The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Is it known to you that at that time Jodl was even to be

A. The conflict arose from the Caucasus crisis. The Fuehrer
blamed General Jodl for the fact that no concentrated forces
had been used to press forward in the direction of Tuaxe;
but that battalions of mountain troops had been marched from
the valleys over the mountain chain of the Elbrus, which the
Fuehrer thought was senseless. At that time, as far as I
remember, Jodl pointed out to him that this matter had been
discussed with, and approved by, him. The Fuehrer strongly
attacked the commander who was in charge of this sector.
Jodl defended him with these facts, and this led to
extremely strained relations, The Fuehrer mentioned to me
that he wanted to relieve Jodl. The tension was so strong
that from this moment on, as far as I remember, the Fuehrer
withdrew from the Officers Club jointly used by both his
Operations Staff and High Command, and even took his meals
alone. For quite some time, for several months, he refused
to shake hands with this gentleman. This illustration is
just to show you how great the tension was at that time.

As successor to Jodl, Paulus was already selected; the
Fuehrer had special confidence in him. Just why this change
did not materialise I do not know exactly. I assume that
here again, despite all tension, the decisive factor for the
Fuehrer was that it was extremely hard for him to get used
to new faces, and that he did not like to make any changes
in his entourage. He preferred to continue working with men
of his entourage whom he did not like, than to change them.

In the course of the years, however, his confidence in
Jodl's tactical ability increased again considerably; he had
complete confidence in his tactical capacity. The personal
relations of both gentlemen were never very close.

Q. Is it known to you, that, particularly in 1945,
denunciation of the Geneva Convention was under
consideration. Do you know what attitude Jodl took at that

A. It may have been February, 1945, when Minister Goebbels
made this proposal to the Fuehrer. This proposal met with
the utmost opposition by all of us. In spite of that the
Fuehrer reverted to it again and again and for days was
inclined to denounce this Convention. The reason given was,
oddly enough, that there were too many deserters in the West
and that the troops surrendered too easily. The Fuehrer was
of the opinion that if the troops knew that in captivity
they were no longer protected by the Geneva Convention they
would fight harder and would not react to the extensive
enemy propaganda as to how well they would be treated if
they quit fighting. The united efforts in which, of course,
Jodl participated succeeded in dissuading the Fuehrer with
the argument that this action would cause great disturbance
among the German people and anxiety for their relatives in

Q. One more question: Before the Norwegian campaign, Jodl
entered in his diary - it has been mentioned here before:
"The Fuehrer is looking for a pretence." But that is
incorrect. The original reads: "for a basis (Begrundung)."
Now, in how far did the Fuehrer look for a basis at that

A. I remember this point also very well and therefore I can
state under oath that the use of the word "basis
(Begrundung)" for "pretence (Ausrede)" is entirely out of
place here. The case was as follows:

The Fuehrer knew exactly, and we knew with him, and had both
rather extensive intelligence and reliable reports to the
effect that Norway was to be occupied by the Allies, England
and France. I mentioned this the other day. In order to
prevent this, the Fuehrer wanted to act first. He spoke
about the fact that for us the basis (Begrundung) of an
Anglo-French attack was clear, but that we had not
sufficient proof for the outside world. Hitler explained
that he was still trying to get evidence. Jodl should have
written not that the Fuehrer was still looking for a basis
but - according to what the Fuehrer meant that the Fuehrer
was still looking for conclusive evidence for the outside

                                                  [Page 167]

Evidence as such we had. This was one thing. The second was
that generally the Foreign Office had to execute the
necessary preparatory work including the drafting of notes
for such steps. In the case of Norway, however, the Fuehrer
advised the Foreign Office only, I believe, 24 or 48 hours
in advance. He did not want to inform it at all at that
time, because he kept the entire plan extremely secret. I
remember that I, as Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, was
informed of this plan at a very late date. This secrecy was
the second reason why he himself was concerned with finding
a basis (Begrundung) for the attack. These were the two
reasons. I would like to state again that it would have been
expressed much more clearly if he had said, "The Fuehrer is
looking for evidence," rather than for "the basis."

Q. If I understand correctly, you mean evidence showing that
the British had the intention of occupying Norway?

A. We had the report, but the final written evidence we
received only later.

Q. The Fuehrer had no doubt about this?

A. Not for a moment, none of us had any doubt about it. We
received the, evidence later.

DR. KUBUSCHOK (counsel for defendant von Papen):

Q. Is it correct that Hitler authorised you to conduct all
negotiations for the purpose of forming a Government under
Hitler as it emerged on 30th January, 1933, that is, that
you alone were commissioned to do this?

