The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, in this connection may I submit
Exhibit Raeder-3, a short excerpt from the Constitution of
the German Reich. It is in Document Book 1 on Page 9.
Article 47 reads:

                                                   [Page 66]

  "The Reich President has the supreme command of all the
  armed forces of the Reich."

I also submit the Reich Defence Law, as Exhibit Raeder-4,
Document Book 1, Page 11, I have to return to it later, but
now I refer to Article 8 of the Reich Defence Law, which
reads as follows:-

  "The command is exclusively in the hands of the lawful
  "The Reich President is the Commander-in-Chief of all
  armed forces. Under him, the Reich Minister for Defence
  has authoritative powers over all the armed forces. At
  the head of the Reich Army is a General, as Chief of the
  Army Command; at the head of the Reich Navy, an Admiral,
  as Chief of the Naval Command."

These paragraphs remained in full effect under the National
Socialist regime. I refer to them only because they confirm
what the witness has said. In regard to naval
reconstruction, he was thus third in authority: Reich
President, Reich Minister of Defence, and then the heads of
the branches of the Wehrmacht.

BY DR. SIEMERS: Grand Admiral, the prosecution accuses you
of building up the Navy:-
1. in violation of the Versailles Treaty,
2. behind the back of the Reichstag and the Reich
Government, and
3. with the intention of waging aggressive wars.

I should like to ask you now whether the reconstruction of
the Navy was undertaken for aggressive or defensive
purposes. Make a chronological distinction, however, and
speak first about the period overshadowed by the Versailles
Treaty, that is, from 1928 until the Naval Agreement with
England on 18th July, 1935.

My question is: Did the reconstruction of the Navy in this
period take place for purposes of aggression as the
prosecution has asserted?

A. The reconstruction of the Navy did not in any respect
take place for the purposes of aggressive war, though no
doubt it constituted some evasion of the Versailles Treaty.
Before I go into details, I should like to ask permission to
read a few short quotations from a speech which I made in
1928 in Kiel and Stralsund, the two largest garrisons of my
naval station. This speech was delivered before the citizens
during a week devoted to an historical anniversary, and when
I took up my duties in Berlin, it was handed as my programme
to Minister Severing, who regarded me with some suspicion at
that time. That is the -

DR. SIEMERS: One moment. Raeder's statements in the year
1928 show his attitude of that time much more clearly than
his present recollections, and for that reason I think the
Tribunal will agree that I submit this speech as Exhibit
Raeder-6, Document Book 1, Page 15. The speech itself begins
on Page 17. I shall read ...


DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, it would take five or ten
minutes, so may I ask whether this is a proper time to
adjourn? I am willing to continue, however.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

DR. SERVATIUS (Counsel for defendant Sauckel):

Mr. President, will you please grant permission for the
defendant Sauckel to be absent from the courtroom from 16th
to 18th May inclusive so that he may prepare his defence?

THE PRESIDENT: In order to prepare his defence? Yes,

MR. DODD: Mr. President, I would like to suggest that before
the witness Puhl is recalled, the witness Toms be called, I
think it will save some of the Tribunal's time. I think,
from what I know of the prospective testimony, there may be
questions that will arise in the mind of the Tribunal which
it would like to put to the witness Puhl after having heard
the witness Toms.

                                                   [Page 67]

And also I would ask, so as to be absolutely fair to all
concerned, that the witness Puhl be in the courtroom when
the witness Toms testifies. I think he should have that

THE PRESIDENT: Have you any objections, Dr. Sauter?

DR. SAUTER: No, I have no objection.

M R. DODD: May we call the witness Toms?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, call Toms, and have Puhl somewhere in
the courtroom where he can hear.

ALBERT TOMS, a witness, took the stand and testified as


Q. Will you state your full name?

A. Albert Toms.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will
speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath).

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

MR. DODD: Mr. President, I am aware that he has been called
for cross-examination. However, there are one or two
matters, now material, which were not included in the
affidavit, and to save time I would like to bring those out
before the cross-examination takes place.




