The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. The beginning and the end of the speech incontestably
contain a eulogy of the Party and the Fuehrer. Why did you
include that in a purely objective military speech?

A. It was impossible for me to begin a speech of that kind
with a critical polemic on the Party or on my
Commander-in-Chief. It was necessary to create confidence
between the officer and the Party Leader; for this
confidence was not only necessary in order that the speech
would serve its purpose; this confidence was the requirement
for victory. Moreover, I should like to say something
decisive: what the prosecution submitted as Document L-172 -

Q. Is that the Gauleiter speech?

A. That is not the Gauleiter speech at all, it is not the
speech which I delivered. That is nothing else but the
"scrapped version" of this speech. It is the first rough
draft, which was completely revised and altered for it
contained many things which were not important, and the
entire basis of the speech, namely the section about the
situation at the time, the part dealing with the enemy, the
means at his disposal, and his intentions, is missing. The
things contained in this document are many hundreds of notes
for the speech, which were sent to me by my staff. I
compiled my speech from these notes, and then I returned all
this material to my staff.

Q. Then it is not the manuscript of your speech?

A. It is in no way the manuscript; that looks entirely

Q. Now we shall turn to a different point. Which leaders of
the Party did you get to know from the seizure of power
until the outbreak of the war?

A. Not mentioning the soldiers, Reich Minister Frick alone.
I was with him twice when the questions of Reich reform were
to be discussed.

Q. And which of the defendants here present did you know
before 1939, or before the beginning of the war?

A. Of the defendants. here, I knew only the Reichsmarschall,
Grand Admiral Raeder, Field-Marshal Keitel and Minister
Frick; no one else.

Q. In the meantime, had you concerned yourself with the
nature of the literature of National Socialism?

A. No.

Q. Did you participate in Reich Party Rallies?

A. In the year 1937, in my official capacity, I participated
in the last three days in Nuremberg, when the Labour Front,
the SA and the Wehrmacht were reviewed.

Q. Did you participate in the commemorations at Munich, that
is, every year on the 9th of November?

A. No. I really did not belong there.

Q. Can you tell us what your position was with respect to
the para-military units of the party?

A. These semi-military organizations sprang up from the
earth like mushrooms after the seizure of power, but only
the SA under Roehm tried to seize complete power. The
witness Gisevius said here that there was no Roehm Putsch.
That is correct, but it was just about to happen. At that
time, in the Reich War Ministry, we were armed to the teeth,
and Roehm was a real revolutionary, not one in a frock coat.
When the Fuehrer intervened in June, 1934, from that moment
there were no more conflicts between the Wehrmacht and the
SA. The Wehrmacht became all the more suspicious of the
organizations of the SS, which from that moment multiplied
in an extraordinary fashion. The Army, one can very well
say, was never quite reconciled to this dualism of two armed
units within the country.

Q. Now I should like to quote various excerpts from your
Diary - Document 1780-PS, Page 2, of the first volume of the
Document Book, in order to show that Jodl again and again
concerned himself with this infiltration of the SS into the

                                                  [Page 290]

Army - on 19th April - that is the second paragraph - or
before that, on 22nd March, there is an entry to this
effect. Then on the 19th April: "H. visits Chief of the
General Department of the Armed Forces and tells him his
misgivings concerning development of the SS."

In the French translation this "H" is replaced by
"Heydrich". That, of course, is utterly senseless, for
Heydrich certainly had no misgivings concerning the
development of the SS; but the "H" quite obviously stands
for "Haider", who was the Quartermaster General. I do not
know whether this correction was made in the French Document
Book. I am sorry to say that I noted quite a few mistakes in
translation in the English and French Document Books and
have applied to the General Secretary in this connection to
have corrections made. I must say, of course, that this
large number of errors in translation makes a doubtful
impression, especially if for an "H" the name "Heydrich" is
substituted and the Chief of the General Department is
connected with one of the most unpleasant figures in the SS.
I must say that I am filled with misgivings - I must add
this with emphasis - because in the course of the last few
months hundreds of documents were submitted to the Tribunal,
the translation of which we could not check. When we did
check on one occasion we found quite a few defects, as Dr.
Siemers has recently said.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Exner, you are supposed to be asking the
questions. You are making some long statement now.

