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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
12th March to 22nd March, 1946

Eighty-Sixth Day: Wednesday, 20th March, 1946
(Part 9 of 10)

[MR. JUSTICE JACKSON continues his cross examination of HERMANN WILHELM GORING]

[Page 279]

Q. Now, you dealt in economic matters with the various occupied countries through Reichskommissars?

A. I testified the other day that all sorts of authorities, including the Reichskommissars, had to follow my economic directives and orders.

Q. They were to report to you on economic matters?

A. Not about all of them, only in so far as they concerned my directives.

Q. Who was your Reichskommissar in Poland?

A. There was no Reichskommissar in Poland. There was a Governor-General in Poland, that was Dr. Frank.

Q. Who was the Reichskommissar in the Netherlands?

[Page 280]

A. Dr. Seyss-Inquart was Reichskommissar for Holland.

Q. Who was the Reichskommissar for Norway?

A. In Norway the Gauleiter Terboven was Reichskommissar.

Q. Terboven - he was also a Gauleiter you say?

A. He was Gauleiter at Essen.

Q. You appointed him to Norway or obtained his appointment?

A. I neither appointed him for Norway - because that was beyond my jurisdiction - nor did I have him appointed. I did not oppose his appointment in any way as I considered he would make a very competent Reichskommissar.

Q. He was there from 1940 until 1945?

A. I believe that is correct.

Q. Now, I will ask to have you shown Document 134-R, a communication from Terboven to you.

(The document was handed to the witness.)

That is a communication of 1st May, 1942, is it not?

A. I noted the date, yes.

Q. And that reports to you as follows, does it not - it is addressed to you as Reich Marshal, "My esteemed Reich Marshal," is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. Omitting the first paragraph, unless you care to have it:

"Several days ago, on an island West of Bergen, we captured a Norwegian sabotage unit trained by the Secret Service, and found extensive stores of sabotage instruments, some of them of a new kind, including probably poison and bacteria. Those which appeared unfamiliar were forwarded to the Reich Security Main Office for closer examination.

Besides other tasks, this sabotage unit was to begin its sabotage work on Sola and Herdla, using the explosive of which a sample is enclosed herewith. This appears from written directives found. Since it must be assumed that similar actions are under way on airfields on the rest of the European coast, and assuming that a means of sabotage actually unknown until now is involved, I am communicating with you by the fastest possible means in order to give you an opportunity to issue an appropriate warning.

Unfortunately, two especially reliable officers of the Security Police were killed in the fight against the sabotage unit. We buried them this morning at 10.00 hours in the Heroes' Cemetery in Bergen.

On the same day and at the same hour eighteen Norwegians were shot on my order. These had been captured some time previously, in the attempt to go to England illegally.

On the same day the entire village which had harboured the sabotage unit was burned down and the population deported. All the males were taken to a German concentration camp without any notification being sent to their families. The women were sent to a female forced labour camp in Norway, and those children who were not capable of working went to a children's camp. Heil Hitler! Yours obediently, Terboven."

Is that correct?

A. It says so in the letter, a copy of which is before me.

Q. Terboven remained after that report until 1945, did he not?

A. That is correct.

Q. Now, later in the same year, 1942, you adopted very similar means to those reported by Terboven to you, did you not?

A. I did not understand the question.

Q. Well, you adopted later in the same year the same means as Terboven, did you not?

A. I? Where?

Q. Well, I will ask that you be shown Document 1742-PS.

[Page 281]

Now, this is a decree of 26th October, 1942, by Goering. I ask you to follow me:
"Simultaneously with the intensified combating of guerrilla activity ordered by the Fuehrer and the cleaning up of the area behind the lines, in particular that behind the Army Group Centre, I request that the following points be taken into consideration and the conclusions drawn therefrom be put into practice:

1. Simultaneously with the combating of the underground forces and the combing out of the areas contaminated by them, all available livestock must be driven off to safe areas. Similarly, food supplies are to be removed and brought into safety, so that they will no longer be available to the guerrillas.

2. All male and female labour suitable for any kind of employment must be forcibly recruited, and allocated to the General-Plenipotentiary for Manpower, who will then employ them in safe areas behind the lines or in the Reich. Separate camps must be organised behind the lines for the children."

Is that right?

A. Absolutely. It concerns areas overrun by guerrillas, and no one could expect me to leave cattle and foodstuffs at their disposal. Furthermore, people who were repeatedly being incited to guerrilla activities and revolts against us had to be brought back to safe areas and put to work. I would like to emphasise that this was absolutely vital for the security of the troops. But I may emphasise again that you said I gave the same orders which you read from Terboven's letter. I did not order villages to be burned and did not order the shooting of hostages. This was something basically different.

Q. You simply seized all the men, women and children, and moved them out. That is what I referred to.

By May, 1944, your problem in the loss of fighter aircraft and fighter personnel was becoming serious?

A. Yes.

Q. On 19th May, 1944, you had a conference in your office, on the subject of fighter aircraft and the losses of fighter personnel, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. You have been shown the minutes of that meeting and authenticated them in your interrogations?

A. They are not minutes of this conference. It is a short and brief summary by an officer of a meeting which - as far as I know - lasted two days.

Q. I will ask to have you shown Document 166-L. It is entitled, "Most Secret Document," is it not?

A. That is correct.

Q. And it is also entitled, "Minutes of conference on fighter aircraft with the Reich Marshal on 15th and 16th May, 1944," that is correct, too, is it not?

A. No, it says, "Notices of a conference on fighter aircraft at the Reich-Marshal's on 15th and 16th May, 1944."

Q. "Notices," you translate it "notices"? It says "memorandum" here and that is the original.

A. "Notes of Conference on Fighter Aircraft." Lasting two days.

Q. Yes. And at first General Galland described in detail the situation regarding fighter personnel; that took place, did it not, and he reviewed the losses?

