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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th May to 6th June, 1946

One Hundred and Forty-Fifth Day: Monday, 3rd June, 1946
(Part 9 of 9)

[DR. EXNER continues his direct examination of ALFRED JODL]

[Page 289]

Q. The beginning and the end of the speech incontestably contain a eulogy of the Party and the Fuehrer. Why did you include that in a purely objective military speech?

A. It was impossible for me to begin a speech of that kind with a critical polemic on the Party or on my Commander-in-Chief. It was necessary to create confidence between the officer and the Party Leader; for this confidence was not only necessary in order that the speech would serve its purpose; this confidence was the requirement for victory. Moreover, I should like to say something decisive: what the prosecution submitted as Document L-172 -

Q. Is that the Gauleiter speech?

A. That is not the Gauleiter speech at all, it is not the speech which I delivered. That is nothing else but the "scrapped version" of this speech. It is the first rough draft, which was completely revised and altered for it contained many things which were not important, and the entire basis of the speech, namely the section about the situation at the time, the part dealing with the enemy, the means at his disposal, and his intentions, is missing. The things contained in this document are many hundreds of notes for the speech, which were sent to me by my staff. I compiled my speech from these notes, and then I returned all this material to my staff.

Q. Then it is not the manuscript of your speech?

A. It is in no way the manuscript; that looks entirely different.

Q. Now we shall turn to a different point. Which leaders of the Party did you get to know from the seizure of power until the outbreak of the war?

A. Not mentioning the soldiers, Reich Minister Frick alone. I was with him twice when the questions of Reich reform were to be discussed.

Q. And which of the defendants here present did you know before 1939, or before the beginning of the war?

A. Of the defendants. here, I knew only the Reichsmarschall, Grand Admiral Raeder, Field-Marshal Keitel and Minister Frick; no one else.

Q. In the meantime, had you concerned yourself with the nature of the literature of National Socialism?

A. No.

Q. Did you participate in Reich Party Rallies?

A. In the year 1937, in my official capacity, I participated in the last three days in Nuremberg, when the Labour Front, the SA and the Wehrmacht were reviewed.

Q. Did you participate in the commemorations at Munich, that is, every year on the 9th of November?

A. No. I really did not belong there.

Q. Can you tell us what your position was with respect to the para-military units of the party?

A. These semi-military organizations sprang up from the earth like mushrooms after the seizure of power, but only the SA under Roehm tried to seize complete power. The witness Gisevius said here that there was no Roehm Putsch. That is correct, but it was just about to happen. At that time, in the Reich War Ministry, we were armed to the teeth, and Roehm was a real revolutionary, not one in a frock coat. When the Fuehrer intervened in June, 1934, from that moment there were no more conflicts between the Wehrmacht and the SA. The Wehrmacht became all the more suspicious of the organizations of the SS, which from that moment multiplied in an extraordinary fashion. The Army, one can very well say, was never quite reconciled to this dualism of two armed units within the country.

Q. Now I should like to quote various excerpts from your Diary - Document 1780-PS, Page 2, of the first volume of the Document Book, in order to show that Jodl again and again concerned himself with this infiltration of the SS into the

[Page 290]

Army - on 19th April - that is the second paragraph - or before that, on 22nd March, there is an entry to this effect. Then on the 19th April: "H. visits Chief of the General Department of the Armed Forces and tells him his misgivings concerning development of the SS."

In the French translation this "H" is replaced by "Heydrich". That, of course, is utterly senseless, for Heydrich certainly had no misgivings concerning the development of the SS; but the "H" quite obviously stands for "Haider", who was the Quartermaster General. I do not know whether this correction was made in the French Document Book. I am sorry to say that I noted quite a few mistakes in translation in the English and French Document Books and have applied to the General Secretary in this connection to have corrections made. I must say, of course, that this large number of errors in translation makes a doubtful impression, especially if for an "H" the name "Heydrich" is substituted and the Chief of the General Department is connected with one of the most unpleasant figures in the SS. I must say that I am filled with misgivings - I must add this with emphasis - because in the course of the last few months hundreds of documents were submitted to the Tribunal, the translation of which we could not check. When we did check on one occasion we found quite a few defects, as Dr. Siemers has recently said.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Exner, you are supposed to be asking the questions. You are making some long statement now.

