The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/09/04

                                                  [Page 267]



THE PRESIDENT: I call on the prosecutor for the United

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Colonel Amen will represent the United
States this morning.

COLONEL JOHN H. AMEN: May it please the Tribunal, I propose
to call as the first witness for the prosecution, Major-
General Erwin Lahousen.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal wish me to state that the
evidence of the witness, whom you propose to call, must be
strictly confined to the Count with which the United States
are dealing, Count One.

COLONEL AMEN: May I have a moment to discuss that with the
Chief Counsel of the United States?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.

DR. OTTO NELTE: Mr. President, so far as I know the
prosecution -

THE PRESIDENT: Could you state for whom you appear? Do you
appear for the defendant, Keitel?


As far as I know, an agreement was reached between the
prosecution and the defence, to the effect that whenever
possible, questions to be discussed on the following day
should be communicated beforehand. The obvious purpose of
this understanding, which seems reasonable to me, was to
give the defence counsel the possibility to discuss
forthcoming questions with their clients, and thus expedite
the rapid and smooth progress of the trial.

I did not hear that the witness, Lahousen, was to be
summoned by the prosecution today, nor did I hear on what
questions he was to be heard.

This was particularly important, because today, I believe,
we were not to deal with questions, nor was the witness,
Lahousen, to be heard on questions connected with the
address delivered by the prosecution during the preceding

THE PRESIDENT: That is the contrary of what I said. What I
said was that the witness was to be confined to evidence
relating to Count One, which is the count that has been
solely discussed up to the present date.

DR. NELTE: Does the President wish to say that in order to
make it possible for the defence to subject the witness to
cross-examination, they will be given the possibility, after
interrogation by the prosecution, to speak with the
defendant during a recess, so that they will know what
questions to ask? The witness, Lahousen, as far as I recall,
has not been mentioned in the address of the prosecution.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that all you have to say?


THE PRESIDENT: I think the Tribunal would like to hear
counsel for the United States upon the agreement which
counsel for the defendant, Keitel, alleges, namely, an
agreement to the effect that what was to be discussed on the
following day should be communicated to the defendants'
counsel beforehand.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I know of no agreement to inform
defendants' counsel of any witness, nor of his testimony;
nor would I want to make such. There are security reasons
involved in disclosing to defence counsel the names of
witnesses, which I don't need to enlarge.

I am quite sure we did advise them that they would be given
information as to the documentary matters, and I think that
has been adhered to.

                                                  [Page 268]

As to witnesses, however, a matter of policy arises. These
witnesses are not always prisoners. They have to be treated
in somewhat different fashion to prisoners; and the
protection of their security is a very important
consideration, when we are trying this case in the very
hotbed of the Nazi Organisation with which some of defence
counsel were identified.

THE PRESIDENT: I think, Mr. Justice Jackson, that that is
sufficient. If you tell the Tribunal that there was no such
agreement, the Tribunal will, of course, accept that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I know of nothing of that character,
relating to witnesses, that does apply.

We find it very difficult to know just the meaning of the
ruling which the Court has just announced. Count One of the
Indictment is a conspiracy count, covering the entire
substantive part of the Indictment. There are problems, of
course, of overlapping, which I had supposed to have been
worked out between the prosecutors until this morning. It is
impossible, in trying a conspiracy case, to keep from
mentioning the fact that the act, which was the object of
the conspiracy, was performed. In fact, that is a part of
the evidence of the conspiracy.

I know I do not need to enlarge upon the wide scope of
evidence in a conspiracy case. I think, perhaps, the best
thing to do is to swear the witness, and that the other
prosecutors, if they feel their field is being trespassed
upon, or the judges, if they feel that we are overlapping,
raise the objection specifically; because I don't know how
we can separate, particularly on a moment's notice, Count
One from the other counts.

We have tried our best to work out an arrangement that would
be fair, as between ourselves and the other prosecutors, but
we find it impossible always to please everybody.

