division was 1944: 37 900, (from 1939 on!)
The field-post--mail-number of the Divisional staff of the Das Reich Division was: 20 092.
To the present facts about the shooting of the Belgian police-officer and his two companions' at the beginning of January 1945 in Belgium, I am not able to say anything, since I was on the 1. 8. 1944 severely wounded (loss of the left arm) and I came back no more to the Division in France, Belgium or Holland.
I made my above statements to the best of my knowledge and conscience.
Read approved and signed ...... Otto Kahn
Closed .... Reer, KM
© Michael Williams 10th March 2000 ... updated Thursday, 25 August 2022