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-Sixth Day: Wednesday, 22nd May, 1946
(Part 9 of 11)

[MAJOR ELWYN JONES continues his cross examination of Erich Schulte-Monting]

[Page 307]

Q. I just want to deal with that, but I want to read out to you what your Commander-in-Chief said about that, because it is not what you are saying, you know. On the interrogation of Admiral Raeder on 10th November, 1945, he was asked:
"Question: Were negotiations as to the intervention of Japan carried out by the Foreign Office alone, or in collaboration with the High Command of the Navy and the OKW?"
And defendant Raeder's answer was:
"No negotiations took place between the Foreign Office and the Japanese diplomats. Ambassador Oshima was an officer. He negotiated with the Foreign Office in his capacity as delegate, but, apart from that, he was enough of an expert to judge the whole matter from the military point of view. Military authorities had long before that carried on negotiations with military and naval attaches about those matters essential to Japan. This was all talked about and thrashed out with the military and naval attaches."
That is a very different version of the fact from the version you have given, witness, is it not? Now, there are two more matters which I want to deal with.

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: I don't know whether it will be convenient, my Lord, to have a brief adjournment.

(A recess was taken.)

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: May it please the Tribunal, with regard to the extract from the interrogation of the defendant Raeder, which I read, I wanted to be clear that the defendant was then dealing with the relationship generally, between the German authorities in Berlin and the Japanese representatives. I do not want to have given the Tribunal the impression it was a direct negotiation with regard to intervention against America itself. I do not want to mislead the Tribunal in any way with regard to that matter.


Q. Did you know of the shooting, in December 1942, by a naval unit under the German Naval officer in command at Bordeaux, of two British Royal Marines who took part in a raid on shipping in the Girond Estuary?

A. I learned of that later.

Q. Did you see the entry with regard to that shooting in the SKL war diary?

[Page 308]

A. No, here in Nuremberg, defence counsel showed me an entry, but I do not know whether it was the war diary of the Naval Operations Staff.

Q. It has been suggested by both counsel for the defendant, Donitz and counsel for the defendant, Raeder, that the entry in D-658, which contained the sentence: "The measure was in accordance with the Fuehrer's special order, but is, nevertheless, something new in International Law, since these soldiers were in uniform," that that entry was not from the SKL war diary. Now, you are familiar with the initial of the defendant Raeder, are you not?

I want you now to look at the original of D-658, so that it may be established beyond conjecture that this matter was entered in the SKL war diary. I will put in a photostatic copy of the original if the Tribunal will allow me, because the original is required for other purposes. D-658 was Exhibit GB 229, and it may be convenient to call the photostats of the originals D--658-A, and Exhibit GB 229-A.


Q. That is the war diary of the SKL, is it not?

A. Yes, I recognized it as such.

Q. And the SKL was perfectly familiar with that dreadful murder of the men at Bordeaux, was it not?

A. From the war diary I can see - such is my impression - that afterward, on 9th December, they were informed about the fact of the shooting -

Q. And their laconic comment was -

A. - in the Armed Forces communique. It says: "According to the Armed Forces communique, the two soldiers have been shot in the meantime." This can be seen in the war diary of the SKL, and I acknowledge it.

Q. And the humane comment of the SKL is, "It is something new in International Law, since the soldiers were in uniform."

There is one final matter which I wish to ask you about: Is it your contention that the German Navy fought a clean war at sea?

A. I contend that the German Navy fought a very clean war, and that has nothing to do with the fact that it is said here in the diary of the SKL, as taken from the Armed Forces communiqu’, that two soldiers were shot, and that this was in accordance with the special order given by the Fuehrer which has been cited, but, as the Naval Operations Staff adds, was something new in the history of naval warfare. This too -

Q. I am turning to another matter, but you say generally -

A. May I just say in conclusion that this postscript has been confirmed and that the Navy, in this case, Raeder, had no influence on these matters. If you ask we whether I approved that order or something of the sort, I would give you my personal opinion of the matters which Raeder and I discussed.

