The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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   Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume II, Chapter XVI

That Keitel knew of the appalling treatment of Russian pris-

                                                  [Page 537]
oners of war, and the high death rate among them, appear
from the statements in a letter sent to him by Rosenberg on
28 February 1942. The letter stressed the need for better
treatment of the Russians, so that they would be well
impressed by the Germans. (081-PS)

An order of Keitel's OKW provided that escaped officers and
non-working non-commissioned officers other than Americans
and British were to be turned over to the SIPO and SD upon
recapture. The SIPO and SD, upon instructions from their
chief, would then transport the men to the Mauthausen
concentration camp under operation "Kugel" (L-158). Such
prisoners were executed at Mauthausen upon arrival (2285-
PS). Americans and British who were recaptured might be
turned over to the SIPO and SD, upon decision of the
"W.Kdos" from the OKW/ o.i c. (L-158)

(4) Killing of hostages. Keitel's criminal activities are
shown be the following two documents. On 16 December 1941 he
signed an order stating that uprisings among German troops
in occupied territories must be considered as inspired by a
communist conspiracy, and that the death of one German
soldier must mean death for fifty or one hundred communists.

Keitel also signed an order (received by the OKH on 1
October 1941) specifying that hostages should be well known,
and that they should come from Nationalist, Democrat, or
Communist political factions. After each act of sabotage
hostages belonging to the saboteur's group should be shot.

(5) Plunder of public and private property. The looting of
cultural property was carried on chiefly under Rosenberg by
the Einsatzstab Rosenberg, an organization established for
that purpose' In the West he was to act in his capacity as
Reichsleiter, and in the East in his capacity as
Reichsminister. Keitel's OKW cooperated with Rosenberg, and
directions for carrying out the order were to be issued by
the Chief of the OKW in agreement in Rosenberg (149-PS).
Keitel ordered the military authorizes to cooperate in this
program (137-PS; 138-PS). A memorandum of 17 May 1944 in the
Rosenberg Ministry states that the Wehrmacht was one of the
principal agencies engaged in removing treasures from
Russia. (1107-PS)

Keitel was also responsible for the removal of machine
tools, foodstuffs, and other materials from occupied
territories. (1161-PS; 743-PS)

(6) -The exaction of collective penalties. Collective

                                                  [Page 538]
were exacted from the population for acts of individuals for
which it could not be held responsible. Keitel advocated
such measures. This appears from correspondence on acts of
sabotage in the shipbuilding yards. (C-48; 870-PS; 871-PS)

(7) Germanization of Occupied Territories. On 16 July 1941
Keitel was present at a meeting with Hitler where the policy
was announced of exploiting occupied Russian territory and
making it part of the Reich. (L-221)

In order to promote a racially valuable German heritage an
order signed by Hitler, Lammers, and Keitel provides for
payment of subsidies to Norwegian or Dutch women who had
borne children of German soldiers. The Chief of OKW was
authorized to extend its application to other occupied
territories. (2926-PS)

(8) Persecution of minorities. Keitel's responsibility for
the persecution of minorities in Germany appears from the
fact that, with Hitler, Goering, and Lammers, he signed a
decree on 7 October 1939 which provided that the harmful
influence of foreigners must be eliminated from Germany;
that Germans could be resettled by the Reichsfuehrer SS; and
that the Reichsfuehrer SS could perform "all necessary
general and administrative measures" to discharge this duty.

Keitel's responsibility for the criminal treatment of Jews
is apparent from his own statement that the struggle against
Bolshevism necessitated a ruthless proceeding against the
Jews; the Wehrmacht was not to use them for any service, but
they could be placed in labor columns under German
supervision. (878-PS)


(1) Aggression against Austria. In June of 1937 von Blomberg
ordered preparations for "Case Otto" -- armed intervention
in Austria in event of a Hapsburg restoration (C-175). New
plans were made in 1938 under the same name. German policy
in 1938 was to eliminate Austria and Czechoslovakia, and
there was a campaign to undermine Austria's will to resist,
by pressure on the government, by propaganda, and by fifth
column activity. (1780-PS)

Keitel was present at Berchtesgaden when Schuschnigg visited
Hitler there in February 1938. Schuschnigg was subjected to
political and military pressure, which resulted in such
concessions to the Nazis as the reorganization of the
Austrian cabinet

                                                  [Page 539]
(1780-PS). Keitel and Jodl and Canaris were instructed to
keep p the military pressure against Austria by simulating
military measures until 15 February. (1780-PS) The OKW
submitted proposals to Hitler regarding the Austrian
campaign; these included suggestions of false rumors and
broadcasts. A note in Jodl's handwriting states that Hitler
approved the memorandum by telephone and that Canaris was
informed. (1775-PS)

