The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/11/14

DR. PELCKMANN: May I put a formal question with regard to
the proceedings? The witness is still in the courtroom. Are
these documents to be submitted to him?

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has some questions to put to the

DR. PELCKMANN: If these documents are not put to the
witness, then I should like to object to their being used,
for the reason given before, that the submission of evidence
by the prosecution is closed.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has already ruled that new
documents may be put in in this way.

DR. LATERNSER (counsel for the General Staff and the OKW):
Mr. President, may I be permitted to put one question to
this witness to clarify a name which he used?

Witness, you mentioned the Institute of Scientific Research
for Military Purposes. Is that the complete name of the
institute? Will you give the complete name?

                                                   [Page 19]

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat your answer?

THE WITNESS: Institute of Scientific Research of Military
Purposes of the Waffen SS and Police.

DR. LATERNSER: Thank you.



Q. Witness, you said that the Luftwaffe contacted Himmler
for getting inmates from the concentration camps. Who in the
Luftwaffe made that contact?

A. I did not say that the Luftwaffe attacked concentration
camps on Himmler's orders.

Q. Wait, witness, wait, listen to the question. I did not
suggest that you said that. I said that you said that
someone in the Luftwaffe had made a contact with Himmler in
order to get inmates from the concentration camps. Did you
say that?

A. No, I did not say that either. But Dr. Grawitz, the Reich
Medical Officer of the SS, informed me that the Luftwaffe -
I do not know which department of it - had applied for the
sea-water experiments to be carried out and had asked that
detainees be made available for that purpose.

Q. You mentioned the name of General Milch in your
testimony. What connection, if any, did General Milch have
with any of these experiments?

A. Only with the high altitude and the sub-cooling
experiments which were started in 1941 and carried out by
medical officers of the Luftwaffe, that is, by Professor
Holzloehner, by Captain of the Medical Corps Dr. Rascher, by
Captain of the Medical Corps Dr. Zinke, and by a third
gentleman of the Aeronautical Research Institute at
Adlershof, whose name I have forgotten -

Q. And what connection did General Milch have with these
experiments? Did he make the arrangements for them?

A. No, as far as I know, the technical arrangements were
made by the Medical Inspectorate of the Luftwaffe.

Q. What connection did General Milch have with this matter?

A. That is apparent from the exchange of letters between
General Field-Marshal Milch and Obergruppenfuehrer Wolff
which were shown to me here in previous interrogations.

Q. You, then, have no other knowledge about General Milch
except from the correspondence that has been submitted.

A. No, I do not know more than that.

Q. In how many camps besides Dachau were there experimental
stations or stations for biological research?

A. That I cannot say, because I only know of the experiments
of Rascher and Hirt, of no others, that is, of such
experiments being conducted in the sphere of the Reich
Medical Officer SS. Of these nothing could be learned,
because they, too -

Q. You do not know?

A. No.

Q. One last question. You said that after Dr. Rascher's
arrest there were no more illegal experiments that were
connected with the Institute. Do you know of any others that
were not connected with the Institute?

A. That is connected with the previous question. One did
hear, for instance, of the work of Professor Schilling; but
I never became acquainted with it in detail.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

LT.-COMMANDER HARRIS: May it please the Tribunal, during the
examination of the witness, Dr. -

                                                   [Page 20]

THE PRESIDENT: You are not wanting me to keep the witness,
are you?

LT.-COMMANDER HARRIS: No, Sir. During the examination of the
witness, Dr. Best, the Tribunal kindly agreed to permit the
prosecution to introduce another document, which at that
time was not available, and with the permission of the
Tribunal I should now like to offer it. The document is 4051-
PS and becomes Exhibit USA 924. This document has been shown
to the witness Best in the presence of the counsel for the
Gestapo, Dr. Merkel, and the witness Best has identified it.
The document shows not only that the witness Best had
knowledge of the programme of counter-terror carried on in
Denmark, but that he, himself, decreed acts of counter-
terrorism to be committed, and that on one occasion he
ordered the execution of a student.

During the examination of Dr. Best, the Tribunal will recall
a series of documents, Exhibits USA 911 to 915 inclusive,
which were offered to show that the Gestapo murdered a
French general. At that time we had only the photostatic
copies of these documents, and I told the Tribunal that we
would try to obtain the originals. We now have the originals
in our possession, and they are being substituted for the
photostatic copies.

