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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
4th April to 15th April, 1946

One Hundred and Fourth Day: Wednesday, 10th April, 1946
(Part 8 of 11)

[Page 219]

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the defence counsel want to ask any questions of the witness?

BY DR. NELTE (counsel for the defendant Keitel):

Q. Witness, during your activities and during this terrible matter, were you in touch with the O.K.W. or the defendant, Field Marshal Keitel, in any way?

A. No, neither with the O.K.W. nor with Field Marshal Keitel, nor with any of the other high officers.

Q. Did I understand you correctly when you stated that the order that we are talking about here, so far as you know, went through. the following channels: From Hitler to Himmler, to the R.S.H.A., and then the lower officers?

A. Yes, that is the correct organisational path.

Q. By whom was the list of which you spoke demanded, the list that was to contain the names of those who formed the disturbing element?

A. That was asked for by the Reich Security Main Office.

Q. In the second half of what was read just now a sentence is contained that reads:

"The camp commander must have been informed through military officers of the intended shooting ahead of time."
Would you, with regard to this sentence ...?

A. Well, I should not like to repeat that here so strongly. It is possible, since shootings might have been discussed in the camp or the fact that more ready use of firearms in general would be taken toward English officers if escapes continued. But in this connection I know nothing more specific; namely, in the connection with which we are concerned here.

Q. Then you do not want to insist on the fact that we are here dealing with remarks that were made before the escape?

A. Well, at least not so far as these shootings are concerned; at least not in direct relationship to this particular escape.

Q. But it is not possible to know ahead of time if someone is going to escape. For that reason I ask you whether this remark is related to some discussion that took place subsequent to the flight of these officers and which perhaps was directed toward the future prevention of escapes.

A. That is altogether possible because at Sagan attempts to escape were made daily.

Q. Then would you like to clarify the statement, according to which Colonel Lindeiner is said to have stated, that military officers stood behind these measures and had been previously informed of them? That is how ...

A. I don't believe that I expressed myself just that way. Could you please repeat that?

Q. According to my notes, you said that Colonel Lindeiner stated that military officers stood behind this measure and had been informed of it ahead of time.

A. I do not think that I could have made such a statement.

Q. Then do you want to say that you cannot state that Colonel Lindeiner made such an assertion?

[Page 220]

A. I never had the impression that Lindeiner was personally informed in this matter. At any rate I have not the slightest reason to believe so.

DR. NELTE: No further questions, thank you.

BY DR. STAHMER (counsel for the defendant Goering):

Q. Witness, according to the minutes, you stated that the Criminal Commissioner Absalon had informed you even before your departure for Berlin that he had heard in camp Sagan that shootings were to take place.

A. I just spoke in connection with this same matter, yes.

Q. Is that what you just ...?

A. That is the same matter.

Q. Another question. During the discussion that you had with General Nebe in Berlin, General Nebe said to you that the military offices were informed, and stated more precisely what military offices were concerned.

A. No, that was not told to me. Nor do I know whether this intention was translated into fact, because the military offices were actually not to be informed, and this whole matter was to be regarded as secret and was to be kept secret.

Q. In your testimony here you mentioned Reich Marshal Goering. Have you any documentary proof that Reich Marshal Goering knew of these shootings, or is that merely conjecture on your part?

A. No, please consider from what was said and the way it was said, that I wanted to leave that question entirely open. Therefore I also said that I didn't know it positively, and had no evidence for it; but since it concerned a Luftwaffe camp I ask or propose that the Reich Marshal be heard, since he should be able to give information about it.

Q. In other words, it was only a suggestion on your part to interrogate the Reich Marshal as to whether he was informed?

A. Just because I had to leave this matter open I made the suggestion in order to proceed further in the matter at all.

DR. STAHMER: That is all.

BY DR. KAUFFMANN (counsel for the defendant Kaltenbrunner):

Witness, you stated that the order had been given by Kaltenbrunner and Muller. Now I ask you, was this order in the form of a teletype or a telegraphic communication, or did you see the order with the original signature?

A. I believe I can state definitely that it was a teletype communication.

Q. Do you know for sure it was not an original signature?

A. It was not an original signature. In fact I felt doubts about this later. You can very well imagine that I thought about it hundreds of times, wondering whether it were not entirely possible ...

Q. Speak more slowly.

A. ... that it was Himmler's signature, but from the organisational point of view it would have had to be Kaltenbrunner who signed it.

Q. So, if I understood you correctly, you can also not state definitely that the teletype really had Kaltenbrunner's signature upon it, but rather you simply assume that from your knowledge of the organisation.

