The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/09/06

Q. And you said that the defendant Keitel transmitted these
political goals to those who were present; and the same way
with respect to the order regarding Warsaw, namely, the
bombardment of Warsaw.

A. According to my recollection this was true as far as the
air bombardment of Warsaw was concerned; and in accordance
with my notes. I can also state in this respect that as far
as the matter of the shootings in Poland is concerned,
Canaris took the initiative in these matters by provoking
discussions during which he pointed out the terrible
political international repercussions that such behaviour
might have. The details are no longer quite clear in my

Q. I should now like to ask you whether, on the occasion
when the order to bombard Warsaw was made known, Keitel did
not specifically point out that that action was planned only
to take place if Warsaw did not surrender, after it had been
approached through parliamentary channels; and that first of
all, Warsaw should be given an opportunity to capitulate
without being bombarded.

A. I cannot recall the precise words he used, but judging by
my knowledge of that general situation, it is quite
possible, indeed probable, that the Chief of the O.K.W.,
Keitel, did make this remark.

Q. Do you know that before the Polish War began, the
Commander in Chief of the Army at that time, von
Brauchitsch, and the Chief of the O.K.W., Keitel,
specifically objected to the use of Commandos and Gestapo,
and rejected their use; and in so doing, had the agreement
of Hitler?

A. No, that is not known to me, and could not have been
known to me, because of my subordinate position at that
time. Please do not over-rate the importance of my official
position at the time.

Q. There is also here a question of knowledge of a document,
which was transmitted to all departments and sections of the
O.K.W., as you probably remember from yesterday. They were
the so-called directives; and in these directives, there
appears, contrary to what happened later -

THE PRESIDENT: I think you were going a little bit too fast.

Q. (continuing) I said that in connection with such military
actions, the orders and directives were mimeographed and
generally made known, no doubt.

A. Yes, but these orders did not concern my specific
department, I stress the word "specific", and I did not even
see them.

Q. Since later you were brought into a discussion of these
questions, and since you emphasise that the orders were not
literally known to you -

A. Of course, a great deal was known to me, because I heard
of it.

                                                  [Page 312]

Q. For that reason, I want to ask you whether you recall
that the Gestapo and S.D. were used, contrary to the
specific intentions and wishes of the O.K.W., in the matter
of the Polish War?

A. I cannot remember. I can only refer to what I remember,
and what is registered in the files, in which there is
mention made of a remark of Hitler's, which was transmitted
by Keitel at that time; stating that, if the Armed Forces
objected to these measures, the latter as well as the O.K.W.
would have to realise that the Gestapo and the S.D. would go
ahead anyhow. That is probably what you are referring to. I
know that because I was present at these discussions.

Q. During this conversation, were you not told that an
objection to the behaviour of the S.S. was brought up, on
the part of General Blaskowitz?

A. Whether or not this question was brought up in this
conference, I cannot recall. I can hardly assume that it was
so, since otherwise the question would have been registered
in the minutes of that conference, particularly in the case
of General Blaskowitz, whose attitude in such matters was
quite clear cut. But apart from this conversation in the
Fuehrer's train, I remember in its essence something about
the subject - which was just brought up - namely,
Blaskowitz' objections. I cannot say what form those
objections took at the time, whether they were in writing or
verbal, but I do remember the general theme, though I cannot
recall whether it happened at one of the conferences which I

Q. What appears to me to be important in this matter, is the
fact that actually the Armed Forces, the troops, protested,
or at least had a negative attitude toward the behaviour of
the S.S.

A. That the Armed Forces did object, is, of course, quite

Q. That is what I wanted to know.

A. One moment, please. When I say "the Armed Forces", I mean
the masses of common soldiers, the ordinary human beings. Of
course, there were in these Armed Forces - other men whom I
wish to exclude. I do not wish to be misunderstood. The
concept "Armed Forces" does not include everybody, but does
include the greater majority of common soldiers and thinking
human beings.

Q. You use the term "Wehrmacht" to differentiate between the
common soldiers and the High Command.

A. As far as the then prevailing methods and conditions were
concerned, which became apparent for the first time in this
shape to the broad masses of the Wehrmacht, I think I have
summed them up fairly accurately within the small section I
have described.

