The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/11/25

DR. SIEMERS: The American Ambassador approached Weizsaecker
immediately after the "Athenia" case in order to clarify the
case. Thereupon Weizsaecker spoke with Raeder: however, only
after he had already told the American Ambassador that no
German submarine was involved. The question as to whether a
German submarine was involved in the "Athenia" case was
settled only after the return of the German submarine. Prior
to that, the defendant Raeder had not known of it either.
The German submarine returned on 27th September, the sinking
was on 3rd September.

THE PRESIDENT: Did you state these facts about conversations
between the American Ambassador and State Secretary
Weizsaecker in one of your previous applications?

DR. SIEMERS: Yes, on 6th February I did submit the
application, and also mentioned in general terms the
"Athenia" case. I may add that Weizsaecker knows also the
subsequent occurrences. Weizsaecker knows exactly that the
Navy, and particularly the defendant Raeder, had nothing,
absolutely nothing to do with the article which the
Propaganda Ministry published in the newspapers. Weizsaecker
was just as outraged about this article as was the defendant
Raeder. But it is precisely this that the prosecution
charges against Raeder.

                                                  [Page 178]

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Tribunal will consider what you

DR. SIEMERS: Let me add that I have made a mistake. I have
just heard that Weizsaecker is still with the Vatican in
Rome: in other words, it is known where he is.


DR. SIEMERS: No. 14, Colonel Soltmann. As far as I know,
Colonel Soltmann will be requested as a witness also by the
defendant Jodl, and an affidavit or an interrogatory has
already been sent to him. I therefore concur with Sir David
that an affidavit from Soltmann will suffice, subject to the
consent to the applications of the defence counsel for
General Jodl.

THE PRESIDENT: He does not appear to have been located yet.

DR. SIEMERS: Yes, the witness Soltmann? I have given his
address in my application.


DR. SIEMERS: It is Falkenberg, near Moosach in Upper

No. 16, Admiral-General Schultze, is in Hamburg, and it is
an easy matter to have him testify personally here in
Nuremberg. The prosecution has accused the defendant Raeder
of participating in the National Socialist policy of
conquest. This accusation is unfounded. Raeder, both in
Norway and in France, constantly directed his efforts
towards bringing about peace: in other words, not towards
the effecting of any final conquest of the countries. In
this, Raeder found himself in strong opposition to Hitler,
and only after much urging did Raeder succeed in getting
permission to negotiate with Darlan in Paris concerning the
possible conclusion of a peace. I believe that such a
positive intervention for a quick termination of the war
with France is important enough, in a trial like this, to
have the witness testify personally. I cannot understand how
Sir David, in view of his accusation, can say that this
point is irrelevant. The prosecution has constantly declared
that the defendant Raeder was agitating for war.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not believe that Sir David did say it
was irrelevant. He suggested interrogatories.

DR. SIEMERS: I made a note that Sir David said the witness
was irrelevant, but that he would, as a concession, agree to
an affidavit.

THE PRESIDENT: Then I was wrong.

DR. SIEMERS: I simply wanted to make my position clear on
the question as to whether or not this witness is
irrelevant. I believe I have shown that he is relevant.

THE PRESIDENT: You want the witness? You would not agree to
an affidavit or an interrogatory? Is that right?

DR. SIEMERS: I ask the Tribunal to hear Schultze as a
witness here in Nuremberg because, in my opinion in view of
the principles of the Indictment, it is, a vital point that
Raeder's attitude toward the entire problem is shown by
facts prevailing at that time, and not by present assertions
and statements.

I come now to the witnesses to whom Sir David has objected.
Firstly, witness No. 11, Vice-Admiral Burkner. I asked for
him on 31st January. So far I have received no answer. I
asked to be allowed to speak to the witness Buerkner in
order to acquaint myself with the details. The interview is
denied me so long as he has not been approved as a witness.
In order to speak with him, therefore, I am dependent on his
being approved, first of all, as a witness. Should it then
prove that this evidence is cumulative, I am willing to
forgo the witness. I presume that Sir David is agreeable to

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, the Tribunal does not quite
understand why the counsel should not have seen this officer
who is in prison in Nuremberg, subject of course to

                                                  [Page 179]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: We have no objection to the counsel
seeing Admiral Buerkner. I think up to now the prosecution
have always taken the view that what Dr. Siemers wanted to
see him about was not relevant. I do not think the Tribunal
has ruled on that.

