The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th January to 19th January, 1946

Thirty-Fourth Day: Tuesday, January 15th, 1946
(Part 8 of 10)

[Page 275]

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: I have drawn the Tribunal's attention to the circulation of Hitler's order to shoot Commandos. I now draw the Tribunal's attention to an example of the execution of that order by the German Navy during the period when Raeder was its Commander.

My learned friend, Mr. Roberts, has already given the Tribunal an account of a Commando operation of December, 1942, which had as its objective an attack on shipping in Bordeaux harbour. The Tribunal will recollect that the Wehrmacht account he quoted, U.K. 57, Exhibit GB 164, stated that six of the ten participants in that Commando raid were arrested and that all were shot on 23rd March, 1943. In connection with that episode the prosecution has a further document throwing more light on this Bordeaux incident, and showing how much more expeditiously the Navy under Raeder had implemented Hitler's order on this particular occasion. I draw the Court's attention to Document C-176, at Page 61 of the document book, Exhibit GB 228.

[Page 276]

That document consists of extracts from the war diary of Admiral Bachmann, who was the German Flag Officer in charge of Western France. The first entry, at Page 61, is dated 10th December, 1942, and reads:
"About 10.15. Telephone call from personal representative of the Officer-in-Charge of the Security Service in Paris, S.S. Obersturmfuehrer Dr. Schmidt, to Flag Lieutenant, requesting postponement of the shooting, as interrogation had not been concluded.

After consultation with the Chief of Operations Staff the Security Service had been directed to get approval direct from Headquarters.

18.20. Security Service, Bordeaux, requested Security Service authorities at Fuehrer's headquarters to postpone the shooting for three days. Interrogations continued for the time being."

The next day, 11th December, 1942:
"Shooting of two prisoners was carried out by a unit belonging to the naval officer in charge, Bordeaux, in the presence of an officer of the Security Service, Bordeaux, on order of the Fuehrer."
Then there is a note in green pencil in the margin opposite the entry which reads:
"Security Service should have done this. Phone Flag Officer in Charge in future cases."
The Tribunal will therefore see from this Document, C-176, that the first two gallant men to be shot as a result of the Bordeaux operation were actually put to death by a naval firing party on 11th December, 1942. They were Sergeant Wallace and Marine Ewart, who had the misfortune to be captured on 8th December in the preliminary stages of the operation.

Of interest is the comment of the Naval War Staff upon this shooting, which is found in Document D-658.

THE PRESIDENT: What do the last two lines in Document C-176 about the operation being "particularly favoured" mean?

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: "The operation was particularly favoured by the weather conditions and the dark night" - that presumably, my Lord, is a reference to the operation of the Marine Commandos in successfully blowing up a number of German ships in Bordeaux harbour. Alternatively, I am advised by the naval officer who is assisting me, that it probably is a reference to the conditions prevailing at the time of the shooting of the two men.

THE PRESIDENT: I should have thought so.

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: I stand corrected by the representative of the British Navy upon my interpretation of the matter.

THE PRESIDENT: Does not it indicate that naval men had done it?

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: The shooting was in fact, as the entry of 11th December shows, carried out by a naval party-by units belonging to the naval officer in charge of Bordeaux.


MAJOR ELWYN JONES: I was seeking to draw the Tribunal's attention to the comment of the Naval War Staff upon that shooting, which is in Document D-658, at Page 109, Exhibit GB 229. It reads:

"The Naval Commander, West France, reports that during the course of the day, explosives with attachable magnets, mapping material dealing with the mouth of the Gironde, aerial photographs of the port installations at Bordeaux, camouflage material and food and water for several days were found. Attempts to salvage the canoe were unsuccessful. The Naval Commander, West France, has ordered that both soldiers be shot immediately for attempted sabotage, if their interrogation, which has begun, confirms what has so far been discovered; their execution has, however, been postponed in order to obtain more information.

[Page 277]

According to a Wehrmacht report, both soldiers have meanwhile been shot. The measure would be in accordance with the Fuehrer's special order, but is nevertheless something new in International Law, since the soldiers were in uniform."
I submit that that last sentence shows very clearly that the Naval High Command, under. Raeder, accepted allegiance to the Nazi conspiracy as of greater importance than any question of moral principle or of professional honour and integrity. This operation of the shooting of those two Commandos was, as I submit, not an act of war, but a murder of two gallant men, and it is upon this sombre note that it is my duty to summarise this part of the prosecution's case against the defendant Raeder.

