The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/30

DR. NELTE: I shall begin where it says: "In summing up."
Those are the last three pages of this document.

  "In summing up it must be established that:
  1. In addition to the Armed Forces as the 1egal protector
  of the Reich internally and externally (as in every
  State), a peculiar, completely independent power-factor -
  I interpolate, the S.S. organisation - arose and was
  legalised. Politically, biologically, and in both police
  and administration matters, this organisation actually
  drew the powers of the State to itself.
  2. Even at the beginning of military complications and
  conflicts the S.S. came to be the actual forerunner and
  standard-bearer of a policy of conquest and power.
  3. After military actions had begun the Reichs-leader
  S.S. devised methods which always appeared appropriate,
  were mostly concealed, or if not, were hardly apparent
  from the outside, and which enabled him in reality to
  build up his power under the guise of protecting the
  annexed or occupied territories from political opponents.
  4. From the occupation of the Sudeten territory,
  beginning with the organisation of political unrest, that
  is, of the so-called freedom movements and 'incidents,'
  the road leads straight through Poland and the Western
  areas in a steep curve into Russian territory.
  5. With the directives for the 'Barbarossa' plan for the
  administration and utilisation of the conquered Eastern
  territories, the Armed Forces were, against their
  intention and without knowledge of the conditions, drawn
  further and further into the subsequent developments and
  6. I (Keitel) and my colleagues had no deeper insight
  into the extent of Himmler's full powers, and had no idea
  of the possible effect of these powers.
  I assume without further discussion that the same holds
  true for the O.K.H.,
                                                   [Page 19]
  which according to the order of the Fuehrer had made the
  agreements with Himmler's officials and had given orders
  to the subordinate army commanders.
  7. In reality, it was not the Commander-in-Chief of the
  Army who had the executive power assigned to him and the
  power to decree law and maintain law in the occupied
  territories, but it was Himmler and Heydrich who decided
  on their own authority the fate of the people and
  prisoners, including prisoners of war, in whose camps
  they represented the executive power.
  8. The traditional training and concept of duty of the
  German officers, which taught unquestioning obedience to
  superiors who bore, the responsibility, led to an
  attitude, regrettable in retrospect, which caused them to
  shrink from rebelling against these orders and these
  methods even when they recognised their illegality, and
  inwardly refuted them.
  9. The Fuehrer abused his authority and his fundamental
  No. 1 Order in an irresponsible way with respect to us.
  This No. 1 Order read, more or less:
     1. No one shall know about secret matters which do not
     belong to his own range of assignments.
     2. No one shall learn more than he needs to fulfil the
     tasks assigned to him.
     3. No one shall receive information earlier than is
     necessary for the performance of the duties assigned
     to him.
     4. No one shall transmit orders which are to be kept
     secret to subordinate offices to any greater extent or
     any earlier than is unavoidable for the achievement of
     the purpose.
  10. If what would be the consequence of granting Himmler
  authority in the East had been known beforehand, the
  leading generals would have been the first to raise an
  unequivocal protest. That is my conviction.
  As these atrocities developed one out of the other, step
  by step and without any foreknowledge of the
  consequences, destiny took its tragic course, with
  fateful results."

Witness, defendant Keitel, did you, yourself, write this
statement, that is, dictate it as I have just read it? Are
you perfectly familiar with its contents and have you sworn
to it?


DR. NELTE: I shall submit the document in the original.


Q. We had stopped at Document C-50 which mentioned the
abolition of military jurisdiction in the "Barbarossa" area.
I do not know whether you still want to express your opinion
on it or whether that is now superfluous after what has just
been read.

A. I should only like to say to this, that these documents C-
50 and 884-PS are the record of the directives that were
given in that general staff meeting on the 24th June. In
line with military regulations and customs they have been
given the form of orders in writing and then sent to the
subordinate officers.

Q. I have a few more short questions regarding the war
against America. The prosecution asserts that Japan was
influenced by Germany to wage war against America and has,
in the course of its presentation, accused you of
participation and co-operation in this plan. Would you like
to make some statement regarding this?

A. Document C-75 is a directive by the Supreme Command of
the Armed Forces which deals with co-operation with Japan.
Of course, I participated in the drawing-up of this order
and signed it.

