The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, that is Document 1541 PS;
Exhibit GB 13, in the Document Book of the British
Prosecution 10 A, Page 270, that is Directive No. 20,
case "Marita," of 13th December, 1940.

Q. Admiral, what caused Raeder, apart from that point
which Hitler had already explained, to ask that
specific question again in the month of March - that is
to say on 18th March?

A. A few days before, there had been a British landing
in the south of Greece.

Q. Did this landing make it necessary to occupy the
whole of Greece?

A. Yes, for strategic reasons, absolutely. The menace
of an occupation from the sea or from the air, or the
formation of a Balkan front against Germany, or the
menace from the air to the oilfields, had to be
eliminated under all circumstances. May I only remind
you of the Salonika operation in the First World War. I
believe that was a similar situation.

Q. Here again the prosecution says this was governed by
the desire for conquest and fame. Is that correct?

A. I should like to answer that fame demands deeds, and
I  do not know what the Navy could have conquered in
the Mediterranean. We did not have a single man or a
single ship down there; but Raeder had, of course, for
the strategic reasons I have mentioned, to advise
Hitler in that direction.

Q. Were breaches of neutrality on the part of Greece
known to you before this time, before we occupied

                                             [Page 296]

A. We had been informed that in 1939, certain Greek
political and military circles had been in the closest
connection with the Allied General Staff. We knew that
Greek merchantmen were in British service. Therefore we
were compelled to consider the Greek merchantmen which
sailed through the prohibited zone to England as enemy
ships. And, I believe, in the beginning of 1940 or the
middle of 1940 we received information that the Allies
intended to land in Greece, or to establish a Balkan
front against Germany.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)




Q. Admiral, as the last point in my questions dealing
with Russia, I should like to show you the document
submitted by the Soviet prosecution, Document UK 45,
Exhibit USSR 113. This document is a communication from
the Naval Operational Staff of 29th September, 1941, to
Group North, that is, General Admiral Karls. Under "II"
it gives the result of a conversation between Admiral
Fricke and Hitler:

  "The Fuehrer is determined to raze the city of St.
  Petersburg to the ground."

Raeder has been accused of not having done anything to
oppose such a monstrous intention, and because the
Naval Operational Staff passed on this communication. I
ask you, Admiral, did you know of this communication in

I beg your pardon, Mr. President, I should like to
remark that of this moment, I'm sorry to say, I have no
photostatic copy of this document. I tried to procure

I have this very moment received it, and I should like
to submit the photostatic copy at this point, instead
of the written copy.

A. This seems to be the original which I have before

Q. No, Admiral, it is a copy, an exact copy of the
photostatic copy, with all paragraphs and names, made
for my own special use.

Were you acquainted with this communication in 1941?

A. I knew nothing about it in 1941. I see it now for
the first time.

Q. Do you believe that Grand Admiral Raeder saw this
communication before it was sent off, even though you
yourself had not seen it?

A. That would have been rather surprising.
Communications which were submitted to Admiral Raeder
all went through my hands. They were always marked
either (1) "The Commander-in-Chief has knowledge of
this," and were initialled by me personally in order to
certify this, or (2) "This order or this directive is
to be submitted to the Commander-in-Chief," and in this
case too, my initials were affixed. This order and this
copy which you have just shown to me, I have never seen
before; I am not acquainted with it; and I consider it
impossible that Grand Admiral Raeder saw it, because on
29th September, 1941, I was in good health and
exercising my duties in Berlin.

Q. Admiral, what do you know about this question of
Leningrad and the Navy?

A. I recall that at the time the situation was
considered to be critical and at the following briefing

DR. SIEMERS: You can continue, but more slowly.

A.  - the future of Leningrad was dealt with, and an
officer of the Naval Operational Staff reported on the
intentions of the army. Whereupon Raeder expressed the
desire that it be kept in mind during the operations
that Leningrad should fall unscathed into our hands.
For he needed shipyards and adjoining territory for
naval construction, and he wished that the army be
informed of the

                                             [Page 297]

urgency of this desire because we intended, in view of
the ever increasing danger of air attacks, to shift
part of our shipyard facilities to the East.

At this time we had already begun, if I remember
correctly, to move installations from Emden to the
East, and wanted, furthermore, as Raeder wished,
subsequently to evacuate Wilhelmshaven and move the
installations there as far to the East as possible. He
emphasized expressly that the city should also be left
as undamaged as possible, because otherwise there would
be no place for the workers to live. This is all I can
truthfully tell you about the case of Leningrad.

Do you know that this wish of Raeder's was rejected by
Hitler, because he said it was not possible.

A. No, I do not recall that this case was taken up
again. For the operations in the North soon come to a
standstill, I believe.

O. Did other high officers tell you anything at all
about this document?

A. No, I never heard anything about it, nor did I see
any reason to discuss it with anyone.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, if it is agreeable to the
Tribunal, I should like to submit a document which was
granted me, Exhibit Raeder III, because of its
connection with this problem. It is to be found in my
Document Book VI, Page 435. It is an affidavit by Rear
Admiral Hans Butow,  dated 21st March, 1946. I should
like to read this document, since it is very brief. It
reads as follows

  "During the period from 20th June, 1941, to 20th
  October, 1941, namely, the period to which Exhibit
  USSR 113 (1) refers, I was stationed in Finland as
  naval commander. I was under General Admiral Karls,
  the Commander-in-Chief of Group North. I declare
  that neither the document in question, a
  communication of 29th September, 1941, sent by the
  Naval Operational Staff to Group North, nor its
  contents have ever come to my knowledge, as it
  undoubtedly would have if General Admiral Karls had
  passed on the letter to the officers subordinate to
  him. As far as I know, no one else in my command
  received this communication.
  I first learned of this order of Hitler in November,
  1945, on the occasion of a conversation with Dr.
  Siemers, the defence counsel for Grand Admiral
  Other officers, especially other naval commanders,
  have never spoken to me about this order. It is thus
  clear that they too had no knowledge of this order."

