The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/13

Q. I would like to draw your attention to the document
before you, to the third and fourth points of the order. The
third point says:

  "Actions of hostile civilians against the German Armed
  Forces and Service personnel must be suppressed on the
  spot and by use of the most extreme measures, even if it
  means the annihilation of the attackers."

Fourth point: "Thus, no time should be lost - "

A. Just a moment.

Q. The fourth point, or paragraph?

A. You have sent me up three documents, and I am trying to
find out which one; I am trying to sort them out.

Q. All right.

A. I shall repeat paragraph 3 because it has been
transmitted quite erroneously in the German.

                                                  [Page 328]

  "In the case of all other attacks by hostile civilians
  against the Armed Forces, extreme measures to suppress
  them must be taken by the troops on the spot, even if it
  means the annihilation of the attackers."

Q. And point four?

A. Then we come to point four, and it is the paragraph where
it says that where measures of this kind have been omitted
or were not practicable, the suspicious element will be
taken at once to an officer, who will decide whether they
are to be shot. That is probably what you meant, is it not?

Q. Yes. That is what I had in mind. Could it be assumed that
this document, from your point of view, was important enough
to have been reported to you?

A. Actually it was important, but it was not absolutely
necessary for it to be reported, since the Fuehrer order had
made it so clear that a sub-leader and even a Commander-in-
Chief of one of the Services could not alter such a clear
and strict order.

Q. I draw your attention once more to the date in the right-
hand corner. It states there, "Fuehrer Headquarters, 13th
May, 1941."

A. Yes.

Q. Therefore, it means that this was a month before the
German attack on the Soviet Union? Already, then, directives
were formulated about military jurisdiction within the
regions covered by the "Plan Barbarossa." and you did not
know about this document?

A. When a plan for mobilisation is laid down, provision must
be made for certain eventualities. From his experience, the
Fuehrer believed that a serious threat would immediately
arise in the East, and in this document measures are laid
down for dealing with any action by the resistance and
fighting behind the lines. It was therefore a precautionary
order for such happenings. It is imperative that such
measures be taken.

Q. And the officers were given the right to shoot civilians
without bringing them to trial?

A. An officer could hold a court-martial on the spot, but,
according to this paragraph, he could also, if he thought
fit and had evidence that the opponent was making attacks
from the rear, have him shot on the spot. That has always
been done.

Q. You think that the officer can hold a court martial on
the spot?

A. That is laid down in the articles of war. Every officer
commanding a unit can hold a court-martial at any time.

Q. But you do agree that there is no question of any court
here? It states that he alone can decide what to do with the

A. He could act alone or use a court-martial on the spot.
All he needed to do was to call two more people. He could
reach a decision in two or three minutes if the evidence of
the attack was available.

Q. In two or three minutes, you say, and then he could shoot
the person?

A. If I catch a man flagrantly shooting on my troops from a
house in the rear, then the matter can be settled very
swiftly by a court-martial. But where there is no evidence
at all, you cannot do that. Here, however, we are dealing
with an immediate attack and with the means of putting an
end to it.

Q. Defendant Goering, let us leave this question. I would
only like to point out once more that this directive, issued
by the High Command of the Armed Forces on 13th May, 1941,
came from the highest level, and that this order gives an
officer the right to shoot a man without a trial. I suppose
you will not deny this. Let us go on.

A. Yes, but I deny that emphatically. There is nothing here
which says that an officer has the right to shoot a man
right away. Let us get this right. It says here - and I
repeat it - "Attacks by hostile civilians against the Armed
Forces," and then it says, where measures of this kind are
not practicable, then

                                                  [Page 329]

the suspicious elements - and here is meant "suspicious"
elements only - are to be brought before the highest officer
of the formation there present, and he will decide the
matter. In other words, it does not say that every officer
can decide the fate of any civilian.

Q. It is quite clear. The second document which I would like
to submit now and question you about is that dated
September, 1941. It has been submitted to the Court as
Exhibit USSR 98B.

