The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/10

Q. During your interrogations, particularly the one by
Colonel Williams, did

                                                  [Page 202]

you state clearly that it never had been a question of an
order issued by Keitel himself or of an order which Keitel
transmitted to you on higher orders?

A. It concerned information given to General von Gravenitz.
That is also stated with no reservations in my sworn

Q. Then, if I understand you correctly, you declare that
Field Marshal Keitel never issued an order of his own, nor
ever expressed the idea that he at all wanted to give you an
order, regarding the shooting of the officers?

A. No, that also he could not do.

Q. During the previous interrogation by the prosecutor there
was talk of a report which the camp commander at Goerlitz is
supposed to have delivered to you, this is also in the
notes. Did you ask for or receive a report from the camp

A. I had no personal connection at all with the Goerlitz
camp commander. That must be a confusion with the statement
of the Swiss representative Naville.

Q. Is it correct that during the discussion between Keitel,
General von Gravenitz, and yourself, two matters were
brought up: (1) the case of the escaped Royal Air Force
officers; and (2) the question as to what should be done in
the future or how escapes should be prevented?

A. Yes, that is so.

Q. I now have a question to ask you which I request you to
answer, if possible, with "yes" or "no." Is it true that in
the case (1), namely, the affair of the fifty Royal Air
Force pilots, the conversation consisted exclusively in
divulging these facts and what had happened in the higher
spheres of authority?

A. Yes.

Q. Did General Gravenitz, on the return from headquarters,
not say to you: "What can we do at all if the Gestapo once
gets things into its hands?"

A. Yes.

Q. In other words it is clear from your whole conversation
with Keitel, that it was a question here of an order
directed to Himmler from Hitler?

A. In regard to the shooting, yes.

Q. After Professor Naville visited the Sagan camp, did he
say to you that his impression was that certain powerful
forces were at work there against which the O.K.W. could do

A. Yes, he said that.

Q. With reference to the escaped pilots, did the O.K.W. have
anything to do with regard to their capture or treatment; or
was it clear that, in this respect, this matter was
unfortunately settled so far as the O.K.W. was concerned?

A. The O.K.W. could do nothing further because the matter
had been taken entirely out of its hands.

Q. Accordingly, then, it is not correct to say that, after
this discussion between Keitel, Gravenitz and Westhoff, a
conference was again called by the O.K.W.?

A. No, there was no further conference in the O.K.W.

Q. A document has been submitted in which Colonel Walde - it
is Document D-731, Mr. President - in which Colonel Walde
deposes - and, to be sure, be says at the beginning that he
had to reconstruct what had happened from memory - according
to his recollection, that the O.K.W. had called a conference
which was held in the Prinz Albrecht Strasse. Do you know
anything about that?

A. I only know about this conference from you yourself. It
could not have been called by the O.K.W., for then it would
have been held at the headquarters in Torgau. However,
without a doubt, the conference in question was held in
Berlin, as you told me, but it was not convened by the

Q. Is it correct that prisoner-of-war officers recaptured by
the Wehrmacht were again put in the camp Sagan and also
remained there?

A. Yes, that is right.

Q. Were recaptured prisoners of war who were turned over to
the camp in any cases let out again?

                                                  [Page 203]

A. No.

Q. Is it, on the other hand, true that you gave the camp
commander a strict order from the O.K.W. that recaptured
prisoners should under no circumstances be let out of the
camp again?

A. The order was not given to the camp commander by me, but
to the section commanders in the military administrative
districts (Wehrkreis) in charge of prisoners of war.

Q. And was passed on by them to the camp commanders?

A. Yes.

Q. An order was mentioned to the effect that the names of
the escaped prisoners who had not come back were to be
published. You stated before "as a warning." In order to
clarify this question, the purpose of this order, which, of
course, came from above, I should like to ask you whether
Field Marshal Keitel did not say as justification: "I hope,
however, that the prisoners will be so shocked by this that
in future they will not try to escape any more"?

A. Yes, the Field Marshal said that.

Q. You deposed, or rather, it was read to you that Field
Marshal Keitel said to you and General von Gravenitz that
nothing should be put down in writing about the whole matter
nor should it be discussed with any other office.

A. Yes.

Q. Is it then correct to say regarding this matter, namely,
the conference, that you drew up a memorandum on it and
submitted it to Keitel?

A. Yes.

Q. Is it correct that Field Marshal Keitel did not find
fault with your action, as one might certainly really have
expected, but wrote his initial "K" on the upper corner of
this memorandum?

A. Yes.

Q. Is it furthermore correct that you, because you had to
report on the affair, repeatedly got in touch with the
R.S.H.A. in order to find out something about the fate of
these poor officers?

A. Not only did I get in touch with the R.S.H.A., but, since
I myself did not succeed in my object, I also turned the
matter over to the Allgemeines Wehrmachtsamt but, as far as
I know, it also failed to obtain the required information.

Q. Is it further correct that you asked the representative
of the International Red Cross, Dr. Naville, to visit the
camp Sagan in connection with this event?

A. I brought about this visit, yes.

Q. Is it furthermore true that Field Marshal Keitel called
you up and told you that the Foreign Minister, in order to
draw up a note of reply to England, had to have precise
knowledge of the whole occurrence?

A. Yes.

Q. And that consequently you were to give the Foreign Office
a detailed report of the occurrence?

A. Yes.

Q. Did Keitel say on this occasion that you were to conceal
anything or to put anything in a false light?

A. No.

Q. Was the O.K.W. involved in the composition of the note as
it was sent in final form?

A. No.

Q. Is it correct that your representative, Lieutenant-
Colonel Krafft, was ordered by the Foreign Office to attend
a meeting in Berchtesgaden for the sole purpose of supplying
any correct information which might be required by the
representative of the Foreign Office?

