The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1997/10/25

                                                  [Page 263]
BY PROF. EXNER (counsel for Jodl):

Q. Witness, in September, 1940, at the O.K.W. you were
charged to develop further a plan of an operation against
Russia, that is, to continue work on a plan which existed
already. Do you know about how strong the German forces in
the East were at that time?

A. I do not remember how strong the forces in the East were
at that time. It was then shortly after the end of the
campaign against France.

Q. Do you know about how many divisions were in the East at
that time, for the protection of the German border?

A. No, I cannot remember that.

Q. In February, 1941, our transports to the East began. Can
you say how strong at that time the Russian forces were,
along the German-Russian demarcation line and the Roumanian-
Russian border?

A. No, I cannot say that. The information which reached us
about the Soviet Union and its forces was so extraordinarily
scarce and incomplete that for a long time we had no clear
picture at all.

Q. But did not Halder at that time talk to the Fuehrer
frequently about the strength and deployment of the Russian

A. That is possible, but I cannot remember it, because I had
nothing to do with these questions after that time -- that
is, with the theoretical development of our ideas. In
September the Operations Department of the Army took over
the work.

Q. At this time you had manoeuvres?

A. That was in the beginning of December.

Q. Then you probably used, as a basis of these manoeuvres,
information you had about the plans of the enemy?

A. We could only assume what was the strength of the enemy.

Q. You took an active part in the working out of that plan.
You have tried it out by manoeuvres. Tell me, what was the
difference between your work and that of Jodl at that time?

A. I do not think I am able to judge that. I do not

Q. That was General Staff work was it not?

A. Yes, it was General Staff work, with which I was charged
by the Chief of Staff.

Q. Yes, and the activity of Jodl as Chief of the Armed
Forces Operations Staff?

A. The difference is that he saw the entire situation,
whereas I could see only a small section, only that which I
needed for my work, and that is all the information I

Q. But the activity in both cases was one of General Staff
preparation for the war?

A. Yes.
                                                  [Page 264]
Q.  I would also be interested to know something about
Stalingrad. In your written statement, or written
declaration, you said that Keitel and Jodl were guilty of
the prohibition of capitulation, which had such tragic
consequences. How do you know that?

A. I only intended to say it was the High Command of the
Wehrmacht who was responsible for that order. It had the
responsibility, and it makes no difference whether it was
one person or another. At any rate their group is
responsible as such.

Q.  Then you do not know anything about the personal
participation of either of these two gentlemen? You only
known that the O.K.W.---

A. The O.K.W., which is represented by these persons.

Q.  Why, when the situation at Stalingrad was so hopeless
and terrible, did you not, in spite of the order by the
Fuehrer to the contrary, try to give up?

A. Because at that time it was represented to me that by
holding out with the army which I led, the fate of the
German people would be decided.

Q.  Do you know that you enjoyed the confidence of Hitler to
a special degree?

A. I am not aware of that.

Q.  Do you know that he had already decided that you were to
be the successor if the Stalingrad operation would be
successful, because he no longer liked working with Jodl?

A. I do not know about that exactly, but there was a rumour
that late in the summer or early in the autumn of 1942 a
change was planned in the leadership. That was a rumour
which the Chief of Staff of the Luftwaffe told me, but I did
not get any official information about that. There was
another rumour, that I would be relieved of the command of
that army and would be given the command of a new Army Group
along the Don.

Q.  Do you remember the telegram which you sent to the
Fuehrer when you were promoted to the rank of Field Marshal
at Stalingrad?

A. I did not send a telegram then. After my promotion I did
not send a telegram.

Q. Did you not thanked the Fuehrer in any way?

A. No.

Q.  That is quite contrary to statements which other people
have made. You are said to be or to have been a teacher at
the Military Academy at Moscow. Is that correct?

A. That is not correct, either.

Q. Did you have another position in Moscow?

A. I was never in Russia before the war, but since then, of
course, I have been in a prisoner-of-war camp, like my other
comrades in Russia.

Q.  Were you a member of the German Freedom Committee?

A. I was a member of a movement of German men, soldiers of
all ranks, and men of all classes, who had made it their aim
to warn the German people at the last moment from the abyss,
and to arouse them to attack the Hitler regime which had
brought all this misery to many nations and especially to
our German people. I did that with the proclamation of 8th
August, 1944.

Q. August, 1944?

A. Yes.

Q.  Did you do anything about it before?

A. No, I did not.

DR. EXNER: Thank you.

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