The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. I accept that, witness. Now I go very shortly to the case
of Czechoslovakia. I only want to deal really with a couple
of documents. I want to deal with item 17, which the
Tribunal will find on Page 29 of Book 7. And it is marked -
if you will hand it up - and I have marked that for you,
witness, item 17.

                                                  [Page 391]

A. Yes.

Q. You are familiar with that?

A. Yes, I know that.

Q. And I do not propose to read it again, because it was
read very recently; but you agree, do you not, you said
yesterday, the problem was this: First of all, you must have
a surprise attack; if you were going to attack at all, you
must have a surprise attack.

A. On the basis of the stipulations made by the Fuehrer,

Q. You must have a surprise attack first, and your troops
would take four days to get into their battle position.

A. Yes.

Q. And therefore you must know the time of the incident
which is going to be the cause of the attack; you must know
the time when the incident is going to take place.

A. Yes, I said that one would either have to predetermine
the time or one must know it in advance, otherwise the
requirements could not be met.

Q. And, therefore, you must create the incident yourself.

A. I testified to that at length yesterday. Either one of
the many had to be exploited or perhaps one would have to
help the situation along a bit; but, as I said, those are
General Staff considerations which, when we capture them
from the French, you consider entirely irrelevant.

Q. It is set down at the end of the document on Page 30 that
either the Wehrmacht or the Counter-Intelligence Section
would be charged with the manufacture of the incident.

A. Yes, I therefore wrote: "In case the Counter-Intelligence
Department is not charged with the creation of an incident
apart from that" - in case. These are all theoretical
meditations of the General Staff on a situation which I
depicted quite accurately yesterday. At that time, such
incidents occurred daily.

Q. I know. Then, if this had taken place, the world would
have been told that because of that incident, Germany had
been compelled to go to war?

A. I do not believe that this would have been reported to
the world. Rather, I believe the true reason would have been
told the world which reason, furthermore, was being made
known constantly through the Press, namely that three and a
half million Germans cannot be used as slaves by another
people permanently. That was the issue.

Q. If the world was going to be told the truth, what is the
earthly good of manufacturing an incident?

A. I testified as to that yesterday - I can only repeat what
I said yesterday at length: I knew the history of war too
well not to know that in every war things like that happen -
the question as to who fired the first shot. And
Czechoslovakia at that time had already fired thousands of
shots which had fallen on our territory.

Q. Now, I say, witness, subject to correction, that you are
not answering the question at all. The question was a very
short one and you make a long speech about something quite
different. The question is, if the truth was sufficient to
justify your going to war, why should you want to
manufacture an incident? If you cannot answer it, say so.

A. Well, it is not at all confirmed that I wanted to bring
about an incident. I wrote, "in case." We never prepared one
and that is surely the essential thing.

Q. I will not argue any further with you. I have put my
point and will leave it. But now I want, on quite another
point, to refer to the last paragraph on Page 29, the same

  "Even a warning to the diplomatic representatives in
  Prague is impossible before the first air attack,
  although the consequences could be very grave in the
  event of their becoming victims of such an attack."

Perhaps you would read this paragraph, known already to the

  " ... deaths of representatives of friendly or confirmed
  neutral powers."

                                                  [Page 392]

That means an air-raid before there has been any declaration
of war or any warning to the civilian population, does it

A. That meant that I called the attention of the Fuehrer,
through this document, to the fact that on the basis of his
decree that result could or would come about.

Q. Would you call that a terror attack? A terror attack?

A. It can not be said under what conditions such an action
would be launched. These are all theoretical tasks for our
General Staff. How and when such an action, whether with
justice or injustice, would take place, no one could say;
that depended on the political decision.

Q. I will show you later how those thoughts were carried
into practice in the case of other countries.

So we will leave that document altogether now and I will
leave the case of Czechoslovakia. Now you were recalled to
the OKW on the 23rd August, 1939, from your artillery
employment. We know that, do we not?

