The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/13

Q. That is a perfectly fair point and the answer to it is
that I win show you what this officer reported at the time
to his General.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Give the witness General Grosch's

(A paper was handed to the witness.)

We are getting reasonably high up. This officer, General
Grosch, signs it as a Lieutenant-General. Now, would you
like, if you can, to help me again - you were most helpful
last time - to try to find the place? This is a statement by
Lieutenant-General Grosch.

A. I request to have permission to read this document first,
to see whether similar limitations apply here also.

Q. Will you read the first sentence? I do not want to take
up time to read an account of the general matter. It says:

  "During my interrogation on 7th December, 1945, I was
  told to write down all I knew about the Sagan case"; and
  then he wrote it down.

But I would like you to look at No. 1, the first page. Do
you see at the foot of the page an account of the pyramid in
your Ministry of administration? Do you see that at the foot
of Page 1?

(There was no response from the witness.)

                                                  [Page 294]

Q. Witness, do you see at the foot of Page 1 the pyramid?

A. I have not got as far yet; I beg your pardon.

Q. It comes in about the fourth paragraph.

A. I can see it, but I wanted to read the other first.

Q. Then, if you will look about four small paragraphs on, it

  "A few days after the day of the escape-I cannot remember
  the date any more - Oberst Walde informed me that the
  O.K.W. had called a conference in Berlin."

Do you see that? I do not mind you running through it
quickly, but you may take it that the first two pages are
what I said they were, the pyramid of your Ministry.

A. Yes, I have found it. The paragraph, please?

Q. It is Part 3, the fourth paragraph, the Sagan case. "A
few days after the escape . . ." Do you see that?

A. Yes, I have the place.

Q. Thank you.

  "A few days after the day of the escape - I cannot
  remember the date any more - Oberst Walde informed me
  that the O.K.W. had called a conference in Berlin - I
  believe on the premises of a high S.S. and police
  authority, and that the Inspectorate was to send
  representatives. I should have liked to have gone myself
  but had to attend another conference in Berlin, and asked
  Walde to attend as representative. After his return
  Oberst Walde informed me that the spokesman of the O.K.W.
  had informed them that there was a decision by the
  Fuehrer to the effect that, on recapture, the escaped
  British airmen were not to be handed back to the
  Luftwaffe but were to be shot."

Then missing a paragraph and taking the last line of the
next paragraph:

  "It is, however, certain that the danger of their being
  shot was even then clearly recognisable. I asked Oberst
  Walde whether such a far-reaching decision would be
  notified in writing to the Supreme Command of the
  Luftwaffe or the Reichsluftfahrtministerium, or whether
  he had been given anything in writing. Oberst Walde gave
  me to understand that the assembly were told that they
  would receive nothing in writing, nor was there to be any
  correspondence on this subject. The circle of those in
  the know was to be kept as small as possible. I asked
  Oberst Walde whether the spokesman of the O.K.W. had said
  anything to the effect that the Reichsmarshal or the
  Oberkommando Luftwaffe had been informed about the
  matter. Oberst Walde assured me that the O.K.W. spokesman
  had told them that the Reichsmarshal was informed."

I will not ask you about that for the moment. I want you to
look at what your General did. He says:

  "Up to the time of Oberst Walde's report I had not
  received even so much as a hint from anywhere that
  escaped prisoners of war should be treated in any other
  way than according to the provisions of the Geneva
  The same afternoon I rang up my superior officer, the
  Director of Air Defence, to ask time for an interview
  with General der Flieger Forster to be allotted to me.
  This was fixed for the next morning, the 28th.
  When I came to report I found General Forster together
  with his Chief of Staff. I asked General Forster for
  permission to speak to him alone and put the facts before
  him. In conclusion, I expressed the opinion that if the
  British airmen were to be shot, (a) there would be a
  breach of the Geneva Convention, (b) reprisal measures
  endangering the lives of German
                                                  [Page 295]
  airmen held by the British as prisoners of war would have
  to be expected. I asked General Forster to bring the
  matter to the notice of the Reichsmarshal even at this
  very late stage, and to stress those two points.
  General Forster was prepared to do this immediately. When
  it came to the choice of the way in which the matter
  could be brought to the attention of the Reichsmarshal,
  it was decided to report to the Under-Secretary of State,
  General Field-Marshal Mitch.
  In my presence General Forster rang up the office of the
  Under-Secretary of State and obtained the interview at
  once. General Forster left the room, and instructed me to
  wait for his return in his study. After sometime he came
  back and told me that he had reported the matter to the
  Under-Secretary of State and that Field-Marshal Milch had
  made the necessary notes."

