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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
14th May to 24th May, 1946

One Hundred and Twenty-Ninth Day: Tuesday, 14th May, 1946
(Part 5 of 10)

[DR. WALTER SIEMERS continues his redirect examination of Gerhard Wagner]

[Page 16]


Q. May I ask you to turn to the next page of the document and to come back to the Bordeaux case, a similar case which has already been discussed? You have already explained the Bordeaux case in so far as you said that the Naval Operations Command was not informed about it. I now draw your attention to the sentence at the bottom of Page 3:-

"After carrying out the explosions, they sank the boats and tried, with the help of the French civilian population, to escape into Spain."
Thus, did the men concerned in this operation also not act like soldiers?

A. That, according to this document, is perfectly clear.

Q. Thank you. And now one last question. At the end of his examination Colonel Phillimore asked you whether you considered Grand Admiral Raeder and Grand Admiral Donitz guilty in the cases which have just been discussed, guilty of these murders as he termed them? Now that I have further clarified these cases I should like you to answer the question again.

A. I consider that these Grand Admirals are not guilty in either case.

DR. SIEMERS: I have no further questions.

DR. LATERNSER (for the OKW and the General Staff): I have a few questions concerning the Commando Order.

[Page 17]


Q. Admiral, during cross-examination you explained your views on the Commando Order. I wanted to ask you: were your views possibly based on the assumption that the order was examined by a superior authority as to its justification before International Law?

A. Yes. I assumed that the justification for the order was examined by my superiors.

Q. Furthermore, during cross-examination you stated your conception of what happened when a man was handed over to the SD. I wanted to ask you: did you have this conception already at that time, or has it taken form now that a great deal of material has become known to you?

A. There is no question that this conception was considerably influenced by knowledge of a great deal of material.

Q. You did not, therefore, at that time have the definite conception that the handing over of a man to the SD meant certain death?

A. No, I did not have that conception.

Q. Now, a few questions regarding the equipment of the commando units.

Do you not know that automatic arms were found on some members of these units, and that, in particular, pistols were carried in such a manner that if, in the event of capture, the man raised his arms, that movement would automatically cause a shot to be fired which would hit the person standing opposite the man with raised arms? Do you know anything about that?

A. I have heard of it.

Q. Did you not see pictures of it?

A. At the moment I cannot remember seeing such pictures.

Q. Did the Germans also undertake sabotage operations in enemy countries?

THE PRESIDENT: What has it got to do with that, Dr. Laternser?

DR. LATERNSER: I wanted to ascertain by means of this question whether the witness had knowledge of German sabotage operations, and furthermore whether he had received reports about the treatment of such sabotage units.

THE PRESIDENT: That is the very thing which we have already ruled cannot be put.

You are not suggesting that these actions were taken by way of reprisal for the way in which German sabotage units were treated? We are not trying whether any other powers have committed breaches of International Law, or Crimes Against Humanity, or War Crimes; we are trying whether these defendants have.

The Tribunal has ruled that such questions cannot be put.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I do not know what answer the witness is going to give, and since I do not know ...

THE PRESIDENT: We wanted to know why you were putting the question. You said you were putting the question in order to ascertain whether German sabotage units had been treated in a way which was contrary to International Law, or words to that effect. And that is a matter which is irrelevant.

DR. LATERNSER: But, Mr. President, it would show, at least, that doubt existed about the interpretation of International Law with regard to such operations, and that would be of importance for the application of the law.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal rules that the question is inadmissible.


Q. Witness, you also stated during your cross-examination that until 1944 you were Chief of the Operations Staff of the Naval Operations Command. Can you give information on whether there were strong German naval forces or naval transport ships in the Black Sea?

[Page 18]

A. The strength of naval forces and transport ships in the Black Sea was very slight.

Q. For what were they mostly needed?

A. For our own replacements and their protection.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, how does this arise out of the cross-examination? You are re-examining now, and you are only entitled to ask questions which arise out of the cross- examination. There have been no questions put with reference to the Black Sea.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I learned during the examination that for a long time the witness was Chief of the Operational Staff and I concluded that he was one of the few witnesses who could give me information regarding the facts of a very serious accusation raised by the Russian Prosecution, namely the accusation that 144,000 people had been loaded on to German ships, that at Sebastopol those ships had gone to sea and had then been blown up, and that the prisoners of war on the ships were drowned. The witness could clarify this matter to some extent.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, you knew, directly this witness began his evidence, what his position was, and you, therefore, could have cross-examined him yourself at the proper time. You are now re-examining, you are only entitled - because we cannot have the time of the Tribunal wasted - you are only entitled to ask him questions which arise out of the cross-examination. In the opinion of the Tribunal, this question does not arise out of the cross-examination.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, please, would you, as an exception, admit this question

THE PRESIDENT: No, Dr. Laternser, the Tribunal has given you a great latitude and we cannot continue to do so.

