The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/10

Q. Would you please confirm some of your answers to the
questions that you were asked then? I will help you to
recollect the questions that were put to you.

A. Yes.

                                                  [Page 210]

Q. In your section there were, as you stated, six different
sub-divisions or departments?

A. Yes.

Q. You said that the first sub-division of the section, that
is, I mean the section which you headed from 1st March,
1943, up to 31st March, 1944, was dealing with prisoners of
war. Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, the first sub-division of the Prisoner-of-War
Department was concerned in general with the treatment of
prisoners of war, and, in particular, with the questions of
punishments, and legal proceedings. It was this sub-division
that, was in constant touch with Counter-Intelligence Corps
on the subject of the moods of the prisoners of war. Is that

A. With Counter Intelligence, yes.

Q. Now in connection with the reply which you gave to that
question, I would like you to state to the Tribunal, just
how much or what did you know about the way the Soviet
prisoners of war were treated, both in concentration camps
and during transference from one camp to another.

A. As far as I know, until 1942, the Soviet prisoners of war
were treated according to purely political considerations.
After 1942 this was changed, and in 1943, as long as I was
in the German High Command, Soviet prisoners of war were
treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention. That is to
say, in all points their treatment was co-ordinated with
that of other prisoners of war; their rations were the same
as those of the others, and their employment and so on and
so forth, and their treatment was in every detail in
accordance with the treatment given to prisoners of war of
other powers, with certain exceptions.

Q. If I am not mistaken, the fourth sub-division of your
department was especially concerned with the questions of
feeding and clothing the prisoners of war. Is that correct?

A. The task of Group IV related to matters of
administration. It had to elaborate the instructions
regarding rations, along with the Ministry for Food. It also
had to deal with clothing.

Q. If I understand you correctly, you have stated that until
you took charge of the Prisoner-of-War Department, the
information which you received about the Soviet prisoners of
war was to the effect that the Soviet prisoners of war were
not treated according to International Law. Is that correct?

A. No, I said that prisoners of war during the first years
were treated on the basis of political considerations, which
originated not from the O.K.W. but from Hitler personally.

Q. In other words, just what do you want to say about that?

A. I want to say that they were not treated in accordance
with the Geneva Convention until 1942.

Q. In other words, not according to International Law.

A. I cannot give you any more detailed information on that,
since at that time I was still serving at the front and did
not know details regarding these regulations.

Q. Very well. Tell me, was there in the O.K.W. a special
group or section which dealt exclusively with railway
transportation of prisoners of war?

A. The O.K.W. had attached to me a group which dealt with
the transport of prisoners of war. The transport itself was
not a matter for the O.K.W. but a matter for the individual
camp commanders.

Q. Are you aware under what conditions the transport of the
prisoners of war from one camp to another took place?

A. Transports of prisoners of war were dealt with by the
O.K.W. The organisation of such transports of prisoners was
a matter for the individual camp commandants, who received
their orders from the commanders of prisoners of war in the
military administrative districts. The O.K.W. had nothing to
do with the actual transport.

                                                  [Page 211]

Q. The question I asked is whether you were aware or were
informed as to under what conditions the transporting from
one point to another took place. Do you know that thousands
of prisoners died en route from cold and hunger? Do you know
anything about it at all?

A. The transports during which prisoners of war died can
only be traced back to the earlier years when I was not yet
in the High Command. As long as I was there, I had no
reports saying that prisoners lost their lives in larger
numbers. The orders which the O.K.W. gave regarding
transports of prisoners of war were clear-cut, and the
commanders of the camps concerned were made responsible for
carrying out the transportations in an orderly and proper

Q. You have just confirmed that you were aware of the fact
that en route prisoners of war died by thousands. Now I
would like you to look at a document, No. 201-PS, USSR 292.
It consists, your Honours, of the minutes of a meeting of
the Ministry of Economics. It has not been submitted to the
Tribunal so far. It is dated 19th February, 10 a.m., 1942.
The minutes were taken of the meeting which took place at
the Ministry of Economics of the Reich. The report by Dr.
Mansfeld, ministerial director to the General
Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Man-power, was heard.
The three lines which particularly interest me are
underlined with red pencil on the copy that is before you
now. Look at it, witness. It states there:

  "The utilisation of the Soviet prisoners of war is
  particularly important today. It is senseless to
  transport man-power in open or unheated box-cars, for in
  that case all we unload are corpses."

