The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/05/10
Q. Do you know, witness, whether there were many Jews in
these guerrilla groups in the South and South east?

A. I do not remember that among the hundreds of reports I
received on the partisan operations there was ever any
mention of Jews. If there were Jews in these groups it can
only have been to a very limited extent.

Q. But it has been asserted here that one of the main
objects of the operations against the guerrillas was to
exterminate the Jews, is that true?

A. I never heard anything about that.

Q. Or the extermination of the Slavs?

A. There again, I never heard so much as a hint of such a
thing. Such an interpretation would have been quite contrary
to the intentions of the military leaders.

Q. Why?

A. The military command had a very definite interest in
seeing a peaceful country and a productive population behind
every front; and every measure which aimed at this was
always welcomed by it. Every soldier we had to use in
guerrilla fighting was urgently needed at the front.

Q. Was the policy in the East carried out as the Wehrmacht
command wished for their purposes?

A. No doubt that was not the case, because the Wehrmacht
would have been very glad to see a different policy in the
East for the very sake of its volunteer units. We ourselves,
with our own methods, tried to cope with the partisan
problem in a manner to pacify the land without bloodshed.
Big propaganda campaigns were

                                                   [Page 37]

undertaken there to induce the partisans to stop fighting.
In certain cases there were special negotiations with
individual groups and, although they were limited to certain
occasions and periods, these were most successful.

Q. Do you know General von Pannewitz?

A. Yes. General von Pannewitz was the Commander of the 1st
Cossack Division.

Q. When, please?

A. It must have been during 1943.

Q. Is it correct that this General, as Commander of the 1st
Cossack Division, the Volunteer Division, once complained to
the OKW about the difficulties he was having in his

A. Yes. General von Pannewitz is a friend of mine from my
old regiment. He came to see me at headquarters, and on that
occasion, in the summer of 1943 or maybe during the autumn,
talked to me in detail about the state of affairs and the
difficulties he was experiencing with the morale of his
unit, particularly because of the Government's policy in the
East. At that time he complained particularly about the fact
that the Government's policy held out no national aims for
his division, and he made other complaints about the
difficulties incurred by the dependants who were trekking
with his division and had to be settled.

Q. Did Jodl take care of the affair?

A. Yes. After the visit I reported the subject of our
conversation to the General and asked him to use his
influence in the interest of our volunteer units.

Q. Influence on whom, do you mean?

A. Influence on the Fuehrer.

Q. But you told me that Jodl was not competent for this?

A. General Jodl -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Jahrreiss, what is the relevancy of this,
about some general who commanded a Cossack Division and that
he had difficulties with morale? What has that got to do
with this case?

DR. JAHRREISS: Mr. President, that was a preparatory
question. I am now coming to the real question. It is the
question of the dividing up of competency and
responsibility. I was just about to ask the witness the
decisive question.

Q. General -

THE PRESIDENT: What relevancy have the preparatory questions
to the decisive question? How can a visit of this general
have anything to do with it? What is the decisive question?

DR. JAHRREISS: Mr. President, if I am to give you the reason
for that, then I will have to tell the witness what I want
him to tell me. Then my question will become a leading one.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that is not an unusual thing in this

DR. JAHRREISS: Yes, but I did not want to make that mistake.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, go on, Dr. Jahrreiss. The Tribunal
hopes that you will not take up too much time over these
preliminary questions which are leading to decisive ones.

DR .JAHRREISS: I am sorry, but I did not understand.

THE PRESIDENT: I said the Tribunal hopes that you will not
take up too much time with these preparatory questions
before the decisive one.

DR. LATERNSER (counsel for the General Staff and the OKW):
Mr. President, I can abbreviate the examination of the
witness a great deal because I am in possession of an
affidavit by this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, why are you at the microphone?

DR. LATERNSER: I thought, my Lord, that Dr. Jahrreiss had
finished with his interrogation, that he had no more
questions to put to the witness.

                                                   [Page 38]

DR. JAHRREISS: Mr. President, there is a misunderstanding.
The witness has, in fact, already answered my question.

THE PRESIDENT: He has answered it, has he?

DR. JAHRREISS: Yes, he has answered it. I merely wanted to
enlarge on it a little further but -

T H E P R E S I D E N T: Then you have finished, have you,
Dr. Jahrreiss?

DR. JAHRREISS: Yes. I now have no further questions to put
to the witness.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I can abbreviate the
examination to an extraordinary extent because I have an
affidavit from the witness which he made on 20th May, 1946.
If it is my turn, I propose to submit this affidavit to the
Tribunal. But so that I may not be reproached for not having
ascertained the facts when the witness was available in the
courtroom, I will now ask the witness whether the contents
of the affidavit of 20th May, 1946, are correct.


Q. Witness, are the contents of the affidavit which was
given me, dated 20th May, 1946, correct?

A. They are.

Q. Witness, do you know General Hausinger?

A. Yes, I know General Hausinger.

Q. The prosecution, in their case against the General Staff,
submitted Affidavit 20 Exhibit USA 564, and on Page 2,
figure 4, this general makes the following statement; I

  "It has always been my personal view that the treatment
  of the civilian population and the methods of
  anti-partisan warfare in operational areas presented the
  highest political and military leaders with a welcomed
  opportunity of carrying out their plans, namely, the
  systematic extermination of Slavism and Jewry."

I want to ask you now, can you explain how General Hausinger
could have arrived at that view?

