The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/02/28

Q. Page 100, I have told you. If you will look for it, I
think you will find it. It is Page 67 of the English, if you
prefer to follow it in that language.

Now I will explain to you; I think you have read it before
because you have referred to it. That is a summary by the
Judge Advocate, at the trial of the SS men, of the evidence
that was given, and I just want to see that you have it in
mind.

                                                  [Page 267]

If you will look at Paragraph 4, you will see that they set
out from Lerwick, in the Shetlands, on the naval operation
for the purpose of making torpedo attacks on German shipping
off the Norwegian coasts, and for the purpose of laying
mines.

  Paragraph 5: - "The defence did not challenge that each
  member of the crew was wearing uniform at the time of
  capture, and there was abundant evidence from many
  persons, several of whom were German, that they were
  wearing uniforms at all times after their capture."

Now, you mentioned this yesterday. You see that in Paragraph
6:-

  "Deponent states that the whole of the crew was captured
  and taken on board a German naval vessel which was under
  the command of Admiral von Schroder, the Admiral of the
  West Coast. The crew were taken to the Bergenhus, and
  there they were interrogated by Lieutenant H. P. K. W.
  Fanger, a naval lieutenant of the Reserve, on the orders
  of Korvettenkapitan Egon Drescher, both of the German
  Naval Intelligence Service, and this interrogation was
  carried out upon the orders of the staff of the Admiral
  of the West Coast. Lieutenant Fanger reported to the
  officer in charge of the Intelligence Branch at Bergen
  that, in his opinion, all members of the crew were
  entitled to be treated as prisoners of war, and that
  officer in turn reported both orally and in writing to
  the Sea Commander, Bergen, and in writing to Admiral of
  the West Coast," and that is Admiral von Schroder.

Now I want just to read you the one sentence which, in view
of that, I do not think you will think is taken out of
context of the evidence given by Lieutenant Fanger at this
trial.

He was asked:

  "Have you any idea at all why these people were handed
  over to the SD? In answering that question I want you to
  tell me who was responsible for their being handed over.
  These were your officers, your outfit; that was the
  General in Command of the Norwegian Coast, Admiral von
  Schroder, in command of this section, whose people
  captured the crew. That is, by your own officers. Is it
  true what you told the Court yesterday that the crew were
  captured by the SD? Have you any reason to believe Lt.
  Fanger is not telling the truth?"

THE PRESIDENT: What is that you were quoting from then?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: It is the shorthand notes taken on
the trial of the SS.

THE PRESIDENT: Has it been admitted?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFF: No, my Lord, it has not been, but it
was within Article 19.

DR. KRANZBUHLER: I don't know the document which has been
used. May I have it please? Shorthand notes which I have not
seen are being used; and, according to the Tribunal's ruling
on cross-examinations, they must be given to me when the
witness is heard.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is with great respect,
but this point arose yesterday when the defendant made
certain statements with regard to Admiral von Schroder. I am
questioning these statements, and the only way I can do it
is to use documents which I did not otherwise intend to use.
I shall, of course, let Dr. Kranzbuhler see them in due
course.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you a copy of the German? That must have
been given in German, that evidence.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I have only the English transcript
and I am willing to let Dr. Kranzbuhler see it, but it is
all I have.

                                                  [Page 268]

THE PRESIDENT: Have you got any other copy you can hand him?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No, I was only sent one copy.

THE PRESIDENT: After you are through with it, will you
please hand that copy to Dr. Kranzbuhler?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well.

BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

Q. Now, have you any reason to suppose, defendant, that your
officer, Lieutenant Fanger, is not telling the truth when he
says that these men were captured by Admiral von Schroder.

A. I have no reason to question that statement because the
whole affair is completely unknown to me. I have already
stated that the incident was not reported to me or - as I
can prove - to the Supreme Command of the Navy; and I told
you yesterday that I could only assume, in consequence, that
these men - here it is, in paragraph 6 - were captured on an
island, not by the Navy, but by a Section of the Police.
That Police Section - if you will let me finish - and,
consequently, Admiral von Schroder said that they were not
Navy prisoners, but police prisoners, and must be handed
back to the police; and for this reason he did not make a
report. I assume that that is what happened. I myself cannot
furnish the full details of this story or explain how it
came about, because it was not reported to me at the time.

Q. That is the point I will get to in a moment. It nowhere
states in this document that they were captured by the
police, but, in fact, that they were captured by the forces
under Admiral von Schroder, who attacked this island to
which this boat was moored.

A. I don't know about that. The document says that the men
reached the island - the reason is not clear. That the men
were brought back from the island afterwards in some sort of
boat is quite clear; but naturally they might remain police
prisoners if they were captured there by the police or the
coastguards. That is the only explanation I can think of, in
view of Admiral von Schroder's connection with it.

