The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/13

Q. Well, let us be a little more precise. Germany wanted the
Crimea to become a Reich territory. Is that correct?

A. The Fuehrer wanted the Crimea, yes, but that was an aim
fixed before the war. The same applies to the three Baltic
States, which had previously been taken by Russia. They,
too, were to go back to Germany.

Q. Pardon me. You say that the question of the Crimea arose
even before the war, that is, the question of acquiring the
Crimea for the Reich. How long before the war was that?

A. No; before the war the Fuehrer had not discussed the
territorial aims with us, or rather, which territories he
had in mind. At that time, if you read the record, I myself
considered the question premature and I confided myself to
more practical matters during that conference.

Q. I would like to be still more precise. You state that
with regard to the Crimea there was some question about
making the Crimea Reich territory.

A. Yes, that was discussed during that conference.

Q. All right; with regard to the Baltic provinces, there was
talk about those, too?

A. I have just told you that, yes.

Q. All right. With regard to the Caucasus, there was talk
about annexing the Caucasus also?

A. It was never a question of it becoming German. We merely
spoke about very strong German economic influence in that
sphere.

Q. So the Caucasus was to become a concession of the Reich?

A. Just to what degree obviously could not be discussed
until after a victorious war. You can see from the record
what a mad thing it is to discuss, a few days after a war
has broken out, the things recorded here by Bormann, when
nobody knows what the outcome of that war will be and what
the possibilities are.

Q. Therefore, by "exaggeration" you mean that the Volga
territory, for instance, was not discussed.

A. The exaggeration lies in the fact that at that time
things were discussed which you could not discuss usefully
at all. At the most you might have talked about territory
which you occupied and its administration.

Q. We are now trying to establish the facts, namely, that
those questions had been discussed and these questions came
up at the conference. You do not deny that, do you?

                                                  [Page 320]

A. There had been some discussion, yes, but not as recorded
in these minutes.

Q. I would like to draw just one conclusion. The facts bear
witness that, even before this conference, aims to annex
foreign territories had been fixed in accordance with the
plan prepared months ago. That is correct, is it not?

A. Yes, that is correct, but I would like to emphasise that
in these minutes I steered away from these endless
discussions, and here the text reads:

  "The Reichsmarschall countered this, i.e., the lengthy
  discussion of all these things, by stressing the main
  points which were of vital importance to us, such as,
  securing of food supplies, in so far as necessary to the
  economy, securing of roads, etc."

I just wanted to reduce the whole thing to a practical
basis.

Q. Just so. You have contradicted yourself, inasmuch as in
your opinion the most important thing was the food supply.
All the other things could follow later. It says so in the
minutes. Your contradiction does not lie in your objection
to the plan itself but in the sequence of its execution.
First of all you wanted food and later territory. Is that
correct?

A. No, it is exactly as I have read it out, and there is no
sequence of aims. There is no secret.

Q. Please read it once more and tell me just where you
disagreed.

A. "After the lengthy discussion about persons and matters
concerning annexation, etc., opposing this, the
Reichsmarschall stressed the main points which could be the
decisive factors for us: securing of food supplies, in so
far as necessary to the economy, securing of roads, etc. -
communications" - at the time I mentioned railways, etc. -
that is, I wanted to bring this extravagant talk - such as
might take place in the first flush of victory - back to the
purely practical things which must be done.

Q. It is understandable that the securing of food supplies
plays an important part. However, the objection you just
gave does not mean that you objected to the annexation of
the Crimea or the annexation of other regions, is not that
correct?

A. If you had been speaking German, then, from the sentence
which says, "opposing that, the Reichsmarschall emphasised .
. ." you would understand everything that is implied. In
other words, I did not say here, "I protest against the
annexation of the Crimea," or, "I protest against the
annexation of the Baltic States." I had no reason to do so.
Had we been victorious, then after the signing of peace we
would in any case have decided how far annexation would
serve our purpose. At the moment we had not finished the
war, we had not won the war yet, and consequently I
personally confined myself to practical problems.

