The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. "The propagandistic - "

A. "The propagandistic" - shall I read it?

  "The propagandistic, political and military announcements
  given out at the beginning of the war by the Foreign
  Office and the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, which
  were to justify the breaking of the Pact because of
  breaches by the Soviet Union, found very little credence
  among the people or the armed forces, because they showed
  too clearly that they were propaganda for a certain
  purpose and were repulsive."

I know that at that time Hitler himself drafted these
documents, together with Goebbels.

Q. I have another question for you in connection with this
one. Am I to understand that your divergence of opinion with
Hitler over foreign policy, and in particular in regard to
aggressive wars, was less strongly defined than your
difference of opinion about the question of the marriage of
a certain naval officer? Do you understand me?

A. No, they were two quite different things. Those were
military questions where the political decisions remained
with the Fuehrer. I was very insistent about the moral
issues, also, where they concerned the Pact, but I did not
send him any written ultimatum because in this matter it
would have been unsoldierly. I did not have the final
decision, he had it; whereas in the case of Albrecht, it was
up to me to decide - to say yes or no.

Q. You are saying now that this is a question of morals.
Does it not seem to you that an unprovoked attack on a
country with which Germany had a non-aggression treaty, do
you not think that such a question is always connected with
the question of morals?

A. Of course; that is what I said myself, that in this case,
too, I laid special stress on the moral issue. But in spite
of that, as senior officer of the Navy, I was not in a
position to hold out the threat of resignation at that
moment. I was too much of a fighting man to be able to do
that, to be able to leave the Navy at a moment like that.

Q. In answer to questions put to you by your defence counsel
here in this Courtroom you testified that your speech, which
was delivered by you on 12th Match, 1939 - that is Page 169
of the Russian text - in the Ruder Document Book, my Lord -
the speech where you praised Hitler and Hitler's policies -
you mentioned that this speech was not in accord with your
true opinion. Is it so or is it not?

A. No, that is not correct. I said that we had had the
experience that the Communists and Jews, from 1917 to 1920,
had strongly undermined our power

                                                  [Page 232]

of resistance, and that, for this reason it was
understandable that a National Socialist government should
take certain measures against both of them in order to stem
their influence, which was excessive. That was the sense of
my statements and I made absolutely no mention of any
further steps which might come into question.

Q. In short, you are saying that when you delivered that
speech on the 12th March, 1939, that this speech was fully
in accord with your ideas and your views. Is that correct?

A. Yes, it was, or I would not have made it. It was in
accord in so far as I had to recognize that the National
Socialist government had in some way to stem that influence
which was generally recognized to be excessive, and as I
said yesterday, the National Socialist government had issued
the Nuremberg Laws, which I did not entirely approve of
where they went to extremes. But even if the government was
so disposed, it was not possible for me in an official
public speech, which I gave on the orders of that
government, to express my personal views if they were

THE PRESIDENT: Will you be able to finish in a very few
moments? It is now five minutes past five.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I think, my Lord, that only about ten
minutes will be sufficient for me. I have only about three
or four more questions left.


Q. In order to save time I am not going to argue with you in
regard to the motives which made you deliver the speech. It
was important for me that you should confirm what you said,
and that is, that this speech was in accord with your views
and ideas. Now I will pass on to the next question.

On 20th September, 1941, your Chief of Staff, Admiral Fricke
- do I pronounce his name correctly? Is it Fricke or

A. Fricke, yes, Chief of the Staff of the Naval War Command.

Q. Admiral Fricke published a directive in regard to the
future fate of Leningrad. Do you know what document I mean,
or must this document be shown to you?