Q. Herr Toms, you executed a statement on the 8th day of
May, 1946. Is that so?

A. Yes.

Q. And you signed it?

A. Yes.

Q. And everything in it was true?

A. Yes.
Q. And is true now, of course?

A. Yes.

Q. I wish you would just look at it for the purposes of
certainty and identify it now. Is that the statement that
you signed, Herr Toms?

A. Yes.

Q. All right. Now, I have one or two questions to ask you
about it.

MR. DODD: I wish to offer it, Mr. President, as Exhibit USA-

Q. (Continuing) You know this gentleman sitting to your
left, do you not?

A. Yes.

Q. That is Herr Puhl, is it not

A. Yes.

Q. He was the Vice-President of the Reichsbank when you were
employed there.

A. Yes.

Q. Now, did you ever have a conversation with Herr Puhl
about any special deposit which was coming to the Reichsbank
and about which you should maintain the utmost secrecy?

A. Yes.

Q. Tell us when that conversation took place, what was said,
and if anyone else was present at the time.

                                                   [Page 68]

A. This conversation took place in the summer of 1942. I was
called to President Puhl's office by Herr Frommknecht, a
Treasury official. Herr Frommknecht took me to Herr Puhl,
and there Herr Puhl disclosed the fact that a special
transaction with the office of the Reichsleader SS was to be
undertaken. Do you want me to explain it in detail?

Q. Tell us everything that he said to you.

A. Herr Puhl told me that the affair was to be kept
absolutely secret and confidential. Not only would articles
be delivered which would be automatically taken over in the
ordinary course of business of the Reichsbank, but also the
realization of jewellery and other articles would have to be
effected. Upon my objection that we had no expert men for
such matters he replied that we would have to find a way to
convert these articles. First I made the suggestion that
these special articles should be sent then to the Reich Main
Treasury - that is, the Main Treasury of the Reich
Government - which also held all booty of the Army. However,
Herr Puhl thought this matter should not go through the
Reich Main Treasury, but should be handled by the Reichsbank
in some other way. Thereupon I suggested that these articles
could be sent to the Municipal Pawnbroker's Office in
Berlin, exactly as the deliveries from the confiscated
Jewish property had been dealt with before. Herr Puhl agreed
to this suggestion.

Q. Now, when did the first of these shipments arrive?

A. The first delivery came to the Reichsbank during the
month of August, as far as I can remember.

Q. 1942?

A. Yes, 1942.

Q. Does the name "Melmer" mean anything to you?

A. "Melmer" was the name of the SS man who subsequently
brought these valuables to the Reichsbank. Under this code
word all deliveries of the SS were later entered in the
books of the bank.

Q. Did you ever mention the name or the word "Melmer" to
Puhl, and did he ever mention it to you?

A. The name "Melmer" was not mentioned by Puhl to me, but
was mentioned by me to Puhl, as I had to inform him about
the start of the entire transaction and particularly about
the carrying out of the transaction regarding the conversion
of the valuables. In accordance with the suggestion of the
office of the Reichsleader SS, the money equivalent was
transferred to the Reich Ministry of Finance into an account
which was given the name "Max Heiliger". I duly informed
President Puhl briefly about these facts.

Q. Did you ever tell Puhl the nature of the material that
you were receiving in the SS shipments?

A. After some months Puhl asked me how the Melmer affair was
getting along. I explained to him that, contrary to the
expectation that there would really be very few deliveries,
deliveries were increasing, and that apart from gold and
silver coins they contained, in particular, a great deal of
jewellery, gold rings, wedding rings, gold and silver
fragments, dental gold, and all sorts of gold and silver

Q. What did he say when you told him there were jewels and
silver and dental gold and other articles?

A. May I first of all add a few things. I drew his attention
especially to the fact that on one occasion something like
twelve kilogrammes of jewels had been collected and that I
had never before seen such an unusual amount in all my life.

Q. Wait a minute! What did it consist of?

A. They were pearls and pearl necklaces.

Q. Did you tell him you were receiving a quantity of eye-
glass rims?

A. I cannot swear to that at the moment, but I described the
general character of these deliveries to him. Therefore, I
think, I probably used the word "spectacles", but I would
not like to state it on my oath.

