The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th February to 11th March, 1946

Seventy-Sixth Day: Thursday, 7th March, 1946
(Part 5 of 5)

[Page 220]

(Dr. Heinz Fritz came to the lectern.)

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: May it please the Tribunal, there are only two witnesses applied for in this case.

The first of them is von Schirmeister, who was an official of the late Dr. Goebbels in the Propaganda Ministry. The prosecution have no objection to that witness.

With regard to the second witness, Dr. Otto Kriegk, the application says that he received his information and instructions from the defendant Fritzsche and he can speak as to the directive issued to journalists. On the assumption that these were more or less official directives that he gave in the course of his duty, again, I do not think there can be any objection from the prosecution. But I do not know what Dr. Fritz would think about interrogatories, or whether he has any strong views about calling Dr. Kriegk on that point. As I understand it, it would be more or less a synopsis of the directives given, but in view of the very modest proportions of the applications in this case, I do not want to be unreasonable, if there is any special reason for calling Dr. Kriegk.

DR. FRITZ (counsel for defendant Fritzsche): Your Honours, I have presented a very restricted list of witnesses and I should be grateful if the personal appearance of the second witness, Dr. Kriegk, were granted, for the following reasons: First, the witness von Schirmeister has been named because he is to give us information about the internal tasks which the defendant Fritzsche had in the Ministry of Propaganda, especially about his relations to Dr. Goebbels. As far as the daily Press conferences which the defendant Fritzsche held are concerned, this first witness, von Schirmeister, did not take part in them. From the subjective angle, especially, it is important to know what directives the defendant Fritzsche gave the journalists, specifically the most important German journalists who assembled daily at his Press conferences.

As a further reason for my request, that the personal appearance of this witness be granted, I point out that, of the collection of documents or rather of the two document collections, I and 2 of my list are not yet available to me, so that

[Page 221]

there are various points which I had wanted to prove by presenting documents or quotations therefrom, which I now hope to prove by questioning these two witnesses.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I do not press the point of an affidavit. I leave it to the Tribunal.

With regard to the documents, No. 1 is the broadcasts of the defendant Fritzsche, and there is obviously no objection from the prosecution to that.

No. 2 is the archives of the section "German Express Service." And again we make no objection at this stage. We will perhaps have to consider the reports when we get them.

There is a little trouble about the third group; sworn testimony or letters which contain objective observations on the part of the writers about the acts of the defendant Fritzsche. If these are official reports or anything of that kind, of course, there would be no objection, if they were contemporaneous, but the course which the prosecution respectfully suggests to the Tribunal is that we wait and see these in the document book and then we can consider them and make any objection when they come up.

DR. FRITZ: I agree to this procedure. I believe I need say nothing more about Documents 1 and 2 after the statement Sir David has just made.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, some of the defence counsel want to put in supplementary applications. It would be convenient to deal with them now.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Perhaps your Lordship will allow me to confer with my colleagues, as we deal with each one as we go along, in case they have any further views to express.


I think there are some supplementary applications by Dr. Seidl.

DR. ALFRED SEIDL (counsel for defendant Hess): Mr. President and your Honours, on 28th of February, 1946, I submitted to the Tribunal a supplementary application for the defendant Rudolf Hess. The application was necessary for the following reasons: In my first application I mentioned the witness Bohle, the former Gauleiter of the Foreign Organization of the NSDAP, for a number of subjects, among others in reference to the German Foreign Institute and the activity of the People's League for Germanism Abroad. When I made that application to question the witness Bohle, I had not yet had any opportunity to speak to the witness. After approval by the Tribunal, however, I did so, and I found out that the witness Bohle, although he can make very concrete statements about the Foreign Organization, does not have any immediate first-hand information about the activity of the German Foreign Institute and the activity of the People's League for Germanism Abroad.

I therefore ask that the following be approved as further witnesses: First, Dr. Karl Stroelin, former Oberbuergermeister of Stuttgart and finally President of the German Foreign Institute. The witness is here in Nuremberg as a prisoner, awaiting trial, and it is the same witness who has also been requested by the defendant von Neurath in his case.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Perhaps it would be convenient, my Lord, if Dr. Seidl would indicate what the final position of these witnesses is. As I understand it, he no longer wants Herr Bohle. Is that right? I am not clear whether this witness is in addition to or in substitution for Herr Bohle.

