The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. I ask to have you shown Document 317-EC.

A. Yes.

Q. Now, that is a secret command matter, is it not, dated
7th September, 1943, is that right?

A. I have a letter here before me of 21st February, 1944.

Q. Then you have the wrong document - 317-EC. Page 3.

A. Yes; Page 3.

Q. Your secret command matter is dated 7th September, 1943,
is it not?

A. That is correct.

Q. And it reads as follows:

  "Concerning the removal of the harvested crops and the
  destruction of the means of production in the
  agricultural and food economy in part of the occupied
  Eastern territories: By direction of the Fuehrer, I give
  the following order:
  First. In the territories East of the line fixed by the
  highest military command, the following measures are to
  be taken gradually, according to the military situation
  at the time. The measures are to be determined by the
  O.B. (Oberbefehlshaber) of the army groups:
     (1) All agricultural products, means of production, and
     machines of enterprises serving the agricultural and
     food economy are to be removed.
     (2) The factories serving the food economy, in the
     field both of production and of processing, are to be
     (3) The basis of agricultural production, especially
     the records and establishments, storage plants, etc.,
     of the organisations responsible for the food economy
     are to be destroyed.
     (4) The population engaged in the agricultural and food
     economy is to be transported into the territory West of
     the fixed line."


A. Absolutely correct; but I want to make the following
statement in connec-with it. We are dealing here with purely
military measures in a retreat, and

                                                  [Page 276]

may I comment on these four points. I emphasised the other
day that a great number of agricultural machines had been
brought to Russia by us. After the Russians, in their
retreat, had destroyed everything, we had all the less
military reason to allow the machines of industries which we
had set up and brought there to fall into their hands
undestroyed. This concerns an urgently necessary military
order which had been issued during a retreat and which was
executed in the same way as before in the reverse sense. It
does not deal with any sort of private property.

Q. And it was signed by you?

A. Yes, this order bears my signature.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I am about to deal with a different
subject, may it please your Honour.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)


Q. I will ask that the witness be shown Document 3786-PS, of
which there are no extra copies available because it came to
us so late. I will ask you to examine that and tell me
whether you recall the meeting to which these minutes refer?

A. We are apparently concerned here with a report dealing
with a meeting which took place daily with the Fuehrer.
Since a meeting occurred once or twice daily, I naturally
cannot, with any accuracy, without first having read the
report, recall the report of 27th January, 1945, for I was
present at a great number of these meetings during the
course of the war.

Q. I shall call your attention to specific incidents in it.
The minutes indicate that the Fuehrer, yourself, Keitel and
Jodl were present, do they not?

A. That is so, according to the notes.

Q. And I will call your attention to Page 31 and ask you to
follow the notes with me and see if they refresh your
memory. Now this relates to 10,000 imprisoned Air Force
officers. I quote what is attributed to you:

  "Goering: Near Sagan, there are 10,000 imprisoned Air
  Force officers. Their custody is the responsibility of
  the Director General of Training (B.d.E.). Personnel for
  guarding or transporting them is said to be lacking. The
  suggestion was made as to whether the prisoners should
  not be left to their Soviet Russian Allies. It would give
  them 10,000 airmen.
  The Fuehrer: Why did you not remove them earlier? This is
  an unqualified muddle.
  Goering: That is the business of the commander of the
  B.d.E. We have nothing to do with it. I can only report
  The Fuehrer: They must be removed even if they have to go
  on foot. The Volkssturm must be called in. Anyone who
  escapes will be shot. Any means must be used.
  Goering: That is from Sagan; there are 10,000 men.
  Guderian: in the transfer process the 4th Armoured
  Division has been moved out completely, also the 227th
  Division; the remainder of the 32nd Division is now
  moving out. The next in line is the H.Q. of the 3rd S.S.
  Panzer Corps, which will move to-night. The Division
  'Niederland,' has already pulled out. Parts of the
  Division 'Nordland' have also been withdrawn from the
  The Fuehrer: Are they to get replacements? Are they
  already on the move?
  Goering: Fegelein took care of that. He has already
  ordered that they should be replaced immediately.
                                                  [Page 277]
  The Fuehrer: Is it absolutely clear that the Army Group
  Vistula has nothing, for the time being, besides the
  Corps Nehring, the one Group, and what it has on the
  Vistula? This must be organised. It will come from here
  and partly from Germany. It must be done, without fail.
  Goering: How many cattle cars are needed for 10,000 men?
  The Fuehrer: If we transport them according to German
  standards, then we need at least 20 transport trains for
  10,000 men. If we transport them according to Russian
  standards, we need 3 or 5.
  Goering: Take their pants and boots off so that they
  cannot walk in the snow."

