The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. From where and to where?

A. Between the Normandy invasion area and the British Isles.
C.-in-C. U-boats then had investigations made by the
competent department as to whether this hospital-ship
traffic was really as heavy as alleged in these reports.
That was found to be the case.

Q. What do you mean by that?

A. It means that the number of hospital ships reported,
corresponded to the estimated number of wounded. After that
it was expressly announced that hospital ships were not to
be attacked in future.

Q. Was the strict respect paid to hospital ships at that
stage of the war in our own interests?

A. At that time we only had hospital ships in the Baltic,
where the Geneva Convention was not recognized by the other
side; so we had no particular interest in respecting
hospital ships.

Q. Do you know of any cases of an enemy hospital ship being
sunk by a German U-boat during this war?

A. No.

                                                   [Page 29]

Q. Did it happen the other way round?

A. The German hospital ship Tuebingen was, I think, sunk by
British aircraft in the Mediterranean.

Q. Presumably because of mistaken identity?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kranzbuhler, the question of German
hospital ships which were sunk is not relevant, is it?

DR. KRANZBUHLER: I was going to show by it, Mr. President,
that the possibility of mistaken identity does exist, and
that a hospital ship was in fact sunk in consequence of such
a mistake. My evidence therefore goes to show that the
sinking of ships is not sufficient ground on which to draw
the conclusion that it should not have been sunk.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal quite realize that mistakes may
be made in sea warfare. It is a matter of common knowledge.
Should we adjourn now?

DR. KRANZBUHLER: Yes, Mr. President.

(A recess was taken.)


Q. Admiral Goth, you have known Admiral Donitz very well
since 1934; and you have had a good deal to do with him
during that time. Did he have anything to do with politics
during that time?

A. Nothing at all, to my knowledge, before he was appointed
Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. As Commander-in-Chief of the
Navy he made occasional speeches outside the Navy; for
instance, he addressed dock workers, made a speech to the
Hitler Youth at Stettin and gave a talk over the air on
"Hero's Day," on 20th July; I remember no other occasions.

Q. Were these speeches not always directly connected with
the tasks of the Navy - for instance, the address to the
dock workers - ship-building?

A. Yes, when he spoke to the dock workers.

Q. And to the Hitler Youth?

A. The Hitler Youth, too.

Q. And what was the connection there?

A. As far as I remember, the speech was concerned with
recruiting for the Navy.

Q. Did he select his staff officers for their ideological or
naval qualifications?

A. Their naval and personal qualities were all that
mattered. Their political views had nothing to do with it.

Q. The question of whether Admiral Donitz knew, or must have
known, of certain happenings outside the Navy, is a very
important one from the Tribunal's point of view. Can you
tell me who his associates were?

A. His own officers and officers of his own age, almost
exclusively. As far as I know, he had very few contacts
beyond those.

Q. Did matters change much in this respect after he was
appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Navy?

A. No. He probably had a few more contacts with people from
other branches, but on the whole his circle remained the

Q. Where did he actually live at that time, that is, after
his appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy?

A. After his appointment as Commander-in- Chief, he was
mainly at the headquarters of the Naval War Staff near

Q. Did he live with his family or with his staff?

A. He made his home with his family; but the main part of
his life was spent with his staff.

                                                   [Page 30]

And where did he live when his staff was transferred to the
so-called "Koralle" quarters in the neighbourhood of Berlin
in the autumn of 1943?

A. He lived at his headquarters, where his family also lived
- at least for some time. His official discussions, however,
usually lasted till late in the evening.

Q. In other words, from that time on he lived constantly in
a Naval officer's quarters?

A. Yes.

Q. You were in a better position than almost any of the
other officers to observe the Admiral's career at close
quarters. Can you tell me what you think were the motives
behind the naval orders he issued?

THE PRESIDENT: You cannot speak about the motives of people.
You cannot give evidence about other people's minds. You can
only give evidence of what they said and what they did.

DR. KRANZBUHLER: Mr. President, I still think that an
officer who lived with another officer for years must have a
certain knowledge of his motives, based on the actions of
the officer in question and on what that officer told him.
However, perhaps I may put my question rather differently.

THE PRESIDENT: He can give evidence about his character, but
he cannot give evidence about his motives.

DR. KRANZBUHLER: Then I shall question him on his character,
your Honour.


Q. Can you tell me whether Admiral Donitz ever expressed
selfish motives to you in connection with any other orders
he gave or any of his actions?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kranzbuhler, that is the same thing, the
same question again, really.

DR. KRANZBUHLER: I beg your pardon, Mr. President. I meant
it to be a different question.

THE PRESIDENT: Nobody is charging him with being egotistical
or anything of that sort. He is charged with the various
crimes that are charged against him in the indictment.

DR. KRANZBUHLER: Then I shall ask a direct question based on
the prosecution's opinion.