A. Just a moment. What was the date you mentioned?

Q. 16th September, 1941, is the date of the document.
Paragraph B of the document. I will not quote it. I am
merely calling it to your mind. It states that as a general
rule the death of one German soldier must be paid for by the
lives of 50 to 100 Communists. That means that this rule
should serve as a deterrent. I am not going to question you
about the main purport of the document. That is quite clear
and needs no clarification. What I am interested in is
whether this document was likewise unknown to you.

A. Yes it was. It was not directed to me either. Here again
it merely went to some administrative office. The Air Force
had very little to do with such matters.

Q. And this office did not report to you about its

A. In a general way I knew about these reprisals, but I did
not know that they were so thorough. I only learned later, I
mean during the war, not here - that the order originally
mentioned 5 to 10 and that the Fuehrer personally made it 50
to a 100. The question is, whether you have any evidence
that the Air Force really made use of the order anywhere,
and they did not. That is all I can tell you.

Q. I am asking you about something else. Do not put
questions to me. I am asking you. Did your administrative
office ever report to you about this document?

A. No, but later on I heard about this document. At a later

Q. What do you mean by "later date"? Please be more precise.

A. I cannot tell you at the moment. It was some time during
the war that I heard that a figure which originally stood at
from 5 to 10 had been altered by the Fuehrer personally to
50 to 100. That is what I heard.

Q. For one German?

A. I have just explained to you. That is what I heard. The
number was originally 5 to 10 and the Fuehrer personally
added on a nought. It was because of that fact that I
learned about the whole matter.

Q. You mean the Fuehrer added the noughts?

THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, do you think it is really
necessary to go through these documents in such detail? The
documents, after an, speak for themselves, and they have
already been presented to the Tribunal.

GENERAL RUDENKO: I am finishing with this document, Mr.

Q. Do you know anything about the directives of the O.K.W.
with regard to treatment of Soviet prisoners of war?

A. I shall have to see them.

Q. If you please, Mr. President, the document has already
been submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 338.

(A document was handed to the witness.)

Please look at point A, paragraph 3, which states that there
is a broad directive concerning the use of arms against
Soviet prisoners of war. This says that if a prisoner of war
tries to escape he must be shot immediately. No warning need
be given.

The same thing appears in the verbal instructions concerning
Soviet prisoners of war.

                                                  [Page 330]

A. The trouble here is the language difficulty; hence the
guards are instructed to use their arms immediately against
the person attempting escape. That errors can arise in this
connection is easily understood.

Q. I am not talking about the purport of the document, which
speaks for itself. I want to know whether you knew about
this document.

A. This is a document dealing with the treatment of
prisoners of war, and it was passed directly to my
department which was concerned with prisoners of war. I did
not know of this document, neither did I know of the one
which contains an opinion of the Foreign Intelligence

Q. You did not know about this document? Very well. Now one
other - I mean 854-PS, already submitted, and which talks
about exterminating political prisoners.

A. In explanation of this I should like to repeat that the
Air Force did not have any camps for Soviet prisoners of
war. The Air Force had only six camps in which the Air Force
personnel of other Powers were confined; in other words, it
did not have any Soviet P.O.W. camps.

Q. I have asked you these questions and shown you these
documents because, as the second man in command in Germany,
you could not possibly have been unaware of these things.

A. I apologise if I contradict you. The higher the office I
held the less would I be concerned with orders dealing with
prisoners of war. From their very nature, these were
departmental orders and not orders of the highest political
or military significance. If I had held a much lower rank,
then I might have had more knowledge of these orders. I am
now looking at the document which you submitted to me -
"Department of Home Defence." It says on the left:
"Reference treatment of captured political and military
Russian functionaries." That is the document I am looking

Q. Please look at the date of the document - "12th May,
1941. Fuehrer's Headquarters."

A. Yes.

Q. Look at paragraph 3 of the document. "Political leaders
among the troops are not to be considered prisoners of war
and must be exterminated at latest in the hospitals. They
must never be transported to the rear." Did you know about
this directive?

A. May I point out that this is in no way a directive, but
that it bears the heading "Memorandum" and is signed
"Warlimont." Also the distribution chart does not show any
other department than the department Home Defence, which I
have mentioned. In other words, this is a memorandum.

