The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-01/tgmwc-01-10.01

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-01/tgmwc-01-10.01
Last-Modified: 1999/09/06

                                                  [Page 307]



THE PRESIDENT: I will begin the session by reading the
judgement of the Tribunal upon the application made by
counsel for the defendant Hess.

The Tribunal has given careful consideration to the motion
of counsel for the defence of the defendant Hess, and it has
had the advantage of hearing full argument upon it both from
the defence and the prosecution. The Tribunal has also
considered  the very full medical reports, which have been
made on the condition of the defendant Hess, and has come to
the conclusion that no grounds whatever exist for a further
examination to be ordered.

After hearing the statement of the defendant Hess in Court
yesterday, and in view of all the evidence, the Tribunal is
of the opinion that the defendant Hess is capable of
standing his trial at the present time, and the motion of
the counsel for the defence is, therefore denied, and the
trial will proceed.

Now the witness under examination should come back to the
witness box.

(ERWIN LAHOUSEN resumed the stand.)

MR. ROBERTS: May it please the Tribunal, Sir David Maxwell
Fyfe yesterday said he had no questions to ask this witness.
He has now requested me very shortly to cross-examine this
witness on one incident mentioned in the Indictment, namely,
the murder of fifty R.A.F. officers who escaped from Stalag
Luft 3 in March of 1944.

THE PRESIDENT: You said "to cross-examine."

MR. ROBERTS: I realise that this is a matter which falls in
the part of the Indictment which is being dealt with the
prosecutors for the U.S.S.R. My Lord, I have mentioned that
matter to General Rudenko, who with his usual courtesy and
kindness has said that he has no objection to my asking some
questions on that matter.


Q. By MR. ROBERTS: Might I ask you this? Do you know
anything of the circumstances of the death of fifty R.A.F.
officers in March 1944, who had escaped from Stalag Luft 3
at Zagreb and were recaptured?

A. WITNESS: No, I have nothing to say because at that time I
was at the East front, as commander of my regiment, and had
no contact any longer with my former duties.

Q. Did you hear of the matter from any of your fellow

A. No, I heard nothing about it whatsoever.

Q. You cannot assist the Court at all with the matter?

A. No; in no way.


By DR. EGON KUBUSCHOK (counsel for defendant von Papen):

Q. Witness, you stated yesterday that you were the intimate
friend and collaborator of Admiral Canaris. Since I no
longer can address my question directly to Admiral Canaris,
I ask you to answer the following questions for me: Did
Admiral Canaris know of defendant von Papen's attitude
toward Hitler's war policies, and how did Admiral Canaris
express himself to you on this point?

A. First, I should like to make a slight correction on the
question addressed to me. I never asserted that I was the
intimate friend of Canaris. Pieckenbrock was a friend of
Canaris, while I was merely one of his confidants. From this

                                                  [Page 308]

relationship, however, I recall that von Papen's and
Canaris' attitude towards the question, which counsel has
just brought up, was negative.

Q. Was this negative attitude only towards the war policy,
or was it also towards all the violent methods used in the
execution of such a policy?

A. According to my recollection I have to answer this
question in the affirmative in accordance with a
conversation between Admiral Canaris and von Papen, during
the latter's visit in Berlin and at which I was present.

Q. Did you know that von Papen told Canaris that from
political quarters no resistance against Hitler's aggressive
policies was possible, but that such resistance would have
to be sought among the ranks of the military?

A. In this connection, that is to say, in the direct
connection as it is now being presented, I personally do not
know anything. In other words I personally was not witness
at any such conversation between Canaris and von Papen
touching this question; and I cannot recall today whether
Canaris ever told me anything regarding such conversations
with von Papen. It is quite possible, but I cannot recall
it, and consequently my oath as witness does not permit me
to make any statement other than I have made.

Q. Witness, do you conclude that Canaris believed von Papen
to intentionally retain an exposed political office in order
to exercise a mitigating influence?

A. I believe so, though I have no tangible proof through any
of his statements, but that is my impression, from what I
still recollect to-day.

By DR. OTTO NELTE (counsel for defendant Keitel):

Q. My client requested me to ask you the following
questions: Since when have you known Canaris and

A. I have known Canaris and Pieckenbrock since 1937 through
my previous activity in the Austrian Intelligence.

Q. Did at that time any relationship of a military nature
exist between the Abwehr, then headed by Admiral Canaris,
and yourself?

