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-Seventh Day: Wednesday, 5th June, 1946
(Part 9 of 10)

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

[Page 366]

Q. But that was asserted here in regard to the SA. You are of the opinion that it is not true?

A. I have no reason to think that it is true.

DR. BOHM: I have no more questions.

DR. HORN (for the defendant von Ribbentrop).


Q. 26th August, 1939, was fixed as X-Day for the attack on Poland. Is it true that on the 25th August the order to attack was withdrawn because of the urgent expostulations of Ribbentrop? According to the communication which reached the Foreign Office, Great Britain had ratified the Treaty of Alliance concluded with Poland on 6th April, 1939, and Ribbentrop told the Fuehrer that the advance of German troops would mean war with Great Britain?

A. I cannot answer the whole of your question, but I do know something about it. When, on 25th August, to our great surprise we received the order, "The attack fixed for the 26th will not take place," I telephoned to Major Schmundt - Field Marshal Keitel was not there - and asked him what was the matter. He told me that shortly before the, Reich Foreign Minister had reported to the Fuehrer that Britain had concluded a pact - a mutual assistance pact - with Poland, and for that reason he could expect British intervention in the war with Poland. For this reason, the Fuehrer had withdrawn the order for attack. That is what I learned at that time.

Q. In the Spring of 1941, after the Simovitsch putsch, the Fuehrer held a conference with the Commanders-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht, and the defendant Ribbentrop was called in to this conference later. Is it true that at this conference Ribbentrop represented the point of view that before military action was taken, an attempt should be made to settle the differences with Yugoslavia by diplomatic means? How did Hitler react to the suggestion?

A. I recall this incident especially well, because about one hour before I had said the same thing to the Fuehrer, that we should clear up the situation with an

[Page 367]

ultimatum. An hour later, without knowing about this, the Reich Foreign Minister made the same remark and he fared considerably worse than I did. The Fuehrer said, "How do you visualize the situation? The Yugoslavs, they will swear black is white. Of course they will say they have no warlike intentions, and when we have marched into Greece they will stab us in the back."

I recall that statement very exactly.

Q. Colonel-General, is it true that the Foreign Office, from the outbreak of the Russian war, was completely eliminated from Eastern questions, and that Ribbentrop complained both personally and through Ambassador Ritter, and that he had no success in his suggestions to the Fuehrer?

A. I know that Ambassador Ritter, who came to see me very often, repeatedly complained in private talks that such an enormous part of the work had been taken away from the Foreign Office, and I must assume that that was not only the opinion of Ambassador Ritter, but also the opinion of the whole Foreign Office and also of the Foreign Minister.

Q. In your testimony you have already mentioned the fact that the Wehrmacht was against Hitler's intention to renounce the Geneva Convention. Do you know that Ribbentrop also energetically opposed Hitler's intention, and that after the objections of the Wehrmacht had been rejected in the first place, Ribbentrop succeeded in inducing Hitler to give up his intention?

A. Put in this way, I cannot confirm it fully. One thing I know for certain. The Foreign Office informed me in writing of its unfavourable attitude to this suggestion or idea of the Fuehrer. For me that was proof that the Reich Foreign Minister naturally held this point of view. I reported this attitude of the Foreign Office together with the equally unfavourable attitude of the Army, Navy and Luftwaffe, in a short memorandum and submitted it to the Fuehrer. To what extent the Reich Foreign Minister remonstrated with the Fuehrer personally about the matter, I cannot say with certainty.

Q. Is it true that Ribbentrop spoke against the shackling of English prisoners as reprisal for the shackling of German prisoners, and in agreement with the OKW induced Hitler to discontinue this measure?

A. That is true. The Reich Foreign Minister, the Foreign Office, repeatedly urged the Fuehrer to withdraw the order concerning the shackling of Canadian prisoners, and it must be assumed that these many objections, which were supported by the OKW, finally succeeded in getting the order withdrawn.

Q. In the Tuesday afternoon session you discussed the question of "terror" flyers. In this connection you stated that by making inquiries and observations you wanted to prevent a decision about the way it was intended to deal with this question. The prosecution submitted two documents on this question. One was the record of an alleged talk between Ribbentrop, Goering and Himmler at Plessheim, the other an opinion by Ambassador Ritter, who has already been mentioned. I would like to know whether you know anything about Ribbentrop's attitude to the handling of the question of "terror" flyers, especially whether Ribbentrop advocated that this question should be dealt with according to the Geneva Convention, and whether he thought that it was possible to deviate from this convention only if absolute military necessity demanded it, and even in that case only by expressly indicating beforehand to the protective powers that it was intended to depart from the Geneva Convention?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, can you not put that question more shortly; what does he know about it?

