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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
23rd March to 3rd April, 1946

Ninetieth Day: Monday, 25rd March, 1946
(Part 7 of 11)

[COLONEL AMEN continues his cross examination of ERNST WILHELM BOHLE]

[Page 36]

Q. Now, I would like to read you one or two further extracts from the interrogation of Straempel and ask you whether these statements conform with your knowledge of the facts:
"Q. Did the foreign section of the Party continue to support the Bund after the order you mentioned before was issued?

A. I am sure that Herr Draeger, Consul in New York City and representative of the foreign section of the Party, did continue to have relations with Bund officials."

Does that conform with your recollection of the facts?

A. No. In my opinion, that does not correspond to the facts. Naturally, I cannot say whether the Consul Dr. Draeger maintained his contacts against my order, but there was a very strict order to withdraw completely from the Bund, because from the very beginning, I objected strenuously to the activities of the Bund and was supported in my objections by the Deputy of the Fuehrer.

Q. You were acquainted with Draeger, were you not?

A. Yes.

Q. What was his position in the United States, in so far as your organisation was concerned?

A. He was a liaison officer of the Ausland Organization for the individual Party members in the United States.

Q. He was what was known as a confidential agent, was he not?

A. No, he was not, naturally, but we had ...

Q. And, as a matter of fact, you called him a "confidential agent" in your interrogation, did you not?

A. No. I called him a "Vertrauensmann," and this was translated into "confidence man." I did ...

Q. Well, I will accept that correction. He was a confidence man for your organisation in the United States. Correct?

A. Correct, yes, that is true.

Q. And in addition to him, there were other confidence men of your organisation in the United States? Correct?

A. Yes, correct.

[Page 37]

Q. Will you tell the Tribunal what their names were and where they were located?

A. One was Wiedemann, Consul General in San Francisco. There was also Dr. Gyssling in Los Angeles and Consul von Spiegel in New Orleans, I believe, but I do not know, perhaps it was Boston. It was one of the two. I believe that is all.

Q. And each of those individuals made reports from time to time which were forwarded to you through Draeger. Is that not a fact?

A. No, they made no reports to me. I cannot recall that I ever saw a report from Wiedemann, Spiegel or Gyssling. That was not their job.

Q. Draeger made the reports to you, did he not?

A. Draeger made the reports to the Ausland Organisation in Berlin or to me personally. Mostly to my office.

Q. And contained in those reports were various items of information collected by other confidential agents? Is that not correct?

A. I do not know, because I am not familiar with these reports and I cannot say whether there was anything to report. We had no Party organisation in the United States, because it had been dissolved by Rudolf Hess in April, 1933.

Q. So you say: but you nevertheless had an individual in Germany, whose duty it was to read and pass on these reports from Draeger as they came in. Is that not a fact?

A. So far as I know, and I believe my information is correct, the reports that we received were of a purely technical nature. We had a few Party members in the United States whose card index and membership fees had to be looked after in order to preserve their privileges as Party members. Political activity in the United States was forbidden and did not actually exist.

Q. But I am suggesting to you that in spite of the order the activities of your organisation nevertheless continued. Now, is it not a fact that there was an individual in your organisation in Germany who received these reports from the United States regularly?

A. It was my assistant, Herr Grothe, who ...

Q. I beg your pardon?

A. It was my assistant, Herr Grothe.

Q. Correct. Why did you not tell me that before when I asked you about the individual who read these reports from the United States as they came in?

A. Please repeat the question, I did not understand it.

Q. Well, I will withdraw that question. After Grothe received these reports from the United States regularly, to whom did he report the substance of those reports?

A. So far as I know, he usually kept them because they contained nothing of interest and he, himself, was not in a position to use them. Herr Grothe had an honorary position with us because of his advanced age and took over this branch of the office because it was of no importance at all in the Ausland organisation.

Q. So that you were in no position to know what was contained in those reports?

Is that correct?

