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 10 of 10)

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

[Page 370]

Q. Witness, you also testified yesterday that after the daily military situation conference was ended Hitler was surrounded by his confidants and by his political men. I ask you now: Was Kaltenbrunner in this circle of confidants?

A. I never heard of Kaltenbrunner being in this private circle of the Fuehrer and I never saw him there. What I saw was a purely official attitude.

[Page 371]

DR. KAUFFMANN: Thank you, I have no more questions.

DR. KRANZBUHLER (Counsel for Grand Admiral Donitz).


Q. Colonel-General, Admiral Donitz is accused of calling on the Navy to continue to fight in the spring of 1945. Did you yourself, as a responsible military adviser, advise the Fuehrer at that time to capitulate?

A. I did not. That was completely out of the question. No soldier would have done that. It would have been useless.

Q. Not even after the failure of the Ardennes offensive in February 1945?

A. Not even after the failure of the Ardennes offensive. The Fuehrer realised the situation as a whole as well as we did, and probably much sooner than we did. We did not need to say anything to him in this connection.

Q. What were the reasons for not doing this?

A. In the winter of 1944 there were many reasons for not doing this, apart from the fact that the question of capitulation or discontinuing resistance concerns only the Supreme Commander. The reasons against it were, primarily, that we had no doubt there could only be unconditional surrender, for the other countries left us in no doubt on that score; and even if we had had any doubt as to what faced us, it was completely removed by the fact that we captured the English "Eclipse" - the gentlemen of the British Delegation will know what that is. It was exact instructions about what the occupying power was to do in Germany after the capitulation. Now, unconditional surrender meant that the troops would cease to fight where they stood on all the fronts, and be captured by the enemy facing them. The same thing would happen as happened in the winter of 1941 at Viasma. Millions of prisoners would suddenly have to camp in the middle of winter in the open. Death would have taken an enormous toll. Above all, the men still on the Eastern front, numbering about three and a half million, would have fallen into the hands of the enemy in the East. It was our task to save as many people as possible in, the Western area. That could only be done by drawing the two fronts closer together. Those were the purely military considerations which we had in the last stages of the war. I believe that in years to come there will be more to say about this than I can say today - more than I want to say today.

DR. NELTE (Counsel for Keitel)


Q. Colonel-General, how long have you known Field Marshal Keitel?

A. I believe I met him in 1932 when he was Chief of the Organisational Department of the Army.

Q. And from that time, except for the time you were in Vienna, you always worked with him?

A. There was a time when Field Marshal Keitel was not in the War Ministry but at the front. I believe that was in 1934-1935. I then lost sight of him. Otherwise I was with him all the time.

Q. Was your work with him only official, or did you have personal relations with him?

A. In the course of the years, as a result of all we went through together, these relations became very personal.

Q. The prosecution has characterised Field Marshal Keitel as one of the most powerful men of the Wehrmacht. It charges him for using this position to influence Hitler. Other circles represented here called Keitel weak, and accused him of not being able to achieve his purpose in his position.

I do not want to ask any questions which have previously been asked and answered, but there are questions which have been previously answered in various ways, as you have heard, and only a person like yourself can answer them, a person who worked with the Field Marshal for more than a decade. Therefore, please

[Page 372]

tell me briefly - making your sentences short - what the official relations were between Keitel and Hitler.

A. The official relations between the Fuehrer and Field Marshal Keitel were exactly the same as between the Fuehrer and myself but on a somewhat different level. They were purely official, especially in the beginning; they were interspersed, just as in the case of all other higher officers, by constant clashes between a revolutionary and a Prussian officer bound by tradition.

Q. Then, these clashes, the result of differing opinions, were the order of the day?

A. They were the order of the day, and in effect led to extremely unpleasant scenes, such scenes as made one ashamed, as an older officer, to have to listen to such things in the presence of young adjutants. The entry in my diary proves that on 19th April, 1940, Field Marshal Keitel, for instance, threw his portfolio on the table and left the room. That was a fact.