Q. Is it true, General, that in regard to the question of "terror" flyers, Ribbentrop, in the same way as the Wehrmacht, was against deviation from the Geneva Convention, and put this view to Hitler?

A. To this I can say that - again from talks with Ambassador Ritter - I knew that the Reich Foreign Minister advocated official procedure, that is, official

[Page 368]

notice that we could no longer consider certain acts of terror as regular warfare. That was the original point of view of the Foreign Office. To this I said at the time that the Fuehrer would probably not be interested, after what I had gathered from his verbal instructions. As it turned out, the suggestion which the Reich Foreign Minister intended to make was never put forward, or at least I never saw it.

Q. Do you know anything of a peace feeler by English officers on behalf of General Alexander, backed up by the English Government, in 1943?

A. I know very well that at that time, in Athens, an Englishman - I believe it was an English captain - established contact with us. This captain said that he came from English headquarters in the South Eastern Area. I was present when the Reich Foreign Minister reported to the Fuehrer about this matter and I know he suggested that this contact should be tried to see whether anything would result. That was done with the Fuehrer's agreement, but I heard nothing more about the matter and apparently nothing came of it.

Q. Do you know anything about any further peace attempts of Ribbentrop, especially after the Polish campaign, after Dunkirk and 1943?

A. I only know of the attempts and intentions after the Western campaign. At that time the Fuehrer spoke quite openly and frankly with everyone. I myself, as well as the Reich Foreign Minister heard the Fuehrer say that peace would be concluded with England at any time only if part of our old colonies were given back to us.

Q. Is it true that the defendant Ribbentrop suggested to Hitler that Hungarian Jews, in so far as they wished to do so, should be permitted to emigrate?

A. I recall that too. Shortly after the occupation of Hungary by our troops, at about the beginning of May, 1944 there was a conference at the Berghof, at which a decision was to be reached. The Fuehrer wanted to hear our views as to whether the Hungarian Army should be dissolved, or whether it should be left as it was. At the end of this discussion, which was of a purely military nature, the Reich Foreign Minister said to the Fuehrer: "Can we not send all the Hungarian Jews by ship to some neutral country?" The Fuehrer answered: "That is easier said than done. Do you think that is possible? No one would take them. Besides, it is technically impossible." That is my recollection of this talk.

Q. You spoke yesterday of the expulsion of the Danish Jews, and you said that this expulsion took place on Himmler's orders. An affidavit by a Colonel Mildner has been submitted here, in which it is asserted that this expulsion took place on the orders of the Reich Foreign Minister. Is that statement true?

A. Before this Himmler-Fuehrer conference, which caused me to send my teletype message to the Wehrmacht Commander in Denmark, I never heard a word about the Jews being deported from Denmark, and I never heard that the Foreign Office had any part in that.

Q. Did you ever get to know anything about the basic attitude of the defendant Ribbentrop to the Jewish question?

A. Apart from this suggestion about the Hungarian Jews, I do not recall any talk by the Reich Foreign Minister at which I was present in which there was any mention of Jews.

DR. HORN: Thank you; I have no further questions.

BY DR. KRAUS (Counsel for defendant Schacht):

Q. Did I understand you correctly, Colonel-General, when you testified yesterday that in 1935 it was decided to set up thirty-six divisions?

A. That is true.

Q. I am interested to know how many divisions were ready by 1st April, 1938? I am interested in this date because on that day the financial aid of the Reichsbank stopped. Can you tell me how many divisions were ready on 1st April, 1938?

A. At that time there were about twenty-seven or twenty-eight divisions actually ready, that is as regards personnel and material.

[Page 369]

Q. Can you tell me, Colonel-General, how they were made up?

A. I cannot say with certainty.

Q. Approximately?

A. I do know that only one Panzer Division was ready at that time, one Cavalry Division and one Mountain Division; the rest were probably Infantry Divisions. The other Panzer Divisions were not yet equipped, and they existed only as skeleton formations.

Q. I would like to know to what extent this armament was increased between that date and the outbreak of the war on 1st September, 1939, that is, increased from twenty-seven divisions?

