The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Will you state your full name?

A. Alfred Jodl.

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.



Q. General, in the English-American trial brief it says that
you are sixty years old. That is a mistake. You became
fifty-six recently. You were born when?

A. I was born in 1890, on the 10th of May.

Q. You were born in Bavaria, and both of your parents are
descended from old Bavarian families; you chose the military
profession; and what was the chief reason for your choice?

A. A great-grandfather of mine was an officer; my father was
an officer; an uncle was an officer; my brother became an
officer; my future father-in-law was an officer; I might say
that the soldier profession was in my blood.

Q. And now I should like to hear something about your
political attitude. Which of the political parties which
existed in Germany before 1933 were you closest to in

A. As an officer all party politics were rather remote to
me. And especially the offshoots of the post-war period! If
I look at the background from which I come, the attitude of
my parents, I must say that I would have been closest to the
National Liberal Party and its views. In any event, my
parents never voted for any party other than that of the
National Liberals.

Q. Tell us in a few words what your attitude to the Weimar
Republic was.

A. True to my oath I served the Weimar Republic honestly and
without reservation. If I could not have done that I would
have sent in my resignation. Furthermore, a democratic
system and such a constitution was inwardly nothing at all
foreign to us southern Germans, for our monarchy was also

Q. And what was your relationship to von Hindenburg?

A. I knew von Hindenburg. I was assigned to him after his
first election to the Reich presidency when he spent his
first vacation in Dietramszell. Then I spent a day with the
Hindenburg family at their estate Neudeck, in the company of
Field Marshal von Mannstein.

I can merely say that I admired him; and when he was elected
Reich president for the first time, I considered that the
first symptom of the recovery of the German people.

Q. What was your connection with the National Socialist

A. The National Socialist Party I hardly knew and hardly
noticed before the Munich Putsch. This Putsch drew the
Reichswehr* by force into this internal political
development. At that time, with few exceptions, it met the
test of obedience. But after this Putsch there was a certain
cleavage in the views of the officer corps. [NB. Reviewer's
note :Reichswehr - the army of 100,000 men permitted Germany
by the Versailles Treaty.]

There were various opinions about Hitler's worth or lack of
worth. I was still extremely sceptical and opposed. I was
not reassured until Hitler,

                                                  [Page 277]

during the Leipzig law suit, gave the assurance that he was
opposed to any disorganisation of the Reichswehr.

Q. Did you attend meetings at which Hitler spoke?

A. No, never.

Q. Tell us which leaders of the party you knew before 1933.

A. I knew only those who had previously been officers: for
example, Epp, Huhnlein and Roehm But I no longer had any
connection or contact with them after they left the

Q. Before the seizure of power had you read the book Mein

A. No.

Q. Did you read it later?

A. I read parts of it later.

Q. What was your opinion on the Jewish question?

A. I was not anti-Semitic. I am of the opinion that no
Party, no State, no people, and no race, not even cannibals,
are per se good or bad, but only the single individual. Of
course, I knew that Jewry, after the war and in the symptoms
of moral disintegration that appeared after the first World
War, came to the fore in Germany in a most provocative
fashion. And that was not anti-Semitic propaganda; those
were facts, which were regretted very much by Jews
themselves. Nevertheless, I was most sharply opposed to any
outlawing by the State of the Jews, any general programme
and any excesses against them.

Q. The prosecution asserts that all the defendants cried,
"Germany awake, death to Jewry."

A. As far as I am concerned, that assertion is wrong. At
every period of my life I associated with Jews individually.
I was a guest of Jews, and certain Jews visited my home. But
those were Jews who recognized their fatherland. They were
Jews whose human value was undisputed.

Q. Did you on occasion use your influence on behalf of Jews?

A. Yes, that too.

Q. Did you know that the Reich Cabinet in the year 1932
reckoned on the possibility of attempts at overthrow of the
government and sought to save itself?

A. I knew that well, for at that time, when I came to
Berlin, I did not find in the later operational division any
preparations for war; but I found preparations for the use
of the Reichswehr in the interior of the country, against
the extreme leftists as well as the extreme rightists. There
were plans for manoeuvres of some sort in this connection,
in which I myself participated.

