The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/09/06

Q. We shall come to that presently. It is extraordinary that
if an act of State such as the murder of General Weygand,
should have been ordered, nothing more should have been
heard of it. Can you give me an explanation for that?

A. I can give only the explanation which corresponded to our
interpretation of the matter then. The situation at that
time was full of agitation; events followed each other very
quickly and something was happening all the time; and we
assumed - I shall come back to why we assumed it - that this
matter and the interest attached to it had been superseded
by some more important military or political event, and that
therefore this interest had been thrust into the background.

Q. Do you wish to say anything else?

A. Yes. I want to state that what I am saying now bears a
certain relationship to the inner development of the affair
Giraud, in which Canaris and the others, who knew about this
when the matter began, had hoped that it would follow the
same course as the affair Weygand; namely, that, wherever
the order might have originated, whether from Hitler, Keitel
or Himmler, down to Canaris and then to

                                                  [Page 316]


me, it would have been relatively simple to stop it once it
had reached our circle. That was our hope when the case
Giraud cropped up, a hope based on the practical experience
of the case Weygand. Whether this was right or wrong, I do
not know. This is the explanation.

Q. For a less important matter your assumption might hold
water, but in such an important matter as the case of
Weygand it doesn't seem to me to do so. But even if it had
been so, had the intention to do away with Weygand existed
in any quarters and for any reason, how do you explain the
fact that Weygand, who later was taken to Germany and housed
in a villa, lived undisturbed and honoured and met with no
harm? It would have been understandable that, if the order
to eliminate him had been seriously expressed in any
quarters, it would have been carried out on this occasion.

A. I can only answer to this that the attitude towards
personalities in public life whether at home or abroad was
very varied. There were high personalities who were at one
moment in great favour and thought of very highly, and at
the next moment were to be found in a concentration camp.

Q. Now, as to the case of Giraud, you said that Admiral
Canaris said in your and other people's presence that
General Giraud was to be done away with on orders from
higher quarters.

A. Yes; that can be assumed from the remark that
Pieckenbrock made, that Keitel should tell these things to
Hitler once and for all.

Q. So according to the communication made to you by Admiral
Canaris, it was not an order of Keitel's but an order of

A. As far as we knew in the Abwehr Office about it, it was
Keitel who gave the order to Canaris. I can only assume this
in view of a remark Hitler made to this effect. I do not
know who actually gave this order, because I had no insight
into the hierarchy of command beyond Canaris. It was, as far
as I was concerned, an order from Canaris, an order which I
could discuss immediately with him in the same way as I can
discuss it here.

Q. You yourself didn't personally hear this order?

A. No, I did not personally hear it; I never stated that.

Q. But you mentioned that at a later time you were spoken to
by Keitel about this matter?

A. The development was the same as in the case of Weygand.

Q. Do you remember that a precise, or positive expression
such as "killing," "elimination" or something of the sort
was used on this occasion?

A. The word generally used was "elimination" ("Umlegen").

Q. What I mean is whether in this connection such a word was
used in your presence by the defendant Keitel?

A. Yes, of course - after my lecture, the notes of which I
have together with the date, just as in the Weygand case.
For reasons unknown to me the Giraud affair was apparently
carried further than the Weygand affair, for Canaris and I
could determine different stages in its development.

Q. You didn't answer my question. What did the defendant
Keitel say to you on this occasion, on the occasion when you
and Canaris were present and the question of Giraud was
brought up? What did he say?

A. The same thing: how does the situation stand, and by
"situation" he clearly meant Giraud's elimination, and that
was the very subject we discussed under similar conditions
in the Weygand affair.

Q. That is your opinion, but that is not the fact. I wish to
find out from you what Keitel actually said to you. In your
presence, he did not use this expression "dispose of", did

A. I cannot remember the precise expression that he used,
but it was perfectly clear what the general subject was.
Whatever it was, it was not a question of sparing Giraud's
life or imprisoning him. There was the opportunity to do
away with him because he was in occupied territory.

