The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Do you remember that in 194o and in 1941, Raeder declared
himself emphatically against a war with Russia?

A. Yes, he was very strongly opposed to a war with Russia,
and that for two reasons; firstly, he considered that to
break the treaty of friendship with Russia was wrong and
inadmissible, and secondly, for strategic reasons he was
convinced that our entire strength should be concentrated
against Britain.

When in the autumn of 1940 it appeared that the invasion of
Britain could not be carried out, the Admiral worked for a
strategy in the Mediterranean to keep open a breach in
Britain's policy of encirclement.

Q. The Navy had rather a lot to do with Russia during the
friendship period between Russia and Germany in the way of
deliveries. As far as, you know did everything in that
respect run smoothly?

A. Oh, yes, I know that a large number of deliveries from
the Navy stocks went to Russia; for instance, incompleted
ships, heavy guns and other war material.

Q. And the Navy, of course, always made efforts to maintain
the friendly relations laid down in the Pact?

A. Yes, that was the Admiral's policy.

Q. Admiral Wagner, Admiral Raeder has been accused by the
prosecution that he had never bothered about international
law, and that he broke international law conventions as a
matter of principle if it suited him. Can you express a
general opinion about Raeder's attitude in that respect?

A. Yes, that is completely wrong. Admiral Raeder considered
it most important that every measure for naval warfare
should be examined from the point of view of international
law. For that purpose we had a special expert on

                                                  [Page 360]

international law in the Naval War Command with whom we in
the Operations Department had almost daily contact.

Q. Furthermore, Raeder has been accused by the prosecution
of advising a war against the United States and trying to
get Japan to go to war with the United States. May I ask for
your opinion on that?

A. I consider this charge completely unjustified. I know
that Admiral Raeder attached particular importance to the
fact, that all naval war measures - especially in the
critical year of 1941 - were to be examined very closely as
to the effects they might have on the United States of
America. In fact he refrained from taking quite a number of
perfectly justified measures in order to prevent incidents
with the USA. For instance, in the summer of 1941, he
withdrew the submarines from a large area off the coast of
the USA although that area could certainly be regarded as
the open sea. He forbade mine laying action which had
already begun against the British port of Halifax, in
Canada, to prevent at all costs the possibility of a United
States ship striking a mine. And finally, he also forbade
attacks on British destroyers in the North Atlantic because
the fifty destroyers which had been turned over to England
by the United States created the dangerous possibility of
confusing the British and American destroyers. All this was
done at a time when the United States, while still at peace,
occupied Iceland, when British warships were being repaired
in American shipyards, when American naval forces had orders
that all German units should be reported to the British
fleet, and when finally President Roosevelt in July, 1941,
gave his forces the order to attack any German submarines
they sighted.

Q. Did Admiral Raeder ever make a statement in the Naval War
Command that there were no objections to a war against
America and that the fleet or the American submarines were
not much good.

A. No, Admiral Raeder as an expert would never have made
such a statement.

Q. On the contrary, didn't Raeder expressly speak of the
strength of the American fleet and that one couldn't fight
simultaneously two such great sea-powers as America and
Great Britain?

A. Yes, it was perfectly clear to him and to us that
America's entry into the war would mean a very substantial
strengthening of the enemy forces.

Q. But then, on one occasion, Admiral Raeder suggested his
War Diary that Japan should attack Singapore. Was there any
discussion about Pearl Harbour in connection with that in
the Naval War Command?

A. No, not at all. The attack by the Japanese on Pearl
Harbour was a complete surprise, both to the Admiral and to
the Naval War Command and - in my opinion - to every other
German Department.

Q. Weren't there any continuous naval-military discussions
and conferences between Japan and Germany?

A. No, before Japan's entry into the war, there were no
military discussions according to my conviction.

Q. I should now like to show you Document C-41.

(Addressing the President) Mr. President, this is Exhibit GB
69. Later on, the British Delegation will submit it in
Document Book CA for Raeder. I do not know whether the
Tribunal already has it. It is as yet not contained in the
trial brief against Raeder. In the newly compiled Document
Book 10A, it is on Page 18.

THE PRESIDENT: You can put it in now, if you want to. You
can offer it in evidence now, if you want to. So that you
can put it to the witness.

