The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/8

                                                  [Page 150]

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, I have purposely deferred one
single question and not yet dealt with it - that is,
Goering's efforts to maintain peace in the months of July
and August, 1939, before the outbreak of the war. I have
deferred the question for the following reasons. Originally,
I had intended to call Goering to the witness stand only
after the interrogation of the witness Dahlerus. Only
because Dahlerus had not yet arrived, and because I wanted
to avoid an interruption of the proceedings, did I then call
Goering first.

I now ask for a decision as to whether I may call Goering
back to the witness stand after the examination of the
witness Dahlerus, who in the meantime has arrived. I
consider it expedient in the interest of saving time -
because in my opinion quite a number of questions would
thereby become unnecessary - or whether I may question him
again on this point after the cross-examination. If that is
not possible, I shall deal with this matter immediately. It
seems to me advisable, however, to put this question after
the examination of Dahlerus.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Your Honour, perhaps I can help on
this point. If the Tribunal could consider this application
without its establishing a precedent for other cases, I
should have no objection, because in the case of Dahlerus we
are to understand that someone will have to go into the
matter in detail as to the events that happened within the
last fortnight. It might well mean a saving of time if that
detail were gone into only once and it would be rather
difficult for Dr. Stahmer to examine the witness Dahlerus
without going into the details. While I feel strongly with
the Tribunal that a defendant should not be recalled except
in the most exceptional circumstances, I think in this case
it might conceivably bring about a shortening of time.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean that if the witness Dahlerus were
called, it might obviate the necessity of calling the
defendant Goering in reference to those events?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: It might obviate that necessity, and
it would in any case mean, I should think, that the
defendant Goering would have to answer only a very few
questions; but if it were opened up now, it would be
difficult to avoid both witnesses covering the same ground.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal is only concerned with the
saving of time, and as the Tribunal is informed by the
defendant's counsel, Dr. Stahmer, that it may save time, the
Tribunal is prepared to adopt that course, and to allow the
witness Dahlerus to be called before these questions are put
to the defendant Goering; but it must not be taken as a
precedent for the recalling of any other witnesses.

DR. STAHMER: Thank you, Sirs. Then I have no further
questions to ask the defendant at this time.

DR. OTTO NELTE (counsel for the defendant Keitel):

Q. The prosecution, in their presentation, have frequently
mentioned the defendant Keitel in connection with orders,
directives and so forth. They were always quoted as Keitel-
orders, Keitel-decrees, and upon this the prosecution have
based, among other things, their indictment of the defendant
Keitel. I am anxious to clear up, through questioning you,
what was the

                                                  [Page 151]

position of Field-Marshal Keitel, what powers and what
responsibility he had as Chief of the O.K.W., or in other
official functions. Are you familiar with the decree of 4th
February, 1938, by which the High Command of the Armed
Forces, the O.K.W., was created and Field-Marshal Keitel
appointed Chief of the O.K.W.

A. Of course I am familiar with that decree because I
assisted in the making of the decree, in that the Fuehrer
discussed with me the entire reshuffling of 8th February,
and the resulting consequences and organisational changes of
his entire staff.

Q. Can you remember the diagram which was submitted by the
prosecution concerning the organisation of the German Armed

A. Yes, I remember that it was here on the board.

Q. I shall have it shown to you.

Do you think the O.K.W. is placed correctly on this diagram?

A. No, it is not correct. It says on top, "Commander-in-
Chief of the Armed Forces," then there is a line, and below
it says "Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces."
From there, indicating a subordination, lines lead directly
to the Commanders-in-Chief of the Army, the Navy and the Air
Force. That is wrong.

The High Command of the Armed Forces, and also the Chief of
the High Command of the Armed Forces, should not be so
placed, but set separately to one side, that is to say, the
three Commanders-in-Chief of the three branches of the Armed
Forces were immediately subordinate to the Fuehrer, as the
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and in no
subordination whatsoever to the Supreme Command of the Armed
Forces or to the Chief of the High Command of the Armed

The Fuehrer at that time, in February, reorganised his
entire staff. For he had, in this capacity as Head of State
(Staatsoberhaupt), the State Chancellery, and on that day he
made Meissner, who was then State Secretary, State Minister,
and established the State Chancellery as his personal
office. Thus he, in collaboration with the Protocol
Department of the Foreign Office, was in charge of all
affairs that are purely matters for the Chief of State. He
ruled that, in his capacity as Reich Chancellor and Chief of
the Government, the organisation should be the Reich
Chancellery; the State Secretary of the Reich Chancellery
became on the same day Reich Minister and Chief of the Reich
Chancellery. It was the function of this office to maintain
liaison with the Ministries and the entire machinery of the
Government of the Reich. The function of this Minister, as
an organ of the Fuehrer, was not the issuing, but the
execution, of the Fuehrer's orders and decrees.

