The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc//tgmwc-10/tgmwc-10-97.04

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-10/tgmwc-10-97.04
Last-Modified: 1999/12/22

THE PRESIDENT: There are two things that I want to say. One
of them relates to the prosecution, and one of them relates
to the defence. It is desired that the prosecution should
furnish documents to the interpreters when they are going to
use documents in the course of examination or cross-
examination. Documents need not necessarily be in the
language which the interpreter is going to use, but there
must be some document in some language, one of the
languages, placed before the interpreters in order to assist

The other point is, that I am told that the defendants'
counsel are not getting their documents ready for the
translation division in anything like the two weeks
beforehand which was specified by the Tribunal. The
Tribunal, it is true, said that the documents must be
furnished to the Tribunal or the translating division two
weeks ahead, if possible. Those words "if possible" are
being treated too

                                                  [Page 274]

lightly and the documents, I am told, are sometimes coming
in as late as forty-eight hours before the case of the
particular defendant is to be taken. That is not sufficient
and it will lead to delay. That is all.

MR. DODD: May it please the Tribunal, in the course of the
cross-examination of this defendant by the French
prosecution, reference was made to Document PS-3766 and I
understood Dr. Horn to say that that document was not a
captured document. That was my understanding of his
statement. I am not altogether sure that that was what he
said when he approached the microphone. So that the record
will be perfectly clear, I now wish to inform the Tribunal
that it is a captured document and I do not know upon what
basis Dr. Horn made that assertion.


DR. HORN: Mr. President, I have not, so far, had any
opportunity ... it has been stated that we are dealing with
a captured document, and I have had no opportunity of
checking the matter beforehand. It said on the top of this
document that it was a U.S.A. exhibit, Document 3766-PS, and
I had no opportunity of checking this on its arrival. I have
therefore requested that this fact be kindly established by
the French prosecution. That was my sole objection. I did
not deny that it was a captured document; I was merely
unable to prove it.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other prosecutors wish to ask
questions of the defendant? Colonel Amen, the Tribunal hopes
that you are not going over ground which has already been
gone over.

COLONEL AMEN: Most certainly not, Sir.


Q. You speak English pretty well, Ribbentrop?

A. I spoke it very well in the past and I think I speak it
passably well today.

Q. Almost as well as you speak German?

A. No, I would not say that, but in the past I spoke it as
well as German, although I have naturally forgotten a great
deal in the course of the years and now it is more difficult
for me.

Q. Do you know what is meant by a "yes man" in English?

A. A "yes man" - per se. A man who says "yes" even when he
himself - it is somewhat difficult to define. In any case, I
do not know what you mean by it in English. In German I
should define him as a man who obeys orders and is obedient
and loyal.

Q. And, as a matter of fact, you were a "yes man" for
Hitler, is that not correct?

A. I was always loyal to Hitler, carried through his orders,
differed frequently in opinion from him, had serious
disputes with him, repeatedly tendered my resignation, but
when Hitler gave an order, I always carried out his
instructions, in accordance with the principles of our
authoritarian State.

Q. Now, you were interrogated frequently by me, were you
not, before this Trial?

A. Yes, once or twice, I believe.

Q. Now, I am going to read you certain questions and answers
which were given in the course of these interrogations, and
simply ask you to tell the Tribunal whether or not you made
the answers that I read to you. That question can be
answered yes or no; do you understand?

A. Yes.

Q. "I have been a loyal man to the Fuehrer to his last days.
I have never gone back on him. I have been a loyal man to
his last days, last hours, and I did not always agree with
everything. On the contrary, I sometimes had very divergent
views, but I promised him in 1941 that I would keep faith in
him. I gave him my word of honour that I would not get him
into any difficulties."

Is that correct?

A. Yes, that according to my recollection is correct. I did
not see the document and I did not sign anything, but as far
as I can remember, that is correct.

                                                  [Page 275]

Q. Well, what did you mean by saying that you would not get
him into any difficulties?

A. I saw in Adolf Hitler the symbol of Germany and the only
man who could win this war for Germany, and therefore I did
not want to create any difficulties for him, and remained
faithful to him until the end.

Q. Well, what you really meant was that you were never going
to cross him, and you promised him that in 1941, is that not

A. I would never cause him any difficulties, yes, I did say
that. He often found me a rather difficult subordinate, and
that is when I told him that I would not cause him any

Q. In 1941 you told him that no matter whether you differed
with his opinion in the future, you would never press the
point, is not that true?

A. (No response).

Q. Yes or no?

A. No, not quite that, but ...

Q. Well, approximately that, is that right?

A. No, it cannot be put that way. I only meant - if I may
explain it this way - that I would never cause him any
difficulties; if a serious divergence of opinion should ever
arise, I would just withhold my own view. That was what I

Q. Well, you gave him your word of honour to that effect, is
not that true?

A. Yes, that is correct, yes.

Q. And at that time you had talked about resigning, is that
not correct?

A. Yes, that is also true, yes.

Q. And that made the Fuehrer lose his temper and become ill,

A. Yes. "Ill" is not the correct expression, but he always
became very excited, I should prefer not to mention the

Q. Well, he said it was injuring his health, is that not
correct, and told you to stop arguing with him about any of
these questions and do what he told you to do? Right?