Q. But you know Raeder was Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, and who would have influence in Germany if the Commanders-in-Chief did not? Here was a matter directly reflecting on the honour of German Armed Forces, and despite that deliberate denial of the protection of the Geneva Convention for those British Marines, he continued in office, after they were deliberately murdered.

A. That is a distortion. I reply to that as follows: The fact is that in this war, for the first time, a form of sabotage was applied, whether behind the lines by means of air landings or otherwise.

Q. Just a moment. These were marines in uniform. Your own report in the SKL war diary says so.

A. I have to comment on that order which was issued earlier. The preamble of that order said that, since there was knowledge of orders to the Allied soldiers, or - I do not remember the exact wording any more - since these soldiers were given orders not to bother taking German prisoners, but rather to shoot them while carrying out their work in the so-called Commando raids, the following directives had to be issued.

[Page 309]

At that time, I spoke with Raeder about this case, of course, and I can merely state my personal opinion. I felt that I could believe this preamble because I am of the opinion that if I resorted to let us say, sabotage behind the lines, then, of course, I could not be bothered with taking prisoners, because then the element of surprise would be excluded. If, therefore, a troop of three to five men, a so-called commando undertaking, is sent behind the lines in order to destroy enemy installations, then, of course, they cannot burden themselves with prisoners without running the risk of being killed themselves or of being recognized before they can carry out their undertaking. Therefore, I considered this preamble quite credible, and I expressly said so at that time.

Q. And you think that that shooting of those two marines was, therefore, perfectly justified? That is your position on this matter, is it not? Just say "yes" or "no" on that; I will not argue with you.

A. I have not asserted that in any way. Rather I said, here is a fact of which we were informed only by the Armed Forces communiqu’, and that Raeder and the High Command had not been heard on this point. That is what I stated.

Q. Now, the final matter I wanted to ask you about; you have indicated that, in your opinion, Germany fought a clean war at sea. I want you to look at the new Document D-873, which will be Exhibit GB 481, which is the log book of U-boat U-71, under the date-line 21st June, 1941, when the defendant Raeder was Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy. You see the entry reads:

"Sighted lifeboat of the Norwegian motor tanker John Pederson drifting under sail. Three survivors were lying exhausted under a tarpaulin, and only showed themselves as the U-boat was moving away again. They stated that their ship had been torpedoed twenty-eight days before. I turned down their request to be taken aboard, provisioned the boat with food and water and gave them the course and distance to the Icelandic coast. Boat and crew were in a state that, in view of the prevailing weather, offered hardly any prospects of rescue. Signed: Flachserberg."
Is that your conception of a clean war at sea?

A. I observe that the commanding officer did what he could, having said that in view of the bad weather, he could not rescue them. He threw provisions to them in a sack and gave them the course to the coast. I do not know what there is about that that is inhumane. If he had left without giving them food and the course, then you might make that accusation.

Q. But he could have taken them aboard, you know. These were three men who did -

A. No, I believe you cannot judge that. Only the commanding officer himself can judge that, the man in charge of the U-boat. I would have to look at the weather, because it says here "Medium swell." That could also -

Q. But you see here the U-boat commander must have spoken to these people, and physically, it must have been possible to take them aboard, but he left them to their fate, knowing quite well he was leaving them to die.

A. No, not at all. He need not have given them any food and the course to the coast. What makes you think that they had to die?

Q. The last sentence is a clear indication that the U-boat captain knew he was leaving them to die. I am suggesting to you that he could have taken them aboard, and should have done so if he had the elements of humanity in him.

A. No; I do not know the condition of the U-boat, whether the boat was in a position to take prisoners on board. I believe that you have never seen conditions on a U-boat, otherwise you wouldn't judge it like that. Considering that the crew of a U-boat which is under water for weeks, and uses every last bit of space, and is exposed to the greatest dangers day and night, one cannot simply say that it would have been a humane act, to take these additional men aboard. Besides, the commander himself says there was hardly a chance of rescue in view of the prevailing weather.