A. No. I know that document very well.

Q. This directive was published with your consent?

A. I did not give a specific order for it because that was
not necessary. May I just explain briefly how it was. I had

Q. Yes, and I would like you to be brief.

A. Quite briefly, yes. I had requested Hitler, when I heard
that he intended in the course of the war to attack
Leningrad, that he should spare the port and dock
installations because they would be useful for us later, as
we had to keep moving our bases back to the east on account
of the British air attacks in the Baltic. Shortly before the
date which you have mentioned Admiral Fricke had been at the
Fuehrer's Headquarters - I do not know for what reason - and
had there spoken with the Fuehrer in my absence, and the
Fuehrer had explained to him that plan to attack Leningrad,
especially with planes, and he used those very exaggerated
words which were then written down in the document. The Navy
had absolutely nothing to do with the shelling of Leningrad.
We received no orders for that. We were only interested in
that one thing which I mentioned before, that the shipyards
and port installations should be spared. The Fuehrer had
informed Fricke that unfortunately he was not in a position
to do that because the attack, especially if made with
aircraft, could not be directed quite so precisely. All we
could do was to inform General Admiral Karls that Leningrad,
in case it should be taken, could not be used as a base, and
General Admiral Karls had to stop the preparations which he
had already begun by allocating German workers and probably
also machinery which was intended to be used in Leningrad
later on. Karls had to know of that, as the document says;
and the Quarter-

                                                  [Page 233]

master Department of the Navy had to know about it, and that
was why Admiral Fricke passed on that letter. Unfortunately
he in eluded in it the expressions used by Hitler, which had
nothing to do with the whole affair as far as we were
concerned, because we had nothing to do with the shelling.
By so doing he did not assume in any way the responsibility,
in the sense that he approved it. He only believed that he
had to pass on Hitler's wording of the order.

The Navy had nothing to do with the matter. It was not
necessary to pass it on, and unfortunately and very clumsily
that expression used by Hitler was entered in that letter.
However, nothing happened and it was not passed on from
Admiral Karls to our Finland  Commander. That is the whole

Q. It seems to me the question is becoming more complicated.
I asked you a simple question. Your Chief of Staff, Chief of
Operations, published a directive. Did you know about the

A. No. That is not a directive, and that can be seen also
from the photocopy, because the letter had not been
submitted to me for passing on, and that shows that it was
not considered to be very important. It was not a directive
to undertake any operation or anything important. It was
just a request to stop anything that might have been done
with regard to bases; so that really nothing happened. Thus,
when that letter was passed on by Admiral Fricke, nothing
happened. It was quite superfluous.

Q. You are talking here about the destruction of one of the
biggest cities of the Soviet Union. You are talking in this
document about razing the city to the ground, and you
maintain now that it is a more or less trifling question,
that this question was not important enough to be reported
to you, as Fricke's Chief? Do you want us to believe that?

A. Of course. It is not a question of the shelling of
Leningrad, with which we had nothing to do. It was the minor
question which concerned us, the question as to whether we
would later be able to establish a naval base there and
whether we could bring workers and machines and such things
to Leningrad. That was a minor issue. The shelling of
Leningrad was a major issue.

Q. I think that the Tribunal will be able to understand you
correctly and to draw the necessary conclusions both from
this document and from your testimony.

Now, I have one last question for you. On 28th August, 1945,
in Moscow, did you not write an affidavit as to the reasons
for Germany's defeat?

A. Yes, I took special pains with that after the collapse.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: My Lord, we submit this document to the
Tribunal in the form of excerpts; it will be Exhibit USSR
460. In order to save time I would like you to hear several
excerpts from this affidavit.

Q. You will be shown where they can be found on the original
and you can say whether it was correctly read into the
record and whether you acknowledge and confirm it.

  "My Attitude Towards Adolf Hitler and the Party. The
  disastrous influence on the fate of the German State."

Have you found the place?

A. Yes, I have it.

DR. SIEMERS: Would you be kind enough to give me a copy so
that I can follow?


  "Unimaginable vanity and immeasurable ambition were his
  main peculiarities; running after popularity and showing
  off, untruthfulness, impracticability, and selfishness,
  which were not restrained for the sake of State or
  People. He was outstanding in his greed, wastefulness,
  and effeminate, unsoldierly manner."

                                                  [Page 234]

Then, a little farther on:

  "It is my conviction that Hitler very soon realised his
  character, but made use of him if it suited his purpose,
  and burdened him with every new task in order to avoid
  his becoming dangerous to himself."