Do you recall that incident?

A. I remember this incident but vaguely.

Now that I have given the answer I would like to give a
short explanation of the value of this document.

I understand that this document has only just arrived, but I
have already been interrogated with respect to it long
before the beginning of the proceedings, and at that time I
pointed out that at the stenographic recording of the
meeting - two stenographers took notes at the same time
since the meeting often lasted 4 or 5 hours - their notes
always had to be gone over afterwards and frequently,
because of the presence of many men, inaccuracies occurred
in the recordings, so that statements made by one person
were credited to another in the minutes. For that reason I
said, at the time, that I not only did not remember this
statement, but that in my opinion I never made it. We were
concerned solely with the preparation of motor vehicles for

Q. Well, I must say that you were interrogated with
reference to the incident, but not with reference to these
notes which were not transcribed.

A. In respect to this transcript and this incident, it was
especially emphasised that we were concerned with stenotype
record of the report of the meeting, and I voiced a similar
opinion at the time. It was not submitted to me then.

Q. Not stenotype, but stenographic.

You are also reported on Page 35. I call your attention to
this and ask you, is it attributed to you mistakenly?

  "Goering: The 10,000 prisoners in Sagan should be
  transported away by Obergruppenfuehrer Juttner." Perhaps
  I do not pronounce the word as you would.
  "The Fuehrer: These prisoners must be removed by all
  available means. Volkssturm must be employed, with the
  most energetic people. All who attempt to flee will be
  Fegelein: We have a man for that, who guards the
  concentration camps. This is Gruppenfuehrer Glucks. He
  must do the job."

Did that occur?

A. That I do not know. I have already testified before that
B.d.E. had to take charge of the transportation because we
had nothing to do with it. What ideas and opinions the other
gentlemen expressed in the discussions I cannot completely
testify to or state here. It was a question of whether these
10,000 were to be surrendered or shipped away.

Q. I will ask you a question or two about the Warsaw
bombing. Was it known to you that on 3rd September the house
of the Ambassador of the United States, situated some 17
kilometres out of Warsaw, was bombed by the German Air

A. No, that is unknown to me.

Q. Your Air Force took a good many pictures of the Polish
villages and of Warsaw and used them for distributing among
the German people, did they not?

A. That is possible, I was not concerned with that. In any
event, the Luftwaffe did not distribute pictures to the
German people. It is possible that

                                                  [Page 278]

pictures taken by the Luftwaffe might have got into the
German Press by way of the Propaganda Ministry. But
distribution, in the sense of the Luftwaffe's distributing
photographs like leaflets, never occurred.

Q. The Luftwaffe took the pictures for the purpose of
determining the efficiency of its hits, did it not?

A. The Luftwaffe took pictures before the target was bombed
and again after the target had been bombed, to determine
whether it had actually been hit.

Q. I ask to have you shown five photographs, and ask you if
those are not photographs taken by the Luftwaffe, following
the attack on Poland.

(Witness shown photographs.)

A. In answer to the first question, whether the pictures had
actually been taken by the German Luftwaffe, I regret I
cannot give a positive answer, for there is no indication
that these were made by the German Luftwaffe. Four out of
the five pictures were, if you observe them closely, taken
from an oblique angle, as though they had been taken from a
church steeple rather than from an aeroplane, from which
generally only vertical pictures are taken because of the
built-in camera.

The picture showing the destruction of parts of Warsaw can
be regarded technically as such an aerial photo. The date is
lacking here. But none of these pictures gives any proof
that they were taken by the Luftwaffe.

However, I would like to suppose they had been taken by the
Luftwaffe, so that further questions will be facilitated.