I also asked the witness Best at that time if he knew that
at about the time that this alleged murder was supposed to
have taken place, a French general, General Mesny, was
killed, and he said he did not know that. The French
prosecution has given us the documentary proof that General
Mesny was killed at that time under circumstances which
prove conclusively that this murder was accomplished in
conformity with the plans which have heretofore been shown
and to that end I now offer as document next in order 4069-
PS, which becomes Exhibit USA 925. This document is
certified by the Delegation of the Ministry of Justice of

I would ask the Tribunal to turn to Page 2, which is a
letter from the International Red Cross Committee, Geneva,
dated 5th April, 1945, to Madame Mesny. I wish to emphasize
the fact that this document is dated long before the present
time and was written at a time when the other documents
which the Tribunal has the benefit of were, of course,
entirely unknown.

This letter states that Monsieur Denzler, Attache at the
Swiss Legation in Berlin, had furnished certain information
concerning General Mesny, and I should just like
respectfully to invite your attention to the second
paragraph of his report, where he states that the Generals
Flavigny, de Boisse, and Buisson had been transferred from
Oflag IVB in Koenigstein to Oflag IVC in Colditz. The
paragraph runs as follows: "The Generals Mesny and Vauthier
have also left Koenigstein in a private car for Colditz.
According to a communication from Commandant Prawill,
General Mesny was shot near Dresden while trying to escape."
That was the report which the International Red Cross sent
to Madame Mesny.

But I particularly desire to invite the attention of the
Tribunal to the second document, which is dated 29th April,
1945, and which was written by Generate; Buisson to the
Minister of War concerning the case of General Mesny.
General Buisson states in this letter as follows:

"On 18th January, 1945 - " and parenthetically I refresh the
recollection of the Tribunal that the last document which we
offered was dated 12th January, 1945 showing that at that
time all plans for this murder had been completed. To
continue with the document - "the following six officers,
all generals, from the camp of Koenigstein, Oflag IVB, were
picked out and told to leave the camp on 19th January in the
morning, for an unknown destination. First car, Generals
Daine and de Boisse."

Now, parenthetically again, if the Tribunal will recall,
General de Boisse was the general whom it was first intended
to murder, as shown by the document, and if you remember it
was decided that General de Boisse would not be killed

                                                   [Page 21]

because his name had been discussed too often over the
telephone, and therefore another general was to be
substituted for him. So you see General de Boisse was in the
first car.

  "Second car, Generals Flavigny and Buisson. Third car,
  Generals Mesny and Vauthier. On 19th January, if the
  first car left at the appointed time, the other two did
  not, as both their order of departure and the times were
  changed. Second car, 7 a.m., General Mesny alone, for,
  according to information given to General Buisson through
  the German interpreter Rosenberg, an order had arrived
  from the German High Command during the night, cancelling
  General Vauthier's departure. Third car, Generals
  Flavigny and Buisson. The orders for the journey were
  draconian, destination unknown; it was strictly forbidden
  to make any stop on the way; the door handles were taken
  off the cars; there was a German officer in each car with
  an automatic pistol on his knees and his finger on the
  Upon our arrival in Colditz, the reprisal camp, towards
  noon on 19th January, we noticed the absence of General
  Mesny, who had not arrived; we thought he had been sent
  to another camp, although his luggage was in the truck
  with that of the four other generals. On 20th January, in
  the morning, Commandant Prawitt, head of Oflag IVC, came
  into the rooms of the French generals and made the
  following announcement: 'I inform you officially that
  General Mesny was shot yesterday in Dresden while trying
  to escape. He was buried in Dresden with military honours
  by a detachment of the Wehrmacht.' "

And then, if it please the Tribunal, General Buisson goes on
with this comment, and it should be remembered that when he
wrote this letter he, of course, had no knowledge of the
plot as we know it today. He said, "Two facts remain obscure
in the sombre tragedy: (1) The transport of General Mesny
alone, the choice of General Vauthier; then the cancelling
of the order seemed very suspicious to us, given the
attitude of the General, who was a volunteer for work in
Germany, and whose transfer to a reprisal camp seemed
inexplicable. (2) General Mesny, whose eldest son is in a
camp for political deportees in Germany, said to me several
times during the course of our conversations, 'If up to 1944
I always tried to prepare my escape, I gave up trying
altogether afterwards, even if I had every chance of
succeeding. First of all, the end of the war is only a
question of weeks; moreover, and especially, I should be
much too afraid that my flight would cost my eldest son his
life.' An hour before his departure from Koenigstein, on
19th January, General Mesny repeated those words to me