A. That is correct. I stated this the other day.

Q. Is it correct that you talked about the formation of a
Government with von Papen for the first time in January,

A. I talked with Papen for the first time on Sunday, eight
days prior to the formation of the Government, in
Ribbentrop's home.

Q. If, then, Papen had carried on negotiations concerning
the formation of a Government between 4th January, the day
of the meeting with Hitler in the home of Baron Schroder,
and 22nd January, he would have had to do this through you,
and you would have known it.

A. That is correct, because the Fuehrer was in Munich at
that time and I was, the sole authority in Berlin for the
formation of this Government. Besides, it was not at all
obvious at the beginning of January that within a reasonable
length of time we should have to form such a Government.
Other negotiations were taking place which had nothing to do
with Herr von Papen.

Q. Did the formation of a new Government in the middle of
January become inevitable for Hindenburg, because Schleicher
had no Parliamentary backing, and his efforts to receive
such backing by negotiations with Gregor Strasser to, split
the N.S.D.A.P., were frustrated?

A. I believe I have said already, in a general way, that
Schleicher did not receive a Parliamentary majority and his
attempt at splitting the Parties failed for the reason that
the Fuehrer immediately eliminated Strasser, who actually
had no following among the deputies. Since Schleicher's
attempts to get a majority failed, he had to govern without
Parliament, and that he could only do with extraordinary
powers from Hindenburg. Since he had told him previously
that he would be able to get a majority, the Reich President
refused his demand, for such extraordinary powers as had
been held by the previous Cabinet of Papen, and then decided
to do what I stated here the other day.

Q. Is it correct that von Papen gave up to you the Minister-
Presidency of Prussia on 20th April, 1933, because in the
elections for the Prussian Landtag of March, 1933, the
N.S.D.A.P. had obtained a clear majority in Prussia, and the
Landtag therefore intended to elect you Minister-President?

A. It is not entirely correct, for the Prussian Landtag did
not have to
elect a Minister-President at that time. But the fact that
the N.S.D.A.P. had the absolute majority induced von Papen,
in connection with my conferences in

                                                  [Page 168]

Munich, to approach the Fuehrer on his own initiative,
stating that he would agree to turn over to me the Prussian

Q. One last question - You mentioned yesterday that you, as
the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, granted many
reprieves to people in Belgium and France who were sentenced
for their resistance. Is it correct that von Papen on
various occasions conveyed to you wishes of relatives of
those who had been sentenced, and that he did this for the
reason that, in the interest of a later solidarity of the
peoples, he did not wish that in such sentences, even if
they were militarily justified, an impersonal attitude
should develop, and that you complied with the wishes of von

A. I merely remember that occasionally - I remember one case
especially, for a prominent name was involved - I received a
request from Herr von Papen that the person concerned should
be granted a reprieve. It concerned people sentenced because
they had assisted enemy airmen to escape. In this case I
honoured in large degree the request of Herr von Papen. I am
no longer quite conversant with the reasons.

DR. BALLAS (counsel for defendant Seyss-Inquart):

Q. I ask the Tribunal to permit me to put a few questions to
the witness Goering. They concern the well-known telephone
conversations of 11th March, 1938, between Berlin and
Vienna. Is it correct that Dr. Seyss-Inquart, when he was
appointed Austrian State Councillor, in June, 1937, visited
you in Berlin accompanied by State Secretary Keppler?

A. The date I do not remember; the visit, yes.

Q. Did Dr. Seyss-Inquart, at that time, express the idea
that the Austrian National Socialists should be made
entirely independent of the Reich Party?

A. Wishes of that nature were discussed by him because he
wanted as little friction as possible in his work in the

Q. At that time he further mentioned, and I would like you
to answer whether it is correct, that the National
Socialists were to be given permission to be active in
Austria, in order to establish as close a relationship
between Austria and Germany as possible within the framework
of an independent Austria.

A. As far as Party matters are concerned, I do not remember
exactly what was discussed. The thesis of keeping Austria
independent in its collaboration with Germany was repeatedly
advocated by Seyss-Inquart, and I have recently outlined it.
It seemed to me personally not extensive enough. Just
because I knew this attitude of Seyss-Inquart, I must say
frankly that I was a little distrustful of his attitude on
11th and 12th March, and therefore, on the late afternoon
that these telephone conversations took place, I sent
Keppler to Vienna, so that as regards the annexation matters
they would take their proper course. I would rather have
sent someone else, because Herr Keppler also was too soft
for me. But the Fuehrer's desire in this case was that, if
anyone was to be sent, it should be Keppler.

