The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc//tgmwc-11/tgmwc-11-102.01

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-11/tgmwc-11-102.01
Last-Modified: 2000/01/05

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Q. I want to ask you some questions about the shooting of
officers who escaped from Sagan Camp. As I understand your
evidence, very shortly after the escape, you had this
interview with Hitler, at which certainly Himmler was
present. That is right, isn't it?

A. The day after the escape, this conference took place with
the Fuehrer and with Himmler.

Q. Yes. Now, you say that at that conference Hitler said
that the prisoners were not to be returned to the Wehrmacht
but to remain with the police. Those were really your words.
That is right, isn't it?

A. Yes.

Q. That is what you said. So that is what you say took
place. In your own mind you were satisfied, when you left
that conference, that these officers were going to be shot,
were you not?

A. No, that I was not.

Q. Now, will you agree with this? You were satisfied that
there was a grave probability that these officers would be

A. As I rode home I had a subconscious concern about it. It
was not decided at the conference.

Q. Then you sent for General von Graevnitz and General
Westhoff, did you not?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. I don't know if you can remember, because General
Westhoff was a comparatively junior officer compared with
yourself, but he says that it was the first occasion on
which you had sent for him. Does your memory bear that out?

A. No, I did not call him. But he had been brought along to
be introduced to me. I did not know him. I had only summoned
General von Graevnitz.

Q. You had never met him before? Do you agree that you had
never met General Westhoff before?

A. I had never seen him before.

Q. That is what he said. Now you agree, as I understand your
evidence, that you were very excited and nervous?

A. Yes, I was exceedingly irritated and excited.

Q. So that you agree with General Westhoff that you said
something to this effect, "Gentlemen, this is a bad
business" or "This is a very serious matter" or something of
that kind?

A. Yes, I said that it was an unusually serious matter.

Q. Now, General Westhoff says in the next sentence that what
you said was "This morning Goering reproached me in the
presence of Himmler for having let some more prisoners of
war escape. It was unheard of."

A. That must be a mistake on Westhoff's part. It was a day
later. We were then at Berchtesgaden and General von
Graevnitz and Westhoff called on me

                                                   [Page 94]

the next morning. And it must also be a mistake that I
mentioned the name of the Reich Marshal Goering in this

Q. So you weren't very sure about that, were you, as to
whether or not Goering was present. You weren't very sure,
were you?

A. I only became uncertain about it when, in a preliminary
interrogation, I was told that witnesses had stated that
Goering was present; thereupon I said it was not completely
impossible but that I did not recall it.

Q. Well, to put it quite right. When you were interrogated
an American officer put exactly the sentence that I put to
you now. He put that sentence to you from General Westhoff's
statement. Do you remember that he read what I have read to
you now? "Gentlemen, this is a bad business; this morning
Goering reproached me in the presence of Himmler for having
let some more prisoners of war escape. It was unheard of."
Do you remember? The interrogator put that to you, didn't

A. It was something like that at the preliminary
interrogation, but I said that I was not certain that
Goering was present.

Q. I was going to put exactly what you said - and you listen
carefully, and if you disagree, tell the Tribunal. You said,
"I request that you interrogate Jodl about the whole
incident and the attitude which I displayed during the whole
conference in the presence of Goering, of whose presence
during that conference I am not absolutely certain, but
Himmler was there." That was your view when you were
interrogated on 10th November, wasn't it? You said "...
during the whole conference in the presence of Goering, of
whose presence I am not absolutely certain. ..." That was
your view on 10th November?

A. There must have been some misinterpretation in the
minutes, which I never read. I expressed my uncertainty
about the presence of Goering and in the same connection put
the request to interrogate General Jodl about it, since my
memory was faulty.

Q. You agree that you did ask that General Jodl should be

A. I made that proposal, yes.

Q. Well now, what do you complain about as to the next

  "During the whole conference in the presence of Goering,
  of whose presence during that conference I am not
  absolutely certain."

Wasn't that your view?

A. Yes, I was rather surprised at this interrogation and
when I was told that witnesses had confirmed that Goering
had been present I was a little uncertain in this matter and
asked that General Jodl be interrogated. In the meantime it
became entirely clear to me that Goering was not present and
that what I said at first was correct.

Q. Had you discussed it with Goering while you were both
awaiting trial?

A. After my interrogations I had the occasion to speak with
the Reich Marshal and he told me: "But you must know that I
wasn't there," and then I remembered fully.

Q. Yes, as you say, the Reich Marshal said to you he had not
been present at the interview. That is right, is it not?

A. General Jodl also confirmed to me that the Reich Marshal
was not present.

Q. Well now, did you tell General von Graevnitz and General
Westhoff that Himmler had interfered and that he had
complained that he would have to provide another sixty to
seventy thousand men for the Landwache? Did you tell them

A. No, that is also a misinterpretation. I did not say that.
It is not true.

Q. You said that Himmler had interfered.

A. I said only that Himmler had reported the fact of the
escape and I intended not to report it to Hitler on that day
since a number of escapees had been returned to the camp. I
did not intend to report to the Fuehrer on that day.

                                                   [Page 95]

Q. Now, whatever you said to General von Graevnitz, you
agree that General von Graevnitz protested and said:

  "Escape is not a dishonourable offence, that is laid down
  clearly in the Convention."

