The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/nca/nca-02/nca-02-16-responsibility-14-08

Archive/File: imt/nca/nca-02/nca-02-16-responsibility-14-08
Last-Modified: 1997/05/13

   Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume Two, Chapter XIV
                                                  [Page 839]

(3) The Order to Kill Commandos. An internal memorandum of
the Naval War Staff, written by the division dealing with
International Law to another division, discusses the order
of 18 October 1942, with regard to the shooting of Commandos

Doubt appears to have arisen in some quarters with regard to
the understanding of this order. Accordingly, in the last
sentence of the memorandum it is suggested:

     "As far as the Navy is concerned, it remains to be seen
     whether or not this case should be used to make sure,
     after a conference with the Commander-in-Chief of the
     Navy, that all departments concerned have an entirely
     clear conception regarding the treatment of members of
     commando units." (C-178)

Whether that conference took place or not is not known. The
document is dated some 11 days after Doenitz had taken over
command from Raeder.

But in July 1943, the Navy handed over to the SD Norwegian
and British Navy personnel, whom the Navy decided came under
the terms of the order, for shooting. An affidavit by a
British barrister-at-Law who served as judge advocate at the
trial of the members of the SD who executed the order states

     "The accused were charged with committing a war crime,
     in that they at Ulven, Norway, in or about the month of
                                                  [Page 840]
     1943, in violation of the laws and usages of war, were
     concerned in the killing of ***" [there follow the
     names of six personnel of the Norwegian Navy, including
     one officer, and one telegraphist of the British Navy,
     prisoners of war.]
     "There was evidence before the Court; which was not
     challenged by the Defense, that Motor Torpedo Boat No.
     345 set out from Lerwick in the Shetlands on a naval
     operation for the purpose of making torpedo attacks on
     German shipping off the Norwegian coast, and for the
     purpose of laying mines in the same area. The persons
     mentioned in the charge were all the crew of the
     Torpedo Boat.
     "The defense did not challenge that each member of the
     crew was wearing uniform at the time of capture, and
     there was abundant evidence from many persons, several
     of whom were German, that they were wearing uniform at
     all times after their capture.
     "On 27 July 1943, the Torpedo Boat reached the island
     of Aspo off the Norwegian coast, north of Bergen. On
     the following day the whole of the crew were captured
     and were taken on board a German naval vessel which was
     under the command of Admiral von Schrader, the Admiral
     of the west coast. The crew were taken to the
     Bergenhus, where they had arrived by 11 p.m. on 28th
     July. The crew were there interrogated by Leut. H. P.
     W. W. Fanger, a Naval Leutnant of the Reserve, on the
     orders of Korvettenkapitaen Egon Drascher, both of the
     German Naval Intelligence Service. This interrogation
     was carried out upon the orders of the staff of the
     Admiral of the west coast. Leut. Fanger reported to the
     Officer in Charge of the Intelligence Branch at Bergen
     that in his opinion all the members of the crew were
     entitled to be treated as prisoners of war, and that
     officer in turn reported both orally and in writing to
     the Sea Commander, Bergen, and in writing to the
     Admiral of the west coast.
     "The interrogation by the Naval Intelligence Branch was
     concluded in the early hours of 29th July, and almost
     immediately all the members of the crew were handed
     over on the immediate orders of the Sea Commander,
     Bergen, to Obersturmbannfuehrer of the SD, Hans Wilhelm
     Blomberg, who was at that time Kommandeur of the
     Sicherheitspolizei at Bergen. This followed a meeting
     between Blomberg and Admiral von Schrader, at which a
     copy of the Fuehrer order of 18 October 1942 was shown
     to Blomberg. This order
                                                  [Page 841]
     dealt with the classes of persons who were to be
     excluded from the protection of the Geneva Convention
     and were not to be treated as prisoners of war, but
     when captured were to be handed over to the SD. Admiral
     von Schrader told Blomberg that the crew of this
     Torpedo Boat were to be handed over in accordance with
     the Fuehrer order, to the SD." (D-649)

The affidavit goes on to describe the interrogation by
officials of the SD. These officials took the same view as
the Naval Intelligence officers, that the crew were entitled
to be treated as prisoners of war. Nevertheless, the crew
were taken out and shot by an execution squad composed of
members of the SD. The affidavit concludes as follows:

     "It appeared from the evidence that in March or April,
     1945, an order from the Fuehrer Headquarters, signed by
     Keitel, was transmitted to the German authorities in
     Norway. The substance of the order was that members of
     the crew of commando raids who fell into German
     captivity were from that date to be treated as ordinary
     prisoners of war. This order referred specifically to
     the Fuehrer order referred to above." (D-649)

The date mentioned is important; it was time "in March or
April, 1945," for these men to put their affairs in order.

