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 Thirty-First Day: Thursday, 16th May, 1946
(Part 9 of 9)

[Page 124]


Then I shall take these documents one by one. First of all I would like to start with those documents which Colonel Pokrovsky -

THE PRESIDENT: No, no, Dr. Siemers, the Tribunal will not listen to these documents taken one by one. If they can be treated in groups they must be treated in groups. They have been treated in groups by Sir David; and I am not saying you must adhere exactly to the same groups, but the Tribunal is not proposing to hear each document one by one.

DR. SIEMERS: I beg your pardon. Then it is a misunderstanding. I wanted to discuss those documents at the beginning, because there are some things which are not clear and which were objected to by Colonel Pokrovsky. I did not realize that Colonel Pokrovsky mentioned the documents in groups. I believe he mentioned five documents, and three of them individually, and I believe that, though I do not understand everything, I can deal with these individually mentioned documents one by one. However, I shall be glad to start with the group laid down by Sir David if that is to be dealt with first. Shall I first -

THE PRESIDENT: When you said you were going to deal with the documents one by one, you meant all the documents one by one? I am not suggesting that you -

DR. SIEMERS: No, your Honour.

THE PRESIDENT: You can deal with Colonel Pokrovsky first if you like.

DR. SIEMERS: Colonel Pokrovsky's first objection was to No. 13. This deals with a document dated 1935. Certainly Colonel Pokrovsky can offer some objection to the contents of this document, but how a document can be classed as irrelevant just because a certain sentence allegedly contains propaganda, is not quite clear to me. I believe I could find sentences in other documents which

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have been submitted during these past six months which might be interpreted in some way as propaganda. I cannot quite imagine that that is an objection, and I would like to remind the Tribunal that right at the beginning of the proceedings, when we were dealing with Austria, the Tribunal rejected an objection made by the defence regarding a letter. The defence objected because the author of the letter was available as a witness. Thereupon, the Tribunal, quite rightly, decided that the letter was evidence. The only matter for debate is probative value. The Tribunal admitted this document. And in connection with this I should like to mention that a lecture at a University which is set down in writing is a document. The lecture deals with the Naval Agreement, and I believe that therewith the relevancy -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, have you not made your point on No. 13? You said that the greater part was clearly relevant, though there is one sentence which may be alleged to be propaganda, and, therefore, the document ought not to be struck out. Is not that your point?

DR. SIEMERS: No, I am saying that it is a document which has a bearing on the evidence used in this trial, and the Soviet prosecution cannot dispute it because it was a lecture given in 1935. I cannot at all understand the use of the word "propaganda" by Colonel Pokrovsky in connection with this document.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I do not understand what you say in the least. I thought I put the point you had made. I thought you made it clear that the document in itself was relevant and could not be rejected because it contained one sentence which was alleged propaganda. That is your point and I shall want it stated in one or two sentences and the Tribunal will consider it. I do not see why the time of the Tribunal should be taken up with a long argument about something else.

DR. SIEMERS: Colonel Pokrovsky secondly, if I understood the interpreter, objected to No. 27. In this instance we are concerned with the speech of Hitler at Obersalzberg under date of 22nd August, 1932. I have tried to understand -

THE PRESIDENT: 1939 was it not? Is it not 1939?

(Interpreter: Your Honour, he said 1932, but I believe he means 1939.)

DR. SIEMERS: It is Exhibit Raeder 27. It is very hard for me to comment on this document, since I do not understand the objections of Colonel Pokrovsky.

THE PRESIDENT: The objection was that there was no necessity for a third record of the speech. There were two records which you objected to and he said there was no necessity for a third.

DR. SIEMERS: I would like to add to that then, your Honour, that, in that case, the Soviet prosecution does not agree with the delegation of the United States. In the record at that time the representative of the American prosecution said that if anyone had a better version of that speech, he should present it. I agree with the opinion of the American prosecution and I believe, aside from that, that about the relevancy of a speech which was made shortly before the outbreak of the war no words are necessary.

No. 83 is the third document objected to by Colonel Pokrovsky. This contains in the record of the sixth session of the Supreme Council on 28th March, 1940, a draft of a resolution with the heading, "Strictly Secret." In this document the Supreme Council, that is, the constituents of the Allied leadership, agreed that the French and British Governments on Monday, 1st April, would tender a note to the Norwegian and Swedish Governments. The contents of this note. are then given, and there is a reference to the point of view of vital interests, and it says there, that the position of the neutrals would then be considered by the Allies as one contrary to their vital interest, and that it would evoke a reaction accordingly.

