The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/17

Q. Herr Severing, did you and your Party friends have the
possibility -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, are you going to finish this
examination, or are you going on? Do you see the clock?

DR. SIEMERS: Yes, I should like to leave the decision up to
the High Tribunal as to whether we shall have a recess now.
I understand there will be a cross-interrogation so that -

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but presumably you know what questions
you are going to ask; I do not.

DR. SIEMERS: I cannot say exactly. It depends on what
answers the witness is going to give. It might take perhaps
another ten minutes, your Honour.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. We will adjourn now till a quarter
past 2.00 o'clock.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will not sit on Saturday

Now, Mr. Dodd, could you tell us what the position is with
reference to the documents of the defendants von Schirach,
Sauckel and Jodl?

MR. DODD: As far as von Schirach is concerned, we are
waiting for a ruling on those documents concerning which we
were heard on Saturday. I'm sorry, that was on Seyss-
Inquart. I wasn't sure the documents were ready.

The documents referred to are all ready; they are all
translated and in book form.

THE PRESIDENT: Will it be necessary to have any further
discussion of them?

MR. DODD: I believe not, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, then, we can take it that we need
not have another argument about those documents.

MR. DODD: No, sir, I see no need for any further argument on
von Schirach's documents.

With reference to Sauckel, I have asked our French
colleagues what the situation is, since they have the
primary responsibility, and I am told that M. Herzog of the
French prosecution staff is on his way here and he will be
able to report more accurately.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we can mention that at a later stage
then. Schirach at any rate then is ready to go on?

MR. DODD: He is ready to go on.


MR. DODD: Sir David has the information about the defendant


                                                  [Page 259]

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, the position with regard to Jodl's
documents is that Dr. Jahreiss produced to me a draft book,
just before Easter, which had a certain number of documents,
all except four of which had already been exhibited, and
therefore no objection could be taken to them.

My Lord, the other four were all short. Two, I thought, were
objectionable on the ground that they referred to alleged
war crimes by one of the Allies. But, my Lord, they were so
short that I thought the best course would be for them to be
translated - they were only a page or so, each of them - so
that when the books had been translated, any objection could
be taken, and then the Tribunal could shortly decide the

THE PRESIDENT: Well, as there are only four of them and only
two which might be objected to, that can be dealt with when
we come to hear the case.

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, there are only two.

THE PRESIDENT: We need not have any special hearing for it.

MR. ROBERTS: No, my Lord, certainly not. It could be
disposed of in a very few minutes.

DR. EXNER (Counsel for defendant Jodl): Mr. President, I
should like to say one more word about these Jodl documents.
We are having difficulties over one of them. It is the
affidavit of Dr. Lehmann, which we submitted in German, but
which was not translated into English for us on the grounds
that only such documents could be translated as the
prosecution had already accepted; and the prosecution had
adopted the standpoint that it cannot express any opinion on
that document as it has not been translated into English.

I have mentioned this in a brief petition to the Tribunal,
and I hope that the Tribunal will settle the matter.

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, Lehmann's affidavit is very short - it
goes principally to character - and it is really not
objectionable, but I had to point out that it had not
actually been allowed by the Tribunal in their order.

THE PRESIDENT: If it is accepted in the translation, that is
all that is necessary.

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, I entirely agree, and it is all on one

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, very well. Let it be translated.

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: May it please the Tribunal, it may be
convenient for me to indicate to the Tribunal at this stage
of Raeder's case that with regard to the witness, Lehmann,
the prosecution does not now desire to cross-examine that
witness in view of the documents which are before the
Tribunal, and the fact that the matters his affidavit dealt
with were dealt with yesterday by my learned friend Sir
David Maxwell Fyfe, in his cross-examination of Raeder, and
finally, in view of the time that would be needed.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any other members of the prosecution want
to cross-examine Lehmann?


THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the defendants' counsel want to ask
any questions of Lehmann?