A. Not only did such connections exist with the Austrian
Intelligence, but the Austrian Federal Army and the German
Wehrmacht maintained at that time an absolute legal and
purely military exchange of information. Legal in the sense
that this exchange and collaboration of military
intelligence was carried on with the knowledge of the
Austrian authorities. To state it clearly, this was purely
military collaboration concerning intelligence exchange
about Austria's neighbouring countries.

Q. May I ask if this contact between you and Canaris was
also of a personal nature, i.e., to determine how the
Austrian Army felt about the question of the Anschluss?

A. This and similar questions, that is to say, all questions
of a political nature, particularly the question of the
Anschluss, or the then very intense illegal Nazi activities,
were and had to continue to be completely ignored in this
connection. This agreement was essentially kept by Count
Margona, the official liaison man - (he was also executed
after the 2oth of July) - and by Canaris and Generaloberst

Q. Do I understand you to wish to say that the personal
contact did not mean that the Austrian officers of the
General Staff gave information on everything regarding their
attitude to the idea of the Anschluss, or that they were
willing or able to give this information?

A. This personal contact took place for the first time on
the day, when I saw Canaris - (it was the first time) -
while he was still an Austrian officer. It was in the Office
for Defence of the Federal Government, where Canaris was
with the then Chief of the Austrian General Staff.

THE PRESIDENT: Can you not hear what was said?


                                                  [Page 309]

THE PRESIDENT: Would you please repeat the question?


Q. I asked the witness to what extent a personal contact
existed between the officers of the German General Staff and
the Abwehr, and between the officers of the Intelligence
Section and the German General Staff, for the purpose of
determining the trend towards the Anschluss.

A. First of all, there was no such personal contact in the
sense that the word is used here. The contact which actually
did take place - (and there are witnesses in this room who
can confirm this statement - von Papen must be thoroughly
informed of this) - took place on a single day, during which
I never spoke with Canaris alone, but always in the presence
of my superior. officers. In any case, no questions relating
to the Anschluss and no political questions which touched on
internal Austrian problems were discussed there, naturally
not by myself, and naturally not consciously and willingly
by Canaris.

Q. What was your job in the Abwehr Office II?

A. In the Abwehr Section II, which I took over at the
beginning of 19391 described it yesterday, and I am willing
to repeat it if you wish-this particular job did not have
its own designation; it embraced various functions and
actions, which I can define very precisely: acts of
destruction, acts of sabotage, or prevention of sabotage, or
in general those activities that are carried out by
commandos. It was the function of this division to co-
ordinate these activities and to bring them into
relationship with the military necessities, or the plans of
the General Staff.

Q. Who, in general, gave you your orders as regards co-
ordinating these activities with the military activities?

A. My orders were usually received from my Chief, Canaris.

Q. I was referring to the office, whether they came from the
OKH or the OKW?

A. They did not come from the OKW as a rule. Usually they
came through channels from the OKW represented by the then
Chief of the OKW, Keitel, or the chief of the
"Fuehrungsstab" of the Wehrmacht; and when the General Staff
or the Air Force "Fuehrungsstab" were interested in any
undertaking, the orders, as far as I can remember, were also
transmitted by way of the Armed Forces Fuehrungsstab, and
the representatives of the three Armed Forces, i.e., the
Army, Air Force and Navy appointed to it. All these orders
came through the same channels to the Ausland-Abwehr, and
Canaris transmitted them to me, as my allotted task.

Q. Are you now describing the official channels through
which you received the orders, or are you defining where the
orders came from, whether they came from the OKW, the Army,
the OKH, or the Fuehrungsstab; or whether they were simply
transmitted by way of or via the OKW?

A. Speaking strictly for myself I can say that I was in
touch with my immediate superior, Canaris, with regard to
that question; also with Keitel and with the officers of the
Army Fuehrungsstab. Sometimes I had to deal with officers of
the General Staff of the Army in connection with questions
concerning my section. I could mention specific cases from
memory. But in general the procedure was such as I described

Q. Is it true that Keitel, as the Chief of the OKW, at first
every year, and then from 1936 onwards, in shorter periods,
spoke to the officials and section chiefs of the OKW; and on
such occasions pointed out to them, specifically, that
everyone who believed that something was being asked of him
that his conscience would not allow him to carry out, should
be so kind as to tell him, namely, Keitel?