Q. Who gave the order regarding the collaboration with the
Ukrainian Group? You spoke yesterday of that group.

A. I have to go further back, and state first of all, that
this group was composed of citizens from various countries;
Hungarians, Czechs and Poles, who, because of their
oppositionist attitude, had emigrated or gone to Germany. I
cannot say who ordered this collaboration, because these
matters came up quite a long time back, and because at that
time, I was not even a member of the Abwehr Section, and was
not in touch with the department, which I took over only in
1939. However, I remember the period after 1938 quite
clearly. I should like to add to this connection, because it
has been already mentioned yesterday, that these Ukrainians,
as a whole, had no ties whatsoever with Germany. To be
specific, a great many of these people with whom the Abwehr
Division had any dealings were in German concentration
camps, and some of them were fighting for their country in
Soviet-partisan groups. Those are the facts.

Q. Did not Admiral Canaris say to you that the chief of the
O.K.W.- when the demand was made on him for Polish uniforms
and equipment, demands made by the S.S. - that Keitel
specifically ordered that, the Abwehr Division should more
or less let the matter drop?

                                                  [Page 313]

A. I mentioned this matter also yesterday, saying that it
was treated altogether in a mysterious way. Until it
actually happened, neither I nor others knew what game was
being played. This can be clearly seen from the war diary of
the section, which relates how one day so many uniforms were
requested for an operation called "Himmler", by order of
Canaris. My amazement and my question, how Himmler came to
request new Polish uniforms, is registered in the diary by
the officer who had the job of keeping it, and the question
was answered to the effect that these uniforms would simply
be picked up on such and such a day by somebody, without any
further explanations, and that was the end of the matter as
far as I was concerned.

Of course, this matter not only became immediately
mysterious but also very suspicious, because of its
connection with the name "Himmler". All of us, from the
highest level to the non-com. who had to deliver the
equipment to the S.S. Hauptsturmfuehrer, whose name has been
recorded in the War-Diary, felt that way about it. Everybody
had his own opinion on this matter; that could not be

Q. You also made statements yesterday regarding the
treatment of war prisoners. In what regard was Abwehr
Section II concerned with this problem?

A. The functions of Abwehr II were such that it was of the
greatest possible interest to see to it that these war
prisoners were being treated decently; the same applies to
any Intelligence Services in the whole world.

Q. Do I understand you to mean that the Division Abwehr II
as such was not admittedly concerned with problems
concerning war prisoners?

A. Not at all with prisoners of war.

Q. You spoke of this problem of the treatment of war
prisoners in connection with the talk that took place the
end of July, 1941.

A. Yes, and during this conversation I did not merely
represent my section, but the whole department, "Ausland-
Abwehr", namely, the section that has to concern itself
mainly with general questions of International Law, military
politics, and general questions on foreign territories
common to all Abwehr groups. Abwehr Section III, rather than
my own section, were, of course, interested in these matters
because some of their officers served in P.W. camps, and
from the point of view of counter-intelligence it was
important to know about these things. For me the entire
problem rather than the partial details were of importance,
namely, that people in camps, for many reasons, should be
treated decently, rather than mistreated or killed.

Q. You said yesterday that the war prisoner camps in the
Eastern field were under the jurisdiction of the O.K.W.

A. Yes, what I said about the war prisoner camps, as I
specifically said yesterday I learned from my talk with
Reinecke and not from any direct knowledge of the orders
themselves, which I did not see or read. This conversation
with Reinecke, who as Chief of the P.W. Division and on
behalf of the O.K.W. expounded the matter, elucidated the
problem of war prisoners for me.

Q. My question dealt with the limits of the jurisdiction.
Did you not know who in the Operation Section of the Army
held responsibility for war prisoners, and that the O.K.W.
took over this responsibility at the moment in which the war
prisoners reached Germany?

A. Yes, as far as I recall, the General Staff of the Army
had prepared everything to bring these people back; and an
order originating with Hitler authorised the O.K.W. to
overrule and cancel this, and the General Staff then made
the O.K.W. responsible for all the consequences. What
happened after that I do not know and have no right to
judge; I can only repeat what I saw and heard.

Q. I thought that yesterday you expressed the conjecture
that by Hitler's order the movement of P.W's. was stopped?

A. I did not express any conjecture; I simply repeated what
I had heard at the time and what I knew - I could, of
course, be wrong.

                                                  [Page 314]

Q. From whom had you heard this?

A. I learned it through the people with whom I was in daily
contact, such as Canaris, the section chiefs, and others who
were present at daily situation reports and conversations
and that sort of thing where these matters were discussed.
It was under such circumstances that I heard these things,
which were frequently discussed, and as I have emphasised
repeatedly in the past since my first interrogation, I told
Reinecke to his face that what he himself at that time said
regarding these matters.