Have you found this place?

A. Yes.

Q. Have you heard anything about transports of this kind,
when in place of a train of living persons corpses were
unloaded? Had you heard anything about that until you took
charge of your particular job in the O.K.W.? Had anyone
reported to you about these things?

A. I have heard nothing about these transports, as they did
not come under the jurisdiction of the O.K.W., but came, as
is clear from this document, into the sphere of the
operational sectors. The jurisdiction of the O.K.W.
comprised mainly the German Reich and the border States and
only here did the O.K.W. have authority over the prisoners
of war, not in the operational sector, nor in the rear army
area. To this extent, it is a matter which did not come to
the O.K.W. at all. We received the prisoners of war from the
Army and then we were informed that we would receive so-and-
so many prisoners of war and we took them into our camps.
What happened in the operational sectors to those people,
that we could not control in detail.

Apart from that, this story also goes back to 1942, to a
time when I was still at the front.

Q. Look at the left side of the document at the top. There
is a note there that this comes from the Ministry of War
Economics and War Production, does it not? Left, at the top,
under the number K 32/510.

A. My office never had anything at all to do with the
Armament Department.

Q. Very well. Does it not seem to you that this document
confirms the fact that O.K.W. knew about these transports?

No more questions, Mr. President, to this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, as this document has not
been put in before and as it doesn't appear whether it has
been translated, should you not read the first paragraph of
it? It seems to contain material evidence.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I will read it now. The first paragraph
of the document, the way it appears in the Russian
translation, reads like this:

  "Memorandum- Subject: Report of the Ministerial Director,
  Dr. Mansfeld,
                                                  [Page 212]
  Plenipotentiary General for the allocation of Labour, on
  general questions regarding the utilisation of man-power.
  Time: 19th February, 1942. 10.00 a.m.
  Place: Reich Chamber of Economy.
  Present: Dr. Grotius, W.I. Rue Amt K.V.R.
  The present difficulties in the question of the
  utilisation of man-power would not have arisen had we
  decided in time to utilise the Soviet prisoners of war on
  a larger scale."

This is the first paragraph, Mr. President. Further down
there are three lines which interest me in this document.

  "There were 3,900,000 Russians at our disposal, at
  present there are only 1,000,000 left. During the period
  from November 1941 to January 1942 alone 500,00 Russians

Have I read sufficiently, Mr. President? It seems to me that
that is clear, and further reading of the document is



  "It will be hardly possible to increase the number of
  employed Russian prisoners of war today. There are
  400,000 working today. If the typhus cases do decrease
  there may be a possibility of employing from 100,000 to
  150,000 more. Compared to that, the employment of Russian
  civilians is constantly gaining greater importance. There
  are, all together today, between 600,000 and 650,000
  Russian civilians among whom 300,000 are skilled
  industrial workers and from 300,000 to 350,000
  agricultural workers. The employment of these Russians is
  a question of transportation. It is useless to transport
  ..." and so on.

THE PRESIDENT: That's what you read before.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: That is right. I would like to direct
your attention once more to the fact that there is a stamp
on the document, "The Ministry of the War Economics and War
Production at the O.K.W. ... " Left corner, at the top.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, that does not appear in
our translation, but I expect you are right. At least, I
don't see it. Could you let us see your document?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: The original will be shown to you
immediately. The stamp is at the top, in the left corner.

THE PRESIDENT: These letters and numbers indicate O.K.W.
although they don't say it?


