The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/25


Q. You were in Switzerland at that time but on 20 July you
were in Berlin. How did that happen?

THE PRESIDENT: You mean 20 July, 1944?

DR. DIX: Yes, the well-known day of 20 July. We are rapidly
approaching the end now.

A. (Continuing) A few months after the elimination of the
Canaris-Oster circle we formed a new group around General
Olbricht. Count von Staufenberg also joined us. He replaced
Oster in all activities and when after several months and
after many unsuccessful attempts and discussions the time
finally arrived in July, 1944, I secretly returned to Berlin
in order to participate in the events.

Q. But you had no direct contact with Schacht in connection
with this attempted assassination?

A. No, I, personally, was in Berlin incognito, and saw only
Goerdeler, Beck and Staufenberg, and it was agreed expressly
at this time that no other civilians except Goerdeler,
Lauschner and myself were to be informed of the matter. We
hoped thus to be able to protect lives by not burdening
anyone unnecessarily with this knowledge.

Q. Now I come to my last question.

You know that Schacht held high positions in the State under
the Hitler regime. You, Doctor, as is shown by your
testimony today, were an arch enemy of that regime. Despite
that you had, as can also be seen from your testimony today,
special confidence in Schacht. How do you explain this fact
which at first sight seems to be contradictory in itself?

A. My answer can, of course, only express a personal opinion
and I will give it as briefly as possible. I would, however,
like to emphasise that the problem of Schacht was confusing
not only to me but to my friends as well, Schacht was always
a problem and a puzzle to us. Perhaps it is due to the
contradictory nature of this man that he kept this position
in the Hitler Government for so long. He indubitably entered
the Hitler regime for patriotic reasons, and I would like to
testify that, from the moment his disappointment became
obvious, he decided for the same patriotic reasons to join
the opposition. Despite Schacht's many contradictions and
the puzzles he gave us to solve, my friends and I were
strongly attracted by him because of his exceptional civic
courage and the fact that he followed undoubtedly a deeply
moral line of conduct, and did not think only of Germany but
also of the ideals of humanity. That is why we went with
him; why we considered him one of us; and, if you ask me
personally, I can say that the doubts which I often had
about him were completely dispersed during the dramatic
events of 1938 and 1939. At that time he really fought and I
will never forget that. It is a pleasure for me to be able
to testify to this here.

DR. DIX: Your Lordship, I have now finished my questioning
of this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other member of the defendants'
counsel want to ask questions of the witness?

BY DR. BOEHM (Counsel for the S.A.):

Q. Witness, yesterday you said that you were a member of the
Stahlhelm (the Steel Helmet organisation). Just when were
you a member?

A. I believe I entered the Stahlhelm in 1929 and left in

Q. You know the mentality of the members of the Stahlhelm.
You know that almost without exception they were people who
had served in the First World War, and I would like to ask
you now whether the domestic and foreign

                                                  [Page 254]

political goals of the Stahlhelm were to be reached in a
legal or in a revolutionary manner.

A. To my knowledge the Stahlhelm always favoured the legal

Q. Was the fight of the Stahlhelm against the Treaty of
Versailles, which every organisation of national tendencies
took up, to be carried on by legal or revolutionary means,
that is by means of force?

A. It is very hard for me to answer for the entire Stahlhelm
but I can only say that I, and the members of the Stahlhelm
organisation with whom I was acquainted, wanted to use the
legal means.

Q. Is it correct to say that, in the year 1932 and 1933
hundreds of thousands of men, regardless of party and race,
entered the Stahlhelm organisation?

A. That is correct. As matters became more critical in
Germany, more people went to the right and therefore into
the Stahlhelm. I myself followed the growth of the Stahlhelm
as an official speaker from 1929 to 1933, and I might say
that those who did not want to join the N.S.D.A.P. and the
S.A. deliberately entered the Stahlhelm, so that within the
German rightist movement there would be a counter balance
against the rising brown tide. That was the underlying
reason of our recruitment for the Stahlhelm at that time.

Q. You know that in the year 1934 the Stahlhelm as a whole
was taken into the S.A. Was it possible at that time for an
individual member of the Stahlhelm to say "no" or to protest
against being taken over into the S.A.?

