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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
16th April to 1st May, 1946

One-Hundred-and-Tenth Day: Wednesday, 17th April, 1946
(Part 7 of 13)

[MR. DODD continues his cross examination of Alfred Rosenberg]

[Page 70]

Q. You heard that terrible story of two and a half to three million murders of which he told from the witness stand, very largely of Jewish people?

A. Yes.

Q. Although it wasn't brought out here, you can take it from me as being so. If you care to dispute it, you may, and we will establish it later. You know that he was a reader of your book and of your speeches, this man Hoess?

A. I do not know whether he read my books. Anti-Jewish books have existed for the last 2,000 years.

Q. Now, you offered to resign in October, 1944, from your position as Reich Minister for the occupied Eastern Territories.

A. October, 1944.

Q. You didn't have very much to resign from on that date, did you? The Germans were practically out of Russia, isn't that a fact? On October 12, 1944, the German Army was practically out of Russia. It was on the retreat, isn't that so?

A. Yes. It was the question of my further tasks for the political and psychological treatment of several millions of Eastern workers in Germany; it was furthermore a question of refugees who came from the Eastern Territories and from the Ukraine to Germany, and of the settlement of economic problems, and above all I still had the hope even at that hour that a military change also might still occur in the East.

Q. And everybody, pretty nearly everybody who was informed at all in Germany knew that the war was lost in October, 1944, isn't that so? You knew that the war was lost in October, 1944.

A. No, I didn't know that.

Q. You didn't know that?

A. No, I did not know that.

MR. DODD: I will accept that answer. That is all. I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Thoma, do you wish to re-examine? General Rudenko, have you got some additional questions you want to ask?

GENERAL RUDENKO: I have some questions to ask in connection with the defendant's activities in the Eastern Territories.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, General.


Q. Defendant Rosenberg, at what time did you begin, personally and directly, to participate in preparations for an attack on the Soviet Union?

A. Not at all.

[Page 71]

Q. Was not your appointment of 20 April, 1941, to the post of Fuehrer's Deputy in the central control of all questions relating to the Eastern European Territories directly connected with Germany's attack on the Soviet Union?

A. That was no planning in which I took part, but it was the consequence of a decision which had already been made and about which my advice had not been asked. I was notified that a decision had been made and military orders had been given. Therefore I have ...

If I have to answer the questions as much as possible with yes or no, I would have to answer this, on the basis of the wording, with no.

Q. You do not deny the fact that this appointment took place in April, 1941?

A. No, of course not. That is evident.

Q. With this nomination Hitler gave you very wide powers. You collaborated with the highest authorities of the Reich, received information from them and summoned the Reich authorities to meetings. In particular you collaborated with Goering, with the Minister of National Economy and with Keitel. Do you confirm this? Please reply briefly.

A. There are, again, three questions. As to the first question, whether I received wide powers, plenipotentiary powers, I had not received plenipotentiary powers at all. The answer would be no.

To the second question, whether I had conferences, the answer is yes. Of course, I conferred with the highest authorities of the Reich who were concerned with the East, as was my duty in connection with my task.

Q. Please reply briefly to the following question: Immediately after your appointment of 20 April, 1941, did you hold a conference with the Chief of the O.K.W.?

A. Yes, I visited Field Marshal Keitel.

Q. Did you have a conversation with Brauchitsch and Raeder in connection with your appointment, regarding the solution of the Eastern problems?

A. According to my recollection I did not speak to Brauchitsch, and I also have no recollection of having had any conversation at this time with Raeder.

Q. Did you have a conference with the defendant Funk? He appointed Dr. Schlotterer as his permanent representative?

A . The then Reich Minister Funk, of course, was informed of this task given to me and he named Dr. Schlotterer for purposes of liaison.

Q. You had several conversations with General Thomas, State Secretary Koerner and State Secretary Backer, regarding the economic exploitation of the Eastern Territories?

A. I do not believe that I spoke to Thomas, and I met the other gentlemen at intervals, one by one. Later I attached Riecke as liaison man to the Eastern Economic Staff in the ministry. I must have met Backe also later at some time, as is natural in the course of time. I don't know at all whether I ever met General Thomas personally, maybe I met him in passing.

Q. Then I shall have to produce documents where you yourself speak about it. You were negotiating with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and, as a result, the defendant Ribbentrop appointed Grosskopf to act as permanent liaison officer with your organisation, and placed Dr. Braeutigam in charge of the political section. Is that correct?

A. Yes, that is correct, because the Foreign Minister was informed and appointed the then Consul General Grosskopf as ambassador -

Q. You received responsible representatives such as: Fritzsche, Schmidt, Glasmeier and others?

A. Yes, that may have been so. I met most of these gentlemen for the first time then, and it is to be taken for granted that I had to inform myself about that task.

Q. You negotiated with the Chief of Staff of the S.A. and requested him to place at your disposal the most experienced of the S.A. leaders.

[Page 72]

A. Of course I also spoke to the Chief of Staff of the S.A. about possible capable assistants in the event of an occupation of the Eastern Territories.

Q. In this connection, therefore, you will not deny that a co-ordinating centre did actually exist for preparing measures of attack against the USSR.

A. Not in that form, because all the assignments concerning the conflict with the Soviet Union were divided up from a military point of view. They were assigned to Goering in the field of economical planning, and, as became evident later on, clearly delegated to the police. I had been given a political liaison office in order to discuss the political problems of the East, and to give the different offices ideas about the eventual political administration and the direction of the policy. I did that practically on the lines laid down in my speech of 20 June.

