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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
9th August to 21st August 1946

Two Hundred-First Day: Monday, 12th August, 1946
(Part 3 of 10)

[DR. LATERNSER continues his re-examination of Erich von Mannstein]

[Page 83]

Q. Were explosives, mines and troops available in large numbers at that time, that is, in 1943?

[Page 84]

A. Yes, of course, we had mines and explosives, but they were certainly not sufficient to achieve an aim of that sort.

Q. Were not these supplies very short at that time, in 1943?

A. Yes, at any rate, we never had enough mines to lay mine fields in sufficient numbers ahead of our positions.

Q. The Russian Prosecutor went on to ask you about number 3- c, about the ruthless conscription of the civilian population, particularly the women. You did not answer the question of the Russian Prosecutor, whether you had ever heard that similar or other measures of force were applied to German women?

A. Yes. I knew that that happened during the war, but even now women are conscripted for all sorts of work. My wife, for example; has been put to work looking for potato beetles.

Q. I mean, did it happen in East Prussia in 1944?

A. I cannot say that from my own observation as I was not there, but I am sure that the civilian population had nothing to laugh at.

Q. The American prosecution submitted to you Document 459- PS. Will you please again look at item 6. Is this a directive or an order?

A. That is a directive, but not an order.

Q. So that, if draconian measures, as this order says, were to be enforced, corresponding orders from the supreme commanders were necessary?

A. Yes, of course, I was told not to ask for security forces but to find a means myself by taking draconian measures; and so further orders from the commanders were necessary.

Q. Do you know of any orders which were issued on the basis of item 6?

A. No, I do not recall any order. issued on the basis of that paragraph.

Q. Now, I have one question regarding Document 447. Please look at Page, two, 2-b. Does not item two show, firstly, that the Reichsfuehrer SS was given special tasks in the operational zone, and secondly, that in discharging these tasks he acted independently and on his own responsibility.

A. Yes, the order says so quite clearly.

Q. Then, it follows that the special action groups the Einsatzgruppen, were not, tactically, under the supreme commanders?

A. No, tactically, they were, at most, under the local commander, for instance, in the fight against the partisans, or in the battle zone at the front, but in any case, as far as their police tasks were concerned, they certainly were not under him.

Q. The Document R-102 was also submitted to you - that is a Secret Reich Matter. What does that mean?

A. A Secret Reich Matter is, I think, an order or a directive or an announcement which is issued only to the highest authorities in the Reich or to certain persons, and which is not allowed to be generally known.

Q. Is the distribution indicated on this document?

A. No, it should be noted at the end, but it is not.

Q. So you cannot determine if this document also went to departments of the Army?

A. No, that cannot be determined, but quite certainly it did not go to departments of the Army, because we never received such reports.

Q. During your examination last Saturday, you said that you were convinced that the other supreme commanders would also have taken steps against mass executions, had they been reported to them?

A. Yes, naturally.

Q. Is it known to you that when Field-Marshal von Kuechler, during the Polish campaign, heard of the execution of Jews, he used every means at his disposal to prevent it?

A. Yes, I heard of that here in Nuremberg. I did not know of it at the time.

Q. Is it known to you that the Volksdeutsche Burgermeister of Marinka was sentenced to death by court-martial for his crimes against a Jewish woman?

[Page 85]

A. I cannot recollect that. I do not know whether it happened in my area; if it had been in my area, it would have been reported to me, but I cannot remember it.

Q. Do you know that General von Knobelsdorff, an officer also affected by the Indictment, had an SS leader arrested, as he wanted to carry out executions?

A. Of that I also heard here: I did not know anything about the executions at that time.

Q. Do you know of any other cases in which the supreme commanders took steps against particularly outrageous arbitrary actions?

A. I know, for example, that Colonel-General Blaskowitz, who succeeded Field-Marshal von Rundstedt as Supreme Commander in the East, that is in occupied Poland, protested and raised objections against the conduct of the police in the Government General, and that there was some sort of a noisy dispute about it, whereupon he was relieved.

