The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/11/29

Q. Did not Himmler write you a letter - the reference is
Shorthand Note 1852 - in November 1942 (that is Document
1617-PS) in which he says:-

  "Dear Milch: Both high pressure and cold water
  experiments have been carried out . . . "

 - and that he, Himmler, provided antisocial persons and
criminals from concentration camps? Do you remember that

A. This letter was shown to me, but I cannot remember this
letter either. I do not know why Himmler wrote to me at all,
These letters were always passed on direct by my office,
without my seeing them, to the respective offices of the
Medical Inspectorate and replied to via my office. I was not
in a position to do anything in this respect because I did
not know what it was all about nor had I any idea of the
medical aspect.

Q. If you say you know nothing about letters which you
signed I cannot carry the matter any further.

Now I want to deal with the last point.

A. During the course of the day I had to sign several
hundred letters and I could not know what they dealt with in
detail. In this particular case it was a

                                                  [Page 304]

question for a specialist and I merely signed in order to
relieve the Medical Inspector of responsibility, who, for
the reason mentioned this morning, did not want to sign

Q. Very well, I am leaving that point.

Now then, the last point. You said on Friday that a German
general had been executed for looting jewellery. Where did
the looting take place?

A. I cannot say that. I seem to recollect that it was in
Belgrade. The name of the general is General Wafer, this I
still remember.

Q. It was jewellery looted from Belgrade?

A. That I cannot say. I only know what I said on Friday.

Q. So the German authorities regarded the death penalty as a
suitable one for looting; apparently that is right.

A. I could not hear the question.

Q. Well, perhaps it was a comment. I will ask you the next
question. What was the value of the jewellery which was

A. I can only say I do not know how it was stolen or what
was stolen or how valuable it was, but only that it was said
to be jewellery which he had appropriated and that he was
sentenced to death.

Q. Did Goering ever speak to you about his art collection he
was getting from occupied countries?

A. I do not know anything about that.

Q. May I read you a piece of evidence, Shorthand Note 2317;
it is an order of Goering signed on the 5th of November,

  "Goering to the Chief of the Military Administration in
  Paris and to the Einsatzstab Rosenberg: To dispose of the
  works of art brought to the Louvre, in the following
  order of priority:
  First, those works of art ."

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, he has never seen this document
and he says he knows nothing about it.

MR. ROBERTS: If your Lordship please, if you do not think I
should put it to him ...

Q. You say Goering never discussed with you his art

A. No.

Q. Did you not know that valuable art objects, according to
an inventory, over 21,000 objects were taken from the
Western occupied countries?

A. No, that is not known to me.

Q. What ought the general who looted the jewellery, perhaps
from Belgrade, to have done with it? Given it to the
Fuehrer, or given it to Goering?

A. I ask to be excused from answering this question.


Q. Will you please tell me when you heard of Hitler's plan
to go to war with the Soviet Union? In January, 1941?

A. As I said on Friday, I heard in January from
Reichsmarshal Goering, that Hitler had told him he expected
there would be an attack on Russia. Then for several months
I heard nothing more about the whole thing, until by chance
I found out from a subordinate that war with Russia was
imminent and preparations for the clothing of the troops
were being made.

Q. Did you know about the Barbarossa Plan?

A. I had heard the name and I had heard the plan expounded
at a Fuehrer conference with the Commanders of the various
Army Groups and Armies, one or two days before the attack.

Q. And when did this take place, one, two days before the

A. I will let you know the exact date in a minute.

Q. Please do.

                                                  [Page 305]

A. On the 14th of June. That is about eight days before the
attack which
took place on the 22nd.

Q. And before that, you had neither heard of nor seen this

A. I say that I had probably heard the name "Barbarossa"

Q. And how long before?

A. That I cannot say, because during the months of January,
February, March and also in April I was outside Germany and
I did not return until May. I was in Africa, Greece,
Yugoslavia and the West.

Q. I am interested in the period when you were in the High
Command of the German Air Force.

A. In December, 1940.

Q. So?

A. Only part of December, as during that month I was in
France and also in Italy.

Q. And where were you in January, 1941?

A. I was in the West, and as far as I remember, not one day
in Germany.

Q. But you just told us that in January 1941, you had a talk
with Goering about the plan on war against the Soviet Union.

A. Yes, I ...

Q. In January 1941?

A. Yes, on the 13th of January, but I cannot say now whether
I spoke with Goering in France, or whether it was over the
telephone, or whether I was in Germany for a day or two.
That I cannot say, I did not make a note of it.

Q. Excuse me. What has a telephone conversation to do with
an attack on the Soviet Union?

A. Not an attack on Russia but an attack by Russia on
Germany was mentioned at that time and we had . . .

Q. You mean to say, you discussed over the telephone the
question of an attack by the Soviet Union on Germany?

A. No, I have not stated anything like that, but I said I do
not know whether I received the information by special wire
which could not be tapped, or whether the Reichsmarshal told
me about it in France, or whether on that particular day I
was in Germany.

Q. And when did you discuss this question with Goering, and
when did Goering express his apprehension as to this war
against the Soviet Union?