THE PRESIDENT: The view of the Tribunal is that counsel for
the defence ought to be in touch with the witnesses before,
in order to see whether they are able to give relevant
evidence or not. They cannot give the evidence or the
relevancy of it unless they know what the witness is going
to say.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No objection will be made, and Dr.
Siemers can make arrangements, as far as the prosecution is
concerned, to see Admiral Buerkner at the earliest date he

DR. SIEMERS: I am grateful to the Tribunal for clarifying
this point. This point has made the work of the defence
counsel extremely difficult. I have been waiting for more
than a month to speak to Buerkner. For four weeks I have not
been able to speak to Admiral Wagner for the same reason. I
should like to speak to others also who are in the court-
house prison. They were all denied me because the Tribunal
had not yet approved them as witnesses.

I believe that the point is now clarified.

THE PRESIDENT: Go on, Dr. Siemers.

DR. SIEMERS: It is quite possible that, after speaking with
the witness, I may not call him to the stand, particularly
since I hear today that Schulte-Moenting can be called, and
provided that Boehm is approved.

THE PRESIDENT: That who is approved?

DR. SIEMERS: Boehm, No. 10.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh yes. That was Sir David's only objection
to No. 11, was it not, that it was cumulative to 5 and 10?

DR. SIEMERS: No. 12, Captain Schreiber. Sir David has
rightly pointed out that I have already stated the
possibility that I may give up this witness. This still
stands. If the witness Schulte-Moenting and the witness
Boehm actually appear, the witness Schreiber is not
necessary. No. 13, the witness Lackorn in Leipzig. Before
the occupation of Norway, Lackorn was on business in Oslo.
He had nothing to do with the military. It was purely by
accident that he learned, in the Hotel Bristol in Oslo, that
the landing of English troops was imminent. This point is
important because one can only judge the defendant's
attitude towards the Norwegian undertaking if one considers
the general situation of Norway. The general situation of
Norway means, however, the relations of Norway with Germany,
England, Sweden, and all the other countries adjacent to
Norway. It is not proper, in such a decisive question, to
state that only a small part is relevant. I am agreed,
however, that the witness is not to be heard here. I have,
therefore, while I was waiting for the decision of the
prosecution, written to the witness in order to obtain an
affidavit. It is therefore agreeable to me if an affidavit
only is submitted here. He need not be approved as a

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, you did not deal with that aspect
of the matter, with an affidavit.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Well, my Lord, I am afraid the view
of the prosecution is that the story, which apparently
started in the bar of a hotel in Oslo, is not evidence which
is really admissible, relevant, or of any weight in a matter
of this kind. That is the view we have taken throughout.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, it appears from the application
which is before us that you originally made a request for
this witness on 19th January, 1946, which appears to have
been in perfectly general terms, and that the Tribunal

                                                  [Page 180]

ordered, on 14th February, that you should furnish
supplementary details of the evidence which you wanted to
obtain by calling this witness. Thereupon, on 2ist February,
you withdrew your application.

You now submit the application again without giving any
details at all, simply saying that the witness had been in
Oslo on business and received information there of the
imminent landing of Allied forces in Norway. Well, that is a
perfectly general statement, just as general as the original
statement. It does not seem to comply with the orders of the
Tribunal at all.

DR. SIEMERS: On 21st February I withdrew my application
because of the basic point of view which I have also
presented to the Court.

I have pointed out that, in my opinion, the defence cannot
be expected to give every single detail, when we have not,
for three months after we were consulted, had the slightest
word, not one word, about a single witness of the
prosecution, when we of the defence have not had the
opportunity even of taking a stand on the relevancy of their
witnesses . . .

THE PRESIDENT: I have already pointed out on several
occasions that the reason why the defendant's counsel have
to submit applications for their witnesses is because they
are unable to get their witnesses themselves and because
they are applying to the Tribunal to get their witnesses for
them and their documents for them. It is a work of very
considerable magnitude to find and to bring witnesses to

I understand from you that with reference to this witness
you are trying now to get an affidavit from him.

DR. SIEMERS: Yes. At any rate, I have been making the
effort. Whether I shall receive the answer in time from
Leipzig, which is in the Russian Zone, remains to be seen.
In the meantime, in order to facilitate matters and to avoid
delay, I have written to the witness Lackorn.


DR. SIEMERS: I hope that an affidavit will be available in
time. For this reason, I am willing to waive having him
testify here.

THE PRESIDENT: If you get the affidavit you will be able to
give the Tribunal particulars of the evidence which the
witness would give, and also to show it to the prosecution,
who will then be able to say whether they wish to have the
witness brought here for cross-examination.

DR. SIEMERS: Certainly.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Tribunal will consider this

DR. SIEMERS: Witness No. 15 is a Norwegian, Alf Whist,
former Secretary of Commerce. By decision of the Court on
14th February he was rejected as irrelevant.