Q. Very well. One and a half months before the treacherous attack by Germany on the Soviet Union, you drafted a directive for all Reich Commissars in the occupied Eastern Territories. You do not deny that?

A. I already mentioned that yesterday. In the course of duty, some provisional drafts were worked out by myself and my assistants. These drafts which we have here, or which have been shown to me up to now were not sent out in the form shown.

Q. I shall return to this question later.

In the report which you submitted to Hitler on 28 June, 1941, regarding the preliminary work on questions connected with the Eastern Territories, you stated that you had had a talk with Admiral Canaris, during which you asked Canaris, in the interests of counter-intelligence work, to choose certain persons who, while working on counter-intelligence, would also be able to pose as political workers. Do you confirm this statement?

A. No, that is not correct. But I heard that Admiral Canaris had organised a certain group of, I believe, Ukrainians and other nationals for sabotage and allied purposes. He visited me once and I asked him not to mix in the political work, that is, in the political preparatory work, and he assured me he wouldn't.

Q. You do not deny your meeting Canaris?

A. The meeting - no.

Q. During the conversation you asked him, in the interests of Intelligence, to select certain people to help you. Do you deny that?

A. No - yes, I deny that. However, I do not deny the fact that, of course, if Canaris had an interesting political report it would be proper of him to inform me about it. I had no counter-intelligence organisation or espionage organisation. During these years I never

Q. We are going to submit this document to you.

GENERAL RUDENKO: Mr. President, perhaps we can declare a recess now, because I still have a series of questions to ask.


(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn the hearing of this case at 4 o'clock in order to hear supplementary applications for witnesses and documents. The Tribunal hopes, therefore, that we may be able to conclude the case of the defendant Rosenberg before that - I mean, to conclude the case of the defendant Rosenberg, including examination of his only other witness.


Q. Defendant Rosenberg, you replied to me that the conversation with Admiral Canaris did not take place.

A. On the contrary, I said that such a conference with Admiral Canaris did take place.

Q. Then maybe this was wrongly translated.

A. Probably.

[Page 73]

Q. I asked you whether you asked Canaris in the course of your conversation, in the interests of the counter- intelligence service, to choose men who, while working as counter-intelligence agents, would be able to work simultaneously as political workers. Do you remember my question?

A. Yes.

Q. Was that the main subject of your conversation?

A. That is not correct. Admiral Canaris had -

Q. Let us not go into that in detail.

I will show you a document, and I will read this passage into the record in order to speed up the interrogation. Show this document to the defendant.

GENERAL RUDENKO: I mean, gentlemen of the Tribunal, Document 1039-PS, on Page 2; the part is underlined. I will read this passage.

Q. (Continuing) This is your report on the preliminary work concerning the organisation of the Territory of Eastern Europe. I read:-

"A conference took place with Admiral Canaris to the effect that under the existing confidential circumstances my office could in no way deal with any representatives of the peoples of Eastern Europe. I asked him to do this in so far as counter-espionage work required it, and then to name persons to me who, over and above counter- espionage service, might count as political personalities, in order to determine their possible utilisation later. Admiral Canaris said that of course he would take into consideration my request not to recognise any political groups among the emigrants, and that he intended to act in line with my statements."
A. That is in accord with what I said.

THE PRESIDENT: General, I think you are going a little too fast.

Q. All right, Mr. President. I ask you, do you confirm this quotation?

A. Yes, in the German version but not in the Russian translation. I understand Russian also and can assert that the translation is not entirely correct. For it says here that I, under the existing confidential circumstances naturally could not negotiate with other countries for eventual collaboration in a civil administration; that is the first point. And point two is that, since Admiral Canaris had to do with various groups of Ukrainians, Russians and other people, I was asking him, apart from counter-intelligence that is, not to do espionage work for me or ask me to do espionage work, but that he should point out to me people of other nationalities whom I could use later, under given conditions, in civil administration. That was the meaning; and secondly, at the end it is quite correct that he agreed not to carry on political work himself.

Q. Defendant Rosenberg, this absolutely follows the Russian text. What you just told us now means exactly the same in Russian.

A. According to the German translated into Russian it must have been that. I can only recognise the text that I have in front of me, not the Russian translation which is not in accord with this meaning. You interpret this text as though I were trying to carry on espionage work. I only asked Canaris, since I could not carry on political negotiations with representatives of the Eastern people, to tell me from his own knowledge, apart from his official capacity, what people of the Eastern regions, under certain circumstances, might later work in the civil administration for me. That is the meaning. The translation is, therefore, not entirely correct.

Q. Very well; but you confirm the German text?

A. Yes.

Q. It means you were connected with counter-espionage?

A. No, that is not correct. I only received Admiral Canaris and told him that, in his official capacity which he had to carry out, he should not deal with political plans, because I was now being given that task. Q. You heard the warning of the President of the Tribunal to answer briefly, and I beg you to do so.

[Page 74]

A. I would answer more briefly if the questions were put to me factually.

Q. I will put to you several questions concerning the aims of the war against the Soviet Union. Do you admit that Nazi Germany, having prepared and pursued war against the Soviet Union, aimed at plundering its economic riches, the extermination and enslavement of its people, and its dismemberment?

Answer briefly. Do you admit this or not?

A. Five questions are being put to me again and if ...

Q. I ask you: Please answer briefly. Do you admit the aims of the aggressions as I have put them to you? You will be able to give your explanation later.

THE PRESIDENT: You can answer that question "yes" or "no."

A. I must answer "no" to all four questions.

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