The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. When and on what occasion did Goering give you his
opinion on the Russian campaign?

A. Towards the end of 1941, after the first reverses in the
Russian campaign, Hermann Goering talked with me about the
fighting in the East. He said to me: "Adolf Hitler foresaw a
very hard battle in the East, but he did not count on such
reverses. Before the beginning of this campaign, I tried in
vain to dissuade Adolf Hitler from his plan of attacking
Russia. I reminded him that he himself, in his book, Mein
Kampf, was opposed to a war on two fronts, and, in addition,
I pointed out that the main forces of the German Luftwaffe
would be occupied in the East, and England, whose air
industry was hit, would breathe again and be able to

THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time  to break off
for ten minutes?

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has observed that the witness is
using notes whilst giving his evidence. The ruling which I
announced this morning was confined to the defendants and
did not extend to witnesses. Nevertheless, the Tribunal will
allow the same rule to be applied to witnesses. But the
evidence must not be read, the purpose of the rule being
merely to assist recollection in giving evidence.

Yes, Dr. Stahmer.

(Direct Examination continued.)


Q. Do you know whether people turned to the Reichsmarshal
with the request that their relatives should be freed from
concentration camps or to help them in their difficulties
with the Gestapo?

A. The Chief of Staff is the person who can answer that
question. I myself only heard that such requests were
directed to the Reichsmarshal.

Q. Did you not have to deal with such requests in the
military section?

A. In the military section I had to deal with the requests
which were concerned with the Luftwaffe. But they were only
requests regarding the arrests of German citizens who stated
that they had not been given the reason for arrest. We also
received communications regarding "aryanisation" grievances
and also regarding arrests of Jews. Requests of this kind
came to me only from Luftwaffe sources or from my immediate
circle of acquaintances.

Q. How were such requests treated?

A. Such requests were always treated as follows:-

Most of the requests, which came from the broad masses of
the people, were submitted to the Reichsmarshal through the
Staff. Those requests that came from the Luftwaffe fell into
my sphere of activity, and requests that came from the
Reichsmarshal's relatives or friends he himself handled. The
Reichsmarshal did

                                                  [Page 234]

not refuse his help in these cases. In individual cases he
asked the Fuehrer personally for a decision.

In all cases that I dealt with help could be given.

Q. Did many Jews turn to Goering with requests for help?

A. Yes, Jews, and particularly Jews of mixed blood applied
to Reichsmarshal Goering.

Q. How were these requests handled?

A. The Reichsmarshal did not deny his help and he gave
instructions that, whenever possible, help should be given.

Q. What was Goering's general attitude to human society?

A. Goering's attitude to human society was as follows:

In his feelings, thoughts and actions, as far as human
society was concerned, he was a benefactor to all in need.
He was always ready to help those who were in need, for
instance, sick people, wounded, the relatives of those who
had been killed in the war, and of prisoners of war.

Care for the working classes was particularly important to
him. Here is an example of this: The introduction of miners'
compensation; every miner who had completed twenty-five
years of steady work should receive over twenty thousand
marks. This is one of his most important social works.

Q. Did you know of the conditions in the concentration

A. I had no knowledge of the conditions in the concentration

Q. Were the concentration camps spoken of at the Fuehrer
Headquarters during discussions with the Fuehrer, or on any
other occasion?

A. In the Fuehrer Headquarters I never heard the Fuehrer
speak about the concentration camps. He never discussed them
in our circle.

Q. Was the question of the annihilation of the Jews
discussed there?

A. No, it was not.

Q. Not even in discussions on the war situation?

A. No, I cannot remember his ever discussing the
annihilation of the Jews in my presence during the
discussions on the war situation.

Q. Did anyone else there mention anything?

A. No.

Q. Not Himmler?

A. Himmler never discussed the subject. I have only heard
since being in prison, that Himmler's reply to people who
spoke to him on this matter was: "What you have heard is not
true, it is incorrect." I personally did not discuss this
question with Himmler.

Q. Did you know how many concentration camps there were?

A. Everyone knew that the camps existed, but I was not aware
that so many existed. It was only after the war that I
learned the names of Mauthausen and Buchenwald from the
newspaper. I only know of the camp of Dachau, because I
happen to come from Bavaria.

Q. Did you never hear of the atrocities either?

A. No, I never heard of the atrocities. The very first time
I heard was last year, when I reported to the Reichsmarshal
- to be exact it was the middle of March 1945 - when I
reported my departure on sick leave; the Reichsmarshal told
me during lunch that very many Jews must have perished there
and that we should have to pay dearly for it. That was the
first time that I heard of crimes against the Jews.

DR. STAHMFR: I have no further questions. I can now turn
over the witness to the other defence counsel and the

THE PRESIDENT: Does any defence counsel wish to ask any
questions of this witness?

                                                  [Page 235]

BY DR. LATERNSER (counsel for the General Staff and the

I have only a few questions to ask this witness.

Q. Witness, in your capacity as liaison officer of the
Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe at the Fuehrer
Headquarters, you took part, as you have already mentioned,
in the discussions on the war situation. Did you also take
part in discussions on the war situation when front line
commanders were making their reports to Hitler?

