The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-22/tgmwc-22-211.01


Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-22/tgmwc-22-211.01
Last-Modified: 2001/01/10

                                                   [Page 86]

TWO HUNDRED AND ELEVENTH DAY

MONDAY, 26th AUGUST, 1946

COLONEL POKROVSKY: Mr. President, would you allow me to
inform the Tribunal that, in conformity with the ruling
given by the Tribunal during the morning session of 12th
August, 1946, concerning the witness Schreiber, this witness
has been brought to Nuremberg and is here and can be
examined today or at any other time as the Tribunal may
decide.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, could he be examined now,
at once?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: He could be examined at once, Mr.
President.

THE PRESIDENT: I think that would be the most convenient,
before we go on with the organizations' speeches.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: Very well, Mr. President, General
Alexandrov will therefore examine him at once.

DR. LATERNSER (counsel for the General Staff and High
Command): Mr. President, I object to the examination of this
witness for the following reasons: for the trial of the
organizations it was decided by the Court that all witnesses
should first be examined before the Commission. What is
valid for the defence must, according to general legal
principles, be valid for the prosecution as well. For these
reasons the examination of this witness is inadmissible.

THE PRESIDENT: I have before me the order of the Court of
12th August 1946, which is termed as follows:

  "With reference to the objection of Dr. Laternser to the
  use of the statement made by Major-General Walter
  Schreiber, the Tribunal is not inclined to admit any
  evidence so late as this, or to reopen questions which
  have been gone into fully before the Tribunal; but on the
  other hand, in view of the importance of the statement of
  Major-General Schreiber and its particular relevance, not
  only to the case of certain of the individual defendants
  but also to the case of the High Command, the Tribunal
  will allow General Schreiber to be heard as a witness if
  he is produced before the end of the hearing of the case.
  Otherwise no use can be made of this statement."

Dr. Laternser's present objection is, therefore, overruled.

WALTER SCHREIBER, a witness, took the stand and testified as
follows:

BY THE PRESIDENT:

Q. Will you state your full name, please?

A. Walter Schreiber.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will
speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

BY GENERAL ALEXANDROV:

Q. Witness, will you kindly give the Tribunal some brief
particulars about yourself, about your career and about your
scientific and educational activities?

                                                   [Page 87]

A. I am 53 years of age. I was born in Berlin and am a
professor of medicine. I studied medicine at the
universities of Berlin, Tuebingen, and Greifswald. I passed
the State medical examination at Greifswald in 1920. I
received my degree and was made a doctor of medicine.

In 1940 I became teacher of Hygiene and Bacteriology at the
University of Berlin; in 1942 professor at the Military
Medical Academy. I have been an active military doctor since
1921. I have held various positions as a garrison doctor,
and have been a division doctor since 1929, but only did
scientific work as a hygienist and bacteriologist.

I carried out my work as a scientist and a professor at the
universities of Berlin and Freiburg in Breisgau. After 1929
1 was first in Freiburg, later hygienist at the district
H.Q. of the German armed forces (Wehrkreiskommando) in
Berlin, and finally during the Second World War hygienist
and bacteriologist at the headquarters of the High Command
of the Army. I then became section chief in the High Command
of the Army and was in charge of the science and health
departments in the Army Medical Inspectorate and lastly head
of the Scientific Department (Lehrgruppe C) of the Military
Medical Academy. In this capacity I was in charge of the
scientific institutes of the academy in Berlin.

Q. What was the last military rank you held, and what
position did you occupy in the German Army?

A. I was Generalarzt, that is major-general in the medical
service. My last position was that of doctor in charge of
the military and civilian sectors of Berlin, but only from
20th to 30th April, 1945.

Q. When and in what circumstances were you taken prisoner by
the Soviet Army?

A. On 30th April, I was in the large hospital in the air-
raid shelter of the Reichstag building in Berlin. Since most
of the city of Berlin was already in the hands of the
Russian troops, there was no more supervisory work for me to
do. I therefore opened a large military hospital there and
took care of several hundred wounded.

Q. You are now going to be shown your statement of 10th
April, 1946, which was addressed by you to the Soviet
Government.

(A document was handed to the witness.)

BY GENERAL ALEXANDROV:

Q. Do you remember that statement?

A. Yes; that is a report -

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute.

