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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th June to 19th June 1946

One Hundred and Forty-Ninth Day: Friday, 7th June, 1946
(Part 1 of 10)

[Page 1]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn this afternoon at 4.0 o'clock to sit in closed session. The Tribunal will sit tomorrow in open session from 10.00 to 1.00.




Q. You have testified that you were the Chief of Operations Staff of the OKW. That was the Chief Department of the OKW, was it not?

A. I did not quite understand the last part of your question.

Q. Was the Operations Staff of the OKW the Chief Department of the OKW?

A. Because of the significance of the activity, one can certainly say that the Operations Staff was one of the most important departments of the OKW.

Q. Is that the reason why you deputized for Keitel in his absence?

A. In the majority of cases I was the deputy only in operational matters. As for war ministerial questions, was the senior chief as a rule, Admiral Canaris, who deputized.

Q. Do you deny that you were Keitel's deputy

A. When Keitel was not at headquarters, then, as a matter of course, whenever the Fuehrer had anything to say to the OKW he talked with me, as I was the next officer in seniority.

Q. Do you remember the testimony of the witness Wagner to the effect that either you or Keitel usually represented the OKW at all important staff conferences at which this witness, Wagner, was present? Do you remember that testimony?

A. I did not quite understand that question on account of translation difficulties.

Q. That is possible. I shall repeat it. On the 13th May, here before the Tribunal, the witness Wagner - do you remember or not? -

A. I remember the witness Wagner. He testified that Field Marshal Keitel and I were present at every situation report conference, and I do not dispute it.

Q. He said either Field Marshal Keitel or General Jodl were present. Is that correct . Do you catch the difference in the way this question is phrased?

A. In ninety-nine per cent of all cases, both of us were present at the situation conferences.

Q. Would it be correct to conclude that it was actually you, Jodl, who was Keitel's acting deputy in the eyes of Hitler, in the opinion of the whole body of officers and, of the entire military machinery of the German Reich? Would that be correct or not?

A. At special times when the Field Marshal was not there, and in unimportant things, yes, but when it came to important things I could reach him by telephone at any time and so it hardly ever happened that I deputized. He was never ill and was never away on leave; when he was away he was in Berlin at headquarters.

Q. In that case I would like to remind you of one occasion, which you yourself confirmed here, on the 6th June, while testifying to the Tribunal about the motives which caused you to sign Document RF-1438. You said, at the time, that this

[Page 2]

document had no connection whatsoever with your routine work. It concerned the deportation of Jews from Denmark and you signed the document even though it actually had no connection with the Operations Staff work. You signed it because Keitel was away at the time. Was it not so? Is it true?

A. That is absolutely correct. It was an urgent matter and had to be signed immediately.

Q. Good. We can find a great many documents of that type, but I do not consider it necessary to waste any more time on the further elucidation of this point. Tell me, would it be correct to say that you were well aware of the work carried out by the OKW, that you well knew what problems were occupying the OKW at that time?

A. Only to a limited extent, in individual cases. I was not aware of everything that took place in the many offices in Berlin. That was quite impossible. It did not concern me. I have testified already that my time was so fully taken up that I had much more to do than I had time for.

Q. Very well, you force me to revert to a question which I really wanted to have done with. Will you please now look at our new Exhibit USSR-476. This document consists of excerpts from Keitel's testimony of 9th November, 1945. It is stated there:

"Question: Would it have been possible for General Jodl, without your knowledge to call such a conference?"
We are talking, my Lord, of the conference in Reichenhall.
"Reply of Field Marshal Keitel: Yes, it was quite possible, as I was frequently on official journeys and General Jodl had full authority to call a conference because he represented me in my absence."
Have you found the passage? Have you read it?

A. Colonel Pokrovsky, of course, it is very difficult to speak of these military things. It is ridiculous. Surely I may question my staff officers. I don't need to call a meeting for that. These were my general staff officers with whom I worked in Reichenhall. Surely I could go to them, that was my office and my duty.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think it is necessary for you to raise your voice in that way.

Q. It seems to me that you have still not answered two of my questions. First, have you read this document?

Please tell me: Have you or have you not read the passage which I have just read into the record on Page 1?

A. Yes. In this case, Field Marshal Keitel says, "as I was frequently away on official journeys . . . ."

Q. You do not have to read it a second time. I have read it already. I merely want you to tell me whether you have read that passage?

A. Yes, I read that, and it says here: " . . . to ask General Jodl".

Q. No, you are reading beyond the passage which interests me at this moment. As for the words "We must ask General Jodl" - rest assured, we shall get to that passage. But is it true that Keitel was often away and that you deputized for him? I do not hear any answer.

A. (No response.)

Q. I still hear no answer.

A. I have already said that now and then he went to the front for a day or so and that he was in Berlin for a few days, but he was at those offices which were subordinate to him. I was alone with my Operations Staff and I could do whatever I pleased with my staff. During the entire war I never called a conference of other offices as a deputy of Field Marshal Keitel. I did not understand anything about those matters.

