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-Eighth Day: Thursday, 6th June, 1946
(Part 10 of 12)

[MR. ROBERTS continues his cross examination of ALFRED JODL]

[Page 411]

Q. Then when you go ... I omit one or two unimportant documents. Will you go to document dated 1st October, 1943, the fifth or sixth document of Your Lordship's file, No. D-547, dated 1st October, 1943. It is to the OKW, from Denmark, and reads as follows:
"The Reich plenipotentiary in Denmark has given the following report to the Minister for Foreign Affairs: (1) The arrest of the Jews will take place on the night of 1st-2nd of October; transportation from Seeland will be carried out by ship. (2) Should I receive no contrary instruction, I do not intend allowing the Jewish action to be mentioned, either on the radio or in the Press," and then: "(3) I intend leaving the possessions of the evacuated Jews undisturbed in order that the seizure of these possessions cannot be imputed to be the reason or one of the reasons for the action."
Then you deal with the disadvantages, or rather, the writer does, and there is a question: "Does the Reichsfuehrer SS know?" The answer: "The Reichsfuehrer SS knows, is in agreement," and then a pencil note in Jodl's handwriting, "The Fuehrer agrees." Is that in your writing?

A. Yes, that is my handwriting, but that refers only to the announcement of the release of the interned Danish soldiers.

Q. I see.

A. Then it is important to note in this document that the Commander in Denmark said that he does not intend having the property of the evacuated Jews disturbed. He said: "I intend leaving the possessions of the evacuated Jews undisturbed."

He had the executive power at that time.

Q. Have you got the next document in the same bundle, 2nd of October, 1943, to OKW/Operational Staff, from Denmark?

"Jewish action carried out in the night of the 1st/2nd October by the German police without incidents," and then the last document, dated 3rd October 1943, to the OKW/Ops. Staff

"According to the statement of the Reich plenipotentiary, the Reichsfuehrer SS has ordered that the Reichsfuehrer SS alone as the person ordering the Jewish Action is to receive the exact figures of arrest. The plenipotentiary has, therefore, given no figures to the Commander of the German troops in Denmark. Two hundred and thirty-two Jews have been handed over by the police via the assembly points set up by the Guard Battalion, Copenhagen."

What was the "Guard Battalion"?

A. I cannot say that at the moment, I do not know how it was composed. It might have been a unit of the police; it might have been part of the Army; I cannot say it with certainty. At any rate it was a unit which was used only for guard duties. But it is interesting that I wrote the remark: "Is a matter of complete indifference to us," which proves that I was not interested in the affair and refused to have any part in it.

Q. Yes, I wonder. First of all, you said that the "Guard Battalion" might have been a part of the Wehrmacht. Were you -

A. That is not certain. I do not wish to dispute it definitely. There were also Guard battalions of the Army, but it might equally well have been a Guard formation of the police. I cannot say it with certainty, but General von Hanneken should have information about it.

Q. But were your "decent German soldiers," whom you mentioned yesterday, were they called upon to round up Jews who managed to get through the SS net?

A. No, it says here, "it was carried through by the police," and I do not believe that any unit of the Wehrmacht concerned itself with deportation of Jews. I do not believe it; the Wehrmacht rejected that.

[Page 412]

Q. Dirty work, was it not?

A. I do not believe that it happened. I do not believe it.

Q. Then your note, "is a matter of complete indifference to us"; it was a matter of complete indifference to you how many Jews were deported. You did not care?

A. The note does not imply that, but it does prove that the matter was a political one, and with political matters I was not concerned. My attitude to the Jewish question has, I believe, been made clear already.

Q. Where did the Jews go to, Auschwitz?

A. No, your prosecution, the French prosecution, read it here These Jews of whom we are speaking now were taken to Theresienstadt, a few of the older people died there, but all of them were treated well, and received clothing and food. I had the same information and this document of the Danish Government confirms it.

Q. You believe that, do you?

A. Yes, I believe that, because the Danish Government confirms it here, it was confirmed in this Court by the prosecution itself.