Q. I understand you. In that case, you considered the
annexation of these regions a step to come later. As you
said yourself, after it was won you would have seized these
provinces and annexed them.

A. As an old hunter, I acted according to the principle of
not dividing the bear's skin before the bear was shot.

Q. I understand. The bear's skin should be divided only when
the territories were seized completely, is that correct?

A. Just what to do with the skin could only be decided
definitely after the bear was shot.

Q. Luckily, this did not happen.

A. Luckily for you.

Q. And so, summing this up on the basis of the replies which
you gave to my question, it has become quite clear, and I
think you will agree, that the war aims were aggressive.

A. The one and only decisive war aim was to eliminate the
danger which Russia represented to Germany.

                                                  [Page 321]

Q. And to seize the Russian territories.

A. I have tried repeatedly to make this point clear, namely,
that before the war started this was not discussed. The
answer is that the Fuehrer saw in the attitude of Russia and
in the lining up of troops on our frontier a mortal threat
to Germany, and he wanted to eliminate that threat. He felt
that to be his duty. What might have been done in peace,
after a victorious war, is quite another question, which at
that time was not discussed in any shape or form. But to
reply to your question, by that I do not mean to say that
after a victorious war in the East we would have had no
thoughts of annexation.

Q. I do not wish to return to the question of the so-called
primitive war, but nevertheless, since you touched on the
subject, I would like to ask you the following.

You remember the testimony of Field-Marshal Milch, who
stated that neither Goering nor he wanted war with Russia.
Do you remember that testimony of your witness, Field-
Marshal Milch?

A. Yes, perfectly.

Q. You do remember. In that case, why did you not want war
with Russia, when you saw the so-called Russian threat?

A. Firstly, I have said, already that it was the Fuehrer who
saw the danger to be so great and so imminent. Secondly, in
connection with the question put by my defence counsel, I
have stated clearly and exactly the reasons why I believed
that the danger had not yet become so imminent, and that we
should take other preparatory measures first.

Q. But you do not deny the testimony of your witness?

A. Milch held a somewhat different opinion from mine. He
considered it a serious danger to Germany because it would
mean a war on two fronts. He was not so much of the opinion
that Russia did not represent a danger, but he held that in
spite of that danger one should take the risk and not use
attack as a preventative  measure against that danger. I,
too, held the same opinion, but, of course, at a different
time.

Q. On the basis of your replies to questions during several
sessions, it appears there was no country on earth which you
did not regard as a threat.

A. The other countries did not represent a danger to
Germany, but I personally, from 1933 on, always saw in
Russia the greatest threat.

Q. Well, of course, by "the other countries" you mean your
allies, is that right?

A. No, I was thinking of the other countries. If you ask me
again I would say that the danger to Germany lay, in my
opinion, in Russia's drive towards the West. Naturally, I
also saw a certain danger in the two Western countries,
England and France, and in this connection, in the event of
Germany being involved in a war, I regarded the United
States to be a threat also. As far as the other countries
were concerned, I did not consider them to be a direct
threat to Germany. In the case of the small countries, they
would constitute a direct threat, if they were used by the
large countries as bases in a war against Germany.

Q. Naturally, the small countries did not represent the same
threat because Germany already occupied them.

A. No, a small country, as such, does not represent a
threat, but if another large country uses the small one
against me, then the small country, too, can become a
danger.

Q. I do not want to discuss the thing further as it does not
relate to the question. The basic question here is Germany's
intentions with regard to the territory of the U.S.S.R., and
to that you have already answered quite affirmatively and
decisively. I shall go on to the next question.

Do you admit that as the trustee of the Four-Year Plan you
were in full charge of the working out of plans for the
economic exploitation of all the occupied territories, as
well as the realisation of these plans?

                                                  [Page 322]

A. I have already admitted that I assumed responsibility for
the economic policy in the occupied territories and the
directions which I had given for the exploitation of those
territories.

Q. Can you tell me how many million tons of grain and other
products were exported from the Soviet Union to Germany
during the war?