With the greatest deference to the ruling of the Court, I
would like to suggest that we proceed. I don't know just
what the bounds of the ruling might be, but I think the only
way we can find out is to proceed, and have specific
objections to the specific things, which anyone feels have
been transgressed; and in doing that, I want to say that we
do it with the greatest respect to the ruling, but that we
may find ourselves in conflict with it, because of the
difficulty of any boundary on the subject.

THE PRESIDENT: Doctor Stahmer?

DR. STAHMER (counsel for defendant Goering): Mr. President,
I must return to the matter, raised by Doctor Nelte, namely,
his assertion that before the beginning of the trial the
defence and the prosecution reached an agreement to the
effect that the next day's programme should always be made
known to the defence on the day before. Such an agreement
has actually been reached, and I cannot understand that the
prosecution should not have been informed of it. In a
conference we considered this possibility, and were given
assurances by Doctor Kempner, our liaison man, that it would
be reached. I should further like to point out the

The prosecution has stated that, for security reasons, the
defence could not be furnished with the names of witnesses
to be summoned during next day's proceedings. The Press,
however, received, as early as yesterday, information
concerning the witnesses to be heard today. We were informed
of this, this morning, by representatives of the Press and,
as far as I know, a statement to this effect appeared in to-
day's papers. I cannot understand why such information
should be withheld from us because, for security reasons,
such statements are not to be made. It seems to me that this
amounts to an unjustified distrust of the discretion of the
defence. It is, furthermore, incorrect that we are now being
furnished with documents in good time. Documents still reach
us belatedly. This morning, for instance, a document to be
dealt with to-day was put on our desks and, moreover, the
language it was written in could not be understood by most
of the defence counsel since they do not know English.

                                                  [Page 269]

As I have already submitted this objection in writing, I
should be glad if the Tribunal will decide this matter as
soon as it may.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you finished?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It is quite correct that the name of
the witness who is to be used to-day was given to the Press.
The question of our policy as to giving witnesses' names was
submitted to me last night after the Court recessed, because
we had not been using witnesses heretofore; and I then
stated to Colonel Storey that witnesses' names must not be
given to the defence counsel for security reasons.

He communicated that, I believe, to Doctor Dix. I found that
later it had been given to the Press. They, of course, have
had adequate information therefore as to this witness.
However, I am speaking about the policy. We cannot be under
an obligation to inform those counsel of the names of
witnesses who will be called. who are here in Nuremberg, but
not in prison; the situation does not permit of that.
Neither can we furnish transcripts of testimony or that sort
of thing of witnesses in advance.

Now we want to give the defence counsel everything that in
the fair conduct of the trial they ought to have. They are
now receiving much more than any citizen of the United
States gets on trial in the courts of the United States, in
some respects, as to advance information and copies and help
and service, and I do think that to ask us to disclose to
them in advance either the names or substance of testimony-
oftentimes the substance would disclose the witness-would
not be proper. It was stated yesterday that we would take up
a witness to-day.

THE PRESIDENT: We have already heard two counsel on behalf
of the defence. Have you anything to add which is different
to what they have said?

DR. DIX (Counsel for defendant Schacht): Yes. I believe that
I can elucidate a misunderstanding and contribute to the
simplification of the whole problem. May I address the

I believe that there is a misunderstanding here. I do not
know what was discussed before I attended the Court, but the
situation so far has been the following:-

No agreement was reached between the prosecution and the
defence counsel. There is, as your Lordship knows, only an
agreement regarding documents, which is known to the Court
and which I therefore need not repeat. As far as witnesses
are concerned, I believe that I may presuppose that we are
all of one mind in finding justified the wish of the defence
to know beforehand what witnesses will appear.

The high Tribunal must decide to what extent this wish,
which is in itself justified, cannot be granted for security
reasons. That is a matter which lies outside the
determination of the defence. But I believe that I
understood Mr. Justice Jackson correctly in thinking that if
the Press is being informed what witnesses will appear the
next day, it is a matter of course that the same
communication should be made to defence counsel, but that it
was only an unhappy concatenation of circumstances, an
incident that can always happen, and which can and will be
obviated in future by mutual understanding and good will.