Q. The prosecution judged Admiral Donitz to be cynical and
opportunistic. Does that agree with your own judgement?

A. No.

Q. How would you judge him?

A. As a man whose mind was fixed entirely on duty, on his
work, his service problems and the men in his service.

DR. KRANZBUHLER: Mr. President, I have no further questions
to put to this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any other members of the defendants'
Counsel want to ask any questions?

(No response.)

                                                   [Page 31]

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: My Lord, might I first mention the
documents that I put in in cross-examination this morning,
or rather, it was a document which had been in before. It
was D-658, Exhibit GB 229. That is the Document dealing with
the Bordeaux Commando Raid, and there was a dispute as to
whether it was from the SKL, that is the Naval War Staff
Diary, or from the war diary of some lower formation. My
Lord, I have had the matter confirmed by the Admiralty, and
I will produce the original to Defence Counsel and it comes
from the SKL War Diary, Tagebuch der Kriegsleitung, and it
is from one Abteilung, Teil A - that is Part A - for
December 1942. So it is from the War Diary of the defendant
Raeder and the witness.



Q. You have said, witness, that you do not recollect
protesting against this order of 17th September, 1942.

A. Yes.

Q. I will try and refresh your memory. Would you look at a
Document, D-865?

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: That's Exhibit GB 458, My Lord, that is
an extract from an interrogation of Admiral Donitz on 6th
October. I should say that the record was kept in English,
and, therefore, the translation into German does not
represent necessarily the Admiral's actual words.


Q. Would you look at the second page of that Document at the
end of the first paragraph. It is the end of the first
paragraph on Page 207 in the English text. The Admiral is
dealing with the order of 17th September, 1942, and in that
last sentence in that paragraph he says:-

  "I remember that Captain Goth and Captain Hessler were
  opposed to this telegram. They said so expressly because,
  as they said, 'it might be misunderstood'. But I said, 'I
  must pass it on now to these boats to prevent this one
  per cent of losses. I must give them a reason so that
  they do not feel themselves obliged to do that.'"

Do you remember protesting now, saying, "That can be

A. No, I do not recall that.

Q. And a further extract, on Page 3 of the English
translation, the bottom of Page,2 of the German:-

  "So I sent a second telegram to prevent further losses.
  The second telegram was sent at my suggestion. I am
  completely and personally responsible for it, because
  both Captain Goth and Captain Hessler expressly stated
  that they thought the telegram ambiguous or liable to

Do you remember that now?

A. No, I do not recall that.

Q. Would you look at a further statement to the same effect,
on Page 5 of the English, first paragraph; Page 4 of the
German text, third paragraph.

He has been asked the question: "Why was it necessary to use
a phrase like the one that I read to you before?" - My Lord,
that is the bottom of Page 4:-

  "Efforts to rescue members of the crew were counter to
  the most elementary demands of warfare for the
  destruction of enemy ships and crews."

It is the last clause of the first sentence, and he

  "These words do not correspond to the telegram. They do
  not in any way correspond to our actions in the years of
  '39, '40, '41 and '42, as I have plainly shown you
  through the Laconia incident. I would like to emphasize
  once more that both Captain Goth and Captain Hessler were
  violently opposed to the despatch of this telegram."

                                                   [Page 32]

Do you still say that you do not remember protesting against
the sending of that telegram?

A. I have stated repeatedly that I do not remember it.

Q. I will show you one more extract, the Document D-866,
which will become Exhibit GB 459. That is a further
interrogation, on 22nd October.

The first question on the Document is: "Do you believe that
this order is contrary to the prize regulations issued by
the German Navy at the beginning of the war?"

And the last sentence of the first paragraph of the answer
is Goth and Hessler said to me, 'Do not send this message.
You see, it might look odd one day. It might be

You do not remember using those words?

A. No.

Q. You were an experienced staff officer, were you not?

A. Yes.

Q. You knew the importance of drafting an operational order
with absolute clarity, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. These orders you were issuing were going to young
Commanders, between 20 and 30 years of age, were they not?

A. Certainly not as young as 20. They would be in their late
twenties, most probably.

A. Yes. Do you say that this order is not ambiguous?

A. Yes. Perhaps if you take one sentence out of the context,
you might have some doubt, but not if you read the entire

Q. What was the point of the words: "Rescue runs counter to
the most elementary demands of warfare for the destruction
of enemy ships and crews"?

A. (No response.)

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: Show it to him, will you?

(A document was handed to the witness.)


Q. What was the point of those words, if this was merely a
non-rescue order?

A. It was served to motivate the remainder of the order and
to put on an equal level all the ships and crews which were
fighting against our U-boats.

Q. You see, all your orders were so clear, were they not?

Have you the defence documents there in the witness box?

A. I think so - no.

Q. Look at the defence Document, Donitz No. 8, Page 10.

A. I have not got the documents here.

(A document was handed to the witness.)

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