The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Seventh Day: Tuesday, 12th February, 1946
(Part 15 of 18)


As Exhibit USSR 244, I present an urgent telegram from the defendant Keitel, addressed to Marshal Antonescu and received by the latter on 31st October, 1942.

I shall not explain in detail how this document was taken from the personal archives of Antonescu, in the same way as the previous one. I now read this telegram into the record and would ask you to accept it as evidence (to be found on Page 119 of the document book):

"Urgent telegram transmitted through the German Mission.

To Marshal Antonescu.

Your Excellency,

In the name of the Fuehrer I approach Your Excellency with a request for your personal intervention in the matter of accelerating, as far as possible, the delivery of the maximum possible quantity of fuel to the Italian Fleet, which is absolutely essential to the it for the continuance of military operations in the Mediterranean. The lack sufficient fuel has resulted in a critical situation in North Africa, and the transport both of military material and of food supplies depends entirely on the delivery of adequate quantities of that commodity. I beg Your Excellency to increase to the maximum degree those deliveries of fuel to Italy which are exclusively reserved for supplying the fleet called upon to maintain important positions in the Mediterranean.

I have decided on a direct appeal to you because I am sure that your personal intervention will result in the assistance required.

Yours in comradely esteem Keitel, Field Marshal."

Allow me, now, to submit the telegram which Antonescu sent in reply to Keitel. Please turn to Page 120 of the document book (Exhibit USSR 244a).

THE PRESIDENT: Could you summarize the contents of this document.

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: I can summarize the contents of that telegram in two sentences. In reply to the defendant Keitel's tearful appeal to increase to the maximum degree the fuel supplies, Antonescu replied, in a wire addressed to Keitel, that he had met his obligations in full; that the supplies previously requested by the German officials had already been delivered and that it was impossible to send any more. If something could eventually be saved from the quantities needed inside Roumania then perhaps, somehow or other, Roumania might be able to help her Allies. Finally, Antonescu begged General Keitel to accept his expressions of regard and high esteem, but would not give him any more oil.

[Page 287]

Allow me to remind you, Your Honours, that in October and November, 1942, Rommel's fate was being decided in North Africa, and that at the same time the Red Army was barring Germany's advance on the Grozny and Baku oil fields on the borders of Mozdok. It is obvious that the Germans lacked sufficient quantities of crude oil.

I shall read one extract from the minutes of a conversation which took place on 12th February, 1942, between Antonescu and the defendant Ribbentrop, which has not, as yet, been read into the record. I have previously submitted to the Tribunal the record of this conversation as Exhibit USSR 233. I ask you to turn to the end of Page 51 and to Page 52 of the document book, which correspond to Page 4 of the Russian text. There you will find the following lines.

In reply to Ribbentrop's question on the subject of crude oil, Antonescu stated:

"As for crude oil, Roumania has contributed the maximum which it was in her power to contribute; she can give no more. The only way out of the situation would be to seize territories rich in oil."
We should note here that Antonescu was not at all original in his idea of seizing other people's territories rich in oil.

I am asking Your Honours to refer to Pages 121-129 of the document book. There is one document taken from the private office of the defendant Rosenberg, which is entitled, "Reorganisation of the Caucasus." I submit this document to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 58, and I would ask you to accept it as evidence. In July, 1941, the defendant Rosenberg formulated the German opinion on this question (Page 122 of the document book) as follows:

"Germany is interested in creating a stable position in the entire Caucasus in order to secure the safety of Continental Europe, i.e., to safeguard for herself the link with the Near East. Only this link with the oilfields that can make Germany and the rest of Europe independent, in the event of any coalition of maritime Powers. The aim of German policy is to control the Caucasus and the adjoining lands to the South, both politically and militarily."
Will you please turn to Page 124 of the document book, as well as to Page 4 of the Russian text of the document from which I am quoting. The same idea is formulated there by the defendant Rosenberg with extreme clarity:
"Economically, the German Reich must take all oil into its hands."
Your Honours, I shall not dwell in detail on the relations between the Fascist conspirators and their other satellite, Finland, as the witness, Buschenhagen, offered sufficiently conclusive evidence on this question, and the Tribunal has probably already got some definite ideas on the subject. I would just like to remind the Tribunal that, according to paragraph 3, section 2, of Case "Barbarossa,":
Finland was to cover the advance of the German landing detachment "North," consisting of units of the 21st Group, which was due to arrive from Norway, and then to operate jointly with that Group. According to Plan "Barbarossa," the liquidation of the Russian forces at Hangoe was also assigned to Finland.
I would also like to remind the Tribunal that Section 2 of the "Temporary Case "Barbarossa"," which has been presented to the Tribunal by the American prosecution as Document No. 39-C, mentions Finland's participation in the war; as I have already reported to the Tribunal, the following sentence is to be found in this Section (which corresponds to Page 52 of the document book):

