The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Yes, you had no special political interest at this time
in Norway and Sweden and Denmark, so you sank their ships at
sight. That is right, is it not?

A. We sank them because they entered this area despite

Q. Yes, but if a Russian ship or a Japanese ship did that,
you would not sink it?

A. No, not at that time.

Q. I just want to show you what you actually did. Would you
look at Documents D-846 and 847?

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: My Lord, they are two new documents.
They will be Exhibits GB 452 and 453.


Q. Will you look at the first of these, that is D-846? That
is a telegram from your Ambassador at Copenhagen, dated 26th
September, 1939. That is before your first warning and
before any of these zones had been declared. The second

  "Sinking of Swedish and Finnish ships by our submarines
  has caused great anxiety here about Danish food
  transports to England."

You see, you had started sinking ships of the small neutrals
right away in the first three weeks of the war, had you not?

A. In single cases, yes, but there was always a very special
reason in those cases. I know that several incidents
occurred with Danish and Swedish ships in which ships had
turned against the U-boat and the U-boat, in turn, because
of this resistance was forced to attack the ship.

Q. You do not think it was because the blame could be put
upon mines?

A. At this period not at all.

Q. Look at the second telegram, 26th of March, 1940, again
from the German minister at Copenhagen. It is the first

  "The King of Denmark today summoned me to his presence in
  order to tell me what a deep impression the sinking of
  six Danish ships last week, apparently without warning,
  had made on him and on the whole country."

And then, passing on, two sentences:-

  "I replied that the reason why the ships sank bad not yet
  been clarified. In any case, our naval units always kept
  strictly to the Prize Regulations, but vessels sailing in
  enemy convoy or in the vicinity of the convoy took upon
  themselves all the risks of war. If there were any cases
  of sinking without warning, it seemed that they could be
  traced back to the German notifications made to date.
  "At the same time I stressed the danger of the waters
  around the British coast, where neutral shipping would
  inevitably be involved in compromising situations on
  account of measures taken by the British. The King
  assured me emphatically that none of the Danish ships had
  sailed in convoy, but it would probably never be possible
  subsequently to clear up, without possibility of doubt,
  the incidents which had led to the sinking."

Have you any doubt that those six ships were sunk
deliberately under your sink-at-sight policy?

A. Without checking the individual cases, I cannot answer
this question, but I am of the opinion that possibly these
ships were sunk in that area off the English coast where,
because of heavy defences, there would no longer be any
question of an open sea.

                                                  [Page 369]

Q. Very well. We will come to an incident where I think I
can supply you with the details. Would you look at Document

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: My Lord, that is a new document, it
becomes Exhibit GB 454.


Q. You see, this document is dated 31st January, 1940, and
it refers to the sinking of three neutral ships, the
Deptford, the Thomas Walton, and the Garoufalia. The
document is in three parts. It first sets out the facts as
they were known to you. The second part is a note to the
Foreign Office, and the third is a draft reply for your
foreign office to send to the neutral governments and if you
look at the end of the document you will see, "1-A," it
emanates from your department.

  "It is proposed in replying to Norwegian notes, to admit
  only the sinking by a German U-boat of the steamship
  Deptford, but to deny the sinking of the two other
Would you follow it?
  "According to the data attached to the notes presented by
  the Norwegian Government, the grounds for suspecting a
  torpedo to have been the cause of the sinkings do in fact
  appear to be equally strong in all three cases.
  "According to the Norwegian Foreign Minister's speech of
  19th January, the suspicion in Norway of torpedoing by a
  German U-boat appears, however, to be strongest in the
  case of the steamship Deptford, whereas in the other two
  cases it is at least pretended that the possibility of
  striking mines has to be taken into account; this is
  considered improbable in the case of the steamship
  Deptford, because other vessels had passed the same spot.
   "The possibility that the steamship Thomas Walton struck
   a mine can be supported, since the torpedoing occurred
   towards evening and nothing was observed, and also
   because several explosions took place in the same area
   owing to misses by torpedoes.
  "In the case of the steamship Garoufalia, a denial
  appears expedient, if only because a neutral steamer is
  concerned, which was attacked without warning. Since it
  was attacked by means of an electric torpedo, no torpedo
  wake could be observed."