Q. You say you will assume they were taken by the Luftwaffe?

A. Yes, although I doubt it.

Q. I do not want you to give away anything here. If you
think they were not taken by the Luftwaffe I do not want you
to admit it.

A. I said there is no proof I did not take the pictures, I
do not recognise them, they were not submitted to me as
Luftwaffe pictures, and from a purely technical point of
view they could only have been taken from a plane with a
private camera from a very oblique angle. They are not true
aerial pictures, that is "vertical" pictures as taken by the
Air Force.

Q. Well, we will pass them then and go to something else.

Let us take up Document 638-PS (Exhibit USA 788) about which
you have been interrogated and which, as I recall, you

(Witness shown document.)

This is the document which was signed by Dr. Joel and I ask
you to follow me.

  "From the Reich Marshal's plans of 24th September, 1942.
  First: The Reich Marshal is looking for daring fellows
  who will be employed in the East as Sonderkommandos
  (special purpose) and who will be able to carry out the
  task of creating confusion behind the lines. They are to
  be formed into bands under leadership and with
  interpreters assigned to them. For this purpose the Reich
  Marshal is considering convicts who are first offenders,
  who have committed not particularly heinous offences. The
  Reich Marshal first of all mentioned persons convicted of
  poaching. He knew, of course, that the Reichsfuehrer S.S.
  had picked out the so-called poachers and they were
  already in his hands. He requests, however, that the
  question be re-examined. The only suitable men are those
  with a passion for hunting, who have poached for love of
  the sport, not men who have laid snares and traps. The
  Reich Marshal also mentioned fanatical members of
  smuggling gangs, who take part in gun-battles on the
  frontiers and whose passion it is to outwit the Customs
  at the risk of their own lives, but not men who attempt
  to bring articles over the frontier in an express train
  or by similar means.
                                                  [Page 279]
  The Reich Marshal leaves it to us to consider whether
  still another category of convicts can be assigned to
  these bands or pursuit commands.
  In the regions assigned for their operations, these
  bands, whose first task should be to destroy the
  communications of the Partisan groups, could murder, burn
  and ravish; in Germany they would once again come under
  strict supervision.
  (Signed) Dr. Joel, 24th September, 1942."

Do you wish to make an explanation of that document to the

A. Yes, the same that I made once before. The first two
paragraphs clearly show that I wanted only those people who
had committed no offences involving laws of honour, such as
poachers, distinguishing between those having a passion for
hunting and those who only want to steal. I made a
distinction also with regard to smugglers - between those
who take personal risks, showing a certain passion for their
activity, and those who do it in a dishonourable way.

Both these main paragraphs plainly show that I did not wish
to use criminals of any type, and that is why I explicitly
denied having said what is stated in the last paragraphs. It
is not a question of the minutes but of the notes taken by
an official with whom I discussed these things. He should be
able to testify where and if he heard these words uttered by
me. But they are so contradictory. I particularly emphasise
this. In particular, as I have clearly said, as to the
concept of ravishment, which I always punished with death
even if committed against citizens of enemy States - I
rejected that statement; and I again pointed out that the
main paragraphs are in utmost contradiction to the last
remark, because if it had been a matter of indifference to
me I could have selected criminals.

Thirdly, I expressly stated above that their main task
behind the lines was to create confusion, to disrupt
communications, to destroy railways and the like. Fourthly
and lastly, the whole thing never did take place.

Q. You objected to the word "ravish," which had been
translated the first time "rape," and that is the only
objection you made to this document when it was presented to
you. Is that not correct?

A. No, it is not correct. I say this because it is a most
significant concept which has always particularly
contradicted my sense of justice, for shortly after the
assumption of power I instigated a sharpening of the German
punitive laws on this matter. I wanted to show, in the light
of this word and this concept, that this entire latter part
could not have been uttered by me and I deny having said it.
I will absolutely and gladly take responsibility for even
the most serious things which I have done, but I deny that
this statement, in view of my opinions, could ever have been
uttered by me.

Q. Who signed this document?

A. Dr. Joel.

Q. Yes - you knew him?

A. I knew him slightly. I saw him at this conference.

Q. He was present at the conference?

A. I ordered him to come, to tell him that I desired this
type of person.

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