The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-06-58.08
Last-Modified: 1997/10/21

The former Chief of Staff of the O.K.H., Franz Halder,
interrogated on 31st October, 1945, testified -- I submit to
the Tribunal an excerpt from this document, Exhibit USSR

     "Witness: Prior to the attack on Russia, the Fuehrer
     called a conference of all the commanders and persons
     connected with the Supreme Command on the question of
     the forthcoming attack on Russia. I cannot recall the
     exact date of this conference. I no longer know whether
     it took place before or after the invasion of
     Yugoslavia. At this conference the Fuehrer stated that
     the methods used in the war against the Russians will
     have to be different from those used in the war against
     the West."
I beg your pardon, I have forgotten to tell you that the
place which I quoted from was on Page 24 of your document

                                                  [Page 311]
     "Investigating Officer: 'What else did he say?'
     "Witness: 'He said that the struggle between Russia and
     Germany is a Russian struggle. He stated that since the
     Russians were not signatories to the Hague Convention,
     the treatment of their prisoners of war does not have
     to follow the articles of the Convention.'"
DR. NELTE (counsel for defendant Keitel): Your Honour,
General Halder is in the military prison here at Nuremberg,
and he is a very important witness, not only to the
testimony at hand, but also in general. I believe, according
to our principles, which have been formulated by the High
Tribunal in connection with Article 21 of the Charter, it
might be important to hear this witness personally rather
than use written testimony and I ask the Tribunal to decide
this question.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, did you wish to make any
answer to Dr. Nelte's request?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: With the permission of the Tribunal, I
will submit to him my consideration in this case.

THE PRESIDENT: Proceed, please.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: The testimony of Halder is of importance
to us in one respect only, namely, that he states the fact
of a special conference called by Hitler before the war; a
conference at which the question of the treatment of Russian
prisoners of war attracted particular attention. This fact
also finds confirmation in other testimonies which were
submitted by us to this Tribunal, and, therefore, I think
that there is no reason and no need to examine this witness,
since this interrogation may cause further delay, as it will
refer to this question only, and the German defence may ask
unnecessary questions. In case the German defence would
consider it advisable to request the Tribunal to bring
witness Halder here for cross-examination, it should be
proper for the defence to submit to the Tribunal, in
accordance with established procedure, an application and
explain for what reason it wants to cross-examine witness
Halder. The Tribunal would then have occasion to discuss
this application and to grant it should they deem it proper
to do so.

That is all I wanted to point out concerning this question.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal considers that if the
interrogation of General Halder is to be used, and it has
been used, that General Halder must be brought for cross-
examination, provided it is true that he is in Nuremberg.

When a witness is called he is liable to cross-examination
and the only reason for allowing interrogations to be used
is on account of the difficulty of bringing witnesses to
Nuremberg. Therefore, if an
interrogation is allowed to be used and the witness is in
Nuremberg, the witness must be produced for cross-
examination -- I mean, of course, at a time which is
convenient to counsel.

Colonel Pokrovsky, if this witness, General Halder, is in
Nuremberg, you will have him brought here at a time which is
convenient to you during the presentation of your case.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: With the permission of the Court, we will
finally find out where Halder is at the present time and, if
he is really in Nuremberg, he will be produced as a witness.


COLONEL POKROVSKY: We must here note another Fascist lie.
Hitler was intentionally misrepresenting facts. That the
Soviet Union had pledged to follow the statutes of the Hague
Convention is generally known. Even the criminal code of the
Soviet Union provides for the defence of the rights of
prisoners of war, in accordance with International Law, and
those guilty of violations are considered criminally

The Note of the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs in
the U.S.S.R., Mr. V. M. Molotov, on 27th April, 1942, once
again mentions the obligations of The

                                                  [Page 312]
Hague Convention which the Soviet Union had pledged to
follow. To that Note I have already referred.

