The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The next document, your Honour, is 508-PS, which will be
Exhibit USA 545. Now, the Hitler Order of 18th October,
1942, was actually carried out in a number of instances, of
which we have the documentary proof for several. Document
508-PS shows that during the night of l9th-20th November,
1942, a British freight glider crashed near Egersund, in
Norway. The glider carried a British Commando Unit of 17
men, of whom three were apparently killed in the crash. All
were in British uniform. Fourteen survivors were executed in
accordance with the Hitler Order, the evening of 20th
November. In proof of this I will read certain extracts from
508-PS, beginning on Page 1 of the translation, the
paragraph numbered (1):

   "(1) Following supplementary report is made about
   landing of a British freight glider at Egersund in the
   night of -"

It reads 11th November in the translation, but I believe in
the original it was 20th November; that is a typographical
error.

      "(a) No firing on the part of the German defence.
      
      (b) The towing plane (Wellington) has crashed after
      touching the ground; 7-man crew dead. The attached
      freight glider also crashed; of the 17-man crew 14
      alive. Indisputably a sabotage force. Fuehrer Order
      has been carried out."

I pass to Page 3 of the translation, on which page appear
two teletype messages. I wish to read the first two
paragraphs at the top of that page.

   "On 20th November, 1942, at 5.50 an enemy plane was
   found 15 km. N.E. of Egersund. It is a British aircraft
   (towed glider) made of wood, without engine. Of the 17-
   member crew three are dead, six are severely, the others
   slightly wounded.
   
   All wore English khaki uniforms without sleeve-insignia.
   Furthermore, following items were found: 8 knapsacks,
   tents, skis and radiosender, exact number is unknown.
   The glider carried rifles, light machine guns and
   machine pistols, number unknown. At present the
   prisoners are with the battalion in Egersund."

Passing to the second teletype message, the first paragraph:

   "Beside the 17-member crew extensive sabotage material
   and work equipment were found. Therefore the sabotage
   purpose was absolutely proved. The 280th Infantry
   Division ordered the execution according to the Fuehrer
   Order. The execution was carried out toward the evening
   of 20th November. Some of the prisoners wore blue ski-
   suits under their khaki uniforms which had no insignia
   on the sleeves. During a short interrogation the
   survivors have revealed nothing but their names, ranks
   and serial numbers."

I pass to the last paragraph of that teletype, at the foot
of Page 3 of the translation:

   "In connection with the shooting of the members of the
   crew, the Armed Forces Commander of Norway has issued an
   order to the district commanders, according to which the
   interrogations by G-2" - that was Ic in the German -
   "and by B.D.S." - police - "are important before the
   execution of the Fuehrer Order; in case of paragraph No.
   4 of the Fuehrer Order the prisoners are to be handed
   over to the B.D.S."

Your Lordship, the next document is 512-PS, Exhibit USA 546.
This document recites three specific instances where the
Hitler Order was carried out in Norway, and especially
emphasises the desirability of taking individual Commandos
prisoner for interrogation. I read from Document 512-PS,
dated 13th December, 1942:

   "According to the last sentence of the Fuehrer Order of
   18th October, individual saboteurs can be spared for the
   time being in order to keep them for interrogation. The
   importance of this measure was proved in the
   
                                                    [Page 7]
   
   cases of the Glomfjord, 2-man torpedo Drontheirn, and
   glider plane Stavanger, where interrogations resulted in
   valuable knowledge of enemy intentions. Since in the
   case of Egersund the saboteur was liquidated immediately
   and no clues were found, therefore Armed Forces
   Commander refers to the above mentioned last sentence of
   the Fuehrer Order calling for liquidation only after a
   short interrogation."

One final document from the Norwegian theatre of war is
relevant.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Taylor, what does "R.K." in the last
paragraph mean? The first words of the last paragraph?

COLONEL TAYLOR: Red Cross, Rotes Kreuz.

THE PRESIDENT: So they had a protest from the Red Cross?

COLONEL TAYLOR: Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDENT: And "B.D.S."?

COLONEL TAYLOR: That is "Befehlshaber der Sicherheitspolizei
(Sipo)."

Document 526-PS, which is Exhibit USA 502, dated 10th May,
1943, Colonel Storey has already brought to the Tribunal's
attention in connection with the presentation against the
Sicherheitsdienst.

I will first read the opening sentences:

   "On the 30th March, 1943, in Toftefjord (degree of
   latitude 70), an enemy cutter was sighted. Cutter was
   blown up by enemy.
   
   Crew: 2 dead and 10 taken prisoners.
   
   Cutter sent from Scalloway (Shetland Isles) by the
   Norwegian Navy.
   
