The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/05

Q. Well, what General Westhoff says is:

  "Contrary to Field Marshal Keitel's order, I pretended
  that I hadn't understood properly. I worked the thing out
  on paper. I said to Oberstleutnant

                                                   [Page 97]

   Kraft, 'I want to have the word "shoot" included so that
   Keitel can see it in writing. He may adopt a different
   attitude then.'

Now, this is a bit later:

   "When I got the thing back, he had written the following
   in the margin: 'I didn't definitely say "shoot," I said
   "hand over to the police and hand over to the

Then adds General Westhoff:

   "So, that was a partial climb down."

Now, did you put a note on it:

   "I didn't definitely say 'shoot,' I said 'hand them over
   to the police and hand them over to the Gestapo.'"

Did you?

A. I remember the exact wording of the note as little as
General Westhoff. But I did make a notation in the margin to
the effect: "I did not say 'shoot'..."

Q. You see the point that I'm putting to you, defendant? I
want you to have it perfectly clear. Rightly or wrongly,
General Westhoff believed that you had inserted the word
"shoot" and General Westhoff, to protect himself, put it
back to you, and then you say, "I didn't definitely say
'shoot,' I said 'Hand over to the S.D. or the Gestapo.'"

A. No, I did not say "shoot" either but Colonel Williams
said I had written in the margin "I did not say 'shoot.'"
That is on record in the minutes of my interrogation.

Q. Well, now, what I want to know, and it's perfectly clear,
is, do you deny that that in substance represents what you
put in the document: "I didn't definitely say 'shoot'; I
said, 'Hand over to the police or hand over to the
Gestapo'"? Did you put words to that effect on the document?

A. It is probable that I wrote something similar to that for
I wanted to make clear what I had said to those two
officers. What I said was nothing new, but it was a
clarification of what I had said.

Q. Now, the next point that I want to direct your attention

Had you an officer on your staff called Oberst von
Reuermund, on your P.W. staff, Kriegsgefangenenwesen?

A. No, he was never on my staff.

Q. What was his position in the O.K.W.?

A. I believe there was a Colonel Raymond. He was a
department chief, and had nothing to do with the Prisoner of
War Organisation. He was department chief in the General
Wehrmacht Office.

Q. In your office?

A. In the office, in the General Wehrmacht Office under
General Reinecke, yes.

Q. Do you know that on 26th March, that is on a Monday,
there was a meeting at which Colonel von Reuermund took the
chair, attended by Gruppenfuehrer Muller from the Gestapo,
Gruppenfuehrer Nebe, and Colonel Wilde from the Air
Ministry, and by their P.W. inspector of Defence District
17. Do you know that?

A. No, I never heard anything about it. It has remained
entirely unknown to me.

Q. Are you telling the Tribunal that you had this colonel in
your office, a colonel from the Air Ministry, two extremely
important officials from the police, and they have a meeting
to discuss this matter two days after you had your first
meeting, one day after you had seen von Graevnitz and
Westhoff, and you didn't know a word about it?

A. No, I knew nothing about this meeting. I cannot remember.

                                                   [Page 98]

Q. Now, most of us are very familiar with the working of
service departments. I do ask you in fairness to yourself to
consider this. Are you telling this Tribunal that no report
was ever made to you of that joint meeting between the
representative of the High Command, high police officials
and the Air Ministry, and it never came up to you? Now,
really think before you answer.

A. I cannot remember even with the best of my will. I was
surprised by the communication about this conference, and I
can remember nothing about it.

Q. Do you know that - I put it in Colonel Felder's statement
when I was cross-examining the defendant Goering - he said
that at that conference it was announced that these officers
were to be shot and that many of them had been shot? Did no
report come to you that these officers were being shot and
were to be shot?

A. No, not on the 26th. It was discussed a while ago, when I
received the first report. I knew nothing about it, on that
day, nor even on the day following the conference.

Q. You agreed, though, that you got to learn, as I
understand you, that they being shot on the 29th; that would
be a Thursday?

A. I can no longer say what day, but I do remember that it
was later. I believe several days later.

Q. Well, let us, defendant, make every point in your favour.
Let's take it that it was, say Saturday the 31st, or even
Monday, 2nd April. By Monday, 2nd April, that's nine days
after the escape, you knew then that these officers were
being shot?

A. I heard about it during these days, perhaps around the
31st, through the Fuehrer's adjutant when I again came to
the Berghof for a situation briefing. I was not told though
that all of these officers had been shot, but that some of
them had been shot while attempting to flee. I was told that
a little before the beginning of the conference.

Q. They weren't all shot until 13th April, which was nearly
another fortnight. Were you told of the episode when they
got out of the cars to relieve themselves and then were shot
in the back of the head by someone with a revolver? Were you
told of that?

A. No, I found out only through the adjutants that a report
had been given to the Fuehrer that shootings had followed
the escape.