DR. EXNER: I should like to refer next to the last point of 3rd February, on the same page -

THE PRESIDENT: Professor Exner, we cannot have counsel making long statements which are not evidence. You cannot make statements of that sort about - if there is any mistranslation you can draw our attention to it, but that is not the way to do it, making general statements about the translation of the documents.

DR. EXNER: Mr. President, I do not wish to give any more explanations but I should like to quote an extract from my Document Book referring to the 3rd February -

THE PRESIDENT: You have corrected one apparent mistranslation or misinterpretation of the letter "H". Well, you can do so again if necessary in other places. You cannot make general statements about it.

DR. EXNER: I should only like to read what is permissible. I should like to read extracts from the Document Book without any criticism. I have no further statements about that.


Q. It says, on the 3rd of February:

"General Thomas reports that the liaison officer to the Ministry of Economics, Lt.-Colonel Drews, visited him by order of Schacht. He was of the opinion that the SS employed all means to cast suspicion on the Army and to force it against the wall in its present weak state."
Then it says under the date of 10th February:
"Himmler is supposedly distressed that senior officers of the Armed Forces had made unheard of accusations against him."
Then perhaps one other passage to be found in the next document on page 4 of the Document Book, again the same diary, Document PS-1809, the entry of 25th May, 1940:
"The unlimited plan for expansion of the SS sounds generally suspicious."
Did you, even at that time, have misgivings about the dangers of this dualism that you just mentioned?

A. I had many misgivings about this as a man very well versed in history. Not only did I have misgivings but even during the war I quite openly expressed these misgivings to Himmler and Bormann.

[Page 291]

Q. How did it come about that Himmler acquired more and more influence in military spheres?

A. That can be explained by the fact that the Fuehrer had the feeling - which perhaps on the whole was true - that a large section of the Officer Corps opposed his ideas. He saw in this attitude not only an inner political danger but also in it a danger to victory, which he believed was to be attained only through ruthless methods.

Q. And what practical results came about through this?

A. The practical results were that the SS units were multiplied tremendously, that the police received authority which extended even into the operational sphere of the Army, and that later, the Higher SS and Police Leaders were created, that the Intelligence Service was transferred to the SS, where, by the way, it was organized by Kaltenbrunner far better than before, that the Reserve Army was put under the jurisdiction of Himmler and, in the end, also the entire prisoner-of-war system.

Q. In your Diary you express satisfaction at the appointment of General von Brauchitsch as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army by the Fuehrer. At that time there was a choice between him and General Reichenau. Why were you glad that Brauchitsch was chosen?

A. General von Reichenau was known as a truly political General and I was afraid that perhaps he might be willing to sacrifice all the good old tradition of the Army to the new regime without any scruples.

Q. I should like to refer in this connection to the Diary of Jodl, Document 1780-PS, Page 6, first volume, with the entry of 2nd February, 1938, second paragraph, and again to the entry of 3rd February, 1938, to be found on Page 7, where he appears particularly happy:

"The Chief of the General Department of the Armed Forces informs me that the battle has been won. The Fuehrer has decided that General von Brauchitsch should be appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Army."
THE PRESIDENT: I do not think you need read this. It simply says that he is in favour of von Brauchitsch.


Q. You thought about the particular consequence for the Generals concerned in case von Reichenau were appointed.

A. Yes. There was no doubt that the older Generals, such as Rundstedt, Bock, Adam, List, Halder, and so on, would never have subordinated themselves to von Reichenau.

Q. After this introduction, let us turn to the crimes against the laws of war and humanity which have been charged against you. There is very little time left. Therefore, I should like to clarify your participation in the Commissar Decrees. A draft on the treatment of Soviet commissars was submitted to the High Command of the Wehrmacht, and you put a note in the margin of this draft on the grounds of which the prosecution has accused you -

THE PRESIDENT: What is the number of the document?