The prosecution's submission is that he was not just a military puppet carrying out political orders. The Tribunal has seen that, before the Nazis came, he had worked actively to rebuild the German Navy behind the back of the Reichstag. When the Nazis seized power, he unreservedly joined forces with them. He was the prime mover in transferring the loyalty of the German Navy to the Nazi Party. He was as much a member of the inner councils of the Nazis as possibly any other defendant. And he was a member of their main political advisory bodies.

He was well aware of their aggressive designs, and I submit he assisted in their realisation not only as a military technician, but also as a mendacious politician, and he furthered, as I have submitted, their brutal methods of warfare. Yet of all these conspirators, Raeder was one of the first to fall from his high position. It is in fact true that the extension of war beyond the boundaries of Poland came as a disappointment to him. His vision of a Nazi Armada mastering the Atlantic reckoned without Ribbentrop's diplomacy and Hitler's ideas of strategy.

I would draw the Tribunal's attention to Document C-161, at Page 35 of the document book, which is an extract, GB 230, from a memorandum of Raeder, dated 10th January, 1943, just before his retirement, entitled, "The Importance of German Surface Forces for Conducting the War by the Powers Signatory to the Three-Power-Pact." The material entry reads:

"It was planned by the leaders of the National Socialist Reich to give the German Navy by 1944-45 such a strength that it would be possible to strike at the British vital arteries in the Atlantic with sufficient ships, fighting power and range.

The war having begun five years earlier, in 1939, the construction of these forces was still in its initial stages."

The Tribunal will see from that document how completely Raeder was cheated in his ambitious plans, by miscalculation as to when his high seas fleet would be required. The Tribunal has seen that Raeder made a great effort to recover some of his lost glory, with his attack on an inoffensive Norway. He made many efforts to liven up the war at sea, both at the expense of neutrals and also of the customs and laws of the sea. But his further schemes were disregarded by his fellow conspirators, and in January, 1943, Raeder retired, and thereafter he was a leader in name only.

I invite the Court's attention to Document D-655, at Page 108 of the document book, Exhibit GB 231, which is a record in Raeder's handwriting of his interview with Hitler on 6th January, 1943, which led to Raeder's retirement. I am proposing to read only the fifth paragraph, in which Raeder records:

"If the Fuehrer was anxious to demonstrate that the parting was of the friendliest character and wished that the name Raeder should continue to be associated with the Navy, particularly abroad, it would perhaps be possible to make an appointment to General Inspector, giving appropriate publicity in the Press, etc. But a new C.-in- C. Navy with full responsibility for this office must be appointed. The position of Inspector

[Page 278]

General, or whatever it was decided to call it, must be purely nominal. Hitler," the record reads, "accepted this suggestion with alacrity. The Inspector General could perhaps carry out special tasks for him, make tours of inspection, etc. The name of Raeder was still to be associated with the Navy. After C.-in-C. Navy had repeated his request, the Fuehrer definitely agreed to 30th January as his release date. He would like to think over the details."
This was Raeder's twilight, and indeed a very different occasion from the period of his ascendancy in 1939, when on 12th March Raeder spoke on the occasion of the German Heroes' Day. I now refer the Court to the final document on Raeder, an account of that speech in March, 1939, which is at Page 103 of the document book, in Document D-653, Exhibit GB 232. The first paragraph reads:
"Throughout Germany celebrations took place on the occasion of Hero Commemoration Day. On 12th March, 1939, these celebrations were combined for the first time with the celebration of the freedom to rearm. The day's chief event was the ceremony held in the Berlin State Opera House in Unter den Linden. In the presence of Hitler and representatives of the Party and Armed Forces, General Admiral Raeder made a speech, extracts from which are given below."
I turn to Page 2 of the record, Page 104 of the document book, to about the fifteenth line.
"National Socialism," says Raeder, "which originates from the spirit of the German fighting soldier, has been chosen by the German people as its ideology. The German people follow the symbols of its regeneration with the same great love and fanatical passion. The German people has had practical experience of National Socialism and it has not been imposed, as so many critics believe. The Fuehrer has shown his people that in the National Socialist racial community lies the greatest and invincible source of strength, whose dynamic power ensures not only peace at home, but also enables us to make use of all the Nation's creative powers."
There follow eulogies of Hitler, and, a few sentences below:
"This is the reason for the clear and unsparing summons to fight Bolshevism and international Jewry, whose race- destroying activities we have sufficiently experienced on our own people. Therefore, the alliance with all like- minded nations who, like Germany, are not willing to allow their strength, dedicated to construction and peaceful work at home, to be disrupted by alien ideologies as by parasites of a foreign race"
Then a few sentences on:
"If later on we instruct in the technical handling of weapons, this task demands that the young soldier should also be taught National Socialist ideology and the problems of life. This part of the task, which becomes for us both a duty of honour and a demand which cannot be refused, can and will be carried out if we stand shoulder to shoulder and in sincere comradeship to the Party and its organisations."
The next sentence:
"The Armed Forces and the Party thus became more and more united in attitude and spirit."
And then just two sentences on the next page:
"Germany is the protector of all Germans within and beyond our frontiers. The shots fired at Almeria are proof of that."
That refers, of course, to the bombardment of the Spanish town of Almeria, carried out by a German naval squadron on 31st May, 1937, during the course of the Spanish Civil War.