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Under figure I (c) of this document, it says:-
"Any attempt by the Soviet Union which aimed at obtaining from Norway a position on the Atlantic Coast would be contrary to the vital interests of the Allies and would provoke the appropriate reaction."
THE PRESIDENT: You do not need to read the document, do you? I mean you can tell us what the substance of it is. It appears to be an objection to any further attack upon Finland, which would be considered by the Allies to be contrary to their vital interests. That is all.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, this expression "vital interests" is the decisive one. I do not wish, as the prosecution always seems to think, to bring up some sort of objection from the point of view of tu quoque. I want to show only what the situation was according to International Law, and that at the same time as Grand Admiral Raeder had certain things in mind regarding Norway, Greece and so forth, the Allied agencies had the same ideas, and they were basing these on the same concept in International Law which, as I recently said, was upheld by Kellogg, namely that the right of self-preservation still exists. Now I can prove my point through these documents.

THE PRESIDENT: The point made against you by Sir David was that the document could not have come into the hands of the German authorities until after the fall of France.

DR. SIEMERS: Now, I shall deal with the groupings designated by Sir David.

Sir David made certain fundamental statements. Regarding Nos. 28 and 29 he pointed out specifically that in one case they expressed the thoughts of General Gamelin and in the other case those of General Weygand, and that these ideas were not known to the Germans at that time since these documents were not yet in our hands. The latter point is correct, but the concept and the plan of occupying Greece, of destroying Roumanian oil wells, these were known to the Germans through their Intelligence Service. The prosecution did not present the data of the German High Command which show these reports. Since I have not these documents I believe it would be well if I were given the opportunity of presenting the facts which exist and which were known to Germany by this means at the time. I have no other way of proving these facts. That it is convenient for the prosecution to deprive me of the documents which I need for the defence, I can understand, but the prosecution must also understand the fact that I consider it important that these documents, which are definite proof of certain plans, should remain at my disposal.

The charge has been made against Grand Admiral Raeder that it was an aggressive war - a criminal war of aggression - to formulate plans for the occupation of Greece. Document No. 29 shows that General Weygand and General Gamelin on 9th September, 1939, concerned themselves with planning the occupation of neutral Salonika. But if this is the case I cannot understand how one can accuse Admiral Raeder on the German side of also concerning himself with such plans a year and a half later. I believe, therefore, that these and similar documents must be granted me, for only from them can the military planning and the value of the military planning, or the objectionable side, that is, the criminal side of the planning be understood. The strategic ideas of the defendant can be understood only if one knows approximately what were the strategic ideas of the enemy at the time. The strategic reasoning of Grand Admiral Raeder was not shut up in an air-tight compartment, but depended on the reports received about the strategic planning of the enemy. It is a reciprocal activity. This reciprocal activity is necessary for an understanding. Therefore, in view of this very essential point, I ask to be granted these documents, since, as I have recently stated, I do not know how I can carry on my defence at all in the face of these grave accusations regarding Greece and Norway if all of my documents are refused. I believe that I am understood correctly when I do not assert that we

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were cognizant of these documents. But Germany knew the contents of these documents, and I believe that is sufficient.

May it please the Tribunal, we are once again at Document 66 in group A. This Document 66 is the opinion of Dr. Mosler, an expert in International Law, about the Norwegian operation as judged from the standpoint of International Law.

Since we are always talking about saving time in this courtroom I would have my doubts about rejecting this article, for a refusal would force me to set forth the trend of thought point by point in detail, and I believe that it is much easier for the Tribunal, for the prosecution and for me, if I submit general legal arguments in this connection.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, this is a document which is a matter of legal argument. If the Tribunal think it would be of any assistance to have the argument in documentary form, I willingly withdraw my objection to that. That is on quite a different plane from the others, and I want to help in any way I can.

As I am before the microphone: I did mention that there were two other documents that fall into the same group. No. 34 falls into Group B and No. 48 into the Group E.

My Lord, I did mention 28 when I was addressing the Tribunal.

DR. SIEMERS: May it please the Tribunal, I do not wish to dispute No. 66, I have really done this just to ease the situation for everyone. The further documents are 101 to 107 in this group. I cannot say that this is a homogeneous group. One document deals with Norway, another deals with Belgium, the third deals with the Danube. The unity of this group escapes me. Basically these documents have this point in common, that, as I have already stated, a plan existed in the Allied General Staff as well as in the German, and all were based on the International Law regarding the right of self-preservation and vital interests. In order to be brief at this point I should like to refer to Document 66 particularly, and to save time I ask that the quotations from this document be considered the basis for my remarks today on the right of self-preservation. I am referring to the quotations on Page 3 and Page 4 of this expert opinion. The legal situation is made very clear therein, and it is set forth very clearly in this expert opinion that, with regard to the question of the occupation of Norway, we are not concerned with whether the Allies had actually landed in Norway, but only whether such a plan existed-that we are not concerned with the fact whether Norway agreed or did not agree. The danger of a change of neutrality according to International Law gives one the right to use some compensating measure or to attack on one's own accord; and this basic principle has been maintained in the entire literature which is quoted in this document; and to which I shall refer later in my defence speech.

