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 and Seventh Day: Tuesday, 20th August, 1946
(Part 1 of 9)

[Page 274]

THE MARSHAL OF THE COURT: May it please the Tribunal: The defendant Hess is absent.

DR. DIX (for the defendant Schacht): May I be permitted quite shortly to submit to the Tribunal a possible precautionary application regarding evidence. I repeat, it is a possible and precautionary application which will only be operative under certain conditions which I am about to explain. I beg the Tribunal to remember that I wanted to call Frau Struenk and Col.-General Halder as witnesses for the same subject on which the witness Gisevius testified as a defence witness for Dr. Schacht. The application to hear Col.-General Halder I withdrew at an earlier stage, while the examination of Frau Struenk as a witness was granted by the Tribunal. However, after hearing the witness Gisevius and the witness Focke I decided, in the interest of time, to withdraw my application for these witnesses as I considered that their testimony would be cumulative.

Now, these two witnesses, Frau Struenk and Col.-General Halder, will no longer be cumulative if, and this is by no means my own opinion, the Tribunal should adopt the view that the testimony of the witness Gisevius, as far as it was in favour of Dr. Schacht, has been weakened in any way by the statements of the witness von Brauchitsch.

It is not my task to represent the material or ideal interests of the witness Gisevius; nor is it my task to strengthen the credibility of the witness Gisevius in so far as he incriminated other defendants or other persons. It is merely my duty to furnish evidence in defence of my client, Dr. Schacht. It is my own personal opinion - and that goes against my own application - that the testimony of Gisevius with reference to Dr. Schacht, that is, his testimony regarding the purpose of armament as Schacht intended it to be, Schacht's real attitude towards the regime, and especially Schacht's active part in the resistance movement, that this testimony has in no way been shaken by the testimony of the witness Brauchitsch to the effect that he did not know the witness Gisevius at all. These subjects of evidence have not merely been proved by Gisevius; but, as far as purpose of armament and the inner attitude towards the regime are concerned, have also been proved by every affidavit submitted; as far as the beginning of the resistance movement and the contact with Kluge are concerned, that has been proved by the witness Zacke; the affidavit of Schmidt proves the attempts to avert war at the last -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, I think you must make up your mind whether you want to make an application or not. If you want to make an application, you must make it in writing. The Tribunal is not inclined to entertain possible precautionary applications which are not in writing.

DR. DIX: I intend to leave it to the decision of the Tribunal. I am merely making a suggestion because it is my personal view -

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has made a rule that applications must be in writing. That rule has been applied to every other counsel appearing on behalf of the defendants. The Tribunal thinks that rule should be adhered to by you,

[Page 275]

too. Therefore, if you wish to make an application, you should make it in writing.

DR. DIX: Very well, then I shall gladly make my application in writing. Does the Tribunal wish me to indicate now briefly what it will contain, or is it sufficient merely to state my intention of making an application in writing?

THE PRESIDENT: I do not see any reason for departing from the rules.

DR. DIX: Then I shall make my application in writing.

THE PRESIDENT: I have two announcements to make. In the first place, with reference to the application of Dr. Seidl, who does not appear to be present, the Tribunal has had a report dated the 17th August, 1946, on the condition of the defendant Hess, from Captain G. M. Gilbert, the prison psychologist. This report will be communicated to the defendant Hess's counsel, to the prosecution and to the Press. The Tribunal will not call for any further report upon the defendant Hess at the present time.

In the next place, with reference to the application by Dr. Stahmer, dated the 14th August, 1946, the Tribunal will treat this application as an exceptional case, and they will allow the defendant Goering to be recalled to the witness box to deal with the evidence upon experiments, which was given after the defendant Goering gave his evidence, and upon no other subject.

The Tribunal rejects the application to call another witness and the Tribunal will hear the defendant Goering in the witness box now.

HERMANN GOERING, having been previously sworn, was recalled.


Q. You understand, defendant, of course, that you are still under oath?

A. Yes, of course.



Q. Were you the President of the Reich Research Council?

A . Yes.