A. It is true that the then Chief of the OKW spoke before
the aforementioned circle several times, but I cannot, of
course, remember his precise words, or that he made a
statement which could be so interpreted. Whatever the
wording of Keitel's statement, I definitely did not obtain
the impression that one could have spoken to him as clearly
and openly as I and others, who are still alive, were able
to speak to Canaris at any time.

                                                  [Page 310]

Q. Do I understand you correctly to mean that you do not
wish to challenge, in principle, the fact that Keitel
actually said these words?

A. I can neither challenge it, nor can I add anything to it,
because I do not precisely recall it. I do recall that these
addresses or conferences took place, and it is altogether
possible that the then Chief of the OKW might have used
those words. I can only add what I have already said.

Q. Is it true that on several occasions, you, in the company
of Admiral Canaris, as well as alone, were in the presence
of the Chief of the OKW, in order to discuss plans or
undertakings with Keitel, which were in the purview of your
official duties?

A. Of course, I said a great deal about that yesterday; and
I do not feel I have the right to talk about such things
unless I personally was there.

Q. I had the impression, that in many respects you were
being used as a mouthpiece for Admiral Canaris, among other
things, through your quotations in his diary.

A. The impression is completely fallacious. I was not a
mouthpiece, and am now as I was then, inwardly completely
independent in what I state. I have never allowed myself,
nor shall I ever allow myself, to become the mouthpiece of
any conception, or to make any statements that are contrary
to my inner convictions and to my conscience.

Q. You misunderstood me if you believe that I used the word
"mouthpiece" derogatorily. I simply wanted to bring
attention to the remarks that have their source in Canaris'

A. Yes, I did assist Canaris, in matters which were of
personal concern to him and which, being dead, he could not
take up. Since I knew a great deal of it, and in great
detail, I took it upon myself to say what I knew.

Q. Did the defendant Keitel ever ask the question, or
communicate with Abwehr Section, as regards whether or not
there were Nazis in that section?

A. He gave unequivocal answers to such questions at the
aforementioned conferences, namely that there can be no
doubt that in such an office as the OKW, no officers or
trends of thought could be tolerated that did not have an
unshakeable belief in a final victory, or give proof of
complete obedience to the Fuehrer, etc.

Q Could not these statements be interpreted as requirements
of a military nature, obedience in a military set, or must
they be understood politically?

A Of course, they were military, but there could be no doubt
that they were clearly also political, since no
discrimination was recognised in this matter. The Wehrmacht
was supposed to be a unit, the National Socialistic
Wehrmacht. That touches the basic problem.

Q. Do you then believe that the basic attitude was still
essentially military?

A. The basic attitude was or should have been a National
Socialistic one, in the first place; and only in second
place a military attitude, or anything else.

Q. You said "should have been".

A. Yes, because such was not actually the case.

Q. You said that in the first place it was military and not
National Socialistic.

A. It should have been a purely military one, according to
our interpretation, but according to the point of view
represented by the then Chief of the O.K.W - whether he
received an order in this matter or not, I am not in a
position to say, as I wasn't there - the basic attitude
should have been one of absolute obedience in a National
Socialistic sense.

Q. Do you know anything about the attitude of the generals
towards this problem?

A. Of course, I do, because immediately after such
conferences, as has been mentioned here, a lively exchange
of opinions took place on this subject and a large number of
those who were present - I could name them and some of them
are present here - took a negative attitude to the fact that
the orientation should be so

                                                  [Page 311]

exclusively political in accordance with "regulations from
higher quarters," as they were called then, and scarcely
ever of a technical or military nature.

Q. Yesterday, on the occasion of the discussion of the
meeting that took place in the Fuehrer's train, in September
of 1939, as regards the communication of the Chief of the
O.K.W. to you, you said that the defendant Keitel had
expressed himself to you, or rather had expressed himself to
the gentlemen present, as follows, viz.: "That these
measures had been determined between the Fuehrer and
Goering, and that he, Keitel, had no influence on them. You
added that the Fuehrer and Goering telephoned frequently
back and forth. Sometimes he knew something about it;
sometimes you did, too."

A. That is correct. I have made a verbal transcript of
everything which was said in my presence; and I repeated it
here because it is true.

Q. May I ask whether your remark: "Sometimes I find out
about it, sometimes I don't", relates to a concrete,
specific case, or was that a general rule?

A. That was to be understood as a general statement, to the
best of my present recollection.

Q. At this conference in the Fuehrer's train, on the 12th of
September, 1939, you spoke further of the transmission of
the political goals which, according to you, had their
source in Ribbentrop.

A. That is correct.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.