The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc//tgmwc-04/tgmwc-04-34.03

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-04/tgmwc-04-34.03
Last-Modified: 1999/09/28

Q. What orders existed concerning hospital ships?

                                                  [Page 254]

A. Where these orders were laid down and whether in writing
or not - I do not remember-I only remember that frequently
the Flag Officer U-Boats reminded the commanders of the
absolute inviolability of hospital ships.

Q. Do you know of any case in which a hospital ship was
attacked by U-boats?

A. No; I do not know of such a case.

Q. If the B.D.U. had been interested in destroying helpless
human beings, in violation of International Law, the
destruction of hospital ships would have been an excellent
measure, do you not think so?

A. Without any doubt.

DR. KRANZBUEHLER: No further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other defence counsel wish to cross-
examine this witness?

(No response.)


Q. Did you ever save any of the survivors of the vessels
that you torpedoed?

A. No, Sir. I have not been in a position to do that, due to
the military situation.

Q. You mean to say it was dangerous to your boat to do it?

A. Not only that. A great part of the sinkings which I did
took place in a convoy or in a high, rough sea, so that it
was impossible to undertake any rescue measures.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): That is all.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Phillimore, do you wish to re-

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: My Lord, I have about three questions.




Q. When you were a U-boat commander yourself, what were the
orders with regard to rescue?

A. At the beginning of the War we had been told that the
safety of your own boat was the decisive thing, and that the
boat should not be endangered by rescue measures. Whether
these orders had been laid down in writing at the outbreak
of the War I do not remember.

Q. When you got this order of 17th September, 1942, did you
take it merely as prohibiting rescue or as going further?

A. When I received that order, I noticed that it was not
unambiguous, as orders of the B.D.U. normally were, that in
this order there was a definite ambiguity.

Q. You have not answered my question. Did you take the order
to mean that a U-boat commander should merely abstain from
rescue measures, or as something further?

A. I interpreted that order to go further in some way,
although not as an actual order; but that it was considered

Q. The instance you were given about the Bay of Biscay, had
you any knowledge of the facts of that incident?

A. No, the surrounding circumstances of that case were not
known to me.

Q. What were the actual words in which you passed that order
on to commanders?

A. I told the commanders, literally the following: "We
approach now a very delicate and difficult chapter; it is
the question of the treatment of life-boats. The Flag
Officer U-Boats has issued the following radio message in
September, 1942." Thereupon I read the radio message of
September, 1942, in full.

In most instances the chapter was then closed; no commander
had any question to ask. In some few instances the
commanders asked, "How should

                                                  [Page 255]

that order be interpreted?" In that case I gave the two
examples as a means of interpretation. And then I added that
officially such a thing cannot be ordered, that everybody
has to reconcile that with his own conscience.

Q. Do you remember any comment being made by commanding
officers after they had read the order?

A. Yes, Sir. Several commanders, following the reading of
the order without any commentary being given, uttered the
opinion, "That is very clear, but damned hard."

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: My Lord, I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn for 10 minutes.

(A recess was taken.)

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: My Lord, I would not put before the
Tribunal two cases where that order of the 17th September,
1942, was apparently put into effect. The first case is set
out at the next document in the document book, which is D-
645. My Lord, I put that document in and it becomes Exhibit
GB 203.

It is a report of the sinking of a steam trawler, a fishing
trawler, the Noreen Mary, which was sunk by U-247 on 5th
July, 1944. The first page of the document contains an
extract from the log of the U-boat. The time reference 19-43
on the document is followed by an account of the firing of
two torpedoes which missed, and then, at 20.55, the log

  Fishing vessels: (Bearings given of 3 ships).
  Engaged the nearest. She stops after three minutes."

Then there is an account of a shot fired as the trawler lay
stopped, and then, the final entry:

  "Sunk by flak, with shots into her side. Sank by the

The tribunal will notice there is no mention in the log of
any action against the torpedoed or the shipwrecked seamen.

THE PRESIDENT: Why is it entered as 5.7.1943?

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: My Lord, that is an error.


COLONEL PHILLIMORE: It is a typing error. I should have
pointed it out.