A. Yes.

Q. And then he reviewed at some length under Item 2, "Remedial Measures," is that right?

A. According to the memorandum, yes, but whether that actually took place I cannot say.

[Page 282]

Q. This conference took place, did it not?

A. Certainly; it lasted two days.

Q. And under Item 3 General Galland made certain proposals, did he not?

A. Yes.

Q. Then, after considerable discussion, General Schmidt made certain proposals, Items 12 and 13, is that right?

A. It must have been so. At any rate it says so according to the memorandum.

Q. You recommended a conference between the Chief of the General Staff and the Chief of Artillery as soon as possible, did you not? Item 13?

A. Yes.

Q. And General Schmidt's recommendations and requests appear in Items 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18?

A. Yes.

Q. Then you decided, "The Reich Marshal has decided that only three groups of fighter squadrons are to remain in the Reich and that all the fighters fit for operations are to be pressed into service."

That occurred, did it not?

A. Yes.

Q. Then, "The Reich Marshal desires that when low-level attacks on airfields are made, causing considerable loss in personnel and material, the measures taken for defence and dispersal are to be re-examined by the Luftwaffenfuehrungsstab." That is Item 19. That occurred, did it not?

A. Yes.

Q. Item 20 reads, "The Reich Marshal wishes to propose to the Fuehrer that American and English crews who shoot indiscriminately over towns, at moving civilian trains or at soldiers hanging to parachutes, should be shot immediately on the spot."

Have I correctly read that?

A. It says so. here, and I objected at once, at the time, that this was not correct. This passage has no connection at all with the context of these notes, Items 19-21. Besides the expression "soldiers hanging to parachutes" is entirely misleading and not commonly used. I thought for a long time about how this could have got into the notes, which I never saw and which were drawn up over a period of two days, and the only explanation I can suggest is that I pointed out (as can be gathered from the other testimonial matter) that around that time the Fuehrer gave a directive in this respect, and that in any event there must be a mistake; that is, not that the Reich Marshal wants to propose, etc., to the Fuehrer, but that I could have suggested that the Fuehrer had some such intention. But about this the author of these notes would have to be consulted. No other item in all these notes refers to this. Even the next item is entirely different. Whereas everything else is related, this one point is foreign.

Q. In all the notes of the two days, this is the one thing that you say is mistaken.

Now I ask that you be shown Document 731-PS.

Now, the conference, the notes of which I have just read to you, was followed within a week by the order, Document 731- PS, was it not, the memorandum, Document 731-PS, which reads:

"The Fuehrer has reached the following decision in regard to measures to be taken against Anglo-American air crews in special instances: Enemy airmen who have been brought down are to be shot without court-martial proceedings in the following instances." . . .
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, should you not refer to a passage four lines above that, after "Report of the Reich Marshal"?

[Page 283]

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I did not, but perhaps for the record it ought to be in full.
"Chief of the Command Staff of the Armed Forces, chief WR.St. Please direct drafting of order. W (Warlimont), K (Keitel), Deputy Chief of Command Staff of the Armed Forces. Must go to Reichsfuehrer S.S. According to report of the Reich Marshal, General Korten made the following statement: 'Memorandum"' - I think the next line is not in the original - "'The Fuehrer has given the following ruling in regard to measures to be taken against Anglo- American air crews in special instances:

Enemy airmen whose machines have been shot down are to be shot without trial by court martial in the following cases:

(1) In the event of the shooting of our own German air crews while they are parachuting to earth.

(2) In the event of aerial attacks upon German planes which have made emergency landings and whose crews are in the immediate vicinity.

(3) In the event of attacks upon railway trains engaged in public transport.

(4) In the event of low-level aerial attacks upon individual civilians, farmers, workers, single vehicles and so forth.'"

Now, there is a note: "In the event of low-level aerial attacks on individual civilians, single civilian vehicles and so forth," is there not?

A. On my copy, "In the event of low-level aerial attacks - on single" - "single" is crossed out here and there are two words written above which I cannot read. Before the expression, "single planes" is the word "civilian" and referring to point 2 it says: "I consider it doubtful, because the destruction of a plane which has made an emergency landing cannot be designated as gangster work but rather as a measure in keeping with the strict standards of permissible warfare."

We are concerned with the entire series of questions discussed in these days and weeks and to which von Brauchitsch also testified recently.

Q. That note about that emergency landing is signed by "J," is it not, which stands for Jodl?

A. Certainly.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think that is all I wish to ask.

There are a number of documents which should be introduced in this connection, and I think it will be best perhaps if we tabulate them and get them ready over the evening and present them in the morning.

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly, Mr. Justice Jackson, you can put them all in then.


Q. I want to ask you first some questions about the matter of the British Air Force officers who escaped from Stalag Luft III. Do you remember that you said, in giving your evidence, that you knew this incident very completely and very minutely? Do you remember saying that?

A. No. I said that I had received accurate knowledge; not that I had accurate knowledge - but that I received it.

Q. Let me quote your own words, as they were taken down, "I know this incident very completely, very minutely, but it came to my attention, unfortunately, only later." That is what you said the other day, is that right?

A. Yes, that is what I meant, that I know about the incident exactly, but only heard it two days later.

Q. You told the Tribunal that you were on leave at this time, in the latter part of March, 1944, is that right?

A. Yes, as far as I remember I was on leave in March until a few days before Easter.

[Page 284]

Q. And you said, "As I can prove." I want you to tell the Tribunal the dates of your leave.

A. I say again, that this refers to the whole of March - I remember it well - and for proof I would like to mention the people who were with me on this leave.

Q. What I want to know is, where you were on leave.

A. Here, in the vicinity of Nuremberg.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.