Then there is the certification and the signature of
the senior naval judge before whom this affidavit was


Q. Admiral, then I should like to turn to a new topic,
the alleged war of aggression which Raeder is supposed
to have planned against America. Did Raeder at any time
try to instigate Japan to a war against America?

A. No, never. We never had any military discussions
with Japan at all before her entry into the war. Quite
on the contrary, Raeder warned Hitler against war with
America, the great naval superiority which the almost
certain combination of America and England would bring

Q. For what reasons did you, Raeder, and the High
Command especially warn Hitler?

A. First of all, for the reasons which I outlined
before, reasons of over-all strategy which guided
Raeder during the entire course of the war. Raeder
considered the chief enemy on the sea, and not on land.
If, in addition to that, the largest sea power in the
world was to be added to England's superiority, then
for us the war would have taken on unbearable

Besides, through the reports of our naval attache in
Washington, Vice Admiral Wiethoft, Raeder was very well
informed about the tremendous potential at the disposal
of the United States.

                                             [Page 298]

I might also mention the conversation of the normal
economy into a war economy, and the tremendous planning
of shipyards and installations which, as Weithoft
stated a few months before the war, allowed the
construction of a million tons of shipping each month;
these figures were very significant, and were naturally
at the same time a terrible warning to us not to
underestimate the armament potential of the United

Q. The prosecution believes it must draw the opposite
conclusion from the fact that Raeder, on 18th March,
1941,  according to the War Diary, proposed that Japan
should attack Singapore.

A. In my opinion, that was an absolutely correct
measure, and a correct proposal, which was in line with
Raeder's reasoning. He was interested in dealing blows
to England's important strategic centres. That he tried
to ease our situation is understandable and
self-evident. But at no time did he propose that Japan
should enter into a war against America, but rather
against England.

Q. Were there any discussions about these strategic
questions at this time between you and Raeder on one
hand, and Japanese military authorities on the other?

A. No, I have already stated that before Japan's entry
into the war, no military discussions with Japan had
ever taken place. The Japanese attitude was very

Q. Did Raeder ever discuss an attack by Japan on Pearl

A. No. We heard about this for the first time over the

Q. Admiral, during the time of your activity in the
High Command of the Navy, or during your activity as a
commanding admiral at Trondhjem, did you have any
knowledge about the treatment of Allied prisoners of
war by the German Navy?

A. I might reply that I know of no case in which Allied
prisoners of war, as long as they were under the
control of the Navy, were treated other than properly
and chivalrously.

I could refer to the testimony given by the English
commander of the midget U-boat which attacked the
Tirpitz in the Alta Fjord, who, after his return to
England from imprisonment, gave a Press interview on
the occasion of his being awarded the Victoria Cross.
In this interview he mentioned the particularly
chivalrous and correct treatment he had received at the
hands of the commander of the Tirpitz.

From my own command in Norway, I could mention a case
in which members of the Norwegian resistance movement,
who, dressed in civilian clothing, were in our power,
were treated just as chivalrously and correctly. I had
to investigate these cases in the presence of British
authorities, and the correctness of the treatment was
always proved.

Q. When did you have to investigate this at the order
of the British Military Government?

A. After the capitulation.

Q. I beg your pardon, not the Military Government, but
the British Navy.

A. The British Navy at Trondhjem, while I was a
commanding admiral.

Q. And the cases which were investigated there, first
by you and then by the competent British Admiral, were
not contested?

A. No. The naval officer handed them over to me and I
had to present the findings of the Courts of Enquiry in

Q. And the result -

A. The result was good and correct and occasioned no

Q. And the result was presented to the competent
British officer?

A. Yes, on whose order I had had to do this.

Q. Admiral, the case of the Athenia has been dealt with
here in detail, and is known to the Tribunal.
Therefore, in order to save time, I should like merely
to touch upon this case in passing. I should like you
to tell me: Did the High

                                             [Page 299]

Command know, did you and Raeder know, at the beginning
of September, 1939. that the Athenia had been sunk by a
German U-boat?

A. No. The commander of the U-boats reported on the 3rd
- that the Athenia could not have been sunk by a German
U-boat, since, if I remember correctly, the nearest was
about seventy nautical miles away.

Q. When did you learn that a German U-boat had sunk the

A. I believe two or three weeks afterwards, after this
U-boat returned.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, I should like to refer to a
document, according to which the date was the 27th


Q. Do you know that a declaration had been made by
State Secretary von Weizacker on the 3rd, 4th, or 5th
of September, to the effect that it was not a German
U-boat? When it was established that it actually had
been a German U-boat, what did Raeder do about it?

A. The assumption that it had not been a German U-boat
was at first justified, and State Secretary von
Weizsacker therefore acted in the best of faith, as did
we. After this regrettable mistake became known, Raeder
reported this fact to Hitler. Hitler then ordered that
he did not want the statement which had been made by
the Foreign Office denied. He ordered that the
participants,- that is, those who knew, should give
their oath to remain silent until, I believe, the end
of the war.

Q. Did you give your oath of silence.

A. I personally did not give my oath of silence, and
neither did Admiral Raeder. In the High Command we were
the only ones, I believe, with the exception of Admiral
Fricke who had knowledge of that, and we should
probably have taken the oath.

Q. At Hitler's order you were obliged to administer an
oath to the others who knew about this?

A. Yes. I am of the opinion that it was the crew of the
U-boat, in so far as they knew about this mistake.

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