Q. Now, I come to the last point. Regarding the subordination of the Einsatzgruppen, the American prosecution referred to Affidavit No. 12 of Schellenberg, Exhibit USA 557. You do not consider that affidavit correct, I believe, because in practice the facts did not correspond to what is said in the affidavit, is that so?

A. Do you mean the one in which Schellenberg speaks about the agreement with the Quartermaster-General?

Q. Yes.

A. The subordination mentioned in that affidavit does not by any means give a picture of the situation in practice, nor can I imagine that that was the agreement made by Wagner. As I said, there were two types of subordination, the tactical subordination for fighting, and the economic subordination for supplies, accommodations, etc. There were those two types of subordination, but the tactical subordination, as I said, only applied in battle conditions. Then there was a third possibility, subordination for military service, troop training, and so forth, but that certainly never applied in practice.

Q. I shall now read to you the affidavit, which I propose to introduce as evidence presently, from Judge-General Mantel, who, fortunately, had discussed just that point with General Wagner, and after reading it, I should like to ask you whether the contents of the affidavit correspond with the facts in practice.

He states:

"Shortly before the beginning of the Russian campaign, I participated at the headquarters of the OKH in a conference which Quartermaster-General Wagner was having with the Chief Quartermasters of the armies in the East. Among other things, Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos of the SD in the operational zones of the Army were discussed on that occasion, and it was clearly stated that they would receive instructions for their activities exclusively from the Reichsfuehrer SS, and that the command authorities of the Army had no jurisdiction over them from the point of view of discipline and service but that, economically speaking, they could be attached to the Army."
I now want to ask you: Do the contents of this affidavit in regard to the Einsatz groups and their subordination correspond to the facts in practice?

A. In the statement of Ohlendorf it is pointed out that Himmler gave his orders to the Einsatz groups, for instance at Nikolajev, orally and only directly to them, and that Army agencies did not hear anything about them becomes apparent from the following which I heard afterwards here in Nuremberg; even though Himmler was at that time in Nikolajev where the Army Supreme Command, then under General von Schobert, was situated, he did not visit the Army Supreme Command, although he was well acquainted with Schobert. That shows that he intentionally refrained from mentioning his plans.

DR. LATERNSER: Thank you.

I have no further questions to the witness.

[Page 86]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, the Tribunal would like to hear the submission of the prosecution with reference to Dr. Sauter's application.

MR. DODD: My Lord, I have the following statement to make to the Tribunal. I understand that the application asks for the striking out of the Pohl affidavit and the permission that Funk again takes the stand. I should like to oppose the application to strike out the Pohl affidavit. It seems to us that it is highly material in this case, and if anything, although I doubt very much that even the necessity for recalling or calling Pohl for cross-examination exists but if anything is necessary that might be it. The defendant Funk, it seems to us, has had a rather full opportunity when he was on the stand. I asked him when he started to do business with the SS, if the Tribunal will recall, and I think I went rather fully into all possible phases at that time of relationships between the defendant Funk and the SS, and there was a denial on the part of the defendant Funk. Furthermore, he will have an opportunity, I assume, in the last statement, to say something, if the Tribunal saw fit to permit it, with respect to anything new that might have arisen out of the Pohl affidavit.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but the Pohl affidavit is entirely new, is it not?

MR. DODD: Well, sir, it is new, but it really covers only one new matter and that is the matter of the textile business that we alleged went on between the SS and the Reichsbank and the defendant Funk. The matter of the jewellery and all the other things I think were gone into.

THE PRESIDENT: I did not mean that it dealt with entirely new subject matter, but it is the evidence of a new witness upon that subject matter.

MR. DODD: Yes, yes, it is.

THE PRESIDENT: And as the defendant Funk has not had an opportunity to deny it upon oath, it may be that the Tribunal will think it right to grant him that opportunity. There are two quite distinct questions, first of all, as to whether Pohl's affidavit should be struck out, and secondly, whether Funk should be called.