DR. SEIDL: With regard to the witness Dr. Stroelin, this is an additional witness. The witness Bohle will still be needed as a witness, but only concerning the matter of the activity of the Foreign Organization. The witness Stroelin, since the witness Bohle has not first-hand information about the Foreign Institute, should speak about this latter point.

[Page 222]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If I understand it, that would mean that Dr. Seidl is now asking for Herr Bohle, Herr Stroelin, Dr. Haushofer, and an affidavit, I think it is, from Alfred Hess.

I am not sure that this is not rather an accumulation of witnesses on what is, perhaps, a narrower point than Dr. Seidl realizes, from the point of view of the prosecution. The prosecution said that the Foreign Organization was used for promoting fifth column activities, but it was only put in this way: That by using the Foreign Organization there was, first of all, a complete record and organization of Party members abroad; secondly, the intelligence service of that organization, through the organization, reported on all German officials of every section of the government who went abroad, and kept check on them in their work, in addition to German subjects; and because of this intelligence service, these Germans were ready for use, and in fact were used, when there was a question of invasion of the country.

It was not suggested that there were direct orders, for example, to blow up bridges or commit acts of sabotage, given directly to the organization, which is a matter of inference from the functioning of the organization that I have described.

I say that, only because it should be helpful to Dr. Seidl to know the case he has to meet. The prosecution has never proved direct orders for sabotage in this regard.

DR. SEIDL: The Trial Brief on his case has accused Rudolf Hess of the fact that, under his leadership, the Foreign Organization of the NSDAP, as well as the Foreign Institute and the People's League for Germanism Abroad, had developed an activity which was almost equivalent to that of a fifth column. It is correct that in the original Indictment of the defendant Hess, personally, there were no details given by means of which the Indictment meant to show this activity and above all Hess's guilt in regard to the activities of these organizations.

As long, however, as the Foreign Organization and the Foreign Institute and the People's League for Germanism Abroad are accused of any connection with the activities of a fifth column, the defendant Hess has a reasonable interest in seeing explained, first, what kind of activity these organizations sponsored and, second, which orders or directives he had given to these organizations.

The witness Bohle is in a position to make very concrete statements regarding the Foreign Organization. The same is necessary for the German Foreign Institute about which Dr. Stroelin, who is here in Nuremberg, can make authentic statements, and for the People's League for Germanism Abroad, about which the witness, Dr. Haushofer, can speak.

I agree, however, with regard to the physical condition of the witness, Dr. Haushofer, that only an interrogatory be used for this witness.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I have no objection to interrogation as far as Dr. Haushofer is concerned.

THE PRESIDENT: There is one more you want?

DR. SEIDL: Yes, Sir, a third one. Before I come to the third witness, whom I wish to name as an additional witness, I should like to inform the Tribunal that I do not insist on a personal hearing of the witness Ingeborg Sperr, who has already been approved by the Tribunal. Instead of that, I shall submit a short affidavit, which is in the document book which I have already given to the General Secretary.

In the place of the witness Sperr I request, however, that the witness Alfred Leitgen be called. Leitgen was for many years, until the flight of Rudolf Hess to England, his adjutant.

I could not apply for this witness any sooner because I have found out only now where this witness is. I believe that a personal hearing of this witness is so important that one should not dispense with it.

[Page 223]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The two points which Dr. Seidl specifies both seem to be relevant points, and in view of the fact that he is prepared to drop the calling of the secretary, the prosecution will not take objection to that witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Are there any more applications?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I wonder if your Lordship will allow me to say one thing. Dr. Servatius has already had certain conversations with a member of my staff. I think they will prove profitable and helpful on the lines that your Lordship suggested, and if the Tribunal will be good enough to safeguard Dr. Servatius's rights for a day or two, we hope to have something practical and useful to put before the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean with reference to the organizations?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No, with reference to the defendant Sauckel.


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Your Lordship will remember that you allowed the matter to stand over. We have been working along the lines that your Lordship suggested, but I am afraid that I have not had time to go into it myself and see the final result.


DR. SERVATIUS (counsel for defendant Sauckel): In discussing the witnesses I proposed a restriction which is being presented to the Tribunal in writing. Concerning the documents, I have also practically come to an agreement as to how they should be handled. There are, however, two principal applications which I should like to submit and which have not been mentioned so far. But I believe that a decision will have to be made by the Tribunal in respect to principle. The applications are Documents 80 and 81.