Did he not say that?

A. Yes, it is true he said that. But I would like to add
that the statement of General Westhoff is a reminiscence
which goes back over several years.

Q. Yes, but you agree, as I understand your evidence, that
General von Graevnitz did make a protest about the action
that was taken, is not that so?

A. Yes, he did so.

Q. And then when he made the protest did you say words to
this effect - I am reading, of course, from General
Westhoff's statement:
  "I do not care a damn. We discussed it in the Fuehrer's
  presence and it cannot be altered."

Did you say words to that effect?

A. No, it was not like that, but I do believe I said
something similar.

Q. Similar?

A. But we are not concerned with -

Q. Similar, to that effect?

A. I said something similar.

Q. And after that did you say that your organisation, the
Kriegsgefangenenwesen, was going to publish a notice in the
prison camps where prisoners of war were held, telling all
prisoners of war what action had been taken in this case in
order that it would be a deterrent to other escapes?

Did you instruct these generals, your heads of the Prisoner
of War Organisation, to publish a notice in the camps saying
what action had been taken in order to act as a deterrent?

A. I gave this due consideration while reading a report by
the British Government and I came to the conclusion that
there must be some confusion as to when I gave these
instructions. I am quite sure I did not do so at this
conference. That was later, several days later.

Q. Well, you will find it is stated in the statement of
General Westhoff that we put in, at the bottom of Page 3.
General Westhoff says:

  "The Field Marshal gave us detailed instructions to
  publish a list at the camps, giving the names of those
  shot as a warning. That was done. That was a direct order
  that we could not disobey."

And in the statement which your counsel has put in, General
Westhoff says:

   "This must stop. We cannot allow this to happen again.
   The officers who have escaped will be shot. I must
   inform you that most of them are already dead and you
   will publish a notice in the prison camps where
   prisoners of war are held telling all prisoners of war
   what action has been taken in this case in order that it
   may be a deterrent to other escapes."

A. May I make a statement regarding this?

DR. NELTE (counsel for defendant Keitel): The British
Prosecutor is referring to a document which I submitted in
my document book. I assume that is correct. And it is a
document which the French Prosecution wanted to submit and
which I objected to, since it is a compilation of
interrogations which Colonel Williams prepared. I submitted
this document so as to furnish proof at the hearing of
General Westhoff that this document does not agree in 23
points with the testimony given by him. He has given me the
necessary information. He will be first in the witness box
tomorrow. I therefore ask, if the British Prosecutor appeals
to the witness Westhoff, for production at least of his
statement which he made under

                                                   [Page 96]

oath at the request of the American Prosecutor Colonel
Williams. This affidavit up to now has not been produced
whereas all other pieces of evidence from him only contain
reports which have never been submitted to Westhoff for his
signature or for his acknowledgement nor have been confirmed
by his oath.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My point was to make quite clear
that I was not putting anything in from the first statement
which was not contained in the defendant's document book. I
thought that the complaint would be the other way, that if I
took our own evidence alone that then it would be said that
it is slightly different, for the difference is immaterial
from the documents submitted in the defendant's document
book. I have carefully collated them both. There is
practically no difference between them but I thought it was
only fair to put both sets of words.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks the cross-examination is
perfectly proper. Of course if Dr. Nelte does call General
Westhoff as a witness, he will be able to get from him any
corrections which General Westhoff thinks are necessary to
the affidavit.



Q. Now, what I want to know is: Did you give orders to
General von Graevnitz and General Westhoff to have published
in the camps the measures which had been taken with regard
to these officers?

A. Yes, but several days later; not on the same day that
these officers were with me.

Q. How long later?

A. I believe three or four days later, but I can no longer
tell you exactly. In any event, not before I found out that
shootings had taken place.

Q. Well, three or four days later would be just when the
shootings were beginning, but what was published? What did
you say was to be published as to the measures that were to
be taken?

A. In the camp a warning was to be published. In my opinion,
we were not to mention shootings but only warn that those
caught in flight would not be returned to the camp. I cannot
remember the exact wording. It was traceable to an order
which I had received from the Fuehrer regarding a conference
I had with him on the matter of shootings.

Q. Well, is this a fair way to put your recollection of the
order, that it was probable, according to your recollection,
that those who attempted to escape would be handed over to
the S.D. and that certainly very severe measures would be
taken? Is that a fair way of putting your recollection of
the order?

A. My recollection is that a warning, that is a threat, was
to be published to the effect that those who attempted to
escape would not be returned to the camp. That was the
contents of this publication, according to my recollection,
which I then forwarded. I myself did not word it. Besides,
only the administration of the camp and the Luftwaffe were
to be notified.

Q. Now, General Westhoff was not content with an oral order
and came back to you with a draft order in writing, did he

A. I do not believe that he came to me. I believe he sent me

Q. I'm sorry, but when I said "Came back to you," I was
talking generally. You're quite right that he passed on for
your consideration a draft order in writing for you to
approve. That's right, isn't it?

A. I do not believe that it was an order. As far as I
remember it was just a memorandum, a note. However, I must
add that I was first reminded of this matter in the course
of the interrogation by Colonel Williams.

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