A. That is for the most part correct.

Q. So you do not know whether they were important or not and you do not know whether they contained information relative to espionage matters or not.

Is that correct?

A. I am sure that if they had contained such information, Grothe would have submitted them to me.

Q. Well, outside of that, you have no knowledge of it whatsoever. Is that correct?

A. That is correct.

Q. Now, let me just read you one or two more excerpts from the interrogation of Von Straempel:

[Page 38]

"Q. These relationships seem to have violated the order you mentioned before. Did you report these violations to the foreign office?

A. Yes, several times. In reports that I drafted for Thomsen when I was in the embassy, we called the attention of Berlin to the fact that this relationship to the Bund was very detrimental and stated that the continued support of the Bund by the foreign section of the Party was impairing diplomatic relations with the United States.

Q. What action was taken in Berlin to halt the activities of which you complained?

A. I know of no such action."

Does that conform to your knowledge of the facts?

A. I know nothing of these statements by Herr Straempel. This is the first time that I have heard of protests from the Embassy in Washington regarding prohibited connections between Dr. Draeger and the Bund.

Q. You know who Thomsen was, do you not?

A. Thomsen was charge d'affaires in Washington.

Q. And you know that from time to time various officials of the Bund came over here and had conferences with representatives of your Organisation and of the Fuehrer, do you not?

A. I have heard that they visited the Fuehrer but they did not visit me and we had no conference of any description.

Q. I did not say with you. I said with representatives of your office; perhaps your office; perhaps your friend, Herr Grothe?

A. That is possible, but I cannot say definitely because he did not report to me on this matter. They could not have discussed any official matters with Grothe because he knew very well that I completely repudiated the activities of the Volksbund in America.

Q. In any event, however, you accept responsibility for everything which was done in your organisation. Correct?

A. Naturally.

THE PRESIDENT: Do either of the other Chief Prosecutors wish to cross-examine? Then, Dr. Seidl, you can re-examine if you wish.


Q. Witness, you have already answered a question that I intended to ask you, whether there was no secret transmitter in Germany which would have been in a position to broadcast secret communications to foreign countries. I ask you now: Did you yourself have a transmitter in Germany?

A. I myself had no transmitter.

Q. Did the Ausland Organisation have such a transmitter?

A. I consider that to be absolutely impossible; if there had been one, I would have known of it. I never saw one.

Q. Is it correct that in order to communicate with Germans overseas by radio you yourself did not use code on the German network?

A. That is correct.

Q. You stated previously that the Deputy of the Fuehrer Hess was your immediate superior?

A. Yes.

Q. Were the directives given to you by the Deputy of the Fuehrer of a general nature, or did he go into the details of the work of the Ausland Organisation?

A. The Deputy of the Fuehrer gave only general directives and left all the details to me because I had his complete confidence. In his general directives he impressed upon me repeatedly in the sharpest terms the fact that it was my duty to guard against any measures by the Ausland Organisation that might be detrimental to foreign relations.

[Page 39]

DR. SEIDL: I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

DR. SEIDL: Your Honours, before I go on to my next witness, that is the witness Stroelin, I should like to submit the suggestion, or rather the application, to the Tribunal that the affidavit of the witness Gaus be handled in the same way as the interrogation of the witness Bohle. Gaus has already been admitted as a witness for another defendant. However, the defence Counsel for the other defendant waived his right to call this witness. The situation is the same as it was in the case of Bohle; therefore it would be preferable, in my opinion, to hear the witness Gaus now, and to read his sworn statement to him during his examination as has been done in other cases, in the case of Blaha for instance.

THE PRESIDENT: Has the affidavit been translated yet and submitted in the various languages to the chief prosecutors?

DR. SEIDL: I do not know whether the translation is complete. At any rate, at noon I submitted six copies of the affidavit to the translating division.

THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell me, Sir David or Colonel Pokrovsky?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I have not seen this affidavit, and, my Lord, with regard to the last one, we got it hurriedly translated into English, but it was only by the kindness of my Soviet colleagues who allowed the matter to go on without a Russian translation and left it to my delegation to deal with, that the matter went on. Otherwise, my Soviet colleagues would have asked the Tribunal to have it put back.

It is very difficult when these affidavits are sought to be put in at the last minute without having given us a chance of seeing them.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps Colonel Pokrovsky could tell me whether he has seen this affidavit or had it translated yet.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: Members of the Tribunal, I fully share the viewpoint of Sir David Maxwell Fyfe. It appears to me absolutely unacceptable to have this document presented immediately to the Tribunal.

If I understood Sir David Maxwell Fyfe correctly, he did not receive this affidavit. The Soviet delegation is in the same position. Besides, I would like to remind you that the question of this witness has already been discussed, that it has been definitely solved, and it seems to me there are no grounds for a further revision of this question.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, the Tribunal considers that the course which must be taken is that that affidavit must be translated and submitted to the Tribunal for their consideration, for this witness was allowed to the defendant Ribbentrop, I think, and then he withdrew his application for the witness. You have not applied for the witness Gaus, and I would point out to you and to the other Counsel for the defendants that it is very inconvenient that documents of this sort - after all the question of witnesses and documents has been thoroughly gone into by the Tribunal - should be presented at the last moment and without any translation whatever. But we will not go into it now, and it must be translated and submitted to the Tribunal in the three languages.

DR. SEIDL: Perhaps I might make one short remark in regard to the last point. I was under the impression that a formal application to call a witness would not be necessary in the case of a witness who has already been admitted by the Tribunal for another defendant. That was undoubtedly so in the case of Gaus who was named as a witness for Ribbentrop. Consequently I have no reason to make a formal application since I had the opportunity to interrogate the witness in cross-examination.

I have just been informed by counsel for the defendant Ribbentrop that, as his representative said last Saturday, he will forgo calling the witness Gaus, and now I, in turn apply to call Ambassador Dr. Gaus as witness regarding the statements in his sworn affidavit.

[Page 40]

THE PRESIDENT: I do not know what you mean by saying you call him. You can apply to call him if you like, but you do not call him until you apply.

DR. SEIDL: Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDENT: When we have seen this document, we will determine the question.

DR. SEIDL The next witness admitted by the Tribunal for the defendant Hess is the witness Karl Stroelin. In order to save time I have also prepared an affidavit for this witness, and I ask the Tribunal to inform me whether we will follow the same procedure with this witness as with the witness Bohle, or whether the prosecution agrees that only the affidavit should be presented.

THE PRESIDENT: Have they seen the affidavit?

DR. SEIDL: I gave the affidavit to the prosecution this morning.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I have an English translation of the affidavit. There are one or two questions the prosecution wants to put to the witness, so I suggest that the most convenient course would be if Dr. Seidl did as he did with the last witness, to read the affidavit, and then after the affidavit is read, the few questions that the prosecution desires to be put can be put to him.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, very well.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I must report to you, Mr. President, that as far as this document is concerned, the defence counsel has violated the procedure you have established, namely, the Soviet prosecution received this affidavit only a very short time ago, about one or two hours ago, and it was not received by us in Russian but in English. Therefore, I only had the opportunity of familiarising myself with it very slightly, and I ask to have the presentation of this document postponed until such time when the order of the Tribunal is complied with, in other words, not until we have received our document in Russian.

THE PRESIDENT: But, Colonel Pokrovsky, in the interest of the time of the Tribunal, would it not be better to get on with it now? Sir David has apparently seen the affidavit and read it in English, and if he is satisfied upon that, would it not be better to go on with it, rather than to postpone it?

You see, Dr. Seidl has actually been allowed this witness, so that it is only a question of time, doing it by way of an affidavit when he can call him, and he can then ask him questions.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I must repeat that I have familiarised myself with this document very slightly. As far as I can understand, it is of no particular interest to the Soviet delegation, it is of greater interest to the British delegation -

[ 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.