Document 80 is a photostat of a deportation order which had been issued in the city of Oels by the Soviet local commander, whereby the native male population had to report for deportation, and it can be seen from this order that it is deportation for the purpose of labour. I want to submit this to show that the Hague Agreement concerning Land Warfare has been considered obsolete by the Soviet Army. I have only this one deportation order. I should therefore like to suggest that the Tribunal make use of Article 17-E of the Charter and have a local judge determine on the spot to what extent this deportation took place, and I should like thereby to have it shown that it is not only the town Oels, but that it was done similarly in a large measure in the cities of East Prussia and Upper Silesia. The population, to a large extent, was deported for purposes of work and, if the information which I have received is correct, part of the population of Koenigsberg is today still in the Ural Mountains. I am not in a position to submit documents about all these things, because of the difficulties of mailing, and the difficulties of receiving news from the East at all. But the Tribunal should be in a position, by asking the mayors and other officials, to find out that what I have just said is correct.

Under Document 81 I submit an affidavit concerning the city of Saaz in Czechoslovakia. There 10,000 inhabitants of the city of Saaz were put into a camp, and until Christmas 1945, they worked there without pay. I believe also that this is proof of the fact that the Hague Agreement concerning Land Warfare is considered to be obsolete and outmoded in regard to labour employment.

Furthermore, Documents 91 and 91. These are two books with affidavits meant as a substitute for an investigation. It would be irrelevant if I were to produce one or two affidavits concerning conditions in the labour camps. One could object to that as being irrelevant because, in view of the large number of factories and camps which exist, little proof would be afforded by these affidavits. These mass conditions have somehow to be considered juridically. Therefore, the Charter has admitted government reports. I am not in a position to ask a government to help me in this matter. Therefore I have to find a substitute by

[Page 224]

collecting affidavits and grouping them in logical form in a notebook in order to submit them to the Tribunal. This is the purpose of my proposal to introduce a presentation of proof which is an innovation and is difficult for me; but thereby the same objections are justified, which one might make to an investigation. An investigation has great weaknesses, especially if it is conducted in a one-sided manner without participation of those involved on the other side. In the case of my affidavits this danger is greatly reduced because it is hard to find anybody who would make these affidavits unless he has very serious reason for doing so. I therefore ask the Tribunal to decide about my application concerning these Documents 90 and 91. That is the matter I wanted to submit here; the rest I shall discuss with the prosecution.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: May it please the Tribunal, I have already intimated the grounds on which the prosecution object to Documents 88 and 81. To test their admissibility the easiest way is to assume that Dr. Servatius has proved the facts alleged; and if that is done, they would not, in my opinion, come within miles of proving that Article 52 had become obsolete; and it is illustrative of the danger which I ventured to point out to the Tribunal in regard to these two arguments - that vague and hypothetical suggestion that there might be some evidence that Article 52 had become obsolete. It is suggested that the Tribunal should try the conduct of the Soviet Union with regard to labour conditions and, as I understand, send a commission to collect evidence on that point, and I do not want to repeat the arguments, but the prosecution most strenuously object to the suggestion, and say that nothing has been indicated which provides any basis for it.

With regard to 90 and 91, I really feel that the best method would be by solvitur ambulando. Let us see the affidavits and get some idea of their contents and the source of knowledge disclosed, and then the prosecution can make a decision regarding them. At this stage I do not want to do anything to exclude them, and they will receive the most careful attention by my colleagues and myself when they are brought forward.

THE PRESIDENT: I am told that there are other supplementary applications for the defendant Schacht and for the defendant Keitel. I think there may be some mistake about that.

Is the defendant Bormann's counsel here?

DR. BERGOLD (counsel for defendant Bormann): Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you ready to deal with anything yet?


THE PRESIDENT: I think the Tribunal made an order that your applications would stand over for some application within the next three weeks. So you are not ready yet? I am told your documents are all here. Is that so?

DR. BERGOLD: Mr. President, my documents are here, as far as I know. However, since I have to collect my own information from the books, I cannot tell the Tribunal whether these will all be my documents. I therefore have asked permission to speak to Secretary Wunderlich, and to another secretary. Only from these two shall we get satisfactory information. Bormann I cannot reach. Therefore, for practical reasons, I ask permission to present everything at a later date.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. Then the Tribunal will now - I am told that there are applications from the defendants Keitel, Rosenberg . . .

DR. BERGOLD: Mr. President, defence counsel for Keitel and Rosenberg are not present at this time. They probably did not expect that their applications could be presented today. Perhaps that could be done tomorrow before the beginning of the Goering case.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will now adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 8th March, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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