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

Ninety-Fifth Day: Saturday, 30th March, 1946
(Part 5 of 5)

[Page 205]

Q. One last question: During your activities, in regard to foreign policy, did you see any possibility of realising prospects of revision which had been conceded to Germany but which had not materialised?

A. That was precisely the great problem out of which, in the final analysis, this war developed. As Adolf Hitler often told me, he wanted to build up an ideal social State in Europe after the solution of the problems which we considered vital. He wanted to erect buildings, etc.; that was his aim. Now, the realisation of these "vital" aims of the Fuehrer was greatly hampered by the

[Page 206]

rigid political system, which had been established in Europe and the world in general.

We both - the Fuehrer, and then I myself at his order - so I believe I am the chief witness - always tried to solve these problems through diplomatic and peaceful channels. I brooded day and night over paragraph 19 of the Statute of the League of Nations, but the difficulty was that the Fuehrer was not in a position to obtain results through diplomatic channels, or was convinced that it was simply impossible at least, without having strong armed forces to back him up. The mistake was, I believe, that although paragraph 19 was a very good paragraph of the Statute of the League of Nations, and one which we all would have been very willing to sign and follow, or, rather, one which we did sign and would have followed, no means of putting it into practice existed. That created a situation where the powers who wanted to retain this state of petrifaction, as I might call it, or status quo, naturally opposed any steps taken by Germany. This, of course, caused reaction on the part of the Fuehrer, until finally it reached the point, the very tragic point, where this great war began over a question like Danzig and the Corridor, a question which could have been solved relatively easily.

DR. HORN: I have no more questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, I do not think it would be possible to go any further with the examination of the witness to- day, but the. Tribunal would welcome your assistance and the assistance of the prosecution with reference to your documents, if you could tell us what the position is, and if the prosecution could tell us how far they have been able to see these documents since they have been translated, and how far they have been able to make up their minds as to what documents they wish to object to and what documents they are prepared to admit as being offered in evidence before us. Could you tell us what the position is with reference to these documents - how many of your documents have been translated?

DR. HORN: A member of the British Prosecution told me this morning that the English document book will be ready on Monday and that I can discuss with him the question of relevant documents then. He also told me that the British Prosecution would arrange everything with the other delegations of the prosecution, so that on Tuesday I should be in a position to submit the remaining documents and, I believe, this could be done in two or three hours. I want to submit these documents in groups and do not wish to read too many of them, but only to explain to the Tribunal the reason for my putting these documents in evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: You said, did you not, it would take you no longer than two or three hours to explain the documents after you had come to the arrangement with the prosecution?


THE PRESIDENT: Have you any other witnesses to call besides the defendant?

DR. HORN: No. I would only like to submit an affidavit by a witness requested by me - Legationsrat Gottfriedsen - dealing with the personal financial circumstances of the defendant Ribbentrop, former minister for Foreign Affairs. Gottfriedsen was the Foreign Office official who looked after the official income of the Foreign Minister and was also very well acquainted with his private financial affairs. He can give information about the personal and official estates belonging to the Foreign Minister and the Foreign Ministry. I have embodied this information in the form of a few questions in an affidavit. If the prosecution has no objection to this affidavit, I could dispense with the calling of the witness Gottfriedsen. However, if the prosecution wants him to appear, then I would question on the contents of the affidavit.

I have no other witnesses for the defendant von Ribbentrop, so all my documents have now been presented; and the case for the defence is now concluded.

THE PRESIDENT: Would the prosecution tell us their view on this?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, as far as the British Prosecution is concerned, we have now had six documents books, I think, taking us up to 214,

[Page 207]

roughly two-thirds of the documents which Dr. Horn wishes to tender, and we have been able to go through up to No. 191. I made out a list - I could hand one to the Tribunal and give Dr. Horn, one of those documents that we object to which are very briefly set out. I should think we object to something like seventy or eighty, between Nos. 45 and 191, maybe a little more. The Soviet delegation are, I think, in a position to tender their objections, which are practically entirely in accord with ours, though they were prepared separately. M. Champetier de Ribes has at least two batches of documents to which he wishes to make objections. I think I may say that Mr. Dodd is more or less leaving this point to me and will act in accordance with the British Delegation's view on the point. So that is the position. It probably would be convenient if I handed in a very outlined list of objections which I have up to date.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to know, Sir David, what the position of the prosecution is about the translation of the documents. You remember that the Tribunal did make an order that the prosecution should object to documents, if possible, before they were translated, so as to avoid unnecessary translations, and in the event of any disagreement between the prosecution and the defence any matter should be referred to the Tribunal. It was thought that there were a great number of documents on which agreement could be achieved in that way and the labour and time taken up in translating would be obviated.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes. The difficulty we have been in over these documents is that we did our best to try and formulate our view on the index, but it is a very difficult matter to do this when you get a short description of only a line and a half about a document. But it might be that that would be the most practical way of doing it, despite its difficulty. If the prosecution were given an index with as good a description as possible of the document and then were to formulate their objections on that index, and the Tribunal were to hear any out-standing differences before the documents were translated, I should think - I am afraid I can only put it tentatively - it would be worth a trial. Otherwise, you would get a terrible blockage of the translation department of the Tribunal by a vast number of documents, such as we have had in this case, to which ultimately we are going to make full and numerous objections, and that would hold up the translation of all the documents belonging to the subsequent proceedings. So I should be prepared - and I think my colleagues would support me - in making a trial, if the Tribunal thought it could be done, to hand in an objection on a list of documents and see if we could in that way arrive at the results which would obviate the necessity of translating them all.

