The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc//tgmwc-06/tgmwc-06-57.10

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-06-57.10
Last-Modified: 1997/10/27

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: Mr. President, at a further stage in my
statement I had intended presenting to the Tribunal a
statement of General Buschenhagen, General of the former
German Army. I do not, however, intend to do so now, since
the Soviet prosecution has the possibility of examining this
witness in Court during the session. I, On my part, request
your permission to have this witness brought here for

THE PRESIDENT: You wish to call him now?

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: Yes, that would be convenient, in view
of several technical reasons, and would facilitate the task
of the prosecution.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.

(The witness takes the stand.)

THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?

THE WITNESS: Erich Buschenhagen.

THE PRESIDENT: 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
(Witness repeated the oath in German.)


Q. Witness, will you tell the Tribunal when and where you were born?

A. I was born on 8th December, 1895, in Strasburg, in Alsace.

Q. Will you name your last military rank, please.

A.  I was General in the Infantry in the German Army. My
last appointment was that of General Commanding the 52nd
Army Corps.

Q. Will you tell us please, did you 26th December, 1945,
appeal to us in a statement in connection with the Helsinki

A.  Yes.

                                                  [Page 276]

Q. Do you confirm having made this statement?

A.  Yes, I do.

Q. Will you please tell us what you know about the
preparations made by Fascist Germany for attacking the Soviet Union?

A.  At the end of December, 1940, in my position as Chief of
the General Staff of the German forces in Norway, I was
called to the O.K.H., where the then Chief of the General
Staff, Colonel-General Halder, had a conference with the
Chief of Staff of the Army Groups and the independent
Armies, one of which was mine. At this conference we were
informed of the O.K.W.'s Directive, the "Barbarossa" Plan,
which were issued on 18th December, 1940. We were given in
lectures the basic reasons for the intended operations
against Soviet Russia.

From this directive I learned that troops of my army also
would take part in this operation. Therefore, I was
especially interested in one speech made by the Chief of
Staff of the Finnish Army, Lieutenant-General Heinrichs, who
was then also with the O.K.H. He spoke at that time about
the military actions in the winter campaign between Finland
and the Soviet Union. He drew a picture of the methods of
warfare and the fighting value of the Soviet Army, and also
of the Finnish troops.

General Heinrichs also had conferences with Colonel-General
Halder at that time, in which I did not take part myself,
but I assume that they were concerned with possible co-
operation between the Finnish and German troops in case of a
conflict between Germany and the Soviet Union. There existed
since the autumn of 1940 a military agreement for co-
operation between Germany and Finland, and the German Air
Force had made arrangements with the Finnish General Staff
for through passage from Northern Norway to the Finnish
ports, for the transport of men and material. As the result
of conferences, which the German Military Attache had held
in Helsinki by order of the O.K.W., this passage was
extended in the winter of 1940 to a general through passage
of the German Armed Forces from Northern Norway to the
Finnish ports. In order to supervise this passage, a German
Army administration centre was set up in the main city of
Lapland, Rovanjemi, and a German Army transport unit was
transferred to the Arctic Strait of Rovanjemi and Petsamo-
Rovanjemi. Furthermore, supply bases were installed along
this Arctic Sea route and along the railroad which led from
Rovanjemi to ports on the Finnish South coast.

In December, 1940, and January, 1941, I had, together with
the O.K.W., discussions about details of the participation
of troops from Norway, together with Finnish troops, in
attacks against the Soviet Union.

Q. Had you occasion to negotiate with the Finnish General
Staff about joint operations against the Soviet Union?

A. I did not understand the last question.

Q. Had you occasion to negotiate with the Finnish General
Staff about joint operations against the Soviet Union?

A.  Yes, I did.

Q. Tell us, who instructed you to negotiate with the Finnish
Government and what course did these negotiations follow?

A.  I had orders and authorisations from the O.K.W. In
February, 1941, I received -- after arrangements had been
made for the participation of the troops from Norway, and
Finnish troops -- I received the order to travel to Helsinki
and to get in touch there, personally, with the Finnish
General Staff and to discuss with them these operations from
middle and Northern Finnish bases.

On 18th February, 1941, I reached Helsinki and on the two
following days I had conferences with the Chief of Staff,
General Heinrichs, his deputy, General Airo, and the Chief
of Operations of the Finnish General Staff, Colonel Tapola.
In these conferences we discussed the possibilities for
operations from middle and Northern Finland, especially from
the area around Kuusamo and
                                                  [Page 277]
Rovanjemi; also from the area of Petsamo, Northern Finland.
These conferences led to an agreement.