Q. I just asked you, your own officer, Lieutenant Fanger,
says they were captured by Admiral von Schroder's troops,
and you say if Lieutenant Fanger says that you have no
reason to believe the is not telling the truth, is that
right?

A. My estimate of von Schroder's personality caused me to
assume yesterday that it happened like that. When I am
informed today of Lieutenant Fanger's statement, then
something different may have happened, for I may be wrong.

Q. Will you look at the end of paragraph 8, the last
sentence:

"There was an interview between Blomberg of the SS and
Admiral von Schroder," and then the last sentence:

  "Admiral von Schrader told Blomberg that the crew of this
  torpedo boat were to be handed over in accordance with
  the Fuehrer's orders to the SD," and that they were
  handed over, and the official of the SD, who carried out
  this interrogation, stated at the trial" that, after the
  interrogation, he was of the opinion that the members of
  the crew were entitled to be treated as prisoners of war,
  and that he so informed his Superior Officer."

Despite this report and the representations of a superior
officer, the crew were dealt with under the Fuehrer order
and executed, and it describes how they were shot and their
bodies secretly disposed of. Do you say you never heard
about that?

A. No. I do say that, and I have witnesses to prove it. If
the SD official thought that these men did not come under
that head, he would have been obliged to report that to his
superiors, and his superiors would have been obliged to take
the appropriate steps.

                                                  [Page 269]

You see you already take the position that the Navy
Intelligence had interrogated them; the Navy Intelligence
said they should be treated as prisoners of war, and Admiral
von Schroder said they should be handed over to the SS; and
that the SS examined them and said they should be treated as
prisoners of war, and despite that, these men are murdered.
And you say you knew nothing about it? Did your Kapitan zur
See Wildemann say anything to you concerning this?
(Spelling) W-i-l-d-e-m-a-n-n.

A. I do not know him.

Q. Let me try to bring him to your recollection. At this
time he was an officer on the staff of Admiral von Schroder
and dealt with this matter. Now, Kapitan Wildemann, and I
suppose we should assume, unless you know anything to the
contrary, he is a trustworthy officer, he says: "I know that
von Schroder made a written report on this action, and I
know of no reason why the handing over of the prisoners to
the SD should not have been reported on."

Do you still say you never got any report from von Schroder?

A. Yes, I still say that I did not receive any report, and I
am equally convinced that the Supreme Command of the Navy
did not receive it either. I have a witness to prove that. I
do not know where the report went. Admiral von Schroder was
not directly responsible to the Supreme Command of the Navy;
and the report may have been sent to the Supreme Command of
the Wehrmacht, if this report was made at all. At any rate,
the Supreme Command of the Navy did not receive a report on
this particular matter, hence my assumption that these men
were captured on the island in the first place by the
police. Otherwise, I think Admiral von Schroder would have
reported it.

Q. Before you make any further statement, I would like you
to have in mind something further that Kapitan Wildemann
said, which you know probably quite well: "After the
capitulation, Admiral von Schroder many times said that the
English would hold him responsible for handing over the
prisoners to the SD," and Admiral von Schroder was under
orders to proceed to England as a prisoner when he shot
himself. Did you know Admiral von Schroder shot himself?

A. I heard it here.

Q. Did you know he was worried about being held responsible
for this order?

A. No, I had not the slightest idea of that. I only heard of
his suicide here.

Q. Are you still telling the Tribunal that Admiral von
Schroder made no report to you?

Do you remember a few days after the capture of this MTB,
Admiral von Schroder received the Ritterkreuz (Knight's
Cross of the Iron Cross)?

A. Yes, but that has no connection with this matter. He did
not make a report on this matter, and he did not go to
Berlin for his Ritterkreuz either, as far as I remember.

Q. Two other officers, Oberleutnant Nelle and
Seeoberfaehnrich Bohm were decorated, and in the
recommendations and citations, the capture of this MTB was
given as the reason for this decoration. You say you knew
nothing about it?

A. I knew nothing about it, and I cannot know anything about
it, because the competent superior officers would have dealt
with these decorations and not myself. The Supreme Command
of the Navy did not receive a report on this matter;
otherwise it would have been passed on to me. I have that
much confidence in my Supreme Command, and my witness will
testify that he did not receive it either, and that he must
have done so if it had gone to the Navy.

Q. My final question, and I leave this subject: Admiral von
Schroder was your junior officer, and according to you, a
very gallant officer. Do you want the Tribunal to understand
that the responsibility which broke and made Admiral von
Schroder commit suicide was his responsibility, that he
never consulted you, and you were taking no responsibility
for his acts? Is that what you want the Tribunal to
understand?