Out of group 101 to 107, I have to mention 107 especially. Document 107 is not concerned at all with the White Books as the other documents are. 107 is an affidavit by Schreiber. Schreiber was naval attache at Oslo from October 1939 onward. From the beginning I have said that I needed Schreiber as a witness. In the meantime, I dispensed with him because, even though we tried for weeks, we could not find him. I discussed this matter with Sir David and with Colonel Phillimore. I was advised that there would be no objection on this formal point since Schreiber suddenly and of his own accord reappeared.

If, as the prosecution wishes, this piece of evidence is taken from me - namely the affidavit of Schreiber about the reports which Admiral ? received from Oslo and in addition to that, the documents from which the authenticity of these reports may be shown, then I have no evidence for this entire question at all. Besides, Schreiber was in Oslo during the occupation and he has commented in his affidavit with regard to the behaviour of the Navy and the efforts of Grand Admiral? in connection with the regrettable civil administration of Terboven.

[Page 128]

Therefore I am asking the High Tribunal to grant this affidavit to me or, if not at least to grant me Schreiber as a witness so that lie can testify personally. This latter course, however, would take up more time. I have limited my evidence through witnesses to such a degree that I believe that, in view of the total period of fifteen years with which we are dealing, in the case of the defendant Raeder, at least, such an affidavit should be granted me.

With regard to group B, I should like to refer to the remarks which I have already made. As far as I can see the group seems to be thoroughly heterogeneous, but I believe they are all documents taken from the White Book. The same ideas still apply which I have just expressed to the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: I think Sir David recognized that there was a certain degree of lack of identity in these groups but he suggested that they all fall into geographical groups, one group the Low Countries, one group Norway, one group Greece, and one group the Caucasus and the Danube, which is Group E. That is what he said. Could you not deal with them in those geographical groups?

DR. SIEMERS: Very well.

I have already talked about Norway and in that connection I therefore refer to the remarks I have already made. I have already briefly mentioned Greece. I would like to say that there was a double accusation made: One, that neutral ships were sunk, namely neutral Greek ships; and two, the accusation of an aggressive war against Greece - the occupation of all Greece.

With regard to the last point I have already made a few statements. Dealing with the Greek merchantmen I would like to say only that in this case the action and attitude of the defendant appears justified, in that he received reports which accorded with the documents which were found a month later in France. The same reports had been received by Raeder when he told his views to Hitler. I would like to prove that these reports, which came to him through the Intelligence Service were not invented by the Intelligence Service but were actual facts. The same applies to the oil regions. Plans existed to destroy the Roumanian oil wells and furthermore there was a plan to destroy the Caucasian, oil wells; both had the object of damaging the enemy, in the one case Germany alone, and in the second case Germany and Russia, because at that time Russia was on friendly terms with Germany.

These plans are - and this is shown by the document - in the same form as all other documents presented by the prosecution, which are, too, in their entirety, "top secret," "personal," "confidential." The prosecution has always said, "Why did you do everything secretly, that is suspicious?" But these documents contain ideas based on strategic planning just as do the documents presented by the prosecution. That is something which arises from the nature of war and which is not meant to be an accusation on my part, nor should it be construed as an accusation against Grand Admiral Raeder by the prosecution.

Then the group of the Ribbentrop documents follows. Here I can only make a similar comment. As I see from a cursory, glance the documents in the Ribbentrop Document Book are not as complete as they are here. Therefore I believe it is important to take the documents and to investigate their complete content from the point of view of Raeder rather than the point of view of Ribbentrop. That perhaps may have taken place as the High Tribunal suggested the other day. I believe, however, the prosecution cannot object that in the case of Ribbentrop they were partially admitted and partially rejected, for some documents which were granted Ribbentrop were refused me.

Then we turn to group E and that is a case of tu quoque. I believe I have already spoken fully on that point just recently. I dispute it again, and I cannot understand why the prosecution will not agree with me on that. I do not wish to object. It is not I who am saying "tu quoque"; I am only saying that there

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is strategic planning which is carried on in every army and there are principles in International Law which applied to the Allies exactly in the same way as to us and I beg to be granted these possibilities of comparison in foreign politics.

I believe herewith I have concluded my request so far as it is possible for me to define my position with regard to about fifty documents in so short a time, and I am asking the High Tribunal not to make my work more difficult by refusing these documents to me.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will carefully consider these documents and your arguments.

The Tribunal will now adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 17th May, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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