DR. SIEMERS: The prosecution has submitted it.


Q. This concerns a document signed by Admiral Fricke and it
is dated 3rd of June, 1940. It is headed "Questions of
Expansion of Areas and of Bases."

That document contains detailed statements on future plans.

                                                  [Page 361]

I should like to ask you if Raeder gave the order to prepare
this memorandum or how did this memorandum come to be

A. Admiral Raeder did not give the order to draft this
memorandum. This constitutes the personal theoretical ideas
of Admiral Fricke regarding the possible developments in the
future. They are quite fantastic, and they had no practical

Q. Was this note discussed by any large group in the Naval
War Command?

A. No, in my opinion, only the operations officers had
knowledge of this document which by its very form shows that
it is not a well thought out plan made by order of the
Admiral, but a jotting down of thoughts which occurred to
Admiral Fricke at the moment.

Q. Was this plan or this document passed on to any outsiders
at all?

A. I think I can remember, that this document was not sent
to any outside office. It remained in the Operations
Department. The Admiral, too, in my opinion did not have
knowledge of it, particularly since this document shows that
lie didn't initial it.

Q. You have a photostat copy of that document?

A. Yes.

Q. Are there any other initials on it which might show that
it was put before Admiral Raeder? How was this sort of thing
generally handled in the Naval War Command?

A. Every document that was to be put before the Admiral had
on its first page, in the left margin, a note: V.A.V., which
means "to be submitted before dispatch," or N.E.V., "to be
submitted after receipt" or "to be reported during situation
reports." And then at that place the Admiral would initial
it with a green pencil or the officers of his personal staff
would make a note indicating that it had been submitted to

Q. And there are no such marks on this document?

A. No, no.

Q. I should like to show you Document C-38, which is a
document of the prosecution bearing the number Exhibit GB
223. It is contained in the prosecution's document book on
Raeder, Page 11.

The war between Germany and Russia began on 22nd of June,
1941. According to the last page but one of the document
which you have before you, the Supreme Commander of the
Armed Forces had, as early as 15th June - a week before the
outbreak of the war - ordered the use of arms against enemy
submarines south of the Memel line, the southern tip of
Oeland, at the request of the SKL.

The prosecution is basing the accusation on this document,
and, once more, referring to an aggressive war.
Unfortunately, the prosecution has only submitted the last
page of this document. It did not produce the first and
second pages of the document. If it had done so, then this
accusation would probably have been dropped.

May I read to you, witness, what is contained there, and I

  "On 12th June, at 2000 hours, one of the submarines
  placed as outposts on both sides of Bornholm, as a
  precautionary measure, reported at 2000 hours an unknown
  submarine in the vicinity of Aldergrund (20 miles south-
  west of Bornholm) which had surfaced and was proceeding
  on a westerly course, and which answered a recognition
  signal (Erkennungs Signal) with a letter signal which had
  no particular significance."

That ends the quotation.

May I ask you to explain what it means that this U-boat did
not reply to the recognition signal call?

A. In time of war the warships of one's own fleet have an
arrangement of recognition signals; that is to say, the
recognition signal has a call and a reply which immediately
identifies the ship as belonging to one's own fleet. If a
recognition signal is wrongly answered, this proves that it
is a foreign vessel.

                                                  [Page 362]

Q. As far as you can remember, were there any other clues
showing that ships appeared in the Baltic sea which were
recognized as enemy ships?

A. Yes. I remember that there were individual cases where
unknown submarines were observed outside the German Baltic
ports. Subsequently it was found in comparing the stations
of our own submarines, that these were indeed enemy vessels.

Q. Were these facts the reason which caused the Naval War
Command staff to ask for the use of weapons?

A. Yes, these very facts.

Q. A similar case has been made the subject of an accusation
in connection with Greece. It has been ascertained here in
court from the war diary that on 3oth December, 1939, the
Naval War Command asked that Greek ships in the American
blockade zone around Great Britain should be treated as
hostile. Since Greece was neutral at the time, there has
been an accusation against Raeder of a breach of neutrality.

May I ask you to tell us the reasons which caused the SKL
and the Chief, Raeder, to make such a request to the OKW?