   Armament: 2 Colt machine guns; 2 mounted machine guns.
   Also a small transmitting set. There were likewise found
   on board: 4 tripods for mounting machine guns, 6 sub-
   machine guns and 1,000 kilos of high explosives.
   
   Cutter's Commander: Lt. Eskeland, of the Royal Norwegian
   Navy."

Passing to the word "Purposes":

   Purpose: "Construction of an organisation for the
   sabotaging of strong-points, battery positions, staff
   and troop billets and bridges.
   
   Assigner of Mission in London: Norwegian Major Munthe.
   
   Fuehrer Order executed by Sicherheitsdienst (Security
   Service).
   
   Wehrmacht Report of 6th April announces the following
   about it:
   
   " 'In Northern Norway an enemy sabotage unit was engaged
   and destroyed on approaching the coast.'"

Now, shifting to the Italian theatre of war, I call the
Court's attention to Document 509-PS, which will be Exhibit
USA 547. This document is dated 7th November, 1943, and is a
telegram from the Supreme Commander in Italy to O.K.W., and
it shows that on 2nd November, 1943, three British
Commandos, taken prisoner near Pescara in Italy, were given
"special treatment" - (sonderbehandelt), which, as the Court
knows from previous evidence in the case, meant death. What
happened to the nine remaining prisoners of war in the
hospital, we do not know.

I have one more document from the Italian theatre of war,
2610-PS, Exhibit USA 548. This specifically shows the
carrying out of Hitler orders. It consists of an affidavit,
dated 7th November, 1945, by Frederick W. Roche, a Major in
the Army of the United States. Major Roche was the Judge
Advocate of an American Military Commission which tried
General Anton Dostler, formerly Commander of the 75th German
Army Corps, for the unlawful execution of fifteen members of
the United States armed forces. I will read from this
affidavit:

   "Frederick W. Roche, being duly sworn, deposes and says:
   
   I am a Major in the, Army of the United States.
   
   I was the Judge Advocate of the Military Commission
   which tried Anton Dostler for ordering the execution of
   the group of fifteen United States

                                                    [Page 8]

   Army personnel who comprised the 'Ginny Mission.' This
   Military Commission, consisting of five officers, was
   appointed by command of General McNarney, by Special
   Orders No. 269, dated 26th September, 1945,
   Headquarters, Mediterranean theatre of Operations,
   United States Army, A.P.O. 512.
   
   The Military Commission met at Rome, Italy, on 8th
   October, 1945, and proceeded with the trial of the case
   of the United States v. Anton Dostler. The trial of this
   case lasted four days and the findings and sentence were
   announced on the morning of 12th October, 1945. The
   charge and specification in this case are as follows:
   
   Charge: Violation of the Law of War.
   
   Specification: In that Anton Dostler, then General,
   commanding military forces for the German Reich, a
   belligerent enemy nation, to wit the 75th Army Corps,
   did on or about 24th March, 1944, in the vicinity of La
   Spezia, Italy, contrary to the law of war, order to be
   shot summarily a group of United States Army personnel
   consisting of two officers and thirteen enlisted men who
   had then recently been captured by forces under General
   Dostler, which order was carried into execution on or
   about 26th March, 1944, resulting in the death of the
   said fifteen members of the Army of the United States" -
   and a list of names follows.
   
   I was present throughout the entire proceeding. I heard
   all the testimony and I am familiar with the records in
   this case. The facts developed in this proceeding are as
   follows: On the night of 22nd March, 1944, two officers
   and thirteen enlisted men of the 2677th Special
   Reconnaissance Battalion of the Army of the United
   States, disembarked from some United States Navy Boats
   and landed on the Italian coast near Stazione di
   Framura. All fifteen men were members of the army of the
   United States and were in the military service of the
   United States. When they landed on the Italian coast
   they were all properly dressed in the field uniform of
   the United States Army and they carried no civilian
   clothes. Their mission was to demolish a railroad tunnel
   on the main line between La Spezia and Genoa. That rail
   line was being used by the German forces to supply their
   fighting forces on the Cassino and Anzio Beachhead
   fronts. The entire group was captured on the morning of
   24th March, 1944, by a patrol consisting of Fascist
   soldiers and a group of members of the German Army. All
   fifteen men were placed under interrogation in La Spezia
   and they were held in custody until the morning of 26th
   March, 1944, when they were all executed by a firing
   squad. These men were never tried nor were they brought
   before any court or given any hearing; they were shot by
   order of Anton Dostler, then General Commanding the 75th
   German Army Corps.
   
   Anton Dostler took the stand in this case and testified,
   by way of defence, that he ordered the fifteen American
   soldiers to be shot pursuant to the Hitler Order of 18th
   October, 1942, on Commando Operations, which provided
   that Commandos were to be shot and not taken prisoners
   of war, even after they had been interrogated. He also
   testified that he would have been subject to court-
   martial proceedings if he did not obey the Hitler
   Order."