Then, the Fuehrer, as leader of the Party, bad the Party
Chancery of which the Deputy of the Fuehrer (Stellvertreter
des Fuehrers), Rudolf Hess, was in charge at that time and
occupied a high position within that organisation. After he
left, Bormann did not become Deputy of the Fuehrer
(Stellvertreter des Fuehrers), but Chief of the Party
Chancery (Chef der Parteikanzlei).

Next, there was the Private Chancery of the Fuehrer
(Privatkanzlei des Fuehrers), with a Reichsleiter as
chief.Militarily, as his military cabinet or military staff
- or, as it used to be known in former years, the "Maison
Militaire" - the High Command of the Armed Forces
(Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, O.K.W.) was formed.

This reorganisation was necessary, because after the
retirement of Blomberg as Minister of War, no new Minister
of War had been appointed, and the Fuehrer, since as Head of
State he was at any rate Commander-in-Chief of the Armed
Forces, was now determined, not only formally to be this
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, but to execute that
function in fact. In consequence, he needed a staff
organisation. This was to be the High Command of

                                                  [Page 152]

the Armed Forces, and Keitel became Chief of the High
Command of the Armed Forces (the O.K.W.).In Germany the word
"chief" in the military sense has a different meaning from
Commander-in-Chief. The responsibility and right to give
orders rest with the Commander or the Commander-in-Chief.
The assistant in staff administration, in the working out,
administering and transmitting of orders, and in maintaining
liaison, is the current chief of the respective staff. Thus,
the former Colonel-General Keitel or General Keitel was
Chief of Staff of the Military Staff of the Commander-in-
Chief, called the High Command of the Armed Forces (O.K.W.).
On the one hand, he had charge of the entire machinery of
the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief, as far as military
organisational and technical matters and military direction,
that is to say, strategy, were concerned, in so far as the
Fuehrer wanted to have his strategic orders worked out from
a central point. Therefore there has been established in the
High Command a purely strategic department, the Armed Forces
Operations Staff (Wehrmachtsfuehrungsstab).Q. If I
understand you correctly, O.K.W. is translated as High
Command of the Armed Forces, but this apparently has been
used in different ways; first as the Staff of the High
Command of the Armed Forces, as, for example, when Keitel
was called the Chief of the O.K.W., and then as the O.K.W.
Office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, that
is to say, Hitler. Is that right?A. That is correct as such,
but not very clear. The High Command of the Armed Forces is
the Staff of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces in the
same way that I, as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force
(Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe) had my General Staff
(Generalstab der Luftwaffe), on the one hand, and my chief
adjutant's office, on the other - these formed the staff
with which I worked - so the High Command constituted for
the Fuehrer, as Supreme Commander, a similar organisation.
The Chief of my General Staff likewise could give no direct
orders to the commanders of the Air Force, Commanding
Generals of the air corps or divisions. The orders could
only be issued "By command of the Commander-in-Chief,"
signed "I.A.," that is to say, "Im. Auftrag" (by command).

The chief of a staff, therefore, even the Chief of the High
Command of the Armed Forces, had no command function except
to the members of his immediate office and the few
administrative organisations connected with that staff. An
order, command, or directive from the High Command of the
Armed Forces, for instance, to me as Commander-in-Chief of
the Air Force, was only possible when the instruction began
in the following form: "The Fuehrer has ordered . . ." or
"By command of the Fuehrer, I hereby inform you . . "May I
express myself quite emphatically. At one time I told
Colonel-General Keitel, "I am bound only by orders of the
Fuehrer. Only orders in the original and signed by Adolf
Hitler are presented to me personally. Instructions,
directives or orders which start 'By command of the
Fuehrer,' or 'By order of the Fuehrer,' go to my chief of
staff who gives me an oral report indicating the most
important points. Whether, then - to put it boldly - they
are signed, By command of the Fuehrer: Keitel, Colonel-
General, or Meier, P.F.C., makes no difference to me. But if
they constitute a direct command from you, an order, which
you want to give me, then save yourself time and paper
because both are meaningless to me. I am Commander-in-Chief
of the Air Force, and immediately and exclusively
subordinate to the Fuehrer."

Q. Do you know whether Hitler, on the one hand, and the
Commanders-in-Chief of the branches of the Armed Forces, on
the other, observed these command functions described by you
or whether in other branches of the Armed Forces the actual
procedure was, perhaps, different?

                                                  [Page 153]

A. Whether my two colleagues made it as clear to the Chief
of the High Command as I did, I cannot say; but that the two
other Commanders-in-Chief did not permit any interfering
with their rights and prerogatives is obvious.

