The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/11/29

Q. Was there a conference in Berlin on the morning of
Saturday, the 25th of March, about this escape?

A. I cannot remember.

Q. Did not Goering speak to you about that conference?

A. I have no recollection.

Q. Did Goering never tell you that there was a conference
between Hitler, Himmler, himself, and Keitel on that
Saturday morning?

A. No. I do not know anything about that. I do not remember.

Q. At which the order for the murder of these recaptured
prisoners of war was given?

A. I cannot remember. According to what I heard later, the
circumstances were entirely different. About this I got
information from the previously mentioned General Westhoff,
and also from General Bodenschatz.

Q. General Westhoff we are going to see here as a witness.
He has made a statement about the matter, saying ...

A. I beg your pardon. I could not hear you just now. The
German is coming through very weakly. I can hear you, but
not the German transmission.

Q. General Westhoff -

A. Yes.

Q. - has made a statement -

A. Yes.

Q. - and we are going to see him as a witness.

A. Yes.

Q. So perhaps I had better not put his statement to you,
because he is going to give evidence. Perhaps that would be
fairer from the point of view of the defence. But are you
suggesting that action against these officers, if they were
murdered - to use your words - having escaped from an Air
Force camp, could have been taken without the knowledge of

A. I consider it quite possible in view of the great
confusion existing in the highest circle at that time.

Q. Great confusion in March 1944?

A. All through there was terrible confusion.

Q. But it is quite clear . . .?

A. Hitler interfered in all matters, and himself gave orders
over the heads of the Chiefs of the Wehrmacht.

Q. But did you never discuss this matter with Goering at

A. No. I cannot remember ever speaking to Goering about this

Q. Do you not think this is a matter which reflects shame on
the armed forces of Germany?

A. Yes, that is a great shame.

Q. Yet Goering never spoke to you about it at all? Did you
ever speak to Keitel?

A. I could not say. During that time I hardly ever saw

Q. Did you ever speak to Keitel about it?

A. No, never. I saw even less of Keitel than of Goering.

Q. Was there not a General Foster or Foerster at the Air

A. Yes, there was.

Q. General Foerster?

A. Yes.

Q. Was he director of operations?

A. No. He was chief of the "Luftwehr" and as such he had to
deal with replacements of personnel and he worked with the
departments concerned, with the General Staff, and also the
Reichsmarshal. During the war he was also in

                                                  [Page 301]

charge of civil aviation, and in such capacity he worked
together with me, but during the war it was a very small

Q. I was going to ask you, did he ever mention this shooting
to you?

A. I have been asked that before, but try as I may I cannot
remember. It is possible that in the course of conversation
he may have told me that officers had been shot, but whether
he did so and if, and in what sense, under what
circumstances, I cannot recollect. I did not receive an
official report from him, I had no right to ask for one

Q. If Foerster told you, did you ever report it to Goering?

A. I cannot remember a conversation with Foerster, I do not
think I spoke to him. He did not give me a report either
which I should have had to pass on to Goering, but such a
report would have been given by him to Goering directly and
much more quickly.

Q. Did you take any steps to prevent this shooting from
being carried out?

A. When I first heard about it, it was not clear to me what
had actually happened, but even if it had been clear, it was
evident from what Westhoff told me that it would
unfortunately have been too late.

Q. Why too late?

A. Because Westhoff was the first officer to get knowledge
of it. When he was informed he was told that the order had
already been carried out. I may say that General Westhoff
has made this statement and will confirm it.

Q. Very well, you never went to Goering at all in the
matter, as you say?

A. I do not know anything about it.

Q. Now I am going to deal further with three short points.
With regard to the use of labour for the armament industry,
Mr. Justice Jackson has asked you questions on that. Was
labour from concentration camps used?

A. Yes.

Q. Would you just look at Document 1584-PS: that is,
Shorthand Note 1357, 12th of December, in the afternoon.

Is that a teletype from Goering to Himmler, dated 14th
February, 1944? There are various code numbers; then, to
Reichsfuehrer SS; that was Himmler, Reichsminister Himmler.
Who actually sent that teletype? It is signed by Goering,
but he would not be dealing with questions of labour, would

A. I could not say, I could not say from whom it originated.

Q. That was a subject with which you dealt, was it not, the
provision of labour for air armament?

A. Only while I had to do with air armament did I send
demands for labour to the respective offices. But this
teletype did not come from my office.

Q. If it did not come from your office, whose office did it
come from?

A. It deals with various matters, there is first the
question of another squadron.

Q. Please answer the question, whose office did it come

A. I cannot say that off-hand.

Q. Very well.

A. I do not know it.

Q. Second sentence:-

  "At the same time I request that a substantial number of
  concentration camp prisoners be put at my disposal for
  air armament, as this kind of labour has proved to be
  very useful."

You had frequently used concentration camp labour, had you?

