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 Fiftieth Day: Saturday, 8th June, 1946
(Part 2 of 6)

[Page 45]

THE PRESIDENT: When an affidavit is used in this way and put to a witness who is in the witness box, of course the affidavit ought to be supplied to the prosecution in order that it may see the contents, and so be able to cross-examine if it wishes to do so.


THE PRESIDENT: That has not been done in this case. The best course would be for the affidavit to be supplied to the prosecution, and it may, if it wishes, apply to examine on it before the Commission.

Do you think it is necessary? Perhaps you could see the affidavit soon and decide whether it is necessary to keep the witness here.

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, I respectfully agree.

THE PRESIDENT: And we shall hold the witness in Nuremberg?

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, we accept the invitation to examine the affidavit over the week-end, and then, if necessary, we could make an application on Monday.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, that is quite all right.

Then the witness can retire.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Jahrreiss, will you call the next witness?

DR. JAHRREISS (counsel for defendant Jodl): Yes, if it is the Tribunal's wish. With the permission of the Tribunal, I wish to call Major Buchs as my next witness. Major Buchs.

MAJOR HERBERT BUCHS, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:


Q. Will you state your full name, please?

A. Herbert Buchs.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold nothing and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.



Q. Witness, what position did you have in the last years of the war?

A. From November, 1943, I was a General Staff officer of the Luftwaffe serving with the chief of the Wehrmacht Operational Staff; and in that capacity, I was second adjutant to General Jodl.

[Page 46]

Q. And were you in this position until the end of the war?

A. I remained in this position until the end, until our arrest on 23rd May, 1945.

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, would you consider the lights? When that yellow light goes on, it means that you are going too fast; and would you try to make a pause after the question comes through to you?

THE WITNESS: Very well.


Q. Witness, during this time in which you were in the Fuehrer's headquarters, were these in different areas?

A. Yes. I was in the headquarters in East Prussia and apart from that I was in the headquarters in Berlin, and in 1944 in Berchtesgaden.

Q. It has been said that there was a Party clique at the Fuehrer's headquarters. Do you know anything about that?

A. If I am to understand by that a certain circle of people, I would name Fegelein, Bormann and Burgdorf.

Q. You would say that that was a clique?

A. These were three gentlemen who were in very close personal and official contact and who made that impression on outsiders.

Q. Was this very close official and personal relationship between themselves or with others?

A. They not only had very close relations among themselves, but I also observed that these three gentlemen had very strong influence on Hitler.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Jahrreiss, would you ascertain the names of the three again? They did not come to us quite clearly.



Q. Major, will you please say slowly the names of these three gentlemen you just mentioned?

A. Fegelein: Himmler's liaison officer with Adolf Hitler. Then Bormann, the head of the Party Chancellery and the representative of the Party; and General Burgdorf, who had a dual position as chief of the Army Personnel Office and chief adjutant of the Wehrmacht with the Fuehrer.

Q. Did General Jodl have official relations with each of these three gentlemen?

A. If I may start with Fegelein: Fegelein as liaison officer to Himmler was, as far as the Fuehrer was concerned, the man to whom he turned in all questions of material and personal equipment of the Waffen SS divisions when these questions arose in connection with the putting of these divisions into operation during situation discussions. In this connection, points which came within Fegelein's sphere of work were frequently raised during situation reports. But the official connection between Jodl and Fegelein was otherwise very small.

Q. And how about Bormann?

A. In dealing with Bormann as Deputy of the Party, General Jodl always clearly defined his own military sphere. He always rejected complaints or unjustifiable accusations against the Wehrmacht. I witnessed this especially while the war was being carried on on German soil and these was often friction with the Gauleiter who had been appointed Reich Defence Commissars.

Q. A little more slowly, please.

A. For instance, I saw how General Jodl, when he received complaints or letters from Bormann, simply returned the originals, with extremely blunt and rather abrupt marginal notes, to show his views. If that had no effect, he did not hesitate to express his views to the Fuehrer in every possible way and obtained his decision on the dispute in question.

[Page 47]

Q. And the third of the gentlemen, Burgdorf?

A. To my recollection, Colonel-General Jodl had very little official contact with General Burgdorf, although it was Burgdorf who discussed the important questions of the appointment of the Commanders-in-Chief and higher officers with the Fuehrer. In this case, General Burgdorf first of all discussed these matters with the Fuehrer. alone, so that General Jodl had comparatively little influence in that direction.

Q. Now I should like to hear from you, witness, what personal relations existed between Colonel General Jodl and each of these three gentlemen?

A. Jodl disliked Fegelein, because - I believe - he fully realised his defects of character even at that early stage. I heard him on several occasions call Fegelein to account and reprimand him.

As for Bormann, I should say General Jodl had no connection with him at all. I never noticed any personal or out-of-office association between them. What I have said about Fegelein also applies to General Jodl's relations with General Burgdorf, whom General Jodl probably also disliked personally.

Q. Now I turn to a different point. Witness, do you know anything about the fact that in the last phase of the war the possibility of turning captured enemy airmen over to the enraged populace was under consideration? Did you hear about that?

A. Yes. I recall in the spring of '44, at Berchtesgaden, the Fuehrer heatedly demanded that enemy airmen who made emergency landings in Germany should no longer be protected by the Wehrmacht against the enraged populace. This demand was based on reports alleging that a Kreisleiter of the Party and an officer of the Luftwaffe had protected an Allied airman. The Fuehrer made this demand in a very sharp and heated manner. He demanded that the Wehrmacht issue the appropriate orders to put a stop to this once and for all.