                                                  [Page 317]

Q. That is what I want to speak about now. You are familiar
with the fact that after Giraud's flight and his return to
unoccupied France, a conference took place in Occupied

A. Yes, I heard of that.

Q. Ambassador Abetz had a talk with General Giraud, which
dealt with the question of his voluntary return to
confinement. You know that?

A. Yes, I heard of that.
Q. Then you probably also know that at the time the local
military commander immediately called up the Fuehrer's H.Q.
by way of Paris to say that he believed that an important
communication was to be made; namely that Giraud was in
Occupied France and could be taken prisoner?

A. I know about this in its broad outlines.

Q. Then you also know that thereupon the O.K.W. - that is to
say in this case, Keitel - decided that it should not take

A. No, that I did not know.

Q. But you do know that General Giraud returned to
Unoccupied France without having been harmed?

A. Yes, I do know that.

Q. Well, in that case, the answer to my previous question is

THE PRESIDENT: Don't go so fast.

Q. Did you know that General Giraud's family lived in
Occupied France?

A. No, I did not know that.

Q. I thought the Abwehr Division was charged with the
surveillance of this region?

A. No, by no means - certainly not my department. I don't
know whether another department was in charge.

Q. The question was asked simply to prove that the family
did not suffer from the fact that General Giraud escaped and
that he later refused to return to captivity. I have one
more question which you may be able to answer.

A. I beg your pardon. May I return, please, to the question
of General Giraud?

Q. This question also has to do with General Giraud.

A. Very well.

Q. Did you know that one day your chief, Canaris, received
by special courier a letter from Giraud in which Giraud
asked whether he might be allowed to return to France? Do
you know that?

A. No. No, I do not know about it. Perhaps I was not in
Berlin at the time. I was not always in Berlin.

Q. I am aware of that. I thought it might be mentioned in
the diary.

A. No, I didn't keep Canaris' diary. I simply made additions
to it so far as my particular department was concerned, but
I was not familiar with the diary in its entirety.

Q. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now for ten

(A recess was taken.)

DR. OTTO KRANZBUEHLER (counsel for the defendant Donitz):

I would like to propose a motion in connection with the
technical side of the proceedings. In the course of these
proceedings many German witnesses will be heard. It is
important that the statement of the witnesses be brought
correctly to the attention of the Court. In the course of
the hearing of this witness I have tried to compare the real
statements of the witness with the English translation. I
think I can state that in may essential points the
translation did not entirely correspond to the statements of
the witness.

I would, therefore, like to suggest that German
stenographers take down directly the statements of the
witness in German, so that defence counsel will have an

                                                  [Page 318]

opportunity to compare the real statements of the witness
with the English translation and, if necessary, to make a
motion for the correction of the translation. That is all.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Mr. Justice Jackson.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I just want to inform the Court and
counsel, in connection with the observation that has just
been made, that that has been anticipated; and that every
statement of the witness is recorded in German so that if
any question arises, if counsel addresses a motion to it,
the testimony can be verified.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that German record available to
defendants' counsel.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I don't think it is. It is not, so far
as I know. It would not be available unless there were some
occasion for it.

THE PRESIDENT: It is transcribed, I suppose?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I don't know how far that process is
carried. I will consult the technicians and advise about it,
but I know that it is preserved. The extent of my knowledge
is that it is preserved in such a form that, if the question
does arise, it can be accurately determined by the Tribunal,
so that if they call attention to some particular thing,
either the witness can correct it or we can have the record
produced. It would not be practicable to make the recording
available without making reproducing machines available.
While I am not a technician in that field, I should not
think it would be practicable to place that at their

THE PRESIDENT: Would it not be practicable to have a
transcription made of the shorthand notes in German and,
within the course of one or two days after the evidence has
been given, place that transcription in the defendants'
counsel room?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think that is being done. I think
perhaps Colonel Dostert can explain just what is being done
better than I can, because he is the technician in this
field. I am sure that no difficulty need arise over the
matter of correct translations.