Q. May I ask what the reason was?

THE PRESIDENT: No, Dr. Nelte, if you want him to confirm the evidence which the defendant Keitel has given, why do you not ask him whether he confirms it?

DR. NELTE: These are questions, Mr. President, which I have not submitted to Field Marshal Keitel. My line of questioning became necessary because between the questioning of the defendant -

THE PRESIDENT (Interposing): The question you put to him was, what was his relation with the Fuehrer. You could not have put it any wider than that, and you certainly covered that with the defendant Keitel.

DR. NELTE: I discussed it with Keitel.

THE PRESIDENT: You have put the question to Keitel, and Keitel answered it at great length.

DR. NELTE: Mr. President, after Keitel was questioned, a witness appeared here who wants to discredit the statement of Field Marshal Keitel. If what he says is true -

THE PRESIDENT (Interposing): That is the very reason why I asked you whether you wanted this witness to confirm what the defendant Keitel said and, if you did, why did you not ask him whether he did confirm the evidence of Keitel.


Q. Colonel-General, you have heard that we can simplify the questioning on this matter. I submit to you that what the witness Gisevius said here in this room about Field Marshal Keitel was essentially in contradiction to what Field Marshal Keitel himself, and the other witnesses questioned about him said. I point out that Gisevius did not speak from his own knowledge, but that he was given information from the OKW. If you want to consider that, please answer the question now:

According to your knowledge of these things, is what Field Marshal Keitel said under oath, and which was confirmed by others, true, or is what Gisevius said true?

A. Only what Field Marshal Keitel said. I experienced it on countless occasions. What the witness Gisevius said in this connection are general figures of speech. Apart from Hitler, there was no powerful man; there was no influential man next to him and could not be one.

Q. The witness Gisevius mentioned an example to prove that Keitel prevented certain reports from being presented to Hitler. Since you had a part in this document, I should like to have it presented to you, and I ask you to comment on it. It is Document 790-PS. This document is not an actual set of minutes, but a note for the files, as you see. It is about the White Book which was prepared on the alleged violations of neutrality by Belgium and Holland. And in this connection, the witness Gisevius said:

[Page 373]

"I believe that I should mention two more examples which to my mind are of special significance. In the first place all means were used to induce Field Marshal Keitel to warn Hitler against invading Holland and Belgium, and to tell him - that is, Hitler - that the information submitted by Keitel about the alleged violations of neutrality by the Dutch and Belgians was false. The counter-intelligence - that is, Canaris - was to produce these reports which would incriminate the Dutch and the Belgians. Admiral Canaris refused to sign these reports. He repeatedly told Keitel that these reports that had been prepared ostensibly by the OKW, were false."
That is one example of Keitel failing to transmit to Hitler what he should have transmitted."

Colonel-General, I ask you to confirm, after you have looked over this document, that these notes show that Field Marshal Keitel and you were expected to cover false reports, and that on the basis of the Canaris report, contained in Part A, the OKW refused to cover this White Book. Is that true?

A. (No response.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, if you understand the question, will you answer it?

THE WITNESS: I understand the question, and I should like to establish the facts here briefly and tell how it really was, as far as I can without being choked with disgust. I was present when Canaris came to the Reich Chancellery with this report to Field Marshal Keitel and submitted to him the draft of the White Book of the Foreign Office. Field Marshal Keitel then looked through this book and listened carefully to the essential remarks which Canaris made at the wish of the Foreign Office, which were to the effect that the intelligence needed some improvement; that he was to confirm that military action against Holland and Belgium was absolutely necessary, and that, as it says here, a final really flagrant violation of neutrality was lacking.