Q. Now, I want you to come to one other point, later on: you
remember that my colleague, Mr. Eden, on behalf of the
British Government, made a statement in the House of Commons
later on, toward the end of June. Remember that?

A. Yes. I recall that.

Q. And is it correct, as General Westhoff said, that you had
told your officers not to make contact with either the
Foreign Office or the Gestapo, to leave this matter alone
and not try and find out anything about it, is that right?

A. I told you that since the Wehrmacht was not concerned
with the means of searching for and catching the escapees
nor concerned with what happened afterwards, the Prisoner of
War Organisation could not give any information on this
subject as it did not deal with the matter itself and did
not know what had really happened. That is what I said.

Q. Then the answer is, yes, that you did tell your office to
leave the matter alone and not to get in touch with the
Foreign Office or the police?

A. No, that is not quite right. The chief of the Exterior
Office was connected with the Foreign Office. I only
instructed that the officers should not give any information
about this case or any matters connected with it, since they
had not participated and knew only from hearsay what had

Q. I should have thought that my previous question - you
just repeated the effect of my previous question. I won't
argue with you. I will come to the next point. You had an
officer on your staff named Admiral Burckner, didn't you?

A. Yes, he was chief of the Exterior Office.

Q. He was liaison between your office and the. Foreign

                                                   [Page 99]

A. Yes.

Q. Now, did you give him orders to prepare an answer to
England, an answer to Mr. Eden's statement?

A. It is possible that I told him that, even though he could
not have any particulars from the Wehrmacht.

Q. I don't want to read the reply again, I read it a day or
two ago. But eventually the reply was drawn up, I think by
the Foreign Office in conjunction with Oberstleutnant Kraft
of your office, wasn't it?

A. No, at that time I gave instructions that the answer ...

Q. Don't you remember Kraft ...

A. ... was to be dealt with by the R.S.H.A. but not by the
prisoner-of-war department. I did not give any instructions
to Lieutenant-Colonel Kraft.

Q. But didn't he go to Berchtesgaden to assist the
representative of the Foreign Office and Hitler in drawing
up a reply?

A. I do not know. I did not speak with him nor did I see

Q. You know that when they saw the reply, according to
General Westhoff, all your officers touched their heads and
said, "Mad." You have seen that statement, haven't you,
"When we read this note to England in the newspaper we were
all absolutely taken aback; we all clutched our heads -
'Mad' - we could do nothing about the affair." All your
officers and you yourself knew the reply was an utter and
confounded lie. Wasn't it a complete and utter lie? You all
knew it.

A. They all knew it. I too learned of the reply and it was
clear to me that it was not based on the truth.

Q. So that it comes to this, defendant, doesn't it: That you
will go as far as this: You were present at the meeting with
Hitler and Himmler. That is what you say. At that meeting
Hitler said that the prisoners who were caught by the police
were to remain in the hands of the police. You had a strong
belief that these prisoners would be shot and with that you
used this incident as a deterrent to try and prevent other
prisoners of war escaping. All that you admit, as I
understand your answers this morning, don't you?

Q. Yes, I do admit that, but I have not been interrogated on
this matter as to just what my position was with Hitler, and
I have not testified as to that, and that I did not give
this warning, but that this warning was on the instruction
of Hitler and was the major cause for a severe collision
between Hitler and myself when the first report of shootings
reached me. That is how it was.

Q. I won't go through the details again. One other point:
When did you learn of the use of cremation and the sending
of cremation urns to this camp?

A. This remained unknown to me and I do not recall ever
having heard of it. The matter was afterwards purely a
concern of the Luftwaffe, in which I was later involved
through being present. I do not know whether I ever heard or
saw anything about this.

Q. But you will agree with me, defendant, that anyone in the
world who has had to deal with prisoner-of-war problems
would be horrified at the thought of bodies of shot officers
being cremated; it is simply asking for trouble, isn't it,
from the Protecting Powers and everyone else, to put it at
its lowest? You will agree with that. I am sure you have had
a good deal more to do with prisoners of war than I. Don't
you agree it would horrify anyone who has to deal with
prisoners of war that bodies should be cremated, that the
Protecting Powers at once would become suspicious?

A. I am entirely of the same opinion, that it is horrible.

Q. And if any service finds that its camps are receiving
fifty urns of ashes of cremated bodies of escaped prisoners
of war, that would be a most serious matter which would be
notified to the highest ranks of any service, isn't that so?

A. Yes, even though I had nothing to do with the prisoner-of-
war camps of the Luftwaffe apart from having inspectional

Q. I won't ask you further about the Luftwaffe. Now I think
we can deal

                                                  [Page 100]

quite shortly with the question of the lynching of Allied
airmen (handing a sheaf of documents to witness, and also to
the Tribunal).