The Tribunal will now adjourn.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

THE PRESIDENT: You have finished, have you not, Dr. Kranzbuhler, with this witness?


THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

DR. KRANZBUHLER: And now I should like to call my next witness, Herr Admiral Goth.

EBERHARD GOTH, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:-


Q. Will you state your full name?

A. My name is Eberhard Goth.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

You may sit down.



Q. Admiral Goth, when did you enter the Navy as an officer cadet?

A. On the first of July, 1918.

Q. How long have you been working with Admiral Donitz and in what position?

A. Since January 1938; first of all as first attache to the Chief of the Naval Staff attached to the C.-in-C. U-boats and immediately after the beginning of the war as Chief of the Operations Department.

[Page 19]

Q. Chief of the Operations Department attached to Captain U. B. (FdU)?

A. Yes, attached to Commander of U-boats and later to C.-in- C. U-boats (BdU).

Q. Did you collaborate from 1938 in the drafting of all operational orders worked out through the staff of the flag officer of U-boats?

A. Yes.

Q. How many officers were on this staff at the beginning of the war?

A. At the beginning of the war there were four officers, one chief engineer and two administrative officers on that staff.

Q. I shall now show you Exhibit GB 83 of the Prosecution's Document Book, Page 16, which is a letter from C.-in-C. U- boats, dated 9th October, 1939. It refers to bases in Norway. How did this letter originate?

(Witness is handed a document.)

A. At that time I was visiting the Naval War Staff (SKL) in Berlin on other business. On the occasion of that visit I was asked whether the C.-in-C. U-boats was interested in bases in Norway and what demands should be made in that connection.

Q. Were you informed how these bases in Norway were to be secured for the use of the German Navy?

A. No.

Q. The prosecution have quoted an extract from the War Diary of the Naval War Staff dating from the same period.

DR. KRANZBUHLER: Mr. President, I am thinking of the extract, reproduced on Page 15 of the Document Book.


Q. That extract contains four questions. Questions (a) and (d) deal with technical details regarding bases in Norway, whereas (b) and (c) deal with the possibility of obtaining such bases against the will of the Norwegians and the question of defending them.

Which of these questions were put to you?

A. May I ask you to repeat the questions in detail first of all.

Q. The first question is: Which places in Norway can be considered for bases?

A. That question was put.

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, will you make a pause between the question and your answer so that the interpreters can deal with it.


Q. I shall repeat the question.

Which places in Norway can be considered as possible bases?

A. That question was put.

Q. Will you show me from the letter from C.-in-C. of U-boats whether the question was answered and where it is answered?

A. The question was answered under No. 1 (c) at the end of No. 1.

Q. There it says: "Trondhjem or Narvik are possible places."

A. Yes, that is right.

Q. Question No. 2 is: "If it is impossible to obtain bases without fighting, can it be done against the will of the Norwegians by the use of military force?"

Was that question put?

A. No.

Q. Can you tell me if the question was answered in the letter from the Commander of U-boats?

A. This question was not answered.

Q. The third question is: "What are the possibilities of defence after occupation?" Was that question put to you?

A. No, that question was not put.

[Page 20]

Q. Is it replied to in the letter?

A. 3 (b) refers to the necessity of adopting defence measures.

Q. Is that reference connected with the fourth question which I put to you now: "Will the harbours have to be developed to the fullest extent as bases, or do they offer decisive advantages as supply points in case of necessity?"

A. These two questions are not connected.

Q. Was that fourth question put to you?

A. Yes.

Q. Was it answered?

A. Not in this letter.

Q. What is the significance of 2 and 3?

Do they not answer the question of whether these ports must be developed as bases or whether they can be used just as supply points?

A. They indicate that it was thought necessary to develop them to the fullest extent as bases.

Q. Will you please read the last sentence of the Document? There it says: "Establishment of a supply point with fuel in Narvik as an alternative supply point." Is that not a reply to the question asking whether a supply point is enough?

A. Yes; I had overlooked that sentence.

Q. Can I sum up, therefore, by saying that the first and fourth questions were put to you and answered by you, whereas questions 2 and 3 were not put to you and not answered by you?

A. Yes.

Q. In the War Diary of the Naval War Staff there is a note which says: "C.-in-C. U-boats considers such ports extremely valuable even as temporary supply and equipment bases for Atlantic U-boats." Does that not mean that Admiral Donitz was working on this question before your visit to Berlin? Or what was the reason for that note?

A. That was my own opinion, which I was entitled to give in my capacity as Chief of the Operations Department.

Q. Was that the first time that plans for bases were brought to your notice?

A. No. We had been considering the question of whether the supply position for U-boats could be improved by using ships - in Iceland, for instance.

Q. Were these considerations in any way connected with the question whether one ought to start a war against the country concerned?

A. No.

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