General Alexandrov, the Tribunal would prefer that you
should get the evidence orally and not by a document.
Therefore, if you question him upon the subjects which are
contained in it -

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Mr. President, that is what -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Wait a moment.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV (continuing): That is what I was going to
do.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, General, the Tribunal would prefer that
you get the evidence from the witness and do not use the
document. Go on.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: That is what I intend to do, Mr.
President, but I wish to have the witness tell us about a
few circumstances in connection with this document.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: The substance will be obtained orally
from the witness.

                                                   [Page 88]

BY GENERAL ALEXANDROV:

Q. Do you confirm the facts set forth in that statement?

A. Yes, I confirm them.

Q. What was the reason for your making the statement to the
Soviet Government?

A. In the Second World War things occurred on the German
side which were against the unchangeable laws of medical
ethics. In the interests of the German people, of medical
science in Germany, and the training of the younger
generation of doctors in the future, I consider it necessary
that these things should be thoroughly examined. The matters
in question are the preparations for bacteriological warfare
leading to epidemics, and experiments on human beings.

Q. Why did you make this statement only on 10th April, 1946,
and not before that date?

A. I had to wait and see whether this Court itself might not
raise the question of bacteriological warfare. When this did
not occur I decided in April to make this statement.

Q. Did you, though a prisoner of war, have the opportunity
of following the trial at Nuremberg?

A. Yes, in the prison camp German newspapers were available
in the club room. In addition, there was the Prisoner-of-War
News, printed in Soviet Russia, which reported regularly on
the trial.

Q. Witness, will you kindly tell us what you know about the
preparations by the German High Command for bacteriological
warfare?

A. In July, 1943, the High Command of the Wehrmacht called a
secret conference in which I took part as representative of
the Army Medical Inspectorate. This conference took place in
the rooms of the General Wehrmacht Office in Berlin in
Bendlerstrasse, and was presided over by the chief of staff
of the General Wehrmacht Office, a colonel. I do not
remember the name of this colonel. The colonel said, by way
of introduction, that as a result of the war situation the
High Command authorities now had to take a different view of
the question of the use of bacteria as a weapon in warfare
from the one held up till now by the Army Medical
Inspectorate. Consequently, the Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, had
entrusted Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering to direct the
carrying out of all preparations for bacteriological
warfare, and had given him the necessary powers.

A bacteriological warfare group was formed at this meeting.
The members of this group were essentially the same
gentlemen who had been taking part in the conference, that
is, Ministerial Director Professor Schumann of the science
section of the Army Armaments office, Ministerial Councilor
Stantin of the Army Armaments Office, Weapons Examination
Section; Veterinary General Professor Richter, as
representative of the Veterinary Inspectorate; and another
younger veterinary officer of the Army Veterinary
Inspectorate; and from the Army Medical Inspectorate, Chief
Medical Officer (Oberstabsarzt) Professor Klieve, the latter
only as an observer, however.

In addition, there was a staff officer of the Luftwaffe as
representative of the High Command of the Luftwaffe, a staff
officer of the Armaments Office as its representative and a
well-known zoologist and a botanist. But I do not know the
names of these gentlemen.

At a secret conference it was decided that an institute
should be created for the production of bacterial cultures
on a large scale, and the carrying out of scientific
experiments to examine the possibilities of the employment
of bacteria. The institute was also to be used for
experimenting with pests which could be used against animals
and plants, and which were to be made available if they were
found practicable. That is the substance of what was
discussed at the conference in July, 1943.

Q. And what was done after that? Do you know?

                                                   [Page 89]

A. A few days later, I learned from the Chief of Staff of
the Army Medical Inspectorate, Generalarzt Schmidtbrucken,
who was my direct superior, that Reichsmarschall Goering had
appointed the Deputy Chief of the Reich Physicians' League
(Reichsarztefurhrer) Blome to carry out the work, and had
told him to found the institute as quickly as possible in or
near Posen. Among the people who worked at this institute in
Posen were Ministerialdirektor Schuhmann, Ministerial
Councilor Stantin, and a number of other doctors and
scientists whom I do not know. I myself made a report of
this secret conference on the same day to the Chief of
Staff, and a few days later to the Army Medical Inspector-
Generaloberstabsarzt Professor Handloser, as he was in
Berlin at the time.

