The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-09/tgmwc-09-79.02
Last-Modified: 1999/12/6

Q. Read the last sentence. Witness, I may be misinterpreting
this. It does not say you were present but it does say that
you gave them this information. I ask you to look at the
last paragraph and say whether that is not true?

A. The last paragraph of this document above the signature
can only refer to a conference which, if I remember
correctly, took place in the late afternoon of 6th June in
General Warlimont's quarters and which I have mentioned in
my previous statement.

Q. I think I was confused about the two meetings and that
these minutes do not show you to have been present. There
was such a conference as Warlimont describes, but it was not
the same conference at which Kaltenbrunner was present, is
that correct?

A. Yes, that is correct. I only know of this one meeting in
the late afternoon of 6th June between Warlimont and myself.

Q. And that is the conference to which he refers in the
first paragraph?

A. No, the conference in the afternoon has nothing to do
with the first paragraph which I just read, and has no
connection with it.

Q. The third paragraph had no connection with the first
meeting, you say?

A. Paragraph 3 has no connection with paragraph 1. I had no
knowledge of paragraph 1. I mentioned before that I was
given the task of conferring with the O.K.W. about the
definition of acts which were to be considered as violations
of International Law, and criminal acts.

Q. Let us ask it once more so we will have no
misunderstanding about it. The conference referred to in
paragraph 3 of Warlimont's minutes is a conference between
you and him later that afternoon and had nothing to do with
the Kaltenbrunner conference which was held earlier in the
day.

A. Yes.

Q. Now, what was the situation in the beginning of 1944 with
reference to the bombing of German cities?

A. The situation was that the air raids had increased in
intensity and in the beginning of '44 they were very heavy.

Q. That was becoming very embarrassing to the
Reichsmarschall, was it not?

A. Of course it was very unpleasant for the Air Force,
because their defensive strength was too weak to stave off
these attacks.

Q. They were being blamed somewhat and the Reichsmarschall
was being blamed for the air attacks, was he not?

A. Of course, that goes without saying.

Q. The Reichsmarschall was in the embarrassing position of
having assured the German people back in 1939 that they
could be protected against air attacks on the German cities.
You understood that fact, did you not?

A. I understand this to be the fact, but I also know that
the conditions in 1939, which led to this statement, were
entirely different from those of 1944, when the whole world
was against us.

Q. But the fact was that German cities were being bombed and
the German people had looked to the Reichsmarschall to
protect them; is not that a fact?

A. It is clear that the German people expected the Air Force
to use all available means to ward off these attacks.

Q. Now, what were the relations between Goering and Hitler
at this time?

A. May I ask to have the question repeated? I did not
understand it clearly.

Q. What was the relation between Goering and Hitler at this
time? Was there any change in the relations as this bombing
of German cities progressed?

A. The relations between the Reichsmarschall and the Fuehrer
were no doubt worse than they had been before. Whether that
was only due to the conditions caused by the air warfare is
not known to me.

                                                    [Page 6]

Q. You were very close to Reichsmarschall Goering throughout
this period, throughout the entire period of the war, were
you not?

A. I do not know what you mean by close. The relations were
those between a commander-in-chief and his adjutant.

Q. Well, you were particularly friendly; he had great
confidence in you and you had great regard for him, is not
that a fact?

A. I can confirm that, but unfortunately only on very rare
occasions did the Reichsmarschall disclose his real motives.

Q. You were with him on 20th April, 1945, when he sent the
telegram proposing to take over the government of Germany
himself, and was arrested and condemned to death?

A. Yes, I was present at that time.

Q. And the S.S. seized you and the Reichsmarschall and
several others and searched your houses, seized all your
papers, and took you prisoner, did they not?

A. It is correct that on 23rd April at 19.00 hours we were
surrounded. The Reichsmarschall was led to his room and from
that moment on he was kept closely guarded; later we were
taken into single custody. Finally we were separated from
him altogether by S.S. troops stationed at the Berghof.

