The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The final document on this episode, or inquiry, is Exhibit
USA 551, and this is the actual Order of 25th June, 1944,
constituting O.K.W.'s reply to the inquiry from the Supreme
Command West, signed by Keitel, initialled by Warlimont and
Jodl. I will read this, beginning with:

   "Subject: Treatment of Commando Participants.
   1. Even after the landing of Anglo-Americans in France,
   the order of the Fuehrer on the destruction of terror
   and sabotage units of 18th October, 1942, remains fully
   in force.
   Enemy soldiers in uniform in the immediate combat area
   of the bridgehead, that is, in the area of the divisions
   fighting in the most forward lines, as well as of the
   reserves up to the Corps Commands, according to number 5
   of the basic order of 18th October, 1942, remain
   2. All members of terror and sabotage units, found
   outside the immediate combat area, including
   fundamentally all parachutists, are to be killed in
   combat. In special cases, they are to be turned over to
   the S.D.
   3. All troops, committed outside the combat area of
   Normandy, are to be informed, briefly and succinctly,
   according to the directives issued for it, about the
   duty to destroy enemy terror and sabotage units.
   4. Supreme Commander West will report immediately each
   day, how many saboteurs have been liquidated in this
   manner. This applies especially also to undertakings by
   the military commanders. The number is to be published
   daily in the Armed Forces Communique to exercise a
   frightening effect, as had already been done towards
   previous Commando undertakings in the same manner."

Your Lordship, there is just one further development in
connection with this order, this basic order, and that was
in July, 1944. The question was then raised within the
German High Command as to whether the order should be
applied to members of foreign military missions, with
special regard to the British, American and Soviet Military
Missions which were co-operating with Allied Forces in South-
eastern Europe, notably in Yugoslavia. A long document
signed by Warlimont, which is 1279-PS, and becomes Exhibit
USA 552, embodies the discussions which were held at O.K.W.
I think I need not read from this document, and merely wish
to point out that the Armed Forces Operational Staff
recommended, that the order should be applied

                                                   [Page 11]

to these military missions, and drew up a draft to this
effect. I would, however, like to read Document 537-PS,
which becomes Exhibit USA 553. This is the order which
actually resulted from these discussions. It is dated 30th
July, 1944. I will read it in full:

   "Subject: Treatment of members of foreign 'Military
   Missions,' captured together with Partisans.
   In the areas of the High Command South-east and South-
   west, members of foreign so-called 'Military Missions'
   (Anglo-American as well as Soviet-Russian), captured in
   the course of the struggle against Partisans, shall not
   receive the treatment as specified in the special orders
   regarding the treatment of captured Partisans.
   Therefore, they are not to be treated as prisoners of
   war but in conformity with the Fuehrer's order
   concerning the elimination of terror and sabotage troops
   of 18th October, 1942.
   This order shall not be transmitted to other units of
   the Armed Forces via the High Commands and equivalent
   staffs, and is to be destroyed after being made known.
   The Chief of the High Command of the Wehrmacht,

Pursuant to this order, approximately fifteen members of an
Allied Military Mission to Slovakia were executed in
January, 1945, as is shown by Document L-51, which is
already in the record as Exhibit USA 521, and which has been
read in full by Lieutenant Harris. I will not read it again.

This concludes the presentation of documents with respect to
the order of the 18th October, 1942, and its subsequent
enforcement and application. I can pass from here to another

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn for ten minutes now.

(A recess was taken.)

COL. TAYLOR: Your Lordship, the order I have just been
discussing operated chiefly in the Western theatre of war.
This was natural, since Germany occupied almost the entire
Western coast of Europe from 1940 until the last year of the
war, and during that period land fighting in Western Europe
was largely limited to Commando Operations.

I want to pass now to the Eastern front, where there was
large-scale land fighting in Poland and the Soviet Union,
from 1941 on. Here the German forces were fighting among a
hostile population and had to face extensive Partisan
activities behind their lines. I propose to show here that
the activities of the German Armed Forces against Partisans
and against other elements of the population became a
vehicle for carrying out Nazi political and racial policies,
and a vehicle for the massacre of Jews, and numerous
segments of the Slav population which were regarded by the
Nazis as undesirable. I will show that it was the policy of
the German Armed Forces to behave with the utmost severity
to the civilian population of the occupied territories, and
that its military operations, particularly against
Partisans, were so conducted as to advance the Nazi policies
to which I have referred.

