The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/12/18

DR. LATERNSER: The testimony of Brigadier-General Pape, in
Affidavit 333, refutes, with regard to the sphere of the
division which Field-Marshal Model commanded at that time,
the Russian charge in Exhibit USSR 62, which is based on the
testimony of the soldier Trest. In this division, at the
time when Field-Marshal Model, who then of course held a
lower rank, commanded it, the order was never carried out.

The testimony of Admiral Schmundt in Affidavit 349 shows
that the order was also opposed in the Navy, where it
actually had only secondary importance. That the troops of
Germany's allies did not treat Russian commissars Contrary
to International Law either, is proved by the testimony of
Lt.-Colonel Fellmer with reference to the 13th Rumanian
Division and the sphere of the Italian Expeditionary Corps.
He did not receive the order for transmittal and he did not
transmit it.

I ask that the Tribunal study with especial care the summary
of the list of affidavits on the Commissar Order, because it
shows that the order was not carried out. I would certainly
have been in a position to present further evidence on this
point if I had had more time at my disposal.

THE PRESIDENT: You have already referred to 75, I think that
perhaps is sufficient. I say you have already referred to 75
affidavits.

DR. LATERNSER: On partisan warfare: The prosecution contends
that, in the East in particular, this warfare was conducted
in violation of International Law. As evidence for these
assertions the prosecution has referred to Affidavit 15 of
General Roettiger, Exhibit USA 559, to Affidavit 20 of
General Haeussinger, Exhibit USA 564, to Affidavit 17,
Exhibit USA 562, and to the testimony of the witness von dem
Bach-Zelewski. I cross-examined the witnesses Haeussinger
and Roettiger before the Commission, and I ask the Tribunal
to take notice of these transcripts. General Roettiger, in
his Affidavit 15, Exhibit USA 559, made an especially grave
charge.

I ask the Tribunal's permission to quote a few passages of
the examination before the Commission concerning this point.
General Roettiger had asserted that there existed orders of
the High Command of the Army saying that the most severe
measures were to be taken; furthermore, he asserted that
only a few prisoners were made, and that the number of
prisoners taken by the enemy

                                                  [Page 335]

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, we have got to consider, not
these individual details, but we have got to consider the
criminal character of the organization charged. First of
all, whether it is an organization within the meaning of the
charter, and, secondly, whether it is a criminal
organization. Here you wanted to draw our attention to
individual details about partisan warfare in your cross-
examination of the witness before the Commission. As I have
pointed out, we have nearly 3,000 affidavits on your behalf
to consider. If you would only give us the numbers of the
affidavits which you say relate to a particular topic, then
we shall know what relates to that topic and we shall be
able to consider it.

DR. LATERNSER: But the prosecution presented these details
and they constitute a very grave charge; I want to prove the
contrary -

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, they did, and I have a reference to
them. They were presented in the US Affidavits 559 to 564,
and I am perfectly well aware that you have cross-examined
the witness. What I want to know is what affidavits you want
to draw, our attention to in reply to the case of the
prosecution on partisan warfare.

DR. LATERNSER: I draw the attention of the Tribunal to Pages
3519 to 3523 of the Commission transcript. The result of the
cross-examination is that the affidavit of General Roettiger
presented by the prosecution was completely refuted. As
counter-evidence I refer to Affidavits 901 to 1043, and with
regard to the suppression of the Warsaw uprising to
Affidavits 1501 to 1507. In detail, Affidavits 901 to 905
contain general statements on partisan warfare and on the
suppression of partisan attacks in all theatres of war.
Especially significant is Affidavit 903, by Field-Marshal
von Weichs. Affidavits 906 to 931 give examples of the
fighting methods of the partisans, while Affidavits 906 to
920 describe particularly dreadful atrocities committed by
partisan bands. Affidavits 921 to 924 prove the partisans'
actions in violation of International Law, with regard to
clothing, weapons, and other details. Affidavits 925 to 931
describe the extent of sabotage of railways.

That in spite of this the Germans fought according to the
rules of International Law is proved by Affidavits 932 to
970. They show that the partisans were treated like
prisoners of war.

Affidavits 972 to 1033 show that there was no talk at the
front about orders or intentions of the supreme command to
use partisan warfare for the purpose of exterminating Jews
or Slavs.

Affidavits 1033 to 1040 and 1050 deal with the charge
against the Commander-in-Chief of the 18th Army, that on
30th October, 1942, he ordered that without discrimination
all partisans were to be shot. In this connection I refer to
the affidavit of General Lindemann himself, who was the
Commander-in-Chief of the 18th Army. This shows that such an
order was never given. He describes the entry in the war
diary of the Wehrmacht Operational Staff, Document 1786-PS,
as incorrect.