Q. And this occurred at Berchtesgaden?

A. It happened at Berchtesgaden.

Q. I think you have told us that you were all supposed to be
shot by the S.S. at the time of the surrender and were
supposed to approve it by your own signature. Is that
correct?

A. No, that is not quite correct.

I know that an order existed that the Reichsmarschall and
his family and his entourage should be shot in Berlin at the
time of capitulation.

The second thing you mentioned refers to something else,
namely, that we were to be compelled to volunteer for the
S.S. I must say, to be just, that the S.S. leaders preferred
us not to be there at that time, so that they would not have
to carry out this order. We had already been separated from
the Commander-in-Chief.

Q. What was the state of your knowledge about the activities
of the S.S.? What was the S.S. and what was its relation to
the Wehrmacht at this time? What was its relation to the Air
Force? Tell us about the S.S.

A. I can only say this much, that S.S. was a comprehensive
term, that the S.D., Gestapo, and Waffen S.S. were quite
separate sub-divisions and that the Gestapo was an
instrument of repression which restricted personal freedom.

Q. The Waffen S.S. likewise, is that not a fact?

A. The Waffen S.S. was a military force. I myself had
neither trouble nor any friction with them.

Q. But what about the S.S. proper? Witness, you know the
situation about the S.S., I am sure, and you impress me as
wanting to tell us candidly what you know about this
situation, and I wish you would tell us a little, what the
influence of the S.S. was generally.

A. I point out once before that as a purely military
adjutant I am able to give you information only about the
Air Force, but I am not in a position to say anything about
general things of which I have no expert knowledge, but
merely personal opinions.

Q. Well, was not the S.S. the subject of a good deal of
discussion among you officers, and was not everybody aware
that the S.S. was an organisation like the Gestapo, which
was repressive and cruel?

A. In the Air Force we had so many troubles of our own
because of the growing air power of the enemy, that we had
no time to worry about anything else.

Q. But you knew, did you not, about the campaign against the
Jews of Germany and the Jews of occupied countries?

                                                    [Page 7]
                                                            
A. I did not know about the campaign against the Jews as it
has been presented here and in the Press.

Q. Well, I do not want to interrogate you on what is in the
Press, but do you want the Tribunal to understand that you
had no knowledge of a campaign against the Jews in Germany?

A. I only knew that some of the Jews were taken to ghettos.
I had, however, no knowledge of the cruelties against Jews
as now published in the Press.

Q. Your father was a Field-Marshal, was he not?

A. Yes.

Q. At what period was he Field-Marshal?

A . He held the rank of Field-Marshal from 1940 until now.

Q. He has never been deprived of his rank, is that a fact?

A. He was never deprived of his rank.

Q. There came a time when you father, as you know, disagreed
with Hitler as to military programmes?

A. I know that my father had great difficulties with Hitler
concerning political and military questions, and this led to
his retirement in December, 1941.

Q. Did you not say to the interrogator who examined you for
the United States that he retired from active command in
1941?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you understand to be the reason for his
retirement?

You gave the reasons as follows, that neither in the
military nor in the political considerations did he see eye
to eye with Hitler, and could not come to any accord and,
since he could not make his own opinions prevail, he desired
to manifest his dissent by resigning, and that specifically
also referred to religious questions.

A. Yes.

Q. That is true, is it not?

A. That is correct, and I still maintain it.

Q. I hope you are proud of it.

You were also asked this:

  "From 1941 to the end of the war, do you know what he was
  doing?"

And you answered:

  "Well, he had, through his second marriage, a little
  house in a small town in Silesia, Bockenheim, and he
  occupied himself with studies of family history and also
  with forestry, economics, and hunting, but did not take
  part - "

A (interposing). Only with questions of military history and
with economic questions.

Q. I beg your pardon. I did not quite get that.

A. He was only interested in economic questions and hunting,
but not in military questions.

Q. Not in military, yes.

  "- but did not take part in any sort of bloody political
  endeavours."