MR. DODD: Well, I certainly do not feel that the Pohl affidavit should be struck out, because it seems to us to be material, highly material. As the Tribunal will recall, there was considerable controversy about this relationship which we claimed between Funk and the SS. We called another witness, Pohl, and still another witness who was his subordinate, and I would assume that counsel would prefer to cross-examine Pohl. We are perfectly happy to let him do that; and then at a later date, if Funk has an opportunity, as I am sure he will, to make his statement, he could make his denial. I do not know what more he could say except that it is not so, and I thought he had said that rather fully when he was on the witness stand, and rather fully denied that he had really any relationship with Himmler or with the SS. I am also fearful, Mr. President, that if the Tribunal permits this procedure in this case, there may have been some other instances where other defendants will want to be heard fully and the thing will go on with Surrebuttal and I am afraid it will take much of the Tribunal's time.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, we have heard you fully upon the subject already.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, may I point out one fact? This witness Pohl arrived at the Nuremberg prison on the 1st of June; he was questioned in preparation for the affidavit on the 15th of July, that is -

[Page 87]

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, you have expressed yourself that you do not want to cross-examine him. What is the relevance of the fact that he arrived here at a certain time if you do not want to cross-examine him?

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, my point of view is that on principle the prosecution cannot be permitted to present further evidence against a defendant whose case is completely closed. The witness Pohl arrived here on the 1st of June; on the 15th of July, that is six weeks later, he was examined for the affidavit. That was the same day on which I made my final plea for the defendant Funk. Again, several weeks later, the affidavit was finally submitted. I do not believe that it is compatible with justice if after a defendant's case is completely closed, the prosecution submits further evidence against the defendant, who at that stage no longer has an opportunity of commenting on it from the witness stand. The Pohl affidavit contains completely new allegations. For example, Pohl says that at a dinner of ten or twelve persons this gold-tooth affair was discussed. That is something entirely new and, of course, completely improbable and that is why I ask, Mr. President, that you permit us to have the defendant Funk examined on this point on the witness stand.

THE PRESIDENT: You must understand that it is a matter for the discretion of the Tribunal at what time they will end the evidence, and it is necessary that the evidence should be ended at some time. The Tribunal has heard fully what you have had to say and they will now consider the matter.

DR. SAUTER: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: With reference to the application by Dr. Sauter, the affidavit by Pohl will not be struck out. It will remain upon the record. But in view of the particular circumstances of this case, the defendant Funk may be recalled to give evidence upon the subject and he will be recalled after the evidence has been given on behalf of the organizations.

With reference to the objection of Dr. Laternser to the use of the statement made by Major-General Walter Schreiber, the Tribunal is not inclined to admit any evidence so late as this, or to reopen questions which have been gone into fully before the Tribunal; but on the other hand, in view of the importance of the statement of Major-General Schreiber, and its particular relevance not only to the case of certain of the individual defendants but also to the case of the High Command, the Tribunal will allow General Schreiber to be heard as a witness if he is produced before the end of the hearing of the case. Otherwise no use can be made of this statement.

With reference to the time within which General Schreiber must be brought here if he is to be heard as a witness, the Tribunal thinks that it will be proper to order that he might be heard as a witness, if he is brought here at any time before the final speeches with reference to the organizations are concluded. And, of course, counsel for the organization would have an opportunity of commenting upon any evidence which General Schreiber might give. That is all.

The witness may retire.

Dr. Laternser, will you call your other witness?

DR. LATERNSER: With the approval of the Tribunal, I call as my last witness Field-Marshal von Rundstedt.

GERT VON RUNDSTEDT, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:


Q. Will you state your full name, please?

A. Gert von Rundstedt.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

[Page 88]

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

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.


Q. Field-Marshal, you are the senior officer of the former German Army. What was your last position?

A. I am the senior officer of the German Army and I have been a soldier for over fifty-four years. My last position was Commander-in-Chief West, until the 9th of March, 1945.

Q. During what period were you Commander-in-Chief in Berlin?

A. From the 1st of October, 1932, until the 31st of October, 1938.

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