The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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

DR. NELTE (counsel for defendant Keitel): Mr. President, to my regret I must present the same objections to this document submitted by the prosecutor of the Soviet Union under USSR 149, and must submit the same request which I made this morning. As far as I know, the High Tribunal have not yet made a decision in regard to this question.

THE PRESIDENT: I beg your pardon, Dr. Nelte. The Tribunal has already made a decision, which governs this case. They pointed out the other day to counsel for the Soviet Union that documents which were not identified as authentic documents, must be identified as authentic, and the Soviet prosecutor at that time undertook to certify that all documents which he made use of were certified as authentic documents. And if they are not so certified, they will be struck out of the record. That ruling applies to this document.

This document is a document which appears to be a letter or report to the Government of the Soviet Union, but it does not contain upon its face any certification showing that it is an authentic document. The counsel for the Soviet Union said before we adjourned that he undertook -- as he had already undertaken -- to produce a certificate that the document was an authentic document; that is to say, that it was written by the person who purported to write it, and in those circumstances, the Tribunal accepts the document provisionally.

If no such certificate is forthcoming, then the document will be stricken from the record.

DR. NELTE: If I understand you correctly, the Tribunal will accept a letter written to the Soviet Government or a statement as documentary evidence for the contents of this statement.

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly. I have already said, provided that it is certified as an authentic document. I have said that more than once.

DR. NELTE: In this way, every letter sent to the prosecution or the Government of the Soviet Union or to any other prosecution would become documentary evidence by the certification that it has actually been written by the person who signed it, which would make it impossible for the defence to cross-examine the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: That depends on where the witness is. We are dealing with witnesses who are scattered all over the globe, and as we are informed that it is not the practice in the Soviet Union for affidavits to be made in such cases, the Tribunal considers such a document to fall within Article 19 -- provided it is an authentic document.

We are affording the defendants' counsel the greatest assistance in bringing witnesses to this Court, but we cannot undertake to bring witnesses from all over the world upon questions which are very often of very little importance.

DR. NELTE: I quite appreciate the difficulties, and I am grateful to the Tribunal for their willingness to assist us. Therefore I only request that it be ascertained in each case where the person who has made that statement has his residence, so that the defence may try to reach him.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. If the witness is in, or in the immediate vicinity of, Nuremberg, the Tribunal would think that it was only fair, if such a document as this were to be put in evidence, that he should be produced for examination or cross-examination by the defendants' counsel, but we do understand that the man who wrote this letter is not in the vicinity of Nuremberg. We have no reason to think he is, and I am reminding defendants' counsel that they can

[Page 248]

always apply, if they think right, to issue interrogatories which would be put to any such person as this who has written such a document as this.

DR. NELTE: Thank you.

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: I have availed myself of the recess to make inquiries about General Mueller. He is in a prisoner-of- war camp, No. 27, in Krasnogorsk, in the Moscow region. May I continue my statement?


MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: All the material, your Honours, which I have mentioned to date emanated from circles of the High Command of the German Army. If I can so express myself, General Mueller belonged to the central link of the body of German generals. He was Chief of Staff of the Army, he commanded an Army Corps. His testimony reflects a series of events which may be considered worthy of attention, since they explain the circumstances accompanying Germany's preparations against the Soviet Union.

I wish to refer to Page 46 of the document book. There you will find the first page of General Mueller's statement. The first paragraph, Page 1, of the statement is marked with red pencil. I now proceed to quote from it:

"The preparation for the attack on the Soviet Union began as early as July, 1940. At that time I was Chief of Staff of 'C' Army Group at Dijon in France. General Field-Marshal von Leeb was in command. This Army Group consisted of the 1st, 2nd and 7th Armies, which were occupation armies in France. Besides this, Army Group 'A' (Rundstedt), whose task was to prepare Operation 'Sea Lion' (the invasion of England) and Army Group 'B' was transferred to the East (Poznan). The staff of Army Group 'B' was given the following forces, transferred from France (part of the armies of occupation): The 12th, 4th and 18th Armies, plus some other corps and about 30 divisions. Of this numbere, some of the divisions were taken from Army Group 'B.'

