The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/30

Q. But that was asserted here in regard to the SA. You are
of the opinion that it is not true?

A. I have no reason to think that it is true.

DR. BOHM: I have no more questions.

DR. HORN (for the defendant von Ribbentrop).


Q. 26th August, 1939, was fixed as X-Day for the attack on
Poland. Is it true that on the 25th August the order to
attack was withdrawn because of the urgent expostulations of
Ribbentrop? According to the communication which reached the
Foreign Office, Great Britain had ratified the Treaty of
Alliance concluded with Poland on 6th April, 1939, and
Ribbentrop told the Fuehrer that the advance of German
troops would mean war with Great Britain?

A. I cannot answer the whole of your question, but I do know
something about it. When, on 25th August, to our great
surprise we received the order, "The attack fixed for the
26th will not take place," I telephoned to Major Schmundt -
Field Marshal Keitel was not there - and asked him what was
the matter. He told me that shortly before the, Reich
Foreign Minister had reported to the Fuehrer that Britain
had concluded a pact - a mutual assistance pact - with
Poland, and for that reason he could expect British
intervention in the war with Poland. For this reason, the
Fuehrer had withdrawn the order for attack. That is what I
learned at that time.

Q. In the Spring of 1941, after the Simovitsch putsch, the
Fuehrer held a conference with the Commanders-in-Chief of
the Wehrmacht, and the defendant Ribbentrop was called in to
this conference later. Is it true that at this conference
Ribbentrop represented the point of view that before
military action was taken, an attempt should be made to
settle the differences with Yugoslavia by diplomatic means?
How did Hitler react to the suggestion?

A. I recall this incident especially well, because about one
hour before I had said the same thing to the Fuehrer, that
we should clear up the situation with an

                                                  [Page 367]

ultimatum. An hour later, without knowing about this, the
Reich Foreign Minister made the same remark and he fared
considerably worse than I did. The Fuehrer said, "How do you
visualize the situation? The Yugoslavs, they will swear
black is white. Of course they will say they have no warlike
intentions, and when we have marched into Greece they will
stab us in the back."

I recall that statement very exactly.

Q. Colonel-General, is it true that the Foreign Office, from
the outbreak of the Russian war, was completely eliminated
from Eastern questions, and that Ribbentrop complained both
personally and through Ambassador Ritter, and that he had no
success in his suggestions to the Fuehrer?

A. I know that Ambassador Ritter, who came to see me very
often, repeatedly complained in private talks that such an
enormous part of the work had been taken away from the
Foreign Office, and I must assume that that was not only the
opinion of Ambassador Ritter, but also the opinion of the
whole Foreign Office and also of the Foreign Minister.

Q. In your testimony you have already mentioned the fact
that the Wehrmacht was against Hitler's intention to
renounce the Geneva Convention. Do you know that Ribbentrop
also energetically opposed Hitler's intention, and that
after the objections of the Wehrmacht had been rejected in
the first place, Ribbentrop succeeded in inducing Hitler to
give up his intention?

A. Put in this way, I cannot confirm it fully. One thing I
know for certain. The Foreign Office informed me in writing
of its unfavourable attitude to this suggestion or idea of
the Fuehrer. For me that was proof that the Reich Foreign
Minister naturally held this point of view. I reported this
attitude of the Foreign Office together with the equally
unfavourable attitude of the Army, Navy and Luftwaffe, in a
short memorandum and submitted it to the Fuehrer. To what
extent the Reich Foreign Minister remonstrated with the
Fuehrer personally about the matter, I cannot say with

Q. Is it true that Ribbentrop spoke against the shackling of
English prisoners as reprisal for the shackling of German
prisoners, and in agreement with the OKW induced Hitler to
discontinue this measure?

A. That is true. The Reich Foreign Minister, the Foreign
Office, repeatedly urged the Fuehrer to withdraw the order
concerning the shackling of Canadian prisoners, and it must
be assumed that these many objections, which were supported
by the OKW, finally succeeded in getting the order

Q. In the Tuesday afternoon session you discussed the
question of "terror" flyers. In this connection you stated
that by making inquiries and observations you wanted to
prevent a decision about the way it was intended to deal
with this question. The prosecution submitted two documents
on this question. One was the record of an alleged talk
between Ribbentrop, Goering and Himmler at Plessheim, the
other an opinion by Ambassador Ritter, who has already been
mentioned. I would like to know whether you know anything
about Ribbentrop's attitude to the handling of the question
of "terror" flyers, especially whether Ribbentrop advocated
that this question should be dealt with according to the
Geneva Convention, and whether he thought that it was
possible to deviate from this convention only if absolute
military necessity demanded it, and even in that case only
by expressly indicating beforehand to the protective powers
that it was intended to depart from the Geneva Convention?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, can you not put that question more
shortly; what does he know about it?

