The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/05/10
THE PRESIDENT: What was your question, Colonel Pokrovsky? It
was whether the draft did not -

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I asked a question to which I received no

My Lord, I asked him what he could say about the actual part
which Spain was to play in the seizure of Gibraltar in 1941.

THE WITNESS: I cannot make a statement on what other people
thought. I can only talk about serious intentions in
connection with Spain in 1940. That I can talk about, but as
far as this paper is concerned, I can say nothing about it.
For I had dismissed long ago the plan as impossible. I know
of it only since I have been in Nuremberg; I never saw it


Whether that plan could not be carried out is quite another
question. Defendant Keitel said that you could give an
explanation. You declare that you cannot say anything.

A. As I have just said, it is some preliminary work done by
the younger General Staff officers, and I read the document,
with great interest and some amusement, in the Document Room
here for the first time. It was not shown to me at the time
it was written because it was clear that in a week's time
the situation would be different.

Q. You know nothing about the proposed dispatch of an
expeditionary corps to Egypt, Iran, and Iraq through
Transcaucasia in the direction of the Persian Gulf, if the
Soviet Union had collapsed, as is stated here; you did not
know anything about that either?

A. It was never a really serious proposition. On the
contrary, I had the biggest row of my life with the Fuehrer
because I refused to attack over the Caucasus in the
direction of Baku. But the General Staff officers did
entertain such ideas in the first flush of optimism because
of the big victories in the summer. That is what they are
there for, to have ideas. But the decisions are made by the
older and more level-headed men.

Q. So you confirm that the success of the Red Army upset
what you call "the bold and far-reaching plans" of Hitlerite
Germany to send an expeditionary corps to Syria and Egypt?
Is that right?

A. If the Soviet Union had collapsed, then one might have
entertained such ideas for continuing the war. But never the
idea, for instance, of attacking Turkey. She would have come
over to our side anyway voluntarily. That was the opinion of
the Fuehrer.

Q. How do you know that?

A. How do I know it? Even the document says so, and there
are the entries in the diaries of the Armed Forces
Operations Staff which are here in court. One passage reads:

  "After big German victories Turkey will come over to our
  side, anyway. I order that she be given preferential
  treatment in the supply of munitions and arms and
  armoured vehicles."

In fact, Turkey had expressed such a wish and she was very
grateful to receive from us tanks equipped with arms.

The Fuehrer would never have done that if he had expected
Turkey to join our opponents.

Q. We shall proceed to another group of questions. On the
eve of the campaign against Russia a conference was held
between the representatives of the OKW, the OKH and the
so-called RSHA, to decide the order of the participation of
the SIPO (Security Police). Do you know anything about this
conference at which the witness Ohlendorf was present?

                                                   [Page 22]

A. I know nothing about that. I was working on quite
different matters, an I have never had any conferences or
connections with the RSHA at all.

Q. Are you acquainted with Wilhelm Scheidt, a colleague in
the prisoner-of-war Department?

A. Yes, I know him. He was an assistant to General Scherf.

Q. Are you acquainted with his testimony which was given
before the Tribunal It is, my Lord, in Part 4, Pages 19 and
20. It proves that the criminal practice of inflicting
punitive measures on the peaceful population was known to
the officers of the OKW Operations Staff and of the General
Staff of the Army. Do you remember that?

A. I do not know the words that he used. Neither the Armed
Forces Operations Staff nor myself were ever associated with
criminal actions. I rejected criminal actions and fought
against them, and I made that abundantly clear here.

Q. Am I to understand that you deny all knowledge of the
criminal punitive measures taken against the civilian
population? Do you mean to say you knew nothing about them?

A. Of course, I know of the fight against your partisans.
That is quite clear. I have explained two instructions which
were issued by the Armed Forces Operation, Staff in this

Q. On 7th January, 1946, the witness von dem Bach-Zelewski
testified that the real aim of this struggle against the
partisans was the extermination of the Slaw and the Jews,
and that the methods used in this struggle were known to the
High Command. Do you wish to deny this too?

A. It might have been the intention of Bach-Zelewski; it was
not mine. My instructions were different. I already
described that intention yesterday a senseless. The numbers
of guerrillas made no difference in the gigantic struggle
between the German and the Soviet Armies. They were a minute

Q. Could you recollect, Jodl, when and in what circumstances
you yourself said at one of Hitler's conferences that the
German troops were entitled to trey the partisans as they
wished and to subject them to any kind of death, by torture
by quartering, hanging them head downward, etc. Do you
remember something of the kind?

A. About this matter, which is more comical than serious, we
talked for quit some time during the preliminary

Q. Perhaps you can tell us about this matter at less length
but with greater precision. Will you answer my question
whether you spoke these words or anything like these words
and in what circumstances did you say them?

A. I want to explain it briefly. It was on the 1st December,
1942. As the Tribunal will remember a directive in regard to
partisan warfare was issued on 11th November by the Armed
Forces Operations Staff, which we pronounced to be out-dated
by the new issue on 6th May, 1944. In that directive which
was issue on 11th November, I had written the sentence:

  "The burning down of villages as a reprisal is forbidden
  because necessarily only creates new partisans."