Affidavit 1041 of General von Mellenthin is a description of
a large-scale operation against partisans. In spite of an
application of Army Group North to the OKH that the Army
should be entrusted with this operation, the undertaking was
carried out under Himmler's direction by General of Police
von dem Bach-Zelewski. This affidavit serves to refute the
testimony of von dem Bach-Zelewski, in which he describes
himself as nothing more than an agency for the collection of
reports. To prove that this assertion of the witness von dem
Bach-Zelewski is incorrect, I further refer to the testimony
of the witness Haeussinger before the Commission.

Concerning the suppression of the Polish uprising in Warsaw,
Affidavits 1501 to 1507, particularly the statement of
General Guderian, 1501, state:

1. That General of Police von dem Bach-Zelewski was
entrusted with the task of suppressing the uprising.

                                                  [Page 336]

2. That he was appointed to this task by Reichsfuehrer SS
Himmler and was directly subordinate to him.

3. That he received his orders from him, that is, neither
from the OKH nor from Army Group Centre nor from the 9th
Army.

4. That the majority of the troops employed in Warsaw
consisted of SS and police troops, including the SS Brigade
Kaminski.

5. That the particular atrocities against the population in
Warsaw were committed by the SS Brigade Kaminski, which
consisted of Eastern peoples, and that this brigade was
withdrawn from the battlefield to prevent further excesses,
and that its leaders were punished.

6. That the 9th Army took exemplary care of the population
escaping from Warsaw.

I will not quote any more details of this Affidavit 1501.

As further proof that Army agencies had nothing to do with
the battle in Warsaw, I present the testimony of General von
Formann, Affidavit 1504.

Exhibit USSR 128, on Pages 161 and 162 of my Document Book
2, also shows that the Wehrmacht agencies had nothing to do
with the destruction of Warsaw which was apparently intended
in 1944.

I should like to make one reference to partisan warfare in
Italy. The prosecution presented two orders of the commander
there, Field-Marshal Kesselring, and considers them to be
violations of International Law. I refer to the testimony of
Field-Marshal Kesselring before the Commission, Pages 2084
to 2124 of the Commission transcript. In this examination,
the witness emphasized that he had to take these temporary
measures to suppress the uprising and that through taking
them he succeeded in becoming master of the situation. This
testimony of Field-Marshal Kesselring is confirmed by
Affidavit 3004 of General Roettiger.

Treatment of prisoners: The prosecution charges the military
leaders with planning, tolerating or committing crimes
against prisoners of war in all theatres of war. The Russian
prosecution, in particular, enumerates specific atrocities,
which I do not wish to mention in detail. In so far as they
affect the circle of persons whom I represent, I shall
refute these accusations by affidavits.

I refer first to Affidavit 1101 of Field-Marshal von
Kuechler, which deals with the principles of the treatment
of prisoners of war. Lt.-Colonel Schaeder testifies in
Affidavit 1102 that in November, 1941, in Orscha, he
participated in a discussion between the Chief of the
General Staff, General Halder, and the chiefs of the three
army groups on the Eastern Front, at which the feeding of
prisoners was also discussed. The Army Groups Centre and
South, which had just taken many prisoners, asked for
permission to use Army supplies to supplement the food
allowances of the prisoners, and, if necessary, even to
reduce the rations of the German troops for this purpose. In
this connection, I further refer to the Affidavits 1103,
1104, 1104a, 1105a to c, and 1106 to 1109, inclusive. A
particularly important affidavit is Affidavit 3146 of
General Gercke. General Gercke was, from August, 1939, to
the end of the war, chief of transport in the OKH. He states
that the transports of Soviet prisoners of war were treated
exactly like the transports of other prisoners of war. The
prisoners were transported together in closed freight cars,
and orders deviating from this procedure were never issued.
Open flat cars, as contended by the prosecution, were used
only very seldom and only on transports over short
distances, because there was a great scarcity of the closed
type of car. In no case were transports in the winter sent
intentionally in open cars in order to let the prisoners
freeze to death. That is shown by Affidavit 3146.

Now I come to the refutation of individual points of the
Russian charges concerning the treatment of prisoners. In
Part 6, Page 302, it is stated that corpses of Red Army men
were found on the island of Khortitsa on the Dnieper.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, the Tribunal has already said
that it intends only to listen to you for half a day and
unless you shorten or unless you have in

                                                  [Page 337]

mind the shortening of your address it does not look as if
you will be able to do it. If you cannot do it, then we will
have to take your documents as they are without any further
reference. It seems to me that with reference to prisoners
of war, all you have got to do is tell us what are the
numbers of the affidavits which deal with it and say "I
particularly refer to" such and such an order or such and
such an affidavit, and then we shall know that you attach
particular importance to those affidavits, but to deal with
it in detail like this is simply wasting our time. Anyhow,
what I mean is, that at the end of half a day your address
on these topics will cease.

DR. LATERNSER: But, Mr. President, I must have an
opportunity of answering the accusations of the prosecution.

THE PRESIDENT: You are having that opportunity at the
present moment and you have had since twelve o'clock.