Q. Now I want to deal with one other topic, the topic of forced labour. Did you say in your speech ... Will you look at your notes of your speech, Pages 38 and 39, and it is Page 298 of Document Book 7, the big one, the paragraph which begins on Page 38 in the witness' copy, it has got a frame. I think it is a piece of paper headed 38. I wonder if you can find it for him.

"This dilemma of manpower shortage has led to the idea of making more thorough use of the manpower reserves in the territories occupied by us. Right thinking and wrong thinking are mixed up together. I believe that in so far as concerns labour, everything has been done that could be done. Where this has not yet been achieved. it appeared to be more favourable politically not to have recourse to measures of compulsion, exchanging for these order and economic aid. In my opinion, however, the time has now come to take steps with remorseless vigour and resolution in Denmark, Holland, France and Belgium to compel thousands of idlers to carry out the fortification work, which is more important than any other work. The necessary orders for this have already been given."
Do you remember them?

A. There is no doubt that I drafted this one.

Q. Yes?

A. But that does not prove that I said it.

Q. But had the necessary orders been given for the civilians in the occupied territories to work on the German fortifications?

A. A compulsory work-order was issued in most countries, but I - you may not know it - I state under my oath that in Denmark and Holland, and also in Belgium, local firms who recruited their own labour under the work-order, worked on these fortifications and that the populations of these areas were particularly glad about this, because the stronger their coast was fortified, the more certain were they that the invasion would not take place in their neighbourhood. And, of course, they were greatly interested in preventing an invasion, which they knew would destroy everything. Though it sounds incredible, the local inhabitants did work on these fortifications, some of them with the greatest enthusiasm. That is a fact.

Q. No, I did not stop you. But had the necessary orders been given - that is in the last sentence - to compel those people who did not want to, to compel them to work on fortification? I am not talking about the people who did want it, but the people who did not.

A. I understand. I did not know details of the procedure, as I did not concern myself with it, but I did know that compulsory work-orders had been issued in the occupied countries.

Q. Very good. I will leave that, if you have said all you want to say. Will you look now, please, at a new document, 1383-PS, which I offer as Exhibit

[Page 413]

GB 489. This is a report of a discussion of the Current Military Situation, 12th of December, 1942, Pages 65 and 66, Jodl speaking:
"The Military Commander of France reports: The number of French workers' deported into the Reich since 1st June has now passed 220,000. There are in round figures 100,000 specialists in Berlin."
How many of these 220,000 were volunteers? Did you find out?

A. I cannot say that. I only quoted from a report which was appended to the situation report from France. That a large-scale exchange between prisoners of war and workers had been in progress has already been stated in detail by Sauckel.

Q. I will leave that. I ask only two questions now on Sagan, Stalag Luft. 3.

You said yesterday that after the incident of the Sagan shooting, you thought Hitler was no longer "humane." Did you say that?

A. I said yesterday, I had the impression then that he was disavowing all humane conceptions of right.

Q. Had you thought that he was humane up to March of 1944?

A. Before this time, I personally knew of no action of his which could not be justified legally, at least under International Law. All his previous orders, so far as I knew, could still be justified in some way. They were reprisals. But this act was not a reprisal.

Q. This was - would you agree with me - the word is not too strong - that this was sheer murder of these fifty airmen?

A. I completely agree with you; I consider it sheer murder.

Q. How could you honourable generals go on serving a murderer with unabated loyalty?

A. I did not serve with unabated loyalty after this event, but I did everything in my power to avoid further injustice.

Q. Now I come to something else, the question of destruction in Norway. The document is 754-PS. It has not yet been exhibited. I offer it as Exhibit GB 490. This document is signed by you, is it not?

A. I have known this document for a long time; it is signed by me.

Q. Yes. Perhaps I might just read parts of it to the Tribunal. Dated 28th October, 1944. It is from your staff, and the distribution is to the Army Supreme Command; Commander-in-Chief, Norway; to the Reich Commissioner, Norway; and the Navy:

"Because of the unwillingness of the North Norwegian population to evacuate voluntarily, the Fuehrer has agreed to the proposals of the Reich Commissar, and has ordered that the entire Norwegian population east of the Fjord of Lyngen be evacuated by force in the interest of their own security, and that all homes are to be burnt to the ground.