Q. Does the same apply to Himmler as Chief of the S.S.?

A. The S.S. was never subordinate to the High Command of the
Armed Forces (O.K.W.). Within the Armed Forces there was,
from the beginning of the war, the Waffen S.S. divided into
divisions and corps. That was purely a combat unit.
Tactically and strategically it was subordinate to those
units of the Army to which it was assigned; in the matter of
personnel and development, it was subordinate to Himmler;
and he had nothing to do with the O.K.W. Here, too, it could
happen that the Chief of the High Command of the Armed
Forces, in questions of development and organisation of the
Waffen S.S., transmitted orders or decrees of the Fuehrer.

On this occasion I should like to correct an error which was
made during Justice Jackson's examination of Field-Marshal
Kesselring. Field-Marshal Kesselring spoke of the Waffen
S.S. as "Garde Truppe." Then he was asked, "Whom did it have
to guard?" In applying the word "Garde" we do not employ it
as it has been translated, as "guard," meaning sentries,
but, as Field-Marshal Kesselring intended, an "Elite Troop";
exactly as in the Russian military language there is a
"Garde Korps," as in the old Imperial Army there was a
"Garde Korps," and also formerly in other armies. The Waffen
S.S. during the first years of the war was not to be
regarded as a guard unit, but as an "elite unit" as far as
personnel, etc., was concerned.

Q. I would like to ask you to tell something about the
official relationship between Adolf Hitler and Field-Marshal
Keitel, that is to say, what official relations had Adolf
Hitler in mind when he established the office of the O.K.W.
That is to say, I should like to know what Keitel was
supposed to be and what, subsequently, his official
functions actually were after 1938?

A. I believe that I have been explaining just that.

Q. I wanted to ask you, for instance, was he Hitler's

A. Adviser is a debatable expression. I can let somebody
advise me as to whether or not he thinks it will rain during
the coming three hours, when I am riding; but I can also get
someone to advise me in very important and decisive
questions. That depends on the temperament and the attitude
of the person who wants to be advised and the one who wishes
to advise.

With the dynamic personality of the Fuehrer, unsolicited
advice was not in order, and one had to be on very good
terms with him. That is to say, one had to have great
influence, as I had - and I ask you to understand me
correctly -as I had beyond doubt for many, many years, in
order to come to him unsolicited, not only with advice, but
also with suggestions or even persistent contradiction. On
the other hand, if one had not this relationship with the
Fuehrer, suggestions and advice were curtly brushed aside
whenever he had made his decisions, or when he neither had
nor would allow the one offering advice to attain that
influence or that influential position. Here I wish to say
that the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces in
important and decisive questions certainly was no adviser.
In current, everyday affairs, he was an adviser in so far as
he may have suggested to the Fuehrer here and there that
this or that should be said to the commanders, or that in
regard to the movement of troops this or that should be
pointed out. After all, advice from the Chief of a General
Staff is still more important than advice from the chief of
an organisation or a State office. It was this way: In the
sphere of important strategic and tactical decisions the
chief responsibility lay with the adviser from the General
Staff, the Commanders-in-Chief, the Chief of Staff, and the
Fuehrer; in matters of pure strategy and tactics, more with
the Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff; in
organisational questions or current developments of the day,
with the Chief of the High Command. Because the Fuehrer

                                                  [Page 154]

as I said before, held several of the highest offices, he
had to limit his signatures. It often took weeks before one
could obtain the necessary signature from the Fuehrer,
especially during the war when he had a tremendous amount of
work, so that the secretaries of the respective State
offices were authorised to sign "by order",("Im Auftrage").
This explains why there was hardly any decree or order that
went out signed "By order of" or "By command of the Fuehrer"
which was not signed by Keitel, who was very industrious.

Q. Was it not a very thankless task that Field-Marshal
Keitel had, I mean, thankless in so far as he frequently was
in the position of having to mediate between the various
offices and the Supreme Commander, namely Hitler; to submit
their grievances to him, and to exert himself on behalf of
the two parties, helping here and restraining there?

A. That again depended very much on the personalities. It
goes without saying that if it came to a clash between the
Fuehrer and myself, or other determined Commanders-in-Chief,
the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces was, if I
may so put it, stepped upon by both sides. He came between
the millstones of the strong personalities; the one
protested that, in speaking to the Fuehrer, he had not
exerted enough pressure; the Fuehrer, when Keitel made
representations, turned a deaf ear and said he himself would
take care of it.

The task was certainly a very thankless one and a hard one;
and I remember that once Field-Marshal Keitel approached me
and asked me whether I could not arrange that he be given a
front-line command, that he would be satisfied, though a
Field-Marshal, with one division if he could only get away,
because he was getting more kicks than ha'pence. Whether the
task was thankless or appreciated was all the same, I
answered him; he had to do his duty where the Fuehrer
ordered it.

because he was getting more kicks than ha'pence. Whether the
task was thankless or appreciated was all the same, I
answered him; he had to do his duty where the Fuehrer
ordered it.

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