Q. What was your attitude to the appointment of Hitler as
Reich Chancellor in the year 1933?

A. The appointment of Hitler as Reich Chancellor was a
complete surprise to me. That evening, as I was returning
home with a comrade, through the excited crowds, I said to
him, "This is more than a change of government; it is a
revolution. Just how far it will lead us we do not know."
But the fact that Hindenburg had legalised this revolution,
and the names of such men as von Papen, von Neurath,
Schwerin Krosigk, exerted a reassuring influence on me and
gave me a certain guarantee that there would be no
revolutionary extremes.

DR. EXNER: At this point I should like to read a part of
General Vormann's interrogatory. This is Page 208 of the
third volume of my Document Book. I should like to call the
attention of the Tribunal to the fact that Page 208 in the
upper left-hand corner - I submit the original - refers to
the period from 1933 on. Jodl was then in the unit office
(Gruppenamt) and Vormann was in his group. I read under
point 2:

  "Jodl, who at that time was a major in the General Staff,
  was my unit (Gruppe) leader in 1933. He shared completely
  the view of the Chief of the Army Command at that time,
  General von Hammerstein, and was thoroughly opposed to
  Hitler and the Party."

I shall now omit a few lines; they are not so important.
Then in the centre of Page 1 continue:

                                                  [Page 278]

  "When on 30th January, 1933, Hitler was appointed Reich
  Chancellor, Jodl was dismayed and astonished. I clearly
  recall that on the 30th or 31st of January, upon his
  request, I had to call together the officers of his unit
  for a conference. At this conference he explained: Hitler
  has been called to the head of the Reich according to the
  existing constitution and the laws in force. It is not
  for us to criticise this, particularly the behaviour of
  Reich President and Field Marshal von Hindenburg. We must
  obey and do our duty as soldiers. Criticisms on the sort
  of new measures initiated by the new chancellor are not
  to be made, for they are inconsistent with his and our
  own position.
  His entire speech showed great worry and apprehension in
  regard to the coming development of the situation"; and
  so forth.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Exner, this would be a convenient time to
break off.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

THE PRESIDENT: Now, Sir David, you were going to deal with
these applications.


I wonder if I might leave, for the moment, No. 1, which my
friend, General Rudenko, will deal with, so that I might
deal with the ones with which I am concerned?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The second one is on behalf of
defendant Kaltenbrunner and is an application to
cross-examine three witnesses whose affidavits were used by
the prosecution. The first is Tiefenbach, and he dealt with
conditions at Mauthausen; the second, Kandruth, who dealt
with the same subject; the third, Stroop, dealt with the
reception of orders from the defendant Kaltenbrunner by
Stroop as SS and Polizeifuehrer in Warsaw. The prosecution
submits that in these cases cross-examination by way of
interrogatories would be sufficient. Next, I do not know if

THE PRESIDENT: Interrogatories are all they asked for,
certainly in the case of - in all three.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: We will have no objection to
cross-interrogatories so long as they are not brought here
as witnesses.

My Lord, the next application is on behalf of the defendant
von Neurath to use M. Francois Poncet as witness. The
prosecution will be grateful if the Tribunal would allow
that to stand over for a day or two, as my French colleagues
are awaiting instructions from Paris at the moment and they
have not got a reply yet. I do not think it will prejudice
the defendant von Neurath's case.

Then, my Lord, the next is an application on behalf of the
defendant von Schirach. I think that all that is now wanted
is to use an affidavit from Dr. Otto Wilhelm von Volcano.
The affidavit is twelve pages long and is a highly academic
statement on the educational philosophy underlying the Adolf
Hitler schools. The prosecution feel that the matter has
been thoroughly covered by the defendant von Schirach
himself and also by his witnesses, Hopken and Lauterbacher,
and thus the affidavit would be cumulative and repetitive.
But of course it is an affidavit; it is not a question of an
oral witness, and if the Tribunal feel that they ought to
have it, the prosecution do not wish to press their
objection unreasonably.

THE PRESIDENT: Has the affidavit been translated yet?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Well, I have certainly got an
English translation - I have read the English translation of
it, my Lord, so I assume that it has been translated into
the other languages.

