The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/09/01

Q. How did you think that this possible exchange of
prisoners was going to affect the question of whether 40,000
English and American and Russian flyers would be killed as a
reprisal?

A. It appeared to me that at a time when we had the
opportunity of effecting an exchange of prisoners of war, a
proposal for an action contrary to humanity and
international laws should be suppressed; that is if there
was talk about an exchange of prisoners of war, the idea of
a gigantic shooting of prisoners had to move into the
background.

I can add briefly that I told Dr. Goebbels about it and it
was discussed in the evening with Hitler, according to
reports which I had from two different sources. By some
remarkable chance the offer itself arrived through official
channels only a few days after the settlement of this
exciting incident.

BY THE TRIBUNAL (Judge Biddle):

Q. Can you hear now? I am asking you, when you heard about
Hitler's order, not with respect to these prisoners, but
with respect to the flyers who had landed? When did you
first hear of that?

                                                  [Page 317]

You said that in the autumn Goebbels had sent abroad some
propaganda with respect to that order. Did you know about it
then?

A. Yes.

Q. In the autumn of 1944, you knew about that order?

A. No.

Q. When did you?

A, I cannot say exactly, but in the autumn of 1944 I did not
know of this order; I have to be extremely careful since I
am under oath. I believe I only heard of the order here in
this court-room, but that is confused in my memory with the
campaign of Dr. Goebbels which I have just described. I
cannot clearly -

Q. Surely in that meeting in February that order was
discussed when they were discussing the killing of 40,000
prisoners, was it not?

A. No, on that occasion not at all.

Q. You had no doubt that Hitler wished to have those
prisoners killed, did you?

A. No, at the time when Dr. Goebbels related the plan, I
believed that Hitler wished to carry through this action.

Q. Then the answer is "no."

Now, you had no doubt that Goebbels wanted them killed, did
you?

A. The 40,000 in Dresden?

Q. Yes.

A. In general, yes.

Q. Yes.

A. Yes, I had no doubt that Goebbels also approved it

Q. And which other of the leaders wished them killed? It was
apparently discussed a good deal; who else in the Government
was in favour of this policy?

A. I cannot say with certainty whether Bormann was in favour
of it; he was the only other person concerned. I do know,
however, that von Ribbentrop, through Ambassador Ruehle,
made an attempt to dissuade Hitler from this step. He
opposed Hitler's plan.

Q. Ribbentrop was working on this particular problem of
killing the prisoners? I am not clear about that. Did
Ribbentrop know about it?

A. At that time I told Ambassador Ruehle about this affair
and asked him to inform Ribbentrop and to enlist his aid. A
day or two later, Ruehle told me - we had frequent excited
telephone conversations on this matter - that Ribbentrop -

Q. I do not need the details. The answer is that the Foreign
Office knew, even if Ribbentrop may not have known
personally. Is that right?

A. Ribbentrop was informed personally.

Q. That is all I want to know.

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know what attitude Bormann took in this matter?

A. According to the accounts that I heard, he at first
supported Hitler's plan to shoot these 40,000; but
afterwards, under the influence of Goebbels and Naumann, he
took the opposite view and co-operated in dissuading Hitler
from his intention.

Q. Were they only consulted in the matter as far as the
commanders of the Wehrmacht were concerned?

A. I know nothing about that.

Q. It is suggested that I should also ask you this. Do you
know what attitude Ribbentrop took on the shooting of these
prisoners?

A. Yes. After Ambassador Ruehle's report to him, he used his
influence to prevent the execution of Hitler's plan, in what
way, I do not know.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Fritz, do you wish to ask the defendant
any question?

DR. FRITZ: No, Mr. President.

                                                  [Page 318]

THE PRESIDENT: Do the prosecution wish to ask any questions
arising out of the questions that the Tribunal has asked?

GENERAL RUDENKO: No, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Then the defendant can return to the dock.

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, this brings me to the end of the
evidence in the case of the defendant Fritzsche.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you offering in evidence all the
documents in your two document books, each one of them?

DR. FRITZ: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Are they marked with exhibit numbers?

DR. FRITZ: Yes, I submitted all the originals.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well.

Have you got two Exhibits I, Exhibit I in one book and
Exhibit I in the other book?

DR. FRITZ: No, there are no Fritzsche exhibits at all in my
Document Book I, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh! I see. Very well. Well, that concludes
the case of Fritzsche?

DR. FRITZ: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

DR. BERGOLD (counsel for the defendant Bormann): May it
please the Tribunal, first of all I want to say that I can
also dispense with the witness Dr. Kloepfer as he worked in
close contact with Bormann only after 1942, and he cannot
testify on most of the documents on which the prosecution
bases its case; and since he only directed the
Constitutional Law Department in the Party Chancellery.