A. I do not wish to say anything more about the personal
reasons, nor do I believe that these are matters which could
be of any interest here. Those would be personal matters
between the Fuehrer and myself.

Q. Well, I am not interested in that. I am interested only
in ascertaining if it is not a fact, and if you did not
swear under oath, that on that occasion you swore to Hitler
that you would never express or press any divergent views to
anything which he desired. Is that not correct?

A. No, no! That is absolutely untrue, the interpretation is
false. I told the Fuehrer that I would never create any
difficulties for him. After 1941 I had many divergencies
with him and even at that time I always voiced my own

Q. Well, Ribbentrop, whatever divergent views you had you
were never able to put any of them into effect after 1941,
were you? Yes or no.

A. I did not understand the question. Please repeat it.

Q. I say, no matter how divergent your views were, or what
views you expressed to the Fuehrer on any of these questions
after 1941, your suggestions being contrary to the
Fuehrer's, were never put into effect. Is that not correct?
You always eventually did what the Fuehrer told you to do
and what he wished, regardless of your own views.

A. You are putting two questions to me. To the first I must
reply that it is not correct that Hitler never accepted
suggestions from me. Question No. 2, however, is correct. I
can answer it by saying that if Hitler at any time expressed
an opinion to me or issued an order, I carried the order
through, as was natural in our country.

Q. In other words, eventually you always said "Yes," is that
not correct?

A. I carried out his order, yes.

Q. Now, I am going to read you some more of your testimony:

  "He" - referring to the Fuehrer - "considered me his most
  close collabora-
                                                  [Page 276]
  tor. We had a very serious conversation when I wanted to
  go away. I promised it to him and I have kept it to the
  last moment. It was sometimes very difficult, I can
  assure you, to keep this promise, and today I am sorry
  that I have given it. Perhaps it would have been better
  had I not given it, because it put me in a position that
  I could not from that moment, in very serious and
  important moments of this war, talk to Hitler in that way
  which I would have liked to have talked to him, and in
  which, perhaps, I could have talked to him since this
  conversation in 1941.
  I must explain all this to you. If you do not know the
  background of these things you might think perhaps that
  as Foreign Minister during these last years I would like
  to say more about this. Perhaps I might say one could
  give some more information about this, but I want to be
  and remain loyal to this man, even after his death, as
  far as I can possibly do it. But I reserve the right to
  prove to posterity that I kept my promise and also the
  right to show the role which I have played in the whole
  of this drama."

Did you or did you not make those statements under oath to

A. They are ...

Q. Yes or no?

A. Here again, we have two questions. To question number one
I would say that I know nothing at all. To the second
question, I answer no, I certainly never testified under
oath to that. I was only put on oath twice, but that is not
relevant here. The statement is not verbatim and must have
been wrongly translated. It is correct that I said that I
was loyal to the Fuehrer and that I further said that I had
many arguments with him, that we were not always of the same
opinion, and that is the quintessence of my statement That
is correct.

Q. I only asked you one question, and I ask you again to
answer it "yes" or "no." Did you or did you not make those
statements in the exact language that I just read them to

THE PRESIDENT: I think, Colonel Amen, he really did answer
that, because he said it is not verbatim.

COLONEL AMEN: But it is verbatim.

THE PRESIDENT: That is a matter of opinion. He says it is
not verbatim.

COLONEL AMEN: Well, very good, your Lordship.


Q. In any event, you can see that you stated the substance
of what I just read to you, correct?

A. As I have just said, yes.

Q. As a matter of fact, Ribbentrop, you testified and gave
this particular testimony in English, did you not?

A. I have often spoken English at interrogations, that is
quite true, but whether it was precisely this statement
which was made in English I do not know. In any case I would
answer "Yes" - both points of the statement have been
correctly interpreted and it was meant to be understood that

Q. And when you gave your testimony in English, that was at
your own request, was it not?

A. No, that is not correct.

Q. At whose request?

A. That I do not know. I believe it just happened that way.
I cannot remember. I believe I mostly spoke English and
German a few times. Most of the time, however, I spoke

Q. Now, I am going to read you a little more of your
testimony and ask you the same question, which I hope you
will answer "yes" or "no," namely: Did you give this
testimony in the course of the interrogation:

  "Question: Do you feel that you have an obligation to the
                                                  [Page 277]
  people historically to set forth not only the good
  things, but the bad things, for their education in the
  Answer: That is a terribly difficult question to answer.
  Question: Does that counterbalance the loyalty you feel
  towards the Fuehrer?
  Answer: I do not want to stand before the German people
  as being disloyal to the Fuehrer."

Did you make those statements?

A. Yes, that is quite possible, though I can no longer
remember very exactly. But that is quite possible. So much
has been said in the course of the last few months and then,
too, from a physical point of view I have, as you know, not
been quite up to the mark so that I just cannot remember
every single word.

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