Q. Did Hitler also make this demand of General Jodl?

A. This demand was made at a situation conference attended by these gentlemen and Jodl himself, but I do not think that General Jodl had any direct connection with the handling of the whole question, as it was not directly connected with military matters.

Q. Did the General make no comment at all on the matter?

A. General Jodl, like all the others, rejected this demand and, on his part, did everything he could to try to dissuade the Fuehrer from making it. He began immediately by adopting a critical attitude which expressed itself in the first place by the definition of four cases of violations of international law on the part of Allied airmen.

Q. I really do not need to ask you about this, for we have documentary proof of it. If Hitler was as enraged as you have described, and demanded a decree so stormily, was it possible to pursue a delaying action?

A. In a case of this find, in which the Fuehrer in the first heat of his rage, made such demands, it was impossible for those to whom the demand was put to oppose him at the moment, let alone refuse to carry out the order. There was nothing else for them to do - General Jodl used these tactics frequently - but to try, by obtaining data arguments, and counter arguments, and asking for comments and opinions from all the agencies concerned, to collect such material and, at a quiet and favourable moment, approach the Fuehrer on the matter again and try to dissuade him from his extreme demand. Outwardly, this resulted in a lengthy correspondence, in which the files of the various departments involved were sent back and forth, all with the intention of delaying the matter to the greatest extent and, if possible, shelving it completely. My impression, as far as the treatment of the terror flyers was concerned, was that in this case we succeeded absolutely, even though the Fuehrer's attention was called repeatedly to this question through new reports and statements, and he demanded that it be put into execution.

Q. Then was no such order issued?

A. I know of no such order.

[Page 48]

Q. Can you cite an incident which shows clearly that no such decree was issued?

A. On one occasion I personally was very sharply called to account by the Fuehrer in August, 1944, when, after an air raid on Munich, Fegelein rather crudely described low level attacks to him and reported that when a plane was shot down, two Allied airmen had made an emergency parachute landing and had been captured and taken away by an SA sergeant. He himself said that he had called this sergeant to account and asked him why he had not shot the two flyers; and the man replied, "Because I had no orders to do so." At that moment I interpolated on my own account that no such order existed; and then the Fuehrer accused me in the most violent manner because the head of the Wehrmacht had not issued a decree like that. Then he again demanded that the order be carried out.

Q. Did it actually take place then?

A. No, for that was the period after 20th July, the time of the campaign in the West, when there were much more important questions in the foreground, and the whole question of the treatment of terror flyers was shelved again.

Q. Witness, do you know about an incident in Berlin, I believe in March, 1940, which is supposed to have taken place in the Reich Chancellery, when the Fuehrer again complained that in spite of his demand this decree had not been issued?

A. I recall that in March 1945 the Fuehrer again expressed himself very heatedly on this problem to General Koller, who was then Chief of the General Staff of the Luftwaffe. I myself was not present at the beginning of this conversation. I was called in, however, and heard the Fuehrer say something like this: that on the basis of the attitude taken by the Wehrmacht and especially by the Luftwaffe, it had been impossible for him to counteract the terror of the Allied flyers over Germany by means of a corresponding counter terror.

Q. Just a moment, witness. You said that you had not been present at the entire discussion.

DR. JAHRREISS: Mr. President, we have an interrogatory which we want to submit to the Tribunal. It is in our Document Book 2, Page 178, and is the testimony of General of the Luftwaffe Koller. This testimony, under No. 5, which is on Page 180 of the Document Book, contains all the details worth preserving of this extremely important conference in Berlin. Only part of this conversation took place in the Fuehrer's room; another part took place in the ante-rooms as, for instance, that with Kaltenbrunner; while the conversation with Goering was carried on by telephone. In order to save time, and to avoid splitting up the matter, I should like to have the Tribunal's permission to present it as a whole even though the witness heard only a part. The last sentence, as a whole, shows that Jodl was deeply concerned in the whole document, and I believe, Mr. President, we can save time if I may present it now in toto.

First of all, I must read the first question to General Koller, which is to be found on Page 179. Here the witness was asked:

"How long have you been Chief of the General Staff of the Luftwaffe?"
The answer is on the next page and is:
"From 1st September, 1943, to 3rd September, 1944, I was Chief of the Air Force Operations Staff; from 23rd November, 1944, Chief of the General Staff of the Air Force."
Question 5 - and that is the question which concerns us - is on Page 179:
"Do you recall that about March, 1945, in the bunker of the Reich Chancellery the Fuehrer censured you and the Luftwaffe because such an order was not given?"
Answer, Page 180:
"Yes, I remember exactly. About the beginning or the middle of March 1945 a notice taken from the Allied Press Report Survey was laid before the Fuehrer by Bormann during the situation discussion. It read somewhat to this effect:

[Page 49]

'An American combat air crew shot down over Germany a short time previously was overtaken by advancing American troops. They had declared that they were ill-treated by enraged members of the population, threatened with death and probably would have been killed if German soldiers had not released them and taken them under their protection.'
Bormann further pointed out to the Fuehrer in a few words that this confirmed that soldiers in such cases intervene against the population.

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