Q. When and by whom was the Reich Research Council established? What were its tasks?

A. As far as I remember it was established by me either in 1942 or at the beginning of 1943.

It was concerned with embracing every sphere of science, physics, chemistry, technology, medicine and philosophy and with uniting in itself the various institutes of the State, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, the institutes of the universities, and the economic research institutes, which were all carrying out the same kind of research work. Commissions were formed in every sphere, and together they saw to it that research in a particular field was not carried out on parallel lines but as a joint project.

It was also their task to correlate the various spheres of research work, such as physics and chemistry.

At the head of each one of these commissions was a plenipotentiary. A prime consideration of all this research work was, of course, the application of results to the necessities of war, and for that purpose, too, special representatives were appointed. The Reich Research Council formed not hundreds but thousands of research commissions, and since I personally am, of course, not an expert, I was head of the whole institution only to lend it my authority and especially to make the necessary funds available. These commissions were formed under the title "Reichsmarschall of the German Reich, President of the Reich Research Council."

Q. What position within the Air Force and what tasks did the Medical Inspectorate of the Air Force have?

[Page 276]

A. It had the task, as in the case of all other branches of the armed forces, of taking care of the hygiene and health of the Luftwaffe, and of all similar work in that field.

Q. Did the Medical Inspectorate have any connections with the Reich Research Council?

A. Naturally it had loose connections with the Reich Research Council in order to obtain the results of the clinical and medical research work, and to communicate to the Research Council its own wishes on research commissions in which it was particularly interested.

Q. Did you order the Reich Research Council or the Medical Inspectorate of the Air Force or any other authority at any time to form commissions for medical experiments on detainees in concentration camps, for example Dachau, or any other camp?

A. I should like to say quite clearly on this point that there cannot possibly be a single letter which I signed and that not a single person can possibly allege that I, myself, at any time whatsoever gave orders for a single commission or even gave a hint in that respect.

Q. Did you have knowledge of the fact that a certain Dr. Rascher or an Oberfeldarzt of the Air Force, Dr. Weltz, carried out medical experiments on detainees in the concentration camp of Dachau?

A. Dr. Rascher was, as I heard here in Nuremberg and as I gathered from the documents, a medical officer of tie Air Force Reserve. Since apparently later on, as appears from his correspondence, he was not successful with his experiments, he left the Air Force and became a medical officer in the SS. I myself have never seen this man, I have never met him, nor do I know the second name which you mentioned; and I do not even know whether he was a medical officer of the Reserve or on active service.

Q. Did you give to any authority or did you empower anyone to give to any authority the order to carry out sub-pressure- chamber experiments on detainees in concentration camps?

A. I have already said that I did not do so. It is natural that if anybody had come to me, shall we say from the Medical Inspectorate or from the Reich Research Council, and had told me that it would be serving a purpose if we carried out research on typhoid or even cancer or other diseases, I would of course have said that that was a very praiseworthy enterprise. But I could not possibly have connected this fact with the idea that human beings were used in an inhuman manner for this purpose. If someone told me that experiments with low pressure chambers were going on I could not possibly have inferred that detainees were used for the purpose, all the more since I knew that every aviator had to go into a low-pressure chamber to test his reaction to such conditions.

Q. Did you commission the Reich Research Council or the Medical Inspectorate of the Air Force or any other authority to carry out experiments for making sea-water drinkable?

A. I have never heard of these experiments. They would have interested me greatly because we airmen repeatedly discussed, not how to make sea-water drinkable but how an airman who was adrift in the sea in a lifeboat could obtain drinkable water at all; and all airmen were told at that time that there was only one possibility: that they should have fishing tackle aboard their lifeboats so that they could catch fish and - quite primitively - squeeze out the fish with a cloth; under such circumstances that was the only method of obtaining drinkable water. That is why that point is particularly clear in my memory.

Q. In May, 1944, this matter is supposed to have been discussed during a conference in the Air Ministry. Did you convene that conference or were you informed of it afterwards?

