The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/29

THE PRESIDENT: Counsel for Kaltenbrunner, Sir David was
right, was he not, in saying that you were only asking for
cross-interrogatories, which the prosecution does not object

DR. KAUFFMANN (counsel for Kaltenbrunner): Mr. President, I
have no objection to questionnaires, but then I would ask
that these witnesses be heard in my presence outside this
court-room, and then, on the basis of this interrogation,
questionnaires can later be submitted to the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: But are the witnesses here?

DR. KAUFFMANN: Mr. President, I do not know.

THE PRESIDENT: We granted interrogatories, and you now ask
for cross-interrogatories; that is all you ask for, and that
does not involve bringing the witnesses here at all.

The cross-interrogatories will be sent to them; they will
answer them. If, for any reason, on the
cross-interrogatories being answered, you want to make
further application, you can always do so.

DR. KAUFFMANN: The rule of the Tribunal so far was, as I
understood it, that I have the right to cross-examine in
this Court, if the prosecution submits affidavits of these
witnesses here. That has, so far, been the ruling of the

THE PRESIDENT: I think it depends on what the substance of
the affidavit is. If it is a matter of importance, no doubt
we - We have never made any general rule, but we have
generally allowed the witness to be brought here for
cross-examination if the matter is of importance, but if the
matter is of less importance, then we have very frequently
directed that there should be cross-interrogatories.

DR. KAUFFMANN: May I add to this last sentence? I consider
this testimony extremely important. The Tribunal will
probably know the contents.

THE PRESIDENT: Again in your application you say that the
three interrogatories were used by the prosecution on the
understanding that the deponents would be subject to
cross-interrogation. That means, I suppose,
cross-interrogatories. It does not say cross-examination; it
says cross-interrogatories. Do you want to have them brought
here for cross-examination?

DR. KAUFFMANN: That is what I had intended, unless my first
suggestion is accepted. My first suggestion is simpler, in
my opinion, and it would save time. It proposes that I be
allowed to be present at the questioning of the witnesses
outside this Court.

                                                  [Page 281]

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we understand your point of view, Dr.
Kauffmann, and we will consider it.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Thank you.

DR. STAHMER (counsel for the defendant Goering): May I make
a brief statement with reference to General Rudenko's

General Rudenko wishes my application for evidence to be
denied, referring to Article 21 I believe, of the Charter. I
do not believe that this regulation opposes application. It
is true, of course, that government reports are evidence -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, I think the Tribunal has already
ruled that that article does not prevent the calling of
witnesses, but General Rudenko, in addition to an argument
based upon Article 21, also gave particular reasons why he
said that these particular witnesses were not witnesses who
ought to be called. He said that one of them was a
psychiatrist, and the other one could not give any evidence
of any value. We should like to hear you upon that.

DR. STAHMER: In the minutes submitted by the Soviet Union,
the charge is made that members of the staff which was
stationed near Katyn carried out the execution of these
Polish officers. They are mentioned by name, and I am
bringing counter-evidence - namely members of the same staff
- to prove that during the whole time that this staff was
stationed there, no killing of Polish officers occurred. I
believe that it is a pertinent assertion and an undertaking
to present pertinent evidence. One cannot eliminate a
witness by saying that he was involved in the act. With
reference to these people, this is not a settled question,
and it is not mentioned at all in the record; these people
whom I have now named are not listed in the Russian record
as having taken part in the deed. Apart from that, I
consider it impossible to eliminate a witness by saying that
he committed the deed. That is what is to be proved by
hearing him.

THE PRESIDENT: About the psychiatrist, was he a member of
the German Commission?


THE PRESIDENT: He was a member of it?

DR. STAHMER: Yes. He was present at the unloading, and he
ascertained from the condition of the corpses that the
executions must have been carried out at a time before the
occupation by the German army.

THE PRESIDENT: But he does not actually say in the
application that he was a member. He said he was present
during the visit of the Military Commission; he knows how
the findings of the commission were arrived at.

DR. STAHMER: I do not believe that he was an appointed
member, but he took part in this inspection and in the
duties connected with it. As far as I know, he was a
regimental doctor in some regiment near by. He was a
regimental doctor in the vicinity of a regimental staff.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, we'll consider your argument.