                                                  [Page 279]

The next, applications from the defendants Hess and Frank to
put an interrogatory to General Donovan. If I may put the
objection quite shortly, that raises the same point as the
application on 2nd May, 1946, for Mr. Patterson, of the
United States War Department, and the objection of the
prosecution is the same as I made on that occasion, that
when you are cross-examining a witness as to credibility,
you are bound by his answer and should not, in the opinion
of the prosecution, be allowed to call evidence to
contradict him. So it is on exactly the same point, the
relationship between the witness Gisevius and the United
States Office of Strategic Services.

The next application is on behalf of the defendant Speer for
the approval of certain documents which are in his
possession. The prosecution has no objection to the
application. They reserve the right to make any individual
objection when the documents are produced at the trial.

My Lord, the next is a purely formal application on behalf
of the defendant Jodl, whose case is now before the
Tribunal, to use an affidavit of Dr. Lehmann. There is no
objection to that.

Next is the application on behalf of the defendant Hess -

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, that application we have already
heard. We have heard the arguments for that in full and the
Tribunal will consider that.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If your Lordship pleases.

Then I think that only leaves an application of the
defendant Keitel for the use of a decree of Hitler of 20th
July, 1944, and the prosecution has no objection to that.

My Lord, I think I have dealt with every one except the
first one, which my friend, General Rudenko, will deal with,
the application of the defendant Goering

GENERAL RUDENKO: Members of the Tribunal, the Soviet
prosecution has several times expressed its view respecting
the application of defence counsel to call, witnesses in
regard to the mass shooting of Polish officers by the
fascist criminals in Katyn Forest. Our position is that this
episode of criminal activity on the part of the Hitlerites
has been fully established by the evidence presented by the
Soviet prosecution, which was a communication of the Special
Extraordinary State Commission investigating the
circumstances of the mass shooting of Polish officer
prisoners of war by the German-fascist aggressors in Katyn
Forest. This document was presented by the Soviet
prosecution as Exhibit USSR-54, on 14th February, 1946, and
was admitted by the Tribunal; and, as provided by Article 21
of the Charter, it is not subject to argument.

Now the defence counsel once again is putting in an
application for calling of three supplementary witnesses - a
psychiatrist, Stockert, a former adjutant of the Pioneer
Corps, Bohmert, and a special expert of the staff of the
Army Group Centre, Eichhorn.

We object to calling these three witnesses to the court
session for the following reasons:

Calling of the psychiatrist Stockert as a witness should be
considered completely pointless since the Tribunal cannot be
interested in the question of how the commission drew its
conclusion - a conclusion which was published in the Hitler
White Book. No matter how this conclusion was drawn, the
fact of the mass shooting of Poles by Germans in Katyn
Forest has been unequivocally established by the Soviet
Extraordinary State Commission.

Stockert himself is not a doctor of forensic medicine but a
psychiatrist - at that time member of the Hitler Commission
not on the basis of his competence in the field of medical
science, but as a representative of the German-fascist
military command.

The former adjutant, Captain Bohmert, himself was a
participant in the crimes of Katyn Forest, having been a
member of the Pioneer Corps which carried out the
executions. Since he is an interested party, he cannot give
any testimony useful in clarifying the circumstances of this

                                                  [Page 280]

Third, the expert of the staff of the Army Group Centre also
cannot be admitted as a witness because he, in general, knew
nothing at all about the camp of the Polish prisoners of
war, and could not have known all that pertained to the
matter. The same reasons apply to his potential testimony on
the fact that the Germans have never perpetrated any mass
shooting of Poles in the district of Katyn. Moreover,
Eichhorn cannot be considered an unprejudiced witness.

Regardless of these objections which express the opinion of
all prosecutors, the Soviet prosecution especially
emphasises the fact that these bestial crimes of the Germans
in Katyn were investigated by the special authoritative
State Investigating Committee, which went with great
precision into all the details; and the result of this
investigation has established the fact that the crimes in
Katyn were perpetrated by Germans and are but a link in the
chain of many bestial crimes perpetrated by the Hitlerites,
a great many proofs of which have previously been submitted
to the Tribunal.

For these reasons the Soviet prosecution categorically
insists on the denial of the application of the defence

I have finished my statement.

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