[Page 277]

A. No. Daily conferences of all offices and of all departments were always taking place in the Air Ministry and they could not possibly all have been communicated to me or have been convened by me from headquarters.

Q. Discussions with the Air Force are supposed to have taken place at Dachau on the same question. Were they ordered by you or did you hear of them?

A. No.

Q. For this purpose the Air Force is said to have made working rooms available at Dachau. Did you know of this?

A. No, I had no knowledge of this at all.

Q. Do you know the medical officer of the Air Force Reserve, Dr. Denk or Dink?

A. I do not know either name.

Q. Did you give the order or did you get anyone else to give the order to carry out the low-freezing experiments which are said to have been carried out by a certain Professor Wolfsloehner, a medical officer of the Air Force Reserve, on detainees at Dachau?

A. No, as far as I remember from the documents, Rascher carried out these experiments. Wolfsloehner is as unknown to me as the other names. There were thousands of medical officers and reserve medical officers in the Air Force.

Q. Did you ever commission Dr. Haagen, Professor at the University of Strassburg, who is said to have been Oberstabsarzt of the Air Force and consulting hygienist, to carry out with all means experiments to combat typhoid?

A. I also gathered from the documents that Dr. Haagen was a medical officer in the Air Force Reserve and consulting hygienist not of the Air Force but of an air fleet, that is a unit of the Air Force. I do not know him, and have never given him a commission; he could obviously be heard on that point at any time.

Apart from that, a commission of this sort would certainly have remained in my memory, because it would have somewhat astonished me, since I myself was immunised against typhoid three times and I did not think that further research in that sphere was taking place.

Q. Now, how do you explain that the witness Sievers in a letter addressed to Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, dated May, 1944, stated that Professor Haagen had been ordered by the Reichsmarschall and President of the Reich Research Council to carry out such experiments?

A. This can be explained as follows: firstly, as I said earlier, the letter-heading for all such commissions which were ordered by the Reich Research was worded: "The Reichsmarschall of the German Reich," signature: "The President of the Reich Research Council." It was the custom in Germany that the personal title was named and not the office of the person in question; for instance: "The Reich Minister of Finance," and not "The Reich Ministry of Finance." Secondly, the witness Sievers himself testified here - and he gave a rather large figure - that tens of thousands of commissions were ordered under my name without my knowing anything about them; which, indeed, would have been quite impossible. Thirdly, it was well known in the whole of Germany that hardly any name was used as much as mine. If anyone wanted to achieve anything at all, he quite happily wrote "The Reichsmarschall wishes it, orders it or would like to see this or that done."

It was for that reason that in 1944 I created a special department which was to prevent the misuse of my name for such matters.

Q. What was your basic attitude with regard to the carrying out of medical experiments on human beings?

A. I already -

THE PRESIDENT: I think the defendant has already told us what his basic attitude was.

[Page 278]

DR. STAHMER: Very well, Mr. President. Then, with reference to this subject, I have no further questions. I must merely reserve the fight to put further questions as soon as the witness Schreiber has appeared here. A statement from this witness was submitted to the Tribunal, but it has not yet been introduced in evidence, so that I cannot at this moment deal with it.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not know what you are talking about because the Tribunal has not yet allowed the witness Halder to be called; but you must conclude your examination of the defendant now.

DR. STAHMER: I believe I have been misunderstood, Mr. President. I was speaking of the witness Schreiber. A statement of the witness Schreiber was submitted, and the Tribunal ruled that Schreiber should appear here as a witness. I shall, therefore, have to reserve the right -

THE PRESIDENT: The interpretation came to us as Halder.

DR. STAHMER: No, no, Schreiber, Professor Schreiber.

THE PRESIDENT: If this Schreiber is brought here in accordance with the Tribunal's order, then no doubt you will have the opportunity of cross-examining. Dr. Stahmer, if you want to put any questions to the defendant Goering you must put them now because the Tribunal does not propose to have the defendant recalled again should the witness Dr. Schreiber be produced. Therefore, if you have any questions to put to the defendant on the subject which Dr. Schreiber might be called to deal with, you must put them now.

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