(4) Reasons for Not Renouncing the Geneva Convention. The
minutes of conferences on 19 February 1945 and 20 February
1945 between Doenitz and Hitler read as follows:

     "The Fuehrer is considering whether or not Germany
     should renounce the Geneva Convention *** [the 1929
     Prisoners of War Convention].
     "The Fuehrer orders the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy
     to consider the pros and cons of their step and to
     state his s opinion as soon as possible." (C-158)
Doenitz then stated his opinion in the presence of Jodl and
a representative of Ribbentrop:

     "*** On the contrary, the disadvantages [of renouncing
     the convention] outweigh the advantages. It would be
     better to carry out the measures considered necessary
     without warning, and at all costs to save face with the
     outer world." (C-158)

An extract from the minutes of another meeting between
Doenitz and Hitler, on 1 July 1944, -- the extract is signed
by Doenitz -- states:

                                                  [Page 842]
     " *** Regarding the General Strike in Copenhagen, the
     Fuehrer says that the only weapon to deal with terror
     is terror. Court martial proceedings create martyrs.
     History shows that the names of such men are on
     everybody's lips, whereas there is silence with regard
     to the many thousands who have lost their lives in
     similar circumstances without court martial
     proceedings." (C-171)

(5) Use of Concentration Camp Labor in Shipyards. In a
memorandum signed by Doenitz sometime late in 1944, which
was distributed to Hitler, Keitel, Jodl, Speer, and the
Supreme Command of the Air Force, Doenitz reviews German
shipping losses, and concludes:

     "Furthermore, I propose reinforcing the shipyard
     working parties by prisoners from the concentration
     camps and as a special measure for relieving the
     present shortage of coppersmiths, especially in U-boat
     construction, I propose to divert coppersmiths from the
     construction of locomotives to shipbuilding." (C-195)

In dealing with sabotage, Doenitz has this to say:

     "Since, elsewhere, measures for exacting atonement
     taken against whole working parties amongst whom
     sabotage occurred, have proved successful, and,-for
     example, the shipyard sabotage in France was completely
     suppressed, possibly similar measures for the
     Scandinavian countries will come under consideration."

Item 2 of the summing-up reads:

     "12,000 concentration camp prisoners will be employed
     in the shipyards as additional labor (security service
     [SD] agrees to this) " (C-195) .

It was not for nothing that at these meetings Himmler and
his Lieutenants, Fegelein and Kaltenbrunner, were present.

They were not there to discuss U-boats or the use of
battleships. It is clear from this document that Doenitz
knew all about concentration camps and concentration camp
labor, and as one of the rulers of Germany he must bear his
full share of that responsibility.

(6) Doenitz's Incitement of Ruthless Conduct By His Men. The
orders issued by Doenitz in April 1945 (D-650) show his
fanatical adherence to the Nazi creed, and his preparedness
even at that stage to continue a hopeless war at the expense
of human life, and with the certainty of increased
destruction and misery to his country:

                                                  [Page 843]
     "I therefore demand of the commanding officers of the
     Navy: That they clearly and unambiguously follow the
     path of military duty, whatever may happen. I demand of
     them that they stamp out ruthlessly all signs and
     tendencies among the men which endanger the following
     of this
     "I demand from Senior Commanders that they should take
     just as ruthless action against any commander who does
     not do his military duty. If a commander does not think
     he has the moral strength to occupy his position as a
     leader in this sense, he must report this immediately.
     He will then be used as a soldier in this fateful
     struggle in some position in which he is not burdened
     with any tasks as a leader." (D-650)

In the secret Battle order of the day of 19 April 1945,
Doenitz gives an example of the type of under-officer who
should be promoted:

"An example: In a prison camp of the auxiliary cruiser
'Cormorau', in Australia, a petty officer acting as camp
senior officer, had all communists who made themselves
noticeable among the inmates of the camp systematically done
away with in such a way that the guards did not notice. This
petty officer is sure of my full recognition for his
decision and his execution. After his return, I shall
promote him with all means, as he has shown that he is
fitted to be a leader."

                                                  [Page 843]

Doenitz was no plain sailor, playing the part of a service
officer; loyally obedient to the orders of the government of
the day. He an extreme Nazi who did his utmost to
indoctrinate the Navy and the German people with the Nazi
creed. It is no coincidence that it was he -- not Goering,
not Ribbentrop, not Goebbels, not Himmler -- who was chosen
to succeed Hitler. He played a large part in fashioning the
U-boat fleet, one of the most deadly weapons of aggressive
war. He helped to plan and execute aggressive wars, which he
knew well were in deliberate violation of treaties. He was
ready to stoop to any ruse where he thought he would not be
found out: breaches of the Geneva Convention or of
neutrality, where it might be asserted that sinking was due
to a mine. He was ready to order, and did order, the murder
of helpless survivors of sunken ships, an action only
paralleled by that of his Japanese ally.

There can be few countries which do not mourn for men of the
merchant navies whose destruction was due to the callow
brutality with which, at the orders of this man, the German
U-boat did their work.

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.