There are further references to the Fuehrer and his leadership, and then a final sentence of the first paragraph of Page 3:

[Page 279]

"They all planted into a younger generation the great tradition of death for a holy cause, knowing that with their blood they will lead the way towards the freedom of their dreams."
My submission is that that speech of Raeder's is the final proof of his deep personal involvement in the Nazi conspiracy. There is the mixture of heroics and fatalism that led millions of Germans to slaughter. There are boasts of violence used on the people of Almeria. There is the lip service to peace by a man who planned conquest. "Armed Force and Party have become more and more united in altitude and spirit" - there is the authentic Nazi voice. There is the assertion of racialism. Finally, there is the anti-Semitic gesture, Raeder's contribution to the outlook that produced Belsen. Imbued with these ideas he became an active participant on both the political and military level in the Nazi conspiracy to wage wars of aggression and to wage them ruthlessly.

MR. ALBRECHT: May it please the Tribunal, the United States will continue with the presentation, showing the individual responsibility of the defendant von Schirach. It will be made by Captain Sprecher.

CAPTAIN SPRECHER: May it please the Tribunal, it is my responsibility to present the individual responsibility of the defendant Schirach for Crimes against the Peace, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity as they concern directly the Common Plan or Conspiracy.

The prosecution contends that the defendant Schirach is guilty of having exercised a leading part in the Nazi conspiracy from 1925 until the Nazi downfall.

The conspiratorial acts and the criminality of the defendant Schirach may be grouped for purposes of convenience into three principal phases: (1) his early support of the conspirators over the period 1925-29; (2) his leadership and direction of German youth over the period 1929-45; (3) his leadership of the Reichgau Vienna as chief representative of the Nazi Party and the Nazi State in Vienna for the period July, 1940 to 1945. The presentation will take up each of these principal phases after a brief listing of all the principal positions which Schirach held.

In presenting first a listing of the positions held by Schirach, it is not intended immediately to describe the functions of each of these positions. In so far as a description of the functions of any particular position is still felt necessary at this stage of the trial, it will be given later during the discussion of Schirach's conspiratorial acts as Nazi Youth Leader and as Nazi official in Vienna.

For the consideration of the Tribunal, we have submitted a brief on this subject. The document book contains English translations of 29 documents. Although we feel that we have reduced the number of documents to the minimum, the document book is still large. But Schirach's subversion of German youth is a large subject, even apart from any of his other acts. Most of these documents are from German publications, of which the Tribunal can take judicial notice. Therefore, in most cases, it is intended only to paraphrase these documents, unless the Tribunal in particular instances will indicate that they would like fuller treatment.

Before passing to the proof, I want to express my appreciation, particularly to Major Hartley Murray, Lt. Fred Nisbergall at my right, and Mr. Norbert Hailpern, for their assistance in research, analysis, translation, and organisation of these materials.

Schirach agrees he held the following positions: They are found in two affidavits, an affidavit of certificate and one affidavit of report dated December, 1945, which is Document 3302-PS, document book, Page 110.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.