Then, is the counsel for von Neurath agreeable that that
matter should stand over? Is counsel for von Neurath here?
He is not here? Very well then, we'll consider that.

Then, counsel for the defendant Schirach, do you wish to say
anything in answer to what Sir David said?

DR. NELTE (counsel for the defendant Keitel): My colleague,
Dr. Sauter, asked me, if necessary, to represent the
interests of the defendant von Schirach.

As to the statement of Sir David, I have only to say that,
according to the opinion of the defendant von Schirach the
witness von Volcano, who made and signed this affidavit,
makes statements on a number of points on which Herr von
Schirach did not speak when he was examined as a witness. I
therefore ask the

                                                  [Page 282]

Tribunal to examine this affidavit to determine whether it
does not contain individual points which would be important
in connection with the charges against von Schirach, and
then to decide on admitting it.

THE PRESIDENT: Then does counsel for the defendants Hess and
Frank want to say anything about the application for an
interrogatory to General Donovan? Dr. Seidl, we have already
heard the argument about it.

DR. SEIDL: I have nothing to add to the arguments which I
have already made on the application to obtain official
information from the War Department. I have also withdrawn
my request for a decision on my application, which was to
obtain information from the War Department. It has not yet
been decided whether a questionnaire to Secretary of War
Patterson is to be submitted.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, the matter will be considered.
There was no objection to the other three applications, so
it is unnecessary to hear argument. Then the Tribunal will
consider all these matters.

Now, Dr. Exner. Dr. Exner, if it is convenient to you
personally, the Tribunal thinks that you might go a little
bit faster in your speech.




Q. Before the recess, we heard what you told your officers
when Adolf Hitler entered the government. Now I should like
to hear what you felt about the appointment of Hitler as
supreme head of the State in 1934.

A. The union of the two offices in one person gave me much
concern. When we lost Hindenburg, we lost the Field-Marshal
who was loved by the Wehrmacht and by the whole German
people. But what was to come with Hitler, we did not know.
It is true, the, result of the popular election was so
overwhelming that one could say that a higher law than this
popular will could not exist. Thus we soldiers had every
right to take the oath to Adolf Hitler.

Q. The prosecution speaks of your close relationship with
Hitler. When did you get to know Adolf Hitler personally?

A. I was presented to the Fuehrer by Field-Marshal Keitel,
in the command train en the 3rd of September, 1939, when we
were going to the Polish front. In any case, that was the
day I first spoke to him.

Q. Two days after the outbreak of war?

A. Two days after the beginning of the war.

Q. Did the Fuehrer have confidence in you?

A. That came about very slowly. The Fuehrer had a certain
distrust of all general staff officers, especially of the
Army, as at that time he was still very sceptical towards
the Wehrmacht as a whole.

I may, perhaps, quote a statement of his which was often

  "I have a reactionary army" - sometimes he said too - "An
  Imperial navy, and a National Socialist air force."

The relations between us changed a great deal. At first,
until about the end of the campaign in the West, there was
considerable reserve. Then his confidence in me increased
more and more until August, 1942. Then the great crisis
arose and his attitude to me was severely caustic and
unfriendly. That lasted until the 30th of January, 1943.
Then the relations improved and were particularly good,
after the Italian betrayal in 1943 had been warded off. The
last year was characterised by numerous sharp altercations.

Q. To what extent did the Fuehrer confide in you regarding
his political intentions?

                                                  [Page 283]

A. Only to the extent needed for our military work. Of
course, for the military work of the Chief of the Wehrmacht
Operational Staff, political plans are somewhat more
necessary than for a battalion commander, for politics are
part of strategy.

Q. Did he permit discussions of political questions between
himself and you?

A. Discussion of political questions was generally not
admissible for soldiers. One example is especially
characteristic. When I reported to the Fuehrer in September,
1943, that Fascism was dead in Italy, for the streets in
Rome were full of party-insignia, he said, and I quote:

  "Such nonsense could only be reported by an officer. Once
  again it is obvious that generals do not understand

It can be easily understood that after such remarks the
desire for any political discussions was slight.