MAJOR ELWYN JONES.: I have no further questions, my Lord.

[Page 310]



Q. Admiral, I have some questions concerning a few points which Major Elwyn Jones put to you.

An entry was shown to you from the document by Assmann of 10th October, 1939, with the assertion that from this it can be seen that Raeder wanted to occupy Norway only in order to have Norwegian bases. I should like to read to you the full entry, and I should like you then to state your attitude to the entire document:

"The Fuehrer agrees that full use of the only two battleships which we have should not be made for the time being. Russia offered bases near Murmansk.

Question of siege of England. Fuehrer and Commander-in-Chief of Navy agree that all objections by neutrals have to be rejected, even in view of the danger of entry of USA into the war, which seems certain if the war goes on.

The more 'brutally' the war is conducted, the greater the effect, the sooner the end.

Capacity for large U-boat production programme. Fuehrer rejects suggestion to have submarines built by or brought from Russia for political reasons. Commander-in-Chief of Navy states no advantages to be won for the U-boat war by conquest of Belgian coast; refers to the value of winning Norwegian bases - Trondhjem - with the help of Russian pressure. Fuehrer will consider the question."

Admiral, according to the entire contents, is this a complete clarification of the Norwegian problem?

A. No, not at all.

Q. Am I right in concluding that here a great number of questions are treated and only one strategic question with reference to Norway -

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: If your Lordship pleases, the translation came through as, "no advantage of occupation of Norwegian bases," and the translation which is in the document is "Raeder stresses importance of obtaining Norwegian bases." Perhaps if there might be a careful - I am not saying this in any critical sense - a very careful translation of the entry, it might be important.

THE PRESIDENT: Did you give that an exhibit number?

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: No, my Lord. That is the entry from Assmann's headline diary.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I know it is. But I want to know the exhibit number.

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: I will have an extract made and the exhibit number given this evening, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: It would be Exhibit GB 482, would it not?

MAJOR ELWYN ]ONES: Yes, my Lord, that is it; Exhibit GB 482.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, it is the same date; I beg your pardon if it does not agree; but the document from which I read I received through the courtesy of Major Elwyn Jones.

THE PRESIDENT: You had better go into the question of translation, and get that settled.

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: Yes, your Lordship.


Q. At any rate, Admiral, both entries are of l0th October, that is, of the same conference. Am I right in saying there were many strategic questions, not one of which, it can be said, has been treated completely and conclusively?

[Page 311]

A. No, I believe that this complex of questions has nothing to do with the comprehensive discussion between Hitler and Raeder concerning the occupation of Norway. The Norwegian question was touched upon the occupation of Norway, and then a few points which Raeder had jotted down in his notebook were discussed. Apart from the question whether an occupation of Norway was necessary or not, the possibility of conquering bases outside German territory was, purely by chance, touched on the same day.

Q. Therefore, Russia's offer of Murmansk was discussed.

A. From Russia to Belgium - all along the coast, wherever there were possibilities and advantages for our submarine strategy.

Q. If in the war diary a sentence in connection with a conference between Raeder and Hitler is in quotation marks, does that mean that these words were used by Hitler? Can one assume that?

A. If it says -

MAJOR ELWYN J ONES: If your Lordship please, the translation has now been checked, and the original reading of "Raeder stresses the importance of obtaining Norwegian bases" appears to be a perfectly correct translation.

THE PRESIDENT: Go on, Dr. Siemers.

THE WITNESS: I understood, Doctor Siemers, shall I speak about that?


Q. Yes, did you want to add something to that point?

A. Yes. I understand it has just been pointed out that Raeder allegedly called Hitler's attention to the necessity of acquiring submarine bases and, in that connection, once spoke about Russian assistance and also about the possibility of acquiring bases from Norway. But that does not reveal any aggressive intentions.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, in order to save time, I asked Dr. Kranzbuhler also to check the translation. The German text, as I should like to point out, says: "The Commander-in-Chief of the Navy points out the value of winning Norwegian bases." That is something different from the English translation. But I should like to come back to this later.

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