Very well, then I understand that the witness Lehmann is
being kept here, and perhaps a message could be given to the
Marshal, that he need not remain.

M. HERZOG: Mr. President, in the name of the French
prosecution I should like to say a word about the documents
presented by Sauckel's defence. I have no objection to the
presentation of these documents, with the reservation of
course that a ruling on them be made after they are
presented. We have no objection to the documents being
translated or presented.

                                                  [Page 260]

THE PRESIDENT Do you think it is necessary or desirable for
there to be a special hearing with reference to the
admissibility, or can that be done in the course of the
defendant Sauckel's case? At the moment, I apprehend that
the documents were looked at for the purpose of translation.
They have now been translated. If you think it necessary
that there should be any special hearing before the case
begins, as to admissibility, we should like to know.
Otherwise they would be dealt with in the course of the
case, in the course of Sauckel's case.

M. HERZOG: I think, Mr. President, it will be sufficient if
the Tribunal deals with these documents during the course of
the defendant's case. I do not think we need a special
hearing as far as these documents are concerned.




Q. Herr Severing, as far as I have been able to ascertain,
you have not yet; answered one of my questions clearly.

With reference to the concentration camps, you said that you
had heard of certain individual cases, and you named them.
In order to avoid any misunderstanding, I just want to ask
you in conclusion: did you hear of the mass murders which
have been mentioned in this trial - at Auschwitz, for
instance, an average of about two thousand persons a day
were put to death in the gas chambers? Were you in
possession of this knowledge before the collapse, or did you
not know anything about that either?

A. I knew nothing whatsoever about these mass murders, which
only became known in Germany after the collapse of the
Hitler regime, partly through announcements in the Press and
partly through trials.

Q. Herr Severing, what could you and your political friends
do during the National Socialist regime, against the
National Socialist terror which you have partly mentioned,
and did anyone abroad support you in any way in this

A. If you will limit the question to asking what I and my
political friends could do and did do after 30th January to
combat the Hitler regime, then I can only say - very little.
If there was any question of resistance against the Hitler
regime, then that resistance was not a centrally organized
one. It was restricted to the extent that in various cities
the opponents of the Nazis met to consider how one might, at
least by propaganda, fight the mental terror. No open
resistance was possible.

But perhaps I should here draw your attention to the
following: On 30th January, I personally made a decisive
attempt - or rather an attempt which, in my opinion, might
have proved decisive - to oppose the Hitler regime. In the
autumn of 1931 I had an interview with the Chief of the Army
Command, von Hammerstein, during which Hammerstein explained
to me that the "Reichswehr" would not allow Hitler to usurp
the seat of the President of the State. I remembered that
conference, and on 30th January, 1933, I inquired whether
von Hammerstein would be prepared to grant me an interview.
I wanted to ask him, during that interview, whether he was
still of the opinion that the "Reichswehr" would not only
declare itself to be against the Hitler regime, but would
oppose such a regime by force of arms.

Herr von Hammerstein replied to the effect that, in
principle, he would be prepared to have such an interview
with me, but that the moment was not a propitious one. The
interview never took place.

                                                  [Page 261]

If you were to ask me whether, in their efforts to fight the
Hitler regime, at least by propaganda, my political friends
had received any support from foreign personalities whom one
might have called anti-Fascists, then I must say -
unfortunately, no. On the contrary, we quite often noticed
with much sorrow, that members of the English Labour Party,
not officials, but private individuals, were Hitler's guests
and that they returned to England to praise the then
Chancellor Hitler as a friend of peace. I mention Philip
Snowden in that connection, and the doyen of the Labour
Party, Lansbury. In this connection I would like to draw
your attention to the following facts: In the year -

THE PRESIDENT: The attitude of political parties in other
countries has nothing to do with any question we have to
decide, absolutely nothing.

DR. SIEMERS: I believe that this is sufficient. I have no
further questions to ask, Herr Severing, and I thank you.