Do you say in the face of that that you did not deceive the
neutrals? That is the advice you were giving to the
defendant Raeder as his staff officer, is it not?

A. This memorandum did not emanate from me; it emanated from

Q. Where did it originate?

A. That is the assistant of the expert on international law.

Q. You would not have seen it?

A. I do not recall this document.

Q. Why do you say, "it emanated from 1ia"? It has "1a " at
the end of it.

A. If this memorandum was issued, then I also saw it -

Q. (Interposing.) I will just read the next part of the note
to remind you.

  "The following facts have thus been ascertained:" - this
  is what you are writing to the Foreign Office -
  "The steamer Deptford was sunk by a German U-boat on 13th
  December, - "

I am sorry. I should have started earlier.

   "It is suggested that Norwegian notes regarding the
   sinking of the steamships Deptford, Thomas Walton and
   Garoufalia, be answered somewhat in
   the following manner:-
   "As a result of the communication from the Norwegian
   Government, the matter of the sinking of the steamships
   Deptford, Thomas Walton, and Garoufalia, has been
   thoroughly investigated. The following facts have thus
   been ascertained:-

                                                  [Page 370]

  "The steamer Deptford was sunk by a German U-boat on 13th
  December, as it was recognized as an armed enemy ship.
  According to the report of the U-boat Commander, the
  sinking did not take place within territorial waters, but
  immediately outside. The German Naval Forces have strict
  instructions not to undertake any war operations within
  neutral territorial waters. Should the U-boat Commander
  have miscalculated his position, as appears to be borne
  out by the findings of the Norwegian authorities, and
  should Norwegian territorial waters have been violated in
  consequence, the German Government regrets this most
  sincerely. As a result of this incident, the German Naval
  Forces have once again been instructed unconditionally to
  respect neutral territorial waters. If a violation of
  Norwegian territorial waters has indeed occurred, there
  will be no repetition of it.
  "As far as the sinking of the steamships Thomas Walton
  and Garoufalia is concerned, this cannot be traced to
  operations by German U-boats as at the time of the
  sinking, none of them were in the naval area indicated."

And then there is a draft reply put forward which is on very
much the same lines.

And you say in the face of that document that the German
Navy never misled the neutrals?

A. The neutrals had been advised that in these areas,
dangers of war might be encountered. We are of the opinion
that we were not obliged to tell them through which war
measures these areas were dangerous, or through which war
measures their ships were lost.

Q. Is that really your answer to this document? This is a
complete lie, is it not? You admit the one sinking, that you
cannot get away from. And you deny the others. You deny that
there was a German U-boat anywhere near, and you are telling
this Tribunal that you were justified in order to conceal
the weapons you were using. Is that the best answer you can

A. Yes, certainly. We had no interest at all in letting the
enemy know what methods we were using in this area.

Q. You are admitting that one of them was sunk by a U-boat.
Why not admit the other two as well? Why not say it was the
same U-boat?

A. I assume that we were concerned with another area in
which the situation was different.

Q. What was the difference? Why did you not say, "One of our
U-boats has made a mistake, or disobeyed orders, and is
responsible for all these three sinkings"? Or,
alternatively, why did you not say, "We have given you fair
warning, we are going to sink at sight anyone in this area.
And what is your complaint?"

A. Obviously I did not consider it expedient.

Q. It was considered expedient to deceive the neutrals. And
you, an Admiral in the German Navy, told me you did not do
that, ten minutes ago. As a matter of fact, these three
boats were all sunk by the same U-boat, were they not?