Continuing, I shall again quote from Halder's deposition
concerning Hitler's speech. You will find it on Page 24:

     "Furthermore, he (Hitler) said that in view of the
     political level of the Russian troops (at this point
     several dots follow in the original), to be brief -- he
     said that the so-called Commissars should not be
     considered prisoners of war."
It is impossible not to remark here that, owing to the
superior political consciousness of the Red Army soldiers,
the Hitlerites saw a Commissar or a Communist in almost
every prisoner of war. Then there is recorded the following
question of the investigating officer and the reply to it:

     "Investigating Officer: Did the Fuehrer say anything
     about an order which should be issued on the subject?
     "Witness: What I have just said was his order. He said
     that he wanted it carried out even if no written order
After Halder's deposition, in the document book on your
table, there is an extract from the deposition of the former
Deputy Chief of the Operations Section of O.K.W.
headquarters, General Warlimont, dated 12th November, 1945.
He was testifying on oath before Leiutenant[sic]-Colonel
Hinkel of the American Army. This document is the result of
work accomplished by our American colleagues. The American
prosecution has kindly placed this document at our disposal,
which we in turn submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR
263(a). I think the defence counsel wished to submit another
request to the Tribunal. I therefore cede my place.

DR. NELTE: Mr. President, regarding General Warlimont, we
have the same reasons which I just mentioned regarding
General Halder. General Warlimont is also present in
Nuremberg and is at your disposal for examination in the

THE PRESIDENT: What do you want to request now?

DR. NELTE: My application consists in the request to
disallow the use of the document which the Soviet prosecutor
has just wished to read out loud, and to direct that the
witness, Warlimont, now present in
Nuremberg, be called as a witness.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has just ruled that the
interrogation of General Halder may be used, but if it is
used, and it is being used, he must be submitted for cross-
examination by the other counsel for the defendants. What
more do you want?

DR. NELTE: I am not speaking about General Halder but about
General Warlimont.

THE PRESIDENT: I thought we had already ruled upon General
Warlimont; that he had to be called -- that is, only
yesterday or the day before.

DR. NELTE: I believe that this ruling has escaped the memory
of the Soviet prosecutor, otherwise he would not be reading
this document out loud but would be introducing General
Warlimont to the Court in person.

THE PRESIDENT: I think the ruling of the Tribunal was that
the prosecutor should be entitled to use the interrogation,
but if he did so, he must submit the witness for cross-
examination. There fore, the Soviet prosecutor is entitled
to read the interrogation and General Warlimont will then be
produced for the purpose of cross examination.

DR. NELTE: Is he obliged to do this or may he use his own

THE PRESIDENT: I suppose he might use his own discretion and
call the witness if he wanted to and not put in the

                                                  [Page 313]
You see, Dr. Nelte, the position of the Tribunal is this. If
the prosecuting counsel chooses to call the witness and not
to use the interrogation, of course, he calls the witness,
examines the witness, and the witness is liable to cross-
examination by defence counsel. If, on the other hand, the
prosecuting counsel wishes to use the interrogation, which
he already has, he can do so, but if the witness is
available in or near Nuremberg, he must still be produced
for cross-examination.

The discretion which counsel for the prosecution has is as
to whether they use an interrogation which they already have
or call the witness. But in either case, the witness, if he
is here, must be produced for cross-examination.

DR. NELTE: The witnesses, General Halder and General
Warlimont, are both in Nuremberg and at our disposal. I
merely wish to know whether the date when he is to be
presented depends on the discretion of the chief prosecutor.
We are interested in the possibility of holding the cross-
examination when the prosecution has read out the
written statement.

THE PRESIDENT: I thought that was a matter you might settle
with the prosecuting counsel as to whether you wish to cross-
examine him directly after the interrogation has been
presented, or after a short delay. If I were to say that he
is to be cross-examined immediately after the interrogation
has been put in, probably defence counsel would say he
wanted time to consider the interrogation. But you can
surely settle that with Colonel Pokrovsky.

DR. NELTE: Then I will deal with Colonel Pokrovsky on this
matter. Thank you.

PRESIDENT: Please proceed.

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