A. Latterly, yes. May I ask is the teletype dated the 15th
and what is the month?

Q. Yes, I told you, witness, 14th February, 1944. It is on
the top.

A. Yes, I could not read it here.

Q. No, I quite understand. And did Himmler respond by
providing you with 90,000 further concentration camp
prisoners? I refer to Document

                                                  [Page 302]

1584-PS (3), dated 9th March, 1944. It is to the "Most
honoured Reichsmarshal"
from Heinrich Himmler. It says:-

  "At present approximately 36,000 prisoners are employed
  for the Air Force. It is proposed to bring the number up
  to 90,000."

Then he refers in the last paragraph:-

  "The transfer of aircraft manufacturing plants
  underground requires a further 100,000 prisoners."

Now, those were concentration camp internees, witness?

A. Yes, I see this from the letter.

Q. You said you were almost ignorant of the conditions in
concentration camps?

A. No, I do not know anything about that.

Q. You have not seen the films taken when the camps were

A. No.

Q. The grim contrast - just wait a moment - the grim
contrast between the plump and well-fed guards and civilians
and the skeletons of the internees?

A. I have not seen the film but I saw photographs when I was
in England.

Q. Did you close your eyes deliberately to what was going on
in Germany?

A. No, it was not possible for us to see it.

Q. You, in your position, could not know what was going on?

A. It was absolutely impossible.

Q. Now then, I just want to deal very shortly with a matter
upon which Mr. Justice Jackson touched but he did not read
the letter. That is the question of the experiments for the
purpose of Air Force research. I am anxious to refer to as
few documents as possible but I can give the reference.

Do you know that on 15th May, 1941, and the reference is
Shorthand Note 1848, Document 1602-PS, that Dr. Rascher
wrote to Himmler?

A. I do not know him. I think I mentioned this during my

Q. He had very dangerous experiments to make for which no
human being would volunteer; monkeys were not suitable, so
he asked for human subjects which Himmler at once provided;
he said he would be glad to provide human subjects for the
experiment. Now, that was in 1941. Did you know that was
taking place?

A. No, I did not know anything about that.

Q. Now, Rascher was ...

A. I did not know Rascher personally.

Q. He was a doctor on the staff of the Air Force.

THE PRESIDENT: But, Mr. Roberts, this is not a letter to
this witness, is it?

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, I am leading up to it. The next letter
is a letter signed by this witness. That was preliminary.
Perhaps I had better come to the letter which he signed now,
I am much obliged.

Q. I want to put to you now Document 343-PS and I also want
to put to you, if the officer in charge of the documents
would be so good, I want to put to you Document 607-PS.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, he has already been cross-
examined upon this letter, has he not?

MR. ROBERTS: I did not think the letter was read, or was
dealt with sufficiently. I believe your Lordship thinks it

THE PRESIDENT: The letter was put to him. I do not know
whether it was actually read.

MR. ROBERTS: I shall be guided by the Tribunal entirely. I
know the matter was touched upon. I felt perhaps the letter
should be read but I may be quite wrong.

                                                  [Page 303]

THE PRESIDENT I am told it was not read but the two letters
were put to him.

MR. ROBERTS: I agree.

If your Lordship would be good enough to bear with me for a
very few minutes I can perhaps deal with the matters I think
should be dealt with.

Q. You will see that on the 20th of May, 1942 - this is your
letter to "Wolffy," is it not, that is ObergruppenFuehrer
Wolff, and that is signed by you is it not?

A. Yes, I signed it. That is the letter which, as I said
this morning, was submitted to me by the Medical
Inspectorate and from which it appears that we wanted to
dissociate ourselves from the whole business as politely as

Q. The point of the letter is, if I may summarize, it, that
you say:

  "In reference to your telegram of May 12th, our Medical
  Inspectorate ..."

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, if I remember right, when these
letters were put to the witness he said he had not read
them; that he signed them without reading them.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, my Lord, perhaps I had better leave the
matter if your Lordship thinks I am going over ground which
has been trodden too often.

Q. Are you asking this Tribunal to believe that you signed
these two letters to Wolff, who was liaison officer - was he
not - between - who was Wolff?

A. No, Wolff was not liaison officer, he was Himmler's
adjutant. He sent a telegram to us apparently for the
attention of the Medical Inspectorate. The Medical
Inspectorate replied via my office because for some reason
or other it did not appear expedient to reply direct. I
stated in my interrogations that these letters though signed
by me were not dictated in my office, but that for this
reply from the Medical Inspectorate my stationery was used
as was customary. I had nothing to do either with our high
altitude experiments or with the Medical Inspectorate, nor
was I in any way connected with experiments by the SS.

Q. Did you know that these pressure chamber experiments were
being carried out with human bodies, human souls, provided
by Dachau?

A. On whom they were made appears from the letter submitted
to me by the Medical Inspectorate. In the Air Force we made
many experiments with our own medical officers who
volunteered for it, and as we did it with our own people we
considered it to be our own affair. We, therefore, did not
want any experiments by the SS, we were not interested in
them. We had for a very long time experimented with our own
people, we did not need the SS who interfered in a matter
which did not concern them, and we could never understand
why the SS meddled with this matter.

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