Q. You mean to say, then, that you did not know about this

A. I say once more: This is a memorandum from the Operations
Staff of the O.K.W., and it is not an order, or a directive,
but a memorandum.

THE PRESIDENT: That is not an answer to the question. You
are telling us what it was, not whether you knew of it.

A. No; I did not. It had been put before me as an order, and
I wanted to point out that it is not an order.


Q. The directives regarding the treatment of Soviet
prisoners of war must have been executed also by the units
of the Luftwaffe.

A. If ordered by the Fuehrer-yes; or if ordered by me.

Q. Do you remember your own directives with regard to the
treatment of Soviet prisoners of war?

A. No.

Q. You do not remember them?

A. The Air Force had no camps with Soviet P.O.W.

Q. Tell me, the majority of these criminal orders and
directives of the O.K.W., were they not issued even before
the beginning of the war against the Soviet

                                                  [Page 331]

Union and as part of the preparations for that war? Does
this not show that the German Government and the O.K.W.
already had a prepared plan for exterminating the Soviet

A. No. It does not prove it at all. It only shows that we
considered the struggle with the Soviet Union would be an
extremely bitter one, and that it would be conducted
according to other rules as there were no conventions.

Q. These rules of warfare are well known to us. Please tell
me, do you know about Himmler's directives given in 1941
about the extermination of 30,000,000 Slavs? You heard about
it from the witness Zelewski here in Court. Do you remember

A. Yes. Firstly: This was not an order but a speech;
secondly: it was an assertion by Zelewski; and thirdly: in
all speeches Himmler made to assistant leaders, he insisted
on the strictest secrecy. In other words, this is a
statement from a witness about what he heard, and not an
order. Consequently, I have no knowledge of this nonsense.

Q. You did not know about it. Very well. Tell me, in the
German totalitarian State was there not a governing centre,
which meant Hitler and his immediate entourage, in which you
acted as deputy? These directives must have concerned Keitel
and Himmler also. Could Himmler of his own volition have
issued directives for the extermination of 30,000,000 Slavs
without being empowered by Hitler or by you?

A. Himmler gave no order for the extermination of 30,000,000
Slavs. The witness said that he made a speech in which he
said that 30,000,000 Slavs must be destroyed. Had Himmler
issued such an order defacto, then, if he kept to the
dispositions, he would have had to ask the Fuehrer - not me,
but the Fuehrer - and the latter would probably have told
him at once that it was impossible.

Q. I did not say it was an order; I said it was an
instruction from Himmler. You therefore admit, or you state,
rather, that Himmler could have issued instructions without
discussing them with Hitler?

A. I emphasise that such an instruction could not have been
given by Himmler, and I know of no instruction, also no
directive has been mentioned here.

Q. I shall repeat the question once more: Is it not true
that the directives and the orders of the O.K.W. with regard
to the treatment of the civilian population and the
prisoners of war in the occupied Soviet territories were
part of the general directives for the extermination of the
Slavs? That is what I want to know.

A. Not at all. At no time has there been a directive from
the Fuehrer or anybody I know concerning the extermination
of the Slavs.

Q. You must have known about the mass extermination of the
Soviet citizens in the occupied territories of the Soviet
Union with the help of the S.D. and the Security Police. Is
it not true that the "Einsatz Kommandos" and their
activities were the result of the plan prepared in advance
for the extermination of Jews and other groups of Soviet

A. No. Einsatz Kommandos were an internal organ which was
kept very secret.

GENERAL RUDENKO: I shall have several other questions.
Perhaps it is better to adjourn now.

THE PRESIDENT: How long do you think it will take, General

GENERAL RUDENKO: I think not more than another hour.

THE PRESIDENT: All these documents which you have been
putting to the witness, as I have pointed out to you, are
documents which have already been put in evidence and
documents which seem to me to speak for themselves. I hope,
therefore, that you will make your cross-examination as
short as you can. The Tribunal will now adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 22nd March, 1946, at 10.00

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