THE PRESIDENT: Would it be of assistance to the prosecution, if the defendant's counsel were to give them the entire documents in German with also a full index in English, and then the prosecution - or some member of it who is familiar with German - could go through the documents in German and the prosecution could then make up their minds in that way? Would that be of assistance to the prosecution?

They would have not only the index to inform them as to what was the nature of the documents but they would also have the documents in German.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I think that would be a great help, especially if he underlined the more material passages.

THE PRESIDENT: Then, with the co-operation of the defendant's counsel, some measure of agreement might be arrived at as to what were the necessary documents to lay before the Tribunal.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, I think that could be done, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, then, Sir David, with reference to the immediate future, on Monday, of course, some of the defendant's counsel may wish to ask questions of the defendant Ribbentrop and then the prosecution may wish to cross-examine him, and that, I suppose, might possibly take all Monday.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I think that is highly probable, my Lord.

[Page 208]

THE PRESIDENT: Under those circumstances, if the scheme which Dr. Horn has outlined is carried out, there would not necessarily be any delay at all, because by Tuesday morning his documents would have been all examined by the prosecution and the objections to them would have been put in, and he could then go through, as he says, in two or three hours, the documents which remain for the consideration of the Tribunal.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I respectfully agree, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: Then the Tribunal would like to know what the position is with reference to the next defendant. It may be that on Tuesday, after the midday adjournment, the case of defendant Keitel would come on. Now, are his documents in order? As far as I remember, most of his documents are documents which have already been put in evidence.


THE PRESIDENT: Is that not so?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Perhaps Dr. Nelte could help us.

THE PRESIDENT: If he would, yes.

DR. NELTE: Mr. President, I am ready to begin at any time. The documents have been presented and affidavits were presented to the prosecution last week. I am only waiting for the prosecution to decide as to the relevancy of those documents, which the defendant has submitted as his own statements, and which are to be submitted in order to shorten the examination.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE - I have not had the chance of going through them myself, but, as a matter of principle, we have always been quite prepared that a statement should be read so long as the witness is there to be cross-examined. If the Tribunal has no objection, there will be none from the prosecution on that procedure.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, the Tribunal has no objection at all to that method of presenting written documents, provided the prosecution does not object to them, and, therefore, no cross-examination is necessary. Could Dr. Nelte tell us whether the documents which he wishes to present in so far as they have not already been put in evidence, have been translated yet?

DR. NELTE: They were sent to the translation office, the last two documents three days ago. I assume, therefore, that the delegations of the prosecution have, in the meantime, received the translations.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you received them, Sir David?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No, my Lord, we have not received them.

DR. NELTE: Perhaps they have not been distributed yet. Several, or about two-thirds of the documents were translated into French and English about two weeks ago and are ready. I subsequently also sent these documents to the Russian delegation so that they could be translated into Russian.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am told, my Lord, by General Mitchell, that the documents are translated. They have not yet been distributed.

THE PRESIDENT: Then there ought to be no cause for delay in connection with the defendant Keitel's case.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I do not think so.


THE PRESIDENT: Then, does the same apply to the defendant Kaltenbrunner, who is the next one? Dr. Kaufmann, are your documents yet translated?

DR. KAUFMANN: Mr. President, I have only a very few affidavits and there is no doubt that they will be in the hands of the prosecution in due course.

THE PRESIDENT: One moment. So that you will be quite ready to go on then?

DR. KAUFMANN: After Keitel, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, after Keitel. Very well, Sir David, then you will present to us the objections which you are making to Dr. Horn's documents, and the Soviet Prosecutor will present his objections?

[Page 209]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, I. shall hand them in as far as I have gone, if may, at once.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, and M. Champetier de Ribes, so far as he has any.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If your Lordship pleases, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, the Tribunal will adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 1 April, 1946, at 10.00 hours.)

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