The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1997/11/09

In his next customary speech after the defeat of Poland,
before the Reichstag on 6th October, Hitler reassured
Yugoslavia of his love of peace and of his friendly attitude
in the following words:

     "After the annexation had taken place, I assured
     Yugoslavia as before that her frontier with this
     country shall be regarded as inviolable by Germany from
     this moment on, and that we want to live in peace and
     friendship with her."
                                                  [Page 227]
I am now going to read into the record a few paragraphs from
sub-paragraph 2 of the first section of the report of the
Yugoslav State Commission for the Investigation of the
CrimesPperpetrated by the Aggressors.

The excerpts in question begin with paragraph 3, on Page 6
of Exhibit USSR 36, and are marked, for your convenience,
with a red line. In your document book it is Volume I,
Section I:

     "Thus, Hitler regularly gave assurances about friendly
     relations with Yugoslavia and about the inviolability
     of her boundaries while, at the same time, his band of
     conspirators and enslavers were already tightening the
     ring of war around Yugoslavia. When Yugoslavia was
     completely surrounded by Hitler's armoured divisions,
     and when the Government of the Centralist Fifth Column
     of Prince Paul, Cvetcovic, and Macek was ready to join
     the Tripartite Pact on 25th March, 1941, i.e., 10 days
     before the attack on Yugoslavia, the defendant
     Ribbentrop stated as follows" -- on Page 413 of your
     document book you will find Document 2450-PS: "Germany
     herself -- and I solemnly state this -- has neither
     territorial nor political interests in this region."

The Tribunal has already been handed a certified extract
from Document 72 of the above-mentioned German book.

An official note from the Reich Government, of the same
date, reads as follows -- you will find this on Page 415 of
the document book:

     "M. Prime Minister: On behalf and on the direction of
     the German Government, I have the honor to report to
     Your Excellency as follows:
     In connection with to-day's adherence of Yugoslavia to
     the Tripartite Pact, the German Government affirms its
     resolution to respect at all times the sovereignty and
     territorial integrity of Yugoslavia....
     Signed, Joachim von Ribbentrop." (See Document 2450-
The culminating point in the execution of the breach of
faith so cunningly prepared by the Fascists is the following
statement made by Hitler on 6th April, 1941, that is, at the
moment when the perfidious and treacherous attack on
Yugoslavia had already begun. It is under Document  92-TC --
in your book of documents, on Page 414.

     "The German people feel no hatred towards the Serbian
     people. Above all, the German people see no reason to
     start a war against the Croats and Slovenes; they want
     nothing from them."
Certified excerpts have been handed to the Tribunal from the
documents of the German book already quoted on Pages 1 and

Even while Hitler was speaking in this manner, the
occupation, annexation, and dismemberment of the Yugoslav
State was already taking place; soon after began the bombing
of undefended cities, towns and settlements; forcible
evictions; deportations to camps; punitive expeditions; and
hundreds of other acts that were a part of the planned
extermination of the Yugoslav people, which resulted in the
death of 1,650,000 Yugoslav men, women, and children.

On the question of the preparation for the attack on
Yugoslavia and the individuals who directly supervised this
crime, we have at our disposal two very valuable pieces of

The first is the original affidavit of the German General
Loehr. Prior to and at the time o the aggression against
Yugoslavia, he was in command of the 4th Air Force. It was
precisely his air units which carried out the raids on
Belgrade. He is undoubtedly a man well acquainted with the
course of operations and its leaders.

On 24th May, 1945, General Loehr was taken prisoner by the
Yugoslav forces. During interrogations to which he was
subjected between 24th May and 6th June, 1945, he states
(you will find the respective excerpts on Page 416,

                                                  [Page 228]
as excerpts from our Document USSR 253. We submit the
originals of these excerpts to the Tribunal:

     "I and my staff went on March 26 to Sofia, as the
     campaign against Greece was about to begin.
     On the following day, 27th March, 1941, the coup d'etat
     took place in Yugoslavia. I was called unexpectedly to
     Berlin, where I received orders from Reichsmarshal
     Goering to prepare for air operations against
     After this, preparations against Yugoslavia were begun.
     At my first meeting with Goering I was not told of the
     date of the war against Yugoslavia, but it was to begin
     soon afterwards. At Vienna, I received a written order
     in which the commencement of the operations was fixed
     for 6th April."

