The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Seventh Day: Tuesday, 12th February, 1946
(Part 2 of 18)

[DR. NELTE (Counsel for defendant Keitel) continues his cross examination of Friedrich Paulus]

Q. On realizing these facts, did you, or the General Staff of the Army, or the High Command of the Army, make any protests to Hitler about it?

A. Personally, I do not know whether or in what form or whether the C.-in-C. of the Army made any protests.

Q. Did you, yourself, protest to General Halder or von Brauchitsch?

A. Unless I am mistaken, I believe that I am supposed to be here as a witness for the events with which the defendants are accused. I ask the Tribunal, therefore, to relieve me of the responsibility of answering these questions which are directed against myself.

Q. Field Marshal Paulus, you do not seem to realise that you also belong to the circle of the accused, because you belonged to the organisation of the High Command, which is indicted here as criminal.

A. And, therefore, since I believe that I am here as witness for the events which have led to the Indictment, I have asked to be excused answering these questions which concern myself.

DR. NELTE: I ask the Tribunal to decide.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal considers that you must answer the questions that have been put up to date.

THE WITNESS: Then may I ask for a repetition of the question, please?

Q. I have asked you, Field Marshall, whether, since you realised that there were serious doubts, you talked to your chief, Halder, or to von Brauchitsch, about these things?

A. I cannot remember having talked to the C.-in-C. of the Army about it, but I did so with the Chief of the General Staff, General Halder.

Q. Was he of the same opinion?

A. Yes, he was of the same opinion, that is to say, he was greatly concerned at such a plan.

Q. For military or moral reasons?

A. For several reasons, both military and moral.

Q. It is certain, then, that you and the Chief of Staff Halder, realised those facts which branded the war against Russia as a criminal attack, yet just the same you did nothing about it? In your statement you have said that later you became Commander-in-Chief of the 6th Army; is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. Knowing all these facts you accepted the command of an army which was to push against Stalingrad. Did you have any serious misgivings about being made an instrument of an attack which in your opinion was a criminal one?

[Page 260]

A. As the situation at that time appeared to the soldier, and under the influence of the extraordinary propaganda which was put into play, I then believed, as did so many others, that I had to do my duty toward my Fatherland.

Q. But you knew there were facts against such a belief?

A. Those facts became clear to me afterwards on account of my experiences as Commander of the 6th Army, which found their climax at Stalingrad; but I did not know them at that time. Also, as for the attack being criminal, this realisation came only later, when I thought about all its aspects, because I could not see the whole picture before.

Q. Then I have to consider your expression "criminal attack" or any other expressions for the war-mongers -- I have to consider that as something that you realised later?

A. Yes.

Q. And I may say, then, that in spite of your having serious misgivings and knowledge concerning the facts which made the war against Russia a criminal aggressive action, that in spite of this knowledge, you considered it your duty to take command of the Sixth Army and to hold Stalingrad until the last moment?

A. I have just explained that at that time, when I accepted the command of the Sixth Army, I did not see the extent of the crime intended in the planning and committed in the waging of this war; that I did not see its entire extent and could not see it, in the way my experiences as Commander of the Sixth Army showed it to me later.

Q. You speak of the extent, but the fact is that you knew the background. Maybe you were one of the few who did know it. You have not mentioned that.

A. I did not know it. I knew the instigation of this war to be aggressive, from the attitude of the greater part of the Officers Corps. In keeping with the prevailing concept, I saw nothing unusual in the basing of the fate of a people and a nation upon power politics.

Q. So you agreed with these ideologies?

A. Not with the trend which appeared later, but I did not exclude the concept that the fate of a country can be built upon power politics. It was a mistake that at this time, and in the 20th century, only the democracies and the concept of the nationality principle should be the decisive factors.

Q. Would you credit others too, who were not so near to these sources, with the good faith that they only wanted what was best for their Fatherland?

A. Yes, I would.

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