Q. Is it true, General, that in regard to the question of
"terror" flyers, Ribbentrop, in the same way as the
Wehrmacht, was against deviation from the Geneva Convention,
and put this view to Hitler?

A. To this I can say that - again from talks with Ambassador
Ritter - I knew that the Reich Foreign Minister advocated
official procedure, that is, official

                                                  [Page 368]

notice that we could no longer consider certain acts of
terror as regular warfare. That was the original point of
view of the Foreign Office. To this I said at the time that
the Fuehrer would probably not be interested, after what I
had gathered from his verbal instructions. As it turned out,
the suggestion which the Reich Foreign Minister intended to
make was never put forward, or at least I never saw it.

Q. Do you know anything of a peace feeler by English
officers on behalf of General Alexander, backed up by the
English Government, in 1943?

A. I know very well that at that time, in Athens, an
Englishman - I believe it was an English captain -
established contact with us. This captain said that he came
from English headquarters in the South Eastern Area. I was
present when the Reich Foreign Minister reported to the
Fuehrer about this matter and I know he suggested that this
contact should be tried to see whether anything would
result. That was done with the Fuehrer's agreement, but I
heard nothing more about the matter and apparently nothing
came of it.

Q. Do you know anything about any further peace attempts of
Ribbentrop, especially after the Polish campaign, after
Dunkirk and 1943?

A. I only know of the attempts and intentions after the
Western campaign. At that time the Fuehrer spoke quite
openly and frankly with everyone. I myself, as well as the
Reich Foreign Minister heard the Fuehrer say that peace
would be concluded with England at any time only if part of
our old colonies were given back to us.

Q. Is it true that the defendant Ribbentrop suggested to
Hitler that Hungarian Jews, in so far as they wished to do
so, should be permitted to emigrate?

A. I recall that too. Shortly after the occupation of
Hungary by our troops, at about the beginning of May, 1944
there was a conference at the Berghof, at which a decision
was to be reached. The Fuehrer wanted to hear our views as
to whether the Hungarian Army should be dissolved, or
whether it should be left as it was. At the end of this
discussion, which was of a purely military nature, the Reich
Foreign Minister said to the Fuehrer: "Can we not send all
the Hungarian Jews by ship to some neutral country?" The
Fuehrer answered: "That is easier said than done. Do you
think that is possible? No one would take them. Besides, it
is technically impossible." That is my recollection of this

Q. You spoke yesterday of the expulsion of the Danish Jews,
and you said that this expulsion took place on Himmler's
orders. An affidavit by a Colonel Mildner has been submitted
here, in which it is asserted that this expulsion took place
on the orders of the Reich Foreign Minister. Is that
statement true?

A. Before this Himmler-Fuehrer conference, which caused me
to send my teletype message to the Wehrmacht Commander in
Denmark, I never heard a word about the Jews being deported
from Denmark, and I never heard that the Foreign Office had
any part in that.

Q. Did you ever get to know anything about the basic
attitude of the defendant Ribbentrop to the Jewish question?

A. Apart from this suggestion about the Hungarian Jews, I do
not recall any talk by the Reich Foreign Minister at which I
was present in which there was any mention of Jews.

DR. HORN: Thank you; I have no further questions.

BY DR. KRAUS (Counsel for defendant Schacht):

Q. Did I understand you correctly, Colonel-General, when you
testified yesterday that in 1935 it was decided to set up
thirty-six divisions?

A. That is true.

Q. I am interested to know how many divisions were ready by
1st April, 1938? I am interested in this date because on
that day the financial aid of the Reichsbank stopped. Can
you tell me how many divisions were ready on 1st April,

A. At that time there were about twenty-seven or
twenty-eight divisions actually ready, that is as regards
personnel and material.

                                                  [Page 369]

Q. Can you tell me, Colonel-General, how they were made up?

A. I cannot say with certainty.

Q. Approximately?

A. I do know that only one Panzer Division was ready at that
time, one Cavalry Division and one Mountain Division; the
rest were probably Infantry Divisions. The other Panzer
Divisions were not yet equipped, and they existed only as
skeleton formations.

Q. I would like to know to what extent this armament was
increased between that date and the outbreak of the war on
1st September, 1939, that is, increased from twenty-seven

A. From the autumn of 1938 on, the picture became much more
favourable, because the preparations in the armament
industry were now producing results and plenty of equipment
was being delivered for the divisions. Also, because from
this time on the trained age groups were beginning to come
in. Therefore, in the late autumn of 1938, we were in a
position to set up approximately fifty-five divisions,
including reserve divisions, even though some of them may
have been only poorly equipped. In 1939, as I said before,
according to my recollection, there were between
seventy-three and seventy-five divisions.