A. Of course, as everything was possible in the Third Reich.

Q. What would have been the possible consequences of such a

A. The possible consequences would have been a violent
discussion with the regional Party leaders or S.A. leaders.
At that time I was no longer a member of the Stahlhelm, and
I can only say that it undoubtedly must have been very
difficult for many people, particularly those living in the
country, to refuse being transferred to the S.A. After they
had been betrayed by their leader, Minister Seldte, or as it
was said at that time "sold" to the S.A., refusal to
transfer into the S.A. was naturally a sign of distrust
towards National Socialism.

Q. I gather from my correspondence with the former members
of the Stahlhelm, that these people who, as former members
of the Stahlhelm, were taken into the S.A., remained a
foreign body in the S.A. and were in constant opposition to
the N.S.D.A.P. and the S.A. Is that correct?

A. Since I myself no longer belonged to that organisation, I
can only say that I assume that these members of the
Stahlhelm felt very uneasy in their new surroundings.

Q. Do you know whether the members of the Stahlhelm, before
and since 1934, took part in Crimes Against Peace, against
the Jews, against the church, and so forth?

A. No, I know nothing about that.

Q. Now I would also like to question you about the S.A. so
far as you are able to give any information. Yesterday you
talked freely in regard to the S.A. leaders. I would like to
ask you to answer a question regarding that group of S.A.
members which lies between the simple S.A. man and the
Standartenfuehrer (S.S.-Colonel) or the Brigadefuehrer (S.S.-
Brigadier General). Could you tell, judging from the
position and activity of that group - and I don't go beyond
because I well remember the statements you made yesterday in
regard to the Gruppenfuehrer (S.S.-Lieutenant General) and
Obergruppenfuehrer (S.S. General) - that these people
intended to commit Crimes Against Peace?

A. Of course, it is very difficult to answer such a general
question. When you ask me about the majority of S.A. men, I
can only say "no."

Q. Witness, did you notice that S.A. men were arrested and
were also put into concentration camps?

A. I saw that many times. In 1933, 1934 and 1935, that was
in those years when it was my official duty to make reports,
etc., many S.A. men were arrested

                                                  [Page 255]

by the Gestapo, beaten to death, or at least tortured, and
put into concentration camps.

Q. Could a man who was in the S.A., or anyone else for that
matter, judge the S.A. as a whole from the activity of its
members, or from individual cases and gather that the S.A.
intended to commit Crimes Against Peace?

A. No. When I consider with what effort we in the High
Command of the Wehrmacht tried to discover whether or not
Hitler was planning a war I cannot, of course, attribute to
a simple S.A. man knowledge of something which we ourselves
did not know for certain.

Q. The prosecution asserted that the S.A. incited the youth
and the German people to war. Did you observe anything of
that nature? You were a member of the Gestapo and such
instigations could not have escaped your notice.

A. That is another extremely general question and I do not
know to what extent certain songs, etc., can be considered
preparation for war. At any rate I cannot imagine that the
mass of the S.A. was of a different frame of mind to the
mass of the German people in the years before 1938, and the
general trend of opinion beyond a doubt was that the thought
of war was pure insanity.

Q. Was there anything to make you think that the S.A.
intended to commit Crimes Against Peace, or that they had
committed such crimes?

A. As far as the ordinary S.A. man is concerned, I must say
"no" again, and I say the same for the mass of the S.A., I
could not say to what extent the higher leaders were
involved in plotting all the horrible things we have heard
here. However, the mass of the membership undoubtedly did
not know of such things and was not trained for them.

Q. Witness, it cannot be denied that mistakes were made by a
number of S.A. men, culpable acts committed for which these
people certainly should be punished.

You know the S.A. and know what took place during the
revolutionary and following periods. Can you tell us what
percentage of the many members of the S.A. conducted
themselves in a punishable manner? I call your attention to
the fact that up until, perhaps 1932 or 1933, the S.A.

THE PRESIDENT: Just a moment, Dr. Boehm. The Tribunal
doesn't think that is a proper question to put to a witness,
what percentage of a group of this sort, of hundreds of
thousands of men, take a certain view.

DR. BOEHM: However, the answer to this question would be
very important for my case, Mr. President. Here is a witness
who was not a member of the S.A., who, as a member of the
Gestapo, was perhaps one of the few people who could look
into the activities of the S.A., and actually did look into
them, and he will certainly have the confidence of the
Tribunal. He knows fairly well what the criminal procedures
were and also the size of the membership of the S.A. and is
one of the few who are in a position to testify to this
matter. I believe that if the witness is in a position to
testify hereto, the testimony given by him will be of great
importance to the Tribunal also.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has already ruled that not only
this witness, but other witnesses, are not in a position to
give such evidence, and the question is denied.