Mr. President, I want to begin my case by making a very
brief basic statement. The defendant Bormann is absent; his
associates, generally speaking, are not at my disposal
either. For that reason, I can only attempt, on the basis of
the documents presented by the prosecution, to submit some
little evidence to prove that the defendant did not play the
large, legendary part which is now, after the collapse,
attributed to him. As a lawyer, it has always been much
against my will to build something out of nothing and I beg
the High Tribunal to take this into consideration when
weighing my evidence, which must therefore be extremely
small in quantity. It is not negligence on my part that I
present so little, but it is the inability to find anything
positive from the available documents without the assistance
of the defendant.

First of all, then, I come to the question of whether the
case against Bormann can be tried at all. I have offered
evidence to show that it is extremely probable that the
defendant Bormann died on the 1st of May 1945, during an
attempted escape from the Reich Chancellery. As my first
witness who could testify to this, I named Else Krueger, and
my application for her was granted by the Tribunal. In my
application of the 26th of June, I stated that I would waive
the examining of this witness if the High Tribunal would
permit me to submit instead an affidavit containing her
testimony. I have not yet received an answer to this
application; but I presume, since I heard from Dr. Kempner
that the prosecution will agree to this, that the High
Tribunal also will not raise any objection.

THE PRESIDENT: I thought the application was withdrawn with
reference to the witness Krueger.

                                                  [Page 319]

DR. BERGOLD: I stated that I would dispense with the witness
provided that I could submit her affidavit. There appears to
be a misunderstanding. The prosecution informed me that it
had no objection.

MR. DODD: We have said we had no objection, Mr. President,
to the use of the affidavit since he was waiving the calling
of the witness.

DR. BERGOLD: I submit the affidavit as Bormann No. 12.

Then, I named three other witnesses who would testify that
Bormann had died.

Firstly the witness Kempka who for many years was Hitler's
chauffeur, and who was present when the attempted escape
from the Reich Chancellery failed. This witness is not here.
According to information which I have, he was interned at
the camp at Freising in December, 1945, in the hands of the
American authorities, but unfortunately he has not yet been
produced.

I also named the witness Rattenhuber who was also present
when Bormann died and who, according to the information
which I have, is said to be in the hands of the USSR.

The woman witness, Christians, who had been granted me,
could not be located. She was interned in the camp at
Oberursel; from there she was given leave of which she took
advantage to vanish. Apart from the affidavit of the witness
Krueger, therefore, I have no proof for my statement that
Bormann is dead. I regret very much indeed that I am not in
a position to present clear evidence on this point and that
the members of the prosecution were not able to give me more
support, for in this way the legend will be considerably
strengthened. Indeed, false Martin Bormanns have already
made their appearance and are sending me letters which are
signed Martin Bormann, but which cannot possibly have been
written by him. I believe that a service would have been
rendered to the German nation, to the Allies and to the
world generally if I had been in a position to furnish this
proof for which I had asked.

I come now to my documents.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Tribunal would like to hear this
affidavit of Krueger read.

DR. BERGOLD: The text is as follows:

  "Fraulein Else Krueger, born 9th February, 1915, at
  Hamburg-Altona; secretary; at present residing at Hamburg
  39, Hansenweg 1. From approximately the end of 1942, I
  was one of several secretaries of the defendant Martin
  Bormann; there were, roughly, thirty to forty
  secretaries, I can no longer give accurate figures and
  names. I occupied this position until the end and even
  after Hitler's death.
  
  On the 1st of May, 1945, I saw and talked to Bormann in
  the bunker of the Reich Chancellery, for the last time,
  but I was then no longer working for him since at that
  time he was writing his own orders and wireless messages
  by hand. All I had to do in those days in the bunker of
  the Reich Chancellery was to prepare myself mentally for
  my death.
  
  The last words he spoke to me, when he met me
  accidentally in the bunker, were: 'Well, then, farewell.
  There is not much sense in it now, but I will try to get
  through; very probably I shall not succeed.' These,
  approximately, were his last words, I can no longer
  recollect the exact wording.
  
  Later, in the course of the evening when, as I thought,
  the Russians had reached a spot very close to the shelter
  of the Reich Chancellery, I, together with a group of
  about twenty people, mostly soldiers, fled from the
  shelter through subterranean passages, then through an
  exit in one of the walls of the Chancellery, across the
  Wilhelmsplatz into the entrance of the underground
  station Kaiserhof. From there, we fled through more
  subterranean passages to the Friedrichstrasse, and then
  through a number of streets, debris of houses and so on;
  I can no longer remember the exact details on account of
  the confusion and excitement of those days. Eventually,
  in the course of

                                                  [Page 320]

  the following morning, we reached another shelter, I can
  no longer recollect where it was; it might have been the
  shelter at Humboldthain."

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Bergold, does not the affidavit deal with
the defendant Bormann at all.

DR. BERGOLD: Oh, yes, I am now coming to that.