Now, defendant, I would like to remind you that there was a
report of a conference on 6th June - Document 735-PS - which
has been put in against the defendant Ribbentrop. It is a
report of General Warlimont, Exhibit GB 151, with regard to
the criteria to be adopted for deciding what were terror
flyers. You must remember the document, because you yourself
dealt on Friday with the note ...

A. Yes.

Q. ... against legal procedure, which you already dealt

A. Yes.

Q. Now, you said during your evidence - you remember you
told us why you didn't want legal procedure, because it was
a difficult problem for courts-martial to decide and also it
meant a three months' delay in reporting the death sentence
to the Protecting Powers.

A. Yes, I did make those statements.

Q. And then you said that you had a discussion with Goering,
who said that lynching should be turned down. Do you
remember saying that on Friday?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, that wasn't accurate, was it? Because I want to show
you just what did happen. That document which you annotated
was 6th June. And on 14th June ...

A. Yes.

Q. ... it is Document D-774, which will be Exhibit GB 307,
initialled Warlimont. Your office sent a draft letter to the
Foreign Office for the attention of Ritter sending on this
decision of what were terror flyers. And if you look it over
it says that it is necessary to formulate unambiguously the
concept of the facts which are to constitute a criminal act.
And then the draft letter Document D-775, Exhibit GB 308 to
the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, for the attention
of Colonel von Brauchitsch, which says that "on the basis of
the preliminary talks and in agreement with the Reich
Foreign Secretary and the head of the Security Police and
S.D., the defendant Kaltenbrunner, the following facts are
to be considered terroristic acts, which are to be taken,
into consideration when publishing a lynch-law, or justify
the handing of airmen from the Air Force reception camp of
Oberursel to the S.D. for special treatment."

And then you set out what was agreed and you say, "Please
obtain the consent of the Reich Marshal to this formulation
of the facts if necessary and give the command of the Air
Force reception camp of Oberursel verbal instructions to act
accordingly. It is further requested that you obtain the
Reich Marshal's consent also to the procedure intended for
the handling of public announcements." And then if you look
at Document D-776, Exhibit GB 309, that is a letter from you
to the Foreign Office - a draft letter - for the attention
of Ritter, dated 15th June, to the same effect. You ask him
to confirm by the 18th. And then Document C-777, Exhibit GB
310, is a similar draft letter to Goering, marked for the
attention of Colonel von Brauchitsch, and asking him to
reply by the 18th. Then Document D-778, Exhibit GB 311,
records a telephone call from Ritter saying that the Foreign
Office will have to delay a couple of days in giving their
view. D-779, GB 312, gives the first note from the defendant

It says on 19th June: "The Reich Marshal has made the
following note with regard to the above letter: The
population's reaction is, in any case, not in our hands,
but, if possible, the population must be prevented from
acting against other enemy flyers." I ask you to note the
word "other" - that is, enemy flyers that do not come within
the category of enemy terror flyers - "to other enemy flyers
to whom the above state of affairs does not apply. In my
opinion, even in the latter case flyers can also" - and I
ask you to note the word "also" - "at any time be tried by a
court, as it is here a question of murders which the enemy
has forbidden them to commit."

                                                  [Page 100]

Then, in D-780, GB 313, there is another copy of the
memorandum from the Foreign Office which I read in some
detail when I was presenting the case against the defendant
Ribbentrop, and it is interspersed with comments of your
Officer General Warlimont, in general agreement with the
memorandum. I do not want to go through that again.

Then, in D-781, GB 314, your office wanted to get quite
clear what the defendant Goering meant, so you wrote to him
again for the attention of von Brauchitsch:

  "It is unfortunately not possible to gather from your
  letter whether the Reich Marshal has concurred with the
  facts communicated to him, which in the publication of a
  case of lynch-law are to be regarded as terroristic
  actions, and whether he is prepared to give the
  Commandant of the Air Force Reception Camp of Oberursel
  the verbal instructions to this effect. It is again
  requested that the Reich Marshal be induced to give his
  consent and that this office be notified, if possible, by
  the 27th."

Then, just passing along, D-782, GB 315, it says that the
Foreign Minister will reply in a day or two, and in D-783 of
the 26th - that will be Exhibit GB 316 - comes the answer, a
telephone memorandum, a telephone call from Adjutant's
Office of the Reich Marshal, Captain Braeuner:

  "The Reich Marshal agrees with the formulation of the
  concept of terror flyers as stated and with the proposed
  procedure. He asks for information this very day about
  measures to be taken."

So it is not right, is it, defendant, that defendant Goering
disagreed with the procedure? Here is a call from his
adjutant's office - and it is noted by your office - saying
that he agrees with the formulation of the concept and with
the proposed procedure. This must be right, must it not?

A. Yes, I had never seen this document, but I understand by
the applied measures confinement in the Oberursel camp for
Air-Force prisoners of war - not lynching. Perhaps I may add
something about the discussion I had with the Reich Marshal

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