A. I cannot give you the figures. How could I know that from
memory? But I am sure it is by no means as large as it was
stated here.

Q. On the basis of your own documents I have the figures,
but we will pass on to that question later.

I would like to return to the same conference which has
already been mentioned. You remember the document submitted
by the Soviet prosecution, concerning the conference of 6th
August, 1942, Exhibit USSR 170? On 6th August, 1942, there
was a conference of commissars of the occupied regions and
of the representatives of the Military Command. You stated
at this conference - and I would like to remind you of some
of the things you said.

A. May I have a look at these minutes?

Q. You want to see the minutes of the meeting? Certainly. It
is quite a long document. It might take too much time to
read the whole thing. I will ask you to look only at Page
111 of this stenographic record - the place is marked with
pencil - especially the citations which I am going to quote
here. On Page 111 it states:

  "Gentlemen: The Fuehrer has given me general powers on a
  scale such as he has never given hitherto under the Four-
  Year Plan. He has also empowered me - "

A. Just one moment. Would you omit "under the Four-Year
Plan"?

Q. Yes. I knew that. Evidently the translation has not
reached you. I mentioned the Four-Year Plan.

  "He has given me additional powers reaching into every
  branch of our economic structure, whether it be inside
  the State, the Party or the Armed Forces."

Is it correct you were given such exclusive rights and
prerogatives as mentioned in the dictation.

A. When the Four-Year Plan was formulated I received
extraordinary general powers. For the first time unlimited
power was given to me in the economic sphere, I received
authority to issue directives and instructions to the
highest Reich Departments, to the higher offices of the
Armed Forces and the Party. During the war these powers were
extended to the economic structure of the occupied
countries.

Q. In that case I have stated and interpreted correctly what
you stated at the conference?

A. Absolutely, in spite of the fact it is wrongly
translated.

Q. With regard to your special prerogatives and rights, I am
going to cite the instructions which you gave, as well as
the orders you issued to some of the members who took part
in the conference held on 16th August, and which were
binding upon them.

A. Yes.

Q. In that case, when you used such expressions as "squeeze
out," "get everything possible out of the occupied
territories," such sentences in the directives issued became
orders for your subordinates, is that not correct?

A. Naturally, they were then put into their proper form.
These were the words used in direct speech, and the language
was not so polite.

Q. Yes, I understand.

A. You are referring to the passage - may I repeat it:

  "You certainly are not sent there to work for the welfare
  of the population."

                                                  [Page 323]

Is that the passage you are referring to?

Q. Yes; look at Page 112.

A. Yes, that is just what I am reading.

Q. It states here - I will read it:

  "You are sent there not to work for the welfare of the
  population, but for the purpose of extracting everything
  possible out of these territories. That is what I expect
  from you."

A. You have left out a sentence - "So that the German nation
may live - "

Q. Yes, that is right.

A. One minute ... "Extracting everything so that the German
nation may live. That is what I expect from you."

Before that it states, however, and this is the sentence I
would like to read:

  "In the occupied territories they have stuffed themselves
  full while our own people have starved." The sentence
  then follows.

Q. You do not deny that these are your own words:

  "You are sent there not to work for the welfare of the
  population, but to extract everything possible - ."

A. You have to read that in connection with the preceding
part. I do not deny that I said that.

Q. Do you deny your own words as stated here?

A. No, I am telling you that I did say that. What I do
object to is the way you pick out certain things, whereas
they should be taken with their context.

Q. These phrases in the document are very expressive.

I draw your attention to the following extract on Page 113,
which is also underlined. Here are some of your orders:
  
  "One thing I will do. I will get what I demand of you,
  and if you cannot  manage I will set up agencies which
  will get it out of you, whether you like it or not."

Do you see that extract? Is it correct that this is what you
said at the conference?

A. That quotation has not been translated by the interpreter
as it is written down here in the original. The interpreter
who is translating your words into German is using many
strong expressions which are not contained in this document.
Squeeze out ...


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