Whist can testify that the reputation of the German Navy in
Norway was very good throughout the occupation, and that in
Norway the complaints were directed exclusively against the
civil administration and not against the German Navy.

Whist knows definitely, as does every other Norwegian, that
the Navy was not involved in a single illegal or criminal
measure in Norway during the occupation.

If this is considered irrelevant, I presume that Sir David
means that the Navy, during the occupation of Norway,
behaved correctly. Of course, this is a question that must
be sharply distinguished from the question which I shall
discuss later, that is, the question of the occupation and
the attack on Norway. I am speaking now only of the time
after the occupation had been carried out.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The point of the prosecution is
this: That whatever the facts were, assuming for the moment
that the facts were that the German Navy had behaved with
meticulous correctness on every point, the

                                                  [Page 181]

view of Mr. Alf Whist, who was Secretary of Commerce in the
Quisling Cabinet in Norway, as to how the German Navy
behaved, would not have the slightest interest or relevance
or weight with anyone. That is the view of the prosecution.

DR. SIEMERS: I hoped that Sir David would make his position
clear as to whether charges in this connection will be made
against the Navy. Sir David speaks of the Germans in
general. I draw attention to the fact that the entire
administration in Norway was a civil administration and that
in the Terboven jurisdiction the Navy had nothing to do with
this administration: if I have named a single witness where
I might have named hundreds, I did this only to give the
Tribunal a picture of how Admiral Boehm, the Navy and Raeder
conducted themselves.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will consider it, Dr. Siemers.

DR. SIEMERS: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Then you have still No. 17, the interpreter.

DR. SIEMERS: Regarding Lieutenant-Colonel Goldenberg, it is
Sir David's point of view that he is unnecessary: if Colonel-
General Schultze is approved as witness, an affidavit from
Goldenberg will suffice for me. A short affidavit appears to
me to be important, because Oldenburg was present as an
impartial interpreter at every conference which took place
between Darlan and Raeder.

An affidavit will suffice in this case.

THE PRESIDENT: I think you can pass now to your documents. I
ought to call your attention to an observation at the end of
your application, which is that you intend to summon one or
two more witnesses. Who are they?

DR. SIEMERS: The Tribunal has declared that the details
about a witness have to be submitted a long time in advance
only because the Tribunal must procure the witness. When it
is a question of a witness who comes to Nuremberg on his own
initiative, I should be obliged for a decision on the point
in connection with my defence as to whether or not the
Tribunal will admit such a witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, I have stated one of the
principal reasons why defence counsel have to make
applications : and another principal reason is a necessity
for expedition in this trial, expedition and security. The
question of security is important, and therefore, we must
insist on being told who the witnesses are that you wish to
call, Dr. Siemers. Otherwise, you will not be able to call

DR. SIEMERS: Am I obliged to do this even when the witness
is already in the building?

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly, because, as I have told you, there
are twenty or twenty-one defendants in the dock and we have
to try and make this trial expeditious and we, therefore,
cannot allow them to call as many witnesses as they choose
to call. But if it is a question of your not having the
names of the witnesses in your mind at the moment, you can
certainly specify them after a short delay, or tomorrow.

DR. SIEMERS: I shall submit information on this matter
shortly. I do not want to name the witness before I have
talked it over with him.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, the Tribunal has no objection to
your applying in respect of other witnesses, provided that
you do so by tomorrow.

DR. SIEMERS: Very well, I know that, at the moment , the
witness in question is not in Nuremberg, so that I cannot
talk to him. I ask the Tribunal to pardon me for being so
cautious. The Tribunal will be cognizant of the fact that
witnesses have been taken into custody. I cannot take the
responsibility for somebody being taken into custody because
I named him as a witness. That is the reason.

                                                  [Page 182]

I shall, however, notify the Tribunal as soon as the witness
is in Nuremberg and I have had a chance to speak to him. I
shall do so within twenty-four hours. It is here a question
of a testimony which would take ten minutes at the most of
the Tribunal's time. Therefore, I do not believe that this
will burden the Tribunal too much.


DR. SIEMERS: Then I should like to add that I can give the
address of the witness Severing, retired Reich Minister. I
received it yesterday by telegraph. Witness Severing is No.
3: and the prosecution is agreeable to his being heard. I
shall submit the address in writing to the General
Secretary. He is in Bielefeld and can be reached without

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. If you give it to the General Secretary,
that is all that is required. And now would probably be a
convenient time to break off for ten minutes.

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