A. I cannot tell you that at the moment.

Q. I say they were all sunk by U-38, and the dates of
sinking were: the Deptford on 13th December, the Garoufalia
on the 11th, and the Thomas Walton on the 7th. Do you
dispute that?

A. I did not understand the last sentence.

Q. Do you dispute those details, or don't you remember?

A. I cannot recall; but I actually believe it is impossible.

Q. I will cite you another instance of deceiving the
neutrals, and this time it was your friends the Spanish.
Would you look at C-105?

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: My Lord, that is a new document; it
becomes Exhibit GB 455. It is an extract from the SKL War
Diary for 19th December,

                                                  [Page 371]


Q. You kept the SKL War Diary yourself at that time, did you

A. No, I did not keep it, but I signed it.

Q. You signed it. Did you read it before you signed it?

A. The essential parts, yes.

Q. You see, it reads: "Spain: News from the Neutrals," and
it is headed, "Spain: according to a report from the Naval
Attache, Spanish fishing-vessel was sunk by a submarine of
unknown nationality between Las Palmas and Cape Juey. In the
rescue boat the crew was subjected to machine-gun fire.
Three men badly wounded. Landed at Las Palmas on the 18th
December. Italians suspected. (Possibility it might have
been U-37.)"

Then on 20th December, the next day:-

  "B.d.U. (C-in-C Submarine Fleet) will be informed of
  Spanish report regarding sinking of Spanish fishing-
  vessel by submarine of unknown nationality on 16th
  December, between Las Palmas and Cape Juey, and requested
  to conduct an investigation.
  "On the responsibility of the Naval War Command, it has
  been confirmed to our Naval Attache in Madrid that,
  regarding the sinking, there is no question of a German

When you reported that, you thought it possible, did you
not, that it might have been U-37; is that not so?

A. It seems to me that in the meantime it became known that
it was not U-37.

Q. I will read on. This is under date of 21st December.

  "U-37 reports: a torpedo fired at a tanker of the Kopbard
  type (7329), gyro failure, and probably hit an Amphitrite
  submarine in the tanker's convoy. Tanker burnt out.
  Spanish steamer St. Carlos (300) without distinguishing
  marks through concentrated gunfire. Nine torpedoes left.
  "Then U-37 torpedoed French tanker Rhone, and the
  submarine Sfax, and sank a Spanish fishing vessel."

And then, if you will read the next entry.

  "We shall continue to maintain to the outside world that
  there is no question of a German or Italian submarine in
  the sea-area in question being responsible for the

Do you still say that you did not deceive the neutrals?

A. This case is doubtless a deception, but I do not remember
for what particular reason this deception was carried

Q. But it is pretty discreditable, is it not? Do you regard
that as creditable to the German Navy, that conduct?

A. No, this -

Q. Did the defendant Raeder sign the War Diary?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you tell the defendant Donitz what answer you were
giving to the Spaniards and the Norwegians?

A. That I do not recall.

Q. He would get a copy, would he not?

A. I did not understand you.

Q. You would send him a copy, would you not, of your note to
the Foreign Office?

A. That is possible.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Phillimore, does the signature of the
defendant Raeder appear at the end of this document, C-105?

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: My Lord, I regret to say I have not
checked that. But, as the witness has said, the practice was
that he was to sign the War Diary, and that the Commander-in-
Chief was to sign it periodically.

                                                  [Page 372]


Q. Is that right, witness?

A. Yes. On the next page, on 21st December, my signature
appears as well as those of Admiral Fricke, Admiral
Schniewind, and Admiral Raeder.

DR. SIEMERS (Counsel for Admiral Raeder): Mr. President, I
would be very grateful to the prosecution if the documents
which concern the defendant Raeder could also be given to
me, for it is relatively difficult for me to follow the
situation otherwise. I have received none of these

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: I am extremely sorry, my Lord. That is
my fault, and I will see that Dr. Siemers has the copies

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now at this point until
tomorrow morning.

(A recess was taken until 1000 hours, Tuesday, 14th May, 1946.)

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