Before Canaris had said a word, Field Marshal Keitel threw the book on the table and said, "I will not stand for that. How could I take over the responsibility for a political decision? In this White Book are, word for word, the reports which you yourself (Canaris) gave me." Thereupon Canaris said, "I am of exactly the same opinion. In my opinion, it is completely superfluous to have this document signed by the Wehrmacht, and the reports which we have here, as a whole, are quite sufficient to substantiate the breaches of neutrality which have taken place in Holland and in Belgium." And he advised Field Marshal Keitel against signing it. That is what took place. The Field Marshal took the book with him, and I do not know what happened after that.

But one thing is certain, that the imaginary reports of this Gisevius turn everything upside down. All these reports about the violations of neutrality came from these people who now assert that we had signed them falsely. This is one of the most despicable things in the world's history.

Q. Colonel-General, Admiral Canaris played a role in this case. Gisevius said:

"It was not possible for Admiral Canaris to submit an urgent report to Hitler on his own initiative."
He asserts that Canaris gave reports to Field Marshal Keitel, who did not submit them. I ask you, is that true?

A. Of course, I did not follow up every document that came to Field Marshal Keitel, but Field Marshal Keitel submitted everything which it was considered necessary the Fuehrer should know about. I have already said that if Canaris had not been satisfied in this connection, he could have given it to the Fuehrer directly. He had only to go into the next office and give it to the Fuehrer's Chief Adjutant or he had only to give it to me.

THE PRESIDENT: If you do not know, why do you not say so. If you do not know whether he gave it to the Fuehrer or not, say so.

[Page 374]

Q. I only asked whether the testimony is true, that Admiral Canaris could not go to Hitler. I wanted you to answer that question.

A. In fact, he went to the Fuehrer dozens of times.

Q. If he wanted to, he had access at any time?

A. Absolutely, at any time.

THE PRESIDENT: Now will you tell me on what pages in the shorthand notes this evidence is of Gisevius?

DR. NELTE: The evidence about Keitel is on Pages 271-274, Part 12, the session of 26th April, 1946.



Q. I now want to show you two affidavits which you signed together with Field Marshal Keitel, which have also been submitted to the Tribunal. These are the affidavits Keitel No. 9, High Command of the Wehrmacht and General Staff; and the affidavit Keitel No. 13, Development of the Conditions in France, 1940 to 1945 and the military competencies.

You remember that you signed these affidavits?

A. I did so, yes.

Q. And you remember the contents?

A. Yes.

Q. You confirm the accuracy of your affidavit?

A. I confirm this statement.

Q. I will not read these affidavits or parts of them. On the subject of rearmament, that is regarding General Thomas, who was also given here as a source of information, I should like to ask you a few questions.

You know that the prosecution submitted a voluminous book here, Document PS-2353, which is a written description of the rearmament by General Thomas. As General Thomas was also given by the witness Gisevius here as a source of information, I must question you about Thomas. In his affidavit, which is attached to Document 2353, he said that on the 1st of February, 1943, he was released from the OKW. Do you know whether that is true or not?

A. As far as I can recall, he was assigned for special employment by the High Command of the Wehrmacht.

He was at the disposal of Field Marshal Keitel.

Q. Did he not have a special assignment when he was made available for "special employment"?

A. He took over several assignments after that, I believe.

Q. I really want to ascertain that also after 1st February, 1943, General Thomas was still given assignments by the OKW, especially that of writing this book which has been submitted here. Is that true?

A. That is true, that he was engaged on writing what might be called the History of Rearmament.

Q. What was his relation to Field Marshal Keitel?

A. I know that from the time - what the two men experienced together - I know that before the war and at the very beginning of the war the relations were good.

Q. Do you know the reports of General Thomas concerning rearmament?

A. I have no exact recollection of any reports about our own rearmament. I can only recall reports about the war potential of our enemies. I remember those.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Nelte, are you going to be much longer, because it is ten minutes past five and if you are not going to conclude tonight we had better adjourn.

DR. NELTE: I will need a quarter of an hour yet.

THE PRESIDENT: Then we will adjourn at this time.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 6th June, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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