COLONEL DOSTERT: Your Honour, the reports of the proceedings
are taken down in all four languages, and every word spoken
in German is taken down in German by German Court
stenographers. The notes are then transcribed and can be
made available to defence counsel. Moreover, there is a
mechanical recording device which registers every single
word spoken in any language in the court room, and in case
of doubt about the authenticity of the reporters' notes, we
have the further verification of the mechanical recording,
so that defence counsel should have every opportunity to
check the authenticity of the translation.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I am advised further by Colonel Dostert
that twenty-five copies of the German transcript are being
delivered to the defendants each day.

DR. KRANZBUEHLER: Mr. President, I was not informed that the
German testimony is being taken down in shorthand in German.
I understood that the records handed over to us were
translations from the English. If German shorthand notes are
being taken in the Court, I withdraw my motion.

THE PRESIDENT: I think we should get on faster if the
defendants' counsel, before making motions, inquire into the
matters about which they are making them.

DR. FRITZ SAUTER: I would like to ask a few questions of the

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY DR. SAUTER (counsel for the defendant

Q. Witness, you have previously stated that at some time an
order was given, according to which, Russian prisoners of
war were marked in a certain manner, and that this order had
been withdrawn by the defendant Keitel. You did say that,
didn't you?

A. Yes, I have said that I have knowledge of it.

Q. This is interesting from the point of view of defendant
Ribbentrop, and I would like to hear from you whether you
know about the following. Ribbentrop maintains that when he
heard about the order to brand Russian prisoners of war,

                                                  [Page 319]


he, in his capacity as Reich Foreign Minister, went
immediately to the Fuehrer's Headquarters to inform General
Field Marshal Keitel of this order, and pointed out to him
that he, Ribbentrop, in his capacity as Foreign Minister, as
well as in his capacity as the guarantor of matters of
International Law, objected to such treatment of Russian
prisoners of war.

I would be interested to know, witness, whether in your
circle something was said as to who drew Keitel's attention
to this order and asked him to retract it.

A. I was not informed of that and I only knew, as I said
yesterday, that this intention had existed and was not
carried out.

Q. Then I have another question.

Witness, you spoke of remarks of the defendant Ribbentrop
yesterday, especially of one statement to the effect that an
uprising should be staged in Poland - not in Russia - and
that all Polish farmhouses should go up in flames and all
Jews should be killed. That is just about the contents of
your yesterday's statement.

A. Yes.

Q. Now, later on, I believe in answering a question of one
of the Russian prosecutors, you amplified your statement by
mentioning an order of the defendant Ribbentrop. I would now
like to know whether you really meant to say that it was an
order from Ribbentrop to a military department.

A. No.

Q. Just a minute please, so that you can answer both
questions together.

I would also like to remind you that yesterday, during the
first session to deal with this matter, you spoke of a
directive which, I believe, your superior officer had, as
you said, received from Ribbentrop.

A. No, the then Chief of the O.K.W. received it, not my
superior officer. This was Canaris. I would like to repeat
it in order to clarify this matter. It was a matter that was
taken up on the 12th of September, 1939, in the Fuehrer's
train. These meetings took place in the following sequence
with respect to time and locality:

At first, a short meeting took place between Reich Foreign
Minister Ribbentrop and Canaris in his train, where general
political questions in regard to Poland and the Ukraine were
raised. I was present. I do not know any more about the
first meeting.

Later another meeting took place in the coach of Keitel, the
then Chief of the O.K.W., and Keitel summarised and
amplified the general political directives, issued by
Ribbentrop, in regard to the treatment of the Polish
problem. From a foreign-political point of view he mentioned
several possibilities: this or that could happen. In this
connection he said: "You, Canaris, have to promote an
uprising with those Ukrainian organisations co-operating
with you, and this should have as its aims Poles and Jews."

Thirdly, not a special meeting but just a short conversation
between Ribbentrop and Canaris took place. A remark was made
casually in this connection, which showed even more
explicitly how this uprising should be carried out and what
was to happen. I remember this very clearly because he
demanded: "The farms must go up in flames."

Canaris spoke with me at great length in this connection in
regard to this remark. And this is what happened. Directives
or orders received by Keitel were passed on to Canaris. It
was later repeated to him in the form of a casual remark,
which I recall because of the unusual referring to farms
going up in flames.

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