A. Yes.

Q. That was a great compliment, showing the high opinion
that the Fuehrer held of you, was it not?

A. The Fuehrer was not responsible for my being called back.
I do not know whether he knew about it at all. I do not
believe so.

Q. Very good. On a very small point, witness, you told the
Tribunal yesterday or the day before, that you never had a
conference with the Fuehrer, I think, until September, 1939;
but, according to your diary, on the 10th August, 1938 - it
is Page 136 of Book 7 - you attended a conference at the
Berghof with the Army Chiefs and the Air Force groups. Did
you not meet the Fuehrer then?

A. That which you asserted in your first sentence, I did not
say. What I said was, word for word, "On the 3rd September I
was introduced to the Fuehrer by Field Marshal Keitel, and
on this occasion, at any rate, I spoke with him for the
first time." That is what I testified to, word for word,
yesterday. I had seen the Fuehrer a dozen times before then
and I had heard him when he delivered his big speeches,
after he had become Reich Chancellor and Commander-in-Chief.

Q. Yes, I accept that. It is quite likely that I was wrong.
Now, with regard to the Polish campaign, did I hear you
aright when you said that Warsaw was only bombed after
leaflets had been dropped?

A. That applies to the period of the siege of Warsaw. The
terror attack, I might say, which was to hit the entire city
through artillery bombardment, that took place after two
previous warnings.

Q. It is a matter of history, is it not, that Warsaw was
bombed, with many other Polish towns, in the early hours of
the 1st September, 1939, before any declaration of war? Is
that not a matter of history?

A. As far as this historical fact is concerned, Field
Marshal Kesselring, who is very well informed about this,
testified to that here in detail. He said - and also
Reichsmarschall Goering - that on this date the militarily
important objectives throughout Poland were attacked, but
not the population of Warsaw.

Q. Very good. You are quite right, now Kesselring -

MR . ROBERTS: If the Tribunal wants the reference, he gave
evidence as to the bombing of Warsaw, the English
transcript, Part 9, Page 25.


Q. Now, I suppose the result of the Polish campaign was
naturally a source of satisfaction to all of you?

A. The development of the Polish campaign, from the military
point of view, was extremely satisfactory to us. Of course
things happen in life that would give more satisfaction than
a military action.

Q. Well, now, I want to look at a letter. This is -

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, this is a new Document 885-D, and it
is Exhibit GB 484.

                                                  [Page 393]


Q. That letter is in your writing, is it not? Is it in your

A. Yes.

Q. Very good. Now, it is written to Police President Dr.
Karl Schwabe, Bruenn (Moravia), Police Presidency, dated
28th October, 1939:

  "My Dear Police President: For your enthusiastic letter
  of 22nd September, I thank you heartily. I was
  particularly pleased about it. This wonderful campaign in
  Poland was a grand opening for this hard and decisive
  struggle and has brought about for us an unusually
  favourable springboard, both politically and militarily.
  The difficult part for the people as well as the Army is
  still ahead."

I propose to read it without comments and comment afterward.

  "But the Fuehrer and his associates are full of the
  greatest confidence; for the sanctimonious British will
  not succeed in throttling our economy, and militarily we
  are without worry. Decisive is the will of the people to
  stick it out, and this the many strong-willed and devoted
  men who are today at the head of the districts and in
  other responsible posts will take care of. This time we
  will show that we have better nerves and the greater
  unity. That you, Police President, will contribute your
  weighty share to keeping the Czechs at it and not let
  them perk up, of this I am convinced."

Then he is very pleased about the high recognition granted
to the troops:

  "Thanking you once more heartily for your words of
  appreciation which exceed my modest contribution in the
  shadow of the powerful personality of our Fuehrer. I am
  with Heil Hitler."

Why did you call the British sanctimonious? Because they
keep treaties and do not have concentration camps and do not
persecute Jews? Is that why you thought we were
sanctimonious, because we do not break treaties?

A. No, that was not the reason. The reason was that the
political situation generally was represented that way, and
that I was actually of that opinion at the time.