The following is a true copy of the findings and sentence in
the case of the United States against Anton Dostler, as
these findings and sentence appear in the original record of
the trial and as they were announced in open court at Rome,
Italy, on 12th October, 1945:

   "Findings: General Dostler, as President of this
   Commission it is my duty to inform you that the
   Commission, in closed session and upon secret written
   ballot, at least two-thirds of all the members of the

                                                    [Page 9]

   Commission concurring, finds you of the specification
   and of the charge:
   Guilty.
   
   Sentence: And again in closed session and upon secret
   written ballot, at least two-thirds of all the members
   of the Commission concurring, sentences you: to be shot
   to death by musketry."

Now the order of 18th October, 1942, remained in force, so
far as we know, until the end of the war. I wish to offer
Document 506-PS, which will be Exhibit USA 549. This
document is dated 22nd June, 1944. It is initialled by
Warlimont and in it the O.K.W. made it clear that the Hitler
Order was to be applied even in cases where the Commando
operation was undertaken by only one person. I will read the
single paragraph of the order:

   "The Operations Staff agrees with the view taken in the
   letter of the Army Group Judge to the Supreme Commander
   Southwest of 20th May, 1944. The Fuehrer Order is to be
   applied even if the enemy employs only one person for a
   task. Therefore, it does not make any difference if
   several persons or a single person take part in a
   Commando Operation. The reason for the special treatment
   of participants in a Commando Operation is that such
   operations do not correspond to the German concept of
   usage and customs of (land) warfare."

The Allied landing in Norway early in June, 1944, in the
course of which large-scale airborne operations took place,
raised among the Germans the question as to how far the
Hitler Order would be applied in Normandy, and in France
behind the German lines. I direct the Court's attention to
Document 531-PS, which will be Exhibit USA 550. The
memorandum is dated 23rd June, 1944, and is signed by
Warlimont. Warlimont's memorandum starts by quoting a
teletype from the Supreme Command in the West, inquiring
what should be done about applying the Hitler Order to
Airborne Troops and Commandos.

I would like to read a small part of the teletype from the
beginning:

   "Supreme Command West reports by teletype message, Top
   Secret, 23rd June, 1944:
   
   The treatment of enemy Commando Groups has so far been
   carried out according to the order referred to." (If I
   may interpolate here, the order referred to is shown in
   the cross-reference to the Fuehrer Order of 13th
   October, 1942.)
   
   "With the large-scale landing achieved, a new situation
   has arisen. The order referred to directs, in paragraph
   5, that enemy soldiers who are taken prisoner in open
   combat or surrender within the limits of normal combat
   operations (such as large-scale landing operations and
   undertakings) are not to be treated according to
   paragraphs 3 and 4. It must be established in a form
   easily understood by the troops how far the concept
   'within the limits of normal combat operations' is to be
   extended."

Then I pass down to sub-paragraph D and read the first
sentence of that sub-paragraph.

THE PRESIDENT: I think you ought to read the latter part of
"C."

COLONEL TAYLOR: Your Honour, I think it is all summarised in
the one sentence.

THE PRESIDENT: The last sentence is the one that I mean.

COLONEL TAYLOR: "Considerable reprisals against our own
prisoners must be expected if its contents become known."

Then, continuing with "D":

   "The application of number 5 for all enemy soldiers in
   uniform penetrating from the outside into the occupied
   Western Areas, is held by the Supreme Command West to be
   the most correct and clearest solution."

                                                   [Page 10]

Accordingly, as it is there shown, the Supreme Command in
the West directed that paragraph 5, which is the paragraph
under which the orders for execution are not to be applied,
should be utilised in the West.

At the foot of the page is the position taken by the Armed
Forces Operational Staff, the recommendation they were
making:

   "1. The Commando Order remains basically in effect, even
   after the enemy landing in the West.
   
   2. Number 5 of the Order is to be clarified to the
   effect that the Order is not valid for those enemy
   soldiers in uniform, who are captured in open combat in
   the immediate combat area of the beachhead by our troops
   committed there, or who surrender. Our troops committed
   in the immediate, combat area means the divisions
   fighting on the front line, as well as reserves up to
   and including Corps Headquarters.
   
   3. Furthermore, in doubtful cases, enemy personnel who
   have fallen into our hands alive are to be turned over
   to the S.D., upon whom it is incumbent to determine
   whether the Commando Order is to be applied or not.
   
   4. Supreme Command West is to see to it that all units
   committed in its zone are orally acquainted in a
   suitable manner with the Order concerning the treatment
   of members of Commando undertakings of 18th October,
   1942, together with the above explanation."


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