DR. EXNER: I should like to refer next to the last point of
3rd February, on the same page -

THE PRESIDENT: Professor Exner, we cannot have counsel
making long statements which are not evidence. You cannot
make statements of that sort about - if there is any
mistranslation you can draw our attention to it, but that is
not the way to do it, making general statements about the
translation of the documents.

DR. EXNER: Mr. President, I do not wish to give any more
explanations but I should like to quote an extract from my
Document Book referring to the 3rd February -

THE PRESIDENT: You have corrected one apparent
mistranslation or misinterpretation of the letter "H". Well,
you can do so again if necessary in other places. You cannot
make general statements about it.

DR. EXNER: I should only like to read what is permissible. I
should like to read extracts from the Document Book without
any criticism. I have no further statements about that.


Q. It says, on the 3rd of February:

  "General Thomas reports that the liaison officer to the
  Ministry of Economics, Lt.-Colonel Drews, visited him by
  order of Schacht. He was of the opinion that the SS
  employed all means to cast suspicion on the Army and to
  force it against the wall in its present weak state."

Then it says under the date of 10th February:

  "Himmler is supposedly distressed that senior officers of
  the Armed Forces had made unheard of accusations against

Then perhaps one other passage to be found in the next
document on page 4 of the Document Book, again the same
diary, Document PS-1809, the entry of 25th May, 1940:

  "The unlimited plan for expansion of the SS sounds
  generally suspicious."

Did you, even at that time, have misgivings about the
dangers of this dualism that you just mentioned?

A. I had many misgivings about this as a man very well
versed in history. Not only did I have misgivings but even
during the war I quite openly expressed these misgivings to
Himmler and Bormann.

                                                  [Page 291]

Q. How did it come about that Himmler acquired more and more
influence in military spheres?

A. That can be explained by the fact that the Fuehrer had
the feeling - which perhaps on the whole was true - that a
large section of the Officer Corps opposed his ideas. He saw
in this attitude not only an inner political danger but also
in it a danger to victory, which he believed was to be
attained only through ruthless methods.

Q. And what practical results came about through this?

A. The practical results were that the SS units were
multiplied tremendously, that the police received authority
which extended even into the operational sphere of the Army,
and that later, the Higher SS and Police Leaders were
created, that the Intelligence Service was transferred to
the SS, where, by the way, it was organized by Kaltenbrunner
far better than before, that the Reserve Army was put under
the jurisdiction of Himmler and, in the end, also the entire
prisoner-of-war system.

Q. In your Diary you express satisfaction at the appointment
of General von Brauchitsch as the Commander-in-Chief of the
Army by the Fuehrer. At that time there was a choice between
him and General Reichenau. Why were you glad that
Brauchitsch was chosen?

A. General von Reichenau was known as a truly political
General and I was afraid that perhaps he might be willing to
sacrifice all the good old tradition of the Army to the new
regime without any scruples.

Q. I should like to refer in this connection to the Diary of
Jodl, Document 1780-PS, Page 6, first volume, with the entry
of 2nd February, 1938, second paragraph, and again to the
entry of 3rd February, 1938, to be found on Page 7, where he
appears particularly happy:

  "The Chief of the General Department of the Armed Forces
  informs me that the battle has been won. The Fuehrer has
  decided that General von Brauchitsch should be appointed
  Commander-in-Chief of the Army."

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think you need read this. It simply
says that he is in favour of von Brauchitsch.


Q. You thought about the particular consequence for the
Generals concerned in case von Reichenau were appointed.

A. Yes. There was no doubt that the older Generals, such as
Rundstedt, Bock, Adam, List, Halder, and so on, would never
have subordinated themselves to von Reichenau.

Q. After this introduction, let us turn to the crimes
against the laws of war and humanity which have been charged
against you. There is very little time left. Therefore, I
should like to clarify your participation in the Commissar
Decrees. A draft on the treatment of Soviet commissars was
submitted to the High Command of the Wehrmacht, and you put
a note in the margin of this draft on the grounds of which
the prosecution has accused you -

THE PRESIDENT: What is the number of the document?