DR. LATERNSER: In Part 6, p. 302, it is asserted that on the
island of Khortitsa on the Dnieper, corpses of Red Army men
were found, who had been tortured, whose- hands had been cut
off, whose eyes had been put out, and whose stomachs had
been cut open. This is refuted by the Affidavit 1115 of
Field-Marshal von Kleist, who was Commander-in-Chief of the
troops there. No German troops were used on this island, but
the Hungarian Light Corps was fighting there. That is shown
by Affidavit 1115.

In the northern sector of the Eastern Front, according to
Page 4337 of the transcript, prisoners are said to have been
driven before the attacking German troops who used them as
shields. This is clearly refuted by the testimony of the
former Commander-in-Chief of the 18th Army, General
Lindemann, Affidavit 1116a. This testimony is reinforced on
the same point by the affidavit of Colonel Nolte, 3159.

The Russian Exhibit USSR 151 and the speech of the
prosecution on Pages 4360 to 4365 of the transcript contain
the examination of General von Oesterreich who made
especially serious charges with regard to the treatment of
prisoners. As counter-evidence I present Affidavit 1117
which proves that von Oesterreich's account of the
conference in May, 1941, is quite wrong. In particular the
affidavit refutes the assertion that orders were given to
fire on fleeing prisoners or to poison prisoners incapable
of working.

According to Page 318, Part 6, numerous prisoners in the
prison of Sevastopol are said to have been intentionally
killed by harsh treatment. This assertion is clearly
disproved by the testimony of the Army doctor of the 11th
Army at that time, Generalstabsarzt Grosse, in his Affidavit
1118. According to Page 327, Part 6, three railway trains
full of prisoners of war are said to leave been taken from
Kerch to Sevastopol and the prisoners burned or drowned at
sea there on 4th September, or December, 1943. This
assertion is disproved by the testimony of Generals
Deichmann and Roettiger in Affidavits 3140 and 3007; both
generals were in the Crimea at that time. The Russian
prosecution, on Page 327, Part 6, portrays the conduct of
the Germans in the violent fighting in the quarries near
Kerch as bestial. Gas is said to have been used, and
according to the testimony of a woman who apparently made an
exact count, 900 prisoners were mistreated or shot. The
clear testimony of the commanding general in that area,
General Mattenklott, contradicts this; the reference is
Affidavit 1121.

Exhibit USSR 62, and the prosecution's assertion that on the
orders of Field-Marshal Model and General Nehring no
prisoners were to be taken, are refuted by Affidavits 1222a
to f, that is, by six affidavits on this particular point.
With regard to the alleged mistreatment of prisoners in
Norwegian camps; General von Falkenhorst, in Affidavit 1123,
proves that these prisoners were not under military control
but under the SS.

Affidavits 1150 to 1160 testify that wounded prisoners were
everywhere treated like our own wounded. From the many
theatres of war there is testimony that

                                                  [Page 338]

the enemy himself acknowledged that the treatment was good.
On this point I submit Affidavits 1161 and 1162, the latter
containing an acknowledgement by the American General Storm.
Number 116,5 testifies to a letter of thanks from the nephew
of the King of England, and 1166 to several letters from RAF
officers to the Commandant of the Air Force Prisoner Camp at
Oberursel thanking him for his chivalrous attitude.
Affidavit 1168 shows that in October, 1942, the commander of
the Fourteenth Division, General Heim, in an order for the
German troops at Stalingrad, stated that Russian prisoners
were to be provided with food and that for this purpose food
supplies for the German troops were to be further reduced,
although they were already very small. Further examples of
the chivalrous treatment of captured enemy soldiers are
given in Affidavit 1170, and in that of General Student,
1171. When infantile paralysis broke out among English
prisoners in Crete, General Student sent a transport plane
to Berlin for the necessary serum, in spite of the difficult
position of the German troops, who were dependent on
supplies from the air. Oberstabsarzt Dr. Schaefer, in
Affidavit 1172, says that the Mountain Rescue Service in the
Alps saved approximately 350 enemy airmen from death.

Affidavit 1174 testifies to outstanding personal chivalry,
and I would like to refer to it.

THE PRESIDENT: Surely, Dr. Laternser, you can give us the
reference to y. the numbers of the affidavits which state
that prisoners were treated properly. Why waste time about
it by telling us what each affidavit says. You only have to
tell us that these affidavits refer to good treatment by
individuals.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr: President, if I only give numbers and do
not refer at least partially to the contents, none of this
material will have any weight because these affidavits have
not been translated. Of all the affidavits, only
approximately 40 have been translated. If I cannot go into
at least some of the contents, then the Tribunal will not be
able to take these affidavits into consideration at all.

THE PRESIDENT: We have got the summary before us in writing.
What you are practically doing in every case is to repeat
the summary which we have already before us in writing; for
instance, 1174 (Decent Treatment of English Prisoners).
There is another one from some of the British officers
showing who the British officer is and saying what he said
about the treatment. Well, I have made it quite clear to
you, I hope, that you will not be allowed to go on beyond a
half day; and now the Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)


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