The draft of that instruction remained in the Fuehrer's
hands for weeks. He always objected that this instruction
would hamper the troops in ruthlessly fighting the
partisans. As at that time I had already issued that
instruction, and he still had not given his approval, I
became rather rude, and when he once more countered with
lengthy explanations of his fighting experience, his
experience of fighting the Communists in Chemnitz, I said,
in order to break the ice at last:

  "My Fuehrer, what people do in battle does not come into
  this instruction at all. As far as I am concerned you can
  quarter them or you can hang the upside down."

If I had known that the Russian gentlemen have so little
sense of irony, I would have added: "And roast them on the
spit." That is what I said and I added: "But in this
instruction we are concerned with reprisals after the
battle, and they must be prohibited."

                                                   [Page 23]

Then there were roars of laughter from all the officers
present, and from the Fuehrer, and he gave me permission to
issue that directive, and the testimony of a witness,
General Buhle, who was present, will confirm that to you.
That quartering of people has not been the custom in Germany
since the sixteenth century, any more than that of hanging
people upside-down, as everybody in the world knows.

Therefore that remark could only be an ironical one.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I ask the Tribunal to grant me one minute
to end this group of questions, literally one minute only.

THE PRESIDENT: I beg your pardon, what did you say?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I ask permission for one minute to ask
the last question of this group.


Q. Do you know that the German troops, evidently
understanding irony better than we do and, in the literal
sense of the word, quartered, hanged and roasted Soviet
captives over the fire. Did you know of that?

A. Not only did I not know it, but I do not even believe it.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: With the permission of the Tribunal I
shall proceed to the last group of questions left to me
after the recess.

THE PRESIDENT: How much longer will that take, Colonel

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I have only a very few questions to put
and I believe it will not take very long.

(A recess was taken until 14.00 hours.)




Q. You have given very important testimony before the
Tribunal. You have admitted that in 1941 the warriors of the
Red Army at Vyazma were fanatically resisting the fascist
invaders. Many of them were taken prisoner only because they
were too exhausted to move. You thereby explained the
gigantic percentage of mortality among the Soviet prisoners
of war. Is that correct?

A. That is true with regard to the prisoners, particularly
in the Vyazma pocket.

Q. Can you think of any other reasons you know, which would
account for this heavy mortality among the Soviet prisoners
of war?

A. I did not hear of any other reasons.

Q. Then I will refresh your memory a little and draw your
attention to a short excerpt from our Exhibit USSR 353. It
is a letter from Rosenberg to the Commander-in-Chief of the
Army, that was sent direct to the OKW. The letter is dated
28th February, 1942. I would draw your attention to a few
short extracts from this document. On Page 1, I believe, the
following sentences are underlined: "The fate of the Soviet
prisoners of war in Germany is a large-scale tragedy. A
great part of them have died of hunger or from the
inclemency of the weather. Thousands have also died of

I will leave out a few sentences and proceed to the next

  "Several intelligent commanding officers have taken this
  line with some success..."

Before it had been a question of the population being
willing to supply the prisoners of war with food of their
own accord.

  "In the majority of cases, however, the camp commanders
  have forbidden the civilian population to give any food
  to the prisoners of war and have deliberately let them
  die of starvation. Moreover, in many cases, when
  prisoners of war on the march could no longer keep up
  from sheer hunger and exhaustion, they were shot in full
  view of the horrified civilian population, and the
  corpses were left by the roadside."

                                                   [Page 24]

And farther on:

  "Remarks have often been heard like these: The more of
  these prisoners die, the better it will be for us."

And again on the third page:

  "It would be too artless to imagine that what went on in
  the prisoner-of-war; camps could be concealed from the
  Soviet Government. It is obvious from Molotov's circular
  note that the Soviets are perfectly well aware of the
  conditions described above."

Have you found the passages in question?

A. Yes, I have found them.

Q. Now, did you really know nothing of the reasons for this
mass mortality?

A. No. I heard of the letter here, in Court, for the first

Q. Defendant Jodl, I am not asking you about the letter. I
am asking you about the reasons for this mass mortality
among the Soviet prisoners. So you did not know of the
reasons which led to this mass mortality?

THE PRESIDENT: Is the document signed?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: The document bears no signature. It is a
captured document, 081-PS. It belongs to the documents
captured by the USA and was handed to us so that we could
submit it to the Tribunal.

Q. I did not hear your reply, defendant.

A. I knew nothing about these reasons for the mass
mortality. In any case they are completely wrong, that I do
know, because I can give rough figures from memory as
regards the number of Soviet prisoners of war and their

Q. Good. We will now deal with this question from a
different angle. Are you familiar with the name of von

A. Von Gravenitz? Yes, the name is familiar to me.

Q. Did he not work in the OKW?

A. He was, if I am not mistaken, in the General Office of
the Armed Forces as a subordinate of General Reinecke.

Q. This time you are quite accurate, you are right, do you
know General Oesterreich?

A. No, I do not know that general.

Q. You have never even heard the name?

A. I do not recall it.

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