Q. Was Puhl ever in the vaults when this material was being
looked through?

                                                   [Page 69]

A. On several occasions he visited the strong rooms of the
bank to inspect the gold stored there and particularly to
inform himself about the type of stores. The deliveries of
the Melmer transactions were kept in a special part of one
of the main safes, so that on those occasions Herr Puhl must
also have seen the boxes and sacks full of those deliveries.
Nearby in the corridor of the vault the articles of the
Melmer deliveries were being dealt with.

I am firmly convinced that when he walked through the strong
rooms, Herr Puhl must have seen these objects, as they were
lying quite openly on the table and everyone who visited the
strong room could see them.

Q. There were about twenty-five or thirty people that sorted
this stuff out, were there not, before it was shipped away
for melting and for sale in the pawn-shops?

A. I would not say that there were twenty-five to thirty
people who sorted these things - in the course of a day
perhaps twenty-five to thirty people would visit the strong
rooms to carry out some official business there. For the
particular business of sorting and getting these things
ready some four or five officials were employed.

Q. And everyone under your supervision was sworn to secrecy?
They did not talk about this business; they were forbidden
to do so, were they not?

A. There were strict instructions in the bank that secret
matters must not be discussed, not even with a colleague of
one's own department if that colleague did not himself also
work at the same job. So that -

Q. Well, this was a super-secret matter, was it not? It was
not the ordinary secrecy. Was there not a special secrecy
surrounding these deliveries?

A. Quite right. It was quite an exceptional affair and it
had to be kept especially secret. I would say that it went
beyond the limits of top secrecy. Even I had been strictly
forbidden to talk to anybody about it, but I said at the
time, when I left Vice-President Puhl, after the first
conversation, that I would inform the leading officials in
the treasury, because ultimately my superiors must be
informed about this business.

Q. Was there a written report made about these Melmer
deposits to the Directorate?

A. No. The matter was treated in verbal form. It was an
exceptional case, and there was merely an account kept of
the deliveries made; this was called the "Melmer account".
It was produced by the head office of the foreign exchange
department which, in turn, had to take further steps with
the Directorate of the Reichsbank.

Q. Well, the Directorate had to approve the handling of this
type of thing, did it not? You were not allowed to handle
materials like this without the approval of the bank

A. In matters concerning gold particularly, instructions had
to be given and approved respectively by the Board of

I could therefore never act independently. Generally the
instructions were given to the Treasury in writing and they
were signed by at least two officials and one member of the
Board of Directors. So that it was quite unique that in this
case instructions were given in a verbal form.

Q. By the way, Herr Toms, you have seen the film this
morning? We have shown you a film, have we not?

A. Yes.

Q. After seeing that film, are you able to say whether or
not that gives a fair picture of the appearance of some of
the shipments that were received by the Reichsbank from the

A. I may say that this film and the pictures which I have
seen in it were typical of the Melmer deliveries. Perhaps I
should qualify that by saying that the quantities as shown
in this film did not represent the same quantity of dental
gold and particularly jewellery which came with the first
deliveries. Only later did these

                                                   [Page 70]

amounts increase, so that the quantities which we have seen
in this film had actually not yet been seen by the
Reichsbank because they were contained in boxes or trunks
which until then had remained locked. But generally the
material which I have seen in that film is typical of the
Melmer deliveries.

Q. All right, sir. Now, approximately - I don't expect a
completely accurate answer, but approximately how many
shipments did you receive of this stuff from the SS?

A. As nearly as I can remember at the moment, there must
have been more than seventy deliveries, possibly seventy-six
or seventy-seven. I cannot tell you exactly at the moment,
but that must be about the right figure.

Q. Very well. I have no further questions.



Q. Witness, what is your occupation?

A. A councillor of the Reichsbank.

Q. Where did you live?

A. Berlin- Steglitz. Then I - after my home was bombed I
lived at Potsdam, Neu-Fahrland.

Q. Did you volunteer for examination by the prosecution or
how did you happen to be interrogated -

A. I was -

Q. Please, will you wait until I have finished my question,
so that the interpreters can keep up with us? Will you
please make a pause between question and answer.

A. I was ordered here.

Q. By whom?

A. By the prosecution.

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