[MAX WIELEN] A. I was so impressed by the contents of the communication, by the results, and the necessity to prepare the working out of the whole affair that I paid little attention to the mechanical matters - that is, the externals - involved. As a result they did not imprint themselves on my memory in such a way that I could make a statement about them with definite reliability.

Q. Thank you.

No further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

Dr. Nelte, does that close the case for the defendant Keitel?

DR. NELTE: As far as witnesses are concerned that closes the case for Keitel.

I have a few further remarks to make with regard to the presentation of evidence. The Tribunal has approved an affidavit by Dr. Krieger by its ruling of 6th April,

[Page 221]

1946. I ask the Tribunal to permit me to put this affidavit in evidence as Document K-15. I have the German original here and I should like to read only that part of the affidavit that describes the relations between Hitler and Keitel. This involves three short paragraphs:
"The relations between Hitler and former Field Marshal Keitel were officially correct and, on Hitler's part, appeared confidential as a whole, springing from appreciation of or respect for a zealous co-worker; Keitel's attitude was upright and soldierly. There was, however, no further friendly or confidential relationship between them. Apart from official receptions and so forth, Keitel, as far as could be ascertained, hardly took part with Hitler in anything which was not obligatory, nor shared any meals with him. Also summons to discussions with Hitler outside the official conferences, when there were no stenographers present, were not observed to have taken place.

In preparing decisions or in formulating orders Keitel gave expression to his own opinions, even if they happened to differ from those of Hitler, in a clear, soldierly manner. He apparently knew exactly, from many years of collaboration with Hitler, the limits of possibility as far as influencing his opinions or decisions or changing his mind was concerned. For that reason he generally accepted Hitler's decisions as orders in a soldierly manner. In individual cases he succeeded by emphatic reasoning in changing decisions, or at least in delaying them in order to have them further examined.

That Hitler, at least at times, did not trust Keitel completely I believe I can conclude from one of Hitler's remarks ..."

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Nelte, it appears to the Tribunal that it is not really necessary to read this. Keitel has already said it, it is cumulative to him, and the document itself is in evidence, so we can read it ourselves.

DR. NELTE: It is not necessary but it simply corroborates what has been testified to here. Therefore I can ...

THE PRESIDENT: It is sufficient that you tell us that.

DR. NELTE: I have further received the answers to several interrogatories that were permitted by the Tribunal.

First, there is the answer to the interrogatory by Herr Romilly. I can put this sworn interrogatory in evidence before the Tribunal and can forgo any reading of it.

The same is true of the answers to the interrogatory submitted to the witness Rotraud Roemer as to the question of the branding of Soviet prisoners of war.

The interrogatories of Professor Naville and Ambassador Scarpini are not yet at hand. I shall submit them as soon as they arrive. There remains ...

THE PRESIDENT: Have the prosecution had these documents?


THE PRESIDENT: Have you given numbers to these? You gave K- 15 to the last affidavit. You ought to number the others.

DR. NELTE: Romilly is Document K-l6 and Roemer is Document K- 17. I have now only the affidavit of the late Field Marshal von Blomberg. As ruled by the Tribunal on 26th February, it was allowed that he be interrogated. I have sent the original to the prosecution and I ask to be allowed to put in evidence the sworn answers of von Blomberg. It is in Document Book 1 and is known both to the Tribunal and to the prosecution.


DR. NELTE: That concludes my case.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you ... Now, Dr. Horn, I think.... Dr. Nelte, you are lodging these original documents that are numbered K-16, 17 and 18, you are lodging them with the General Secretary?


THE PRESIDENT: Have they been translated?

[Page 222]



Dr. Nelte, we have. not seen a translation of K-16, but you are sure that it has been translated, are you?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I have seen an English translation of it.


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: It was shown to me when it came in. I am quite sure I remember reading it.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, perhaps the General Secretary's Department will see that we are furnished with copies of it.

Yes, I think that is the one. That is K-16.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Certainly, I think Romilly is K-16. I have seen it.


Dr. Horn, do you remember that we read these documents at the time that we approved of their admissibility?

DR. HORN (counsel for defendant von Ribbentrop): Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: So perhaps it won't take you long to introduce them in evidence?

DR. HORN: I shall limit myself to a minimum, Mr. President.


DR. HORN: I should like to ask the Tribunal first to take judicial notice of Document Ribbentrop, Exhibit 75, contained in Volume III, on Page 191 of Ribbentrop's Document Book. It is a question here of an agreement between the Allied and Associated Powers and Poland of the year 1919. This agreement defines the, rights of the German minority in Poland. In Article 12 of this Treaty, which is on Page 3 of this document, it is said that Poland agrees

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