DR. EXNER: The number of the document is PS-884, Exhibit R 351, Page 152, second volume of my Document Book. The whole is a set of notes on a report.


Q. Perhaps you can tell us first of all what connection did you have with this matter, that is, with the treatment of commissars?

A. I did not participate in preparing this draft. I was not concerned with prisoners of war nor with questions of martial law at that time. But the draft was submitted to me before it was transmitted to Field-Marshal Keitel.

Q. All right. Now, you added: "We must count on retaliation against German flyers. It is best, therefore, to brand the entire action as retaliation."

What did you mean by this statement?

[Page 292]

A. The intention on the part of the Fuehrer, which was set forth in this draft of an order, was rejected unanimously by all soldiers. Very excited discussions took place about this, also with the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. This resistance ended with the characteristic sentence by the Fuehrer: "I cannot demand that my Generals understand my orders, but I do demand that they obey them." Now, in this case; through my note, I wanted to indicate to Field-Marshal Keitel a new way by which one might possibly still circumvent this order which had been demanded.

Q. This order, as you probably remember, is given such weight by the prosecution in accusation of the German military because it was drafted before the beginning of the war. These notes are dated 12th May, 1941, and now you are telling us that "It is best to brand the entire action as retaliation." What did you mean by that?

A. It is correct that, because of his ideological opposition to Bolshevism, the Fuehrer counted on the participation of the Commissars as a certainty. He was confirmed in this belief and gave reasons by saying: "I carried on the war against Communism for twenty years. I know Communism but you do not know it." Of course I must add that we, as well, were to a certain extent under the influence of what the literature of the entire world had written about Bolshevism since 1917, and we also had some experiences; for example, the Rate Republic in Munich. Despite that, I was of the opinion that, first of all, we had in practice to wait and see whether the commissars would act as the Fuehrer expected them to act, and if his suspicions were confirmed, we could make use of reprisals. That was what I meant by my marginal note.

Q. That is to say, you wanted to wait until the beginning of the Russian war; then you wanted to wait until you had had experiences in this war and then you wanted to propose measures which, if necessary, could be considered as reprisals against the conduct of the war by the enemy. Was that what you meant when you said: "It is best, therefore, to brand the entire action as retaliation." What do you mean by: "Man zieht auf "? These words translated by the prosecution as -

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, in the examination by my learned friend, Dr. Exner, he has for several minutes now been asking the defendant very long leading questions as to what was the meaning of the passage in that letter. In my submission, that is not evidence at all by the witness; it is a speech by Dr. Exner, and I would ask him not to make another one now.

DR. EXNER: I still think that it is necessary in the presentation of evidence to determine what the defendant thought when he wrote those words.

THE PRESIDENT: You have heard me say on several occasions that when counsel ask leading questions, which put the answer into the mouth of the witness, it carries very little weight with the Tribunal. It is perfectly obvious that, if you wanted to ask what the witness meant by his note, he could have answered, and that is the proper way to put the question, and not to suggest the answer to him.

DR. EXNER: First of all, I put the question, and then I believe I was summarising the main points of what the witness said.

There is a difficulty here with translation which I should like to overcome; that is, I am not sure about it. "Es wird aufgezogen" or "Man zieht es am besten auf als Repressalie", is translated as "It is best therefore to brand" in English, and in French as "stigmatiser". It seems to me as though this were not quite correct, and as though one should say, "It is best to handle it as a reprisal", and in French to say "traitor".


Q. Then what happened?

[Page 293]

A. I believe one should further explain the expression "aufziehen". The German word "aufziehen" also has something doubtful about it. It was said that that was a typical military expression used by the defendant Jodl at this time. That does not mean, as is assumed by the prosecution, "to give something the appearance of". Rather I said literally: "I believe we must handle this operation quite differently", that is, approach it in a different way. Among us soldiers, "aufziehen" meant exactly the same as "to approach" or "to arrange" something. But it did not mean "to deceive".

Q. You mean that the word "ufziehen" has no secondary meaning indicating deception?

A. No.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 4th June, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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