Q. Witness, do you know of cases in which S.A. members
worked in opposition to the S.A.?

A. I answered that question when I said that quite a few
S.A. members were arrested by the Gestapo.

Q. Yes. Do you know what criminal proceedings were taken
against the members of the S.A. and how many?

A. Too few, I am sorry to say.

Q. Yes.

                                                  [Page 256]

A. Unfortunately, there were many who committed misdeeds in
the S.A. and who went scot free. I am sorry that I must
answer in this way.

Q. In what relation do they stand to the entire S.A.?

THE PRESIDENT: That is the same question over again.


Q. Do you know under what circumstances one could resign
from the S.A.?

A. In the same manner as one resigned from all organisations
of the Party. It was of course a brave decision to make.

DR. BOEHM: Thank you. I have no further question.

BY DR. LATERNSER (Counsel for the General Staff, O.K.W.):

Q. Witness, in replying to a question of my colleague Dr.
Dix, you told the Tribunal that after the defeat at
Stalingrad a military putsch was to be organised. You
testified that discussions had already taken place, that
preparations had been made, and that the execution of the
putsch was prevented because the Field Marshals in the East
had deserted the group or conspirators.

I ask you now to give us more details on this problem so
that I can follow how your reason leads you to the
conclusion that the Field Marshals deserted the conspiracy

A. Since the outbreak of the war, Generaloberst Beck tried
to contact one Field Marshal after another. He wrote letters
and he sent messengers to them. I particularly remember the
correspondence with General Field Marshal von Mannstein, and
I saw with my own eyes von Mannstein's answer of the year
1942. To Beck's strictly military statement that the war had
been lost von Mannstein could reply only: "A war is not lost
until one considers it as lost."

Beck said that with an answer like that from a Field Marshal
strategic questions could not be raised. Several months
later another attempt was made to win over General Field
Marshal von Mannstein. General Treskow, also a victim of 20
July, went to Mannstein's headquarters. Oberstleutnant von
Schulenburg also went there, However, we were not successful
in winning von Mannstein to our side.

At the time of Stalingrad we contacted Field Marshal von
Kluge, and he in turn contacted Mannstein. This time
discussions reached a point when Kluge definitely assured us
that he would win over Field Marshal von Mannstein at a
meeting definitely scheduled to take place in the Fuehrer's
headquarters. Because of the importance of that day, a
special telephone connection was established between the
headquarters of the General of the Corps of Signals,
Feldgiebel, and General Olbricht in the O.K.W. in Berlin. I
myself was present when this telephone conversation took
place. Even today I can see the paper which said, in plain
language, that Mannstein, contrary to his previous
assurances, had permitted himself to be persuaded by Hitler
to remain in office. Even Kluge was satisfied with very
small military strategic concessions. At this time we
considered this a bitter disappointment and, therefore, I
would like to repeat again what Beck said at that time: "We
were deserted."

Q. What further precautions had been made in this special

A. We had made definite agreements with Field Marshal von
Witzleben. Witzleben was the Commander-in-Chief in the West
and, therefore, he was very important for starting or
assuring a revolt in the West. We had further definite
agreements with the military governor of Belgium, General
von Falkenhausen. In addition, as on 20 July, 1944, we had
assembled a definite contingent of armoured troops in the
vicinity of Berlin. Furthermore, those commanders of the
troops who were to participate in the action had been
convened in the O.K.W.

Q. All this happened after Stalingrad?

A. At the time of the Stalingrad putsch.

Q. Please continue.

                                                  [Page 257]

A. We had made all other political preparations which proved
necessary. I could hardly tell the entire story of the
revolts against the third Reich here.

Q. Yes. What were the reasons why this intended military
putsch was not carried through?

A. What was that?

Q. Witness, what were the reasons why this putsch, which was
intended by the conspirator group, was not carried through?

A. Contrary to all expectations, Field Marshal Paulus
capitulated. This, we know, was the first mass capitulation
of generals; whereas we had expected that Paulus and his
generals, before the capitulation, would issue a
proclamation to the Eastern Front and to the German people,
in which the strategy of Hitler and the sacrifice of the
Stalingrad Army would be branded in suitable words.

This was to have been the clue for Kluge to declare that in
the future he would take no further military orders from
Hitler. We hoped with this plan to circumvent the problem of
the military oath which kept troubling us more and more, in
that one field marshal after the other would refuse military
obedience to Hitler, whereupon Beck was to take over the
supreme military command in Berlin.

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