Look at the last paragraph:

  "I gave Oberst Walde the order, despite the ban by
  O.K.W., to incorporate a detailed written statement about
  the conference in our records. So far as I know, this was

DR. STAHMER (counsel for the defendant Goering
[interposing]): We have here a matter of affidavits given by
witnesses who are in Nuremberg and who, in my opinion, could
be brought as witnesses in person because of the importance
of this matter not only for Goering but for other
defendants. I object to this procedure, under the assumption
that the same rules apply for cross-examination-in-chief. By
that I mean that we should not be satisfied with an
affidavit and depend on an affidavit if the prosecution can,
without difficulty, summon the witness in order for him to
testify before the Tribunal, so that the defence may be in a
position to cross-examine these witnesses.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, what you have said is entirely
inaccurate. The rules with reference to cross-examination
are not the same as rules with reference to examination-in-
chief, and what is being done at the present moment is that
the defendant Goering is being cross-examined as to his
credibility. He has said that he knew nothing about this
matter, and he has been cross-examined to prove that he has
lied when he said that.

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, according to my opinion the
procedure should be that the witness be brought here in
person. The fact remains that, according to our opinion, a
reference to an affidavit is a less desirable means than the
personal testimony of a witness, which would afford the
defence the possibility of adducing the evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, as I have already pointed out to
you, you are quite in error in thinking that the rules for
cross-examination are the same as examination-in-chief. The
witness at the present moment is being cross-examined and is
being cross-examined as to credibility; that is to say, to
prove whether or not he is telling the truth.

As to the calling of this witness - I think his name is
Grosch - you can apply to call him if you want to do so.
That is an entirely different matter.

DR. STAHMER: Yes. I quite understand, Mr. President; but I
am interested in having the possibility of calling in the
people who are mentioned in this affidavit - if possible, to
have them called in.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you can apply to do that.


Q. You understand that what I am suggesting to you is that
here was a matter which was not only known in the O.K.W.,
not only known in the Gestapo and the Kripo, but was known
to your own director of operations, General Forster, who
told General Grosch that he had informed Field-Marshal
Milch. I am suggesting to you that it is absolutely
impossible and untrue that in these circumstances you knew
nothing about it.

                                                  [Page 296]

A. I would like to establish an entirely different point.
First, in the German interpretation regarding the first
objection by Dr. Stahmer, the following came through:

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The Tribunal does not want you to
discuss legal objections.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you please answer the question that is
put to you? You have already been told that you must answer
a question directly and make any explanation afterwards, and
shorten it.

Q. Do you still say, in view of that evidence, in view of
these statements from the officers of your own Ministry,
that you knew nothing about this?

A. These statements exactly confirm this, and I would like
to make a short explanation. You determined a date. You said
it was the 27th. But in this statement by Grosch this date
is not determined. It says: "A few days after the escape, I
do not recall the date, Oberst Walde reported to me."

Another point is that it says here that General Forster, who
was not chief of my operational branch but chief of another
branch of the Ministry, mentioned this matter to Milch,
without referring to the date. General Field-Marshal Milch
was here as a witness, but unfortunately he was never
questioned as to whether he gave me this report, or at what
time, or whether to me direct.

Q. Oh yes he was, and General Field-Marshal Milch took the
same line as you, that he knew nothing about it, that
Forster had never spoken to him. It was asked by my friend,
Mr. Roberts, "Did not General Forster speak to you about

What I am suggesting is that both you and Field-Marshal
Milch are saying you knew nothing about it when you did, and
are leaving the responsibility on the shoulders of your
junior officers. That is what I am suggesting, and I want
you to realise it.

