Catalogue ref: HS 8/852
They work by listening to rumours; when a rumour is connected with an individual, they look up his history and shadow him. They do not wait to produce a case against him before taking action, but satisfied that suspicions may be founded, they will make a domiciliary visit [visit to his home], examining all his rooms and effects and remove him at once.
They do not disclose where they are taking him or why he is being taken, and they allow no one to speak to him after he has been apprehended. If he has money it is confiscated and all papers, letters and books are impounded for examination. It is common practice when a case is incomplete to leave a prisoner in prison for many weeks, perhaps months, This is done deliberately to create fear in his mind and to weaken his resistance. Suddenly and unexpectedly they will examine him for from twelve to twenty hours without food or rest.
The interrogators work in shifts. They may arrest all the contacts which a suspect may have made during his daily life, and examine the suspect and a selected contact in an endeavour to confound one or the other. For instance, each may be asked what was the subject of conversation between them. “A” replies they talked about fishing. “B” that they talked about sport. The Gestapo compare the answers and tell the prisoners they are both lying and must remain in prison to think things over. Each, individually, becomes uncertain what the other has said and finally, the weaker may give up and confess what they were really talking about.
In interrogations, the pressure is usually more mental than physical. The examiner threatens, coerces and often appears to lose his temper. They rely more on this mental form of violence and on a continuous bombardment of questions with a prisoner who is becoming physically and mentally weakened.
The following is the case of a Norwegian who withstood successfully a Gestapo examination.
Arrested at 06.00 hours at his home, placed in prison and completely isolated. Some days passed and one evening he was informed he was not to go to bed as he would be examined at 11 p.m. He waited until 2 a.m. when he was told that it was postponed. Two days later the same thing happened. The day after, he was examined without warning.