The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/30

Q. Then we might refer to the guerrilla fighting
regulations, a matter which has been discussed here also.

                                                  [Page 316]

A. Then I should like to refer you to something I believe I
testified to already, that immediately I ordered an
investigation of the Malmedy case.

Q. Did you concern yourself with International Law while
drafting your orders?

A. I believe I have already stated that I studied very
carefully International Law in its bearing on my orders. I
do not wish to take up the time of the Tribunal with
anything but the clear insight I gathered from these
regulations. I should like to conclude by saying that
through the fact that there were no regulations governing
air warfare, deplorable confusions in terminology arose, for
instance, between rebellion and legal warfare, between
franc-tireur, bandit and scout, spy and scout, demolition
crews and saboteurs. Any time with the help of aircraft a
rebellion could be changed into a legal war, and a legal war
on the other hand could be reduced to the state of
rebellion. That is the effect that parachutists and the
furnishing of supplies by air have had on International Law.

Q. In this connection, I should like to submit the affidavit
of Lehmann, AJ-10 This document has not been submitted to
the Tribunal since the prosecution declared yesterday to
agree to the use of this affidavit. I believe it is the
affidavit of the High Military Judge, Dr. Lehmann. If the
High Tribunal will declare this affidavit admissible, I
perhaps can refer to it -

THE PRESIDENT: Where is it?

DR. EXNER: We would like to submit it, although it has not
been translated as yet, since we received permission only
yesterday in court.

MR. ROBERTS: As Sir David said yesterday there is no
objection to the affidavit, although there was no actual
order granting the affidavit of Lehmann; My Lord, it is very
short, especially the copy I had, and I think there is no
reason to object to it.

DR. EXNER: Then in order to save time, I shall just refer to
it and ask that the High Tribunal take judicial notice and
read the testimony of Dr. Lehmann. It seemed to be
significant to me, as in any event he was the highest jurist
in the German Wehrmacht.

THE PRESIDENT: You had better give it an exhibit number.

DR. EXNER: Yes, AJ-10 was the exhibit number I gave it, your



Q. This gentleman mentions legal discussions which he had
occasion to carry on with Jodl, and he gives us Jodl's
attitude toward legal questions. And now, General, in
connection with the war crimes there is one last question
which comes to our attention. Numerous entries in the war
diary, orders, etc., are charged against you. Did you have
an opportunity before you were captured to destroy all this

A. Yes, I had time and leisure to burn every piece of paper
from 3rd May until 23rd May, but I had given instructions to
my staff not to destroy a single file, for I felt I had
nothing to conceal. I handed the complete files, and above
all, the especially important ones, all the original Fuehrer
directives since 1940, to the American officer when I was

Q. And now, I shall turn to the alleged crimes against
peace. First of all we have to make clear which offices and
ranks you held during this critical period. Tell us, please,
the offices you held since 1933.

A. From 1932 to 1935 I was in the division which later was
called the Operational Division of the Army. From the middle
of 1935 until October 1938 I was Chief of the Division
National Defence in the Wehrmachtsamt which was later called

Q. That means the Wehrmachtsamt was actually the OKW?

                                                  [Page 317]

A. Yes, later on. From October 1938 until shortly before the
Polish campaign I was artillery commander in Vienna and in
Brunn, in Moravia; and beginning with 27th October, 1939....

Q. Just a moment please. 27th September?

A. No - August, rather. On the 27th August, 1939 I took over
the management and tasks of the Chief of the Operational

Q. Now, let us look at that time. Did you concern yourself
with war plans in the years 1932-1935, when you were in the
so-called Truppenamt?

A. At that time there were no preparations in the
Operational Division, only combat directives for the
improvised Grenzschutz Ost (frontier protection in the
East). This was a militia-like organization and preparations
were made to evacuate the whole German frontier in case of
enemy occupation, in case of so-called sanctions, in other
words. That was all.

Q. Were you co-responsible for the announcement of general

A. No, I had nothing to do with that. I believe I heard
about this the day before.

Q. What were your duties as chief of the Division National
Defence from June 1935 to October 1938?

A. In this position I had to work out the operational
strategic directives according to the instruction of my
chiefs Keitel and Blomberg. I had to study and to clarify
the problem of the leadership of the Wehrmacht, to prepare
studies and manoeuvres in view of the great manoeuvres of
the Wehrmacht in 1937. I had
to run and supervise the Wehrmacht Academy; I had to work
out drafts for laws in connection with the general
conscription order and with the unified preparation for
mobilization in the civilian sector, that is, of State and
people. The so-called Secretariat of the Reich Defence
Committee took orders from me.

Q. Tell us, please, what you were at that time? What was
your military rank?

A. I acquired this position while I was Lieutenant-Colonel;
in 1936 I believe, I became a Colonel.

Q. Did you participate in the "Reichsverteidigungsgesetz",
Reich Defence Law?

A. No, this law originated before I entered my office in the

Q. But the prosecution is accusing you of this participation
on the basis of a supplement which you made to the Document
PS-2261, Exhibit USA 24, which is to be found in Volume 1,
Page 9. In this document it says, "Attached a copy of the
Reich Defence Law of 21st May, 1935." The signature is
Blomberg's, and this is dated 24th June. Then there is a
supplementary paragraph: "Berlin, 3rd September, 1935. To
the Defence Economic Group 1-A, copy transmitted." It is
signed Jodl. What can you tell us about that?

A. Indisputably that is a valid Reich law of which I had to
transmit a copy to the other offices. I do not have to say
any more than that.