Directly after the campaign in the West, the O.K.H. gave the order for the demobilisation of 20 divisions. This order was cancelled, and the 20 divisions were not demobilised. Instead of this, after their return to Germany they were sent on leave, and thus kept ready for rapid mobilisation.

Both measures, the transfer of about 500,000 men to the Russian frontier and the cancellation of the order disbanding about 300,000 men, show that already in July, 1940, plans existed for war operations in the East.

The next order which gives evidence of Germany's preparations for attacking the Soviet Union, was the written O.K.H. order issued in September, 1940, regarding the formation in Leipzig of a new Army (The 11th), severeal corps and about 40 infantry divisions. The formation of these units was carried out from September, 1940, onwards, by the Commander of the Reserve Army (Colonel-General Fromm), partly in France, but mainly in Germany. Towards the end of September, 1940, the O.K.H. called me to Fontainebleu. The Quartermaster-General of the 1st General Staff of the Land Forces, Lieutenant-General (afterwards Field Marshal) Paulus, informed me, at first orally, of the order that my staff (the staff of Army Group `C') was to be transferred to Dresden by 1st November, and the staff of the 2nd Army (Colonel-General Weichs), which formed part of this Army Group, to Munich, also by 1st November."

I omit several lines of General Mueller's statement and pass to the second page of the document, which corresponds to Page 41 of the document book:
"In accordance with this order, confirmed later on a written order signed by the Chief of the General Staff Halder, the transfer of these units was carried out on time."

[Page 249]

Thus initiated, the preparation for the attack on the Soviet Union was carried out at a heightened tempo and with customary German pedantry.

I would, your Honours, remind the Tribunal that the witness, Paulus, stated at this session that in August, 1940, the elaboration of the previous plan of attack on the Soviet Union, known as Case "Barbarossa," was already so far advanced as to render possible the conducting of two manoeuvres under the direction of Paulus.

THE PRESIDENT: General, I don't think it is necessary to read the statement of Field Marshal Paulus, as he has already given the evidence in the witness box.

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: I am not reading it into the record. I am merely referring to a circumstance which will enable me to proceed to General Mueller's statement that this system of manoeuvres, which originated in the General Staff of the German Army, eventually spread over the entire Army and that the entire armed forces participated in the execution of these manoevres which, per se, were already a preparation for the attack on the Soviet Union. I am reading into the record that passage of the statement which is underlined in blue pencil, Pages 2 and 3 of the Russian text; Page 41 of the bundle of documents:

"Insofar," General Mueller states, "as in the future the Army was to attack the Soviet Union, the first plan was to train soldiers and officers.

Towards the end of January, 1941, I received telegraphic orders from the Chief of the General Staff Halder to attend the military exercises at St. Germain (near Paris) of Rundstedt's Army Group. The object of this military exercise was the attack and advance from Roumania and South Poland in the direction of Kiev. The plan had in mind the intention also of the participation of Roumanian troops. In the main these military exercises anticipated the conditions of the future order concerning the strategic deployment of forces, to which I will refer later.

The director of the military exercises was the Chief of Staff of the Rundstedt Army Group. There were present: Rundstedt, Halder; the Chiefs of Staff: of the 6th Army, Colonel Heim; of the 11th Army, Colonel Weler, and of Kleist's Tank Group, Colonel Zwickler and several generals of the Armoured Forces. The military exercises were held in the area occupied by Rundstedt's Army Group, approximately between 31st January and 2nd February, 1941. The exercise demonstrated the necessity for a strong concentration of tank forces."

The documents I have presented to date characterise the measures of the Military Command of the German Armed Forces for the preparation of the strategic deployment of the German Armies for launching an attack against the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics.

As for time, these measures embraced a considerable period of 1940 and were put into action at least six months prior to the appearance on the scene of directive No. 21 concerning the Case "Barbarossa."

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