On Page 24 of your document you give another characteristic:

  "The Fuehrer attached importance to the fact that from
  the outside his relations to me seemed normal and good.
  He knew I was well thought of in all the really important
  circles of the German people, and that in general
  everybody had great faith in me. This cannot be said of
  Goering, von Ribbentrop, Dr. Goebbels, Himmler or Dr.

Now I will ask you to find Page 27.

A. But there is something missing. "In the same way, as for
instance, von Neurath, Count Schwerin von Krosigk, Schacht,
Dorpmueller and others, who were on the other side."

Q. Evidently it was not correctly translated to you. I will
read this passage into the record. Now, on Page 27, this
place is underlined in red pencil:

  "Donitz's strong political inclination - "

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): I think the Tribunal could read
this themselves if the defendant says that it is true that
he wrote it. Probably Dr. Siemers could check it over and
see that there are no inaccuracies.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: Very well, my Lord. Then I shall have the
opportunity to put a very brief question.


Q. I will ask you to take a look at a place on Page 29,
which is marked with pencil, where the paragraph deals with
Field Marshal Keitel and General Jodl.

Will you confirm that?

A. What am I supposed to do? Yes - well -

Q. I am asking you with regard to everything that I read
into the record and that you saw just now in this paragraph.
I would like to have an answer from you. Do you confirm all

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, I quite agree with the
suggestion by the Tribunal. However, I should like to ask
that the entire document be submitted. I have only short
excerpts before me, and I would be grateful if I could see
the entire document. I assume that Colonel Pokrovsky agrees
to that.

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly, Dr. Siemers, one part of the
document having been put in evidence, you can refer to the
remainder of the document. You can put the remainder of the
document in, if you want to.

THE WITNESS: I said that at the time I tried to understand
the cause of our collapse.


Q. First, I ask you to give the answer, yes or no.

A. Yes. On the whole, I agree entirely with this statement.
But I should like to add that I wrote those things under
entirely different conditions. I do not wish to go into
details, and I never expected that that would ever become
public. These were notes for myself and for helping me to
form my judgement later on. I also want to ask especially
that what I said about Colonel-General Jodl should also be
read into the record, or where it belongs, that is, right
after the statement about Field-Marshal Keitel. With regard
to Field Marshal Keitel, I should like to emphasize that I
intended to convey that it was his manner towards the
Fuehrer which made it possible for him to get along with him
for a long time, because if anybody else had been in that
position, who had a quarrel with the Fuehrer every day or
every other day, then the work of the whole of the armed
forces would have been impossible.

That is the reason and the explanation of what I wanted to
express by that statement.

                                                  [Page 235]

COLONEL POKROVSKY: The Soviet prosecution has no further
questions to ask the defendant.

THE PRESIDENT: Defendant, have you got the whole document
before you? Was that the original document you had before


THE PRESIDENT: In your writing?

THE WITNESS: No, it is typewritten. But it is signed by me.

THE PRESIDENT: Then the document can be handed to Dr.

Dr. Siemers, do you want to re-examine beyond putting in
that document? Have you any questions you want to ask in
addition to putting in that  document?

DR. SIEMERS: Yes, on account of the cross-examination made
by Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, I should like to re-examine, and
I should like to ask for permission to do that after I have
read this document, so that I can also cover the document
tomorrow in this connection.

MR. DODD: Mr. President, the thought occurs to me with
respect to this document - do I understand that the Tribunal
will order copies to be distributed to all defence counsel?
There are matters with respect to the defendants on which
counsel might want to examine. They might be taken by

THE PRESIDENT: I thought it was fair that Dr. Siemers should
see the document.

MR. DODD: Yes. I have no objection to that. But my point is,
that in the document there is reference to defendants other
than the defendant represented by Dr. Siemers. And at a
later date, if this document is not made known to the others
by the reading of it or by the turning over to them in
translated form, they may claim surprise, and lack of
opportunity to examine on it.

THE PRESIDENT: I think some photostatic copies of the
document should be made so that all the defendants referred
to therein may be acquainted with the terms of the document.

MR. DODD: I just thought I would make that suggestion.


(The Tribunal adjourned until 21st May, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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