DR. LATERNSER (Counsel for the General Staff and the OKW):


Q. Herr Severing, during your term of office was the figure
of 100,000 men, allowed by the Peace Treaty of Versailles
for a normal army, ever exceeded?

A. I have no official knowledge of that. I would assume,
however, that that was not the case.

Q. Do you know at all whether, at the end of 1932, the
League of Nations made a promise or held out prospects that
this army of 100,000 could be increased to 300,000 men?

A. Here, too, I am unable to give you any official
information. I can, however, give the following
explanations: In 1932 I received a letter from a party
friend of mine, Dr. Rudolf Breitscheid, who was a member of
the League of Nations Delegation, and in which he mentioned
rumours of that kind; but he also added other information -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, we do not think that rumours
are relevant in the trial. He says he can't give us any
official information. He then begins to give us rumours.
Well, we don't want to hear rumours.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, what the witness is now saying
is rather more than a rumour, and I think you will probably
be able to judge for yourself when he has entirely answered
the question.

THE PRESIDENT: He is speaking of rumours. If you have any
fresh question to ask him, you can ask him.


Q. Did the increase of the army from 100,000 to 300,000 men
ever assume any palpable shape - did it go beyond the stage
of discussion?

A. I have just told you that Dr. Breitscheid was a member of
the League of Nations Delegation, and that his information
to me was not a fabric of his own invention. That
information stated that an extension of the army had been
envisaged, but that this extension would probably be made at
the expense of the police. Dr. Breitscheid informed me

DR. LATERNSER: Thank you very much, I have no further
questions to ask.

DR. KARL HAENSEL (Counsel for the SS.):


Q. You have just told us that you had no knowledge of the
Jewish mass murders in Auschwitz before the collapse. Did
you have any knowledge of other measures taken, or acts
perpetrated against Jews which you could define as criminal?

A. I experienced one such case personally. In 1944, a friend
of mine in Bielefeld, Karl Henkel, was arrested and
transferred to a labour camp near Emden, and he was shot on
the third day.

                                                  [Page 262]

Q. Do you know who arrested him, what authority?

A. He was arrested by the Bielefeld Gestapo.

Q. Did that occur in connection with some large-scale action
or was it an individual case?

A. It appeared to me to be an individual case.

Q. Did you hear of a number of such individual cases at that
time, i.e., in 1944?

A. In 1944 I did not hear of any individual cases of murder,
but I did hear of deportations from Westphalian towns to
unknown destinations.

Q. What authorities dealt with these deportations?

A. I cannot say for certain, but I assume that it was the

Q. Are you of the opinion that considerable sections of the
population knew of these occurrences?

A. You mean, of the deportations?

Q. Yes.

A. They usually took place quite publicly.

Q. Are you of the opinion that the same people were just as
well acquainted with these events as the members of the
organizations, as, for instance, the ordinary SS man, or
would you say that the ordinary SS man knew more than other

A. Oh yes. He was informed of the purpose of these

Q. But I understood you to say that the convoys were not
escorted by the SS you said it was the "Gestapo."

A. Yes, I have just stated that I assumed that the Gestapo
had conducted the arrests and the lootings, but I did not
receive any assurances that this was exclusively the work of
the Gestapo.

Q. And the other measures - apart from the measures
governing the deportations - was there some form of local
"pogrom"? If I have understood you correctly, you did not
hear of these very often?

A. Local pogroms occurred in November 1938.

Q. Did you actually see these things, of which we have often
been told, or did you remain at home?

A. I remained at home. I only saw the results of these
pogroms afterwards in the shape of destroyed Jewish firms,
and in the remains of the synagogues.

Q. And to which organizations or groups do you attribute
these events of November 1938?

A. My own judgement could not have any decisive value, but I
tell you quite frankly - it was the SA or the SS.

Q. And what makes you think that it was precisely these two

A. Because the members of these groups, in my home town of
Bielefeld, were considered the instigators of the synagogue

Q. By whom?

A. By the population in general. Their names were mentioned.

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