Q. That does not apply to my questions.

A. I quite understand your question, but I wish to define it
as clearly as possible so as to make plain to you what I
said yesterday in order to describe the specific
organisational limits.

Q. But you know that as a matter of principle the O.K.W. had
charge of war prisoners only in Germany?

A. That is evident.

Q. Could it happen that the Abwehr office that had to do
with commando activities took an attitude such as you
defined it yesterday, insofar as you had to do with these
things from the German side, but you were not officially
concerned with these things?

A. No, not immediately. The Ausland Office had something to
do with these things because somehow it received
intelligence of any order that was under consideration, even
before it was put into shape, and certainly as soon as it
was drawn up. The Order in question had, of course, a
bearing on an essential question of International Law, and
the Ausland Section of the Abwehr Division or the
"Sachbearbeiter" as it was called - was naturally concerned
with it. My division was, as a matter of fact, directly
concerned with these things, for reasons explained before,
regarding the possible consequences arising thereof to
persons for whom I was responsible.

Q. As regards the division for International Law in the
Ausland-Abwehr, did it take an official position toward

A. I wrote, as I pointed out yesterday, a contribution on
that subject from the point of view of my section, which was
transmitted to Canaris and was to be part of the long
document. I only learned from what Burckner said at the time
what use was made of it. Whether he, i.e. his department,
lodged these objections and counter objections, cognisance
was taken of the danger these measures represented. This was
done a second time and again I cannot say whether in writing
or orally, after executions had already taken place and I
had protested anew. This was the logical development.

THE PRESIDENT: It would help the interpreter if, when giving
a very long answer like that that you pause between the
intermediate parts of the answer.

THE WITNESS: Shall I repeat?

THE PRESIDENT: No, no; go on.


Q. You also spoke yesterday of some sort of branding used on
Russian prisoners. Are you not aware that a scheme on this
question, presented by the then chief of the O.K.W., who had
gone to the Fuehrer's Headquarters, was cancelled by an
order transmitted by telephone, and that owing to a terrible
misunderstanding this order was issued in but a very few

A. No, I do not know about this, because, in general, I
heard merely of occurrences that took place within Canaris'
Section in the Abwehr division. I knew of these occurrences
either because I had promoted or directed them. What
happened in higher quarters I only learned if I was
appointed to collaborate with them.

Q. You yourself did not see the order?

A. Which order are you referring to?
                                                  [Page 315]

Q. The one concerning the branding of Russian prisoners.

A. No. As in the matter of the commando orders, I only
attended the very lively discussion of this question with
regard to the branding of Russian prisoners. I remember
Canaris mentioning that a doctor had furnished a medical
report as to how this could be done most efficiently.

Q. You stated yesterday that Admiral Canaris had said that
the defendant Keitel had issued the order to do away with
General Weygand. The defendant Keitel denies that. Now, he
would like to ask whether there is in your possession any
document or any written evidence that could serve as proof
of the source of such a remark regarding General Weygand?

A. This order was not transmitted in writing, but was given
directly to me. It was given to me because I was to carry it
out through my department. To a certain circle round
Canaris, a certain limited public, it was known, and I was
initiated into this matter by a lecture which Canaris
delivered at Keitel's O.K.W. after which I was spoken to by
Keitel on this matter. I have noted this in my diary. It had
not been an everyday occurrence. This took place on December
23rd 1940.

Q. Do you not remember the actual wording of the question
that defendant Keitel asked you?

A. Of course I cannot remember the precise wording; the
incident happened too long ago. I remember the meaning very
well. The meaning was: "What has been done in this matter?
How do things stand?"

Q. You said yesterday that you answered evasively.

A. I cannot remember the precise wording of my answer, but I
certainly didn't say what I had said to Canaris, namely: "I
wouldn't consider the execution of such a murderous order;
my section and my officers are not an organisation of
murderers." What I probably said to Keitel was something
about how difficult the matter was; I gave any evasive
answer that I may have thought of.

Q. If the Chief of the O.K.W. had ordered such an action on
his own initiative or on higher orders, it would, because of
the high rank of General Weygand, have amounted to an act of
State. You didn't tell us whether after December 23rd, 1940,
anything transpired in this matter, that is to say, whether
the chief of the O.K.W. took up this question again.

A. No, I didn't say that yesterday, but I frequently
mentioned during the cross examination, that after this
nothing further happened on the part of the Chief of the
O.K.W. Canaris' attitude made it obvious that nothing
further had been heard of it, for in the hierarchy of
commands, he would have had to transmit orders to me. On the
other hand, the information which I received in the matter
of Giraud was authoritative.

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