A. I personally did not take part in such discussions. I
was, however, present at two discussions, in the adjoining
room, once when Field-Marshal von Kleist was there for a
conference, and the second time when the leader of the
Crimea Army was present to make a report, after the
evacuation of the Crimea.

I was, as I said, not actually present at those conferences,
but I heard in the adjoining room that there were some
differences of opinion between Hitler and the commander in
question as they were raising their voices. That is all I
can say.

Q. Did you hear enough to follow the trend of this

A. No, I could not follow the trend nor the substance of
these discussions.

DR. LATERNSER: In that case I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other defence counsel wish to ask
any questions?

Then, does the prosecution wish to ask any questions?



Q. May it please the Tribunal: You are at the present time a
prisoner of war of the United States?

A. I beg your pardon. Could you please repeat the question.
I did not understand it.

Q. You are at the present time a prisoner of war of the
United States?

A. At the present time I am a prisoner of war of the United

Q. You have been interrogated on a number of occasions by
representatives of the United States?

A. I was interrogated several times by representatives of
the United States.

Q. You have also had a number of consultations with Dr.
Stahmer who has just examined you?

A. I had several discussions with Dr. Stahmer who has just
addressed questions to me.

Q. Those questions were addressed to you some time ago and
you prepared your answers in writing?

A. These questions were submitted to me beforehand and I was
able to prepare my answers.

Q. Coming to the subject of the concentration camps and the
activities of your department in releasing persons from
them, as I understand, a large number of applications came
to the Goering office for release from concentration camps?

A. I stated before that the requests for release from
concentration camps did not come to my department but to the
Staff office. I received only the requests and complaints in
which people begged for help because they had been arrested,
among them Jews who were destined for arrest.

Q. And were those applications that did come to you

A. My sector only covered the Luftwaffe. There were perhaps
ten to twenty such applications.

Q. And those applications were from persons who were
threatened with imprisonment or had been imprisoned, or

A. Partly from people who were threatened with arrest, and
partly from people who had already been arrested.

                                                  [Page 236]

Q. And in each case, as I understand you, you intervened to
help them?

A. On the instructions of the Reichsmarshal, I helped in all
cases that were submitted to me.

Q. And did you know of any other cases that came to the
Staff in which help was not given to the imprisoned persons?

A. I do not know anything about that. I only heard from Dr.
Witzbach, Chief of Staff, that the requests  that came to
him also were settled in a humane way.

Q. Now, were the persons that you intervened for innocent of
crime or were you helping out those who were guilty of

A. Those I helped were innocent people.

Q. So, it came to your notice that innocent people were
being put in concentration camps?

A. Could you please repeat that question.

Q. It came to your notice that innocent people then were
being put in concentration camps?

A. Had not been put into concentration camps, but were
destined for them.

Q. I thought you said you intervened for some who had been

A. Yes; they were not taken to concentration camps. I will
give you a practical example. A comrade of mine, from the
Richthofen Squadron, a Jew by the name of Luther, was
arrested by the Gestapo, that is to say, he was not taken to
a concentration camp, but first was simply arrested by the
Gestapo. His lawyer informed me. I informed the
Reichsmarshal of this case, and the Reichsmarshal instructed
me to have this man freed from his temporary custody by the
Gestapo in Hamburg. He was not yet in a concentration camp.
So far as I know this case happened in 1943.

Q. What was he charged with when he was arrested?

A. He was arrested because he was a Jew and he had been told
that he had committed an offence against decency, in that he
had been with an Aryan woman in a hotel.

Q. And did you make any inquiries as to whether the charge
was true?

A. I did not have to make such inquiries because I had no
difficulty in obtaining his release. When I called up, he
was released and thereafter stayed under the protection of
Hermann Goering.

Q. Whom did you call up to get his release?

A. The Chief Office of the Gestapo in Hamburg. I do not know
the name, I did not make the call myself, but had my
assistant Ministerialrat Dr. Boettger do so.

Q. So that the Gestapo would release persons upon the
request of Hermann Goering?

A. Not from Hermann Goering's office, but the Reichsmarshal
gave instructions that it should be carried out, and it was
carried out.

Q. I thought you said your assistant called up. Did Goering
also call the Gestapo himself?

A. No, he did not call himself, not in this case.

Q. So that even though this man may have been guilty of the
charge, if he belonged to the Luftwaffe he was released, on
the word of the Reichsmarshal?

A. He was not a member of the Luftwaffe, he was a civilian.
He had previously been one of our comrades in the Richthofen
Squadron. He was not in the Wehrmacht during the war.

Q. But your instructions were to release all persons who
were Jews or who were from the Luftwaffe? Were those your
instructions from Goering?

A. The Reichsmarshal told me, again and again, that in such
cases I should act humanely, and I did so in every case.

Q. How did you find out that Jews were arrested against whom
there were no charges?

A. In one case, in the case of the two Ballin families in
Munich. These were two elderly married couples, more than
seventy years old. These two couples were to

                                                  [Page 237]

be arrested, and I was informed of this. I told the
Reichsmarshal about it, and he told me that these two
couples should be taken to a foreign country.

That was the case of the two Ballin couples who in 1923,
when Hermann Goering was seriously wounded in front of the
Feldherrnhalle, and was taking refuge in a house, received
him and gave him help. These two families were to be

Q. For what?

A. They were to be arrested because there was a general
order that Jews should be taken to collection camps.

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