A. We had had the news that Greece had placed the bulk of
its merchant fleet at the disposal of England and that these
Greek vessels were sailing under the British command.

Q. And it is correct that Greek vessels in general were not
treated as hostile, but only vessels in the American
blockade zone around England?

A. Yes.

Q. The next case, which is something similar, is that which
occurred in June, 1942, when the Naval War Command made an
application to the OKW to be allowed to attack Brazilian
ships, although Brazil at that time was still a neutral. The
war with Brazil started some two months later on 22nd
August. What reasons were there for such a step?

A. We were receiving reports from submarines from the waters
around South America, according to which they were being
attacked by ships which could only have started from
Brazilian bases. The first thing we did was to refer back
and get these questions clarified and confirmed. Moreover, I
think I can remember personally that at that time it was
already generally known that Brazil was giving the use of
sea and air bases to the United States, with whom we were at

Q. So that this was due to a breach of neutrality on the
part of Brazil?

A. Yes.

Q. I should like to submit to you Documents C-176 and D-658.
Document C-176 is Exhibit GB 228. These two documents are
based on this command order, that is, the order to destroy
sabotage troops.

The prosecution has charged Raeder with an incident which
occurred in December, 1942, in the Gironde estuary at
Bordeaux. In the Document C-176 on the last page, you will
find something which I would like to quote.
  "Shooting took place of the two captured Englishmen by a
  commando under the Port Commander at Bordeaux, in the
  presence of an officer of the SD, and by order of the

Previous entries, which I don't want to quote separately and
which portray the same things, show that the SD had
intervened directly and had got into direct touch with the
Fuehrer's headquarters.

I now ask you whether the Naval War Command had heard
anything at all about this matter before these two prisoners
were shot, or whether they knew anything about this direct
order from Hitler which is mentioned in this connection?

A. The Naval War Command had nothing to do with a direct
order for the shooting of people in Bordeaux. The Naval War
Command knew the tactical results in connection with this
sabotage undertaking in Bordeaux and, beyond that, knew
nothing at that time.

Q. Therefore, this case was not put to the Naval War
Command, or to Admiral Raeder, and it was not discussed by

                                                  [Page 363]

A. Yes. I am certain that this was the case.

DR. KRANZBUHLER: Mr. President, may I ask the Tribunal to
take notice of the fact that this war diary is not the war
diary which has been frequently mentioned, the war diary of
the Naval War Command, but the war diary of the Naval
Commander-in-Chief West, and was therefore unknown to the
Naval War Command. That is why the Naval War Command did not
know of this case.

THE PRESIDENT: You are referring now to Document C-176?

DR. KRANZBUHLER: Yes, and also D-658. This is the war diary
of the Naval War Command.

THE PRESIDENT: What was the reference to it?

DR. KRANZBCHLER: This is D-658, which shows the following:

According to the report of the armed forces, these two
soldiers have since been shot. The measure would be in
keeping with the special order by the Fuehrer. That has been
submitted by the prosecution, and it shows - and I shall
refer to this later - the Naval War Command knew nothing
about the entire episode because this shows an entry dated
9th December, whereas the whole affair happened on the 11th.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps that would be a good time to break

(A recess was taken.)


Q. Admiral, I am now submitting to you Document C-I24.

DR, SIEMERS: Mr. President, Document C-124 corresponds to
Exhibit USSR 130. This document deals with a communication
from the SKL, dated 29th September, 1941, addressed to the
Group North, and it deals with the future of the city of
Petersburg. This report to the Group North says that the
Fuehrer had decided to wipe the city of Petersburg from the
face of the earth. The Navy itself had nothing to do with
that report. Despite that, this report was sent to Group


Q. Witness, I will return to this point, but I would like to
ask you first - you have a photostat copy of the original -
to tell me whether Raeder could have seen this document
before he resigned?

A. According to my previous statements Admiral Raeder did
not see this document since there are no marks or initials
to that effect.

Q. And now the more important questions on this point. In
view of the terrible communication which is mentioned by
Hitler in Point 2, why did the Naval War Command transmit
it, even though the Navy itself had nothing to do with it?

A. The SKL had asked that if Leningrad should be bombarded
when it was occupied or attacked -

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