As I said, I do not know what was agreed upon before I was
present here. I cannot therefore contradict my colleague,
Dr. Stahmer, in this matter. I think it possible, however,
that the misunderstanding arose because the readiness of the
Court to have documents submitted and notice given to us
forty-eight hours ahead of time, and even the film shown to
us beforehand, led my colleagues to the conclusion, which I
consider justified, that all evidence was to be submitted to
them. We do not, of course, expect to be informed of the
contents of the witness' account, because the contents
evolve during the session and cannot be determined prior to

After this elucidation I should like to express the wish
that we be informed in future what witness is to be called,
and to add a further wish, that security

                                                  [Page 270]

considerations be guided by the certainty that the
counsellors of the defence are reliable, determined and
capable of assisting the Court in passing judgement by
maintaining the discipline of proceedings. In consequence,
the cases in which the security officer believes that he
should not communicate the name of the witness beforehand,
should be reduced to an absolute minimum.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will consider the submissions
which have been made to them on behalf of defence counsel
with reference to what shall or what shall not be
communicated to them. With reference to the witness whom the
United States desire to call, they will now be permitted to
call him. With reference to what I said about confining his
evidence to Count One, the Tribunal thinks that the best
course would be for the other prosecutors to have the
opportunity now to ask any questions which they think right,
and that they may have the opportunity, if they wish, of
calling the witness later upon their own counts.

As to cross-examination by the defendants' counsel, that
will be allowed to them in the most convenient way possible,
so that if they wish to have an opportunity of communicating
with their clients before they cross-examine, they may have
the opportunity of doing so. Now we will continue.

COLONEL AMEN: May we have General Lahousen brought before
the Tribunal?

THE PRESIDENT  Will you stand in front of the microphone
there so that you can be heard?

Q. What is your name

A. Erwin Lahousen.

Q. Will you please spell it?

A. L-a-h-o-u-s-e-n.

Q. Will you say this oath after me? 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 after the President.)

THE PRESIDENT: Don't you think the witness had better sit

COLONEL AMEN: I think he should be allowed to sit down,
particularly since he has a heart condition which may be

THE PRESIDENT: Very well; you can sit down.

Q. Where were you born?

A. I was born in Vienna.

Q. On what date?

A. On 25th of October, 1897.

Q. What has been your occupation?

A. I was a professional soldier.

Q. Where were you trained?

A. I was trained in Austria, in the Military Academy in
Wiener Neustadt.

Q. Were you immediately commissioned as an officer?

A. In 1915 I was commissioned a lieutenant in the infantry.

Q. Did you serve in the first World War?

A. Yes, as first and second lieutenant in the infantry.

Q. Were you promoted from time to time thereafter?

A. Yes, I was promoted according to the normal regulations
valid in Austria at the time.

Q. By 1930 what rank had you attained?

A. In 1930 I was captain.

Q. And commencing in 1930 did you take any additional

A. In 1930 I entered the Austrian War School, which
corresponds to the Military Academy in the German Army. I
received the education of an officer of the General Staff.

Q. How long did this training last?

A. This training lasted three years.

                                                  [Page 271]

Q. In 1933 to what regular army unit were you assigned?

A. In 1933 I was serving in the Second Austrian Division,
the so-called Vienna Division.

Q. What type of work did you do there?

A. I was an Intelligence officer; that branch of the service
for which I was destined already during my training with the
General Staff.

Q. Did you then receive a further promotion?

A. I was promoted in accordance with the regulations valid
in Austria, and roughly at the end of 1933 I became a Major.
About 1935 or the beginning of 1936 I was transferred into
the General. Staff - and, in June or at any rate, in the
summer of 1936, I became lieutenant Colonel of the Austrian
General Staff.

Q. And were you assigned to the intelligence division at or
about that time?

A. I entered the Austrian Intelligence Service; that
corresponds technically to what is called in the German Army
"Abwehr." I must add that a "Nachrichten Abteilung" was only
added to the Austrian Army about this time, i.e., 1936;
before that there was no such department. Because the plan
was to re-establish, within the framework of the Austrian
Federal Army, the military intelligence service, which had
ceased to  exist after the collapse of the Austrian-
Hungarian Empire, I was trained for it in order to organise
the "Nachrichtenabteilung" which had by then come into

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