  "After some time, the SS Gruppenfuehrer Rattenhuber
  appeared there quite suddenly. He had been severely
  wounded in the leg and was put on a camp bed. Other
  people asked him where he had come from, and he said in
  my presence that he, together with Bormann and others,
  had fled by car through the Friedrichstrasse. Presumably
  everybody was dead; there had been masses of bodies. I
  gathered from his statement that he believed Bormann was
  dead. This also appeared probable to me because,
  according to stories I heard from some soldiers whom I
  did not know, all people who had left the shelter after
  us had been under strong Russian fire and hundreds of
  dead were said to have been left behind on the
  Weidendammer Bridge."

I omit one unimportant sentence.

  "I remember reading afterwards in a British paper that
  Hitler's driver for many years, Kempka, made a statement
  somewhere that Bormann, with whom apparently he fled, was
  dead."

That is all I am able to submit, Mr. President; the real
witnesses have, unfortunately, not been found.

I now come to the documents. In order to shorten my
evidence, may I refer to the document book which I have
submitted. All these documents contain orders of Bormann
which were collected and have appeared in a body of laws
called "Orders of the Deputy of the Fuehrer."

I request that the Tribunal take judicial notice of these
official orders. I shall bring up the legal argument arising
from these documents in my final speech.

I merely want to refer now briefly to Order No. 23/36; it is
the order under figure 8.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean PS?

DR. BERGOLD: No, it is Order No. 8 in my document book, Mr.
President. I particularly want to draw the Tribunal's
attention to it without quoting from it.

I now turn to the document book submitted by the
prosecution, and I should like to read a short passage from
098-PS, on Page 4, the second paragraph at the top.

THE PRESIDENT: Did you say 098-PS?

DR. BERGOLD: Yes, 098-PS, Bormann's letter dated 22nd
February, 1940, and addressed to Reichsleiter Alfred
Rosenberg.

THE PRESIDENT: Page 4?

DR. BERGOLD: Page 4. It is the letter in which Bormann
inveighs against the Churches. Nevertheless, he writes as
follows, Page 4:

  "With regard to religious instruction in schools it seems
  to me that the existing conditions need not be changed.
  No National Socialist teacher, according to the clear-cut
  directives of the Deputy of the Fuehrer, must be accused
  in any way, if he is prepared to teach the Christian
  religion in the schools."

I omit one sentence.

  "In the circular of the Deputy of the Fuehrer No. 3/39,
  of 4th January, 1939, it is expressly stated that
  teachers of religion are not by any means to make their
  own choice of biblical material for religious
  instruction, but are obliged to give instruction in all-
  the biblical material. They are to abstain from any
  interpreting, analysing or paraphrasing of this
  directive; attempts of this sort have been made several
  times by certain Church groups." - this is a reference to
  the so-called "German Christians."

                                                  [Page 321]

I then quote from Document 113-PS, Document Book of the
prosecution. It is Order No. 104/38, I quote:

  "The neutrality of the Party with respect to the
  Churches, which has been emphasized from the beginning,
  demands that any possible friction be avoided. Clergymen,
  as political leaders, or as leaders or section leaders in
  the Party and its affiliated organizations, do not
  dispose of the required freedom of decision in their dual
  capacity, as has been shown by experience; moreover,
  there is the danger that on account of their Church
  office they will involve the movement in the Church
  struggle on their side. The deputy of the Fuehrer has
  therefore ordered: 1. Clergymen holding positions in the
  Party are to be immediately relieved of their Party
  functions."

I then quote from Document 099-PS, in which Bormann, in a
letter of 19th January, 1940, addressed to the Reich
Minister of Finance, criticises the low contributions of the
Church towards the war. I quote from the second paragraph:

  "The assessment of so low a contribution has surprised
  me. I gather from numerous reports that the political
  communities have to raise so high a war contribution that
  the completion of their own tasks, which are often very
  important, as for instance their work in public welfare,
  is in jeopardy."

I omit one sentence.

  "I understand that the assessment of so low a
  contribution is partly explained by the fact that only
  those Churches of the old Reich which are entitled to
  raise taxes are called upon to make their contribution to
  the war, whereas the sections of the Protestant and
  Catholic Church, which are entitled to demand Church dues
  in Austria and the Sudetenland, are exempted."

I omit the rest of the sentence.

  "This differentiation in the treatment of individual
  sections of the Churches and Church organizations is, in
  my opinion, quite unjustified."

I then quote from Document 117-PS, a letter from Bormann to
Rosenberg, dated 28th January, 1939. I quote from the second
paragraph:

  "The Party has repeatedly in recent years had to explain
  its attitude on the plan for a State Church or for some
  other measure establishing closer connection between the
  State and the Church. The Party has always emphatically
  rejected such plans for two reasons. Firstly, a
  connection between the State and the Church, as the
  organization of a religious community which does not in
  all fields aim at the practical application of National
  Socialist principles, would not fulfil the ideological
  demands of National Socialism. Secondly, purely practical
  and political considerations speak against such an
  outward connection."

I then refer to Document L-22, which deals with a conference
in the Fuehrer's headquarters on the 16th of July, 1941, at
which Hitler, Rosenberg, Lammers, Keitel, Goering and
Bormann were present.


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