I will show that they supported, assisted and acted in co-
operation with the S.S. groups to which reference has been
made in the presentation by Major Farr and Colonel Storey.

I do not plan to make a full or even partial showing of War
Crimes on the Eastern front. That will be done by the Soviet
delegation. Nor do I plan to retrace the ground covered by
Colonel Storey and Major Farr during their presentation of
the evidence against the S.S., S.D. and Gestapo, except to
the extent necessary to clarify the relations between these
organisations and the German Armed Forces, and to
demonstrate their close collaboration in the occupied
territories of Eastern Europe.

                                                   [Page 12]

The first document to which I will make reference is
Document C-50, which will be Exhibit USA 554, and it will
show that these policies of severity were determined upon
and made official even before the invasion of the Soviet
Union took place. This document consists of an order by
Hitler, dated 13th May, 1941, and two covering transmittal
sheets of subsequent date. I ask the Tribunal to note, on
Page 4 of the translation, that the order is signed by
Keitel, the Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed
Forces, and also to note the distribution, which appears at
the foot of the second sheet, showing the distribution to
the principal staff sections. The order itself begins on the
third page, and that is where I propose to read. The
document is entitled "Order concerning the exercise of
martial jurisdiction and procedure in the area 'Barbarossa'
and special military measures."

   "The application of martial law aims, in the first
   place, at maintaining discipline.
   The fact that the operational areas in the East are so
   far-flung, the battle strategy which this necessitates,
   and the peculiar qualities of the enemy, confront the
   courts martial with problems which, being short-staffed,
   they cannot solve while hostilities are in progress, and
   until some degree of pacification has been achieved in
   the conquered areas, unless jurisdiction is confined, in
   the first instance, to its main task.
   This is possible only if the troops take ruthless action
   themselves, against any threat from the enemy
   For these reasons I herewith issue the following order
   effective for the area 'Barbarossa' (Area of Operations,
   Army Rear Area, and Area of Political Administration):
   I. Treatment of offences committed by Enemy Civilians.
       1. Until further notice the military courts and the
       courts martial will not be competent for crimes
       committed by enemy civilians.
       2. Guerrillas should be disposed of ruthlessly by
       the military, whether they are fighting or in
       3. Likewise all other attacks by enemy civilians on
       the Armed Forces its members and employees, are to
       be suppressed at once by the military, using the
       most extreme methods, until the assailants are
       4. Where such measures have been neglected or were
       not at first possible, persons suspected of criminal
       action will be brought at once before an officer.
       This officer will decide whether they are to be
       On the orders of an officer with the powers of, at
       least, a Battalion Commander, collective drastic
       measures will be taken without delay against
       localities from which cunning or malicious attacks
       are made on the Armed Forces, if circumstances do
       not permit of a quick identification of individual
       5. It is expressly forbidden to keep suspects in
       custody in order to hand them over to the courts
       after the reinstatement of civil courts.
       6. The Commanders-in-Chief of the Army Groups may,
       by agreement with the competent Naval and Air Force
       Commanders, reintroduce military jurisdiction for
       civilians, in areas which are sufficiently pacified.
       For the area of the Political Administration this
       order will be given by the Chief of the Supreme
       Command of the Armed Forces.
   II. Treatment of offence committed against inhabitants
   by members of the Wehrmacht and its employees.
       1. With regard to offences committed against enemy
       civilians by members of the Wehrmacht and its
       employees, prosecution is not obligatory, even where
       the act is at the same time a military crime or
       2. When judging such offences, it must be borne in
       mind, whatever the circumstances, that the collapse
       of Germany in 1918, the subsequent