The other Document, 1881-PS, regarding a conference between
the Fuehrer

                                                   [Page 20]

and Matsuoka I know nothing of, nor did I know anything of
it at the time. I can only say the following for us

During the whole of this period, until the Japanese entry
into the war against America, there were two points of view
that were the general directions or principles which Hitler
emphasised to us:

One was to prevent America from entering the war under any
circumstances; i.e. to avoid any naval operations in waters
where American naval forces were present. Secondly, the hope
that Japan would enter the war against Russia, and I recall
that around November and the beginning of December, 1941,
when the advance of the German armies west of Moscow was
halted, and I visited the front with Hitler, I was asked
several times by the generals: "When is Japan going to enter
the war?" The reason for that question was that Russian Far-
Eastern divisions were being continuously thrown into the
fight around Moscow. These were fresh troops coming from the
Far East, to the number of about 18 to 20 divisions, though
I could not give exact figures.

I was present at Matsuoka's visit in Berlin and I met him
socially too, but I did not have any conversation with him.
All the combinations that can be associated with Directive
24, C-75, and which I have gathered from the preliminary
examination during my interrogation, are without any
foundation for us soldiers and there is no justification for
anyone's believing that we were guided by thoughts of
bringing about a war between Japan and America, or of
undertaking anything to that end.

In conclusion I can only say that this directive was
necessary because the branches of the Armed Forces offered
resistance to giving Japan information about certain things
(military secrets) in armament production unless she were in
the war.

Q. There was also a letter submitted by the prosecution, a
letter from Major von Falkenstein to the Air Staff. Reich
Marshal Goering testified to this in his interrogation. I
only wanted to ask you if you know of this letter or if you
have anything to add to Reich Marshal Goering's testimony?

A. I have nothing to add, for I never saw this letter from
von Falkenstein, until I saw it here for the first time on
being interrogated.

Q. We come now to the individual facts with which you and
the O.K.W  are charged by the prosecution. Because of their
great number I can naturally only choose individual groups
and those with the most onerous charges, in order to
elucidate whether and to what extent you were involved and
what your attitude was to the ensuing results. In most cases
it is a question of orders of Hitler, but in your statement
on the actual happenings you have admitted to a certain
participation and knowledge of these things. Therefore we
must discuss these points.

One of the most important of these questions is the question
of hostages. I want to show you Document C-128 with regard
to this question. These are orders for operations in the
West. Let me ask you though, first of all, what is the
reason for the taking of hostages as it was usually carried
out by the Wehrmacht?

A. These are the Printed Regulations, "Secret G-2 H.Dv. G-2"
and headed, according to the order: "Instructions for Army

DR. NELTE: I ask you, Mr. President, to turn to Document
Book 1, K on Page 65 of my document book.


Q. I ask you to establish whether this is a copy from the
aforementioned Army Regulations, Section 9, which deals with
the question of hostages. This is Document K-7 and it reads
as follows:

  "Hostages may be taken only by order of a Regimental
  Commander, an independent Battalion Commander or a
  Commander of equal rank. With regard to accommodation and
  feeding, it is to be noted that, though they should be
  kept under strictest guard, they are not convicts.
  Furthermore, only senior officers holding the position of
  at least a Divisional Commander can decide on the fate of

                                                   [Page 21]

That is, if you want to call it so, the Hostage Law of the
German Wehrmacht.

A. I might say in this connection that in Document C-128,
which is the preparatory operational order of the Army for
the battle in the West, it is mentioned specially under the

  "3A, Security measures against the population of occupied
  territory. (A) Hostages."

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Nelte, are you offering that as K-7?

DR. NELTE: I ask to have these printed Army Instructions put
in evidence as K-7.

THE PRESIDENT: Would you kindly say what you are putting it
in as each time, because if you simply say "seven" it will
lead to confusion.



Q. Was Document C-128 the orders of the High Command of the
Army on the occasion of the march into France?

A. Yes.

Q. Now I have here another document, 1585-PS, which contains
one point of view taken by the O.K.W. It is a letter to the
Reich Minister for Air and Commander-in-Chief of the
Luftwaffe; and in this letter, I assume, are contained the
convictions held by the office of which you were head.