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I wonder if your Lordship
will allow me to mention a point before Dr. Laternser
commences. My Lord, as a result of the general evidence
given before the Commission and the announcement that a
number of summarising affidavits will be tendered by certain
organizations, the prosecution have secured eleven
affidavits of general scope made by State Ministers, local
counsellors and officials, and a publisher of a newspaper,
dealing with the same matter as the summarised affidavits
which the defence are about to submit. They could, of
course, be put in cross-examination to the witnesses for the
SA who would be called, but I suggest for the consideration
of the Tribunal that at this stage of the trial it would
probably, be more convenient if they were simply offered
after the counsel for the organization have dealt with their

If that course commended itself to the Tribunal I should
give German copies to the counsel for the defence at once so
that they have an opportunity of considering them Otherwise,
of course, I should reserve them to be put in cross-
examination and preserve the element of surprise.

                                                   [Page 22]

My Lord, I am in the hands of the Tribunal, but it seemed to
me that that was the more convenient course than occupying
more time in cross-examination at this stage when so many
facts are known.

DR. LATERNSER (counsel for the General Staff and the OKW):
Mr. President, I did not understand the translation of Sir
David's suggestion; may I have it repeated so that possibly
the defence counsel can explain their views in regard to it?

THE PRESIDENT: Will you put it again?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I have eleven affidavits
which were taken from various gentlemen, including ex-State
Ministers of the Social Democratic Party and other non-Nazi
parties, local officials, and one publisher of a newspaper.
They are designed to deal generally with the matters which
have been given before the Commission and which are going to
be dealt with, as I understand, in the summarised
affidavits, the affidavits summarising the large quantity of

I suggested for the consideration of the Tribunal that,
instead of taking up time in putting the contents of these
affidavits to the witnesses for the SA, witness Juttner and
others who would probably deal with most of the points, I
should offer them after the defence counsel have offered
their documents, and in order that the defence counsel
should not be prejudiced in any way, I suggest that, if that
course were adopted, I should give them copies of these
affidavits in German at once so that they would have an
opportunity of seeing the contents.

The object is to keep the documents together and also, I
hope, to save time at this stage of the trial in cross-

I hope, my Lord, that is clear.

THE PRESIDENT: That seems to the Tribunal to be a convenient
course and to give the German defence counsel a longer
period in which to study the affidavits.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Then I will do so, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: Herr Dr. Laternser.

DR. LATERNSER: With the permission of the Tribunal, I shall
call, as my first witness, Field-Marshal von Brauchitsch.

GENERAL TAYLOR: My Lord, might I make a brief observation
before the witness comes in?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Marshal, keep the witness out for a

GENERAL TAYLOR: My Lord, I wanted to make a very brief
observation concerning the scope of the testimony of the
witness von Brauchitsch.

The other two witnesses that Dr. Laternser is calling -
Field-Marshals von Mannstein and Rundstedt - were called in
the first instance by Dr. Laternser and have testified
before the Commissioner on practically every question
relating to the General Staff and High Command. That will
appear from the summaries of their evidence which, I think,
are in the hands of the Court.

The case of the witness von Brauchitsch is somewhat
different. The witness von Brauchitsch signed two affidavits
which the prosecution offered and which are in the record
before the Tribunal as Exhibits USA 532 and 535. Those
affidavits relate exclusively to the question of the
composition and organization of the General Staff and High
Command group.

Before the Commissioner, the witness von Brauchitsch, was
cross-examined by Dr. Laternser only within the scope of
those affidavits. No other matters were touched upon before
the Commissioner. I now understand that Dr. Laternser
proposes to examine the witness von Brauchitsch before the
Tribunal on a great variety of, or on at least several
matters other than those covered in the affidavits.

The prosecution merely wishes to point out that to the
extent that the witness von Brauchitsch covers matters other
than those in the affidavits, he becomes

                                                   [Page 23]

a witness for the defence and the prosecution may possibly,
though not necessarily, have to cross-examine him on those
distinct matters.

We also wish to respectfully suggest that, unless the
witness von Brauchitsch is going to talk about matters other
than those that Mannstein and Rundstedt have covered at
length, it would be entirely fair and expeditious to confine
the testimony of von Brauchitsch to the matters of the
affidavits, unless, as I say, it is proposed that von
Brauchitsch discuss matters which Rundstedt and Mannstein
are not going to cover.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, the Tribunal wishes you to go
on and examine Field-Marshal von Brauchitsch. They hope that
in so far as his evidence covers the same ground as the
other two witnesses that you are proposing to call you will
be as short as possible.

DR. LATERNSER: I now call Field-Marshal von Brauchitsch as
my first witness.

WALTER VON BRAUCHITSCH took the stand and testified as

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