A. No, I do not wish to push responsibility on to the
shoulders of my subordinates, and I want to make it clear -
that is the only thing that is important to me - that Field-
Marshal Milch did not say that he reported this matter to
me. And, secondly, that the date when Forster told Milch
about this is not established. It is quite possible that, on
the date when this actually happened, the Chief of the
General Staff of the Luftwaffe might already have conferred
with me about it. The important factor is - and I want to
maintain it - that I was not present at the time when the
command was given by the Fuehrer. When I heard about it, I
vehemently opposed it. But at the time when I did hear of
it, it was already too late. That a few were shot later was
not yet known at the time, neither was the exact time of the
event. Most of them had been shot already.

A further point is that those who escaped, and were captured
in the direct vicinity of the camp by our guards, were
returned to the camp and were not handed over. Those
prisoners who were captured by the police and the
Grossfahndung, before the Fuehrer had issued the decree,
were returned to the camp, and not handed over and shot.

Q. You know that, according to Wieland, who is going to give
evidence, a list of the officers selected to be shot had
been prepared by the camp authorities at the request of
Department 5, that is, of the R.S.H.A.-Kripo Department, a
list in which those officers who were regarded as disturbing
elements, plotters, and escape leaders, were specifically
mentioned. The names were selected either by the commandant
or by one of these officers. Thereupon, the shooting of the
officers mentioned by name was accordingly ordered by
Department 4 of the R.S.H.A. and corresponding instructions
sent to the Staatspolizei.

Are you telling the Tribunal you did not know that your own
officers were selecting the men to be shot on the ground
that they were plotters and escape leaders? In any other
Service in the world, attempt to escape is regarded as a
duty of an officer, is it not, When he is a prisoner of war?
Is not that so?

                                                  [Page 297]

A. That is correct, and I have emphasised that. To your
first question, I would like to put on record very
definitely that we are dealing with the statements of a man
who will be testifying as a witness. As to whether he
actually asked for a list and saw a list, his statement is
illogical. There was no selection made for shooting. Those
who were captured by the police were shot without exception,
and also those who were not returned to the camp. No
officers were selected as representing disturbing elements,
but those who were returned to the camp were not shot. Those
who were recaptured by the police outside the camp were shot
without exception, on the orders of the Fuehrer. Therefore,
the statement is entirely illogical and not in accord with
the facts.

I know nothing about such a list being asked for nor about
the carrying out of these demands. I personally pointed out
to the Fuehrer repeatedly that it is the duty of these
officers to escape, and that after their return to England
they would have to give an account of the attempts.

Q. You remember that the Government of Germany sent an
official note about this matter, saying that they had been
shot while resisting arrest while trying to escape? Do you
remember that?

A. I heard for the first time that a note to this effect had
been sent when a reply was received. I had no part in the
drawing up of the note. I know its contents only through the
reply, for I happened to be there when it came in.

Q. I am not at the moment dealing with the point that
everyone now admits that the note was a complete and utter
lie. I am dealing with the seriousness of this matter. Do
you know that General Westhoff says in his statement: "Then,
when we read this note to England in the newspaper, we were
all absolutely taken aback. We all clutched our heads, mad."
According to Herr Wieland, who will be here, it was a
contributory cause for General Nebe of the Kripo, for nights
on end, not going to bed but passing the night on his office
settee. You will agree, will you not, Witness, that this was
a serious and difficult matter? All these officers that had
to deal with it found it a serious and difficult matter, is
not that so?

A. Not only these officers found this matter serious and
difficult but I myself considered it the most serious
incident of the whole war and expressed myself unequivocally
and clearly on this point, and later, when I learned the
contents of the note, I knew that this note was not in
accordance with the truth. I gave expression to my
indignation, inasmuch as I immediately told my Quartermaster-
General to direct a letter to the O.K.W. to the effect that
we wished to give up the camps for prisoners of war, because
under these circumstances we no longer wished to have
anything to do with them.

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