                                                   [Page 13]
       sufferings of the German people and the fight
       against National Socialism which cost the blood of
       innumerable supporters of the movement, were caused
       primarily by Bolshevik influence and that no German
       has forgotten this fact.
       3. Therefore, the judicial authority will decide in
       such cases whether disciplinary action is indicated,
       or whether legal proceedings are necessary. In the
       case of offences against inhabitants it will order a
       court martial only if maintenance of discipline or
       security of the forces call for such a measure. This
       applies, for instance, to serious offences
       originating in lack of self-control in sexual
       matters, or in a criminal disposition, and to those
       offences which indicate that the troops are
       threatening to get out of hand. Offences which have
       resulted in senseless destruction of billets or
       supplies or other captured material, to the
       disadvantage of our forces, should as a rule be
       judged no less severely.
       The order to institute proceedings requires in every
       single case the signature of the judicial authority.
       4. Extreme caution is indicated in assessing the
       credibility of statements made by enemy civilians.
   III. Responsibility of Military Commanders within their
   sphere of competence: Military Commanders are personally
   responsible for seeing that:
       1. Every commissioned officer of the units under
       their command is instructed promptly and in the most
       emphatic manner on principles set out under (1)
       2. Their legal advisers are notified promptly of
       these instructions and of verbal information in
       which the political intentions of the High Command
       were explained to Commanders-in-Chief.
       3. Only those court sentences are confirmed which
       are in accordance with the political intentions of
       the High Command.
   IV. Security.

   Once the camouflage is lifted, this decree will be
   treated as 'Most Secret.'"

Your Lordship, the next document will be C-148, Exhibit USA
555. Less than three months after the invasion of the Soviet
Union, the instructions which I have just read were
amplified and made even more drastic. Document C-148 is an
order dated 16th September, 1941, signed by Keitel, and
widely distributed, as is shown on the second sheet where
the distribution is listed. This order is of general
application in all theatres of war, but from its contents it
is clearly of primary importance for the Eastern Front. I
read, beginning at the start of the order:

   "Subject: Communist Insurrection in occupied
   1. Since the beginning of the campaign against Soviet
   Russia, Communist insurrection movements have broken out
   everywhere in the area occupied by Germany. The type of
   action taken is growing from propaganda measures and
   attacks on individual members of the Armed Forces, to
   open rebellion and widespread guerrilla warfare.
   It can be seen that this is a mass movement centrally
   directed by Moscow, which is also responsible for the
   apparently trivial isolated incidents in areas which
   otherwise have been quiet up to now.
   In view of the many political and economic crises in the
   occupied areas, it must, moreover, be anticipated that
   nationalist and other circles will make full use of this
   opportunity of making difficulties for the German
   occupying forces, by associating themselves with the
   Communist insurrection.

                                                   [Page 14]

   This creates an increasing danger to the German war
   effort, which shows itself chiefly in general insecurity
   for the occupying troops, and has already led to the
   withdrawal of forces to the main centres of disturbance.
   2. The measures taken up to now, to deal with this
   general Communist insurrection movement, have proved
   inadequate. The Fuehrer has now given orders that we
   take action everywhere with the most drastic means, in
   order to crush the movement in the shortest possible
   Only this course, which has always been followed
   successfully throughout the history of the extension of
   influence of great peoples, can restore order.

   3. Action taken in this matter should be in accordance
   with the following general directions:
       (a) It should be inferred, in every case of
       resistance to the German occupying forces, no matter
       what the individual circumstances, that it is of
       Communist origin.
       (b) In order to nip these machinations in the bud,
       the most drastic measures should be taken
       immediately and on the first indication, so that the
       authority of the occupying forces may be maintained,
       and further spreading, prevented. In this connection
       it should be remembered that a human life, in the
       countries concerned, frequently counts for nothing,
       and a deterrent effect can be attained only by
       unusual severity. The death penalty for fifty to one
       hundred Communists should generally be regarded in
       these cases as suitable atonement for the death of
       one German soldier. The way in which sentences are
       carried out should still further increase the
       deterrent effect.
       The reserve course of action, that of imposing
       relatively lenient penalties, and of being content,
       for deterrent purposes, with the threat of more
       severe measures, does not accord with these
       principles and should not be followed."

Unless the Court desires the next paragraph read, I will
pass to Page 2, at the very end of the document, paragraph
No. 4:

   "The commanding officers in the occupied territories
   will see to it that these principles are made known
   without delay to all military establishments concerned
   in dealing with Communist measures of insurrection."
   "Signed "Keitel."

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