[Page 288]

"The preliminary negotiations with the Finnish General Staff have been under way since 25th May."
I should also like to invite your attention to the following paragraph of the same document:
"Provision has been made for transportation from the Fatherland to Norway of the 10th S.S. Division and the 18th Artillery Battalion, and for transportation to Finland of one reinforced infantry division complete with Army Corps units. Of the units one infantry division, two mountain divisions and the S.S. Group 'North' are designated for Plan 'Silver Fox.'

It has been planned, on the outbreak of military operations, to bring by rail, through Sweden, a further division for the attack on Hangoe."

I consider that I am now justified in stating that the date of 25th May, 1941, indicated in the "Temporary Case "Barbarossa"" as the date on which the negotiations with the Finnish General Staff were opened, was incorrect.

The indication of this date, which did not correspond to reality, was an attempt to disguise the preparations for aggression, presenting them to the outside world as preparations for a so-called "Preventive War."

In addition to the testimony of the witness Buschenhagen, already given to the Tribunal, I shall now present, as Exhibit USSR 229, the depositions of a former Colonel of the German Army, Kitchmann, which I beg you to accept as evidence.

Kitchmann held the office of Military Attache in the German Embassy at Helsinki from 1st October, 1941. You will find this testimony on Page 130 of the document book. I shall read a very short extract therefrom into the record:

"Top Secret. A long time before 22nd June, 1941, the German Government and the High Command of the German Armed Forces jointly carried out secret negotiations with the Finnish Government and the General Staff of the Finnish Army, and prepared the attack on the Soviet Union. I learned about the preparation for the attack on the Soviet Union by the German and Finnish Armies under the following circumstances. On my arrival at Helsinki in October, 1941, as acting German Military Attache, I had numerous conversations with Major von Albedill, the aide of the German Military Attache, who formerly served in the Military Attache's Department in the General Staff of the Army.

Von Albedill acquainted me with the situation in Finland and its military and political background, since Major-General Rossing, the Military Attache, was seriously ill and receiving treatment at the health resort of Merano in the Tyrol. In the course of these conversations von Albedill told me that as early as September, 1940, Major-General Rossing, acting on an order of Hitler and of the German General Staff, had arranged the visit of Major-General Talwel, the Plenipotentiary of Marshal Mannerheim, to the Fuehrer's headquarters in Berlin. During this visit an agreement was reached between the German and Finnish General Staffs for joint preparations for a war of aggression, and its execution, against the Soviet Union. In this connection General Talwel told me, during a conference at his staff headquarters in Aunosa in November, 1941, that he, acting on Marshal Mannerheim's personal orders, had as far back as September, 1940 -- been one of the first to contact the German High Command with a view to joint preparation for a German and Finnish attack on the Soviet Union."

I ask your permission to conclude herewith the presentation of the documents concerning the relations between Fascist Germany and her satellite, Finland, since -- I repeat -- Buschenhagen's testimony has relieved me of this necessity.

I should like to summarise one aspect briefly. Buschenhagen's testimony disposes of all attempts to assert that the war waged by Finland was a separate

[Page 289]

war and was disassociated from the war aims of Fascist Germany. Finland's entry into the war had been envisaged in the war plans of the Fascist conspirators and corresponded to the aggressive intentions of the Finnish rulers.

The Finns, like the other satellites of Germany, waged war in the hope of gaining whole regions and republics of the Soviet Union.

At the conference of 16th July, 1941, Hitler spoke of the Finnish claims to Eastern Karelia, the Leningrad region and the city of Leningrad. In proof of this fact I refer to Document 221-L presented by the American prosecution. The extracts quoted from this document will be found on Page 141 of the document book.

Roumania and Finland were two German satellites discussed in full detail in Case "Barbarossa."

The part these countries played in the plans of German fascism was determined not only by the desire to utilize their war potential (which without doubt was of some importance) but also by their geographical position as operational bases on the flanks of the Soviet Union.

The documents presented to the Tribunal bear witness to the fact that the inclusion of these countries in the preparation for attack against the U.S.S.R. had been carefully plotted by the Fascist conspirators, in the same way as were all the preparations connected with Case "Barbarossa."

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