A. Yes.

Q. Is it correct that Lieutenant-Colonel Krafft reported to
you that the Foreign

                                                  [Page 204]

Office had presented a note to Hitler and Hitler had
rejected it, and then composed the text himself?

A. So far as I recall, that is right.

Q. The second part of the conferences between Keitel,
Gravenitz and Westhoff concerned itself with the question of
what action should be taken in the future. You stated in
this connection that an order was to be drawn up and that it
was a question of certain spheres of competence that had to
be discussed with the R.S.H.A. Tell me in this connection,
what, if anything, did the R.S.H.A. or Himmler have to do
with the administration of prisoner-of-war camps?

A. Himmler was responsible for the security of the Reich
and, in connection with the prisoners of war, had to concern
himself with the search for all escaped prisoners.

Q. Did he, because of this, come into conflict in any way
with your O.K.W. Department of Prisoner-of-War Affairs?

A. In so far as we often, whenever escaped prisoners of war
were captured, asked what had been done with them and
received no information.

Q. Does that mean that it was possible that Himmler or his
office gave you no information when they caught prisoners of

A. That is absolutely possible and we often assumed as much.

Q. Did you on one occasion, while drawing up or drafting
orders which were concerned with the treatment of escaped
prisoners of war, use the words "Stufe III"?

A. No.

Q. Do you know whether the meaning of these words,
signifying a death sentence, were known at all in the

A. They were not known to me. I was asked about that in
London the first time and stated that I could not give any
information about them.

Q. When you say, you personally, then you probably mean the
organisation as well, since you belonged to the

A. Yes.

Q. I have a document here, No. 1514-PS. It concerns a
collective order of the Commander of Wehrkreis 6 regarding
the treatment of escaped prisoners of war. You will see in
this order a whole number of references to years as far back
as 1942.

I ask you now, according to your knowledge and experience,
would not an order, supposed to have been issued on 4th
March, 1944, also have been entered here had its contents
been very important?

A. If it was a question of a secret order, yes.

Q. It is in the German...

THE PRESIDENT: Just a minute, Dr. Nelte. Aren't you getting
very far away from the subject upon which this witness was
being examined? I mean, he was being examined about an
interview which he had with the Field Marshal Keitel and
here you are asking him about something which has nothing to
do with that at all, as far as I am able to see.

DR. NELTE: I believe that I shall make clear that this has
something to do with the second part of this conference,
namely regarding the treatment of recaptured escaped
officers. These are preparatory questions that I must ask to
make clear, in my opinion ...

THE PRESIDENT: But it is a very long cross-examination of a
witness whom you did not wish to call. The Tribunal wishes
you to make your cross-examination as brief as possible.

DR. NELTE: I shall make it as brief as the interests of the
defendant permit.


Q. Is it not customary in German commands that, in referring
to an order issued by higher authorities, the date and
archive number is given?

A. Yes, always.

                                                  [Page 205]

Q. Did you ever give to the representatives of the
Protecting Powers or to the International Red Cross
information about escaped prisoners of war who had been
recaptured and of whom you knew but of whose recapture you
had not been informed?

A. No.

Q. Do you know anything about - and here I have the last
document shown you, 1650-PS -

(Witness is handed document.)

THE PRESIDENT: What was the point of showing 1514-PS to him?
He has not been asked any relevant questions about it at

DR. NELTE: From this document I found corroboration of the
answer of the defendant through the witness that if an order
had been issued on 4th March, 1944, as it was presented
here, it would have had to be contained in this document.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks it is a waste of time,
Dr. Nelte.

DR. NELTE: I shall be through in a few minutes, Mr.


Q. Witness, would you please look on Page 3 of this
document, under number two? It reads:

  "The O.K.W. is requested to inform the prisoner-of-war
  camps that, in the interest of camouflage, the recaptured
  officers are not to be turned over directly to Mauthausen
  but to the local police

Did you ever, during your activity in the O.K.W., know
anything of such a request or such an order?

A. That is not familiar to me. That also took place at a
time when I was not chief.

Q. But on taking over on 1st April 1944, you must have known
of all important events or must have taken note of them?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you ever find out in this connection that such a
document had been presented?

A. No, I don't know of it.

Q. And now the last question. Look at the first page of this
document. It is a teletype from the Chief of the Sipo and
S.D. of 4th March, 1944. It reads in the first part as

  "The O.K.W. has ordered the following: Every recaptured
  escaped prisoner-of-war officer, etc., is, after he is
  recaptured, to be turned over to the chief of the Sipo
  and S.D. with the code word 'Stufe III.'"

The defendant Keitel has stated here that he does not know
of such an O.K.W. order.

I ask you, did you find such a command, such an order in the
files, in the file of previous orders of importance which
must have been presented to you when you took over office on
1st April, 1944?

A. I did not find such an order, but it certainly existed.

Q. In what way?

A. So far as I recall General Gravenitz brought this order
either from the Field Headquarters (Hauptquartier) or from
the General Wehrmacht Office (Allgemeines Wehrmachtsamt).

Q. How is it possible, then, that such an order was not in
your files?

A. Because there was an order that this order was to exist
only orally.

Q. Then please tell me what the procedure was when such an
order was to be given orally?

A. It could be transmitted orally.

Q. That is, to your office?

A. It was then transmitted through the Chief of Prisoner-of-
War Affairs.

                                                  [Page 206]

Q. Chief?

A . Yes.

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