Q. Is it correct that Dr. Seyss-Inquart explained his
attitude by pointing out the advantage of having German
interests represented by two States.

A. It is absolutely correct that he said that. I answered
that I was of a completely different opinion: That I would
prefer to have German interests represented by one State,
which could act more energetically than two inasmuch as the
second might not synchronise.

Q. Did you have on 11th March, 1939, or on the previous day,
another telephonic or other communication with Seyss-

A. As far as I recall, but I cannot say with certainty, I
did, I believe, on the previous Sunday. That is, these
telephone conversations were on the 11th, a Friday; on the
Monday or Tuesday before I questioned him or one of his men
on the impression they had had in Graz and Steiermark. I
vaguely remember this, but I cannot say so under oath.

                                                  [Page 169]

Q. The Document 2949-PS submitted by the prosecution
regarding the conversations between Berlin and Vienna  in
the critical time of March, 1938, shows that only at the
time of the conversation between Dr. Dietrich and State
Secretary Keppler, who was in Vienna at the time on your
behalf, which took place at  21.54 hours - that only on that
day was Dr. Seyss-Inquart's agreement to the telegram, which
you had dictated in advance, conveyed by Keppler. Had the
order to march into Austria already been given at that time?

A. I explained this recently. The order to march in had been
given and had nothing to do with the telegram as such. It
was immaterial whether or not he was in agreement. The
responsibility for the marching in rested with the Fuehrer
and me.

Q. Then it is correct that the marching in would have
occurred even without the telegram?

A. Yes. Of course.

Q. What was the purpose, then, of this telegram? Perhaps a
foreign political one ?

A. I have explained that here in greatest detail.

Q. Do you remember, witness, that in the night from 11th to
12th March, State Secretary Keppler, in the name of Dr.
Seyss-Inquart, telephoned Berlin with the request not to
carry out the entry into Austria?

A. I remember this telegram very distinctly for I was
extremely enraged that such a senseless telegram - after
everything was clear - had disturbed the Fuehrer's rest when
he was worn out and was to go to Austria the next day. I
therefore severely reprimanded the Fuehrer's adjutant and
told him that such a telegram should have been given to me.
Because of this I remember the telegram distinctly and its

Q. With the result, then, that the Fuehrer, if I have
understood you correctly, gave a flat refusal to this

A. He no longer was able to give a refusal because the
entire troop movement was already underway. Such a movement
cannot be halted in an hour. Once a troop movement is
underway it takes days to halt it. At best we could have
halted the movement at a certain point on the march. That
was not at all in our interest, as I stated. From this
moment on, not Seyss-Inquart, but the Fuehrer and I held the
fate of Austria in our hands.

Q. I have only two more questions regarding the Netherlands.
Is it correct that, in addition to the order of the Fuehrer
which was promulgated on 18th May, naming Dr. Seyss-Inquart
Reich Commissar of the Netherlands, there was an order, not
promulgated, which made Seyss-Inquart directly subordinate
to you?

A. Of this secret order I know nothing.

THE PRESIDENT: Put your questions more slowly. You can see
that the light is flashing.

Q. Had the Four-Year Plan its own independent office in the

A. I have not yet answered your first question; I understood
that you were to put this question once more, because it did
not come through.

DR. BALLAS: I understood the Court to mean ...

A. I shall answer you now on this. Of this secret order I
know nothing. It would have been senseless, for a Reich
Commissar in the occupied territories could not have been
subordinate to me separately. But if it is a question of
subordination in economic matters, then it is clear that the
Reich Commissar, as were all other major Reich positions,
was, of course, under my orders and directions in this

To your second question I can say that I do not know to-day
in detail whether there was in the occupied territories,
that is, also in the Netherlands, here and there a direct
representative of the Four-Year Plan or whether I

                                                  [Page 170]

availed myself of the military commander or the economic
agency of the Reich Commissar of the territory concerned. As
far as I remember now, without referring to documents, in
the Netherlands the situation was that the economic
counsellor, or the representative of the Reich Commissar,
Fischbock, at the same time, which was logical, executed the
economic directions of the Four-Year Plan. The Reich
Commissar would never have been in a position not to have
carried out orders given by me. He could have protested
concerning them only to me or, in extreme cases, to the
Fuehrer, but in itself this did not lead to any suspension.

DR. BALLAS: I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 18th March, 1946, at 10.00

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