Q. Were political and military questions therefore kept
strictly separated?

A. Yes, they were strictly separated.

Q. Was it possible for you to consult on military matters or

A. Consultation on military questions depended entirely on
the circumstances of the moment. At a time when he himself
was filled with doubts, he often discussed military problems
for weeks or months, but if things were clear in his mind,
or if he had formed a spontaneous decision, all discussion
came to an end.

Q. The system of maintaining secrecy has often been
discussed here. Were you also subject to this secrecy?

A. Yes, to an extent which I first realised during this
trial. The Fuehrer only informed us of all the events and
occurrences at the beginning of the war, that is, the
efforts of other countries to prevent this war, and even to
put an end to it after it had already begun, as far as these
events were published in the Press. He spoke to the
politicians and to the Party in an entirely different manner
than to the Wehrmacht; to the SS differently again than to
the Wehrmacht and to the politicians.

Secrecy about the destruction of the Jews, about the events
in the concentration camps, was a masterpiece of secrecy,
and it was a masterpiece of deception by Himmler, who showed
us soldiers fake photographs about these things in
particular, and told us stories about the gardens and
plantations in Dachau, about the ghettoes in Warsaw and
Theresienstadt, and gave us the impression that they were
highly humane establishments.

Q. Did not news reach the Fuehrer's Headquarters from the

A. The Fuehrer's Headquarters was a mixture of cloister and
concentration camp. There were numerous wire fences and much
barbed wire surrounding it. There were far-flung outposts on
the roads leading to it, to safeguard it. In the middle was
the so-called security ring No. 1.

Permanent passes to enter this security ring were not even
given to my staff, only to General Warlimont. Every guard
had to inspect each officer whom he did not know. Apart from
reports on the situation, only very little news from the
outer world penetrated into this holy of holies.

Q. But what about foreign papers and radio reports?

A. Foreign papers we studied very carefully, and the
illustrated American and English papers in particular gave
us very good information on new weapons. The foreign news
itself was received and censored by the civilian Press
section of the Headquarters. I received only what was of
military interest. Internal political, police or situation
reports were forbidden.

Q. How did your co-operation with the Fuehrer take place?

A. It took place as follows: Every day I made at least two
reports on the situation. It was established at one time,
rather provokingly, that I took part in 119 conferences. I
took part in far more than five thousand. This discussion of
the situation - the report on the military situation - was
at the same time the issuing of orders. On the basis of the
reports of events, the Fuehrer decided immediately what
orders were to be given for the next few days.

                                                  [Page 284]

I worked in such a manner that when my report was finished I
went into an adjoining room. There I immediately drew up the
teletype messages and orders for the next few days, and
while the report on the situation was still going on, I read
these drafts to the Fuehrer for his approval. Warlimont then
took them along to my staff where they were sent off.

Q. Were you also present at political talks?

A. May I add - to complete the picture it should be said
that I did not hear many things which were discussed in
these reports on the situation. The same is true of
Field-Marshal Keitel, who worked in a similar manner.

Q. Were political matters also brought up in the discussions
of the situation, and to what extent were you present in
discussions of a political nature?

A. As I have already said at the beginning, political
problems were discussed to the extent that they were
necessary for our military measures. Also on occasions when
political and military leaders came together, when the Reich
Foreign Minister was present, problems were discussed which
bordered between politics and the conduct of the war. I did
not take part in the exclusively political talks with
foreign politicians, neutral or allied, or with the Reich
Foreign Minister. I did not even take part in the
discussions on the organization armament, and administration
of the occupied territories, for the purely military
discussions of the situation in which I had to take part
often lasted, or required, as much as six or eight hours a
day. I really needed the time I had left then for my work.

Q. It has often been stated here that it was impossible to
contradict the Fuehrer. Did you have any success with

A. One cannot say it was absolutely impossible to contradict
the Fuehrer. Many, many times I contradicted him strongly,
but there were moments when one actually could not say a
word. Likewise I induced the Fuehrer to desist from many
things by my objections.

Q. Can you give an example?

A. There were a number of operational questions which do not
interest the Tribunal, but in the field which interests the
Tribunal, there was, for example, Hitler's intention to
renounce the Geneva Convention. I prevented that because I

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