The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Sixth Day: Monday,11th February, 1946
(Part 10 of 14)

[Page 245]

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: Referring to the explanation concerning the beginning of the attack on the Soviet Union, I should like to remind the Tribunal that in the morning session of the Tribunal on 30th November, 1945, the witness, Lahousen, was interrogated and gave evidence of sufficient interest in our case.

Inter alias, this witness, when enumerating the more intimate members of the inner circle of Admiral Canaris, Chief of the Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence Services of the German Army, mentioned Pieckenbrock by name.

I present to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 228, the testimony of the former Chief of Abwehr I of the German Military Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence Services, Lieutenant General Hans Pieckenbrock, of the former German Army, former chief and colleague of Lahousen. Pieckenbrock gave this testimony in the form prescribed by the laws of the Soviet Union, in Moscow, on 12th December, 1945.

For the moment I should like to read a few lines only into the record from Pieckenbrock's testimony, relating to the matter which we are now investigating. These lines are on Page 1 of the Russian text of his testimony and they are marked with a red pencil. This Page 1 corresponds to Page 34 of the document book.

"I must say," said Pieckenbrock, "that as early as August and September, 1940, the Foreign Army's Section of the General Staff of the Army began considerably to increase its intelligence assignments to the Abwehr (Counter-Intelligence) concerning the USSR. These assignments were unquestionably connected with the preparation of war against Russia.

The more precise dates for Germany's attack on the Soviet Union I learned in January, 1941, from Canaris. I do not know what sources Canaris quoted, but he told me that the attack on the Soviet Union was fixed for 15th May."

[Page 246]

The Soviet prosecution also has at its disposal the testimony of the former chief of Abwehr III of the German Military Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence Services, Lieutenant General Franz von Bentivegni of the former German Army, which was given by him on 28th December, 1945. I present those documents as Exhibit USSR 230.

I shall at the same time also only read into the record only those parts of Bentivegni's testimony underlined in red pencil, which have a direct bearing on the beginning of military preparations against the Soviet Union. These first two excerpts of the testimony are on Page 37 in the document book which is submitted to the Military Tribunal:

"I learned first of Germany's preparation for a military attack on the Soviet Union in August, 1940, from the head of the German Intelligence and Counter- Intelligence Service, Admiral Canaris. In an unofficial conversation which took place in Canaris' office he told me that Hitler had started to take measures for an Eastern campaign, which he had spoken about as early as 1938 in his speech at a meeting of Gauleiter in Berlin.

Canaris said to me that these plans of Hitler's had now begun to take concrete form. This was evident from the fact that divisions of the German Army were being forwarded in large numbers from the West to the Eastern frontier and, in accordance with a special order by Hitler, were taking up positions from which to start the coming invasion of Russia."

(First two paragraphs of Bentivegni's testimony.)

And finally, in order to finish with the question of the actual dates of Fascist Germany's military preparations for the treacherous attack on the Soviet Union, I should like to dwell for a moment on the testimony of General Mueller. This testimony, dated 8th January, 1946, was, written in a camp for prisoners of war. I present it to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 149.

All the material to which I have so far referred emanated from circles of the High Command of the German Army.

THE PRESIDENT: General, on this document of General Mueller, is it apparent where that document was made and where General Mueller is now?

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: The photostat bears a date written in General Mueller's hand. This date is 8th January, 1946.


MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: If I might have a look at the photostatic copy which I have just presented to the Tribunal, I would be able to tell you where the date is written.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but there are many prisoners-of-war camps. We want to know which one and where it is.

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: In a camp located near Moscow.

THE PRESIDENT: Has this document got any authenticating signature on it at all? So far as we are concerned, isn't it simply a photostatic copy of a writing by somebody?

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: Mr. President, this document, like all other documents which have been submitted so far by the Soviet Delegation, is a non-certified photostatic copy.

Taking into consideration the wish of the Tribunal, and in execution of this wish, the Soviet prosecution took measures to ensure that only the originals of these documents or documents whose authenticity is certified will be presented in complete order to the General Secretary.

THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell us where the writer of the document is now?

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: I am hardly in a position to say more than I have already done. If the Tribunal will permit me, I can consult my colleagues,

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make inquiries, and report to the Tribunal as soon as possible on the General's whereabouts.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we will adjourn now. That will enable you to consult your colleagues.

(A recess was taken.)

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