A. Yes.

Q. What do you say today in connection with this letter?

A. I can only say that it is precisely the same standpoint
that I represent today, because, with reference to the above-
mentioned order, appears the following paragraph, beginning
with the words: "Security against any misuse." and so on.
Then the order is quoted.

Q. This is in reference to the order GB-2 and further,
regarding the decision as to the fate of hostages -

A. It says: "According to which the decision on the fate of
hostages can only be made by someone of at least as high a
rank as a divisional commander."

Q. Is it correct when I say that this letter was drawn up by
the Legal Department of the O.K.W. after examination of the
situation as regards International Law and its implications.

A. Yes, it is to be seen from the document itself that this
point of view was taken into consideration.

Q. Did you issue any general orders on this question of
hostages in your capacity as Chief of the O.K.W., apart from
those we have had up to now?

A. No, the O.K.W. participated only in helping to draw up
this order. No other basic orders or directions were issued
on this question.

Q. Did you nevertheless in individual cases have anything to
do with them on this question of hostages? You and the
O.K.W. are charged by the prosecution of having expressed
yourselves in some way or of having taken some kind of
attitude when inquiries were made by Stuelpnagel and

I show you Document 1594-PS.

A. This document is a communication from von Falkenhausen,
the Military Commander of Belgium, and is directed to the
O.K.H., General Staff, Quartermaster General, and further to
the Commander-in-Chief of the Western Front, and Supreme
Commander in the West and for the attention of the
Netherlands and Luftgau Belgium.

I do not know this document nor could I know it, for it is
directed to the Army. The assumption expressed by the French
Prosecutor that I received a letter from Falkenhausen is not
true. I do not know this letter and it was not sent to me.
Official communication between the military commanders in
France and Belgium took place only between the O.K.H. and
the two military commanders subordinate to him. These
commanders were not subordinate either to the O.K.W. or to

Q. The French Prosecution has submitted Document UK-25 and
has asserted that

                                                   [Page 22]

this document was the basis for the hostage legislation in
France; that there is, in other words, a basic connection
between the order you signed on 16th September, 1941, and
the treatment of hostages in France. I will show you these
documents, 1587-PS and 1588-PS in addition to UK-25, and
request you to comment on them.

A. I must first answer the question as to whether I had any
discussion on individual matters with military commanders
regarding the question of hostages. Did you not ask me that?

Q. With regard to Stuelpnagel and Falkenhausen?

A. Yes, with regard to Stuelpnagel and Falkenhausen. It is
possible, and I do recall one such case: Stuelpnagel called
me up from Paris because he had received an order from the
Army to shoot a certain number of hostages for an attack on
members of the German Armed Forces. He wanted to have this
order certified by me. That was done and I believe it is
confirmed by a telegram, which has been shown to me here. It
is also confirmed that at that time I had a meeting with
Stuelpnagel in Berlin. Moreover, these two commanders got
into touch with me only in exceptional circumstances. When
they thought that I might assist them to carry out some
difficult task which they did not feel able to deal with
unaided; for example, in such questions as labour
recruitment - that is, workers from Belgium or France
destined for Germany - or even, in one case, conflicts
between the military commanders and the police. In these
cases I was called up directly in order to mediate.

Permit me, please, to look at the documents now.

Q. You must begin with UK-25, 16th September, 1941.

A. Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: It is impossible for the Tribunal to carry
all these documents in their heads by reference to their
numbers and we haven't the documents before us.
We do not know what documents you are dealing with here. It
is quite impossible for us.

DR. NELTE: Mr. President, for this reason, I took the
liberty of submitting to the Tribunal before the beginning
of the sessions a list of documents. I am sorry if that was
not done. I could not submit the documents themselves. You
will always find a number to the left of this list.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I see that, but all that I see here is
1587-PS, which is not the one that you are referring to,
apparently, and it is described as a report to the Supreme
Command of the Army. That does not give us much indication
of what it is about. The next one is 1594-PS, a letter to
O.K.H. That again does not give us much indication of what
it is about, except that it has something to do with the
hostage question.

DR. NELTE: It is concerned with the question which the
defendant Keitel is about to answer. Have you not also the
Order bearing No. C-128?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I have that. That is "Directions for the
Operation in the West."

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