Hitler ordered preparation of "Case Otto" -- mobilization of
army units and air forces (1780-PS). Hitler's directive for
"Case Otto" was initialled by Keitel and Jodl. Jodl issued
supplementary instructions (C-102; C-10). Jodl initialled
Hitler's order or the invasion of Austria. (C-182)

2) The Execution of the plan to invade Czechoslovakia. On 21
April 1938 Hitler and Keitel met and discussed plans for the
taking of Czechoslovakia. They considered a military attack
after a period of diplomatic friction, or as the result of a
created incident, such as the assassination of the German
ambassador at Prague. (388-PS)

After the invasion of Austria, Wehrmacht planning was
devoted to "Case Green," the operation against
Czechoslovakia (1780-PS). Case Green was first drafted in
1937, when it was thought that a "probable warlike
eventuality" would be "war on two fronts with the center of
gravity in the southeast." A surprise attack on
Czechoslovakia was considered possible (C-175). Through the
late spring and summer of 1938 Case Green was revised and
modified. The memoranda and correspondence are frequently
signed or initialled by Keitel, and it is clear that he knew
of Hitler's intention to use force against Czechoslovakia
and made the plans to carry out that intention. (388-PS;
1780-PS; 2353-PS)

There were many meetings on Case Green in September 1938,
some with Hitler, some with Keitel and Jodl. The timing of
troop movements was discussed; the question of advance
notice to OKH; preparations of railroads and fortifications;
even propaganda to counteract the anticipated violations of
International Law which the invasion would entail (388-PS;
1780-PS; C-2). Assistance was given by OKH to the Sudeten
German Free Corps, an auxiliary military organization which
operated under Henlein to create disorder in Czechoslovakia.
(1780-PS; 388-PS)

In October 1938 Hitler addressed to the OKW four specific
questions about the time and the forces that would be
required to break Czech resistance in Bohemia and Moravia,
and Keitel submitted the answers prepared by the OKH and
Luftwaffe (388-

                                                  [Page 540]
PS). On 21 October 1938 Hitler signed an order (and Keitel
initialled it) requiring the Wehrmacht to make preparations
to take the remainder of Czechoslovakia. (C-136)

Two months later Keitel issued a supplement to this order,
stating that on the order of the Fuehrer preparations for
the liquidation of Czechoslovakia were to continue, and
stressing the importance of having the attack well
camouflaged and unwarlike in appearance. (C-138)

Keitel was present at the interview between Hitler and Hacha
at the Reich Chancellery on 15 March 1939, when the Czech
representatives delivered their country to Hitler, after
hours of duress, which included the threat of immediate
bombing of Prague. (2798-PS;

(3) Aggression against Poland. On 25 March 1939 -- four days
after Ribbentrop pressed new demands for Danzig on the
Polish Ambassador -- Hitler told von Brauchitsch, Commander-
in-chief of the Army, that he did not intend to- solve the
Polish question by force for the time being but requested
that plans for that operation be developed. (R-100)

On 3 April 1939 Keitel, as Chief of the High Command of the
Armed Forces, reissued over his signature the directive for
the Uniform Preparation for War by the Armed Forces for
1939/40. The directive, noting that the basic principles for
the sections on "Frontier Defense" and "Danzig" remained
unaltered, stated that Hitler had added the following
directives to "Fall Weiss":
     "1. Preparations must be made in such a way that the
     operation can be carried out at any time from 1
     September 1939 onwards.
     "2. The High Command of the Armed Forces has been
     directed to draw up a precise timetable for "Fall
     Weiss" and to arrange by conferences the synchronized
     timing between the three branches of the Armed Forces.
     "3. The plans of the branches of the Armed Forces and
     the details for the timetable must be submitted to the
     OKW b 1 May 1939." (C-120)

It is noteworthy that, even in April of 1939, the tentative
timetable called for the invasion of Poland to be carried
out at any time from 1 September 1939 onwards.

About a week later, an order signed by Hitler was circulated
to the highest commands of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
This confirmed Keitel's directive to prepare for three
eventualities: "Frontier Defense", "Fall Weiss", and the
Annexation of Danzig. Annex II contained further
instructions for "Fall Weiss". In the first paragraph,
headed "Political Hypotheses and Aims", it was

                                                  [Page 541]
stated that should Poland adopt a threatening attitude
toward Germany, a "final settlement" would be necessary
notwithstanding the pact with Poland. "The aim is then to
destroy Polish military strength . . ."

It was further stated that the Free State of Danzig would be
incorporated into Germany at the outbreak of the conflict,
at the latest. The directive continued: "Policy aims at
limiting the war to Poland, and this is considered possible
in view of the internal crisis in France and British
restraint as a result of this."

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