You said that, did you not?

A. May I have the question repeated?

Q. This is your answer in full. You interrupted me. This is
your answer to the interrogator:

  "Well, he had, through his second marriage, a little
  house in a small town in Silesia, Bockenheim, and he
  occupied himself with studies of family history and also
  with forestry, economics, and hunting, but did not take
  part in any sort of bloody political endeavours."

And, with the exception of economics, you still stand by
that answer, do you not?

                                                    [Page 8]

A. I have never said that he ever took part in bloody
things. It must be an error. I never saw this record again.
I did not sign it.

Q. I have not made myself clear. You said he did not take
part in any bloody political endeavours. That is what this
says you said.

A. He did not take part, but I have not said anything of a
bloody movement.

Q. You did not use these terms in the examination?

A. No, I cannot remember having said that. I did not sign
the interrogatory and I did not see it again after the
interrogation.

Q. And you say that you did not use these words on 26th
February, 1946, to Captain Horace Hahn, interrogator?

A. I say I did not use the words "part in any bloody
endeavours," because this expression is foreign to me.
Neither do I know in which connection it came up here.

Q. Well, you do not know of any that he did partake in, do
you?

A. No; my father retired.

Q. Retired absolutely from this whole Nazi outfit -
dissociated himself from them and retired to a little
village rather than go on with the programme with which he
disagreed. Is not that a fact?

A. Yes.

DR. PELCKMANN (counsel for the S.S.): I believe that I have
no longer any formal right to question this witness after
Justice Jackson has cross-examined him, but I should be
grateful if I were permitted to do so since Justice Jackson
questioned the witness also about the S.S.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness's statement about the S.S. was
that he knew nothing about it. I said once before that I
wish counsel before they go to the stand would learn how to
use the earphones and to fix them correctly. What I said was
this: The witness's evidence was that he did not know
anything about the S.S. What ground does it give for a cross-
examination by you?

DR. PELCKMANN: He was asked whether he was guarded by the
S.S. on Obersalzberg, and that the S.S. had orders to shoot
him and Goering too. I should like to have it made clear
whether that was S.S. or S.D.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well.

RE-DIRECT EXAMINATION BY DR. PELCKMANN:

Q I therefore ask the witness: Do you know whether these
people whom you have just mentioned were members of the S.S.
or S.D.? Do you know the difference, Witness?

A. I have a general idea of the difference. I believe that
the troops which had the task of guarding us were S.S., but
that the Sicherheitsdienst (S.D.) had the special order.

DR. PELCKMANN: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other counsel for the
prosecution wish to cross-examine?

Dr. Stahmer, do you wish to re-examine?

DR. STAHMER: I have only two short questions.

BY DR. STAHMER:

Q, Witness, can you tell us something about the relations
between the Reichsmarschall and Himmler?

A. As far as I know and am able to give information, in
their outward relations Himmler and Goering exercised the
utmost circumspection, but there was no real personal
contact between the two.

Q. Can you tell us whether the German people, until the last
moment, still had confidence in the Reichsmarschall, and
showed it on special occasions? Can you mention any
particular instances?

A. I can mention two cases.

                                                    [Page 9]

The first one was at the end of 1944 or the beginning of
1945 - I cannot give the exact date - in a public air-raid
shelter. The Reichsmarschall had no guards or escort and
chatted with the people and they greeted him with the old
slogan, "Hermann, halt die Ohren steif" ("Hermann, keep your
chin up").

Another example was on the trip from Berlin to Berchtesgaden
during the night of 20th April. In the morning or towards
noon of the 21st the Reichsmarschall arrived at a town in
Sudetengau, where he made a short stop for breakfast at an
inn. After a while the market place became so crowded with
people asking for his autograph that we could not get his
car through the crowd. Here, too, he was greeted by the old
shout, "Hermann."

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