After these conferences I travelled, together with the Chief
of Operations of the Finnish General Staff, Colonel Tapola,
to middle and Northern Finland in order to study the area of
Urinsalmo-Kuusamo, the area east of Rovanjemi-Petsamo, the
terrain, the possibilities for deployment and supply, and
for operations from that sector. At these reconnaissance
journeys, the local Finnish commanders were present. They
ended on 28th February in Torneo, on the Finnish-Swedish
border. In a final conference it was agreed that an
operation from the area of Kuusamo and Helsinki and an
operation from the area East of Rovanjemi in the direction
of Basikamo would prove successful; that, on the other hand,
the operations from Petsamo towards Rovanjemi would have
considerable difficulty with the terrain. That was the end
of my first series of conferences with the Finnish General

As a result of these discussions there was worked out by the
German High Command of Norway a detailed plan for an
operation from these areas. That plan was presented to the
O.K.W. and gained its approval. The High Command of Norway
then gave it the code name of "Blaufuchs."

In May, that is, on 24th May, I met the Finnish Chief of
Staff Heinrichs, who had been invited to the Fuehrer's
headquarters at Brandenburg, and flew with him to Munich.
There I had with him and his Chief of the Operational
Department of the Finnish General Staff, Colonel Tapola, a
discussion in preparation for another conference at

On 25th May there was at Salzburg a conference between the
O.K.W., Field Marshal Keitel, Colonel General Jodl on the
one side, and on the other, General Heinrichs and Colonel
Tapola, at which the basic plans for co-operation between
German and Finnish troops were made.

After this conference I travelled, together with General
Heinrichs, to Berlin. There we had further conferences at
the Economic and Armament Office of the O.K.W. as to the
delivery of material to the Finnish Army. There were also
conferences with the General Staff of the Air Force, about
the air war and the supply of materials for the Finnish Air

General Heinrichs, after these discussions, also had a
meeting with Colonel General Halder, at which I was not

For the third time I met, on 2nd June, the Finnish General
Staff. In my statement of 26th December I said that this
conference took place at the end of April or the beginning
of May; that was a mistake. As a matter of fact it took
place on 2nd June.

At these conferences, which again took place between General
Heinrichs, General Halder, and Colonel Tapola, the details
were worked out, such as the time-table, the schedule,
measures of secrecy as to the Finnish mobilisation. There it
was decided that the Finnish mobilisation should first take
the form of reinforcement of the border patrols, and then
the form of further enlistments for the military training of
Reservists and Reserve officers; a decision was also reached
about the deployment and formation of German-Finnish Forces
in such a way that the main Finnish Forces, under the
command of Field Marshal Mannerheim in the South, should
operate together with the German Army Group "North," coming
from East Prussia, in the direction of Leningrad and also
towards the East of Lake Ladoga.

The other Finnish forces were to be under the command of
General von Falkenhorst at the Rivers Ulo and Ulojoki. This
army of Colonel General von Falkenhorst was to attack from
three bases; a Southern group from the area of Kuusamo
through Kerokienski against the Murmansk railway; the middle
group East of Rovanjemi through Salla Kandalaksha, and
finally a Northern group starting from around Petsamo
against Murmansk.

                                                  [Page 278]
There was complete agreement on all these questions, and
also there were details discussed about exchange of
intelligence, about the use of Finnish means of
transportation, and about questions of air warfare and the
use of Finnish airports by the German Air Force.

After these discussions I returned to Germany, in order to
work out their results and put them into action. Then again,
on 12th or 13th July, I flew to Helsinki for the purpose of
conferring with Lieutenant-General Erfurt, who was the
German liaison officer with the Finnish Armed Forces. We met
General Heinrichs at Helsinki and gave him a memorandum on
the points which we had agreed upon in previous conferences.
He agreed to these points, except for a minor detail. Then I
turned over my duties as Liaison Officer with the Finnish
General Staff to Lieutenant-General Erfurt, to take up my
activities as Chief of General Staff of the German Army in

Q. I should like to ask you a last question. If it is not
too difficult for you, will you please indicate what was the
exact character of these preparations of the O.K.W. and the
Finnish General Staff. More especially, whether the
preparation of any particular operation was discussed.

A.  All agreements between the O.K.W. and the Finnish
General Staff had as their sole purpose, from the very
beginning, the participation of the Finnish Army and the
German troops on Finnish territory in the aggressive war
against the Soviet Union. There was no doubt about that.

If the Finnish General Staff, to the outside world, always
pointed out that all these measures had only the character
of defense measures, that was just camouflage. There was,
from the very beginning, no doubt among the Finnish General
Staff that all these preparations would serve only in the
attack against the Soviet Union, for all the preparations
that we made pointed in that same direction -- namely, the
plans for mobilisation, and above all, the objectives for
the attack. Nobody ever reckoned with the possibility of a
Russian attack on Finland.

Since, for cogent military reasons, the operations for
attack from Finnish territory could start only eight to ten
days after the beginning of the attack against Russia,
certain security measures were taken during and after the
attack, but the whole formation and lining-up of the troops
was for offensive and not defensive purposes. I believe you
can see clearly from that, the aggressive character of all
these preparations.

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the French prosecutor wish to ask any


THE PRESIDENT: Does the United States prosecution wish to
ask any questions?


THE PRESIDENT: Do defendants' counsel wish to cross-examine?

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