Q. Therefore the number of divisions built up after March or
April of 1938, after President Schacht left the Reichsbank,
increased by 200 per cent in one year and five or six
months, whereas it took more than three years to set up
twenty-seven divisions?

A. That is true except that these fifty-five divisions, or
rather these seventy-five, were still very short of
equipment in the same way as the small number in the spring
of 1938 or in April 1938, which I mentioned. But the fact
that from that time on armament went much faster was due, as
I said, to the very nature of things.

DR. KRAUS: Thank you, I have no further questions.

BY DR. KAUFFMANN (Counsel for defendant Kaltenbrunner):

Q. Witness, you testified yesterday that the Intelligence
Service, during Kaltenbrunner's time, was better organized
than before. Please tell me, what position did Kaltenbrunner
hold during your time in the OKW?

A. I met Kaltenbrunner -

THE PRESIDENT: Just a moment. Dr. Kauffmann, you have asked
a general question. We have had all Kaltenbrunner's
positions given to us more than once. What is it you want to

DR. KAUFFMANN: Mr. President, Kaltenbrunner testified to the
fact that his Intelligence Service was connected with the
Military Intelligence Service only in a general way. This
witness can tell us what this connection of the Military
Intelligence Service with the other Intelligence Services
amounted to, especially as regards its scope and its
influence on policy as a whole.

THE PRESIDENT: I did not understand you to ask him anything
about the Intelligence Service. You asked him a quite
general question; about what relations he had had with the
OKW during the time that the defendant was connected with
the OKW, in perfectly general terms. It might have involved
an answer which would take about an hour.

DR. KAUFFMANN: May I restate the question which apparently
did not come through properly?


Q. Witness, you testified yesterday that in Kaltenbrunner's
time the whole Intelligence Service was better organized
than before that time, that is, under Canaris. Now, I ask
you what was Kaltenbrunner's position in the Intelligence

A. Kaltenbrunner -

                                                  [Page 370]

THE PRESIDENT: What is the particular question that you want
to ask? The Tribunal does not think that you ought to ask
general questions of this nature. If you have got anything
particular that you want to know about, you can ask it.


Q. What did Kaltenbrunner do during the situation
discussions which took place daily?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kauffmann, it is scarcely possible to
imagine any more general question than that with reference
to Kaltenbrunner - what was his activity over a number of

DR. KAUFFMANN: Mr. President, I said during the situation
report, that is, the daily military conferences. How did
Kaltenbrunner conduct himself, what did he do, what did he
say, did he report, what did his reports consist of? That
is, in my opinion, a concrete question.

THE PRESIDENT: What time are you asking about?

DR. KAUFFMANN: I am asking about the time after his
appointment as Chief of the Reich Security Main Office, the
time from 1943 on. That is the only time which is in

THE PRESIDENT: You can ask him with reference to particular
conferences, certainly. Why not ask him with reference to
particular conferences, if you know of any?

DR. KAUFFMANN: That was my intention.


Q. Witness, do you understand what the question is? Will you
please tell me?

A. As far as I recall, until the spring of 1945 when the
headquarters were finally moved to the Reich Chancellery in
Berlin, Kaltenbrunner did not take part in any situation
discussions. I cannot recall ever seeing him at a discussion
in the Fuehrer's headquarters.

Q. Excuse me, do you mean 1944 or 1945?

A. 1945 From the spring of 1945, that is, from the end of
January, I frequently met Kaltenbrunner in the Reich
Chancellery. Before that time he came to the Fuehrer's
headquarters from time to time and talked to me there,
especially about taking over the Canaris Intelligence
Service, but he was not present at the situation conferences
of the Fuehrer.

Q. Did he submit written military situation reports?

A. Before he took over the Intelligence Service from Canaris
- he took it over on 1st May, 1944 - before he took over the
Intelligence Service he sent me from time to time very good
reports from the South Eastern Area, and these reports first
called my attention to his experience in the Intelligence
Service. He then took over the Intelligence Service, and,
although I was against it at first, after I had discussed
matters with him I supported him, for I had the impression
that he knew his business. After that, of course, I
constantly received reports from Kaltenbrunner as I
previously had received them from Canaris. Not only did I
receive the daily reports from agents but from time to time
he sent what I should call a political survey on the basis
of the individual agents' reports. These comprehensive
situation reports about the political situation everywhere
abroad attracted may special attention, because they summed
up our whole military situation with an openness, soberness
and seriousness, which lead been lacking in Canaris'

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