DR. EXNER: The number of the document is PS-884, Exhibit R
351, Page 152, second volume of my Document Book. The whole
is a set of notes on a report


Q. Perhaps you can tell us first of all what connection did
you have with this matter, that is, with the treatment of

A. I did not participate in preparing this draft. I was not
concerned with prisoners of war nor with questions of
martial law at that time. But the draft was submitted to me
before it was transmitted to Field-Marshal Keitel.

Q. All right. Now, you added: "We must count on retaliation
against German flyers. It is best, therefore, to brand the
entire action as retaliation."

What did you mean by this statement?

                                                  [Page 292]

A. The intention on the part of the Fuehrer, which was set
forth in this draft of an order, was rejected unanimously by
all soldiers. Very excited discussions took place about
this, also with the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. This
resistance ended with the characteristic sentence by the
Fuehrer: "I cannot demand that my Generals understand my
orders, but I do demand that they obey them." Now, in this
case; through my note, I wanted to indicate to Field-Marshal
Keitel a new way by which one might possibly still
circumvent this order which had been demanded.

Q. This order, as you probably remember, is given such
weight by the prosecution in accusation of the German
military because it was drafted before the beginning of the
war. These notes are dated 12th May, 1941, and now you are
telling us that "It is best to brand the entire action as
retaliation." What did you mean by that?

A. It is correct that, because of his ideological opposition
to Bolshevism, the Fuehrer counted on the participation of
the Commissars as a certainty. He was confirmed in this
belief and gave reasons by saying: "I carried on the war
against Communism for twenty years. I know Communism but you
do not know it." Of course I must add that we, as well, were
to a certain extent under the influence of what the
literature of the entire world had written about Bolshevism
since 1917, and we also had some experiences; for example,
the Rate Republic in Munich. Despite that, I was of the
opinion that, first of all, we had in practice to wait and
see whether the commissars would act as the Fuehrer expected
them to act, and if his suspicions were confirmed, we could
make use of reprisals. That was what I meant by my marginal

Q. That is to say, you wanted to wait until the beginning of
the Russian war; then you wanted to wait until you had had
experiences in this war and then you wanted to propose
measures which, if necessary, could be considered as
reprisals against the conduct of the war by the enemy. Was
that what you meant when you said: "It is best, therefore,
to brand the entire action as retaliation." What do you mean
by: "Man zieht auf "? These words translated by the
prosecution as -

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, in the examination by my learned
friend, Dr. Exner, he has for several minutes now been
asking the defendant very long leading questions as to what
was the meaning of the passage in that letter. In my
submission, that is not evidence at all by the witness; it
is a speech by Dr. Exner, and I would ask him not to make
another one now.

DR. EXNER: I still think that it is necessary in the
presentation of evidence to determine what the defendant
thought when he wrote those words.

THE PRESIDENT: You have heard me say on several occasions
that when counsel ask leading questions, which put the
answer into the mouth of the witness, it carries very little
weight with the Tribunal. It is perfectly obvious that, if
you wanted to ask what the witness meant by his note, he
could have answered, and that is the proper way to put the
question, and not to suggest the answer to him.

DR. EXNER: First of all, I put the question, and then I
believe I was summarising the main points of what the
witness said.

There is a difficulty here with translation which I should
like to overcome; that is, I am not sure about it. "Es wird
aufgezogen" or "Man zieht es am besten auf als Repressalie",
is translated as "It is best therefore to brand" in English,
and in French as "stigmatiser". It seems to me as though
this were not quite correct, and as though one should say,
"It is best to handle it as a reprisal", and in French to
say "traitor".


Q. Then what happened?

                                                  [Page 293]

A. I believe one should further explain the expression
"aufziehen". The German word "aufziehen" also has something
doubtful about it. It was said that that was a typical
military expression used by the defendant Jodl at this time.
That does not mean, as is assumed by the prosecution, "to
give something the appearance of". Rather I said literally:
"I believe we must handle this operation quite differently",
that is, approach it in a different way. Among us soldiers,
"aufziehen" meant exactly the same as "to approach" or "to
arrange" something. But it did not mean "to deceive".

Q. You mean that the word "ufziehen" has no secondary
meaning indicating deception?

A. No.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 4th June, 1946, at 1000

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