A. That was on the 22nd of May.

Q. The 22nd of May, 1941?

A. Nineteen-forty-one, yes.

Q. And where was this question discussed?

A. In Feldenstein near Nuremberg.

Q. Did you discuss this question with Goering alone, or was
anybody else present at this conversation?

A. At that time only with Goering. We were alone.

Q. And you assert that Goering did not wish to go to war
with Russia?

A. That was my impression.

Q. So. And why did Goering not want this war against the
Soviet Union? This was a defensive war, was it not?

A. Goering was opposed to such a war because he knew ...

Q. He was opposed also to a defensive war?

A. He personally was against any war.

Q. That is strange. Maybe you will be able to give me
precise reasons why Goering did not wish war against the
Soviet Union?

A. Because a war on two fronts, especially a war against
Russia, as I saw it, meant losing the war, and I believe
that many fighting men and others thought as I did.

Q. So you too were opposed to a war against the Soviet

                                                  [Page 306]

A. Yes, most definitely so.

Q. Strange. Your statements are not very consistent. On the
one hand, you say that the Soviet Union was going to attack
Germany, and on the other hand that German officers did not
want a war with the Soviet Union.

A. May I explain again: On the 13th of January Goering told
me that Hitler had the impression Russia intended to go
against Germany. That was not Goering's opinion - neither
was it mine - I assume it was Hitler's opinion which he had
mentioned as his own.

Q. Excuse me. Do I understand that neither you nor Goering
thought this opinion of Hitler's to be correct?

A. I can only speak for myself. I often expressed it as my
view that Russia would not go against us. What Goering
thought about it I could not say. He did not talk to me
about it. You should ask him.

Q. Yes, and now I shall ask you. You mean to say that you
personally did not share Hitler's opinion? And you mean that
Goering too did not want a war against the Soviet Union?

A. On 22nd May when I spoke to Goering about this matter,
and urgently requested him to do everything to prevent a war
with Russia, he told me that he had used the same arguments
with Hitler but that it was impossible to get Hitler to
change his mind; he had made his decision and no power on
earth could influence him.

Q. I see. You mean that Goering was opposed to a war with
the Soviet Union, because he thought it impracticable while
Germany was at war with England, and he wanted to prevent
war on two fronts?

A. From a purely military point of view, yes, and I believe
that if war had been avoided at that time, it would not have
come about later.

Q. And you seriously maintain that it is possible to talk
about a preventive war so far ahead, and at the same time to
work out the Barbarossa Plan and all the directives to
implement it? Do you seriously believe in the preventive
character of such a war?

A. I do not understand the meaning of the question?

Q. Do you think one could give out that the Soviet Union was
going to attack Germany, and at the same time work out an
aggressive plan against the Soviet Union, and this already
in December 1940, as appears from the dates of the official

A. As I understand it, Hitler expecting an attack by Russia,
if he really expected it, said that he had to meet a Russian
invasion by a preventive war. This, however, has nothing to
do with the opinion for which I have been asked here.
Speaking for myself, I did not unreservedly hold the view
that Russia would invade us. Without being able to judge the
situation as a whole, I personally believed that Russia in
her own interest, which I tried to visualize, would not do

Q. I understand. I should like to put a few questions to you
with regard to the prisoners of war. The employment of
prisoners of war, especially from the Soviet Union, on work
in the aircraft industry has already been mentioned here.

A. Yes.

Q. What is your attitude to employing prisoners of war on
work against their own country? What do you think of that?

A. It is, of course, not a nice thing, but so far as I know
this has also been done with our prisoners of war in all the
other countries.

Q. I am talking of Germany now. You say it is an ugly thing.
Is that not a rather mild way of putting it?

A. It depends upon what the others do. All laws of warfare
are based on reciprocity, as long as there is any

Q. I should like you to answer my question. What was the
German High Command's attitude to this kind of employment?
Do you consider that by this employment the regulations of
International Law were being violated?

                                                  [Page 307]

A. This is a moot point which even now is not clear to me. I
only know that orders were given to employ them, and in the
struggle for our very existence, to use these men as well as

Q. Do you consider this to be a legitimate order?

A. I cannot judge that; that depends upon conditions and as
I said, upon reciprocity.

DR. LATERNSER (counsel for the General Staff and the OKW):
Mr. President, I ask to have this question and answer
deleted from the record. The witness has been asked to give
a legal opinion, and it is not for him to do so, and since
the question is not admissible, the answer, too should be

THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko?

GENERAL RUDENKO: I should like to say I did not realize that
the witness did not know whether or not this was a violation
of International Law. I had every reason to believe that the
witness was competent to answer this question because, at
the beginning of his statement today and on Friday, he
mentioned the ten rules of International Law as known to the
German soldiers. I thought, therefore, the witness could
answer the question concerning a violation of these rules by
the OKW.

As to the question of employment of prisoners of war - if
the Tribunal considers this question to be inadmissible, I
will of course withdraw it.

THE PRESIDENT: The question might have been framed
differently, as to whether it was not a breach of the rules
set out in the soldier's pay book. However, as to
International Law, that is one of the matters which the
Tribunal has got to decide, and upon that, of course, we do
not wish the evidence of witnesses.


I still have two questions to put to this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: We wanted to rise at half-past four. If it is
your intention to ask some more questions, perhaps we had
better rise now, or have you finished?

GENERAL RUDENKO: We had better call a recess now, because I
still have a few questions to put to this witness.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 12th March, 1946, at 1000

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