Q. You yourself did not participate in the drawing up of the
law itself?

A. No.

Q. Were you a member of the Reich Defence Council?

A. No.

Q. Member of the Reich Defence Committee?

A. I was that automatically the moment I took over the
direction of the National Defence Division. In the tenth
session of this meeting of experts on 26th June, 1935,
General von Reichenau designated me as his deputy.

Q. What was the purpose of this committee? We have already
discussed this matter, therefore be as brief as possible.

A. For the sake of brevity: In this committee a unified
mobilization not of the Army but the mobilization of State
and people, corresponding to the military mobilization, was
prepared, and these plans were laid down in the mobilization
books giving final figures and various graduated steps.

Q. What were these various graduated steps which were set

                                                  [Page 318]

A. We had learned this from France and we had copied it. The
French followed a mobilization procedure comprising five
degrees or steps.

THE PRESIDENT: Do we need the detail about this? Is it not
sufficient to say it was copied from France?

DR. EXNER: Very well.


Q. Perhaps you can tell us what this was, why these
graduated steps were adopted. What was the reason?

A. The purpose was to have some means at our disposal - as
was customary all over Europe at this time - that would
achieve an intensified readiness for war before the order
for mobilization was issued.

Q. Did the Reich Defence Committee concern itself with

A. No. It did not concern itself with armament at all.

Q. Did the Reich Defence Committee concern itself with
political plans or intentions?

A. Political problems were in no manner the concern of this

Q. But how about war?

A. It was only concerned with mobilization.

Q. That means, a certain particular war ....

A. Mobilization is of prime necessity in all wars.

Q. In this committee you concerned yourself with
mobilization books. Is that correct?

A. Yes. I believe I already said that.

In these books the details of all the chief Reich offices
were set down in graduated steps properly indexed.

Q. What do you mean by chief Reich offices? '

A. I mean all the ministries.

Q. You mean the civilian authorities?

A. Yes, the civilian authorities. And the preparations made
by them had to coincide with the preparations by the

Q. What were the preparations in the demilitarised zone?

A. The preparations in the demilitarised zones concerned
themselves solely with the evacuation, that is, the
surrendering of the areas west of the Rhine in case of a
French occupation.

Q. I believe we have discussed that at length already, and
in this connection I should like to refer to EC-405, Exhibit
GB 160, Page 11 of my Document Book, where in the first
volume the tenth session of the Executive Council is
mentioned. You are accused of having decreed the topmost
secrecy concerning all of these preparations which,
according to your picture just now, were of a purely defence
nature. Why all this secrecy?

A. Keeping measures of that kind secret is taken for granted
in the entire world, but with us in Germany it was
especially important, since for years the civilian
authorities had not been accustomed any longer to concern
themselves with military affairs, and it seemed to me
especially important that in foreign countries a
misinterpretation would not arise by-say the capture of an
order of this nature-a misunderstanding such as has been
especially characteristic in this proceeding when we talked
about the "Freimachung", clearing of the Rhine.

Q. And why did you decree secrecy? So that foreign countries
would not be stirred up?

A. At that time we were even weaker than during the period
when we had an army of 100,000 men only. This army of
100,000 men had been dispersed into hundreds of small
groups. It was the time of our very greatest impotence, and
at that period we had to be very careful in order to avoid
any and all tension abroad with foreign countries.

Q. What were the military plans of those days?

                                                  [Page 319]

A. I have already said that there were the directives for
the Grenzschutz Ost. I also worked out instructions for the
commander in East Prussia, in case he might be cut off from
the Reich through a sudden attack by Poland.

Did you know of any German intentions of attack at that

A. There was no thought of and no talk about that

Q. Well, I should like to quote one sentence from the
twelfth session of the Reich Defence Council, Page 74 of
Volume I of my Document Book, EC-407, Exhibit GB 247. At
that meeting Lieutenant-Colonel Wagner of the OKH said - who
was he, by the way?

A. He later became Quartermaster-General.

Q. Lieutenant-Colonel Wagner said:

  "The outcome of the war" - that is, of the last war -
  "has completely changed the military and political
  picture in the event of a future war, namely the
  necessity for waging it in one's own country."

He said that on 14th May, 1936. What would you gather from
this sentence?

A. Of course, one can perhaps say ....

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Dr. Exner, surely it is a
statement by somebody else, and this statement speaks for
itself. It is not a matter that this witness can interpret
to us.

DR. EXNER: Very well.


Q. Now, can you tell us, did you concern yourself with
armament in the Truppenamt and later in the division for the
National Defence?

A. I, personally, had nothing at all to do with armament in
the real sense. That was a matter for the various branches
of the Wehrmacht, the Army, the Navy, the Luftwaffe; and it
was dealt with and handled by their organisational staffs.
The Commanders-in-chief discussed these matters with the
Fuehrer directly. But I hope, and do not want to dispute,
the fact that my General Staff work contributed to the
reconstruction of the German Wehrmacht.

Q. Your diary, 1780-PS, does not contain a word about
armament, and it seems obvious that at that time you did not
concern yourself with this problem: What were your thoughts
and ideas on this problem of armament? Were you in favour of

A. At that time I was of the same opinion as my superiors.
It was decided 36 divisions should be joined. Blomberg as
well as Fritsch suggested to the Fuehrer that only 24
divisions should be arranged. They feared a weakening of the
entire army. Perhaps they also feared too stormy a foreign
policy, based on forces existing only on paper.

Q. Please answer a question which appears to be important to
me: What were the deadlines in connection with the armament
in 1935?

A. Various stages were provided for. The first deadline set
was 1942-43, the West Wall was to be completed in the main
by 1945. The Navy was to be constructed by 1944-45.

Q. At that time what was the objective of the armament in
your opinion?

A. Since it was not possible to achieve general disarmament,
the objective was to establish military parity between
Germany and her neighbouring countries.

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