A. I worked closely with General Hausinger and very often I
talked to him about questions concerning the guerrilla

Q. Yes.

A. He never said anything to me which might express this
view and I cannot explain this statement of his because it
is entirely contrary to the basic views of the military
leaders as regards the conduct of guerrilla warfare.

Q. Thank you. Why was the general command over the guerrilla
fighting in the East in 1943, as well as in Italy at the end
of 1943 and the beginning of 1944, transferred to Himmler by
the Fuehrer's order?

A. The Fuehrer always held the view that guerrilla warfare
was predominantly a task for the police and that police
forces were more suited to carrying it out than the somewhat
out-of-date security forces of the Army which we could
muster for these tasks. Just how far Himmler wanted to
obtain an increase of power in this connection I do not
know, nor how far he might have suggested it to the Fuehrer.

Q. What was the attitude of the OKW and especially of the
Armed Forces. Operations Staff to this decree of Hitler?

A. It must be emphasized first of all in this connection
that so far as operational areas were concerned, there was
no change. The operational area remained until the end, in
the case of anti-Partisan warfare too, under the orders of
the commanders-in-chief. In the remaining areas the Armed
Forces Command Staff did not altogether disagree with this
arrangement because we hoped that in these zones the
Reichsfuehrer SS would be in a position to use his reserves
and we should then have some forces released for the front.

Q. Do you remember, witness, that the military commander in
the South-west made an urgent request to be excepted from
this measure involving the transfer of his authority as
regards anti-partisan warfare to Himmler?

                                                   [Page 39]

A. These cases were discussed with General Westphal several
times over the telephone and I consider it possible that he
might have made such a suggestion at that time.

Q. You yourself did not discuss it with the
commander-in-chief in the Southwest?

A. With the chief?

Q. With the chief, yes. As you have just said, before the
war you were in the Central Department of the Army General
Staff, and as I know the filling of the higher command
positions was dealt with there too. Now I want to ask you on
what principles they based their selection of commanders of
army groups and armies?

A. These appointments were made according to ability and
length of service and the peace-time appointments formed the
basis of the military organization on mobilization..

Q. Were these appointments of the higher commanders carried
out strictly from a military standpoint?

A. These nominations took place entirely on the strength of
military considerations, and retired officers, some of whom
I am convinced left because of political pressure, were
again placed in responsible positions for the event of a
mobilization. I should like to instance for example General
von Leeb, General von Kressenstein, General von Kleist,
General von Hammerstein.

Q. And these officers you have just mentioned had already
retired before the outbreak of the war but were meant to
take over higher positions of command in the event of a

A. Yes.

Q. Did the Central Department which had to fill these
positions ever learn that the military leaders had formed a
group with the aim of carrying out aggressive wars and of
disregarding international law in these wars of aggression?

A. In the Central Department we knew nothing of the
formation of such a group. Perhaps I may state in this
connection that during the years 1937 to 1939 quite a number
of General Staff officers came to see Lieutenant-Colonel von
Ziehlberger and myself, as personnel administrators of the
General Staff officers, and talked to us. The majority of
these officers were chiefs of regimental general staffs and
they were therefore the confidential and responsible
advisers of the commanders. These officers, just like their
commanders, had fought in the First World War, and the hope
they always expressed to us was that the German nation would
be spared a second war. In spite of their high appreciation
of the Fuehrer's successes, there was a certain anxiety
about his policy and particularly about the rapid rearmament
of the forces, which made careful work difficult.

After the negotiations (Munich) confidence increased a great
deal and it was the general opinion of the officers that the
Fuehrer would continue to be successful in maintaining

Q. What was the attitude of the higher commanders towards
Hitler after the Munich agreement?

A. After the Munich agreement I concluded from my talks with
General Staff officers that there was a general conviction
amongst them that, thanks to his policy, the Fuehrer would
continue to preserve peace. I remember that as late as 25th
or 26th August, I saw the Fuehrer at headquarters, in Zossen
having a conversation with Lieutenant-Colonel von
Ziehlberger and several other officers. At that time these
officers were still of the opinion that a war would not
occur and that to accomplish the Fuehrer's political aims it
was only necessary to keep the troops firmly under control
so that no political catastrophe should be produced by the
laying down of arms.

Q. I think that is enough as far as this question is
concerned. Now, regarding the Ardennes offensive in
December, 1944, at what time were the preparations for that
offensive begun?

A. So far as I can remember -

                                                   [Page 40]

THE PRESIDENT: How can that have any relevance after about
five years of war?

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, in my next question I should
like to ask the witness who of the supreme commanders were
informed of this intended offensive and when. It is
important to ascertain what co-operation there was among the
group. I beg you to allow me to put this question. It is the
last but one. The one I just mentioned is the last.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, go on.


Q. When were the preparations for the Ardennes offensive

A. As far as I can remember, the first preparations were
begun in about September, 1944.

Q. When were the supreme commanders informed of these
intentions and were commanders, who did not take part in the
offensive, informed before it began?

A. To the last question I can answer "No." The first
question I cannot answer as far as the date is concerned,
but I do know that in the area in which it was proposed to
launch the offensive there had already been troop movements
ordered by the supreme command before the commander in the
West who was responsible was informed, and that he therefore
made frequent inquiries at my department asking for an
explanation of these movements.

Q. The supreme commander in the West, who later on had to
direct the offensive, was not previously informed about the
movements and transfer of divisions for the offensive, all
of which took place in his area?

A. Yes. Later on, of course, he was informed.

DR. LATERNSER: Thank you. I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 8th June, 1946, 1000 hours.)

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