                                                  [Page 270]

A. Yes. I will swear to that; because if Admiral von
Schroder really committed suicide on account of this
incident, then he did make a mistake, because he treated
naval personnel, engaged in a naval operation, in a wrong
manner. If that is correct, he acted against orders. In any
case, not even the slightest hint of the affair reached me.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, will you ask the witness what he
meant when he said that von Schroder was not directly under
the Navy? He was under Admiral Celiax, wasn't he, who was on
leave at this time?

THE WITNESS: I said that he was not directly under the
Supreme Command of the Navy in Berlin. So if Admiral von
Schroder made any report on the affair, the report did not
come to me directly, but went to his immediate superior, who
was in Norway.

Q. And that immediate superior was Admiral Celiax who was on
leave - but omit the leave for the moment: His immediate
superior was Admiral Celiax?

A. Yes.

Q. I want to put it perfectly fairly: Do you mean that for
operations in Norway, Admiral Celiax was acting under the
Commander - correct me if I am wrong - was it General von
Falkenhorst. I cannot remember, perhaps you can help me. Do
you remember that this Admiral was acting under the
Commander-in-Chief in Norway - so that you will tell the
Tribunal -

A. Yes, as far as territory was concerned, Admiral Celiax
was not under the Supreme Command of the Navy, but under the
area Commander for Norway, General von Falkenhorst. I can
only say that, if Schroder's suicide is connected with this
affair, then the commando order was not properly carried out
when these men, who were naval personnel, and had been sent
into a naval action, were not treated as prisoners of war.
If that is what happened - I don't know - then a mistake was
made locally.

Q. But at any rate, you say that despite these decorations
for this action, you, as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy,
knew nothing about it at all. That is what you say?

A. I awarded the Knight's Cross to Schroder for entirely
different reasons. I awarded it. I know nothing about
decorations awarded to the other people you mentioned. It
has nothing to do with me, because their immediate superiors
would attend to that. Nor do I know whether these awards are
really connected with the story or if they were given for
other reasons. I still cannot imagine - and I do not believe
- that a man like Admiral von Schroder would treat naval
personnel in this way. The document does not say that they
were killed in a naval action, but that they were captured
on an island. It seems to be peculiar that the Supreme
Command of the Navy should have received no report on it,
since orders to that effect bad been given; and that the
Wehrmacht report should make no reference to it, in
accordance with the Commando order. All these factors are
against your version. I personally am unable to form an
opinion as to the affair.

Q. Defendant, I am not going into details. You may take it
from me that the evidence at the trial has been that this
cutter was attacked by two naval task forces. If Dr.
Kranzbuhler finds I am wrong, I will be happy to admit it.
But we will pass on to another subject. Time is going. Would
you turn to Page 105 of the Document Book?

A. Then I can only say that it is a clear violation of
orders and that the Supreme Command of the Navy was not
informed.

Q. I want you to come to this next point. Page 105 in the
German, 71 in the English Document Book. Now we needn't have
any trouble about this document, because it is signed by
you. It is a memorandum about the question of more labour
for shipbuilding; and you are probably very familiar with
it. But will you look at the first sentence?

A. I beg your pardon, but what page is it?

                                                  [Page 271]

Q. Page 105, Exhibit GB 211, English page, No. 71.

A. Yes.

Q. Now, if you would look at the first sentence:
"Furthermore, I propose reinforcing the shipyard working
party by prisoners from the concentration camps." I don't
think we need trouble with coppersmiths, but if you will
look at the end of the document, you will see Item 2 of the
summing up reads: "Twelve thousand concentration camp
prisoners will be employed in the shipyards as additional
labour. Security service agrees to this."

Now, that is your document, so -

A. Yes.

Q. So we may take it that you were familiar with the fact of
the existence of concentration camps?

A. I have never denied it.

Q. And I think you went further, didn't you, when asked
about this on the 28th of September? At that time you said I
generally knew that we had concentration camps. That is
clear.

  "Question: From whom did you learn that?
  
  " Answer: The whole German people knew that."

Don't you remember saying that?

A. Yes. The German people knew that concentration camps
existed; but they did not know anything about their
conditions and treatment of inmates.

Q. It must have been rather a surprise for you when the
defendant von Ribbentrop said he only heard of two -
Oranienburg and Dachau? It was rather a surprise to you, was
it?

A. No, it was not at all surprising, because I myself only
knew of Dachau and Oranienburg.

Q. But you say here you knew there were concentration camps.
Where did you think you were going to get your labour from?
What camps?

A. From these camps.


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