Q. You have uttered a great many words, but have not given me a clear answer to my very short and simple question, namely: Do you confirm or do you not confirm the truth of Keitel's statement? "Yes" or "No". That is still easier to say, is it not?

[Page 3]

A. That is what it amounts to, but the thing as written down is ridiculous.

Q. We shall gauge the truth of your statement later. It is important to me to establish the fact.

I am submitting our Exhibit USSR-263 to the Tribunal.

You will now have the pleasure of reading it yourself. It is an excerpt from the evidence of another officer who worked with you, General Warlimont. Please acquaint yourself with that passage which is marked on your copy while I read it aloud. That will be quicker.

The question put to Warlimont is as follows:

"When did the staff of the OKW first receive the order to prepare for the attack on the Soviet Union?"
Have you found this passage?

A. The document which I have before me, which is marked in red, contains a statement by Warlimont as to the organization of the offices of the OKW. On the next page something follows about the preparations for the attack on the Soviet Union.

Q. Have you found it now?

A. Yes.

Q. Very well.

"When did the staff of the OKW first receive the order to prepare for the attack on the Soviet Union?"
Warlimont replies: "I personally first heard about the plan on the 29th July, 1940. On that day General Jodl arrived by special train in Bad Reichenhall; where Section D of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff was quartered at that time."

Have you found the passage?

A. Yes.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: My Lord, I do not consider it necessary to read the greater part of Warlimont's testimony, because we are dealing with a well known fact, i.e.-the convening of the conference at which Jodl gave his colleagues the order to prepare the plans for the attack on the Soviet Union. This document has been accepted in evidence by the Tribunal.

Q. Warlimont then states: "Jodl stunned us by his announcement of the coming attack for which we were not prepared." Have you found the passage? Please look at the document.

A. (No reply).

Q. Jodl, will you please take the document in your hand and see whether it has been read into the record correctly.

THE PRESIDENT: Is it not coming through properly? Wait a minute.

DR. EXNER (Counsel for defendant Jodl): I just wanted to call the attention of the Tribunal to the fact that part of the translation and the transmission is coming through to us so very badly that I have scarcely understood anything. I hear only half a question at a time, and I am surprised that the defendant could answer at all.

THE PRESIDENT: Is it coming through better now? Is the translation coming through better now?

DR. EXNER: I am of the opinion that the translation itself is poor, not only the technical transmission. It is often very difficult to understand the question. It makes no sense at all, and my colleague, Dr. Stahmer confirms this. Therefore it is difficult for us.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we had better go on and see if it will improve.


Q. I would like you to read one other sentence to yourself. It is the passage in which Warlimont says to whom the responsibility for elaborating the plans was

[Page 4]

entrusted and how the officers present had reacted. He testifies: "Jodl stunned us by his announcement." It is on the first page at about the middle of the page. Have you found it?

A. I could not find the sentence which you have just read: "Jodl stunned us." I cannot find that sentence.

Q. In that case, I shall begin with the preceding sentence. Perhaps it will be easier for you.

"Besides myself, he also ordered three other senior officers: Colonel Lossberg, Lt.-Colonel vom Falkenstein of the Luftwaffe, and Captain Junge to attend."
Have you found it?

A. Yes.

Q. Thank you. "Jodl stunned us by this announcement for which we were not prepared."

And then a little farther down,

"Jodl announced that the Fuehrer had decided to prepare for war against Russia. The Fuehrer based his decision on the fact that war with Russia must come sooner or later and for that reason it would be better to carry it through during the war already in progress".
Have you found the passage?

A. Yes, I have it.

Q. Very well. Now, I would like you to read one more paragraph from Exhibit USSR 476, which has just been handed to you, on Page 1. It is, Jodl, the one which you began to read the first time and I told you then that we should get back to it eventually. Keitel is asked whether he knew anything about that conference and he answered:

"I know nothing whatever about a conference with regard to an attack on the Soviet Union: I heard about it for the first time when I was already imprisoned here."
Have you found the place?

A. No. I have not found it, but I do recall it. I read it just a short while ago.

Q. I should like you to have it: we do not want any misunderstandings. A little lower down Keitel states that you did not, subsequently, even report the conference to him. Is that so? Do you confirm this statement or do you not? Would you say that Keitel had testified correctly?

A. Actually there is no such thing as a conference in these military matters; you have conferences in civil and parliamentary life, but we do not have conferences.

I talked to my general staff officers as often as I pleased. Therefore it is ...

Q. Excuse me, I am going to interrupt you here. Later on you may add all you wish to say but I merely want a direct answer to the question: Is Keitel's testimony correct that you never reported this conference to him? Is that true or not?

A. I certainly did not report to him about this actual talk, but that is not in the least important. I am certain that I reported to him what the Fuehrer told me, because that was an important matter and later, because of this, he wrote a memorandum. Therefore he must have heard about it, but that is only a supposition, a more or less certain supposition, which I am making here.

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