My Lord, the next page of the document is a comment on the
action by the U-boat command, and the last line reads:

  "Recognised success: Fishing vessel Noreen Mary sunk by

Then there is an affidavit by James MacAlister, who was a
deckhand on board the Noreen Mary at the time of the
sinking. My Lord, reading the last paragraph on the first
page of the affidavit. He has dealt earlier with having seen
the torpedo tracks which missed the trawler. The last
paragraph reads:

  "At 21.10 hours, while we were still trawling, the
  submarine surfaced on our starboard beam, about 50 yards
  to the North-east of us, and without any warning
  immediately opened fire on the ship with a machine gun.
  We were 18 miles West from Cape Wrath, on a North-
  westerly course making 3 knots. The weather was fine and
  clear, sunny, with good visibility. The sea was smooth,
  with light airs."

My Lord, then there is an account of the firing in the next
paragraph, and then, if I might read from the second
paragraph on Page 2.

THE PRESIDENT: Why not read the first?

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: If your Lordship please:

  "When the submarine surfaced I saw men climbing out of
  the conning tower. The skipper thought at first the
  submarine was British, but when she opened fire he
  immediately slackened the brake to take the weight off
  gear (that is, the trawler), and increased to full speed,
  which was about 10 knots. The submarine chased us, firing
  her machine gun, and with the
                                                  [Page 256]
  first rounds killed two or three men, including the
  skipper, who were on deck and had not had time to take
  cover. The submarine then started using a heavier gun
  from her conning tower, the first shot from which burst
  the boiler, enveloping everything in steam and stopping
  the ship.
  By now the crew had taken cover, but in spite of this all
  but four were killed. The submarine then commenced to
  circle round ahead of the vessel, and passed down her
  port side with both guns firing continuously. We were
  listing slowly to port all the time but did not catch
  The mate and I attempted to release the lifeboat, which
  was aft, but the mate was killed whilst doing so, so I
  abandoned the attempt. I then went below into the pantry,
  which was below the waterline, for shelter. The ship was
  listing more and more to port, until finally at 22.10 she
  rolled right over and sank, and the only four men left
  alive on board were thrown into the sea. I do not know
  where the other three men had taken cover during this
  time, as I did not hear or see them until they were in
  the water.
  I swam around until I came across the broken bow of our
  lifeboat, which, was upside down and managed to scramble
  on top of it. Even now the submarine did not submerge,
  but deliberately steamed in my direction and when only 60
  to 70 yards away fired directly at me with a short burst
  from the machine gun. As their intention was quite
  obvious, I fell into the water and remained there until
  the submarine ceased firing and submerged, after which I
  climbed back onto the bottom of the boat. The submarine
  had been firing her guns for a full hour."

My Lord, then the affidavit goes on to describe the Second
Engineer and others attempting to rescue themselves and to
help each other, and then they were picked up by another

The last paragraph on that page:

  "Whilst on board the Lady Madeleine the Second Engineer
  and I had our wounds dressed. I learned later that the
  Second Engineer had 48 shrapnel wounds, also a piece of
  steel wire 21 inches long embedded in his body."

And there is a sentence on which I do not rely, and the last

  "I had 14 shrapnel wounds."

My Lord, and then the last two paragraphs of the affidavit:

  "This is my fourth war-time experience, having served in
  the whalers Sylvester (mined) and New Seville
  (torpedoed), and the trawler Ocean Tide, which ran
  As a result of this attack by U-boats, the casualties
  were six killed, two missing, two injured."

My Lord, the next document, D-647, I put in as Exhibit GB
204. My Lord, this is an extract from a statement given by
the Second Officer of the ship Antonico, torpedoed, set
afire, and sunk, on the 28th September, 1942, on the coast
of French Guiana. The Tribunal will observe that the date of
the incident is some eleven days after the issue of the
order. My Lord, I would read from the words "that the
witness saw the dead," slightly more than halfway down on
the first page. An account has been given of the attack on
the ship, which by then was on fire:

  "That the witness saw the dead on the deck of the
  Antonico as he and his crew tried to swing out their
  lifeboat; that the attack was sudden, lasting almost 20
  minutes; and that the witness already in the lifeboat
  tried to get away from the side of the Antonico in order
  to avoid being dragged down by the said Antonico and also
  because she was the aggressor's target; that the night
  was dark, and it was thus difficult to see the submarine,
  but that the fire aboard the Antonico lit up the locality
  in which she was submerging, helping the enemy to see the
  two lifeboats trying to get away; that the enemy
  ruthlessly machine-gunned the defenceless sailors in
                                                  [Page 257]
  No. 2 lifeboat, in which the witness found himself, and
  killed the Second Pilot Amoldo de Andrade de Lima, and
  wounded three of the crew; that the witness gave orders
  to his company to throw themselves overboard to save
  themselves from the bullets; in so doing, they were
  protected and out of sight behind the lifeboat, which was
  already filled with water; even so the lifeboat continued
  to be attacked, At that time the witness and his
  companions were about 20 metres in distance from the

My Lord, I have not got the U-boat's log in that case, but
you may think that, in view of the order with regard to
entries in logs, namely, that anything compromising should
not be put in, it would be no more helpful than in the case
of the previous incident.

My Lord, the next document, D-646/A, I put in as Exhibit GB
205. It is a monitored account of a talk by a German Naval
War Reporter on the long wave propaganda service from
Friesland. The broadcast was in English, and the date is
11th March, 1943. It is, if I may quote:

  "Santa Lucia, in the West Indies, was an ideal setting
  for romance, but nowadays it was dangerous to sail in
  these waters - dangerous for the British and Americans
  and for all the coloured people who were at their beck
  and call. Recently a U-boat operating in these waters
  sighted an enemy windjammer. Streams of tracer bullets
  were poured into the sails and most of the Negro crew
  leaped overboard, Knowing that this might be a decoy
  ship, the submarine steamed cautiously to within 20
  yards, when hand grenades were hurled into the rigging.
  The remainder of the Negroes then leaped into the sea.
  The windjammer sank. There remained only wreckage.
  Lifeboats packed with men, and sailors swimming. The
  sharks in the distance licked their teeth in expectation.
  Such was the fate of those who sailed for Britain and

My Lord, the next page of the document I do not propose to
read. It is an extract from the log of the U-boat believed
to have sunk this ship. It was in fact the U-105.

My Lord, I read that because, in my submission, it shows
that it was the policy of the enemy at the start to seek to
terrorise crews, and it fits in with the order with regard
to rescue ships and the killing of seamen.

If I might say so, in view of the cross-examination, the
prosecution do not complain of rescue ships being attacked.
They are not entitled to protection. The point of the order
was that they were to be given priority in attack, and the
order, therefore, is closely allied with the order of the
17th September, 1942. In view of the Allied building
programme, it had become imperative to prevent the ships
being manned.

My Lord, I pass to the period after the defendant had
succeeded the defendant Raeder. My Lord, the next document
is 2098-PS. It has been referred to but not, I think, put
in. I put it in formally as Exhibit GB 206. My Lord, I will
not read it. It merely sets out that the defendant Raeder
should have the equivalent rank of a Minister of the Reich,
and I ask the Tribunal to infer that on succeeding Raeder
the defendant Donitz would presumably have succeeded to that

THE PRESIDENT: This is from 1938 onward?

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: From 1938 onward.

The next document, D-648, I put in as Exhibit GB 207. It is
an affidavit by an official, or rather it is an official
report certified by an official of the British Admiralty.
The certificate is on the last page, and it sets out the
number of meetings the dates of the meetings and those
present, on the occasion of meetings between the defendant
Donitz or his representative with Hitler, from the time that
he succeeded Raeder until the end. The certificate states:

                                                  [Page 258]

  "I have compiled from them" - that is, from captured
  documents - "the attached list of occasions on which
  Admiral Donitz attended conferences at Hitler's
  headquarters. The list of other senior officials who
  attended the same conferences is added when this
  information was contained in the captured documents
  concerned. I certify that the list is a true extract from
  the collective documents which I have examined, and which
  are in the possession of the British Admiralty, London."

My Lord, I will not go through the list. I would merely call
the Tribunal's attention to the fact that either Admiral
Donitz or his deputy, Konteradmiral Voss, was present at
each of these meetings; and that amongst those who were also
constantly there were the defendants Speer, Keitel and Jodl,
Ribbentrop and Goering, and also Himmler or his Lieutenants
Fegelein or Kaltenbrunner.

My Lord, the inference which I ask the Tribunal to draw from
the document is that from the time that he succeeded Raeder,
this defendant was one of the rulers of the Reich, and was
undoubtedly aware of all decisions, major decisions of

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.