The Supreme Commander, Northern Finland, is responsible that the Fuehrer's order is carried out without consideration. Only by this method can the Russians with strong forces, aided by these homes and the people familiar with the terrain, be prevented from following our withdrawal operations during the winter and shortly appear in front of our position in Lyngen. This is not the place for sympathy for the civilian population."

Lyngen is in the very North of Norway, is it not, on the West Coast?

A. No, on the Northern Coast, where Finland is closest to the Polar Region and very near Norway.

Q. Now, that order was carried out according to the Norwegian report, Document UK 79, which the Tribunal will find as the last document in the small book, 7A, Page 26 of the Norwegian report, at the bottom of the page.

"As a result of the advance of the Russian troops and the retreat of the German Army in Finland, October-November, 1944, the Germans practised the 'scorched earth' policy for the first time in Norway. Orders were issued that the civilian population was to evacuate, and that all houses, transport and stores were to be destroyed. As a result of this, about 30,000 houses

[Page 414]

were damaged, apart from damage to 12,000 chalets amounting to 176,000,000 kroner."
And then, for photographs, will the Tribunal turn to Pages 62 and 63. Sixty-two is a copy of the German order, and 63 is a photograph of the ruins of a fishing village.

That was a cruel order, was it not, witness?

A. No, not exactly. I should like to make a few explanatory remarks about it. Typically, as I have always said, this order was urged upon the Fuehrer by the Reich Commissar Terboven, not by the soldiers, and was much against their will.

Secondly, this order was not carried out, because otherwise the towns of Kirkenes, Hammerfest and Altar would today no longer exist. All these towns are east of the Lyngen Fjord. In practice, this order was watered down by our forces in agreement with me, and in conversations I had with my brother, who was the commanding general in that region - and whom I wanted to call as a witness since I expected this document to be produced - it was watered down to such an extent that, in fact, only what was necessary from a military point of view, and could be justified under Article 23 of The Hague Convention on Land Warfare, was destroyed. Otherwise no town or house would be left today in Northern Norway; and if you were to travel there, you would see that these towns are not destroyed, but on the contrary, are still standing.

The Wehrmacht Commander-in-Chief in Norway strongly protested against this attitude of Terboven, and I repeated these objections to the Fuehrer in equally strong terms, but even so, he demanded that this order be issued.

We who retained our humanitarian sentiments carried out the order only in so far as it was absolutely necessary for military reasons. These are the facts.

Q. I think you said, when you were interrogated, that your brother complained of this order, did he not?

A. Yes, quite; he was enraged by this decree.

Q. Very well. I am now going to turn to two documents with regard to the treatment of the Norwegian civilian population.

They are in your Document Book 1, Pages 99 and 100 - well, it begins at Page 98.

These are regulations on the conduct during the occupation of Denmark and Norway. And there are instructions to the troops to treat the inhabitants politely and well, and to behave themselves with due decorum. That is right, is it not?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. And they were to be told that they were entering Norway for the protection of the country and the safety of its inhabitants. That appears on Page 99.

That is rather a euphemistic description of a sudden invasion with no declaration of war, is it not?

A. Yes, but at first it was carried out in a fairly peaceful manner on the whole.

Q. From your point of view?

A. No, from the point of view of the Norwegians as well. The most extraordinary things -

Q. Well, you know, we have seen ... we can see, in the Norwegian Government's report, photograph after photograph of these towns and villages bombed to ruins. Is that your idea of an orderly occupation?

A. What was bombed on the day of the landing is hardly worth mentioning; just a few coastal batteries and a few fortifications, but no towns. Villages were destroyed only later in the battle with the English brigade at Dombass and at Delihammer; but nothing was destroyed when the country was first occupied then the Norwegians only stood at the quays, hands in their pockets, and looked on with great interest.

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