THE PRESIDENT: Why do you say that? I mean, the actual
letters which are there look to me like Rue III Z St AZ i K
32/510 Wi Rue Amt/Rue III Z St?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: In deciphering these abbreviations, which
was done by our American colleagues, the full significance
of each word was given to me. I reported to the Tribunal
according to the data which our American colleagues have.
Those are the usual code abbreviations for the departments
and sections of the Ministry of War Economics.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like you to ask the
witness whether he knows anything about the employment of
the man mentioned a little way further down at the right,
Dr. Grotius. I'll ask him.


Q. Witness, do you know who Dr. Grotius was and whether he
was employed in the O.K.W. or in the Army?

A. No, I have never heard the name Dr. Grotius; also never
had anything to do with him.

Q. Have you got the document before you?

                                                  [Page 213]

A. No, I haven't got it any longer.

Q. I see, just look at it and see whether the letters which
are put in the front of Dr. Grotius' name indicate that he
was a member of the O.K.W.?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: Mr. President, I did not put the question
concerning Dr. Grotius to the witness, as the latter has
already told me he only later, in 1943, entered the Army
administration (Heeresleitung); whereas the document is
dated 20th February, 1942.

THR PRESIDENT: Do those letters, in front of Dr. Grotius'
name, indicate that he was in the O.K.W.?

A. I don't know what the letters are supposed to mean, the
O.K.W. has also nothing at all to do with this matter.

Q. Do you know what the letters on the top left-hand side of
the document mean? The ones I read out just now to you?

A. Rue III?

Q. Yes.

A. That is probably the Rearmament Department No. III.
That's what it probably means.

Q. Well, that would be in connection with the O.K.W., would
it not?

A. I could not say since I have never had anything to do
with the Armament Departments. The German High Command of
the Army (the O.K.W.), at least my office in it, had written
communications only with the General Representatives for the
Employment of Labour and the Ministry of Speer. Just how it
was organised in detail is unknown to me.

Q. Did you know personally, or know of, Dr. Mansfeld?

A. I didn't understand the question.

Q. Did you know Dr. Mansfeld?

A. No, I didn't know him and I have never heard his name.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: The question about Dr. Mansfeld could be
asked, probably, of Herr Sauckel.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, technically speaking, the
Tribunal can't accept from you that these letters at the top
mean the O.K.W. It may be perfectly true, but you can't give
evidence about it. So you can prove it some other way

COLONEL POKROVSKY: Here the scheme of the O.K.W. has been
reported to the Tribunal. Those persons who deciphered the
letters are sufficiently competent in this matter, and it
seems to me that the witness's affirmation in the Court
fully proves that the document in question concerns Section
III of the O.K.W. as he calls it. But generally speaking, it
would, of course, be quite easy to prove by comparing it
with the scheme of the O.K.W. We will do it.

THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness can retire.

The Tribunal will adjourn now, and will want the other
witness, Wielen, here at 2.00 o'clock.

(A recess was taken.)

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I don't know if your
Lordship wanted the words for which these short collections
of letters stand. I have them if your Lordship wants them;
on the last Document, 1201-PS.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, thank you very much, yes.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I think all that your
Lordship need look at is where the name Dr. Grotius appears.


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The "Wi Rue Amt" is the
"Wirtschaftsrustungsamt," the Economic and Armaments Office,
which is, your Lordship will remember, General Thomas's
department of the O.K.W.

My Lord, the other, letters, "KVR," are
Kriegsverwaltungsrat, War Administration Counsellor.

                                                  [Page 214]

My Lord, I don't think there could be any dispute that the
document comes from General Thomas's department of the


DR. LATERNSER (counsel for the General Staff and the
O.K.W.): Mr. President, may I say something in regard to
this document. I only want to point out certain
considerations. It must be ascertained from where the
heading comes, that is, the first line. The heading of the
second section, which Sir David just referred to, begins
with the letters "AZ." AZ (Aktenzeichen) means "file
number," in other words, a reference to a letter from the
Economic and Armaments Office. However, it does not explain
the author of this document, which can only be ascertained
when we find out what the heading, or the first line, means.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, do you understand it?

DR. LATERNSER: Yes, I understand it.

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