Passing over the rest of the statement, I proceed to read
into the record excerpts from the minutes of the
interrogation of the former Field Marshal of the German
Army, Friedrich Paulus. In accordance with the wish of the
Tribunal, we submit the original of this interrogation.

Friedrich Paulus was interrogated on 12th January, 1946, by
the chief prosecutors of the U.S.S.R. His testimony is
registered with us as Exhibit USSR 182. You will find the
passage quoted on Page 419 of your document book. My
colleagues of the Soviet Delegation will probably revert to
this document when dealing with subsequent matters. I shall
therefore merely quote that part which refers to the
preparation for the attack on Yugoslavia.

     "It was clear to both German and Hungarian officers
     that these military preparations must have been based
     on the preparation of military collaboration between
     Germany and Hungary."

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, the Tribunal understand
that the first interrogatory to which you refer -- General
Loehr's -- which is contained in Exhibit USSR 253, is an
official document?


THE PRESIDENT: The official document of your Government. The
other interrogatory to which you refer, of Field Marshal
Paulus, is not an official document, is it?

COL. POKROVSKY: The minutes of the interrogation of Field
Marshal Paulus have been compiled in compliance with all
legal standards of procedure applying to such interrogations
by judicial organisations in the U.S.S.R.  He is
interrogated as a witness with the warning that he must tell
the truth, in accordance with Articles 95 and 92 of our
penal code. These documents, in the U.S.S.R., are considered
as absolutely official documents, of full probative value,
to be submitted to the Tribunal when necessary.

THE PRESIDENT: Could you tell us where the interrogatory was

COL. POKROVSKY: Paulus was interrogated in person in Moscow,
on 12th January, 1946. This, Sir, must have been pointed out
at the beginning of the interrogation.

THE PRESIDENT: The date is on the document, but not the
place. Go on, Colonel.

COL. POKROVSKY: With your permission, I shall continue my
quotation from the minutes of the interrogation of Field
Marshal Paulus, submitted to you:

     "It was clear to the Hungarians that Germany's
     assistance was in order to prepare the Hungarian Army
     purposely and in advance for future combined military
     operations, thus incorporating an ally into its ranks.
     With the attack on Yugoslavia, which followed this,
     there was no need for special explanations as to the
     object of these military preparations.
                                                  [Page 229]
     It was clear that Armed Forces were being made ready
     for war with the U.S.S.R., as the attack on Yugoslavia
     was part of the operational plan for the attack on the
     With the defeat of Yugoslavia, the right flank, which
     was to be formed at the commencement of military
     operations against Russia, was secured."
I shall leave out one paragraph which deals with another
subject . and continue to quote:

     "The preparation of the combined German-Hungarian
     attack on Yugoslavia was entrusted to me. On 27th or
     28th March, 1941, I was called before Hitler at the
     Reich Chancellery where, besides Hitler, were present
     Keitel, Jodl, Halder and Brauchitsch. Halder met me
     with the following words: `The Fuehrer has decided to
     attack Yugoslavia in order to eliminate the threat to
     the flank during the offensive against Greece and to
     seize the main Belgrade-Nish railway line which runs in
     a southerly direction; but the main objective of the
     attack on Yugoslavia is to have our right flank secure
     when, later on, the `Barbarossa' plan is to be carried
     Your task is to go to Vienna immediately in my special
     train, and to transmit the orders and explain the
     situation to Field Marshal List (12th Army Group),
     General Von Kleist (Armoured Group), and Colonel Von
     Witzleben (Chief of Staff of the 2nd Army), who have
     been called there.
     From Vienna, you are to proceed to Budapest and there
     to co-ordinate with the Hungarian General Staff the
     strategic employment of the German forces on Hungarian
     territory, and the participation of the Hungarian
     forces in the invasion of Yugoslavia.'"
The participation of Hitlerite generals of the very highest
rank in the treacherous attack on Yugoslavia simply does not
fit, in any way at all, into the execution of purely
military tasks only.

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