Q. And what do you know about the experiments which were
being carried out for the purpose of bacteriological
warfare?

A. Experiments were carried out at the institute in Posen. I
do not know any details about them. I only know that
aircraft were used for spraying tests, with bacteria
emulsion, and that insects harmful to plants such as beetles
were experimented with, but I cannot give any details. I did
not make experiments myself and do not know any details.

Q. You testified that the first secret conference devoted to
these questions was presided over by a colonel belonging to
the General Staff of the OKW. In whose name did he do so?

A. In the name of General Field-Marshal Keitel and the chief
of the German Wehrmacht Office, General Reinecke.

Q. Who ordered you to take part in this conference?

A. The Chief of Staff, Generalarzt Schmidtbrucken,
commissioned me to attend.

Q. Was the Army High Command informed about it and did they
know about the preparations for bacteriological warfare?

A. I assume so, for Generaloberstabsarzt Handloser, the
medical chief, to whom I had reported the results of the
conference, was, in his capacity as army doctor, that is, as
chief medical officer of the Army, directly subordinate to
the Chief of the General Staff of the Army and had to report
to him about it.

Q. What do you know about the participation of the defendant
Jodl in the carrying out of these measures?

A. I know nothing about any co-operation by Colonel-General
Jodl.

Q. Will you kindly tell us precisely what the reason was for
the decision of the OKW to prepare for bacteriological
warfare?

A. That was implied by the words of the president of the
secret conference. The defeat at Stalingrad which, in
contrast to the fighting around Moscow in the winter of 1941
to 1942, was a severe blow for Germany, inevitably led to a
re-assessment of the situation, and consequently to new
decisions. It was no doubt considered whether new weapons
could be used which would still turn the tide of war in our
favour.

Q. How do you explain that the German High Command did not
put into effect these plans for the waging of
bacteriological warfare?

A. The High Command probably did not carry out the plans for
the following reasons: In March, 1945, I was visited by
Professor Blome at my office at the Military Medical
Academy. He had come from Posen and was very excited. He
asked me whether I could accommodate him and his men in the
laboratories at Sachsenburg so that they could continue
their work there; he had been forced out of his institute at
Posen by the advance of the Red Army. He had had to flee
from the institute and he had not even been able to blow it
up. He was very worried at the fact that the installations
for experiments on human beings at this institute, the
purpose of which was obvious, might be easily recognized by
the Russians for what they were. He had tried to have the
institute destroyed by a Stuka bomb but that, too, was not
possible. Therefore, he asked me to see to it

                                                   [Page 90]

that he be permitted to continue work at Sachsenburg on his
plague cultures, which he had saved.

I told Herr Blome that Sachsenburg was no longer under my
command and, for that reason, I could not give him my
consent, and I referred him to the chief of the Army Medical
Service, Generaloberstabsarzt Handloser. The next day
Generaloberstabsarzt Handloser called me up and said that
Blome had come to him and that he had an order from the
Commander of the Reserve Army, Heinrich Himmler, and that on
the strength of this order he was unfortunately compelled to
give Blome a place in which to work at Sachsenburg. I took
note of this but I had nothing more to do with it. Thus
Blome had had to leave the Posen institute. It is difficult
to imagine what the work of such an institute entails. If
one wants to cultivate plague bacteria on a large scale, one
must have an adequate laboratory with appropriate
precautionary measures. The personnel must be trained, for a
German, even an expert bacteriologist, has no experience
with plague cultures. That takes time, and after its
founding had been decreed there was a considerable lapse of
time before the institute at Posen began work. Now it had
suffered a severe blow; it was to carry on at Sachsenburg.
During his visit Blome told me that he could continue his
work at an alternative laboratory in Thuringia, but that
this was not yet completed. It would take a few days or even
a few weeks to complete it, and he had to have rooms until
then. He added that if the plague bacteria were to be used
when the military operations were so near to the borders of
Germany, when units of the Red Army were already on German
soil, it would, of course, be necessary to provide special
protection for the troops and the civilian population. A
serum had to be produced. Here again time had been lost, and
as a result of all these delays it had never been possible
to put the idea into effect.


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.