Q. Very good. Now you deal with:- "Decisive is the will of
the people to stick it out, and this the many strong-willed
and devoted men who are at the head of the districts and in
other responsible posts will take care of." Who were these
strong-willed and devoted men? Is that the SS and the

A. No, these are the Gauleiter.

Q. The Gauleiter?

A. Yes.

Q. Well, but I mean we have one or two Gauleiter here,
Gauleiter Sauckel, for instance, in a large area like
Thuringia, he could not do much by himself, could he? He
would have to have some SS or Gestapo, would he not?

A. We are not at all concerned with that here. The fact is
that these Gauleiter actually headed the organization of the
State and the administration in this war in a noteworthy
way. Despite the catastrophe, the people were much better
taken care of than in the years 1914-1918. That is
uncontested and it is to the credit of these people.

Q. They were better taken care of?

A. Even in the most terrible conditions at the end, every
man in Berlin received his normal rations. It was a model of
organization, that I can only say.

Q. And a model of organization because no opposition to the
government or the Party was allowed, was it?

A. Certainly, it made it easier on one hand, and on the
other hand led to terrible catastrophes about which, of
course, I only heard here for the first time.

Q. Very good, well, the letter speaks for itself, and I will
proceed. May I just ask you about this last sentence: "That
you, Police President, will contribute your weighty share to
keeping the Czechs at it and to not let them perk up."

What did you mean by that?

                                                  [Page 394]

A. Since he was Police President in Bruenn, it was his task
to see that quiet and order were maintained in Bruenn and
not to tolerate a Czech uprising while we were at war. That
is a matter of course. I did not say that he was to murder
or Germanise the Czechs at all, but he had to keep them in

Q. Very good. I pass from that now and I want to go to the
various campaigns in the West. Now, with regard to Norway,
of course you knew that your country had given its solemn
word repeatedly to respect the integrity of Norway and
Denmark, did you not?

A. I said yesterday, with reference to the two declarations
of ....

Q. Please answer my question, it is such a simple one.

A. Yes, I believe, I recalled that at the time. I am quite

Q. Very good; and we know there was an assurance at the
beginning of the war to reassure all these Western neutrals,
and there was another assurance on the 6th of October, and
you say that in November Hitler decided to invade Denmark
and Norway?

A. Yes. I testified to that at length yesterday.

Q. I know you did. Please do not always say that. I have got
to ask you to go over the same ground from the other angle,
you see. "Norway," as your speech said - and I am quoting
from Page 291 of Book; - perhaps you had better give it to
him - Page 11 of your notes ....

MR. ROBERTS: It is in the middle, my Lord, under paragraph

  "Q. In the meantime, we were confronted by a problem: the
  occupation of Norway and Denmark. In the first place,
  there was danger that England would seize Scandinavia and
  thereby, besides effecting a strategic encirclement from
  the North, would stop the import of iron and nickel which
  was of such importance to us for war purposes. Secondly,
  it was with the realization of our own maritime
  necessities - 'Notwendigkeiten' " - that is the word, is
  it not - 'Notwendigkeiten'"?

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, that ought to be "necessary" and not
"imperative." "Erforderten" is the German word.


  Q. " - which made it necessary for us to secure free
  access to the Atlantic by a number of air and naval

You wanted air bases and U-boat bases, did you not?

A. Militarily they were tremendously important to us, there
is no doubt about that, and the necessity for taking them
was based on the reports which we had of the threat to

Q. What I suggest to you, you see, is this: As in the case
of the other three low countries, so in this case, you
simply made an excuse. You thought England might do
something, although she had not done it for months, and you
violated Norway's neutrality at your own chosen time. Is
that right?

A. In order to answer that question, yes or no, one would
have to undertake a very thorough study of all the
historical documents on both our own and the other side.
Then one can say if it is correct or not. Before that has
been decided, only a subjective opinion exists. I have mine,
and you have another.

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