A. From the autumn of 1938 on, the picture became much more favourable, because the preparations in the armament industry were now producing results and plenty of equipment was being delivered for the divisions. Also, because from this time on the trained age groups were beginning to come in. Therefore, in the late autumn of 1938, we were in a position to set up approximately fifty-five divisions, including reserve divisions, even though some of them may have been only poorly equipped. In 1939, as I said before, according to my recollection, there were between seventy-three and seventy-five divisions.

Q. Therefore the number of divisions built up after March or April of 1938, after President Schacht left the Reichsbank, increased by 200 per cent in one year and five or six months, whereas it took more than three years to set up twenty-seven divisions?

A. That is true except that these fifty-five divisions, or rather these seventy-five, were still very short of equipment in the same way as the small number in the spring of 1938 or in April 1938, which I mentioned. But the fact that from that time on armament went much faster was due, as I said, to the very nature of things.

DR. KRAUS: Thank you, I have no further questions.

BY DR. KAUFFMANN (Counsel for defendant Kaltenbrunner):

Q. Witness, you testified yesterday that the Intelligence Service, during Kaltenbrunner's time, was better organized than before. Please tell me, what position did Kaltenbrunner hold during your time in the OKW?

A. I met Kaltenbrunner -

THE PRESIDENT: Just a moment. Dr. Kauffmann, you have asked a general question. We have had all Kaltenbrunner's positions given to us more than once. What is it you want to know?

DR. KAUFFMANN: Mr. President, Kaltenbrunner testified to the fact that his Intelligence Service was connected with the Military Intelligence Service only in a general way. This witness can tell us what this connection of the Military Intelligence Service with the other Intelligence Services amounted to, especially as regards its scope and its influence on policy as a whole.

THE PRESIDENT: I did not understand you to ask him anything about the Intelligence Service. You asked him a quite general question; about what relations he had had with the OKW during the time that the defendant was connected with the OKW, in perfectly general terms. It might have involved an answer which would take about an hour.

DR. KAUFFMANN: May I restate the question which apparently did not come through properly?


Q. Witness, you testified yesterday that in Kaltenbrunner's time the whole Intelligence Service was better organized than before that time, that is, under Canaris. Now, I ask you what was Kaltenbrunner's position in the Intelligence Service?

A. Kaltenbrunner -

[Page 370]

THE PRESIDENT: What is the particular question that you want to ask? The Tribunal does not think that you ought to ask general questions of this nature. If you have got anything particular that you want to know about, you can ask it.


Q. What did Kaltenbrunner do during the situation discussions which took place daily?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kauffmann, it is scarcely possible to imagine any more general question than that with reference to Kaltenbrunner - what was his activity over a number of years.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Mr. President, I said during the situation report, that is, the daily military conferences. How did Kaltenbrunner conduct himself, what did he do, what did he say, did he report, what did his reports consist of? That is, in my opinion, a concrete question.

THE PRESIDENT: What time are you asking about?

DR. KAUFFMANN: I am asking about the time after his appointment as Chief of the Reich Security Main Office, the time from 1943 on. That is the only time which is in question.

THE PRESIDENT: You can ask him with reference to particular conferences, certainly. Why not ask him with reference to particular conferences, if you know of any?

DR. KAUFFMANN: That was my intention.


Q. Witness, do you understand what the question is? Will you please tell me?

A. As far as I recall, until the spring of 1945 when the headquarters were finally moved to the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, Kaltenbrunner did not take part in any situation discussions. I cannot recall ever seeing him at a discussion in the Fuehrer's headquarters.

Q. Excuse me, do you mean 1944 or 1945?

A. 1945 From the spring of 1945, that is, from the end of January, I frequently met Kaltenbrunner in the Reich Chancellery. Before that time he came to the Fuehrer's headquarters from time to time and talked to me there, especially about taking over the Canaris Intelligence Service, but he was not present at the situation conferences of the Fuehrer.

Q. Did he submit written military situation reports?

A. Before he took over the Intelligence Service from Canaris - he took it over on 1st May, 1944 - before he took over the Intelligence Service he sent me from time to time very good reports from the South Eastern Area, and these reports first called my attention to his experience in the Intelligence Service. He then took over the Intelligence Service, and, although I was against it at first, after I had discussed matters with him I supported him, for I had the impression that he knew his business. After that, of course, I constantly received reports from Kaltenbrunner as I previously had received them from Canaris. Not only did I receive the daily reports from agents but from time to time he sent what I should call a political survey on the basis of the individual agents' reports. These comprehensive situation reports about the political situation everywhere abroad attracted may special attention, because they summed up our whole military situation with an openness, soberness and seriousness, which lead been lacking in Canaris' reports.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.